Do goldfish eat snails? Or can they live together?

Goldfish are natural predators of snails and will happily eat small snails that fit easily into their mouths. This includes small snail species and baby snails of any type.

However, goldfish generally do not eat larger snails, which do not fit easily in their mouths.

There are several types of snails that grow large enough to live safely with goldfish. These include netrite snails, mystery snails, and Japanese loophole snails.

Larger and more aggressive goldfish may even eat these large snails by sucking them out of their shells to eat them.

You can help prevent this by feeding your goldfish the right diet. They then tend to leave the snails alone as the effort required to suck a snail out of its shell just isn’t worth it!

To further prevent your goldfish from eating snails, you can feed your goldfish treats from time to time. Some good suggestions are cucumber slices, bloodworms, broccoli, and leafy greens.

Adding snails to a goldfish tank

Snails can transmit diseases or parasites to goldfish. Therefore, you should quarantine the snails before introducing them into the aquarium. We recommend 28 days in a jar with a small piece of live plant to eat.

You will need to feed your snails calcium-rich food to keep their shells healthy. Check ingredient labels whenever possible and avoid getting copper into your water and food as it is highly toxic to snails.

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Snails are very good at breaking down the biological load in the aquarium. This gives extra help to the good bacteria in your tank, which help control the water parameters.

Snails will not eat live plants if they are fed enough algae, uneaten goldfish food, or plant detritus.

Types of snails that can live with goldfish

If you want to keep snails along with your goldfish, we recommend three types of snails. It:

All these snails grow big enough to be left alone by goldfish.

Nontrile snails

Netrite snails usually live in aquariums.

They reach up to one inch in size and live 1-2 years. They are very good at clearing algae from an aquarium and do so very effectively compared to other snails.

Netrite snails will easily cope with brown, green and film algae.

Nontrill snails do not breed in fresh water, so do not worry about baby snails in the aquarium.

They can lay eggs but will not hatch. These eggs can be left to serve as goldfish snacks, or simply removed.

We recommend at least two gallons of water per Netril snail.

Mysterious snails

Mystery snails can grow three inches or more and live up to one year. These snails come in many color variations and breed quickly in the aquarium. They lay their eggs above the water level, making them easy to remove if you want.

These snails will not only eat algae, they will happily eat uneaten fish food and detritus from plants.

We recommend 2.5 gallons of water per Mystery Snail.

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But be careful! Mysterious snails are natural escape masters! A tight-fitting and secure lid is essential for their secure placement.

Japanese hatch snails

Japanese hatch snails grow up to three inches in size and can live up to five years. They get their name from the hard plate that covers them when they are in their shells.

These snails are great for outdoor ponds because they can survive the cold winter months.

Japanese hatch snails do not breed quickly. Interestingly, instead of eggs, they produce live young.

These snails will come out of the water from time to time to breathe, so it’s important to have a low enough water line.

Japanese hatch snails can be kept in a ten gallon aquarium as long as the water is well oxygenated and the aquarium is not overcrowded. Although your goldfish will certainly need more space.


The best types of snails to keep goldfish are netrite snails, riddle snails and Japanese hatch snails.

These snails grow big enough to not be bothered by your goldfish and enjoy the same water conditions as goldfish.

Goldfish willingly eat little snails what can fit in their mouth. Therefore, you should avoid keeping small snail species or baby snails with goldfish.

Goldfish also eat snail eggs.

You can reduce your goldfish’s interest in eating snails by making sure they are well fed.

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