How to Get Rid of Snails in an Aquarium: 9 Steps

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How to Get Rid of Snails in an Aquarium: 9 Steps
How to Get Rid of Snails in an Aquarium: 9 Steps

Snails are unwanted inhabitants in an aquarium. Both the snails and their eggs reach the aquarium through live plants, dirty decorations transported from one tank to another, plastic bags with new fish or nets used in other tanks. One snail is enough to produce a large population. These molluscs reproduce quickly and can dominate the aquarium. Eliminating them will be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it will be worth it.


Method 1 of 2: Getting Rid of Snails in the Aquarium

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 1

Step 1. Avoid overfeeding

Overfeeding of fish can result in an increase in the snail population. Try to offer not more food than necessary to the aquarium inhabitants to see if the snail population decreases.

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 2

Step 2. Use a chemical to eliminate snails

The most common and safe chemical for fish, which can be used to kill snails, is copper sulfate. When using it, strictly follow the instructions on the package to ensure the survival of the fish during the treatment. In most cases, the use of this product will result in the mass elimination of snails, which could soil the aquarium. If so, time will need to be invested in removing dead snails and adjusting the water to ensure it remains healthy for fish and plants.

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 3

Step 3. Place snail traps in the tank

You can find small snail traps on the internet or in pet stores. You can also put a large piece of lettuce in the aquarium, attach the thick part of the stalk to the side of the tank and leave it overnight. The next morning, remove the leaf and there will likely be several snails on the underside of the lettuce. Repeat the process a few times to get rid of large numbers of snails.

Snails can also be removed as soon as they are spotted. This is the most efficient method when snails are not in large numbers. However, snails are usually nocturnal, so it can be difficult to put this plan into practice

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 4

Step 4. Add snail predators to the tank

It is recommended to add scavenger fish to eat the snails in the aquarium. For smaller tanks, add zebrafish or pygmy loaches. In large aquariums, add clown loaches or pimelodus pictus.

The killer snails will take care of eating other snails. They don't reproduce as quickly, so they won't become a problem like other snails

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 5

Step 5. Try several different solutions

There are several methods available to eliminate snails. Since they can quickly dominate the tank, their elimination should be at the top of your priority list. It may be necessary to experiment with several different methods to get rid of all the snails.

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 6

Step 6. Clean up the entire environment

If the situation is out of control or you want a 100% effective solution, do a general cleaning of the aquarium. This cleaning will involve removing the gravel, decorations, plants and water. Items must be clean and dry before being reintroduced to the aquarium.

Method 2 of 2: Avoiding Snail Problems

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 7

Step 1. Inspect all items to be inserted into the aquarium

Preventing the introduction of snails into the aquarium will save you a lot of time and avoid a lot of problems. Check plants and decorations for snails or snail eggs and remove them before introducing items to the tank.

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 8

Step 2. Quarantine items before placing them in the aquarium

Set aside a quarantine tank and leave the plants in that tank before introducing them to the regular aquarium. They should be quarantined for a few weeks. Remove any snails you find during this period.

Get Rid of Snails in Aquarium Step 9

Step 3. Soak all items to be introduced into the aquarium in a snail-eliminating solution

Soaking the plants in a bleach solution will eliminate the snails and their eggs. Prepare a solution consisting of 1 serving of bleach and 19 servings of water, or approximately 3/4 cup of bleach for every 4 liters of water. Soak the plants in the solution for two to three minutes, remove them and rinse well under running water for a maximum of five minutes.

  • The substance may be too strong for the plant, so there is no guarantee that it will come out intact after the procedure.
  • You can also put the plants in a solution of water and aluminum sulfate. Add 2 or 3 teaspoons of aluminum sulfate to 4 liters of warm water and stir to dissolve. Put the plants in the solution and let them soak for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. Remove the plants and wash them well before introducing them into the aquarium.


  • A small amount of snails is usually not a problem. They are scavengers, so they can be useful.
  • A species that normally invades aquariums is the Malaysian snail. These snails like to live buried in aquarium gravel and are mainly active at night. You may not notice the snails until they have multiplied a lot and the gravel starts to move. The apple snail can also reproduce quickly and dominate the aquarium.
  • Baby snails can be used as food for some fish.
  • Some plants sold by suppliers come with a guarantee that they are free of snails. It is recommended to look for this type whenever you intend to add plants to the aquarium.


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