Best Small Loach for Eating Snails in Freshwater Tank

When starting out your home freshwater aquarium you may be very enthusiastic about the different types of creatures that you can house. Colorful fish, shrimp, and maybe even some snails…

However, these molluscs can very quickly become a nuisance for you and the other creatures in the tank as their rate of reproduction is incredibly fast. They are often referred to as “pests” because they each lay a sack full of dozens of eggs. This means a lot of baby snails!

So, if this is a problem that you have found happening to your tank, or you simply want to get snails without having to deal with the repercussions, then looking to fish to maintain the snail population in your tank is great and easy solution to the problem.

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Which loaches eat snails?

Loaches are not particularly fussy eaters. In fact, their general rule of thumb is that if they are bigger than something then that something can become food. They will cease almost any opportunity for food that they can get.

Loaches are a great addition to your tank if you are looking to deal with a snail infestation. The top two varieties to consider are the clown loach and the yo-yo loach.

For these two types of loach, a snail is an absolute delicacy. They will happily and greedily trawl through the gravel and other parts of your aquarium in order to tuck into a snail. They will simply eat them straight from their shell.

Do dwarf loaches eat snails?

Yes! Dwarf loaches do indeed eat snails. Just like most other types of loaches, they will eat small molluscs and shrimp. 

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Although dwarf loaches will get rid of a large number of smaller snails in your tank they will also make themselves a nuisance to large snails in your tank. If you have snails that are not considered a pest in your tank then you may want to rethink adding dwarf loaches to your home aquarium.

This is because they will essentially bully the larger snails. This is can cause them extreme stress and fatigue, possibly leading to disastrous outcomes. 

So, before adding these little creatures to your tank it may be worth your while considering how they will interact with the other creatures in there. If you have large snails that you do not want to stress out, then considering other methods of snail control may be your best option.

Do kuhli loaches eat pest snails?

Yes, kuhli loaches do indeed eat pest snails. In fact, they will eat almost anything that is smaller than them! They are known to be opportunistic eaters, meaning that anything smaller than them can be considered dinner. Be it fish or snails they will happily eat away at them. 

So, if you have small pest snails that are a nuisance, kuhli loaches can be an amazing solution, but if you have a tank full of small fish they may also be a nightmare. 

The last thing that you would want is to add these loaches to your take to wipe out your snail infestation and wake up to an empty tank (aside from the kuhli loaches of course).

In this case, other ways of controlling your snail population are worth a look into.

Which fish eats small snails?

Labyrinth fish, for example, gouramis and bettas, will very happily eat any excess snails that you happen to have in your tank. However, unlike the clown loach and the yo-yo loach, they are not particularly good when it comes to finding them. 

Whereas the loaches can easily hunt down a snail hiding in the gravel or amongst the algae, a labyrinth fish will only be feasting on a snail if it is in plain sight. They will certainly not exert too much effort into digging around the bottom of your home aquarium for a snail.

A few of the main types of fish for eating small snails are:

  • Zebra loach
  • Clown loach
  • Spotted Rafael catfish
  • Yo-yo loach
  • Green spotted pufferfish
  • Dwarf chain loach
  • Skunk loach

Although all of the above fish will be a good solution to your snail problem they each have different needs and requirements. This means that you should carefully look into the care and maintenance of each of these fish before considering which will be the best fit with your existing tank.

If the size of your tank is too small, or the new fish is incompatible with the fish and other creatures that you already have in your home aquarium then it would be better to either choose another type of fish to solve the problem or find another method.

If you are unsure of exactly how two or more creatures will interact then it may be best to pose the question on a forum. This way both hobbyists and experts can tell you about their experiences and how the creatures will interact with each other. 

Other methods of removing snails

One simple way to reduce the number of snails in your tank is to stop giving them so much food. Try reducing the amount of food that you give to your fish. This means that the fish will eat more of what they are given and there will be less food left over for the snails.

This decrease in food should slow down the rate at which they appear! 

Another method of removing snails with food is by placing a lettuce leaf in the tank. Leave it overnight and by the morning you will find a whole host of snails munching away. Simply remove the lettuce leaf along with the snails. Although this will not completely solve your problem it will work well as a temporary solution.

To sum up

Snails may seem like a great idea but their reproduction rate can make them an absolute nightmare for any hobbyist.

If you are sure that you want to keep snails in your tank then consider adding loaches in order to keep the population under control.

However, before adding the loaches make sure that they will get along with the other creatures already in your tank.