Will Tetras Eat Snails, Baby Snails, Or Snail Eggs?

Image of a black tetra swimming alone

Many fish hobbyists like to keep snails in their aquariums. These tiny creatures add interesting colors to the aquatic space and do a good job of cleaning the tank. However, they cannot be kept with all types of aquarium fish as they may end up being eaten by such fish. Since tetras are common pets in freshwater aquariums, you may wonder how they get along with snails. So, will tetras eat snails?

Tetras won’t eat snails in an aquarium unless the snails come in their way. Although tetras are omnivorous fish, they don’t usually like to eat snails. However, tetras will eat anything that fits their mouth. So, they may snack on snail eggs or baby snails if they come across them in the fish tank.

Let’s now discuss this in more detail.

The Typical Diet Of Tetras

Tetras are omnivores. It means that this fish needs both plant and animal-based nutrition for survival.

In their natural habitat, tetras eat algae, dead plant parts, insect larvae, small worms, and almost anything that fits their mouth. They will also eat small crustaceans like brine shrimp and ghost shrimp. Since they are tiny fish, they cannot eat large chunks of meaty food easily. They prefer food that fits their tiny mouths.

In captivity, fish owners help tetras meet their nutritional requirements with a variety of fresh and processed fish food. High-quality flake food is a staple food for tetras. You can also occasionally feed them vegetable matter, algae flakes, and freeze-dried or fresh live food.

The best whole food for tetras are bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp. However, small tetra varieties may be unable to eat whole worms. So, you would have to cut them up and serve your fish.

Will Tetras Harm Snails In Their Tank?

Although the behavioral pattern can vary by species, tetras are generally peaceful fish. They will not chase or attack the other inhabitants of their tank unless they are stressed out.

Tetras are easily satisfied with the food that is fed to them. They may also occasionally snack on the algae present in the tank. However, they will not chase or attack other creatures in the tank for food.

Hence, most varieties of tetras will peacefully co-exist with snails. They will usually ignore snails and not bully or prey on them. So, if you are looking for good tankmates for snails, tetras are a good choice.

Nevertheless, some varieties of tetras may be curious about these creatures. Although they may not perceive the snails as food, they may still check them out.

Semi-aggressive tetra species, like black skirts and serpae tetras, may be amused by these tiny inhabitants of the tank. These fish are generally curious and are notorious for their fin-nipping tendencies. So, there are chances for them to nip the eyestalks of snails. Since eyes are not the primary organs for snails, this will not kill them. However, such episodes can cause stress for the smaller animal.

Recommended Further Reading:

Will Neon Tetras Eat Snails?

Neon tetras are very popular with fish hobbyists. They are very peaceful easygoing fish and do well in community tanks. 

Neon tetras do not usually attack or hurt snails.

Unlike more aggressive tetras with fin-nipping tendencies, these fish are placid and easily frightened. Hence, they will not attack or eat snails in their environment.

Neon tetras will easily get along with common home aquarium snails.

Will Tetras Eat Baby Snails?

Baby snails look like miniature versions of adults. However, they have soft shells that harden as they grow older.

Baby snails can be born in your tank. They can also hitch-hike their way into a tank through live plants, rocks, or even aquarium soil. Baby snails grow remarkably fast. They can also end up becoming a problem as a single snail can give rise to hundreds of new snails.

Tetras are usually not fond of snails. However, they are opportunistic feeders. So, it is likely that they will eat any baby snails that they come across. Like all fish, tetras will eat anything that fits their mouth.

In the case of adult snails, the hard shell makes it difficult for fish to eat them. However, baby snails have soft shells. So, if a baby snail is small enough to be eaten, the fish may swallow it.

Related Further Reading:

Will Neon Tetras Eat Baby Snails?

Neon tetras do not usually perceive snails as food. However, if it comes across a baby snail that fits its mouth, it will probably eat it.

Nonetheless, if a neon tetra eats a baby snail, it is only because the snail happened to cross the neon tetra’s path. It is unlikely that the fish will otherwise chase after or hunt and catch the snail.

Since neons are very small fish, this risk will only affect tiny baby snails. Once it grows a little bigger, it will most likely not be harmed.

Will Tetras Eat Snail Eggs?

Snails lay eggs in different locations. These eggs will usually be in clusters and look like gelatinous blobs.

Some snails, like the mystery snail and apple snail, will climb above the water surface and lay their eggs in a damp spot away from water. Other snails, like ramshorns and nerites, scatter their eggs on different tank surfaces.

Nerite snail eggs are very sticky. You can find them on plant leaves, driftwood, and even the glass surface of the tank. They can be a huge nuisance and are nearly impossible to get rid of.

Whether a tetra fish eats snail eggs or not depends on how accessible the eggs are. Being opportunistic feeders, these fish may nibble on any eggs that they come across. They are usually drawn towards the more gelatinous eggs.

Although tetras may occasionally nibble on these eggs, they are not very helpful in controlling a snail infestation. You will have to look at other varieties of fish for this purpose.

Interesting Further Reading:

Which Aquarium Fish Will Eat Snails?

The problem with keeping snails as pets is that most snails breed profusely. You may start with just one or two snails. However, you can end up with hundreds of them before you know it. Once the snail population starts growing, it is very difficult to restore control.

Snails may even appear out of nowhere in a fish tank. Unfortunately, even a single stray snail can lead to a massive snail infestation.

Some aquarium owners prefer natural ways to get snail infestations under control. One such option is to keep fish that eat snails. Certain loaches, catfish, pufferfish, and gourami are very efficient in wiping out snails.

Loaches and catfish use their barbels to dig into the substrate and fish out snails. Catfish like to eat baby snails and snail eggs. Pufferfish will eat snails and even chew on their shells.

Just like snail-eating fish, assassin snails can also get a snail infestation under control.

When choosing snail-eating fish, you should also look at how well the fish will fit into the environment. Some snail-eating fish must be kept in groups, which will add to the bio-load of the tank. In other cases, the snail-eating fish may not be compatible with the other tank inmates. So, there are numerous factors to consider.

Do a fair bit of research before introducing a snail-eating fish or using any other snail-control measures. It will help you avoid any long-term problems.