The Best Guide on What to Feed Aquarium Snails

Last Updated on January 22, 2022 by Fabiola L.

If you want to keep them as pets, it is important to know what to feed aquarium snails. Click and find out all the details about their diet.

There are many species of snails, and each of them has different eating habits that depend on their size, age, and specific nutritional requirements. Accordingly, aquarium snails need a healthy environment as well as adequate nutrition to live a long and healthy life. Their life in the aquarium has its own special meaning. In addition to being unique inhabitants, they help clean the habitat by consuming otherwise uneaten food.

However, they do not always have to live with other aquatic species; they can live equally happy in snails-only tanks. But what to do when they live in aquariums where there are no other aquatic pets? What to feed aquarium snails? Keep reading to find out.

How Do Water Snails Eat?

Like most mollusks, freshwater snails have a tongue-like organ also called a radula. The Radula consists of very small teeth as sharp as sandpaper that scrape and break down food. As for the eating process, they eat by moving the radula back and forth to scrape food off surfaces and break up food material.

Did you know that the teeth of water snails are not lifelong? Namely, their teeth wear out so quickly that snails have to replace them continuously throughout their lives.

What Does Freshwater Snail Eat?

Most freshwater snails are not very picky when it comes to food. So, what to feed aquarium snails? The shortest possible answer is that they feed mainly on algae, dead and decaying plants, small insects, and occasionally even other snails.

However, it is important to point out that these rules don’t apply to every species since not every water snail eats the same at every point of its life cycle.

Read more about food for aquarium snails.

What Do Snails Eat In A Fish Tank?

Aquatic Plants

Most freshwater aquarium snails eat dying or dead plants. However, only a few such as Apple snails eat live plants. You will also be able to catch Mystery snails in that act, but much less than the above-mentioned species.

Therefore, if you plan to keep any of these species of snails in your aquarium, keep in mind that you will need a fresh supply of aquatic plants ready to replace the plants that have been eaten.


If you are wondering what to feed aquarium snails, there is one answer you will never go wrong with – algae. It is the main source of food for aquarium snails.

Algae will grow on their own even without the presence of fish, especially when there is excessive light and warm water. If you have a tank with excess algae, species like the Mysterious Snail will eat algae from healthy plants, but not the plants themselves.

what to feed aquarium snails

Vegetables & Fruits

Did you know that aquarium snails enjoy nibbling on vegetables? Although it sounds weird, it really is true. Snails simply love to eat peas, carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, lettuce, and other leafy vegetables.

However, be careful, soft vegetables can be put fresh in the aquarium, while hard one, such as carrots needs to be blanched before serving. Once prepared, the vegetables need to be attached with a clip to the side of the fish tank. You can probably find those special clips designed for use in the aquarium at local pet stores. This will make it much easier for them to eat.

The same goes for fruit. Watermelon, grapes, pumpkin, apple, and pear are just some of the fruits that freshwater snails love to eat. Finally, it is important to remember that it is not recommended to feed them with acidic fruits such as oranges and tomatoes.

Commercial Snail Food

In addition to all the above delicacies, be sure that your snails will be happy to eat fish food designed for bottom feeders. Therefore, feel free to try feeding them with sinking shrimp pellets, store-bought tablets, or wafers.

Fish tank snails prefer food that sinks for one simple reason – they can’t eat fish food that floats on the surface of the water.

Read more about How to Breed Mystery Snails?

What To Feed Aquarium Snails – Baby Edition

Newly hatched (baby) snails feed on microscopic algae and bacteria. Like all other juveniles, they also grow quickly. Therefore, you will probably need to feed them more often than adult specimens.

Additionally, you can feed them with cooked lettuce and kale. Just try to make sure that the food is rich in calcium because it is necessary for the growth and strength of the shell. You can also occasionally feed them clamshells, crushed eggshells, or snail shells.

Baby snails are not picky about food. However, be careful, because if they don’t have a sufficient source of food, they will be very happy to start nibbling on aquatic plants.

Finally, once baby snails develop their shells and settle on the substrate, their diet becomes almost identical to that of adults.

How Often Do They Eat?

There is no general rule that applies to everyone when it comes to feeding frequency. Each snail has its own pace. According to some experts, you can try to feed your snail as much food as it can eat in about three minutes. It is recommended to give this amount twice a day.

Anyway, when it comes to your freshwater aquarium snails – you are free to experiment. It would be best to feed your aquatic pets and observe how quickly they consume the food. Based on this, you will be able to determine how often you will need to do that.

In Conclusion

Aquarium snails prefer to eat algae, decaying aquatic plants as well as fish food scraps. However, if you feel that this is not enough, you can always try to add food specifically designed for freshwater snails.

Do you have any tips on what to feed aquarium snails? – Let us know in the comments below. We look forward to learning more about your experiences.

Read more about How to Starfish Eat?