Can Betta Fish Live with Snails?

Snails are never an immediate threat to fish in general. Most of them are scavengers, feeding on dead plant material, algae, and dead fish, thus keeping a tank clean. An added advantage of snails in a fish tank is that they add color, beauty, and activity.

Betta fish can live with snails in the same tank. They help keep the tank clean while feeding on the algae and other plant materials, thus reducing frequent physical cleaning and water change. Additionally, snails moving around the tank are mental stimulants for bettas.

How to keep bettas and snails together

Snails in the same tank with bettas will also increase the overall beauty and visual activity. This keeps the tank lively and even nice to look at. Below are some tips to help you keep snails with a betta:

1. Gauge a betta’s temperament

Some fish are aggressive and territorial, depending on their natural behaviours or temperament levels. That means if they spot a new tank mate, they attack or disturb them. If your betta is attacking the new snails, you could:

●  Add some decorations

Adding decorations and recommended plants for betta fish will ensure that the snail isn’t in their line of sight. Decorations also keep an aggressive betta busy, thus no time to attack or disturb other tank mates.

●  Introduce good feeding habits

You can improve the betta’s feeding cycle to prevent aggressiveness towards snails. Betta fish are carnivores and can feed on new entrants when hungry. When keeping bettas and guppies or other species, provide enough favorites for both species. Feeding one or two fish pellets alongside frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods twice daily is ideal for giving your betta enough nutrients.

●  Rearrange the aquarium

Sometimes bettas act aggressively toward new tank mates because they feel it’s their territory. To avoid this, change the arrangement of items in your tank. Rearrange the plants and any decorations to create a feeling of a new environment.

2. Use the ideal tank size

Another tip for bettas to live with snails is to use an ideal tank size. Add an extra gallon of water when introducing snails to your betta. This gives the two species enough space to move around, feed, and relax without affecting each other’s activities. 

3. Provide enough filtration

Normally, snails create a heavy amount of waste, so it’s advisable to have a reliable filtration system. For instance, external canister filters are handy for tanks with considerable waste but need regular maintenance. A balanced tank needs around 20% water change or filtration every 2 to 3 weeks.

4. Use lids or protective films

Some snails, such as the tiger, nerites, and bladder, are notorious for escaping if threatened. Therefore, you can use cling wrap or a lid to seal off potential areas that can be used as an exit.

5. Leave the lights on

If you have Zebra Nitrites snails, you can leave lights on for a longer time, around 8 hours. This is because they lay their eggs on driftwood but don’t hatch. Additionally, the light is absorbed by the plants in the tank, supporting algae growth.

6. Make an easy and slow introduction

Don’t drop the snails into the tank directly to avoid betta preying on them during the introduction to the tank. You must give your fish time to adapt to the changes (tank mates). Float your betta in a simple breeder container for some days for the snails to crawl over. This will give your fish enough time to get used to the snails and sometimes ignore them.

Snails that can live with bettas

There are several types of snails. However, those that can be kept with bettas include Mystery snails, Nerite snails, Ramshorn snails, Apple snails, Malaysian Trumpets, and Assassin snails.

1. Mystery snails 

These have long antennae, making them vulnerable to betta fish because the fish can think that they are food. Thats why it is important to feed the fish properly.

The most common colors of mystery snails that are kept with bettas to add color and beauty are golden, blue, purple, and black.

2. Nerite snails

Nerite snails are ideal if you want to reduce your aquarium’s waste while keeping the water clean. They include the Zebra, Horned, and Olive Nerites, which reproduce in brackish water (a mix of salty and fresh water.)

Nerites never come out of their shells, making it difficult for your betta to attack them. Unlike the Mystery and Ramshorn’s snails, the nerites’ reproduction patterns and slow movement are not a bother to bettas. They eat algae to clear the bowl’s water while giving your betta a nice feeding atmosphere.

3. Ramshorn Snails

Many aquatic pet keepers love the Ramshorn snails, including pond snails, because they clean tanks much faster than the other breeds.

They eat decaying matter like rotting plants and fish waste for easier utilization of bacteria. However, you must prevent overpopulation and bar them from taking over the aquarium. Additionally, watch out for sick bettas and know how they behave before death to avoid cannibalism in the tank.

4. Apple Snails 

Like Nerites, these snails help clean the fishbowl. They feed on algae and other foods such as spinach, dead fish, fish food, eggs, and other snails. This means you should be careful when introducing these snails to your fish tank.

5. Malaysian trumpets

Malaysian Trumpets are an excellent choice to help aerate your fish tank’s substrate. They break down rotting plants and unwanted food and don’t feed on healthy vegetation.

These snails also provide enough oxygen to the vegetation roots by aerating the substrates. This promotes good root growth and air exchange inside the tanks for your betta to live comfortably. A bonus when using Malaysian Trumpets is that their poop is a natural fertilizer ideal for plants. 

6. Assassin snails

These are among the most useful live animals in your fish tank. They deal with unwanted pest snails to prevent the use of snail-killing chemicals in your tank.

The snails can go into any community tank if you don’t have aggressive betta. They make a great addition by being overly active, apart from moving around and during feeding.

Snails to avoid in a betta tank

Some snail species reproduce faster, taking over your fish tank and reducing space for your bettas. This burdens the betta, causes biological filtration issues and clogs the filter intake tubes. Some of the snails to avoid include:

1. Apple snails 

These snails are great when cleaning the water as they love feeding on algae. Unfortunately, they don’t stop there and go farther and feed on dead fish, brine shrimps, fish food, eggs, and even veggies. This may leave your betta hungry and stressed in such a competitive environment.

2. Ramshorn snails

A downside with the Ramshorn snails is they reproduce quickly, overpopulating a tank. This leaves bettas competing for food and even comfort inside the tank.

Betafish living with snails


Betta fish can live with snails in the same tank but with additional requirements and adjustments. A large tank prevents fights and stresses if you have a territorial fish like betta.

Alternatively, picking a suitable snail is recommended because some are cannibals and reproduce rapidly. With a suitable tank mate, your betta can coexist with them comfortably as they clean waste and make the tank more habitable. You can also consult an aquatic veterinarian or expert to help you choose a snail species that can live with your betta peacefully.

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