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goldfish and two snails Ampularia a home freshwater aquarium

Do Goldfish Eat Snails? Feeding Habits & Tank Cleanup

Something that I quite recently noticed in my fish tank is that the snails seem to be disappearing, and I somewhat suspect the goldfish to be responsible. 

Quick Answer

Goldfish may eat aquarium snails. Goldfish won’t always eat aquarium snails, but depending on the fish and the snails in question, it is possible. Some types of goldfish appear to like eating various types of snails, although it does depend on various factors.

Today, I’m going to talk about everything there is to know about goldfish eating snails, why it happens, what you can do about it, and more.

Do Goldfish Eat Aquarium Snails?

The simple answer to this question is that yes, goldfish do sometimes eat aquarium snails. It isn’t overly common for a well-fed goldfish to eat aquarium snails. 

goldfish and two snails Ampularia a home freshwater aquarium

In fact, based on my own personal experience, I’d say that it is not all that common. However, there are of course cases where a goldfish may be tempted to eat a snail for whatever reason, and this depends on a variety of factors.

Why Would a Goldfish Eat Aquarium Snails?

If your goldfish is eating aquarium snails, then there are a few reasons as to why this might be occurring, some of them which are actually quite simple and common sense in nature. Let’s take a quick look.

Goldfish Size

First and foremost, it might just depend on the size of the goldfish compared to the size of the snails. The bigger your goldfish is compared to the size of the snails, the likelier it is to eat the snails. 

If the goldfish can very easily fit the snail into its mouth without any issue, chances are that it might try eating it. Snails aren’t the tastiest treat due to their shells, but they can make for a good snack in a pinch.

Snail Size

The size of the snail itself also plays a role here, and we aren’t actually talking about the difference between the size of the snail and the goldfish. Rather, the issue here is that older snails and larger snails tend to have much thicker shells. 

As mentioned above, shells aren’t very tasty or nutritious, and goldfish don’t particularly like eating them. Adult snails that have very thick shells can be a challenge for goldfish to eat, and therefore goldfish will often avoid them.

Type of Goldfish

What can also make a difference here is the type of goldfish that you have. For instance, common goldfish are usually more inclined to eat aquarium snails than various types of fancy goldfish.

Food Availability

Another thing that you need to consider here is how well fed your goldfish are. The simple fact of the matter is that like any other animal in the world, if a goldfish is hungry and looking for food, it will diversify its diet to ensure that he gets enough food to survive. 

Therefore, if you aren’t providing your goldfish with enough high-quality food, and it feels as though it is hungry or underfed, it will most likely start eating tank inhabitants that it can snack on, such as your snails.

Snail Behavior

What can also make a difference is the behavior of the snails themselves. There are some snails that are more active during the day and those that are more active during the night. 

Those snails that are active during the night will usually avoid being eaten because goldfish generally don’t swim much or eat during the night. Therefore, if your snails are hiding during the day, they stand a better chance of survival.

Tank Conditions

You also need to consider if your tank has ample hiding spaces and decorations. The easier it is for your snails to hide, the less likely it is for your goldfish to eat them.

How to Stop Goldfish from Eating Aquarium Snails

Now that we have listed all of the most common causes of your goldfish eating your aquarium snails, let’s take a closer look at some of the best solutions.

Feed Goldfish Adequately

One of the best ways to ensure that your goldfish don’t eat your aquarium snails is by providing them with enough high-quality food. You should feed your goldfish high quality goldfish flakes, pellets, freeze dried foods, and other such snacks.

Also make sure that your goldfish is getting enough protein. Upwards of 70% of the diet of a goldfish should consist of protein. If your goldfish feels as though it’s not getting enough protein, it may go for other protein sources, such as those snails.

On that note, also make sure that you feed your goldfish twice per day, and as much as it can eat in about 3 minutes. This will ensure that your goldfish is getting enough food so that they will not be tempted to go after your snails.

Choose the Right Tank Inhabitants

I’m not about to tell you to just get a specific type of goldfish so it won’t eat your snails. However, the reality is that as mentioned above, common goldfish are more likely to eat aquarium snails than other types of goldfish, just something to keep in mind.

That said, the better solution here is to choose snails that will be able to survive your goldfish. By this, we mean larger snails that have very thick shells, as they are less likely to be eaten by your goldfish.

You should also try to choose the snails that are more active during the night than during the day, as this will also help avoid them from being eaten.

Outfit the Tank Properly – Hiding Spaces

Snails don’t really do well in very bare tanks that don’t have many plants, rocks, pieces of driftwood, and other hiding spots. Snails are very slow and they stick out like sore thumbs.

If a snail is small enough for a goldfish to fit into its mouth, and it’s just sitting out in the open, chances are that it will get eaten. 

Therefore, a good solution here is to deck out your tank in such a way that there are more than enough hiding spaces for your snails to feel safe inside of.

Goldfish Feeding Basics – How, What, When & Where

To make sure that your goldfish don’t eat your aquarium snails, and to make sure that your goldfish are fed properly in the first place, let’s go over some quick tips on goldfish feeding.

The Right Goldfish Food

Making sure that your goldfish don’t eat your aquarium snails is as simple as starting with the right goldfish food. Remember, as stated above, goldfish require a whole lot of protein in their diets.

Therefore, you should aim to purchase some sort of very high-quality goldfish food that is rich in protein, as well as other substances that are necessary for the survival and health of the fish.

Generally speaking, I’d recommend going for either high quality goldfish flakes or pellets. However, you should also supplement with a variety of freeze-dried protein sources, such as blood worms, daphnia, and brine shrimp.

Feeding Frequency

Every fish is different, so exactly how much food your fish needs may vary slightly. However, the rule of thumb here is that you should feed your goldfish no more than it can eat in 3 minutes at a time, no more than twice per day.

That said, make sure not to under feed your fish. If your fish are underfed, it means they’re hungry, which means that they’ll be more inclined to go after other aquarium inhabitants such as your snails. 

Just make sure that you don’t overfeed your fish, because this can be an issue as well, Something I want to touch on in the next section.

Overfeeding Goldfish and Water Quality

The issue with overfeeding your goldfish is that your fish will end up creating a lot of waste. The more fish waste your goldfish produce, the more ammonia and nitrites will be present in the tank. Goldfish are also relatively messy eaters in general, which means that they leave a lot of uneaten food behind.

Uneaten food can also create ammonia spikes, which can be deadly to your goldfish. This means that feeding your goldfish the right types of food, the right amounts of food, and at the right times, is very crucial. If there’s too much food floating around in the tank, you’ll need to clean it up manually, or else your filter will have to work overtime.


The bottom line here is that generally speaking, if your goldfish are well fed and well cared for, they really shouldn’t eat your aquarium snails. 

If the aquarium snails are small enough and your goldfish is hungry, those snails might just become a snack. 

If you follow all of the tips and advice I’ve provided you with here today, your snails should survive just fine.

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