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Do Aquarium Snails Eat Duckweed?

Duckweed can be the bane of many people who keep a garden pond or aquarium tank with the plant in as it can grow at a rapid pace and quickly start to dominate the surface of the water preventing sunlight from penetrating the water to help the sub-surface plants grow.

This is why we see so many people reaching out and asking questions about how they are able to control the growth rate of duckweed with more and more people reaching out to ask if snails will eat duckweed or not.

Not all species of aquatic snail will eat duckweed but mystery snails or apple snails are known to eat a huge amount of duckweed in certain situations.

Just keep in mind that not all mystery snails and apple snails will eat duckweed with some preferring to just stick to algae and detritus but some others will eat duckweed as a large part of their diet.

There doesn’t seem to be any common denominator as to why some aquatic snails will eat duckweed and others will not either with it seeming to be random.

There are plenty of reports out there about how mystery snails from the same spawn or eggs have grown up to have some of the baby mystery snails grow to eat large amounts of duckweed where as others refuse to touch it so we would guess it comes down to the personal taste preferences of the snails.

Do Snails Eat Duckweed?

Not all aquatic snail species eat duckweed with species such as ramshorn snails and nerite snails usually not eating any duckweed in their ponds or tanks.

Other species such as apple snails and mystery snails will often eat at least small amounts of duckweed with some of them taking to the plant and eating huge amounts of it in a short period of time.

We have seen people who have tried to use aquatic snails to clear up the duckweed in their ponds or aquariums say that the less food available in their water for their snails to eat increases the chance of the snails eating the duckweed.

The problem with this strategy is that for many ponds and aquariums, it can actually take more time and effort to remove the other potential food sources for your snails than it will to just remove the duckweed yourself.

Older snails also seem to be more prone to eating duckweed rather than younger snails adding another variable into the mix too.

We have seen some people on social media report that their aquatic snails would only eat detritus and algae in their tank while they were young and then moved on to eating duckweed once they were adults.

If you do only have young snails still in their growth stage in your tank then this may be why your mystery snails are not eating your duckweed, they may just be too young.

What Aquatic Snails Eat The Most Duckweed?

Apple snails tend to be the best aquatic snail option for eating duckweed as they are not only more likely to actually eat the duckweed on your body of water but they are also more likely to eat large amounts of the duckweed too.

Other snail species may eat your duckweed too but apple snails do often tend to be the best option with their low price point just being an additional benefit.

You have to realize that there is also a large amount of confusion between apple snails and mystery snails within the fish keeping community with many people getting confused between the two.

The term mystery snail was originally used to sell snails that the pet store owner did not know the exact species of with it essentially being a jumble or different baby snail species.

Although the majority of mystery snails are apple snails, there are often other snail species added in to the mystery snail name with some of these other snails not eating duckweed.

This is why duckweed is not a main food source for mystery snails as the term actually describes a number of different aquatic snail species rather than a single species with its own dietary requirements.

You are able to purchase mystery snails online for cheap though to keep your budget as low as possible when looking to pick up some snails to eat the duckweed growing on your pond or in your aquarium.

Are There Better Ways To Remove Duckweed?

There are a number of ways to remove duckweed but the manual methods do tend to take a large amount of time to remove any serious quantity of duckweed from water.

This is why the majority of people will opt for a more passive method such as using aquatic snails or fish that will eat their duckweed at a rate higher than the reproduction rate of duckweed.

There are a number of different chemical treatments online that are listed as being able to quickly and easily deal with duckweed in your pond or aquarium but we would never recommend that you use these chemical product.

There is always a chance that they will be able to effect the water parameters of your tank or pond resulting in potential problems with your fish that could otherwise have been avoided in most cases.

If your snails are taking too long to eat your duckweed then consider adding fish that will eat duckweed if possible.

The trusty goldfish is an excellent, cheap, easy to source fish that is known to eat duckweed, especially when they are older and they will be able to eat higher rates of duckweed than aquatic snails such as mystery snails.


That brings our article going over if aquatic snails eat duckweed or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the advantages of trying to get snails to eat your duckweed. Although it can work, not all snails will eat duckweed and their own personal tastes and supply of other food sources will always come into play.