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Do Snails Eat Fish Poop?

As the number of new people in the fish keeping hobby continues to increase at a rapid pace, we constantly see people reaching out to ask questions about how they are able to deal with the poop that their fish generate.

Now, you may think that this will be an easy take and many people think that they are simply able to add shrimp or snails to eat the poop from their fish with this commonly being suggested on social media constantly.

This is why we see so many people reaching out and asking if snails eat fish poop or not every single month due to there being so much misinformation on social media about the various types of aquatic snail kept in aquariums eating fish poop.

With so many people reaching out and asking for advice on if they are able to purchase some snails to eat the fish poop in their tanks, we decided to publish our own article going over the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better understand the situation and potentially avoid wasting money on a potential tank addition that simply doesn’t do as they expect.

So many people add snails to their aquariums expecting them to be some magic cure for fish poop, algae, and detritus but this is not the case and often results in people being upset with the results that they get.

Do Snails Eat Fish Poop?

Snails do not eat fish poop in your aquarium and will usually focus on eating algae, detritus, and discarded fish food.

There are no known species of snail that will eat fish poop for any portion of their diet so there is no point in purchasing snails for your aquarium just to have them eat fish poop as it’s just not going to happen.

As we covered in our article on what mystery snails eat, many people do initially think that snails will eat fish poop and rush out to purchase some only to realise that their snails will only eat algae, detritus, and discarded food.

This means that the aquarium owner still has to manually remove the fish poop from their aquarium using a gravel vacuum during their weekly tank maintenance.

On top of this, if you only added your snails to your aquarium to eat fish poop, the amount of poop that you have to remove from your tank with your gravel vacuum will actually increase due to snails pooping lots.

With snails eating so much algae and detritus in a tank, they will often poop just as much, if not more than the fish population in your tank and can sometimes double the amount of poop in your tank that you will have to remove yourself.

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But I Saw A Snail Eat Fish Poop!

Many people think that they see their snails or shrimp eat fish poop but this is not the case.

A snail or shrimp may accidentally bite fish poop when scavenging for food in the tank but if you watch closely, they will quickly spit it out once they work out that it is poop, not food and then continue to go about their business looking for their next meal.

This is one of the things that results in so many people new to fish keeping saying that their snails eat fish poop in their tanks.

They are not actually lying and we would guess that the majority of them honestly do believe that their snail ate fish poop but it is just a part of the process of snails scavenging for food and doing their best to find reliable sources of food as they take bites from all sorts of things that they are able to find in your aquarium.

There are multiple videos on YouTube of mystery snails and nerite snails going through this process where they will take a bite of some fish poop and then spit it back out too.

Depending on your own lighting in your tanks, it can be difficult to actually see that your snail spits the poop out rather than eats it though.


That brings our article going over if snails eat fish poop or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible who are having problems with the build-up of fish poop in their aquariums and were considering purchasing some snails as a fish poop clean up crew. Although aquatic snails are excellent are eating algae, detritus, and discarded fish food, they don’t actually eat fish poop and can actually drastically increase the amount of poop in your aquariums due to pooping often themselves.