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Will Crayfish Eat Snails?

Due to a number of videos of pet crayfish going viral on social media over the last year, more and more people within the fish keeping community have decided to add a crayfish to their tanks due to seeing their cute behaviours.

Now, we would never recommend that our readers make any choices on what to stock their tanks with due to a heavily edits video on social media but, each time these videos go viral, there is always a spike in the number of questions about the featured animals.

One of the more common questions that we have noticed people asking over the last couple of months is if crayfish will eat snails or not.

Now, this may sound random but it actually makes sense as one of the last animals to go viral on social media due to their unique look was the black mystery snails, blue mystery snails, and purple mystery snails.

This leads us to belive that we have a number of readers who follow various fish keepers on tiktok and Instagram and get ideas for stocking their tanks from what goes viral.

Although there is nothing wrong with that, you should always research the various species that you add to your tank prior to adding them together and if you are reading this article, then that’s exactly what you are doing so give yourself a pat on the back.

Will Crayfish Eat Snails?

Crayfish are omnivores and will commonly eat their snail tank mates even if there are other sources of food available.

The size of the crayfish and the size of the snail will come into play but for the most part, crayfish will start to eat the snails in your tank and manage their population for you.

If you have intentionally purchased some of the rarer looking snails such as the beautiful looking purple mystery snail then this can be a problem as most people who are paying over the odds for these rare color mystery snails will want to keep them for as long as possible.

If you are set on having crayfish in your tank that you keep your rare colored snails in then opting to go with a dwarf crayfish may be a better idea.

This can work well for anyone who is trying to keep as many unique colors animals in the same aquarium as possible as the dwarf crayfish are usually bred to have more unique and rarer colors than their larger cusins.

Please keep in mind though, even dwarf crayfish can still eat most commonly kept aquarium snails so simply choosing a dwarf crayfish does not totally remove the risk and keep your snails safe, it just reduces the risk of your crayfish seeing your larger snails as food.

Will Crayfish Kill Snails?

Crayfish will kill and eat snails as well as a number of the crayfish’ other tank mates too. This includes shrimp, small amphibians, and weak or sick fish due to crayfish being omnivores and preferring a diet that is made up of both plant and animal based foods.

Although crayfish are very popular on social media right now, we would actually recommend the majority of our readers getting them unless they have a separate tank to keep them in.

Thankfully, even a cheap 20 gallon aquarium is ideal for keeping crayfish in helping you set up a second tank without breaking the bank and without putting your other fish and snails at risk.

Having a separate crayfish tank is becoming increasingly popular right now but just keep in mind that most crayfish species can live as long as twenty years in captivity due to having ideal conditions.

This also includes the colorful dwarf crayfish that we see many people purchasing so please note that a crayfish is not a short term commitment and some crayfish species have a longer life expectancy than most dog breeds!

Can Mystery Snails Live With Crayfish?

We would not recommend that you keep mystery snails and crayfish in the same aquarium as even smaller crayfish may still try to eat the larger mystery snails in the tank.

Larger crayfish will definitely try to eat the smaller mystery snails and their shells will offer minimal protection against the crayfish.

As we touched on earlier in the article, one of the main reasons that we are seeing people reaching out about keeping mystery snails in an aquarium with a crayfish is due to the popularity of the less common black mystery snails, blue mystery snails, and purple mystery snails over the last couple of months.

The crayfish really doesnt care about their pretty colors or their higher than average price tags, to the crayfish, your snails are a potential food source.

We know that there are posts on social media from people saying that they have been able to keep their mystery snails in an aquarium with a crayfish without issue but this is the exception rather than the rule.

You will usually see far more people replying to the post saying that their crayfish ate their mystery snails and other snail types, often within days.

Can I Use A Crayfish To Control My Snail Population?

Aquatic snails tend to breed at a rapid pace and without something in the tank to control their population, the number of snails you have can quickly get out of hand.

Crayfish can be an excellent option for snail population control but there are definitely better options available that are much cheaper.

In our opinion, the best option for people to control the snail population in their tanks has to be the good old assassin snail.

Not only are these much cheaper than crayfish but they also don’t present a risk to the fish that you have in your tank with assassin snails also being much easier to find in local pet stores too.

If you do have mystery, apple, nerite or ramshorn snails in your tank and their populations are getting out of control, a crayfish will definitely be able to help by eating a large number of the snails but an assassin snail is probably the best option.

As we touched on earlier in this article, a crayfish can live for around twenty years in captivity so it should never be purchased just to control your snail population.


That brings our article going over if crayfish will eat snails or not to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to better explain how some people may be able to keep their snails and crayfish in the same tank but in most cases, the crayfish will eat the snails in the tank. An adult crayfish can eat a suprising number of snails too and they can quickly get through your snail population with ease.