With more and more people adding snails to their aquariums as a quick and easy way to clean up detritus and keep algae growth to a minimum, we are seeing more and more questions from people relating to keeping their fish and snails in the same tank.
We have seen a few people asking if snails will eat fish eggs over the last few months so wanted to make this the main topic of today’s article.
Our hope is that we will be able to help any of our readers who are using aquatic snails in their tanks as a way to control detritus and algae build-up while also keeping fish in the tanks too.
We would imagine that the majority of our readers who are actively trying to breed fish have their own breeding tank setup that is free from snails anyway so the majority of people who have snails being able to eat their fish eggs will be not actively trying to breed their fish.
Another thing that we want to point out is that different types of snails will eat different things but the information below is correct for nerite snails, mystery snails, ramshorn snails, and assassin snails.
These are the more popular freshwater snails and usually the ones that we see our readers asking about when it comes to fish eggs.
Will Snails Eat Fish Eggs?
Most aquatic snails will eat fish eggs that they find while crawling around your tank. Although snails are small, they are able to eat a surprisingly large amount of food relative to their size meaning that they are able to eat a huge number of fish eggs with ease.
With most people keeping multiple snails in their tanks, this can be a great way to prevent the build up of unwanted additional fish in your aquarium.
Keep in mind that although the snails in your tank will eat fish eggs, the other fish in the tank will also eat fish eggs and for some fish species, the parents will eat their own eggs too.
This is why we would highly recommend that any of our readers who are actively trying to breed their fish get themselves a breeding tank.
They tend to be cheap with plenty of available sizes to make sure that you are able to find something to meet the needs of the fish species that you keep too.
Why Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs?
Most types of snail are opportunistic omnivores and they will see all potential food sources as an opportunity to feed.
Depending on the types of snails you have in your tank, they may not be able to survive on just algae and detritus so snail eggs offer a great way to top up their protein intake.
This means that some types of snails will actively hunt for fish eggs in your tank if they have a diet that is not nutritionally complete and does not provide them with enough protein.
This is why it can sometimes seem as though your snails are actively hunting for the fish eggs in your tank as the snails actually are looking specifically for them.
Due to the protective shells on the snails, even fish species that try to actively protect their eggs will not be able to protect them from some types of snails as the snail hides in their shell while eating the eggs.
This is why we always try to stress the importance of a breeding tank as the odds really are stacked against you if you have snails in the same tank as your fish eggs.
Should You Let Your Snails Eat Your Fish Eggs?
Some people will let the snails in their tank eat the eggs that their fish produce as a way to control the fish population in their tanks to prevent overstocking.
Keep in mind that most female fish that are not livebearers will release their eggs even if there is no male present so just because you see eggs in your tank, does not mean that they are fertilized.
This is a common mistake that we have noticed many beginner fish keepers make time and time again.
They get upset about the snails, shrimp, and fish in their tank eating any fish eggs that they see but just because there are eggs in the tank, does not mean that they have been fertilized.
If you are able to see a tiny circle in the middle of the egg that will range from light grey all the way to black then this is usually an indication that the egg is fertilized.
The tiny spec that you can see is the embryo of the baby fish fry growing but many eggs in hobbyist tanks are not fertilized due to the conditions not being correct for suitable breeding.
That brings our article going over if snails will eat fish eggs to a close. We have pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of having snails in the same tank as fish, especially if you are attempting to breed your fish. The majority of aquatic snails will eat fish eggs with some specifically trying to hunt them out if they are on a nutritionally deficient diet so there is a high chance of the majority of your fish eggs being eaten if you let your fish spawn in your main tanks.