As you may already know, snails are one of the best bottom feeders to consider for cleaning turtle tanks. But can you put snails in a turtle tank? Can the two creatures cohabit peacefully without one harming the other?
Can you put snails in your turtle tank? You can put snails in your turtle tank as they’re excellent tank cleaners that feed on algae and organic material, helping ensure your pet turtles live in a clean and healthy environment. However, you should keep in mind that these snails will end up as turtles’ food at some point.
Below, we have put together a comprehensive guide about putting snails in a turtle tank and some of the best snails to introduce in your turtle tank. You’ll also learn why snails are appearing in your turtle tank, and how to get rid of them and prevent them from getting to your turtle habitat.
Can you put snails in turtle tank?
Snails are good for turtle tank as they help promote easy tank maintenance. These small creatures are great bottom feeders and can do a great job at cleaning your turtle tank. They tirelessly look for organic debris and garbage that accumulate in your tank over time due to turtle droppings and uneaten bits of food.
Even better, turtles will eat small bits of algae in your turtle tank. Algae is unwanted in aquariums, and although snails won’t eat big quantities of it, they’ll help reduce its quantity in the aquarium. This further helps keep the tank clean and reduces the strain and wear of your aquarium filtration system.
Another reason to consider putting snails in our turtle tank is that they’re easy to maintain. They require pretty little care and will not cause any havoc to your turtles. In fact, they’ll be watching their backs not to be eaten by your turtles (more about turtles eating snails coming up later).
Since snails have a relatively slower reproduction rate, you won’t have to worry about their numbers in the tank multiplying and their population getting out of control.
Overall, turtles and snails will coexist in the turtle tank. But you have to keep in mind that they (snails) will eventually get eaten by the turtles. This is especially true if you have baby turtles whose carnivorous urgings are way higher than those of aging turtles.
You can increase the survival chances of the snails you put in your turtle tank by decking your turtle tank with submerged rocks and crevices. These will help provide suitable hiding places for the snails away from their enemy (the turtle).
What are the best snails for turtle tank?
There are many varieties of snails and we advise you to take your time to research which ones are safe for use in your turtle tank.
The mystery snails and apple snails are popular choices as they’re easy to care for and do a good job at cleaning your turtle tank. They eat leftover turtle food as well as bits of algae to help maintain a clean tank.
Below are the best snails to consider for your turtle tank:
As we’ve just said above, mystery snails are one of the top choices for turtle owners. They’re freshwater species which makes them just the perfect choice for a freshwater aquarium.
They’re excellent cleaners and will eat dead plants, leftover turtle food, and algae. For this reason, they are used for waste management as well as algae control, even in large aquariums.
Apple snails are also popular with aquarium hobbyists for their excellent scavenging habits. They’ll make a dedicated turtle tank cleanup screw as they feed on algae, turtle leftovers, and other detritus, keeping your tank clean.
Their large size makes them the perfect tank cleaners for removing large amounts of algae and rotten debris. Note that apple snails tend to feed on plants and are best suited for tanks with minimal live plants.
The Ramshorn snails have a horn-shaped shell which makes them easily distinguishable from other snail species. They feature a distinctive bright orange color which makes them ideal for adding color/decoration to your turtle tank.
Black devil snail
Black devil snails, also known as Faunus ater or lava snails, are dark and large freshwater species. They can live in freshwater as well as brackish waters. They’re extremely hardy snails and are effective algae cleaners.
These snails are also the fastest of the aquarium snails and will quickly travel from one tank end to the other.
Rabbit snails are also known as elephant snails and are quite peaceful creatures. They show no sign of aggression and seem to be quite curious about their surroundings.
They’re also good cleaners and will spend most of their day eating organic matter in the substrates and cleaning algae off the tank decorations and glass.
These snails have an extended head which makes them slower than other freshwater snails. But their slowness is an advantage in that it makes them thorough tank cleaners.
Malaysian Trumpet snail
The Malaysian trumpet snails are small burrowing snails that are another great addition to your aquarium. They eat any leftover turtle food while at the same time helping keep all the tank surfaces free of algae.
They also help prevent the buildup of toxic gases in the substrate of your turtle tank. Most turtle owners like these snails because they’re easy to maintain and require pretty little upkeep.
Will my turtle eat snails?
Sorry to disappoint you, but we can’t guarantee that your turtle will keep its mouth off your beloved snail(s). Turtles are omnivores and like eating live food. And snails make some of their favorite animal proteins in the wild, so they will definitely eat them when you put them in their tank.
If you have raised your turtle predominantly with animal protein, then it will definitely prey on the snails you put in its tank!
The chances of the snails begin eaten are even higher if they’re smaller. So, if you put a snail that’s around an inch or smaller, it will be an easy meal for your turtle.
If you don’t want your turtle to eat your snails, make sure you feed them every day. This will ensure they don’t get hungry and turn to the snails to fill their bellies. A single turtle can eat 3-5 small snails in a day, so make sure it’s well fed or your snails will disappear within no time!
Will baby turtles eat snails?
Yes, baby turtles will gladly feed on the snails. As you may already know, young turtle’s diet is more carnivorous and take in plenty of animal protein which is needed by their bodies for proper growth. This is unlike their adult counterparts who are more inclined to a vegetarian diet.
That said, these young turtles will most likely limit their snail preferences to the smaller to moderately sized types of snails which are easier for them to hunt and eat. They’ll keep off bigger snails such as the agate snail as it may prove more challenging to hunt.
If you have baby turtles that are pretty young and yet to undergo any significant development, they may find it challenging to chew the turtle’s shell. As such, they will most likely gobble the edible part of the small snails and leave out the shell.
Is it safe for turtles to eat snails?
It depends on where you source your snails from. Snails are well-known carriers of parasites and pathogens and introducing them to your tank may contaminate the tank water and expose their tank mates to these parasites.
If you get your snails from the wild, they could be carrying lung fluke as well as other parasites which could expose your turtles to various health risks. Besides the turtles, these parasites may also affect the health of people who reside in your home.
However, you can avoid this by acquiring your snails from reputable pet stores which are healthy and less likely to harm your turtles. Avoid using any snails that you have captured from your garden or in the wild.
Why are there tiny snails in my turtle tank?
If tiny snails suddenly appear in your turtle tank and you can’t remember putting them there, you may become curious as to where they came from and whether they’ll harm your turtles.
The most likely explanation for the outburst of these tiny creatures is live plants or decor you recently added to your tank. Snails and/or their eggs can easily hitchhike on the décor and live plant types and find their way into your turtle tank.
Overfeeding your turtles will then cause an outbreak of these tiny creatures. This is because the uneaten turtle food will provide the snails with what they need to reproduce in hundreds and hundreds of numbers
An effective way to prevent these snails from finding their way into your tank is to put new plants in a spate quarantine tank and then observe them for a few weeks. Pick any snail that shows up and crush it. This will also help you get rid of any other hitchhikers in the plant.
Snails are a good addition to turtle tanks because they feed on leftover turtle food and algae. This makes them excellent tank cleaners that help keep your turtle environment clean.
Yes, you can keep large snails with turtles. In fact, we advise keeping large snails in your aquarium as they’re less likely to be eaten by turtles compared to small snails, increasing their survival chances.
Most turtles have strong jaws that can eat snail shells for smaller snails. However, large snails have tougher shells that can be a challenge to break for your turtles. Baby turtles may also struggle to eat the snail shells, so they usually gobble the edible part of the snail and let out the shells.
Now that you have read through this guide, you already know that putting snails in a turtle tank is a good idea. These small creatures are effective algae eaters. They also like feeding on uneaten turtle foods. This makes them excellent cleaners for your turtle tank and will help maintain a clean tank and a healthy environment for your turtles.
Some suitable types of snails to consider for your turtle tank include mysterious snails, Malaysian trumpet snails, apple snails, rabbit snails, and black devil snails. Remember that your turtles can eat these snails anytime. Introducing hiding places in the tank, keeping your turtles well-fed at all times, and using larger snail species will minimize the chances of the snails being eaten.