It is certainly no secret that Betta fish like to live alone. A solitary Betta fish is not an uncommon sight. In fact, most male Betta fish do well in a tank alone because they are not schooling fish and show no desire to behave as such. Unfortunately, when you put more than one Betta fish together, they are known to fight. And this can happen consistently for their time together. They like to swim alone and also require sufficient hiding space, but this does not mean that you can’t get your Betta tank mate. A lot of people ask me if they can pair snails with Betta fish and this is a hard question to answer, but there is an answer nonetheless.
Will Betta fish eat snails? Yes, Betta fish will eat snails if they have the opportunity to. However, not all Betta fish eat snails. It depends on the temperament of the individual fish and of course, on the size of the snail. If you pair Betta fish with snails, you need to make sure that the snails are too big for the Betta fish to eat.
By reading that, you are probably thinking that Betta fish are quite temperamental – they certainly sound like poor tank mates to co-habit with! The truth however, is that they are quite peaceful fish, if paired with the right tank mates. Something I have learned along the way is that you should never put two or more male Betta fish together, as they will very often fight to the death – leaving one victor to enjoy the tank alone.
If you want to keep your Betta fish with additional interesting tank creatures, it can be done successfully, but there are a few things you are going to need to know. Find out what to do and what not to do when pairing Betta fish with snails below.
Do All Betta Fish Eat Snails?
Evidence suggests that some Betta fish will live in peace with snails, but because they are carnivores, a lot of them eat snails or at least learn to during their lifespan. There are many Betta fish that can be quite vicious and find snails a delectable treat. It is probably best to assume that Betta fish will eat almost anything in their shared aquarium, if they have the opportunity (if they are small enough). It is nothing personal – it is just their nature. Of course, you might want to include snails in your tank because of their great algae-cleaning ability, so why shouldn’t you? You can include snails in your tank; you just have to make wise snail selections to ensure a safe and happy environment for all tank inhabitants.
How to Pair Betta Fish with Snails | Pairing Snails and Betta Fish
When pairing your Betta fish with snails, take the time to put a bit of thought into it. As a rule of thumb, Betta fish should not be paired with other aquarium creatures that are small enough for it to eat. When choosing snails for your tank, choose larger snails and avoid the small and delicate snails all together.
Even choosing a bigger snail does not guarantee that your Betta fish will not try its luck, but in most instances, they live peacefully with larger snails. It may be too much effort to attack and try to eat a larger snail. You might see the Betta fish prodding the snail and checking it out, but in some cases, that is as far as it goes.
Another way to deter your Betta from snacking on its snail tank mates is to ensure that it gets a balanced diet and that feeding is regular. If it gets hungry, it is going to look for food and snails make for an enticing meal. Live food, as well as fish pellets, is a good combination for a Betta fish.
Which Snails Do Betta Fish Get Along With?
When choosing snails to share the tank with your Betta fish, it is a good idea to choose varieties that are hardy and have the same PH and temperature requirements of the Betta fish. This just makes it easier to keep them alive and also enhances their chance of survival with a Betta fish. Of course, you do not want your snail inhabitants to feel stressed, so your first task is to find snails that Betta fish usually co-habit well with.
The following are good options for your home aquarium:
- Mystery Snails.
These snails are easy-going and require minimal care. Mystery Snails usually eat excess food that ends up at the bottom of the tank and that is great because Betta fish will not eat food that has fallen into the substrate. These snails usually live for around a year, grow to 2 inches in size, and enjoy a water PH of between 7 and 7.5. Their size ensures that a Betta fish will not easily be tempted to attack them.
- Turret Snails.
Many experienced fish keepers choose Turret Snails to pair with Betta fish, because they typically grow to around 5 inches in size. This is too big for a Betta fish to eat. They also enjoy the same water temperature as Betta fish and the same PH, which is between 7 and 7.5.
- Assassin Snails.
It is best to be careful with this one, because sometimes Betta fish can see Assassin Snails as a threat and that can cause discontent in your tank. The last thing you want is war between your Betta fish and your snails. Assassin Snails also tend to attack other snails, thus their name, so do not pair them with smaller snails. These snails usually live as long as 2 years and can reach around 3 inches in size. They will enjoy the same PH as Betta fish because they typically do well in PH levels of 7 to 8.
How to Minimize the Risk of Betta Fish Eating Snails
If you have heard of Betta fish being less than welcoming hosts to snails, you might be worried about adding new snails to the tank. This is normal, and you should be concerned to some degree. There are a few things that you need to do to ensure that the Betta fish has less of an interest in the snail.
In summary, here are a few tips for minimizing the risk of a problem between Betta fish and snails in your home aquarium:
- Buy larger snails only – the bigger the better. We have covered this tip, but it is worth highlighting how important this is. The nature of a Betta fish is that of a carnivore, so if it can eat it, it will. The larger the snail breed, the better chance it has of living peacefully with Betta fish. This is unfortunately no guarantee though.
- Buy hardy snails that are most likely to survive an attack. If a snail is known to be delicate and easy to stress, you should probably avoid pairing it with a Betta fish. You should also avoid including baby snails in your tank. Make sure that the snails are grown enough to be too big to eat. When buying snails, ask your supplier about the relationship of the species of snail with Betta fish in general. This will help you to make informed decisions.
- Get the snails before you get the Betta fish and let them make themselves at home first. Timing is everything when it comes to pairing snails and Betta fish. Who comes first makes a big difference because Betta fish can be quite territorial. This means that they can get quite aggressive towards newbies to the community. Once the Betta fish has been living in the aquarium for a long period of time, it really does consider it its own domain. If you are setting up a tank for the first time, you are in a good position to try to minimize the risk by introducing the snails to the tank first.
After the snails have had enough time to settle into their new home, you can introduce the Betta fish to the neighborhood. Things should go a little smoother, as the Betta fish will feel a little less entitled to the space. This does not mean that it will not hassle the snails in the tank though – there is really no telling how an individual Betta fish is going to behave until you see it for yourself.
When asked if Betta fish will eat snails, I am often hesitant to answer and I am sure that you can see why. The relationship between Betta fish and snails is not a precise science. While Betta fish do like to eat snails, not all of them do. You really need to consider what the situation is between the Betta fish and the snail. If it is a small and delicate snail, or a baby snail, you should be wary. Your Betta fish may try to find an opportunity to eat it.