Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs? A Look at the Diet of Snails!

Snails can eat fish eggs. However, it’s important to note that snails are not predators of fish eggs and typically do not actively seek them as a food source. They are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will consume fish eggs if they come across them while foraging

Snails are fascinating creatures that play various roles in ecosystems, including as both predators and prey. While they are renowned for their slow pace, they contribute significantly to the balance of aquatic environments.

They have a diverse diet that includes algae, decaying plant matter, and even other small organisms. In some cases, snails have been observed consuming fish eggs, making them opportunistic feeders.

This behavior can have both positive and negative implications for the aquatic ecosystem. Understanding the relationship between snails and fish eggs is essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment for all aquatic life.

Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs? Discover the Surprising Truth!


What Do Snails Eat [Feeding Habits And Preferences]

Snails are known for their ability to consume a variety of organic matter found in aquatic environments. Here are some key points about their feeding habits and preferences:

  • They have a radula, a specialized feeding organ, which they use to scrape off and ingest food particles from hard surfaces like rocks, substrates, and plants.
  • Snails are not picky eaters and will consume a range of materials, including fish eggs if they come across them in their search for food.

Snails have a diverse diet and can consume various types of organic matter. Let’s take a closer look at what these curious creatures like to munch on:

  • Algae: Snails are well-known algae eaters, and they play a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem of aquariums and ponds. They can effectively graze on algae growth, preventing it from taking over and ensuring a healthier environment for fish and other aquatic organisms.
  • Vegetables: Snails have a fondness for leafy greens and vegetables. They relish munching on lettuce, spinach, zucchini, and cucumber. These nutritious plant-based foods provide essential nutrients for their growth and overall well-being.
  • Detritus: Snails are a valuable part of the cleanup crew in aquariums, as they help break down decaying plant matter and uneaten fish food. Consuming detritus not only keeps the tank clean but also helps maintain water quality.
  • Soft plant matter: Apart from algae, snails enjoy nibbling on soft plant matter, such as aquatic plant leaves. While they may not eat the entire plant, they can leave behind small holes or chew marks.
  • Calcium-rich sources: Snails need calcium to develop and maintain their shells. They obtain this vital mineral by consuming sources such as cuttlebone, which is available in pet stores. Calcium is crucial for their shell growth and ensures that they have a strong and protective covering.

Snails have a varied diet that consists primarily of algae, vegetables, detritus, soft plant matter, and calcium-rich sources. While snails do not typically eat fish eggs, it’s advisable to keep a close eye on them, especially if you are breeding fish in the same tank.

Snails are living happily with aquarium fish
Snails are living happily with aquarium fish

Will Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

So, the question arises: will snails eat fish eggs? Contrary to popular belief, snails generally do not eat fish eggs. Their preference for algae, detritus, and plant matter means that they usually don’t view fish eggs as a food source.

However, it’s important to note that some species of snails, such as apple snails, may occasionally consume fish eggs if they come across them. Also, if snails are underfed, they may consume fish eggs for their survival.

Therefore, it’s necessary to monitor snails closely if you have breeding fish in your aquarium.

Why Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

The diet of a snail largely depends on its species and the specific environmental conditions it inhabits. Some snail species are more likely to eat fish eggs than others, although their feeding habits can also be influenced by factors such as competition for food and the availability of alternative prey.

Reasons For Eating Fish Eggs

  • Protein-rich diet: Snails are known to be opportunistic feeders, and fish eggs offer a substantial protein source for them. As scavengers, snails have adapted to capitalize on available food sources, and fish eggs are no exception.
  • Surviva Instintcts: Snails may also consume fish eggs as a survival strategy. In aquariums, for example, snails may resort to consuming fish eggs if there is a scarcity of other food options.
  • Chemical cues: The olfactory senses of snails are highly sensitive to chemical signals. Fish eggs release a distinct scent that acts as a powerful attractant for snails. This scent helps snails locate and consume fish eggs efficiently.
  • Soft exterior: Snails possess a radula, a unique feeding apparatus that allows them to scrape and consume various types of food. Fish eggs have a delicate outer layer, making them vulnerable to being prised open by snails’ radulas, providing easy access to a nutritious meal.
  • Accidental Ingestion: Another possible reason for snails eating fish eggs is accidental ingestion. Snails often graze on various surfaces, including the substrate and aquatic plants, where fish eggs may be present. As a result, they inadvertently consume some fish eggs along with their usual food.
  • Predatory side of snails: While most snails primarily feed on plant matter, some species can exhibit predatory behavior under certain circumstances. This is particularly true for larger, carnivorous snails such as the assassin snail (Clea Helena). These snails have been known to consume small fish, shrimp, and, yes, even fish eggs.
A close shot of Aquarium Snails
A close shot of Aquarium Snails

Types Of Snails That Are Known For Eating Fish Eggs?

Fish eggs often become a tasty snack for certain types of snails. Let’s take a closer look at the snail species known for their appetite for fish eggs:

  • Trumpet snails: These small, cone-shaped snails are commonly found in freshwater aquariums. They are known to consume fish eggs, detritus, and decaying plant matter.
  • Assassin snails: As the name suggests, assassin snails are predatory snails that can be found in both freshwater and brackish water. They have a keen appetite for snail eggs, including fish eggs. Assassin snails are often introduced to aquariums to control snail populations and protect fish eggs.
  • Pond snails: Pond snails are common in outdoor ponds, as well as some aquariums. They are known to feed on various organic materials, including fish eggs. While they may not prioritize fish eggs as their main food source, pond snails will readily consume them if given the opportunity.
  • Ramshorn snails: Ramshorn snails are named after their distinctive coil-shaped shells. They can be found in freshwater environments. These snails have a diverse diet that includes detritus, algae, and decaying matter, including fish eggs.
  • Bladder snails: Bladder snails are small, air-breathing snails commonly found in freshwater habitats. They are opportunistic feeders that will consume various types of organic material, including fish eggs. While they may not be as efficient as some other snails in consuming fish eggs, their presence can still pose a risk to fish breeding efforts.

It’s important for fish breeders and enthusiasts to be aware of snail species that have a tendency to eat fish eggs. Proper management and control strategies can help prevent potential losses and ensure successful fish breeding endeavors.

Ramshorn Snail
Ramshorn Snail

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Snails’ Predation On Fish Eggs

Snails contribute to the natural balance of aquatic habitats by consuming various organic matter, including fish eggs. While their predation on fish eggs can have both positive and negative consequences, it is crucial to evaluate their overall impact on fish populations.


  • Natural population control: Snails help regulate fish populations by consuming a portion of the eggs laid. This ensures that the fish population does not grow exponentially and maintains a stable ecosystem.
  • Enhanced hatchling survival: By preying on fish eggs, snails reduce overcrowding and competition for resources. This allows for better survival rates among the remaining eggs, leading to healthier and stronger hatchlings.


  • Reduced fish reproduction: Snail predation can result in the loss of a significant number of fish eggs, potentially impacting the reproductive success of certain fish species.
  • Disruption of balance: In some cases, an excessive number of snails in a habitat may lead to overconsumption of fish eggs. This can cause a decline in particular fish populations and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.
Bladder snails attached to the aquarium plant
Bladder snails attached to the aquarium plant

What Types Of Snails Usually Don’t Eat Fish Eggs?

Fish eggs can be a delicacy for many aquatic creatures, but not all snails share the same appetite for these tiny morsels. Here, I’ll share the types of snails that typically don’t feast on fish eggs, allowing aquarium owners and aquatic enthusiasts to make more informed decisions when choosing snail species for their tanks.

  • Nerite Snails: Nerite snails, such as the zebra nerite and tiger nerite varieties, are generally considered safe companions for fish eggs. These snails primarily consume algae and biofilm, focusing their feeding efforts on plants and surfaces rather than fish eggs.
  • Mystery Snails: Mystery snails, known for their distinctive globular shells, are generally not known to eat fish eggs. They primarily feed on decaying plant matter, detritus, and algae, making them unlikely culprits in the consumption of fish eggs.
  • Apple Snails: Apple snails (ampullariidae), are generally not prone to munching on fish eggs. These snails typically feed on vegetation and detritus, making them less likely to target fish eggs. However, it’s important to note that some larger species of apple snails may exhibit omnivorous tendencies and could potentially consume fish eggs under certain conditions.
  • Japanese Trapdoor Snails: Japanese trapdoor snails are generally safe around fish eggs. Their diet rarely includes fish eggs, making them a suitable addition to aquariums with breeding fish or other egg-laying inhabitants.
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Malaysian trumpet snails, known for their elongated spiral shells, are typically not considered predators of fish eggs. These snails primarily feed on detritus and decaying organic matter at the bottom of the aquarium.

Understanding which snails are less likely to dine on fish eggs can help aquarium owners create a harmonious environment for both their fish and invertebrates.

By selecting snail species like nerite, mystery, apple, Japanese trapdoor, or Malaysian trumpet snails, aquarium enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of fish eggs without the concern of them being devoured.

Mystery Snails
Mystery Snails

What Needs To Be Done Preventing Snails From Eating Fish Eggs In Aquariums?

Snails are notorious for their appetite, and if you have a fish tank or pond with fish eggs, you may be concerned about them becoming a snack for these slimy creatures. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to protect fish eggs from snails.

Let’s explore them below:

  • Clean your tank or pond regularly: Snails thrive in dirty environments, so by maintaining good water quality and cleanliness, you can discourage their presence and prevent them from reaching the fish eggs.
  • Remove any snails you find: Conduct regular visual checks and manually remove any snails you come across. Be cautious while doing so, as snails can lay eggs on various surfaces, and unintentionally introducing these eggs into your tank can lead to an infestation.
  • Create physical barriers: Place a fine mesh or netting over the areas where fish eggs are laid. This will prevent snails from accessing the eggs and reduce the risk of them being consumed.
  • Introduce natural predators: If your tank, consider adding natural predators of snails, such as certain fish species. These predators can help control the snail population and minimize the threat to fish eggs.
  • Use snail repellents: Some commercially available snail repellents can be used in fish tanks or ponds to deter snails without harming the fish or their eggs. Be sure to choose a product that is safe for both fish and plants.
  • Quarantine new additions: Before introducing any new fish or aquatic plants to your tank or pond, quarantine them for a period of time to check for snails or their eggs. This will prevent accidental snail infestations and protect the fish eggs already present.

By following these preventive measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of snails devouring fish eggs. Remember, a proactive approach and regular maintenance are key to keeping snails at bay and ensuring the survival of the fish eggs in your aquatic environment.

What Else Can Eat Fish Eggs In Your Aquarium?

While snails are known to be voracious eaters, do they actually eat fish eggs? Let’s dive into this topic and explore what else besides snails can potentially feast on fish eggs in your aquarium.

Predatory Fish

Predatory fish are the primary culprits when it comes to devouring fish eggs. These species have evolved to prey on smaller creatures, including fish eggs. Some common predatory fish known to snack on fish eggs include:

  • Betta fish: These beautiful fish are popular in aquariums but are known to eat fish eggs. Their natural instincts drive them to hunt and consume anything small that fits in their mouths.
  • Goldfish: Goldfish may seem harmless, but they have a strong appetite for fish eggs. Their omnivorous diet makes them opportunistic eaters that won’t hesitate to devour eggs.
  • Cichlids: Cichlids are diverse species with varying diets, but many of them have a penchant for snacking on fish eggs. It’s crucial to research the particular species of cichlids in your aquarium to understand their dietary habits.
Angel fish eggs
Angel fish eggs


Apart from snails, other invertebrates can also make a meal out of fish eggs. These tiny creatures often go unnoticed but can cause significant damage to the fish eggs in your aquarium. Here are some examples:

  • Shrimp: Some shrimp species, like cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp, can be opportunistic feeders and may consume fish eggs if given the chance.
  • Crayfish: Crayfish are notorious scavengers, and while they primarily feed on decaying matter, they won’t say no to a tasty fish egg. Be aware of their presence when trying to protect your fish eggs.
  • Amano shrimp: Amano shrimp are excellent algae eaters but may not hesitate to snack on fish eggs if they come across them.

Other Fish Species

Apart from predatory fish, various other fish species might occasionally indulge in fish eggs. Some of these fish include:

  • Tetras: Certain tetra species, such as the neon tetra, may eat fish eggs if given the opportunity. While they primarily feed on small invertebrates, their omnivorous nature can lead them to devour eggs.
  • Guppies: Guppies are typically docile community fish, but they can occasionally nibble on fish eggs. This behavior is more likely to occur if they are not provided with a sufficient diet.
  • Catfish: Some catfish species, like the pleco, are not known for eating fish eggs. However, certain types of catfish may occasionally snack on eggs if they are readily available.

Understanding the potential culprits that can prey on fish eggs in your aquarium allows you to take the necessary measures to protect them.

By researching the specific species and their dietary habits, you can create an environment that minimizes the risk of your fish eggs being devoured.

So, be vigilant and ensure the survival of your fish offspring in your aquarium!

Fish eggs attached on aquarium glass
Fish eggs attached to the aquarium glass

Frequently Asked Questions For Do Snails Eat Fish Eggs

Will Snail Eat Live Fry?

Considering the slow movement of snails they’re incapable of eating healthy live fish fry which move quickly. But they will eat dead fry if they come across them.

Do Snails Eat Their Own Eggs?

Yes, some species of snails are known to eat their own eggs. This behavior is more commonly observed in certain types of land snails and aquatic snails. The reasons behind this cannibalistic behavior can vary and are not entirely understood, but several factors may contribute to it.

Do Ramshorn Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

Ramshorn snails (Planorbidae family) are opportunistic feeders in aquariums, primarily consuming decaying plant matter and algae. While not aggressive predators, they may eat fish eggs if they encounter them, potentially reducing the fish population.

Do Mystery Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

Mystery snails (Pomacea spp.) are generally not aggressive predators of fish eggs. These peaceful snails are primarily herbivores, preferring decaying plant matter, algae, and soft detritus as their main diet. While they might inadvertently consume fish eggs attached to surfaces, it is not a common or intentional behavior.


It is clear that snails can indeed eat fish eggs. Their appetite for fish eggs can impact the reproduction and population of fish in aquariums and natural ecosystems. The ability of snails to consume fish eggs is a result of their omnivorous nature and their opportunistic feeding behavior.

This information is crucial for fish keepers and aquarists who need to carefully consider the presence of snails in their tanks, especially if they have fish that reproduce through laying eggs.

If fish keepers wish to prevent snails from munching on fish eggs, various strategies can be employed, such as manually removing snails, providing alternate food sources, or using snail-repellent substances.

It is essential to strike a balance and maintain a suitable environment for all aquatic organisms to thrive. By understanding the behavior of snails and their interaction with fish eggs, fish keepers can effectively manage and maintain their aquariums for the benefit of all inhabitants.

Sujit Modak

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