Water Snails Eat

The Essential Guide to What Water Snails Eat: Diet and Nutrition Tips

Do you love watching water snails cruise around your freshwater aquarium? Their gliding movements and swirly shells make them fun additions. But do you know what foods they need to stay healthy? This article will explain water snails’ diets and give tips on feeding them right.

Getting to Know Water Snails

Over 2,000 types of water snails exist around the world [1]. Most have spiral shells that coil clockwise as they move along on a muscular “foot”. Using tiny teeth, they rasp algae and debris from surfaces.

Water snails play key roles in ponds and aquariums. They eat decaying plant matter and algae, helping keep the water clean. But what do these helpful snails like to eat? Their diets depend on three main groups.

The Three Types of Water Snails

Water snails eat different things based on their group:

1. Herbivore Snails

Herbivores mainly eat plants and algae. Some examples are:

  • Ramshorn snails
  • Japanese trapdoor snails
  • Nerite snails
  • Apple snails

These snails munch on aquarium plants, green algae, and aufwuchs (algae coating surfaces). About 80-90% of their diet is vegetation [2].

Water Snails Eat

2. Omnivore Snails

Omnivores eat both plant and animal matter. Some omnivore types are:

  • Bladder snails
  • Pond snails
  • Trumpet snails
  • Mud snails

In addition to plants and algae, they eat dead leaves, insects, worms, or fish food. They aren’t picky! [3]

Water Snails Eat

3. Carnivore Snails

Carnivores hunt live prey. Common ones include:

  • Assassin snails
  • Brotia snails
  • Marisa snails

Using a siphon, they suck in and immobilize tiny creatures like brine shrimp or larvae before eating them [4].

Water Snails Eat

Now let’s explore what foods to feed each group!

Best Foods for Water Snails

Water snails need a balanced diet. Here are top choices:

Fresh Veggies

For herbivores and omnivores, offer:

  • Lettuce – Romaine, green leaf, red leaf [5]
  • Kale – Packed with calcium and vitamins [6]
  • Carrots – Full of beta carotene [7]
  • Cucumbers – Provide fiber [8]

Rinse, blanch, and chop into bite-sizes.

Water Snails Eat


As treats, try:

  • Melons – Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe [9]
  • Grapes – Pick seedless varieties [10]
  • Pears – Hydrating and soft [11]
  • Apples – Avoid seeds [12]

Rinse, core, seed, and slice fruits into pieces.

what snails eat

Aquarium Plants

If housing snails in a planted tank, offer:

  • Anacharis – Easy to eat oxygenator [13]
  • Hornwort – Soft leaves and stems [14]
  • Java Moss – Provides filtration too [15]
  • Water Lettuce – Nutritious floating roots [16]

Commercial Snail Foods

Supplement with:

  • Snail Jellies – Fortified with vitamins [17]
  • Algae Wafers – Packed with marine greens [18]
  • Sinking Pellets – Slowly release nutrients [19]
  • Cuttlebone – Provides calcium [20]

Follow package instructions. Use along with fresh foods.

[Photo of Hikari algae wafers]

Feeding Tips for Water Snails

Follow these tips to keep water snails well-fed:

  • Give amount snails eat in 24 hours. Remove uneaten food.
  • Herbivores may need daily meals. Others can eat every other day.
  • Use feeding dishes or scatter in tank.
  • Increase water changes with heavier feeding.

Watch for full shells and active eating. Adjust as needed.

[Photo of snails eating blanched kale from a veggie clip]

Avoid These Foods

Don’t feed water snails:

  • Salty foods
  • Sugary foods
  • Starchy foods like bread or pasta
  • Processed foods
  • Foods with pesticides
  • Dairy and acidic foods

Thoroughly rinse produce before feeding.

what snails eat

Keep Your Water Snails Happy!

Now you know how to give your water snails a nutritious diet! Offer veggies, plants, and commercial foods based on their needs. This will help them thrive in your freshwater habitat.

What are your favorite water snail foods? Ask questions below!

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