10 Best Freshwater Aquarium Snails

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Freshwater snails can be an important part of your aquarium. Not only that they keep the water and the tank clean, but they are also very pleasing on the eye. Some of them are good looking and they also exhibit very interesting behavior.

Some aquarium enthusiasts are at odds whether freshwater snails are good in your tank or not. The fact is that if they are kept at a moderate number, they can be your best friend. Though, if you don’t like them, you can always get rid of snails in a human way.

Snails can enter your tank purposely or not; sometimes they can sneak into the tank with other fish that are put into the water (as they are caught in the net with the fish) or with the plants that are put into the aquarium. Either way, there is almost a certainty that at one point, you are going to deal with snails.

There are more types of freshwater snails that you can put into your aquarium. When you are choosing freshwater snails, there are more factors upon which you can choose the right type of snail for you. In this article, we will take a look at 10 best freshwater aquarium snails.

1. Nerite Snails


Nerite Snail

Nerite snails can be a beginner’s best friends – they are very good for people who are new to aquarium business because they are easy to care for. They are very effective if you have algae and fish waste that you want to get rid of.

What makes them good for starters is that they are very easy to control in terms of reproduction. You can, for example, breed your own nerite snails as much as you want, because they need a partner to reproduce, unlike some other snail species.

Another pro for the nerite snails is that they are very friendly and they will go together with any fish, shrimp or any other animals in your tank. It is interesting to observe their behavior, as they tend to move a lot, especially on the aquarium walls where the algae are.

They are also very pleasant to look at with their stripes on the shells. One thing you will need to take care of is that there is enough calcium in the tank.

So if you are a beginner or an advanced aquarium tender, nerite snails are one of the best snail species to keep in your aquarium.

2. Ramshorn Snails

Ramshorn Snails

Ramshorn Snails

The name describes these snails – their shells look like ram’s horns. There are more subspecies of Ramshorn snails – you can find black and red colored Ramshorn snails. They are very beautiful with their spiraling shells with black stripes.

Not only that, but they are also very effective at cleaning algae, carcasses, rotting leaves – anything you want to get rid of from your tank. Some people actually keep Ramshorn snails as pets.

But in this article we will look at them from the perspective of aquarium-keeping. We have already stated the pros of these snails, but what are the cons? Well, the biggest con about the Ramshorn snails is that once they get into your tank, they can spread at an uncontrollable rate.

They can reproduce without mates, so you will not be able to manipulate that. Your best bet is to prevent it from happening in the first place. You have to make sure that you prevent overfeeding your snails, which is the quickest way to a large snail population. If that fails, you will have to consider snail removal options.

3. Mystery Snails

Mystery Snail

Mystery Snail

There are more subspecies of mystery snails, which depends on the color of their shell. There are blue, golden, black and purple mystery snails. In essence, they are all the same. They will effectively clean your tank, just like other types of snails.

They are very peaceful and will go well together with other living beings in your tank, but they will hide in their shells from more aggressive species of fish. That is why you must consider the type of fish you will put beside your mystery snails; make sure they are peaceful.

They live up to a year and are very adaptable – they will do well in a moderately vegetated aquarium, but they will adapt to their circumstances. They are herbivores. As for the size of the aquarium, the mystery snails can be put in 20 liter aquariums and even larger ones, especially if you want to put more of them inside.

4. Lava Snails

Lava snails (they are also called black devil snails) are a very interesting snail species. They are one of the most popular snail types. Their appearance is quite unusual and menacing, but on the inside, lava snails are peaceful creatures.

They have a black body and a long, black shell, which is sometimes orange. It is quite a large snail, as they will grow to up to 9cm, which is why they will strive in a 40 liter aquarium.

They prefer to live in an aquarium with a substrate so they can bury themselves into it. They also tend to move around a lot, so keep your water cycled and clean.

The lava snails are very effective cleaners – they will eat everything from algae to fish food waste. You need to keep in mind that these snails will also eat live plants, so consider that when you are buying lava snails.

5. Rabbit Snails

Rabbit snails, also called the Elephant snails, are very peaceful snails. They are a very good addition to any aquarium and they will not disturb other animals in the tank. They are the most active throughout the day, and they can be active at night as well. All in all they are very active creatures.


Rabbit Snail

They prefer to live in an environment with a substrate, but they can adapt and live in other environments too. They are small but they can grow larger too; their size can range from 6-12cm, depending on the subspecies of the rabbit snails. The optimal tank size is 20-40 liter.

They look very interesting – they have a face that looks like a rabbit and can last from 1 year to 3 years. As mentioned above, they are very adaptable so they are quite easy to maintain; they can handle water pH from 7 to 8.5.

Like other snail species, they will clean your tank from algae and other things you don’t want in there. A good thing about rabbit snails is that they don’t reproduce that much, so they are definitely a good option

6. Tower Cap Snail (Brotia Herculean)

If you are looking for another easy-to-maintain snail for your tank, look no further than the tower cap snail, or the brotia herculean. They are a 10cm snail, so they are quite large, which is where the name comes from (Hercules).

This snail does not eat algae, but they will eat other dead matter and rotten things in the aquarium. Due to their size they are more suitable for relatively larger aquariums of 40 liter.

They are livebearing snails and they will reproduce quite quickly. Distinguishing males from females is virtually impossible, so it is important that you take preventive measures in order to prevent the brotia herculean to overpopulate your tank freshwater, which would lead to more problems.

Prevent overfeeding and take more drastic measures if they spread too much. But the nature of the brotia herculean and the fact that they are easy to maintain makes them a popular choice if you are looking for snails for your freshwater tank.

7. Horned Armor Snail (Brotia Pagodula)

These snails have a very interesting appearance: they have spiky shells in a yellowish color, which is why they are popular if you want to make your aquarium more vibrant. They grow at least 2.5 cm in size, so they are not as big as the brotia herculean.

They can be kept in a 20 liter tank. What makes this species interesting is the fact that the brotia pagodula is a very rare breed. They originate from Thailand, but you do not often come across them.

Like many other snail species, they are very peaceful and would go well together with other animals, and they are very effective cleaners. Besides algae and other waste, they will eat pellets and dry foods and even cooked vegetables. All in all, the brotia pagodula are an interesting breed that you should consider for your aquarium.

8. Malaysian Trumpet Snails


Malaysian Trumpet Snail

Besides the nerite snails, this species is one of the most common snail types that you will come across. You may also get some for free when you buy your aquarium.

What is good about them is that they are common, very effective at cleaning the tank and easy to care for. It is a snail that is considered very good for beginners. As they are quite small, they can live in smaller tanks. It lives for about a year.

What is a problem with these snails is that many people consider them to be pests, because they spread very quickly and they can become a nuisance.

So once again with these species, make sure that you don’t feed them too much food or you will end up with a family (a large one) of Malaysian trumpet snails. That is why nerite snails are often preferred to Malaysian trumpet snails.

9. Assassin Snails

Assassin Snails

Assassin Snails

This next type of snails on this list is an interesting one. But you may need to put them in your tank at some point. Assassin snails hunt down and consume other snails in the aquarium.

They are good for helping you to get rid of the unwanted snails in your tank. They will not eat algae, fish waste or fish themselves, so they are only beneficial if you want to get rid of snails.

They are actually very beautiful; you want to have some assassin snails in your tank to keep the snail population in check.

10. Japanese Trapdoor Snails

The Japanese trapdoor snails are one of the most interesting types of snails. Their appearance is unique – they have round shells of orange or yellow color and a small body with two “antennas” on their heads.

Japanese Trapdoor Snail

Japanese Trapdoor Snail

They are very easy to care for and are very adaptable. They can live in waters with neutral pH, but they can adapt. They are relatively small and that is why they are perfect for small aquariums. They grow to about 2 cm and they live for a year, but some also live for 5 years. Be careful, because they might get caught in your filters.

They roam around the aquarium a lot and will actively look for waste and algae. Sometimes they may eat live plants, but that does not happen very often. A good thing about Japanese trapdoor snails is that they do not reproduce as much as some other snails. They would be a good addition to small freshwater tanks.

How to Care for Freshwater Snails?

Once you buy snails for your tank, it is important that you maintain your tank so that it is suitable for the snails and also for other animals in it.

The first thing you will need to care about is the water quality. Make sure that it has enough minerals to keep the snails healthy. Also, try to keep the water pH close to neutral.

Choose good companions that are peaceful and will go along with the snails and make sure that you put the right substrate into your tank. Make sure that you do not put too many fish that will prey on the snails into the tank, or you will be left without snails.


Snails can be very useful creatures for your tank if you can keep them at moderate numbers. They do not only clean the tank and the water, but they are also quite pleasant to look at.

When choosing the right snails for your tank, you have to consider multiple factors, such as tank size, snail size, snail character, what type of animals you have in your tank, etc.

In the end, snails can play a big part in keeping the water clean.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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