Do Corydoras Eat Snails?

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Aquarium snails can be quite a pest for both novice and experienced aquarists. The whole situation may sound bizarre, though, especially if you’re not familiar with how snails work.

How can they get into a closed tank, and wouldn’t you be able to see and remove them in time? The answer might surprise you.

Most snails that infest tanks come from outside as hitchhikers, usually latching onto plants and live rocks.

This is why you always need to clean and sterilize anything that goes into your tank. Sometimes it isn’t even the snails but their eggs that get carried over to your aquarium

Identifying and removing them before taking over the tank can present quite a challenge.

It’s not exactly easy to observe the tiny yellow eggs that can turn into dozens of tiny snails hiding within the layout.

This is where we should discuss the Corydoras.

Will Corydoras Eat Aquarium Snails?

Yes, but not quite. Allow me to detail. Corydoras catfish are omnivorous bottom lurkers, so they’re prone to run into the snails constantly. The problem is that this fish only grows up to 4 inches and it isn’t really equipped to deal with adult snails.

All snail species have hard shells that make them technically impervious to Corydoras attacks.

That being said, the catfish can eat smaller snails. The fish can consume snails as large as 3 mm (0.1 inches), but anything above that is a no-go.

Despite their inability to consume adult snails, Corydoras are actually quite good at controlling the snail population.

These scavenging fish will consume anything that moves around the substrate, including the tiny snails trying to make a living for themselves.

So, the fish won’t clean the tank of snails completely, but it will prevent the snail population from moving forward.

This gives you sufficient time to look for alternative snail eradication methods if that’s your goal.

Do Corydoras Eat Snail Eggs?

Yes, but the answer isn’t as easy here, either. Corydoras will eat some snail eggs, not all, and they won’t actively look for them. These scavenging fish will patrol the substrate regularly on the lookout for food opportunities.

If they happen to stumble across a snail egg deposit, fine, if not, they won’t look for them actively.

Also, not all snail eggs are a good fit for your Corydoras. The eggs of Nerite and Mystery snails are bigger and harder than your catfish would like.

This allows these 2 species to breed safely in a Corydoras tank, given that the adult fish cannot consume their eggs. This isn’t a rule, though.

Some people have reported their Corydoras as eating some smaller Nerite eggs, which is possible. Especially if the fish is slightly larger than the average catfish.

As a closing note, your Corydoras are less inclined in eating snails and their eggs if they’re well-fed. The situation is different for starving Corydoras that have to rely more on their environment for proper sustenance.

I only recommend this route if you’re experiencing a snail infestation and there are a lot of eggs and tiny snails populating the environment.

Your adult Corydoras will eat the smaller snails thanks to their softer shells, along with any eggs fit for consumption.

Will Corydoras Eat Bladder Snails?

Yes, but only if they’re below 0.1 inches. Otherwise, the catfish won’t be able to pierce through the adult snail’s shell.

Corydoras don’t even view adult snails as prey but rather as tank companions. This makes them great for snail-oriented tanks, given that the 2 species don’t compete over food and won’t showcase aggression towards one another.

Will Corydoras Eat Dead Snails?

Yes, Corydoras eat dead snails, but it all depends on the context. If the snail has just died, the catfish won’t be able to eat it. The snail is still fresh and tucked inside its shell, so it doesn’t make for an accessible meal.

However, if the snail is long deceased, its body may have fallen out, giving the catfish free access to its meat.

Being in the water for longer periods also allows the meat to become more tender, so the catfish can consume it more easily.

After all, Corydoras are incapable of taking genuine bites, given that their mouths are suction-based.

That being said, I advise against relying on Corydoras to consume the dead snails. You should remove the dead animals immediately from the tank because the Corydoras catfish isn’t exactly the ideal scavenger.

The fish will either ignore the dead snails or only eat them partially, with the rest of the meat decaying and poisoning the water.

This will increase the ammonia levels, and your fish are particularly sensitive to that chemical. So, you shouldn’t play Russian roulette with your Corydoras’s lives.

Should You Feed Snails to Corydoras?

There’s nothing preventing you from feeding snails to your Corydoras. These fish are omnivorous, so they can use some animal protein occasionally to keep them well-nourished.

Snails will do just fine, except you need to prepare them beforehand. As we’ve already discussed, these small catfish cannot eat adult snails.

So, if you want to feed them snails, you need to crush and kill them for ease of consumption. The catfish will immediately suck the meat from the crushed shell.

This is a great option in case of a snail infestation and you simply don’t want the snails to go to waste by throwing them away.

The downside is that you need to get your hands dirty. Not everybody can handle the violence necessary to prepare the snails for their Corydoras.

What Snails Can Live with Corydoras?

In theory, any snail provided it’s large enough. Fortunately, the acceptable limit is beyond 0.1 inches, and adult snails are all considerably larger than that.

Corydoras are peaceful and friendly fish and won’t attack adult snails. They only occasionally eat tiny specimens, some snail eggs, and dead snails in specific situations.

Other than that, Corydoras are safe companions for your snails.

What Fish Will Eat Snails?

If you have a snail problem you need solving, Corydoras won’t fix it. You need to rely on other snail-eater species for that. Some of them include clownfish, yoyo loach, dwarf chain loach, Bala shark, and even the tiny pea puffers.

The pea puffers are small, only growing up to 1 inch, but they’re extremely aggressive and love to breach through the snails’ shells to devour them.

For an even more interesting option, you can always go for several assassin snails instead. These notorious snail killers will eradicate all other snail species in your tank fast.

Conclusion

Corydoras are typically ranked as snail eaters, but you shouldn’t fall for the hype. These are far from the ideal snail hunters that they’re being advertised as.

These small fish don’t have the temperament, capabilities, or willingness to hunt adult snails. You shouldn’t rely on Corydoras as your main snail deterrent.

avatar 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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