Can Snails Kill a Betta Fish?-Let Find Out!

When we talk about freshwater aquariums, we focus on the fish that we want to keep in them. We have discussed the best beginner fish, given you an abundance of information on certain species, and discussed what fish make good tank mates. But, Can you put betta fish and snails in the same tank?.

As far as physically killing them; no, a snail can not kill a betta fish. Snails eat algae, food that is lying on the bottom of the tank, dead plant matter, and other things in the tank to help keep it clean. Your Betta fish and a snail can be housed together safely. There are other aquatic creatures to contemplate having in your freshwater aquarium. Snails, frogs, shrimp, just to name a few. You can easily keep a snail or 2 in your tank.

Snails are docile and most fish, including the betta, will not normally know they are there. Snails help maintain the cleanliness of the tank as well. Can you put betta fish and snails in the same tank?

If you have a fish that is on the verge of dying, the snail will nibble on it but they DO NOT kill fish.

So, if a Betta fish and a snail can be in the same freshwater aquarium, is there one type or species of snail that is better than another? Today we will cover most things snail and refresh on some things betta. We will cover snails that are good for betta tanks and snails that are not. So, let’s get started.

Overview of Betta Fish Behavior

I am going to make this quick, as I have done numerous other articles on the Betta fish and covered all the important information about the species. 

Betta fish prefer and are better when they are the only ones in the tank. Especially the male Betta. Two Betta fish together is bad news and is highly suggested against.

There are a few fish that can be housed with a Betta fish, but I would personally err on the side of caution. Male Betta fish are overly territorial and can never be put with another male.

Females are better if you want other fish or another female Betta in the tank. But I would watch them closely, even though they are not as aggressive as the male Betta.

If you do choose to have a tank mate for your Betta fish; catfish, loaches, corydoras, and plecos are your best options.

Aquarium Snails Overview 

Some aquarists feel that snails are very valuable in a freshwater tank. They help to keep the tank clean by consuming algae and left-over food particles lying on the bottom of the tank.

Others feel they are useless and will over-run your freshwater aquarium. Depending on the type of snail you put in your tank will depend on whether or not you have a large snail population.

Not all snails are prolific breeders. So, if you do not want a bunch of snails; only put 1 snail in the tank or choose snails that do not breed very often. 

If you have live plants in your tank, take caution that you do not purchase a snail that is going to feed on your plants. Apple Snails (Pomacea) is a good example of a snail that will destroy a planted aquarium in a short amount of time. They are herbivores.

We will give you some other examples later on in the text. Let us move on to some types of snails that aquarists recommend for your Betta tank.

Types Of Snails In Aquarium

  1. Mystery snails: this type of snail is sometimes called an Inca snail. They are a type of Apple snail but are one of the most popular in the aquarium world because they will not destroy your plants. These little guys only grow to about 1½ inches in diameter and they live about 3 to 4 years. The Mystery snail is brightly colored and they love to feed on the algae in your aquarium. They will also eat the dead plant matter and they enjoy a peaceful community tank. 
  2. Nerite snail: a Nerite is a snail that consumes algae, dead plant matter, and other things that end up on the bottom of the aquarium. They come in different colors and they will not eat your aquarium plants. Their waste contains beneficial bacteria which is great for a planted aquarium. They can live between 3 to 4 years and beware; they love to crawl out of the water so you need to have a secure tank lid. 
  3. Ramshorn snail: these snails have been kept in aquariums longer than any other snail on our list. They are perfect for eating soft algae, dead plant matter, and left-over food that has fallen to the bottom of the tank. If you have a lot of organic debris, they will reproduce very quickly. There are two types of Ramshorn snails; Red and Giant. The Giant Ramshorn is an olive-yellow to brown color and is larger than the Red Ramshorn. These types of snails are categorized as ‘air breathers’ so they need to go to the surface to get air.

Snails and Bettas Fish

You want to make sure your snails aren’t little ½ inch or less, or the betta will attempt to eat them. Otherwise, because snails are so calm and peaceful, your betta may not even know they are in the tank. 

Here are just a few snails that are said to be good in a betta tank. As I have always said; do your research!

There is so much more information out there than what I can get into one segment, that it is very wise to take my information and do more research so that you can make the best decision for all in the freshwater tank. 

Snails that are said to be good in a betta tank:

  • Apple snail: these are the largest snails on the list, so your betta is not going to attempt to nip at or eat them. They can reach up to 15cm in size if they are properly taken care of. This snail will scavenge for algae and old pieces of food.
  • Turret snail: also known as a Malaysia Trumpet Snail (MTS) they are perfect if you have fine substrate in the bottom of your tank. The Turret will sift through the substrate for uneaten food and they will happily dine on the algae in the tank.
  • Assassin snail: these snails do not eat algae, left-over food, or plants. These snails eat other snails, hence the name. If you find yourself in a pickle and are becoming overrun with another snail, purchase one or two of these will significantly reduce your issue.

Other Snail Species Information

There is an abundance of other snail species out there that would be good (or not) for your freshwater aquarium, which also houses a Betta fish. You will just need to do extensive research and figure out which one is the best for you and your tank set-up.

Some people suggest against the Apple snail (which was on our “ok” list) because they will eat your plants down to the roots. If you do not have any plants, then you will be ok.

They also have a tendency to breed a lot, so you may bypass this option if you do not want a bunch of snails in your tank. 

Pest snails; called this because no one really knows exactly what species they are, is another no-no for your betta tank. They find a way into your betta tank by hitchhiking on plants.

Without knowing the specific species or where exactly they came from; you do not know if they carry harmful bacteria or other diseases that could harm your betta fish. 

Again, this is why I recommend that you do extensive research when getting ready to set-up an aquarium or add roommates to an already established tank.

We have two opinions on the Apple snail. So, do you put one in your Betta tank, or don’t you? That would be a personal preference and would involve a little more research.


Snails and Betta will make good tank mates. Snails will NOT kill your Betta fish but may nibble if they are on the verge of dying. There are many species of snails to choose from, besides what I have mentioned here.

Check them out and see if one of them is better-suited than our set-up than the ones I have listed. If you like one of the ones I have listed, it doesn’t hurt to do a little more research.

You need to remember that if you are going to put a snail in the tank with your Betta, you need to make sure you have a heater and a filtration system. You will also want a 20+ gallon tank to make sure that the Betta has plenty of room to swim around. 

For the most part, snails are docile, so your Betta will probably not even notice or care that they are in the tank. Remember to make sure your snail is bigger than ½ inch in diameter, or your Betta may pick at it, thinking it is food.

Not only do snails help keep the tank clean, but they can also add a pop of color to your aquarium. They could even enhance the color of your Betta fish. 

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I'm passionate about fish pets and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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