Do Loaches Eat Snails?

Loaches are fascinating fish and brilliant scavengers, making them worthy additions to your aquarium. Most loach species have elongated and cylindrical bodies.

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The fish are bottom-dwelling ones primarily found in the waters of Asia and Europe in temperate and tropical climates. You can freely interact with loaches, and they thus make one of the best fish pets to own.

Loaches primarily live in rivers and slow-moving streams with smooth boulders, pebbles, and gravel.

In a fish tank, you should reflect the same natural conditions that loaches are used to in the wild for them to be comfortable. Snails might, however, thrive alongside your fish in an aquarium with the right conditions. 

Here are guidelines that will answer the common questions you might have on snails in an aquarium with loaches.

Do Clown Loaches Eat Snails?

The clown loach is among the most endearing and popular tropical aquarium fish. Few people nonetheless have the ideal requirements in place for their pet clown loaches. Most, for instance, do not appreciate how long the fish can get.

Wild clowns have been shown to reach lengths of 15 inches (40 cm) while aquarium clowns can grow to 12 inches (30 cm). 

You thus should get a large aquarium for your pet clown loach. Moreover, the pet is best kept in groups of 4-5 because loaches are social animals.

Some people keep clown loaches to primarily control the snail population in their aquariums. Though wild clowns will eat snails, they do not affect very high snail populations in fish tanks.

Moreover, excess snail populations in aquariums will introduce considerable waste into it. This waste will, in turn, affect the clown loaches in your tank.

Include aquatic invertebrates, insects, worms, and crustaceans along with some plant matter into your pet’s diet. You should avoid flake feeds that will lose nutrients when they soak in the sink.

Think of granules and pellets that contain plant matter and shrimp to meet the dietary needs of clown loaches.

Best Small Loaches that Eat Snails

Though categorized as small loaches, the fish under this category are in no way small. You thus should still have an aquarium of at least 40 gallons to house these fish.

Moreover, the aquarium should be large enough to accommodate several tank mates for the loaches being that they are social creatures.

If you want the best small loaches to eat snails, here are some options you can consider;

– Kuhli Loach

An adult Kuhli loach is about 10 inches long and lives for approximately ten years. It thrives in water with PH levels of 6-6.5, temperatures of 24-30 Celsius, and hardness ratings of about 5dGH.

Kuhli loaches are quite active at night, while during the day, they are hidden in a cozy spot in the tank.

– Yo-Yo Loach

An adult yo-yo loach is 3-5 inches long and thrives in much the same water conditions as the Kuhli loach. It is a fast and personable fish species that will quickly recognize its owner.

Though often initially shy, this will pass when the fish adapts to its environment.

– Zebra Loach

This has an adult size of more than ten inches and a lifespan of above ten years. The zebra loach is renowned for its stripes that even cover the fins. It is the smallest among loaches and has a peaceful nature that makes it ideal for community fish tanks.

Does Hillstream Loach Eat Snails?

Hillstream loaches thrive in similar water conditions to those of other loach species. Even so, they need considerable oxygen and will thus thrive in cold water that holds more oxygen compared to warm water.

For your hillstream loach to thrive, you should primarily feed it on algae, sometimes mixed with frozen or live Cyclops, shrimps, bloodworms and daphnia.

The loaches do not eat snails because their mouth patterns do not allow them to bolt their feeds or catch slimy pieces that fall to a tank’s bottom.

Do Loaches Eat Snail Eggs?

Some people who erroneously use loaches for snail control in their aquariums assume that the fish will also eat the snail’s eggs. Even so, the loaches do not eat these eggs.

This means that snails will still hatch, and their population will keep increasing in your tank.

You should also periodically clean your aquarium to get rid of snail shells. This is because loaches will suck the snail out of its shell but leave the shell untouched in your aquarium.

How to Get Rid Of Snails in Your Aquarium?

Since loaches are not a solution to the increasing snail population in your fish tank, you should look for alternative ways to keep your tanks snail-free. Here are your options;

– Manual Removal

Picking out the snails in your fish tank manually is a good way of controlling small populations. It is also a safe option since it introduces no chemicals that affect your tank’s equilibrium and is inexpensive.

You can remove them from the tank altogether or crush a few on the tank’s side to make food for your fish.

– Snail Traps

There are different snail traps you can get online and from pet stores. You will then take out the traps after a set period and get rid of the snails caught. The traps should be used frequently to completely get rid of snails in an aquarium.

– Snail Baits

Snails are attracted to algae and decaying plant material. You can place these overnight in a small jar in your aquarium. The snails that converge in the jar can then be easily removed after a set period.

Wrapping Up

Snails in your aquarium can block the impellers, filters, and valves or release harmful ammonia that affects the health of your fish. They can also transmit diseases to your fish or feed on the food meant for your fish, thus affecting their nutrition.

When setting up an aquarium for loaches, the above tidbits will prove handy to keep snails out of the tank. This way, you can rest assured of a healthy fish tank environment for your pet.

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