Bettas eat snails and everything else that gets in the tank.
Why? Because Bettas are natural carnivores and prefer a diet rich in protein. In nature, Bettas love to munch on insects as well as insect larva. So it is no surprise that your prized Betta would make every attempt to eat snails.
It is not uncommon to come across Betta flaring at a snail or incidents where someone’s Betta ate snail antenna for lunch.
The other name of Betta is Siamese fighting fish as they were initially bred for fighting and subject to gambling in Thailand. Male and female bettas are equally territorial, but males are more aggressive than their lady friends.
In this article, I will explain why bettas eat snails, what types of snails will betta fish eat, and other questions of this nature.
Do Bettas Eat Snails?
Yes. Bettas eat snails – especially if the snail is smaller than the Betta and they live in the same tank. As I’ve touched a little bit earlier, Bettas prefer a high protein diet, but there are a couple of reasons they eat snails.
One, Bettas are natural carnivores, so they like feeding on smaller crustaceans, insects, and insect larva. This also explains why the primary Betta feed you get in stores is sourced from animal protein.
Some marketing tactics in the pet trade say that Bettas can thrive with a diet of plant roots.
However, this is dangerous for the health of a Betta, if you ask me. Besides, most commercial Betta food contains wheat and other carbs that a betta cannot digest.
Two, Bettas are voracious eaters when they choose to be. So they will try to eat anything in the tank. This is also why Bettas can become overweight and obese.
In addition, their voracious feeding is also responsible for Bettas suffering from constipation and swim bladder diseases.
At the same time, Bettas can also survive without eating for weeks. This extreme pattern in their diet has always been a mystery to me. However, Bettas only go on a hunger strike when I change the water or introduce them to a new tank.
What Types Of Snails Will Betta Fish Not Eat?
Bettas generally do not discriminate between the different types of snails for their diet. So these aquatic beauties will try to relish all types of snails that cohabit the same tank.
In my years of experience with bettas, the only snails that a betta will not eat are the big ones.
Bettas, or any fish for that matter, find it harder to gobble a larger snail than a small one. Besides, larger snails have a better chance of protecting themselves against a betta or any other predator.
However, whether a betta will eat a snail or not also depends on the fish’s temperament. Some bettas are more aggressive and hungrier than others. So they will most likely eat the snail in their tank.
Even if your betta is not as aggressive or territorial, it will most definitely nibble on the snail. However, this is only a sign of their curiosity, and they may not actually eat the snail.
How To Avoid Betta Attacking My Snail?
It would seem like bettas are champions of eating snails and anything else that moves in their living space. However, there are ways to prevent these carnivorous fish from attacking a snail.
The number one tip I would suggest to prevent betta from attacking or eating a snail is to avoid putting them in the same tank. It is especially true if your betta has a bit of an attitude problem.
Male bettas will not refrain from killing each other if there is more than one in the same tank. So don’t assume that they would be kind to another species, aka, snail.
However, if you are adamant about putting a snail inside a Bettas’ tank, there are some neat tricks I want to share to reduce the possibility of your Betta attacking snails:
1. Get the right sized tank
A 5-gallon tank is a minimum size you should consider if you want to share it between Bettas and snails. Of course, if there are more than one male bettas, you’re going to need a larger tank.
However, one male betta and two betta females in a 10-gallon tank can also comfortably accommodate a couple of snails. But if the snails start propagating, then you need a bigger tank too.
2. Choose the right snail type
When introducing a snail to a betta tank, adding the right one is paramount. That being said, the best snails for a betta tank are mystery snails, ramshorn snails, and turret snails.
These three types of snails require similar water and pH as a betta, so you can introduce them easily. In addition, these snails do not reproduce as quickly, which eliminates the problem of overpopulation.
3. Don’t let your Betta get hungry
Snails in the Betta tank become more appealing as a snack if you leave the Betta hungry.
Bettas can also overfeed very easily, so giving them a balanced diet is the most important thing you can do for their well-being and keeping the snail safe.
4. Protect the snail By Adding Decor or Hiding Spots
If your snails are smaller than the Betta, then providing a small trap door or plants, or something similar can keep it safe when a Betta attacks.
Can a Snail Eat a Betta Fish?
Let’s try it the other way around – should I be worried that a snail may eat my Betta fish?
If you have concerns about what snail types can/cannot eat betta fish, you can relax.
Instances of snails feasting on a betta fish are very rare.
So unless the Betta dies inside the tank, you don’t have to worry about snails snacking on the Betta.
I hope I’ve anwered “Do Bettas Eat Snails” for you.
Bettas love to eat anything that is present in the tank, including snails.
However, if you consider the tips I have covered in this post, there is no reason why these two marine creatures cannot cohabit the same tank peacefully.
Just remember to keep the betta well-fed, understand its temperament and make sure the snail is on the larger side.