Keeping snails with Betta - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Keeping snails with Betta

Hello! I just joined, thank you. :) Our family has two bettas that were labeled at Petco as “baby females”...we quickly got a second tank as one betta seemed to constantly be pecking at the other (smaller) betta. Our tanks are the 2.1-gal Imagitarium filtered, and we have a small heater in each. One betta grew much larger more quickly, and has flowing fins, while the other has remained smaller and more compact, so I am wondering if one was mislabeled and is really a male?? My question somewhat has to do with that, as we got a single snail for each tank for “cleaning” purposes (and just because it’s fun to have an “ecosystem”). This was about 3 months ago. The snail in the smaller betta’s tank is still gliding around actively. The first snail in the larger, showier betta’s tank died about a month and a half ago, so we got another snail. I noticed last night that this new snail has also now died. :( I put it in a small bowl with tank water to be sure, and it’s lying there with the door open and the insides slightly poking out, unresponsive to touch. :( :( I have only seen the betta peck at it once or twice when it was first placed in the tank, but I am wondering if this larger, more territorial betta is killing the snails. These are my daughters’ fish, and she was sad about the first snail, so will also be sad about this one and will want another. Is there anything else living that can go in this tank, or is this my indication to let this betta have it’s entire territory to itself?? Thank you for your help!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 06:29 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum. As for your snail problem, there are no for sure answers to this question. If the betta is killing the snail you would not see the attacks. They would be done at night and the lights off. That being said Snails for the most part only live about 1 year. The questions you have to ask your self is this. Snails eat algae is there enough algae in the tank. if not snails starve to death very quickly. They don't eat poop or food that is left over from feeding your betta. So this could be a very good possibility for the death other than the betta killing it. I've had snails in betta tanks for years and the reasons for the die off is no food and no calcium (like egg shells or cuddle bone. ) They need calcium to keep their shell hard. I have never had a betta kill a snail no matter how aggressive he is to other fish.

Before adding another snail to the tank make a large water change and check your parameters Make sure the tank is cycled and the water tests are in the right ranges. Get algae wafers to supplement for not having any algae in the tank. Or wait until your tank starts to produce algae. Either way you need a food source in the tank for snails to live.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Old Dog 59....that makes sense!! We got the snails from a store called “Pet & Aquatic Warehouse” and they claimed we wouldn’t need to feed the snails. BUT there’s not any visible algae in the tanks either. I feel terrible if we starved the snail to death. Thank you for this insight. We are so new to tanks and tank life. So if we have a snail, we need to add a calcium source? We still have the one in the smaller fish’s tank so I need to do the right thing for it.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 11:25 AM
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I would get algae wafers right away so they have food. I would then add some calcium to the bottom of the tank. Washed egg shells are good for this. With only one snail you won't need much. The snail will find the food and the source of calcium.

What they told you about not feeding a snail is totally wrong. As I said before Snails need algae to eat and survive. This is why I never put a snail in a tank that does not show green algae either on the plants or on the glass. You don't need live plants in order to have an algae growth, but it does help. Many tanks without live plants also have an algae growth and the best way to grow algae is by the lighting in the tank and how many hours it is turned on. either that or place the tank by a window that gets sun. However in order NOT to have too much of a growth you need to be able to control the light algae fed on. So again if your just starting a tank and there is no growth than either supplement the food with algae wafers or DON'T put snails in until the tank matures and has a growth.

Basically it's like adding shrimp or bottom feeders to a tank. You never add them until there is a food source that can sustain them.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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This is so enlightening. THANK YOU!! I’ll get something for the one living snail to eat right away And add some egg shells. I am somewhat nervous to add yet another snail to the larger betta’s tank....but you think that with food/calcium it would be worth trying again? You said your aggressive bettas have never killed a snail? I guess I’m wondering why the snail in the smaller betta’s tank is still alive...the tanks appear similar to me (no visible algae growth) and the parameters are very close for both. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me problem solve this, as we go along with these fish, I’m finding that there is SO much I don’t know about tanks and aquatic life.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:49 PM
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What type of snail do you have? Different snails eat different things.

Most are omnivores and they will eat dead and decaying plant matter, fish food, dead fish and other livestock, algae, blanched vegetables, and fish food. Some of those type of snails would be ramshorns, malaysian trumpet snails, pond snails, bladder snails, and mystery snails.

Some are more carnivorous like the assassin snail. They enjoy eating other snails, but will also eat bloodworms and fish food.

Some specialize in algae like the Nerite snail. They basically will only eat algae and then they can be picky about the type of algae. Sometimes they will eat algae wafers or blanched vegetables, but it's hit or miss if they will and some will starve if no live algae is available.

Also be warned that if you got something like a ramshorn snail, or pond snail, and it was not a hatchling, it is likely going to be laying eggs in your tank and you will soon have baby snails. Nerites don't reproduce in freshwater tanks, and mystery snails lay their egg sack above the water line so it's easy to spot and remove, most others just reproduce and are capable of storing sperm and laying fertile eggs even if they are the only snail in the tank.
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