Do Plecos Eat Snails And Will Snails Be Safe In A Pleco Aquarium?

Last Updated on January 18, 2022 by cmoarz

Wondering if it’s safe to add plecos to your tank with snails, or if you can add snails to your pleco tank? Are they considered compatible, or do plecos eat snails?

If your looking for a quick answer, you’ve come to the right place!

So, Do Plecos Eat Snails?

Good news and this should put your mind at ease, Do plecos eat snails? No! Well, not when they are alive anyway.

Plecos have no interest in eating your living snail.

Plecos are primarily algae eaters. Although they will eat just about anything that they can suck up into their mouths, including dead fish and dead snails, they aren’t interested in dealing with a living snail, nor are they really equipped with the mouthparts to do so.

So if you’re also thinking about using plecos to deal with a pest snail infestation, bad news, it’s not going to work out and I recommend Assasin snail instead!

Now, I mentioned “live” snails specifically. The truth is, plecos will eat dead snails, as well as crushed-up snails.

So if your looking for the occasional treat for your pleco, a frozen crushed snail is a great choice and they will enjoy the extra protein.

But as far as your nerite snail or mystery snail is concerned, they have nothing to worry about.

There are some exceptions to everything, and this is no different. On occasion, your pleco may accidentally eat a small bladder or dwarf ramshorn snail, in which case it will probably be a one-time deal, and might even spit it back out.

In my experience, most plecos have no interest in eating snails unless they are being literally ground out and served (out of shell) as an actual food source.

So go ahead and mix these two species up in your tank with confidence. They make great additions to a community tank. Just be aware that plecos can get HUGE – so plan accordingly and make sure you aren’t overstocking your tank with these voracious, algae-eating tankmates.

And if you’re interested in adding another species to your aquarium to help keep it clean, check out the Assassin Snail! They are fun to keep and will provide a good source of natural snail control in just about any freshwater tank environment.


Owner of and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!