Will Bladder Snails Eat Hair Algae, What About Other Algaes?

Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by cmoarz

Bladder snails. They’re small, they’re cute, and they breed rapidly. Oftentimes people consider these marvelous little snails to be a pest, something to stress out about having in your aquarium. But In my experience, they are the best cheap labor in the aquarium kingdom.

They clean everything so well and keep algae down to nothing. But what about hair algae? Will bladder snails eat hair algae? Not many things will so let’s get started.

Do Bladder Snails Eat Hair Algae

Bladder snails will indeed eat hair algae. It’s hard to find things that will clean up and eat hair algae as it’s one of the more fibrous tough algae and most fish will stick their nose up at it.

But not the bladder snail. A small group of bladder snails (10-20) will have all the algae in the tank gone within a week, even the hard-to-remove stubborn hair algae.

Aside from the small bioload, they leave behind, my tank has never looked so clean since I added bladder snails as part of the cleanup crew.

Do Bladder Snails Eat Black Beard Algae

If bladder snails can eat hair algae then they must love to eat black beard algae right?

Yes! Bladder snails will eat almost any kind of algae including black beard. They’ll even eat diatoms (brown film algae) if they start to get thick enough.

If you have black beard algae in your tank, consider adding some bladder snails to help clean up the mess that most fish won’t touch.

Do Bladder Snails Eat Brown Algae

Yes they will in most cases. However, brown algae can grow so fast and it’s so loose and spread out, it makes it difficult for these snails to really get a good grip and clean the tank.

They’ll try, but it takes more than one snail to clean off all brown algae. So don’t expect every last bit of brown algae gone. It just takes too much time for them to consume everything tiny bits at a time. They work great as part of the cleanup crew though and they’ll work hard to keep the brown algae away.

Some Concerns About Using Bladder Snails

While bladder snails are a great clean-up crew and can get almost all algae in the tank cleaned up very quickly, they pose a couple of problems to the tank itself in the long run.

For one thing, They breed like mad as I mentioned earlier which is great as long as they’re not a pest. But if you don’t keep them under control, many will reproduce and form eggs on the sides of your tank or decorations which will hatch into 100’s more snails.

“But they are so small, does it matter if I have 100’s of cute snails cleaning up my tank?”

Well, it depends on how you look at it. While their bioload is relatively small, even 100’s of snails leave a lot of poop on the substrate that needs to be vacuumed up often.

At a certain point, they end up making more mess than they clean and can become a pest to the tank.

So unless you keep them under control it won’t be long before you are completely overwhelmed. 20 snails can quickly turn into 100’s.

In my own personal experience, I had 1 single bladder snail hitchhike off a plant, and that 1 single snail turned into thousands of snails. (I never attempted to stop this of course, as I wanted the snails).

Of course, an easy way to avoid that is to keep them under control, and no one does that better than an assassin snail. Throw 3-4 assassin snails in your tank and your bladder snail population won’t be a problem ever again.


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