Will Mystery Snails Eat Dead Fish?

Last Updated on December 11, 2021 by cmoarz

Do Mystery Snails Eat Fish? How about dead fish, Will a mystery snail eat dead fish that are left in the tank?

Mystery snails are what’s known as opportunistic scavengers and will eat just about anything that won’t walk away. This includes algae, dead plants, and yes, Dead fish.

In fact, They are quite ravenous about eating dead fish and will eat them until they are gone. A fish carcass can be devoured fairly quickly by snails.

Does that mean you can leave a dead fish in a tank with mystery snails? No that’s a bad idea.

The ammonia and other toxins released by decaying fish flesh can be highly toxic to snails and especially newborn hatchlings.

It can also affect the rest of the fish in the tank negatively if not outright killing them.

So when a fish has died in your tank, It’s better to remove it right away rather than leave it there to rot and get eaten by your snails.

Will Snails Eat a Sick Fish?

Snails will eat anything that can’t swim away from them and is edible. Especially if they are underfed.

This includes sick or injured fish that aren’t able to get away from the snail’s slow crawl of death.

If you have a sick or injured fish and have snails in the tank as well, It’s best to remove the fish for treatment in an isolation/hospital tank and then return it to the original tank once it’s better.

Is It Safe To Let Your Snails Eat Dead Fish?

Snails do what they do in the wild to survive. Survival means finding food no matter what it is.

In the wild, Snails will eat a dead fish nearly as fast as they would a piece of algae on a rock or plant leaf.

However, In captivity, this isn’t necessary as they should have plenty of properly formulated food that gives them everything they need. This means allowing them to eat decaying fish brings more risk than rewards.

Depending on how the fish died, the snail could pick up parasites, bacterial infections, diseases, or worse, be unaffected by these things but end up becoming a vector for them to other fish in the aquarium instead.

So no, it’s not safe to allow your mystery snails or any other snails to eat dead fish in a closed aquarium ecosystem. It’s not safe for the snails or the other fish in the tank.

Do Pest Snails Eat Dead Fish?

Pest snails, like most snails, are also opportunistic scavengers. This goes for pond snails, dwarf snails, and any other kind of pest snail.

These snails will take the delicious opportunity to eat dead fish as soon as they can.

In fact, They will eat any dead plant or animal they can find including other snails.

A dead fish or plant is considered fair game. But that doesn’t mean you should allow your snails to clean up the mess on their own. Be sure to remove any corpses from the aquarium before they rot and release toxic wastes into your tank.

Pest snails are not usually considered to be a threat to your fish unless you have fish that are already sick or injured, in which case it’s best to treat them with medication separately in an isolation tank.

Will a Snail Eat a Dead Guppy?

Yes, snails will even eat dead guppies and guppy fish carcasses.

And usually no, snails won’t eat a live guppy fish or other small fish like neons and tetras either unless they are injured and can’t get away from the snail. Snails are slow and most fish will easily be able to escape their hungry eye.

However, If you have really hungry snails that haven’t been fed for a while or if they’re starving, I’ve seen snails do some clever things to catch live fish, including dropping off the side of the glass in an attempt to get on top of bottom feeders and guppies, or other slower fish.

Although this is rare if your snail is well fed and really shouldn’t be a problem.


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!