Snails make an amazing companion pet for your shrimp tank. Not only they provide a source of entertainment for both you and your shrimp (there’s a subreddit named r/shrimpridingsnails– I don’t think that needs further explanations), freshwater snails also bring a range of different benefits to your aquarium, effectiely giving you a helping hand in your job as a shrimp keeper.
How are snails beneficial for a shrimp tank?
Freshwater snails produce a lot of biological waste – and believe it or not, that’s the main reason you should fall in love with them. Adding snails to a newly cycled aquarium will ensure the successful establishment of microorganism that will help stabilize the eco-system, reducing the chance of other creatures dying when they are first introduced in the new environment. Not only that, but the snail waste itself is filled with nutritious bacteria (e.g. infusoria) that especially beneficial for your shrimp diet.
What is infusoria?
Infusoria is a culture of microorganisms that live in freshwater ponds. It is especially valuable as a food source because of its size and nutritional content, and it is suitable for feeding tiny shrimplets and fish fry whose mouths are too small for regular food. Aquarists can make infusoria by soaking decomposing vegetable material (lettuce leaves, cucumber peels, etc.) in a jar with aged water until the microorganisms appear. Some species of snail will produce infusoria in their waste after eating plant matter.
What types of snail can I keep with shrimp?
Most species of snails are safe to keep with shrimp. Even carnivorous snales are generally too slow to feed on shrimp, although there is a minor risk that the snail will feed on sick or molting shrimp whose movements are impaired. As a precaution, you should also stay away from snails that have “Assassin” or “Killer” in their name – these predatory snails are armed with a bunch of weapons and venoms and are known to prey on bigger fish.
What are the most beneficial snails for a community tank?
Apple snail (Pomacea Bridgesii)
This snail is also sometimes referred to as “Infusoria Snail”. It will feed on algae, lettuce, spinach, and leftover fish food, and produce infusoria in return. Beware though, apple snails are illegal to sell in some countries.
Columbian / Giant Ramshorn snail (Marisa Cornuarietis)
Another infusoria-producing snail, they are much bigger than regular ramshorn snails, hence the name. They are very peaceful but will eat copious amount of plant matter, preying on anything “green” that they can find in the tank.
Rabbit snail (Tylomelania)
For a snail, this creature sure is active! It is a peaceful yet curious variety that moves around at any time of the day. If you are looking for entertainment, get your hands on this snail and wait for one your shrimps to ride it.
Red Racer Nerite snail (Vittina Waigiensis)
Another entertaining snail, this one even has “racer” in its name! The most appealing characteristic of these snails is the coloration and patterns in their shell. They have one big advantage for shrimp keepers: they do not reproduce in freshwater, which means that you can just keep a few without having to worry about snail infestations.