Molly fish are freshwater tropical fish that originated from South America. These fish are social animals and prefer to live in 2 or 3 groups. However, they can also live alone as they can adapt easily.
Molly fish usually do not eat snails as they are close in size. These creatures are also considered docile species. Moreover, Molly fish won’t like eating snails because they don’t fulfill their nutritional demand. However, your Molly fish might be interested and eat snails if it is stressed or is inappropriately fed.
Will Your Molly Fish Eat Snails?
Snails are peaceful creatures that do not require a lot of care. Aquarists suggest that mollies and snails can be the most excellent and peaceful tankmates. Moreover, mollies are less likely to eat snails as they are too substantial in size.
These are some things you should know:
Temperament is very important when it comes to relationships in the tank. Bigger fish can live with smaller fish if they have the right temperaments.
Both Molly fish and snails are peaceful creatures that can coexist with other fish without causing any harm or inconvenience. As Molly fish do not have an aggressive temperament and are easygoing creatures, they won’t usually eat snails even if they get hungry.
2. Small Size Difference
Relationships in aquariums are mostly governed by size. Fish can eat anything which can fit in their mouths. Some species have better self-control than others. But most of the time, if there is a massive size difference the bigger fish will eat the small counterpart.
Snails have a variety of sizes. Adult snails usually range from 1 to 4 inches and Molly fish range from 4 to 6 inches in size. There is not that much of a difference in the sizes of the two creatures.
Molly fish can eat small-sized snails for example planarian worms which measure up to 1 inch. However, it is not possible to swallow snails larger than this.
3. Protection of Shell
Molly fish cannot digest the shell of snails. They usually eat the snail when it comes out of its shell at night. Moreover, Molly fish have no interest in eating the shells. They might nibble at the exposed sections of the snails but will not force their way to get into the shell to eat the hiding snail. Mollies are omnivores. They would not mind if you add snails to their diets. However, they are not interested in their shells and prefer ignoring creatures like this.
4. Similar Tank Requirements
Snails and mollies are easy to take care of. Snails live in temperatures ranging from 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. pH level should be kept between 7 and 7.5.
Molly fish Live in temperatures ranging from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They need a pH ranging from 6.7 to 8.5. As you can see both species can live together without inconveniencing each other.
However, snails can also be harmful and create an imbalance in your tank. They can hide in your filters, creating blockages. Some species also reproduce quickly increasing the biological load in your tank. Dead snails release ammonia which pollutes the water and harms Molly fish. This is why you should change your water frequently.
Mollies are more likely to harm snails. However, snails can also harm weakened mollies. You should take these potential dangers into account before keeping them in the same tank.
Are Snails a Good Diet For Molly Fish?
It is important to provide your Molly fish with the required minerals and nutrients. This is not difficult as mollies can eat a variety of food including snails! But you should keep some things in mind before feeding snails to your Molly fish.
- Benefits of snails in Molly fish’s diet
Snails contain a lot of calcium so when Molly fish eat them, they can have strong bones and healthy gums. Moreover, if the Molly feeds on snails it is less likely to attack other fish in the tank. Snail shells also act like armor in the fish’s digestive tract.
- Drawbacks of snails in Molly fish’s diet
It is said, “ Excess of everything is bad”. Too many snails are not good for your Molly fish as they contain a lot of calcium. Mollies cannot digest them and suffer from stomach problems and bloating. They can even die if their condition is severe.
If snail eggs attach to your Molly’s body then it can make them vulnerable to parasitic infection. They are also hard to chew and are not good for your fish.
If you constantly give snails to your fish then they will become dependent on them and will not eat anything else. Snails cannot fulfill the nutritional demand of Molly fish. As a result, it can suffer from nutritional deficiency.
How to Stop Molly Fish From Eating Snails?
1. Feeding your Molly fish Properly
As Molly fish is a freshwater fish it does not eat saltwater. You should only feed it plant-based foods such as algae and plants so that it does not look for meaty foods such as snails.
As Molly fish also need protein, you can leave clamshell pieces in their aquarium. But you should make sure that their size is not too big to chew.
2. Reduce Ammonia Levels
As Molly fish are freshwater fish they require clean and well-oxygenated water. If the ammonia levels rise more than 0ppm then your Molly fish will start eating snails as it needs high protein. An ample amount of green algae provides amino acids reducing the risk of the fish-eating snails.
3. Provide Hiding Spots
As mollies are active fish they like to swim around and explore. But they also need hiding spots to reduce stress and reproduce. So an ample amount of hiding spots should be provided for the fish.
They can retreat to this area whenever they feel stressed or threatened in the water tank. They can also use this location as an advantage in hunting for food. So you should not expose Molly fish to the bottom of the aquarium where it can see the other pets such as snails.
4. Encourage Mating
Snails can provide the required protein for baby mollies and they are sticky. The eggs of mollies can stick on snails. They can then offer Molly’s eggs a safe space and provide them with the required nutrition for mating.
5. Provide your Molly fish with a Larger Tank
Small and crowded tanks can make your Molly fish stressed. If your Molly fish is stressed it can become aggressive and start eating snails. A snail cannot resist a dangerous encounter with a Molly fish.
You should give at least a 20-gallon tank to your mollies so they can maintain peace in the aquarium. You should also not overstock it so that your Molly fish has enough space to stretch its fins.
Will Molly Fish Eat Baby Snails?
Molly fish usually eat live food. They are omnivores so they require meat and won’t survive only on vegetables. Molly fish does not eat snails when the temperature is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit as it is perfect for breeding baby snails.
If your Molly fish is eating too many baby snails, then you should move it to another aquarium where they do not get these creatures.
Snail Sizes and Molly Fish
Molly fish’s size ranges from 4 to 6 inches so they can only eat snails that fit in their mouth. The usual size of snails that Molly fish eat is 1 inch.
What Happens if Molly Fish Eat Too Many Snails?
If your Molly fish eats too many snails it will get bloated and its scales will start to overlap. A Molly fish that eats too many snails can also develop skin lesions. They can also die if they are overfed with snails.
Is it Safe For Molly Fish to Eat Snails?
It is safe to feed snails to your molly fish as long as they’re not exposed to toxins and chemicals. Snails are an excellent food for Molly fish. However, you should not feed only snails to your Molly fish as it can have serious consequences.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Diet for Molly fish?
Molly fish are omnivores. They thrive on meat too. As Molly fish can eat snails, the best diet for them is a variety of fresh meaty foods for example raw food like shrimp and crabs, etc with vegetables.
How often Should a Molly fish be Fed?
Typically, one Molly fish eats at least six snails per day. But you should also feed your Molly fish some other foods so that they don’t become dependent on snails.
Is there a Way to Stop my Molly fish from Eating other Fish?
Yes, your Molly fish can be trained to not eat other fish. You should provide hiding places so that it does not start eating fish when it is stressed. Moreover, you should feed your Molly fish enough so that it doesn’t binge eat other fish.
The Bottom Line On Do Molly Fish Eat Snails?
Molly fish can eat snails. However, it is not likely for them to eat snails as they are peaceful and docile creatures. Eating snails has its own drawbacks and advantages for mollies. Snails are a good source of calcium and protein for fish. But giving too many snails to your Molly fish is dangerous and can lead to it having digestive problems or it can even die.
You should also feed plants and algae to your Molly fish as they are omnivores. If you want Molly fish and snails to live together then you should provide all the requirements needed for mollies to reduce stress to prevent them from eating snails.
I hope this article has answered all your questions about mollies eating habits.