This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission.
Snails are probably the safest tankmates you can add to your seahorse aquarium. These slow-moving janitors are efficient and an important member of a well-constructed clean-up crew.
However with such a variety of snails to choose from you have to make sure you add the right inhabitants that are well-suited to the needs of a seahorse aquarium.
A varied assortment of snails is very desirable because different types of snails portray different habits, seek out different habitats within the aquarium, and prefer to eat different things.
You want to add a mix of herbivores to deal with algae, some carnivores to deal with leftover mysis, and plenty of detritivores, which will feed on detritus and scavenged decaying organic matter in the aquarium.
The Best Snails For Seahorses.
1. Nassarius Snails.
|SIZE||1 – 2 cm (~0.4 – 0.8 inches)|
|TEMPERATURE||22 – 26°C (~72°F – 80°F)|
When we think of snails our minds often go to slow-moving docile creatures, however, I can assure you that the Nassarius snails are anything but slow, at least for snails.
Nassarius snails are probably the most sought-after snails for saltwater aquariums. These carnivores/detrivores Nassarius snails are great opportunistic eaters, feeding on dead organic matter.
They make for great additions to a seahorse aquarium and they will help get rid of uneaten mysis and decaying matter before it breaks down.
They’ll bury themselves in substrate until they detect the scent of something edible, and then erupt from the sand and charge out to clean it up.
A few of these bad boys are sure to be a great benefit to your seahorse aquarium. Just never overstock them 1 snail per 5 gallon is ideal.
2. Trochus Snails.
|TEMPERATURE||22 – 25°C (72-78° F)|
The Banded Trochus Snail is prized by marine aquarists of all experience levels for numerous reasons.
Like other members of the Trochidae family, the Banded Trochus is easy to care for and very adept at working as your aquarium’s cleanup crew
These herbivores will assist greatly in keeping algae down. They naturally feed on algae, cyanobacteria, and diatoms amongst your live rock, substrate, and aquarium glass.
They also require supplemental food if algae isn’t enough, dried nori (seaweed) should be fine for them to remain satisfied and thrive in an aquarium.
Like other invertebrates, Trochus sp. is sensitive to high nitrate levels and intolerant of copper-based medications.
It requires a gradual acclimation process, preferably the drip acclimation method. If food levels are insufficient in your aquarium, supplement their diet.
3. Astraea Snails.
|TEMPERATURE||22 – 25°C (72-78° F )|
Astraea snails are small snails that are known for consuming film and hair algae on the glass and rocks in an aquarium.
They are also known as turbo snails but should not be confused with the bigger turbo snails.
The Astraea Turbo Snail prefers well-established aquariums with ample hiding places and sufficient room to roam.
In addition to eating algae off of your live rock, this member of the Astraeinae family will also clean your aquarium glass. However, the Astraea Turbo Snail is not known to be climbers like other smaller-shelled snail species.
They are not the hardiest of creatures, because they cannot right themselves if turned upside down.
They should be placed carefully into your aquarium. If you notice one got flipped over, you should act as quickly as possible to right them.
If not they will be vulnerable and can be easily consumed by other tankmates.
Snails To Stay Away From.
As per the recommendation of Ocean Rider at seahorse.com, they advise seahorse keepers to stay away from certain species of aquatic snails.
The list below shows some of the snail species you should avoid due to their predatory nature.
1. Bumblebee Snails.
2. Tulip Snails.
4. Horse Conchs.
5. Crown Snails.
6. Margarita Snails.
7. Cone Snails
Conditions For Keeping Snails.
Snails are probably the safest tankmates for seahorses and there are a few conditions that must be met in order for you to keep these inhabitants.
1. Snails are easy targets and they can fall prey to predatory fish as well as fish that are aggressive. Make sure you pair them with the right tankmates.
2. They require a suitable tank with enough space to graze. A beginner seahorses tank of about 30 gallons should be enough to house atleast 6 snails.
Although you can increase the stocking density, it’s best to keep 1 snail for every 5 gallons.
3. A suitable substrate bottom is required. Snails often hide themselves in the sand and then suddenly apprear when they smell food.
A suitable fine sand will be ideal for them to remain hidden whilst keeping them protected.
They also require rock and aquascapes since most herbivores graze over these features consuming the attached algae.
4. Even though snails are easy to care for, they do require mature water that is stable. Never introduce livestock to a new system.
Make sure the system has had enough time to cycle and balance for you to add these guys.
5. Stay away from copper-based treatments. These inhabitants do not tolerate it but rather choose alternative options.
6. Supplemental food is required for both carnivorous and herbivorous snails. Sometimes resources such as algae and leftover may not be sufficient to keep them satisfied.
By providing more food you ensure these tankmates are sustained. For herbivores you can feed dried seaweed and for carnivores you can feed pieces of shrimp.
7. Some snails need constant observation since they cannot right themselves if upside down. This position leaves them exposed and compromised for easy attacks.
8. Proper acclimation is required before you introduce these suckers into your aquarium. Preferably the drip acclimation method but ultimately you should follow the instructions of the breeder.
Benefits Of Keeping Snails.
There are many benefits to having snails in an aquarium, espeicially for seahorse aquariums where there is so much that can go wrong.
Having the right clean-up crew assists in proper maintenance.
1. Overfeeding is a problem in seahorse aquariums and as a result many hobbyists have chosen to target feed to minmize waste.
However this doesnt entirely solve the problem and uneaten food is still a conern.
But by adding snails, they do a really good job consuming this uneaten food before it has time to break down.
2. Nuisance and hair algae is a problem in most saltwater aquariums. Once they have taken over your tank they will continue to reproduce rapidly.
Herbivorous snails are great at consuming these algae hence controlling the growth of it within an aquarium.
3. Snails clean and aerate the sand. Reducing the need for siphoning which is a maintenance requirement.
4. Some snails attach to the glass consuming film algae, this helps keep the tank crisp and clear. Their efforts in the aquarium husbandry are amazing.
5. Snails add diveristy to an aquarium creating a more interesting and visually appealing saltwater feature.
6. Due to the great scavenging ability of snails they help prevent ammonia and nitrite spikes from intoxicating tankmates.
This boils down to their great sense of smell and speed especially with the nassarius snail which is an excellent tank addition.
1. Snails are very prone to attack and can be easily consumed by other tankmates. These snails are quite small and slow-moving making them ideal candidates to be preyed on by bigger fish.
2. High stocking density of livestock can bring about competition which can disrupt the peace in an aquarium.
Stick to 1 snail per 5 gallons or you can choose to add more but remember to provide supplemental food.
3. Some snails are vulnerable lacking the ability to right themselves, this is a huge disadvantage wherby opportunistic tankmates could attack.
4. Some snails, especially herbivores often attach to bigger seahorses to consume the algae that have grown on them.
Whilst this can be seen as grooming, it can cause the seahorse to stress leading to their decline.
5. Given the circumstance some snails can prey on their other counterparts just to ensure their survival.
This predatory nature can be seen when they are hungry, however this can be avoided with supplemental food.
Snails are a great addition to a seahorse aquarium, they bring many benefits without the added risks that comes with most other compatible tankmates.
As long as you choose the right assortment of snails thats catered to your aquariums needs you should be fine.
Just remember to always safeguard them since these small marine mollusks are very vulnerable.