Do Tiger Barbs Eat Snails? Can They Live Together?

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Before putting any tank species together, it is always a good idea to research their compatibility. In this post, we will explain whether or not keeping tiger barbs with snails is a good idea. Read on till the end to find out more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Snails can’t live with Tiger Barbs.
  • For pest snail population control, keep fish like loaches.
  • For algae control, house other algae eaters instead of snails.

Do Tiger Barb Eat Snails?

Sometimes Tiger Barbs peck at snails and nip their antenna, but they are not specifically snails eaters like a clown loach. Instead, Tiger Barbs are omnivorous freshwater fish that eat flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze-dried, or live foods.

Tiger barbs are curious fish that would easily pick up almost anything along the way, be it small insects or aquatic invertebrates like cherry shrimps or snails.

So it’s not safe to house tiger barbs with the tank mates like snails.

That said, please remember tiger barbs are not well-known as an active snail-eating fish (like a clown loach). So if you are thinking of having a tiger barb for controlling the snail population in your tank, they could be hit and miss. 

If you want to control the pest snail population in your tank, I recommend having a Clown Loach or Yoyo Loach in the tank. These bottom-dwelling fish constantly search for food at the bottom surface of the tank. 

In their pursuit of discovering food scraps, they often come across snails. After introducing the loaches in your tank, it will be short enough to find a lot of empty snails in your tank. So loaches are a great option if you’d want to control the snail population in the tank.

Moreover, loaches spent much of their time at the bottom level of the tank. But on the other hand, the tiger barbs at the mid-level. So there’s hardly any chance of them bothering each other.

In general, loaches can also be a good tank mate for your tiger barbs if you have an adequate-sized tank to house all of them.

Another choice is to control the snail population in your tank is to use assassin snails. 

The assassin snails are carnivorous species that eat other snails in the tank and thus help keep the snail population in check. Check out our detailed guide on how the assassin snails kill to learn more about them.

But there’s a problem having assassin snails in a tiger barb tank. After all, they are also snails, which puts them at risk of being harassed and nipped off by your tiger barbs.

So if you want to control the pest snails in your tank, the best idea is to keep snail-eating loaches in the tank.

Read Also: Do Tiger Barbs Eat Plants?

Can Tiger Barbs Live With Snails?

Generally, Tiger Barbs are not compatible with snails because they are curious and won’t hesitate to nip off the exposed snail’s antenna. However, sometimes snails that don’t expose their body parts much outside of the shell, like the nerite snails, can work.

Aquatic snails, like mystery snails with exposed antenna parts, don’t make a good tank mate for the tiger barbs.

If you have already been housing your tiger barbs with mystery snails and haven’t noticed any issues, then you are probably lucky.

The tiger barbs are active swimmers that constantly roam here and there in the tank and peck at anything they find curious. And an antenna of a snail, or any other exposed body part of the snail, does the same thing.

So does that mean you can’t house any snails with your tiger barbs?

Now, if you want to house a snail with your tiger barb, you can try it out with nerite snails. Here are some reasons why nerite snails are safer to house with your tiger barbs:

  • Nerite Snails have relatively small body appendages and antennae – so a less likelihood of getting nipped by the tiger barbs.
  • Nerite snails are great algae-eating snails that don’t increase too much in population.
  • They look great, and a couple of varieties are available, like the Zebra Nerite Snail, Tiger Nerite Snails, and more.

Still, I want to stress that nerite snails are not fully safe from tiger barbs.

They are snails, so the vulnerability remains of them being nipped or eaten away by the tiger barbs.

If you want to keep algae growth in check, your best bet would be to apply the good practices that help control algae and house other compatible algae eaters in the tank.

How To Control Algae In A Tiger Barb Tank Without Snails?

Avoid keeping lights on for too long. Light is one of the primary reasons you see algae growth in the tank. 

If you leave the tank lights on for 16-20 hours daily, try reducing that. In general, keeping the lights on for 8-12 hours a day is sufficient for all living aquatic species to thrive and, at the same time, not promote algae growth. 

To learn more, check out our guide: Should you always keep the aquarium lights on?

The next tip is to avoid having a lot of nutrients in the tank. After light, abundant nutrient sources in the water are the next biggest thing that causes algae overgrowth. So try to prevent that by not overfeeding your fish

Also, house enough live aquarium plants that can absorb the excess nutrients from the water, thus not leaving enough resources for the algae to grow.

Keeping algae-eating fish in the tank is also quite helpful. But be sure to have an adequate-sized tank to house them with your tiger barbs. 

Algae-eating fish that can live with your tiger barbs:

  • Otocinclus
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Common Pleco

Final Words

In short, tiger barbs and snails are incompatible with each other because the tiger barbs can peck and harass the snails. The best tiger barb compatible tank mates include algae eaters like Siamese Algae eaters. And for pest snail control, adding loaches like Clown Loaches or Yoyo loaches is a good idea.

Further Reading: How Many Tiger Barbs Should Be Kept Together?