I had a small snail (about 1" / 2.5 cm shell) in the same tank as my betta fish. They seemed to both be doing fine living together for the 7 months I've had them. But this week, I checked up on the tank and found the snail shell overturned. I tried flipping it upright but when I looked later it was flipped over again and looked empty, which is sad.

I had changed the filter and added water recently (2-3 weeks ago), but I've done water changes in the past and the snail was fine, so I don't see why it would have hurt the snail this time.

Do betta fish attack snails, and if so, why might it have done now? Or did the snail probably die of other causes?

8 Answers 8


I've gone through two snails with my betta over the last few years. I've never seen the betta care about the snail's presence. I would think the snail probably died of natural causes.

I don't think snails are as robust as bettas!

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! I'm glad I didn't do mess up by putting them together.. this was my first time keeping a snail so I didn't realize they were shorter-lived.
    – user812786
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:08

My betta fish was continuously bothering my snail, so I decided to do a quick Google search, which brought up these links:

After reading them, my conclusion is that it really depends on the betta fish. Some are actively vicious and will attack snails and eat them. Others are totally fine around snails or particular types of snails. It also seemed like some of the cases were similar to yours, in which the betta seemed to live peacefully with the snail for a while, but then suddenly the snail was gone (in that case though, I believe the snail might have been sick and the betta only ate it when it was close to being dead.)

In short, yes, bettas can attack and eat snails, but they don't always do so.


Mine does!

I had a betta for more than four years and he died a few months ago. He happily shared his 3.5 gallon (13 liters) habitat with some ghost shrimp and a zebra snail. I recently replaced the betta and the new one will not leave the zebra snail alone - always flaring, swimming around him and nipping at his shell. The snail (about 1.5 inch / 3.8 cm long) doesn't seem to care and will hopefully be fine.

I don't know what to do to get the fish to leave him alone!


I have recently added new plants to my 20 gallon (76 liters) betta tank, in which only the one Orange Devil Crowntail CT #1105 lives. He is one bad mojo and does not tolerate anything else in HIS tank. There are some small snails that came in with the plants and anytime he sees one, he is flaring at it. I suspect he will clear out the snails soon.

spoiled brat in HIS tank


Yes, they do. Some bettas really love to eat snails, some do it only if hungry, some do not eat them at all (but may learn it later). Betta fish are strong individuals and they differ in their behaviour and tastes. Obviously, they can attack only small snails. Sometimes they pull them out of the intact shells, sometimes they crush the shell in the process (which can make audible noises).


I had a tank with only mystery snails in it and while I loved watching them I decided to add a beta for a bit of colour. That beta keeps nipping at the snail's tentacles and seems to enjoy harassing them. My snails definitely don't like it and have started hiding in their shells all the time. My snails do not like their new tank mate.


I had a Betta and a snail living together peacefully for ages, then I decided to put the snail in my guppy fry tank, but later on I noticed they kept nipping at it. I think it was more out of curiosity rather than aggression since there wasn't much else to do for them as they were in a breeding container at the time.

So I put it back in the Betta's tank and he tried to kill it - so all I could was use my hand to push the Betta away from the snail and take the snail out. I think 'most' Bettas are fine with other fish, snails, etc., if they are fairly chill Bettas and that you add the Betta after you have other fish or in you case snail.

Because from what I've read online with Betta tank mates, that Bettas will create their own territory, so if you add something to that territory if gets territorial and attacks them. Whereas if you add a Betta to a tank that already has fish, the Betta if it chill enough (like by the sounds of your Betta, since he lived with the snail before it died) will just kind of accept the established fish.

I don't know if your Betta attacked the snail, but it would be weirded if they have been fine all the other times, or if it just died of natural causes - I'm no expert but just thought I'd put my opinion out there, hope it's helpful.


I put a mystery snail in with my betta when I read they are good tank cleaners and I was having an algae problem. He lasted about a week before I saw the fish kill him.

The snail was up on top of the little tank heater and the betta attacked and knocked him off. I’m not sure exactly what he did but it definitely caused a splash, which is why I looked over.

The snail never moved after that, not sure if he died right away, but after a couple days of my usually very active snail just lying in the same spot I took him out since he was obviously dead, which is sad.

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