Do snails eat brown algae

Do snails eat brown algae?

I have seen that most aquarium owners face a significant problem while keeping a pet in their tank – an overgrowth of brown algae. They say that a brownish layer emerges everywhere and that their aquariums look bad. To get rid of the unattractive look of the tank, they started looking for solutions. Meanwhile, they wonder, “Can snails eat brown algae?”

Certain snail species (like Nerite snails, Mystery snails, etc.) eat brown algae. These algae eaters help to control the overgrowth of brown algae in the tanks. If you add the right number of snails to your tank, you’ll definitely have a neat, clean, and algae-free aquarium at all times.

So, are you curious about how snails got the name of tank cleaners? Are you wondering which snail species are best for tackling brown algae issues? Let’s find out how these underwater cleaners can make your aquarium more beautiful than ever.

What is brown algae?

Brown algae are seaweeds or a group of multicellular algae found in saltwater and freshwater aquariums. The most common type of brown algae is brown silica algae (commonly known as diatoms).

Moreover, the walls of brown algae are made up of silica, which is present in both natural and tap waters. It is said that the real nuisance begins when brown algae starts overtaking everything inside the tank.

Do snails eat brown algae?

Yes, snails do eat brown algae. Many species of snails are known to consume brown algae in aquariums. They can help keep the tank clean by feeding on this type of algae.

Snails are not just limited to brown algae. They also eat decaying plants, dead fish, fish leftovers, and any food that can cause nuisance in the environment. If you introduce them too early in your tank, they will likely eat all the plants.

Have you ever noticed why aquarium owners prefer to choose snails as brown algae eaters? This is because snails require less care and can easily harmonize with their tank mates. Additionally, snails do not need preferred food; they eat leftovers and decaying matter.

Is brown algae bad for snails?

No, brown algae is not bad for snails, and any type of algae is harmless for snails. In fact, some snail species, like Nerite snails, eat brown algae as snacks. However, it’s important to consider what is the root cause of excessive diatom growth.

It may be an indication of specific water quality issues like elevated levels of silicates or inadequate lightning. So, snails are the best managers of brown algae, but it’s essential to consider the health of the aquatic environment.

How do snails control algae growth?

If you start keeping fish in your aquariums, it is also vital to keep snails. As brown algae are just like an uninvited guest in your fish-keeping tanks, snails are one of the best solutions to eating brown algae. Snails EAT, EAT, and EAT the brown algae to control the overgrowth.

Every snail has a bit of a different feeding behavior. Here’s how snails contribute to managing algae:

  1. Algae consumption:

Many species of freshwater snails graze on brown algae. They use their radula (specialized feeding organ) to scrape algae from various surfaces in the aquarium.

  1. Surface cleaning:

Snails can reach and clean brown algae from places challenging for other algae-eating organisms. They move around glass, plants, stones, decorations, and substrate to keep their surfaces free from excessive algae growth.

  1. Constant grazing:

Snails are continuously grazers. It means they feed throughout the day and night. This ongoing feeding behavior helps prevent algae from proliferating in the fish tank.

  1. Natural algae control:

Snails provide a natural and non-chemical means of algae control. Thus, snails are friendly and safe for the aquarium ecosystem compared to chemical algaecides.

Read also: Do Mystery Snails Eat Plants? Mystery Snail Diet Composition

How to choose the right snail for the aquarium to eat brown algae?

snails eat brown algae

The suitable snail for the aquarium is the one that is comfortable within the environment. For example, the water temperature, pH, and hardness must suit that particular snail. Other factors like lighting, tank mates, and fish type must complement the snail type.

Extreme lightning can cause health issues in snails, predatory fishes can gobble up the snails, and some snails are more or less aggressive with their tank mates. As a result, the purpose of keeping snails will come to an end. Also, remember that all snail species are not commonly known algae-eaters. So, could you not keep them in your tank?

Tank size is also essential to consider while keeping snails to eradicate brown algae. This is because some snails require more space than others. And most importantly, some snail species reproduce rapidly. Their population growth in the tank can become another headache. So, consider this factor, too.

What are the best snails for eating brown algae?

Here is the list of some of the best snails that eat brown algae, and most aquarists prefer these snails as compared to others:

  • Nerite snails: These are the most efficient brown algae eaters, and aquarists love to keep at least 2 or 3 nerites in their 50-gallon tank. You’ll see these snail species are always part of every second aquarium.
  • Ramshorn snails: These snail species are known as prolific breeders. So, consider it before that these snails can easily take over the entire space of the tank resulting in a lot of snail excrement.
  • Malaysian trumpet snails: Malaysian trumpet snails work just like Ramshorn snails in eating brown algae. Their overgrowth can cause starvation in the tank due to the limited fish food supply to control brown algae growth. So, their baby snails will also die.
  • Mystery snails: Although mystery snails are active all day, these snails are also attractive additions to the tank. However, Nerite snails outclass their performance in eating brown algae.

Consider Nerite Snails as your next tank cleaning crew. If these snails are not available, then you can pick the other snails mentioned above to get rid of brown algae. Rabbit and pond snails are also very popular in the market as cleaning crews.

How to get rid of brown algae without snails?

You can limit the overgrowth of brown algae in the tank without snails. Here’s how to handle the overwhelming growth of brown algae in the aquarium without putting snails in it:

  • Direct sunlight and artificial solid lights promote brown algae growth. So, reduce lighting to control algae growth.
  • Do not overfeed your fish, and remove uneaten food in the tank to limit the overgrowth of brown algae.
  • Nutrient growth is the cause of brown algae overgrowth. You can perform a water changes strategy to lower the nutrient level in your tank. Change 10 to 15 percent of water from the total water to see the desired results.
  • You can keep brown algae-eating fish in the tank. Plecostomus, otocinclus, Siamese flying fox, and many others are the widely recommended algae eaters.
  • You can also keep live plants in your aquarium to absorb most nutrients upon which brown algae thrive. Plus, remove unwanted leaves, plants, and decorations on which brown algae starts overgrowth.
  • Always do source water tests. It’s the best practice to see if the water is high or low in phosphate. If phosphate is high, use chemicals like phosphate removals to filter water.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How do I know I have brown algae in my snail’s tank?

It’s so simple to know if you have brown algae in your snail’s tank or not. Initially, it appears as a fine layer of cinnamon-hued dust scattered across the bottom of your aquarium and vegetation. The brown spots slowly get more noticeable, and everything in the fish tank gets coated in a brown and gooey slime.

  1. Does brown algae mean my tank is cycled?

According to Reddit fellows, brown algae doesn’t always mean your tank is cycled. It simply means there are some diatoms in the tank. Usually, brown algae start occurring in a newly established tank. It doesn’t only happen in recently cycled tanks.

There are other indicators to find if your tank is cycled or not. For example, chemistry and testing parameters are the best to find. Moreover, if your fish is dead, it’s another indicator to check if your tank is cycled or NOT!

  1. Do bladder snails eat brown algae?

Yes, bladder snails do eat brown algae. According to the research of the CauData Organization, bladder snails are cleanup crews that love to eat brown and green algae.

Wrapping Up – Do snails eat brown algae?

So, do snails eat brown algae? They do, but which species of snails eat brown algae? The clear answer is “there is no one size fits all.” The best way to find the right snail and to avoid the mess in the tank is to research. After seeing factors like the size of the snail, tank mates, water condition, and care, it will become easy to find the right fit for your tank.

Snails are happy brown algae eaters. They’ll not disappoint you in cleaning your tank if you choose the suitable snail species. You can consider keeping two or three snail species in the same tank if they are friendly and peaceful.