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6 Snails to Keep with Goldfish in 2023 (Compatibility Guide)

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By Lindsey Stanton

goldfish and snails

Do you have an aquarium full of goldfish that don’t know how to keep the place clean? Your aquatic friends may need some help, and snails are often the best remedy.

There are many ways to keep your goldfish’s tank clean, but they cost money, take time, and some are not great for fish. Snails eat algae from your substrate, glass, plants, and other items in your aquarium. However, not all snails are alike.

It’s important to find the right species of snail that will do its job well and be compatible with your goldfish. As researching gastropods can consume a large chunk of your time, we have found six of the best goldfish-cleaning mates that you can have delivered to your front door.


fish divider

A Quick Look at the Different Snails of 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Zebra Nerite Aquarium Snails Zebra Nerite Aquarium Snails
  • Won’t reproduce
  • Harty species
  • Great algae eaters
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Trapdoor Snails Trapdoor Snails
  • Great algae eaters
  • Hardy
  • Docile nature
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Orange Poso Sulawesi Rabbit Snails Orange Poso Sulawesi Rabbit Snails
  • Striking appearance
  • Reproduces slowly
  • Great algae eater
  • Freshwater Aquarium Snails Freshwater Aquarium Snails
  • Hady species
  • Non-aggressive
  • Won’t reproduce
  • Blue Mystery Snails Blue Mystery Snails
  • Eats algae on various surfaces
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Makes a good snail pet
  • The 6 Great Snails to Keep with Goldfish Are:

    1. SevenSeaSupply Zebra Nerite Aquarium Snails – Best Overall

    SevenSeaSupply 3 Zebra Nerite

    Check Price on Chewy

    Our first choice for a goldfish mate is the SevenSeaSupply Zebra Nerite Aquarium Snails. Available in a set of three, these juvenile cleaners have unique and diverse shells that will add some color to your tank. They are freshwater gastropods with shells about ½-inch in diameter.

    As Nerite snails, they will not reproduce in freshwater, so they are great for all levels of hobbyists that don’t want to be overrun with new babies. They are also a hardy species with a long lifespan as long as they are well-taken care of. Most importantly, though, these little guys are great algae eaters and will keep your aquarium clean and clear.

    SevenSeaSupply Nerites are safe to be in a tank with live plants and other types of fish besides goldfish including shrimp. They are docile and active, and many believe they make great pets on their own. That, combined with their super algae-eating powers, we believe they are the best snails to keep with goldfish.

    • Diverse and colorful shells
    • Won’t reproduce
    • Harty species
    • Great algae eaters
    • Safe with live plants and other pets
    • Good for all levels
    • None yet

    2. Toledo Goldfish Live Trapdoor Snails – Best Value

    Toledo Goldfish Live Trapdoor

    If you need a more affordable option, we like the Toledo Goldfish Live Trapdoor Snails. These little guys are great for eating the algae from your gravel glass, and other aquarium items. They can also be used in tanks, ponds, and other aquatic areas. USA born and raised, you can get them in bundles of 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100. You will also get a mix of adults and juveniles.

    As the name states, the Toledo Goldfish snails are from the Trapdoor family of gastropods. Specifically, these are Chinese Trapdoors, so their shells are not as attractive as some other varieties. That being said, they are great for beginners with a tranquil personality allowing them to cohabitate with your goldfish. Growing to one to two inches, they will reproduce, as well.

    These snails are for freshwater tanks. They are long-lasting, plus as they will reproduce, you will always have snails to help you keep your aquarium clean. It’s also important to note that they are easy to take care of and come with a step by step acclimation guide for when they first arrive at your door. Overall, they are the best snails to keep with goldfish for the money.

    • Great algae eaters
    • Hardy
    • Docile nature
    • Great for beginners
    • Safe for live plants
    • Shells are not as attractive

    3. Awesome Aquatics 5 Orange Poso Sulawesi Rabbit Snails – Premium Choice

    Awesome Aquatics

    Awesome Aquatics 5 Orange Poso Sulawesi Rabbit Snails are a fantastic option if you can swing a higher price tag. These beautiful creatures have either a black or dark brown shell with a bright yellow/orange body. The shell itself is a spiraled point with small spikes making them striking against many aquatic backdrops. Beyond their looks, however, they are also tolerant to many water conditions and are a rare breed.

    The Awesome Aquatics Rabbit snail comes from the Tylomelania family, and they come in a set of five. Although they will reproduce, they do so slowly, so you won’t need to worry about overpopulating. This snail is also one of the largest, growing to about four inches. They must be kept in a big enough tank to accommodate them. Not only that, but you also need to ensure they have enough food if they take care of all the algae. If hungry, they will eat fish food, and live plants.

    As long as they have enough food, these gastropods get along well with goldfish and other tank mates. The rabbit snails are hardy, non-aggressive, and quite personable once they acclimate to their surroundings. This is another breed that some people keep, not just as aquarium cleans, but as pets, too. As mentioned, this freshwater snail is more expensive than most, but their insatiable appetite and beautiful look is well worth the price.

    • Striking appearance
    • Reproduces slowly
    • Great algae eater
    • Non-aggressive with other tank mates
    • Tolerant to many water conditions
    • Expensive
    • Can need a bigger tank and additional food

    4. WorldwideTropicals Live Freshwater Aquarium Snails


    The Worldwide Tropicals Live Freshwater Aquarium Snails are part of the Nerite family, and they will arrive at your door in sets of six. Within the bundle, there are two zebras, two red-spotted, and two-horned snails giving your tank a mixture of colors. These small pets are also hardy, plus easy to care for.

    The Worldwide Tropicals can be used in freshwater tanks that have goldfish, shrimp, and live plants. They are a non-aggressive species that works well with a lot of aquatic life, but most importantly, they do a great job of riding the substrate, glass, and plants of algae. As Nerites, they will not reproduce in your tank. What’s more, they are small, growing to only about ½-inch.

    Although these snails are highly adaptable in many water conditions, some customers have found their tank cleaners to be dead on arrival (DOA). Additionally, you may also end up with six of the same species with more neutral coloring. If you are specifically looking for vibrancy, this may not be the right choice for you.

    • Hady species
    • Eats algae from gravel, plants, and glass
    • Non-aggressive
    • Won’t reproduce
    • One or more may come to DOA
    • Vibrant shells and mixed-species not guaranteed

    If you're new to the world of goldfish or are an experienced goldfish keeper that loves to learn more, we recommend you check out our best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish, on Amazon.

    From diagnosing illnesses and providing correct treatments to ensuring your goldies are happy with their setup and your maintenance, this book brings our blog to life in color and will help you to be the best goldfishkeeper you can be. 

    5. Aquatic Arts 1 Live Blue Mystery Snails

    Aquatic Arts 1

    Our fifth pick is the Aquatic Arts 1 Live Blue Mystery Snails. This larger breed of gastropod can grow to be three inches in diameter and is one of the biggest freshwater tank mates available. As the title suggests, you can pick this little guy up solo or with 10, 20, 30, or 50 of his friends. It goes without saying that the more you have, the more room you will need for them to thrive. Be that as it may, many people like this particular snail not only for its cleaning ability but also its lively personality.

    This snail does not only make a good pet, but they also get along well with goldfish and other aquatic creatures. It’s important they have enough food, however. Not only will they eat algae off of everything, but they will consume fish palettes and flakes, too. They should be kept with other non-aggressive fish, and they have been known to kill smaller snails.

    The Aquatic Arts snails are also popular for their appearance. They have sky blue shells with a darker blue body that has iridescent marks. As pretty as they are, however, they are quite the escape artists. You will need to make sure the lid on your aquarium is secure at all times. They also like to breathe oxygen, so you should ensure the waterline is low enough for them to do so. Finally, these mystery snails are one of the best gastropods to keep with live plants, and they are slow breeders.

    • Great with live plants
    • Eats algae on various surfaces
    • Beautiful appearance
    • Makes a good snail pet
    • Requires a larger tank with a low water line
    • Will kill smaller snails
    • Can escape

    6. Aquatic Arts 5 Live Zebra Thorn Snails

    Aquatic Arts 5 Live Zebra

    Our final pick is the Aquatic Arts 5 Live Zebra Thorn Snails. These little algae eaters are great at their job as long as they are kept in nano-aquariums due to their small size. They are typically only ¼-inch, though many people seem to feel they are a lot smaller. Unfortunately, this can make them harder to find, plus they can be eaten, crushed, or lost in a tank. That being said, they do well with goldfish, dwarf shrimp, and live plants.

    From the Nerites, you will not need to worry about baby snails, however, some customers have found hitchhikers in their order. Conversely, some are also DOA. We also thought to mention that normally the Nerite Zebra Thorn snails have a black and yellow spiral shell, but this variety is not as colorful as some.

    Beyond that, this goldfish tank cleaner is an asset to smaller tanks. Just be sure they are not overwhelmed by the algae nor do they have competition. The correct number of snails for your tank is important to keep them healthy and happy in their environment.

    • Eats algae
    • Non-aggressive
    • Won’t reproduce
    • Not as colorful
    • Recommended for nano-tanks only
    • Some are DOA
    • Not as colorful

    Buyer’s Guide: Snails to Keep With Goldfish

    Snails are great for goldfish tanks to not only keep them clean but also add extra appeal to your aquarium. That being said, gastropods are living creatures, and they will need to be taken care of, as well. Thankfully, the care for these animals is easy. Before we get into that, however, let’s take a look at a few other factors.

    Freshwater Snail Species

    Gastropods, the technical term for snails and slugs, come in a variety of species. Freshwater snails are fairly common and make great aquarium cleaners as they primarily eat algae. Let’s take a look at the different types of snails that are available for your tank.


    Nerites are the most popular type of snail to keep in your tank. In fact, there are several different types of this species available such as tiger, zebra, and horned among others. They also vary in size from tiny for nano-tanks to large for bigger aquariums. Plus, they range from brightly colored to neutral in appearance.

    • Nature

    This snail is one of the best algae eaters. They also eat leftover plant food and decaying plant matter, though they never harm your live plants. As a non-aggressive creature, they run on well with goldfish, shrimp, and many other types of aquatic life. They are hardy, easy to care for, and docile.

    • Reproduction

    One of the best features of this snail is that they cannot reproduce in freshwater. They need either salt or brackish water to fertilize their eggs. This will keep you from having an overpopulation problem. Keep in mind, if a male and female are housed together, you will likely see eggs, but they won’t be able to hatch. The only exception to this rule is if you have a home water softening system because they add extra sodium to your water.

    Mystery Snails

    Mystery snails are another good option for your goldfish tank. Also called the Pomacea Bridgesii, this version of a gastropod is on the larger size at upwards of 4 inches in diameter. They have beautifully colored shells ranging in color from blue, red, green, purple, and black. They are also very active and curious, so you will see a lot of movement from them.

    • Nature

    As part of the Apple snail group, this is another variety you can keep with goldfish, shrimp, plus they are not known to harm live plants. Be that as it may, Mystery snails will opt for more tempting food if it’s available. For example, they are more likely to eat leftover fish flakes than algae. You must watch the amount you feed your fish if you want your snail to clean up the algae. What’s more, they like to climb and get fresh air, so you must have a tank lid.

    • Reproduction

    As far as reproducing, these gastropods will do so more slowly, but it will happen if you keep a male and female together. The good part is the eggs float to the top of the tank. The bright pink eggs are not hard to miss as they will rise above the waterline. If you do not wish to add to your snail family, you can scoop out the eggs to keep them from hatching, and overpopulate your aquarium.

    Trapdoor Snails

    When talking about Trapdoor snails, it’s important you understand whether they are Chinese or Japanese snails. Thankfully, one of the easiest ways to tell them apart is by their shells. For example, the Japanese Trapdoors have more vibrant shells than the Chinese Trapdoors (also called Chinese Mystery Snails). While there are other differences, the Japanese have a spiral shell that can be brown, green, golden, or white. Chinese Mystery, however, has dark brown shells.

    • Nature

    Both of the Trapdoors are docile and good-natured tank mates that are kept with many other freshwater inhabitants. They are also great algae eaters, but they won’t harm live plants and make them stellar cleaning professionals. Trapdoors are also larger snails ranging from one to three inches. They are hardy and can live to be four to five years old.

    • Reproduction

    Trapdoors will reproduce in freshwater if there is a male and female present. You will have to be careful of overpopulation with this breed, as the eggs are not as easy to remove as the Mystery snails above. The best way to keep your snail population inline is by only having one. The good part is they have large appetites, so one Trapdoor will easily be able to take care of all the algae in your tank.

    Rabbit Snails

    Rabbit snails, otherwise known as Tylomelania, is another great goldfish friend. While there are many different types of Rabbit snails, they all have the customary conical shell that is twisted on the end. Many of them also have vibrant colored bodies with similar colored shells that allow them to stand out in your aquarium. They are the biggest of our four gastropods growing up to four inches in diameter.

    • Nature

    Like other snails in this category, they are non-aggressive and can be kept with other non-aggressive species. That being said, they not only will eat algae off every surface, but they can also go for your goldfish’s food. This is another instance where it’s important to keep your fish well fed. They are also not prone to eating live plants. In fact, they often like to drudge through substrate making it a great place for live tanks as the substrate is being aerated. Keep in mind, however, they will eat Java Fern.

    • Reproduction

    Rabbit snails will reproduce in your tank if allowed. That being said, they only lay an egg once every four to six weeks, so keeping the population under control is not as difficult. If you want to steer clear over reproduction, we recommend sticking with only one, however. As they are a bigger breed, they will not have an issue keeping your aquarium tidy.

    Snail Chart

    To make life easier, we wanted to share a snail chart you can glance at. Plus, we added a few more details that are important to know!

    Nerite Mystery Trapdoor Rabbit
    Size Small to Medium/Large Large Medium to Large Large
    Non-Aggressive Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Algae Eaters Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Compatible with Live Plants Yes Yes Yes No
    Reproducers No Yes Yes Yes
    Min Tank Size 10 gallons 5 gallons 15 gallons 10 gallons
    Water Temp 72ºF-78ºF 68ºF-82ºF 64ºF-84ºF 74ºF-84ºF
    pH 7.5-8.5 7.5-8.5 7.0-8.0 7.5-8.5

    Caring for Aquarium Snails

    Luckily, caring for freshwater snails is not difficult. For the most part, they are a hardy species, and will mostly take care of themselves. That being said, there are some you should be aware of to keep them happy and healthy.

    • Water: You must consider the water temperature, pH balance, and quality of your tank’s water. You should check these levels at least once a week if not more. What’s more, each Gastropod is different, so they will require different temperatures, etc. This is also important if you plan to house different types of snails in the same tank.
    • Copper and Calcium: Copper is like poison for snails. You want to avoid using any medications containing the mineral. On the other hand, calcium is imperative to keep their shells strong. Avoiding water softeners will help.
    • Diet: Most people use snails to keep their tanks clear of algae, but a lot of them will also eat fish food, decaying plants, and other debris in the water. Typically, if you have the correct number of snails in your aquarium, you won’t need to worry about additional food. If you find there are not enough algae to satisfy your snails, you can supplement their diet with algae discs.
    • Habitat: While your goldfish is going to be king of the water and maybe a few hiding places, your snails will be in charge of the substrate and walls of your tank. First, the majority of these little fellows have no problem scaling glass walls, so a lid is important. Additionally, you want to check specific care guides for your particular species to see what type of substrate works best. For example, while some do well on a gravel floor, others like to borrow and will do better with sandy ground.
    • Housemates: While goldfish are great mates for snails, you don’t want to add any aggressive fish that can eat your gastropods. Equally important, be careful not to mix large snails with tiny ones as they can be aggressive towards each other.

    These are the most basic requirements for your algae eating snails, but as mentioned, different species can have different needs, so be sure to read any materials that are given. This is especially important for acclimating your new snails to their new home.

    apple snail
    Image Credit: Sabine Schmidt, Shutterstock

    Signs of Trouble

    Typically, snails don’t run into a lot of problems, but you could run into a few issues as time passes. Keep in mind, some varieties can live upwards of five years, so fluctuations in water temperatures, changes in water quality or pH balance, and new items added to your aquarium can have ill effects. Also, one of the biggest contributors to snail disease is an overcrowded environment, so take care to keep the population to a healthy level. Take a look at these signs of trouble.

    • Spends the majority of their time inside their shell.
    • Listlessness and lack of movement
    • Mold growing on the shell
    • Loss of appetite
    • Fungus on the snail’s body
    • Loss or dullness of color
    • Floating snails have not always passed on, but it does mean they are ill

    If you notice any signs of stress when you have more than one snail, it is best to separate them from the rest. Whether it’s one or more snails that are showing signs of illness, however, be sure to check your water, be sure there is no copper, and provide them with additional calcium if there is a shell issue. You can also increase their food. Keep in mind, some of these signs of distress come with older age, and simply means they are nearing the end of their life.

    Having Snails Delivered

    On a final note, we wanted to touch base on snail home delivery. As the mail service takes longer now than it once did, you want to be cognizant of a few factors before placing your order. First, be aware of the weather in your area. Most snails can only survive in specific water temperatures, so freezing conditions can often put them at risk.

    Additionally, keep an eye on the “expected delivery date” as the range can be anywhere from one day to almost a week. Finally, be sure that the company you choose provides your snails with heating/cooling elements along with proper packaging. Make sure you will be home and available to accept the package, so you can start to acclimate your new goldfish friends right away.

    divider fish plants 2


    We hope you have enjoyed our reviews on the best snails to keep with goldfish. If you are new to the world of algae-eating Gastropods, choosing the right species can be tough. That being said, we believe that the SevenSeaSupply Zebra Nerite Aquarium Snails are your best option. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are docile plant lovers, and great cleaners.

    If you want to start with something more affordable, we recommend you try the Toledo Goldfish Live Trapdoor Snails. This hardy variety will leave your live plants alone while taking care of the rest of the debris in your tank!

    Featured Image Credit: Madhourse, Shutterstock

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