Do Kuhli Loaches Eat Snails? What You Should Know.

do kuhli loaches eat snails

While there are 1,043 species of loaches with a few that consume snails, one question still remains – do kuhli loaches eat snails?

While few aquarium owners claim that they’ve seen kuhli loaches consume snails before, others will tell you that they don’t.


I decided to compile all of the information in regards to kuhli loaches eating snails into this article to help benefit future readers.  Here’s what you will find:

  • A survey dated by in 2010 asking aquarium owners if their kuhli loaches consume snails.
  • List of responses and answers regarding the question.
  • Explaining how kuhli loaches are opportunistic animals and will consume anything if necessary.

This article will give you an in-depth explanation about the kuhli loaches and everything you need to know when it comes to them being together with snails.

Believe it or not, this topic gets asked hundreds of times in the aquarium community. We’re going to solve this together, so stay with me. 

What are loaches?

When it comes to loaches, they are a group of miniature freshwater fish. At the time of writing this post, there are at least 1,043 types of loaches with around 50 of them that are used as aquarium pets.

Did you know? 💡 The distribution of certain loaches are restricted to Asia and Europe.

For beginners, this is a short explanation about what loaches are in case you’re unsure. Don’t worry – we’ll focus mainly on kuhli loaches in this article.

Do kuhli loaches really eat snails?

Brown snail
Photo by Johannes Plenio

It’s a good reminder that loaches are essentially opportunistic, which means they’ll eat anything they can if it’s there. To give you a better idea, kuhli loaches are typically small and can consume anything that is like a tiny pebble.

If loaches have the opportunity to consume smaller fish, they won’t hesitate.

So there’s a chance, that if the snails are small enough, the kuhli loaches will likely eat them – and I’m mainly talking about tiny snails. While not every aquarium owner is sure about their kuhli loach, this question has been up for debate to this day.

To help you find a better answer, I went back to a 2010 survey about kuhli loaches eating snails. The results might give you a better idea.

This is the response from the survey “Does your kuhli loach eat snails”:

do kuhli loaches eat snails

Even when there aren’t as many votes as you would expect, this would give future kuhli loach owners an idea. In the survey, the results were:

  • 67% of people said that they’ve heard of kuhli loaches eating snails, but never seen.
  • 33% of people said that their kuhli loach does consume snails.
  • 0% said no.

While there weren’t any votes on the last option, I would say that the chances of them consuming snails are quite high. Aquarium owners probably never caught their kuhli loach eating one.

I mean, who has time to stare at their fish tank for 24 hours straight?

After doing a little research, I decided to take a look at the aquarium community’s response to this question.

Let’s hear what they have to say.

What did the aquarium community say?

do kuhli loaches eat snails

There was a community member on one of the forums asking if kuhli loaches will consume his snail. With an aquarium with algae that are beginning to spread, he decided to place snails inside the tank to deal with the situation.

After adding the snails to his aquarium tank, one major problem alerted him.

“I noticed two egg ‘nests’ on the side of the glass.” – Forum user.

The owner mentioned right after that he doesn’t want a snail explosion and it’s a known fact that certain snails can exponentially reproduce. The owner of this aquarium tank decided to purchase four kuhli loaches to see if they’ll consume the smaller snails, which led to a number of replies.

This is the community’s response:

Response #1

“When I had my old aquarium tank, I had snails that laid eggs. My kuhli loaches paid no attention to them, but maybe they paid attention to the baby snails.”

Response #2

“I browsed a website and read about an aquarium owner using garden snails as a meal for his kuhli loaches.”

Now I’m wondering which website…

Response #3

“I made a purchase of a few mystery snails, which led to babies. My kuhli loach began eating them.”

This reply is another yes that can be added to the survey. It appears that many people claiming that kuhli loaches will consume baby snails.

Response #4

“I have two fully grown snails and eight kuhli loaches. They don’t touch each other, and I haven’t seen any eggs from snails.”

After reviewing all the replies to this topic with the survey stats in mind, it appears that more people are leaning towards the answer that kuhli loaches eat only baby snails.

So do kuhli loaches eat snails? Most likely yes, but they only consume tiny and small snails.

What do you think?

do kuhli loaches eat snails
Photo by dlohner

After doing all the research, most answers appear to lean towards a yes in some type of way. Do you think that kuhli loaches eat snails? Here’s what I think.

I believe that kuhli loaches do consume snails but only to a certain extent.

While they are in fact opportunistic creatures, there’s no doubt that they wouldn’t consume snails if possible. When I say that kuhli loaches eat snails to a certain extent, I mean that it depends on the snails’ size.

After all, the kuhli loach will take any chances with food if it comes easy for them.

From VivariumTips,


Hopefully, this article will help clear the minds of future curiosity about their snails and kuhli loach. If you’re interested in any other articles about snails and aquarium, then I would highly recommend reading these:

If you have any feedback or any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below. I will do my best to answer your question as well as updating this article to help future readers with the available information.

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