Is putting snails in a 10-gallon tank a good idea? Well, it depends.
It depends upon the species you will be lodging.
For starters, a 10-gallon tank is considered the best by many, especially the marketeers. So, is it genuine advice or just another marketing gimmick?
Here’s what I found out after spending countless hours (not exaggerating!) in pursuit of the truth.
How Many Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
If the snail falls under the large-sized category that grows more than 2 inches in diameter in adulthood, you can only keep about 2 to 4 of them in a 10-gallon tank. As for the smaller ones that grow less than 1 inch, you can adopt the “one inch per gallon” rule, which means you can keep 10 of them in a 10-gallon tank.
Of course, factors like how many and what residents are already living in the tank also come into play.
If you already have other residents in your 10-gallon tank, you shouldn’t go ahead and add 10 tiny snails.
This leads to overcrowding and encroachment upon other tankmates’ real estate.
So, be mindful when adding snails to a preoccupied tank.
I have found out that most aquarists do not consider the other necessary details. Things like the surface area of the tank, algae-producing capacity, sizes of the rocks, and plant density are often left out of the discussion.
So, the one-inch per gallon rule can underestimate the factors mentioned above.
Dimension of A 10-Gallon Tank For Snails
A 10-gallon tank’s dimensions will be 20″ (Length) x 10″ (Width) x 12″ (Height). An empty 10-gallon tank weighs about 11 lbs.
When filled, the weight increases ten folds. It can weigh up to 111 lbs.
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Benefits Of 10-gallon Tank For Beginner Snail Keepers
A 10-gallon tank is considered to fit like a glove for beginner snail hobbyists. Here are some pros of getting a 10-gallon tank:
These tanks are inexpensive, making them the perfect choice if you are on a shoestring budget. They cost less than $100. I got mine at a discount from Aqeuon. If you are considering getting one, I recommend you go for this:
Perfect For Beginners
It is natural for most beginners to think that a smaller tank will be easy to maintain in the aquarium hobby. And if you presumed the same, you are barking up the wrong tree.
Small tanks are comparatively more volatile than their bigger counterparts. So you can say, with small tanks, there’s a very small room for errors.
Even though a 10-gallon tank isn’t really considered large, I know hobbyists who keep snails in a 2.5 or 5-gallon tank.
With a 10-gallon tank, the cost for upkeep will be less, and it is much easier to keep steady water parameters.
Manageable And Takes Less Space
A filled 10-gallon tank will only weigh about 111 lbs, which is light enough to be held up by most furniture in your home.
Thus, you do not have to necessarily buy dedicated stands and adjusters.
Useful As A Quarantine Tank
If you already have a large community tank, a 10-gallon tank is a must-have addition. This is perfect for quarantining sick snails or those that need to be acclimatized. Not only snails, but you can also keep other tankmates in it if the need occurs.
Snails need to be quarantined for about 3 months before they qualify to enter a community tank. In that event, a 10-gallon tank would be a perfect “bridge tank” for your snails.
Disadvantages Of A 10-Gallon Tank
Honestly, I haven’t had any problems with the 10-gallon tank upkeep. Water change has never been a hassle. I change once a week, and it only takes me about 15 minutes. It is easy to keep water parameters constant.
The only shortcoming you will most likely encounter is during stocking. If you have fast-breeding snails, a 10-gallon tank will not be able to hold the fort for too long.
Best Snails For A 10-Gallon Tank
I have listed some of the best freshwater and saltwater snails you can keep in a 10-gallon tank.
First, we will start with freshwater snails.
There are several species of nerite snails. Obviously, they have significant variability in their shell shapes and color patterns. Nevertheless, they all share one mutual characteristic: a voracious appetite for algae.
Here are some nerite snail species that can be a great addition to your 10-gallon tank:
Zebra Nerite Snails (Neritina natalensis)
Despite being brute algae eaters, these snails are impotent when scraping algae off plant leaves.
And although they live in freshwater, their eggs hatch only in brackish water – thus, saving you from the worst nightmare that is overstocking. So, zebra snails are among the top contenders to go inside your 10-gallon tank.
Horned Nerite Snails (Clithon corona/diadema)
It might come off as a surprise, but despite living their whole lives in freshwater, horned nerite snails’ eggs hatch only in saltwater. So, just like the zebra nerite snails, they are yet another fitting candidate for your 10-gallon tank.
Tiger Nerite Snails (Vittina Semiconica)
Yellow tiger-striped snails are famous for their unique patterns and colors. It will not be an overstatement if I tell you they are the single most effective snails to obliterate algae off glass, decors, driftwoods, and plants.
And just like the aforementioned two nerite snails, tiger nerite snails live in freshwater, but their eggs need saltwater to hatch.
Thanks to their bright and colorful disposition, these tiny heroes stand out in any aquarium. In addition, they do not require any special attention and are compatible with almost all species. Yes, they are humble like that.
If you put a couple of these snails in your tank, you will notice a significant improvement in the water quality the very next day.
However, they are one of the larger species of freshwater snails that grow up to 2 inches on average. So, I recommend not to keep more than 5 in a 10-gallon tank.
These snails are the exterminators. Keeping them in the tank will rid you of unwanted pest snails and eliminate the need to use any harsh snail-killing chemicals.
Although known to eat snails smaller than them, they can gang up and bring down bigger ones.
And remember that some prodigies can even grow 3 inches long. So, do not keep more than two of them in an already established 10-gallon snail tank.
Now, let’s talk about saltwater snails.
They are omnivores, making them a comfortable addition to your snail family. They are not fussy about what’s being offered. Their diet includes detritus worms, uneaten fish pellets, algae (both film and hair), and cyano.
They are mini-scavengers that grow up to an inch in shell diameter. So, it is good news that you can keep hordes of these snails without much hassle.
And if there are no other inhabitants, you can hoard about 10 of them in a 10-gallon tank.
If hair algae is a problem, turbo snails are your solution. These giant snails (2 inches in length) knock rocks and decors down in search of algae.
So, if you happen to run low on algae (which you eventually will if you keep turbo snails), you can supplement their diet with seaweed.
Remember that they cannot right themselves if they fall on their back. This is one of the reasons why their lives are often cut short.
These smaller snail species reach only about an inch in diameter. This means you can keep about 10 of them in a 10-gallon tank.
Just like the turbo snails, they will scour all over the tank for algae. However, they are a shred better than the turbos at righting themselves when they fall upside down.
Astrea snails make a great addition to your tank’s cleaning crew. They feed on green film, diatoms, and cyano.
Also known as the trochus snails, turban snails are must-have members of your algae-cleaning band.
They are unfastidious and will consume a wide range of algae – green algae, hair algae, filamentous algae, slime algae, or diatoms.
When it comes to saltwater snails, corals always have to bear their ferocious appetite.
However, turban snails are an exception. They are less likely to stress out corals.
Snails To Avoid In A 10-Gallon Tank
There are certain snails that you should avoid in a 10-gallon tank. They can breed like crazy and act like stubborn tenants when removing them from the tank.
Here are some of these nuisance snails:
Bladder snails are hermaphrodites, which means they do not need a corresponding partner to reproduce. As a result, you will have a swarm of them – consequently spiking ammonia levels in the tank.
Even worse, they can find their way into the aquarium filter and damage it while feeding on the gunk.
Malaysian Trumpet Snails
They, too, are hermaphrodites and are no less of a nuisance than the bladder snails. In fact, they are practically imperishable.
They can survive without food for months.
My friend Samridhi said that trumpet snails survived and thrived even after adding bleach to her snail-infested tank.
Do not let pond snails come into your tank. They can grow up to 3 inches in diameter and produce tons of waste. They will devour plants, multiply rapidly and desecrate your nitrogen cycle within days.
How Many Mystery Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
Mystery snails are one of the largest freshwater snail species and can grow up to 2 inches. So, a 10-gallon tank will only be able to accommodate 2 to 4 of these snails at maximum.
How Many Nerite Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
There are many species of nerites snails that come in different sizes. Smaller species like the horned nerite snails have an average shell diameter of 0.6 inches. You can house 15 of these snails in a 10-gallon tank.
On the other hand, larger species like the zebra nerite snails can reach up to 1.5 inches in diameter. You can only fit 7 to 9 of them in a 10-gallon tank.
How Many Ramshorn Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
An adult ramshorn snail is about an inch in diameter. So you can easily house 10 of them in a 10-gallon tank.
How Many Land Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
Compared to freshwater snails, land snails are much bigger in size. Some of them can even reach up to 8 inches in diameter. So, I recommend against keeping any of them in a 10-gallon tank.
How Many Assassin Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
Though the average size of an assassin snail is only 1 inch long, some can grow to reach 3 inches in length. You can fit in about 5 to 10 assassin snails in a 10-gallon tank.
Final Words: How Many Snails In A 10-Gallon Tank?
Frankly, there is no fixed answer on how many snails you can keep in a 10-gallon tank. Different snail species come in different sizes, making it harder to answer.
Furthermore, factors like the tank’s surface area, number and sizes of the rocks, and vegetation have to be acknowledged.
Usually, after I analyze these details, I go with my gut feeling. I avoid overstocking and stay away from pest snails like pond snails and other rapid breeders. I suggest you do the same.