Do Cardinal Tetras Eat Snails?| Advantages And Disadvantages

Cardinal Tetras are a prevalent fish that many people keep in their aquariums. They are omnivorous and need both plants and a meat-based diet for a healthy life. Usually, they feed on bloodworms, crustaceans, and insects found in the water column of your tank. Along with this, they also like to nip on the algae and live plants. But will Cardinal tetras eat snails?

Cardinal tetras eat smaller snails, but they do not prey on them. Instead, Cardinal tetras eat snails to supplement their diet with calcium and protein present in the snails’ bodies. They can be picky about what kind of snail they will eat, so it’s important to make sure you offer your fish a variety of different types of live snails.

If you are new to fish keeping and plan to keep Cardinal tetras, this article will be the best resource to know more about them.

What Do Cardinal Tetras Eat?

Most cardinal tetras are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of items. Cardinal tetras get the majority of their nutrients from algae and small crustaceans. But they also enjoy insects, worms, and insect larvae (such as bloodworms).

Cardinal tetras do not need extra calcium or vitamins if you are providing a varied diet. However, you need to ensure that their diet is a perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber. Thus, you should include both plant and animal matter in your diet.

Do Cardinal Tetras Eat Snails?

Yes. Cardinal tetras eat snails. Cardinal tetra fish are omnivorous, and they will eat mollusks, crustaceans, insects, and some vegetation such as algae. In addition, they feed on plankton in the wild, similar to what aquariums offer them during captive life (pellets or flakes).

Snails are a good source of calcium for any fish that eats them. They can provide your cardinal tetra with the nutrients it needs without you having to worry about fulfilling its dietary requirements. Cardinal tetras are not aggressive fish, but they do tend to nip at the snails’ tentacles.

If you plan on giving your fish snails, then make sure that they are small. Cardinal tetras usually only eat smaller snails that fit in their mouths.

Is It Good If Cardinal Tetras Eat Snail?

Snails are a nutritious food source for Cardinal tetras. Cardinal Tetras will eat snails in the aquarium and snail eggs to ensure that they have access to enough prey items.

Moreover, some of the benefits of including snails in Cardinal tetras’ diet are:

Snails Is A Good Source Of Vitamins For Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal Tetras are big eaters. Therefore, Cardinal tetras require a balanced diet that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates to survive. Snails provide your Cardinal tetra with all of these at once.

Snail eggs contain Vitamin B12, which is good for the growth of Cardinal Tetras’ scales and their gills. In addition, this vitamin prevents Cardinal Tetras’ gills from rotting.

Snails Provide Cardinal Tetras With A Good Source Of Calcium

Snail shells contain calcium carbonate, which is very useful for Cardinal tetra’s scales and teeth. In addition, Cardinal Tetra’s scale includes a particular type of protein called Keratin that runs parallel to the scale. As a result, these fish need calcium to protect their scales against damage.

Cardinal tetra uses teeth for catching prey, so they also require the same protective measures as Cardinal Tetra’s scales. Calcium carbonate can help Cardinal Tetras’ teeth become more robust than ever before.

Snails Are A Great Source Of Iron

Snails contain iron which Cardinal Tetras can use to make their blood cells healthy.

Iron is helpful for Cardinal tetra’s circulatory system because it transports oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is essential for Cardinal Tetras’ survival, so they need plenty of iron to stay strong and fast.

Snails Increase The Immunity Of Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal Tetras’ scales provide immunity to these fish. Therefore, they need to have solid and healthy scales if their immune systems are effective against infections!

Cardinal tetra scale contains a protein called collagen that works hard to protect the fish from diseases and other parasites. Snail shells contain magnesium and collagen, which Cardinal Tetras can eat and make their scales stronger.

Snails Are A Great Source Of Carbohydrates For Cardinal Tetra

Snail shells contain glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, and dextrin that Cardinal tetra’s body can efficiently process into energy.

Cardinal tetras’ digestive system is a complicated organ. But Cardinal Tetras can break down these sugars easily. These sugars are also essential for Cardinal tetra’s energy levels!

Snails Are A Great Source Of Fiber

Cardinal Tetras require fiber in their diets because it helps them digest food faster and more efficiently.

Cardinal tetra will eat the snail shells after they eat the soft body of snails. However, they have a complicated digestive system, so they need to eat extra fiber to help it work better.

Snails Are An Easy-to-Eat Food Source For Cardinal Tetra

Snail shells are easy for Cardinal Tetras’ mouth and teeth to break into. However, their teeth are strong enough to break snail shells easily, so your Cardinal Tetra will have no problem eating snails.

Snail Shells Are A Good Addition To Cardinal Tetras’ Diet

Snail shells can be an excellent addition to Cardinal Tetras’ diet because they provide the food their bodies need to thrive. In addition, these fish are omnivores that eat plants, insects, crustaceans, and other fish.

However, you can keep Cardinal tetras with live plants because they do not eat them even though their diet can include plant matter.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Including Snails In Cardinal Tetras Diet?

Cardinal Tetras do better if they’re not fed snails. This is because these fish eat as much as their size, and it can be hard for them to get all the food they need from a snail. However, they are omnivorous, so you don’t have to give up on feeding other foods apart from snails.

Some of the disadvantages of including snails in the Cardinal tetras diet are:

  • Cardinal tetras cannot digest snail shells. Cardinal Tetras are not able to eat whole snails, so you have to cut them up.
  • Snails are not easy to breed for beginners because they tend to die often or prey to other fish.
  • Snails cannot be a sole Cardinal Tetras’ diet. Cardinal tetra needs other food sources, even if you include snails in their diet.
  • Having a lot of snails in Cardinal Tetras’ tank can cause algae growth. Cardinal tetra fish love to eat this kind of food, so there will be many more waste products if you have them eating your plants and algae.
  • Snails can be carriers of parasites and diseases that could harm your Cardinal Tetras.
  • Snails contain a higher amount of protein than Cardinal Tetras need. Higher amounts of protein can cause health problems to Cardinal tetra fish like constipation, bloating, etc.

Things To Consider When You Feed Cardinal Tetras With Snails:

Since snails are not always beneficial to Cardinal tetras. So, it would be best if you consider few things in you decide to feed Cardinal tetras with snails. Thus, the things that you must take into consideration are:

  • Cardinal tetras can only eat and digest smaller snails. Cardinal tetras can’t eat more giant snails. So, you should not include giant snails in the Cardinal tetra diet because it may cause intestinal blockage and death of Cardinal Tetra fish.
  • Cardinal tetras need other food. Cardinal tetras should not be fed exclusively with snails.
  • As snails are more likely to produce more waste, you should regularly clean the Cardinal tetra tank.
  • Always look what Cardinal tetras eat. If you find them eating too many snails, you should consider reducing the number of snails in the Cardinal tetra diet.

Some FAQs

What Should I Include In Cardinal Tetras Diet?

Cardinal tetras should be fed high-quality food. They need to have a variety of vegetables, fruits, and live foods in their diet. The best foods to include in their diet are invertebrates, such as worms (tubifex) and blackworms. Cardinal tetras will also eat small fish if they are available to them.

How Often Should Cardinal Tetras Be Fed?

Cardinal tetras should be fed several times a day in smaller portions. Overfeeding is an easy way to increase the chances of your cardinal tetra dying. In addition, Cardinal tetras will eat until they are complete, so it is better to feed them what they can consume in a few minutes than leave the food available to them all day long.

What Foods Should Cardinal Tetras Avoid?

Cardinal tetras should avoid large chunks of food, as they are likely to choke on it. Cardinal tetras also shouldn’t be fed live foods that could harm them.

So, never feed your fish with live shrimp or live crickets. In addition, you should keep Cardinal tetras away from fatty foods, such as beef heart and goldfish flakes.

What Cardinal Tetra Foods Are Safe For Snails?

Cardinal tetra foods are also safe for snails. However, it would be best if you made sure that Cardinal tetras’ food was small enough to fit in the snail’s mouth. Some Cardinal tetra foods that snails can eat are blackworms, earthworms, tubifex worms, and bloodworms.


In conclusion, Cardinal tetras do not typically prey on more giant creatures and will usually leave them alone unless an easy meal is available. Cardinal tetras also need all sorts of vegetables and fruits to get the proper nutrients. They eat snails because it is their natural prey.

But if you wish for your Cardinal tetras to stay healthy, then feeding them a varied diet will keep them away from eating other creatures that may harm or kill them. I hope this article has been helpful, and thank you for reading it.

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