Sometimes people like keeping marine hermit crabs in fish tanks. They can be fun to own when you want to mix things up in an aquarium.
It’s also common for people to put snails in certain types of fish tanks. They can help to keep aquariums clean and many people think they add charm to the tank.
When it comes to hermit crabs vs. snails, which will be the better option? That depends on what you want.
Read on to learn about both hermit crabs and snails. This will help you to understand why you might want to consider each of these aquarium occupants.
Both Are Used to Keep Tanks Clean
It’s very common for people to use either marine hermit crabs or snails to keep fish tanks clean. Both of these options can help to get rid of algae, and it’ll make maintaining the tank simpler.
Of course, both marine hermit crabs and snails are going to have their ups and downs. Depending on what your expectations are, you might like one over the other.
Below, you’ll learn a bit about what snails and hermit crabs are good at. This should help you to decide which one you want for your tank.
Snails Are Likely Better At Cleaning the Glass
Snails are likely going to be much better at cleaning the glass. Many enthusiasts say that snails are some of the best cleanup crew options you can find.
If you want to buy a few snails, they’ll wind up earning their keep, so to speak. The snails will work to clean the sides of the fish tank and you won’t have to worry quite so much about scrubbing it yourself.
The snails are also good when it comes to removing detritus from the sand bed. They’ll sift through the sand regularly looking for things that they can eat.
Hermit Crabs Are Better in Some Ways
In some ways, hermit crabs are going to be superior to snails. Hermit crabs shine when it comes to cleaning nasty brown stuff out of your tank.
Specifically, they’re known for getting rid of brown diatom dust that’s on your sand. They should do a good job of maintaining the substrate.
Hermit crabs are also excellent when it comes to getting algae off of rocks. They’re better-suited to this task than snails it seems.
Both Can Be Beneficial
Both hermit crabs and snails can be beneficial in your fish tank. You just need to consider which one you’d like better.
Some might find snails to be more practical. They aren’t going to cause problems and they’ll generally always keep parts of the tank fairly clean.
Hermit crabs can do a better job of eating some types of algae. However, they’re also opportunistic eaters.
Hermit crabs are omnivores that will look to eat other things in a tank if they aren’t getting enough food. This could mean that they will go after the coral in a reef tank.
Of course, there might be situations where hermit crabs are more practical than snails. For instance, you might have fish in the tank that are compatible with hermit crabs that won’t be compatible with snails.
Thus, you’ll have to do research based on your specific situation to see what your options look like. You know that both hermit crabs and snails can be helpful, but which will make sense for you might depend on what’s going on in your tank.
Don’t Keep Snails and Hermit Crabs Together
Most people who have tried to keep hermit crabs and snails together have had poor results. What typically happens is the hermit crabs will eat the snails.
They rip the snails out of their shells and devour them. Sometimes they might be interested in the shells that the snails have, but they also might simply want a meal.
If you don’t want the snails to wind up dead, it’s best not to put hermit crabs in tanks that contain snails. The hermit crabs won’t be able to coexist with the snails.
Both Are Easy to Care For
As far as ease of care goes, you won’t have to worry much about either marine hermit crabs or snails. So long as you’re keeping the water parameters where they need to be, it’s likely going to be simple for these creatures to thrive in your tank.
They don’t require a lot of attention overall. You should have a good experience no matter what you choose.
Hermit Crabs Might Be More Entertaining
When it comes down to it, you might want to pick the option that will give you the most entertainment. Hermit crabs are a lot more interesting to observe than snails.
Snails move slowly and they don’t do much in the tank. Hermit crabs have the potential to do lots of interesting things in the aquarium.
They move in interesting ways and hermit crabs seem to have fun personalities. For many, it’ll be better to pick hermit crabs for the tank.
If you’re purely looking for enjoyment, it’s easy to see the appeal of hermit crabs. When your main concern is how well the tank is going to be maintained, that’s a different story.
Taking the time to learn more about snails and hermit crabs should be beneficial. Now you know that both are good options when you’re looking for a cleanup crew for your fish tank.
Marine hermit crabs do a better job of cleaning up some things. Snails are better at keeping the sides of the tank clean.
Which option you will like more might depend on what’s going on in your tank. Many people think that hermit crabs are far more entertaining to watch in the tank.
It’s not wise to keep both hermit crabs and snails in the same tank. Often, hermit crabs will wind up devouring the snails and removing them from their shells.
You know everything that you need to know to make a decision now. Simply do whatever is best for your fish tank and then do your best to keep an eye on things to see how everything goes.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.