Will Vinegar Kill Aquarium Snails? ( How to use it)

Snails are nice aquarium animals to have in our aquariums due to their colors and their helpful behaviors such as cleaning the tank by eating algae etc, but sometimes they could become a serious problem for our aquariums, hence we look for the possible ways or means to remove them entirely.

There are some snails that could reproduce very fast and in their numbers, thereby overcrowding our tanks and outstaying their usefulness.

Such species of snails do reproduce asexually and can turn into pests in our tanks.

Related: 5 proven methods to kill Assassin Snails

Vinegar is a chemical that is believed to take care of the menace of snails by killing them when applied.

In this article, we are going to know if vinegar could kill aquarium snails, and other ways to take care of pest snails.

Will Vinegar kill aquarium snails? Vinegar contains acetic acid which is highly fatal to snails, and it could dissolve both the snail’s body tissues and the shell.

Vinegar is one of the most effective chemicals to deal with troublesome species of snails such as the Ramshorn Snails, Malaysian Trumpet snails, etc.

Effects Of Pest Snails On Aquariums

We cannot proceed further without first of all explaining to you the negative effects of pest snails and why it is very necessary to eradicate them from your aquarium.

Pest snails such as Ramshorn Snails, Malaysian Trumpet snails, Pond snails, etc are asexual.

This means they have both the male and female organs individually and could reproduce on their own.

Related: 4 likely reasons why your Assassin Snails are dying

Again they reproduce very fast, and in large numbers, thereby overcrowding their tank in a very short while.

They will occupy your tank and make it look very unkempt and unattractive, they will eat any live plant in the tank and also pollute the water, and litter their eggs everywhere.

They will block the filter, heater, and air pump, thereby discomforting other possible tank mates.

In fact, pest snails are a total nuisance that should be dealt with or they will end up dealing with you, as, you can’t possibly control their population, at least manually.

Will Vinegar Kill Snails?

Vinegar contains acetic acid which is very fatal to snails and other Invertebrates.

There are two types of vinegar, white vinegar which contains 5-20% acetic acid, and distilled vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid.

This means that the white vinegar is far more fatal to snails and could even go to the extent of not only dissolving their body tissues but the shells too.

Related: Do Apple Snails eat each other?

So, it is a very effective way of substance to deal with troublesome aquarium snails.

Apart from snails, it could also be used in the kitchen to kill insects and ants, etc.

How to Use Vinegar To Kill Aquarium Snails

Vinegar is a liquid that contains acetic acid. Generally, white vinegar contains high concentration than distilled vinegar. You can use both types to kill snails.

To use it to kill snails, first, you should know that it is very harmful to other aquarium animals too, both vertebrates and Invertebrates, so first of all, remove any useful animal in the tank.

Remove the live plants,

Remove the caves,



Gravels, etc.

Remove the water and add this chemical to the tank, use a sponge and razor to scrub the tank because snails eggs could be anywhere.

Leave the tank for about 5-8 minutes before rinsing it with fresh water, so that no remaining organism will survive at such a length of time.

After rinsing, dry the tank and put treated water in it to house your aquatic animals again.

Don’t put back the things you removed from the tank, first of all, you need to treat them too, just in case there are some eggs hiding in them.

Put white vinegar in small water, place in those inanimate things you removed from the tank in the chemical water, such as filter, heater, caves, etc and allow them to stay up to 10 minutes.

This will enable the chemical to kill any living snail in those things, and even their eggs too.

Dry them under the sun for some minutes, just in case a few live eggs are remaining.

Note – don’t expose ornaments made with calcium to vinegar or it will destroy the ornaments.

Does Vinegar Kill Snail Eggs?

Vinegar contains acetic acid which is very fatal to both Snails and their eggs. This chemical can dissolve both snails and their eggs entirely.

Sometimes we could get pest snails in our aquariums through their eggs.

They could come with live plants and due to their asexual nature, will multiply in a short while and become pests to us.

This is why it is recommended to dip live plants in vinegar for about 4-5 minutes before planting them in the aquarium, in order to eliminate any egg or tiny snail that is hiding in the plant.

Different Ways To Eliminate Snails From The Aquarium

There are many ways and methods to remove pest or troublesome snails from our aquariums, and they are:

Biological Method

The biological method is the method of removing troublesome snails from the tank by introducing other animals that could eat them and eliminate them from the tank.

When I said other animals, I meant to say, less troublesome or more preferred animals.

Some species of fish and snails could eat a whole lot of the population of Snails and their eggs, thereby reducing their population drastically or even total annihilation.

Predatory fish such as:


Clown Loaches

Yoyo Loaches

Dwarf Chain Loaches


Pictus catfish

Assassin Snails are less troublesome and also a good choice to control the population of pest snails.

They can eat other snails, no matter the size of the snail, and they could be very useful in handling other Snail populations.

They Could do the job in a very short while by eating all the pest Snails and their eggs, thereby saving you the trouble of having to do it manually by yourself.

Manual Method

The manual method of dealing with troublesome snails in your Aquarium involves getting in foods that snails love most in your tank, leaving the food to stay overnight, and removing it with whatever snails are on it.

Vegetables could do the trick because snails could smell some of them, and come for them too.

Although this method could help to reduce their population, it is not very effective, as it can’t possibly eradicate them in totality from the tank because their eggs and tiny snails will still be in the tank and will still grow and have to represent the ones you eliminated.

You could also handpick them or use a net to take them out, but it is not still effective.

Chemical Method

By far this is the most effective method is getting rid of pest snails from the tank.

This involves the use of chemicals such as Vinegar, Alum, Copper sulfate, etc to eradicate both the snails and the eggs in totality from the aquarium.

With the use of chemicals like the vinegar, both the snail, its shell, and the eggs will be dissolved thereby making it the most effective way to control them and checkmate their menace in the tank.


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Cheney, S., 1987. Controlling snails and slugs. US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library.