Cuttlebone for Snails (Is It Safe & How To Use It?)


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Snails can make weird, intriguing, and lovely pets for aquarium owners. But are you wondering if you can introduce cuttlebone to their diet?

Not many snail owners are aware that cuttlebone can be quite healthy and tasty for their snails. However, you should know a couple of essential things about cuttlebone for snails before introducing it to the tank. 

Let’s dive right in and find out what they are!

What Is a Cuttlebone?

What Is a Cuttlebone for Snails

Cuttlebones are seen in pet stores everywhere. And it seems that every birdcage requires one or two for its resident to be happy and healthy! But what purpose do they serve, and why are they so popular in the fish-keeping community?

As the name suggests, the cuttlebone is the calcareous internal shell taken from a cuttlefish, a small cephalopod, as we all know. In the Cuttlefish, the cuttlebone is filled with air that helps with buoyancy.

Cuttlebone consists of two main components, 85% calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and 8.9 % organic material- mainly carbohydrate. Humans have used cuttlebones for many purposes over the years. Today, cuttlebone is a must-have for any bird enthusiast. It provides the necessary minerals and calcium that help birds with bone formation. 

Cuttlebone is an inexpensive, natural, and no-toxins source of calcium carbonate for birds, but are they good for aquarium snails? 

Let’s talk about this in the next paragraph.

Are Cuttlebones Good For Snails?

There are a variety of snails you can have as pets in your aquarium – from nerite snails to apple snails. However, most of these snails require generous amounts of calcium to be strong and healthy. These snails often lack adequate calcium – which they might otherwise get in the wild.

Hence, it is important to provide additional calcium through their diets. Fortunately, cuttlebone provides a good amount of calcium which helps snails grow and stay healthy. 

Eggshell vs. Cuttlefish Bone For Snails

Since we already know that snails require a certain amount of calcium in their diets, many pet owners may argue that eggshells may provide the same nutrition. It is true that eggshells contain just as much calcium as cuttlefish bone. In fact, both the items are made of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and are incredibly healthy for snails.

However, in the case of eggshells, it is best to give it to them in a powdered form. This is because eggshells can be hard and sharp, causing snails to hurt themselves while trying to eat them or slide over them. 

So, while eggshells are a good option for snails, keep in mind that you should ideally give it to them in a powdered form. 

ParametersCuttlefish BoneEggshell
CaCO3 40%40%
Polymorph AragoniteCalcite
StabilityMetastableVery Stable

How Does Cuttlebone For Snails Affect The Water?

You may be thinking about introducing cuttlebone to an aquarium that has either Mystery snail, Nerite snail, or other species of snails. While cuttlebone is highly recommended for snails, keep in mind that adding this to your tank will increase the GH and KH levels in it. 

Now, having a pH level from 6.5 to 8.0 completely fine for your tank. This simply means that the tank is slightly alkaline. However, most African cichlids and livebearers tend to prefer higher levels while South American fish species thrive with lower pH.

Depending on the snail species, you should look into keeping the pH level of your tank at an appropriate amount. Also, keep in mind that the calcium and carbonate in cuttlebone increase the GH and KH level, respectively, so do not add too much at one go. 

Will Cuttlebone Bone Raise pH?

Yes, the cuttlebone contains calcium carbonate and therefore raises the KH level. While the KH prevents the pH from changing as quickly in aquarium. When KH is raised, more acid can be neutralized and that’s why you see a higher pH. In case the pH level in the tank goes over 9, you can consider adding driftwood or peat moss to lower the level naturally. 

Will Cuttlebone Raise General Hardness[GH] In The Aquarium?

Yes, adding cuttlebone to the aquarium will increase its GH by a few levels. Of course, it is essential to keep an eye on these levels, as increasing it by too much will cause issues with your pets in the tank. 

Best Cuttlebone For Snails

Now that you know about the advantages of adding cuttlebone to your snail’s diet, here are a few of the best products to consider.

Birds LOVE Cuttlebone

Although the name suggests that this product is for birds, it is entirely safe and healthy for your snails and shrimp as well. This product contains a natural source of calcium and minerals that help your snails grow healthy and have a strong shell. Not just that, the ingredients help in blood clotting, which is essential for your pet. 

It also contains a host of other ingredients like zinc, copper, and potassium, all of which are excellent sources of nutrition for snails. All you need to do is scrape the cuttlebone into a powdered form and add it to your tank!

Emours Natural Cuttlefish Bone

The Emours Natural Cuttlefish Bone features a handy knife scraper that allows you to scrape the bone to make it powdery and easy to add to the tank. Your snails will thrive on the calcium and minerals in this product, helping them grow a hard, healthy outer shell. 

Furthermore, it comes in an assortment of sizes, enabling you to pick the most suitable one for your requirements. 

Penn Plax E2 Natural Cuttlebones

The next product features E-cuttlebones that are naturally less brittle than regular cuttlebone. These can be easily ground into a powder form to add to your tank. Moreover, it not only contains minerals and calcium but is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and honey. 

Although this variety comes in a natural flavor, you can also opt for the flavored option in case your snails want a change of taste in their diet.

How Much/To Give Cuttlebone To Snails?

It is best to add one small piece of cuttlebone for every 10 gallons of water in your tank. This adds an adequate amount of calcium to the tank without making it overly alkaline. 

We also recommend buying a testing kit to check the pH level of your tank every once in a while. Ideally, you should add cuttlebone in a powdered form as it is easier to consume and prevents your snails from getting injured by the sharp ends of the bone. 

If you purchase a 6-inch piece of cuttlebone for your snails, break it into 1/3rd before adding it to the tank. 

Final Thoughts 

So, now that you know everything you need to know about cuttlebone for snails, we can end our guide here.

Before signing off, we want to mention that while cuttlebone is excellent for your snails’ health, ensure that you check the pH level of your tank consistently. Also, be sure to add other tasty treats to your snails’ diet, so they don’t get tired of eating the same thing. 

Well, that’s all we have for you today. Stay safe, until next time!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over ten years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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