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Old July 16th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #1
SeaSick
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Question Snails? I didn't order any!

I've just realized that the little brown dots that have been appearing on my gravel are snails. The answer became evident when the the little specks started moving around on the sides of the tank itself. Now that I know what I'm looking at, I see that they're everwhere; on my decorations, my lovely Amazon swordplants, even my heater tube and filter stem. The thing is, I never bought any snails, & even though I wouldn't mind a couple to possibly help with eating some excess foods or even a little "window cleaning" I don't think I need/want hundreds in my tank. Anyway does anybody have an idea where they came from/or how they got into my tank And even more important how to get rid of them without dangerous poisons, or having to completely break down my tank?
I'm all snails - I mean I'm all ears.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 11:33 PM   #2
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First of all, your snail population most probably started as "stowaways" on some live plants you introduced into your tank, or it might even have been a few egg masses that were adhering to the leaves and/or roots of those plants.
Snails are not such a bad thing, but the common pond snail, and ramshorn snail are very prolific and can soon blanket the tank and number in the hundreds or even thousands in large aquariums. Which is definitely increasing the bioload of the tank & upsetting the balance that we all try so hard to maintain. That being said, I would have to surmise that you are probably feeding more food than your fish can eat - giving the snails plenty to eat and thrive on.
Cutting back on feeding your fish will slow down the increase in the snail population, but not reduce their existing numbers. A few snail eating loaches, ( clown loaches are the most popular ) A school of 3 to 6 will make quick work of the snails sucking them right out of their shells.
There's actually another method especially useful when you can't introduce clown loaches to your tank because of larger predatory inhabitants; It's something I learned over 40 years ago while working at Al's Aquarium on Nostrand Ave. in Brooklyn. I've recommended many times over the years and used it many times myself. It involves tying a chunk of steak like a bale of hay with some lightweight fishing line, then leaving a long enough line attached to reach out of the tank, drop it in the tank at night after you've turned off the lights. In the morning pull up your line and see how many snails have gathered on your "bait".
Good Luck! & Happy snail hunting Marty
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Old July 17th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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Pond snails in particular will chew on plants and are particularly destructive to Amazon Sword Plants. If you have enough they will destroy all your plants unless you get rid of them. Another method to clean up pesky snails if your not squeamish is to crush the snails with your fingers. Many fish will eat "snail meat" including catfish. It took about 1 week for me to completely rid the tank of a large group of plant destructive snails in a 10 gallon tank with this method. Not all snails eat plants, so if you have too many and want to cut back your snail live stock instead of getting rid of them, Marty's method sounds good. A word about chemical methods of getting rid of snails like Snail-Rid. This compound contains Copper Sulfate which can be detrimental to certain fish. Using Aquarium Salt is another way to get rid of them, but certain catfish respond badly to high amounts of salt in the water.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #4
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Thanks guys! Once agaim this BAS Forum has answered my questions, and given me choices of solutions to my aquarium dilemma. The forum (and also club meetings) will be my first choice whenever I have questions, or problems of an aquatic nature. Keep up the good work!
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Old July 20th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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As marty has already mentioned most loaches will keep snail population in check if not completely decimate it. I've had great success with both the clown loaches and pakistani loaches.
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Old July 20th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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The problem I have with using Loaches or any other fish to get rid of pests is the obvious, when the pests are gone you have to do something with the loaches. Unless you keep loaches which I don't, you have to buy the loaches, Quarantine them before putting them in the tank, move them to the tank with the snail problem and wait until they kill all the snails and then move them to another tank or get rid of them. It seems like too much work to me just to get rid of a bunch on unwelcome snails.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 04:22 PM   #7
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Loaches eat everything else, you don't have to move them after they are done "cleaning" your tank.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
Loaches eat everything else, you don't have to move them after they are done "cleaning" your tank.
Loaches are an interesting and varied species of fish, but I don't collect nor am I interested in loaches. I specialize in other fish. It should be mentioned here that the Clown Loach can attain a length of 12 inches and is too big for most aquarists tanks. The Pakistani Loach or "YoYo" Loach is smaller, but can reach a length of 6 inches, which in my opinion, is still too big for aquariums less than 30 gallons. My tanks are species tanks. If I were to use fish to "clean my tanks" I would use Corydorus catfish which are a reasonable size and I have an interest in. I know Cory's don't kill snails (however they will eat snail eggs), but why would I go to all the trouble to buy and quarantine a fish that I have no interest in and that will in all probability outgrow my tank within a year, just to kill some snails? It makes no sense to me, since I can get rid of the snails by manually removing them.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 09:30 AM   #9
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Bob,

I have kept both species of loaches mentioned above and let me asure you none will ever achieve their natural growth potential. Most clown loaches sold in the store are about 1-2" in length. The yo-yo loaches come even smaller. In the 5 years I've kept a group of both species none grew past the 2.5" mark, they did get bulkier but not much longer. I've seen some larger clown loaches at SIG meetings and at about 4-5" they were over 10 years old.

The choice is entirely up to you, we're are here to provide some suggestions to your problem.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 03:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Bob,

I have kept both species of loaches mentioned above and let me asure you none will ever achieve their natural growth potential. Most clown loaches sold in the store are about 1-2" in length. The yo-yo loaches come even smaller. In the 5 years I've kept a group of both species none grew past the 2.5" mark, they did get bulkier but not much longer. I've seen some larger clown loaches at SIG meetings and at about 4-5" they were over 10 years old.

The choice is entirely up to you, we're are here to provide some suggestions to your problem.
Xoomer,
Thanks for the comments regarding your experiences with these fish. Having never owned a Loach, I have no experiences with this species, so I obtained my information from http://www.loaches.com/, which is the Loaches Online website. Loaches Online is an excellent website totally dedicated to Loaches and the hobbyists who collect them. In any event, I don't have a Snail problem. It was originally posted by "Seasick", I was just adding my comments from my experiences with controlling Snails.
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