One of the most common and often annoying problems you may face in the home aquarium is snails. The frustration of seeing hundreds of them appear from no-where almost overnight can be concerning and often confusing. It is normal for snails eggs or snails to be transported in to your fish tank by means of the plants you have bought and can even appear in filter media.
The most common types of snails to appear in the home aquarium are Malaysian trumpet snails and although they can look pretty cool, they can very quickly breed and the population gets out of control so it is advisable to take action if you notice some moving around in the decor or substrate. Snails can also transfer disease in to the home aquarium so although they may not appear to be a pest they can be lethal to your prized fish.
A few methods of controlling and reducing a snail population are:
Snail removal treatment
Fish safe treatment can be added to the aquarium to eradicate snails and will be effective at the job although this method is to be avoided if you think you have sensitive fish or plants and do not like to add chemicals to the tank. Most treatments are fish and plant safe though so it is a great method of removing the snails if you suddenly see an outbreak of them and want a quick fix.
Another great method of keeping snails under control in the home aquarium is to introduce snail eating fish, many loaches will love to eat snails including the very popular clown loach, although these would be best if you have a large aquarium as they do grow very big. If you have a smaller tank then zebra loaches will do the job and not get too big either. It is fascinating to watch loaches pick the snails out of their shells too!
If you are a fan of the “I’m bigger than you” approach then putting assassin snails (Anentome Helena) in to your fish tank is the method of controlling snails that will suite you. These larger snails will feed from the smaller snails which you tend to get from eggs found in plants that appear in your tank.
You can buy a snail trap or fashion your own and put food such as a lettuce leaf in there and wait for them all to go and fest on this during the night and catch them all at once, this is not necessarily sustainable though and will not keep them under control indefinitely, it will simply reduce numbers as it is unlikely you will ever catch all of them before more are produced.
Snails are not necessarily a completely bad thing in the home aquarium as they will help to keep the substrate moving so there is a lower chance of harmful chemical build up. They can also keep algae under control but could destroy plants so it really is a decision based upon whether you don’t want any of them at all or whether you want some but to keep the numbers down.
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