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Are Snails Hard To Control?

Discussion in 'Inverts' started by csmith, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    I've come to the conclusion that I couldn't care less about fish anymore. I'm more into shrimp as it happens to be and I haven't exactly found the two to be compatible the way I want. That being said, my newest plants for my 10 gallon came with the prerequisite ramshorn (assumed) snails. I've been reading quite a bit about how they're not quite the pariah I once thought they were, but I'm still on the fence about them. My biggest concern is I'll be changing out my substrate to a black sand and I really don't want to have to constantly dig out red shells lying around.

    I'm currently on the fence with two options:
    1) Buy a loach that I'll later have to toss into my 55 and that I'll honestly probably not care too much about later, or
    2) Let them go and hope I can control the population.

    I usually drop food into my tank on Wednesday and Saturday, bloodworms mixed with daphnia for the frogs and shrimp. I haven't ever really been concerned with slightly overfeeding, as the shrimp clean it up throughout the days between feeding. I've come to understand this can cause a huge explosion in a snail population.

    To get to the question, is a snail population actual "work" to control? That's really not work I want to do, and I'd rather deal with a fish I couldn't actually care less about. Yeah, I know it sounds lazy, but I have my priorities. As always, thanks for any help.
     
    #1 csmith, Apr 22, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  2. argnom

    argnom Guru Class Expert

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    Arrrrrrg. Snails! Squish 'em when I find one I do.

    In my experience, they are hard to control. As long as they have food, they'll thrive. And they do not just eat algae they'll also go for plants. So I think they tend to be a little difficult to control.

    I'm actually thinking about borrowing another couple of clown loaches from my LFS for a couple of months to get rid of them. The leaves of my barclaya longifolia get a lot of snail damage. It looks like crap right now. :(

    Things seemed to be a little more under control when I had some blue rams in there. I think they'll eat the juvenile snails and leave the big ones for me to crush.

    Snails, no sir, I do not like them. :mad:
     
  3. Daniel

    Daniel Guest

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    Three things in life are unavoidable.
    Death, Taxes, and Snail Infestation.
    You are bound to end up with snails eventually (we all do). Why would you intentionally add something that quickly over populates and reeks havoc on an aquarium. You will spend way more time plucking and in Argnom's case, relentlessly crushing them than you would like. If you MUST have snails, at least think about Nerites who are unable to reproduce in fresh water. However with Nerites you will have the pleasure of constantly scraping eggs off of the walls. Which ever option you choose I wish you luck. Oh, Argnom I have some lovely snails in need of a lesson if you have some spare time.
     
    #3 Daniel, Apr 23, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  4. argnom

    argnom Guru Class Expert

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    Argnom crush! Argnom squish!

    \stupid snails...
     
  5. dbazuin

    dbazuin Guru Class Expert

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    I had a snail problem and solved it with other snails.
    Anentome helena. This are snail eating snails.

    Know I have one or two snails I don't want and maybe 20 Anentome helena's.
    The only reproduce when the eating snails.
    Maybe other protein rich food like dead fish can make them reproduce I am not sure about that.
     
  6. argnom

    argnom Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, assassin snails. Just the name sounds fun! I have to get me some of those. And apparently, they are not hermaphrodites, so, one snail will not be able to reproduce by itself. It would be nice to have one lonely snail assassin in my tank. Do they get big or attack plants?

    Thanks for the info dbazuin. :D

    I seem to learn something new every time I visit this forum.
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Whip And A Chair!

    Hi,

    I am not sure why snails upset folks, :( few are harmful, some beneficial, some amusing. :D

    The overall answer to snail control is the same with most “pests,” good practices.

    Prevention is best, dip plants in Potassium permanganate solution followed by quarantine for seven days and another PP dip, to be certain at least one more cycle. :gw

    Do not over feed your tanks. Snail “blooms” does not happen without sufficient food. Arguably, we kill more fish by over feeding than any other cause, snail “blooms” are one symptom of over feeding.

    The better the water quality the fewer snails you will have, something those of us that culture them have to remember. ;)

    The problem I see with biological controls in most cases are simply the same critters that eat snails will likely eat shrimp and/or other small fish. Once the snails are gone, what are the poor snail-eating critters to do; you end up like me :eek: and have to culture snails to feed the critters that eat the snails.

    Anentome Helena, properly known these days as Clea helena, will eat snails, but actually eat a wide range of things. Clea helena is a rather slow breeder by gastropod standards. Since the reproduction is sexual, good numbers are required to ensure pairs. Unlike many snails, they lay single eggs. Since the newly hatched head straight under the sand, it may be months before they surface. They like sandy substrates and will spend a good bit of their time under the sand. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Assasin snails are useful, but I find my pond snail problem has required manual removal on top of it. They're great for anything not so prolific, and I'm only using 3 in a 50 gal.

    If your plants are on the tougher side (not delicate foregrounds like HC and glosso), a swarm of dwarf chain loach would probably do a great job.
     
  9. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Snails are hard to control. My initial thought was that it's hard to get the mind control helmets and/or harnesses that small and that it's really hard to keep them on the snails. I'm still struggling with small ramshorn snails in my cube. I found a couple of pond snails in the other tanks but I picked up one of those assassin snails and move it from tank to tank as needed which seems to be working for the moment. In the cube it has its work cut out for it with the ramshorns and the limpets but I don't think just one will do it.

    -
    S
     
  10. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    Thanks all for the responses. This has been an exercise in me not thinking things out. With a 100% substrate change wouldn't I most likely eradicate the snail population?


    I'm not sure if this was a generalized statement or a response to my post, but I wasn't at all looking to acquire any snails. The plants are hard enough right now without the added difficulty.

    It's not that I'm completely against snails. As above, the plants are difficult enough right now (as I'm sure you know by now :eek:) without the added degree of difficulty controlling the population of snails. You and I share the same apprehension towards biological controls, especially as I just got rid of my fish for this reason.

    I can't really sustain a school of those fish. They're very good looking, though.

    I've read a bit about the assassins, but three things stood out about them to me. One, they head under the sand. Would this cause uprooting in sand? Two, why replace a snail with a snail when I don't really want them in the first place? Three, they aren't the end all be all solution, so I just added an extra hitch in my tank instead of ridding myself of it. It'll probably end up being an answer as time goes on.

    I thought about the mind control helmets. Then I wanted friggin' sharks with friggin' laser beams attached to their heads. :D (Austin Powers for those that don't get it.)
     
    #10 csmith, Apr 23, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Water Quality

    Hi,

    Unless you sanitize/sterilize everything in the change out, the answer is no, you will not eradicate the snails. :p

    Assassin snails, Clea Helena are not really a problem in uprooting plants, they tend to keep the sand loose. ;)

    Good water quality is the best answer. I will tell you that high quality water and proper feeding of your critters (fish and shrimp are better competitors than snails) will drastically reduce the populations. :gw

    Concentrate on your plants and ignore the snails, as with other symptoms, the snails are trying to tell you something. :)

    Biollante
     
  12. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    How about lettuce method, leaving a piece of lettuce overnight which will attract snails at night and taking the lettuce out in the morning. I heard this method will keep the snail population in control and for rest of the snail add 4 or 5 assassin snail. I had series snail problem in my newly setup tank without any fish, no feeding. I was thinking about trying that method but suddenly the population has gone down. I think it has to do with what Biollante said. And also i have 3 assassin snails but I am sure the assasins are not reason because in a week they could not have killed all these snails. In fact i have not seen my assassin snail killing any snail, it crawls next to one of these snails but does not do anything, and i have even seen these small snail piggybacking on aassassin snail. I thought assassin snail was going to be assassinated by these small snails but assassins are are still alive :)

    Regards
    NN
     
  13. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Force For Good!

    Hi Shadow of Shu,

    As a force for good, even as an alternative to ColdFusion I know you mean well. :)

    The problem with the lettuce bait (zucchini works better), is the snails still are feeling good about the food situation and are laying eggs like crazy on the way to the feast.

    One of the other problems with biological controls is sometimes the critters are not stupid; if easier or tastier food is available they will go for it. I have noticed most of my Assassin snails, love black worms and food principally intended for the Cory’s.

    Biollante
     
  14. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    I'm on another board where inverts are very popular. So I started out with Cherry Shrimp (only a 100 :D) and then I added some Apple Snails. I originally had six Apple Snails, but now I have ??? (Blue, Gold, Pink) spread around various tanks. I have to make sure to keep the Calicium well buffered or the Snails take a hit from the low PH in the planted tanks. Once I started plucking out the clutches (eggs), it wasn't too hard to achieve population control.
     
  15. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    One day, oh yes one day you won't burst my bubble. ;) I'll ignore the snails for now. As long as they don't go crazy with the reproducing I'll see how they work out. The first hole I find in a leaf, though..

    As an aside, I can't find assassins locally. Only three local stores that I go to, and not one can readily acquire snails other than apples (I've come to find Colorado Springs is more about marine than freshwater, and I don't go the Petsmart route).
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Bubble Bursting - Evil Plant Monster. What Part Of Evil Don't You Get?

    Hi,

    Very few snails will damage a healthy leaf. Concentrate on water quality. :gw

    Stop over-thinking, you are too smart for your aquariums good. You are growing noxious weeds! :eek:

    As Detritus Mulm says, you can really chase snails around and remove the eggs, which will get old soon. Apple snails are kind of a different sort of snail critter; they are a bit more like shrimp than most snails in what they like for water quality.

    Biollante
     
  17. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    I love this kind of threads,

    I also love the way Biollante thinks about livings, including the small snails and even bugs.

    People like to kill/destroy what they fear or ignore, often in fact by ignorance. Sometimes because "self" aesthetic beliefs...

    For the nuisance of snails:
    1- they eat healthy plants?​

    How do you explain I keep (introduced on purpose) tons of snails in my tanks while plants are so healthy? I can easily count in my 12gal tank around 100 ramshorn snails and their babies, 50 pond snails and babies and above 20 Malaysian Trumpet Snails (hard to count as they hide). My 60 gal was the same but my 3 Tateurndina eradicated the snails literally.

    The most common snails are pond, malaysian and ramshorn snails and they don't eat plants, unless they are starting to decay. An attacked leave is often thought to be healthy, but if you look at it well, it will show in few days decaying signs that you missed at the beginning of the decaying process. In my tanks, they never eat even the most tender new leaves (P. helferi, glosso, riccia...), not even one hole. How do you explain it? On the other side, I have never to remove decaying leaves, they are eaten quickly over a night, even before they show first decaying signs. I also let them eat the vegetables and flakes I feed daily to my shrimps. No need to manually remove my piece of cucumber as they will take care of the rest, what a piece of mind.

    2- malaysian trumpet snails uproot plants?​

    Well, this can be true in some circumstances, but, not really a concern for most plants. Only some carpeting plants like glosso and HC can be a little issue in thin sand substrates. The solution is easy, plant densely on start. The trumpet snails don't like to dig through roots, they prefer open sand areas. If a plantlet is uprooted, just bury it a gain. Once carpet is grown, they won't come around it. In my case, the glosso don't seem to hate the conditions!!


    For the aesthetic issues of snails:

    We, humans, chose to change the nature in our tastes instead of accepting it in its beauty. My visitors are always admiring at seeing my snails all around, especially the big Ramshorns that swim in the flow and on surface like fish. My children are more attracted by the ramshorns swimming in current than from my expensive CRS grades or boraras briggitae nice reds. This is the real innocent aesthetics and attraction of nature for me rather than our primitive reflex: I like fish, I hate snails

    Like Biollante said, focus on plants health, let snails proliferate and they will be soon your best alliance against debris, organics and algae. If they are really out of control (I personally don't know what it means exactly as I have above hundreds in my 12 gal), just look for the real issue: they have food --- > plants decaying too fast while you maintain the tank too slow, feed less...

    Look at the nano in my signature that's hosting all those snails, do you really see them?
     
  18. Daniel

    Daniel Guest

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    I must know why you don't go the PetSmart Route (Yes I know this is off topic). I have reasons of my own but its always interesting to hear someone else's experiences.
     
  19. bluedragon

    bluedragon Prolific Poster

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    i am pretty sure PetSmart or Petco will not have those snails. I got my assagins from this place, not sure if they will ship, contact them.

    http://www.tropicisleaquarium.com/
     
  20. csmith

    csmith Guest

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    When I got to Colorado and decided to start back in the aquarium hobby I "tested" local businesses. I went in to each store I could find and basically said I was new to fish keeping, I had just set up my fish tank a few hours ago, and I'd like to buy some fish. 2-3 stores tried to sell me fish without one mention of why that'd be a bad idea, and Petsmart was one of them. Is everyone at the store going to do that? Absolutely not, but I'd rather not take the chance.
     
    #20 csmith, Apr 25, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
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