Best way to do a complete overhaul of gravel and driftwood
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Best way to do a complete overhaul of gravel and driftwood

This is a discussion on Best way to do a complete overhaul of gravel and driftwood within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> My tank has, in recent months, become completely overrun by snails. I'd say at least 50 tiny ones in my 15 gallon tank. I ...

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Best way to do a complete overhaul of gravel and driftwood
Old 06-13-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
 
Best way to do a complete overhaul of gravel and driftwood

My tank has, in recent months, become completely overrun by snails. I'd say at least 50 tiny ones in my 15 gallon tank. I have 5 assassin snails for a month or so now - I don't overfeed - there are just too many to keep up with, and I think they've overtaken the gravel and are getting into the driftwood grooves.
I'm at the point where I'm over it - tired of scooping out 20 snails at a time to just have them repopulated a week later. So last night I decided the best course of action at this point is likely to completely remove the substrate and the driftwood and replace with new substrate and perhaps some shale, rock, something that isn't as porous. I also really dislike the slight tint the driftwood gives the water, I figured it would go away after a few months but 6 months or so later - still there.

I plan on keeping about 75% of the water and the filter media in it - as well as the current plants(they'll get a pretty severe rinsing to eliminate any snails/eggs) - any other suggestions? I understand I may lose a fish or two in the process, but the massive amount of snails has to be doing more harm than good - so I'm fine with that at this point. Also - any suggestions for black substrate? I'm hoping for something that will keep the tank looking as clean as possible and good for growing live plants in.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:39 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BettaDexter View Post
My tank has, in recent months, become completely overrun by snails. I'd say at least 50 tiny ones in my 15 gallon tank. I have 5 assassin snails for a month or so now - I don't overfeed - there are just too many to keep up with, and I think they've overtaken the gravel and are getting into the driftwood grooves.
I'm at the point where I'm over it - tired of scooping out 20 snails at a time to just have them repopulated a week later. So last night I decided the best course of action at this point is likely to completely remove the substrate and the driftwood and replace with new substrate and perhaps some shale, rock, something that isn't as porous. I also really dislike the slight tint the driftwood gives the water, I figured it would go away after a few months but 6 months or so later - still there.

I plan on keeping about 75% of the water and the filter media in it - as well as the current plants(they'll get a pretty severe rinsing to eliminate any snails/eggs) - any other suggestions? I understand I may lose a fish or two in the process, but the massive amount of snails has to be doing more harm than good - so I'm fine with that at this point. Also - any suggestions for black substrate? I'm hoping for something that will keep the tank looking as clean as possible and good for growing live plants in.
To be repopulating at such a rate, they have to be eating something. Find and eliminate it and the assassins will be more effective.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
 
I'm sure there is - I clean the tank though weekly and I feed only what the fish eat up in a few minutes. So I've deduced that it's probably things buried in the substrate, places I can't reach - this really seems to be the only option, I've been struggling with this for months.
I'm just hoping to not shock and kill all my fish - from what I've read though keeping a filter will minimize any huge catastrophe - the filter is very established, it's never been changed in this tank.
Also, just did a google search and realized the clear blob i discovered on my tank glass this morning is in fact more snail eggs. It's way out of control.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:03 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by BettaDexter View Post
I'm sure there is - I clean the tank though weekly and I feed only what the fish eat up in a few minutes. So I've deduced that it's probably things buried in the substrate, places I can't reach - this really seems to be the only option, I've been struggling with this for months.
I'm just hoping to not shock and kill all my fish - from what I've read though keeping a filter will minimize any huge catastrophe - the filter is very established, it's never been changed in this tank.
Also, just did a google search and realized the clear blob i discovered on my tank glass this morning is in fact more snail eggs. It's way out of control.
Fish can easily go days without food. I would do a thorough vacuuming of substrate, stop feeding for a few days, then start feeding once a day. Maybe a filter full of stuff contributes to the snails meals, so change filter also. There has to be a away to starve them out. Also i'd wait for someone elses opinion, as I'm new. Is your tank in the sun?
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:06 PM   #5
 
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P.S. If you have snails when you change over, you'll have snails in your new tank. Get rid of them first, if possible. Most likely there will be snails on the plants no matter how you clean them. Maybe the plants will take a bleach bath and kill snails.

Last edited by marshallsea; 06-13-2012 at 03:10 PM..
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:17 PM   #6
 
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I'm sure there is - I clean the tank though weekly and I feed only what the fish eat up in a few minutes. So I've deduced that it's probably things buried in the substrate, places I can't reach
And you have just answered why it is good you have the snails. I have more than a thousand Malaysian Livebearing snails in my 115g, and hundreds in the other tanks. They must be eating something or they wouldn't be there, and that "something" is organic matter like waste that you can't see but the snails can. By eating it they break it down so the bacteria can then more easily handle it further. This is all part of a healthy biological system.

Do you have live plants? That is another part of the biology.

The member who said the snails will be in the tank after you change over is quite correct; you can't possibly get them all. So i would reconsider that idea, you may save lots of work and prevent risking the fish.

Wood is a part of the habitat of most fish, especially soft water species, and removing it might well not be the best idea. Similarly, rock is not always the best in with some fish. Can't say more specifically without knowing the fish species.

Cleaning your filter more regularly might be another option to keep the snails down a bit.

Byron.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:48 PM   #7
 
I totally get that they're beneficial - but the problem is when I see 20+ clinging to each panel of the glass on my small 15g tank and covering my plants, my once pretty tank looks really unattractive and overrun. I'm not opposed to a small handful but it's getting COMPLETELY out of hand. The main point of this is not to eliminate them completely but to reduce to a level that they can be managed. I'll change the substrate, wait a month and then change the filter - i figure that will be a healthier way than doing it in reverse since most of the bacteria is in the filter at this point.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
 
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I totally get that they're beneficial - but the problem is when I see 20+ clinging to each panel of the glass on my small 15g tank and covering my plants, my once pretty tank looks really unattractive and overrun. I'm not opposed to a small handful but it's getting COMPLETELY out of hand. The main point of this is not to eliminate them completely but to reduce to a level that they can be managed. I'll change the substrate, wait a month and then change the filter - i figure that will be a healthier way than doing it in reverse since most of the bacteria is in the filter at this point.
No, most bacteria in an aquarium are anywhere but in the filter. The substrate has much more, plus every hard surface covered by water is a biofilm.

I would just remove them as you see them during water changes.

Seriously on the other, they will only come back. Changing the substrate is OK if you want a new substrate, but it will destroy a host of beneficial bacteria, and I'm not meaning the nitrifying bacteria but all the other essential bacteria. This is why new tanks or tanks with a new substrate have cloudy water and other issues. It takes time to establish a biological stability, and it should not be jeopardized unless really needed. I think long and hard before I switch my substrates, which I have been doing from gravel to sand.
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