Originally Posted by LOUIE ACES
ok another question, i bought the clown loach because my cichlid tank has a snail infestation and it's getting to be overwhelming. so if i don't have adequate housing for the clown loaches, what are my other options to get rid of the snails other then chemicals? i want to stay away from adding chemicals to get rid of them so i was looking into buying a fish or maybe invertabrate but i also have to worry about my cichlids trying to eat them before they get to the snails.....
Other loaches will eat snails, some species more than others; I think that is one of the bits of info on each species in the link I posted previously. Of course, if you don't really want loaches other than for snail removal, that's different. Myself, I would not buy a fish solely to solve a snail problem.
Snails occur because conditions are right, both water chemistry and food. I have very soft tap water and keep it soft and slightly acidic in all my tanks, so pond snails do not last too long; they tend to lay eggs and hatch, but most don't survive due to calcium-low water (too soft, no minerals). Malaysian livebearers thrive (writers say they can adjust to differing water conditions better) which doesn't bother me because they meander through the substrate keeping it cleaner and better oxygen/nitrogen exchange so better for the aerobic/anaerobic bacteria process. They also colonize the filter chambers, so they must be a benefit on the biological cycle throughout the tank. If they became too many for my preference, I would simply remove them and out they go into the garden or compost (won't survive long out of water).
The other issue is food; if there is too much for them to eat, they will proliferate accordingly. So not overfeeding and regular maintainance all work to keep them within reason.
I would never add chemicals to a tank to rid it of snails (or algae). Many of these chemicals have other effects on the equilibrium and ultimately on the fish. The less stuff added to an aquarium the better for the biological equilibrium and the inhabitants. I believe copper is one mineral used in snail eradicators, and copper is deadly to fish above minimal amounts (plants need it, but in balance). One has to be careful.