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post #1 of 6 Old 03-13-2009, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Snail Plague

So I work at petsmart and we have these small snails everywhere. Some are round and some are cone shaped. So what kinds are these? Do they live well in soft water? And how do you succesfully get rid of them?

Got new 56 collum tank 12/26/2008
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-14-2009, 02:39 PM
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Personally I like having some snails in my tanks, and due to my water being very soft and slightly acidic they do not multiply as fast as some aquarists have indicated can occur in harder water, so for me they are not problematic.

Snails need calcium to build their shells, and in softer water there is little calcium. When my tanks were more acidic (around pH 6 due to our local water then being well below 6) snails would never live in my aquaria. But since our water is now 6.8 (mostly) and the tanks are steady at 6.4 to 6.6, the snails are surviving and reproducing, though no where near a level I would worry over.

The cone shaped snails are probably the Malaysian livebearing snail, sometimes called trumpet snail. Generally they live in the gravel/sand substrate, and many aquarists (including me) consider them beneficial. The round snail may be a pond snail (there are many species under this name). I also have these, and they graze plant leaves and everything in the tank for algae and left-over food. Some aquarists have suggested they eat plants, but I have never had that occur. There is also the ramshorn snail that is somewhat common, and the shell grows circular like a ramshorn. I've never had these.

I would never add any chemical to a tank to get rid of snails; hand pick them out if there are too many. Some loaches will eat snails; I've forgotten which ones, but other members who have experience with loaches will know.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-14-2009, 09:10 PM
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Round ones are Physas sp. Cone ones are Melania sp. The latter requires plenty of calcium as these are calcium absorbers. Putting them in soft acidic water will severely erode their shells. An early indicator would be the white tips on their shells. If your water is soft and acidic, you'll be unable to keep most snail species there for a long time. It can be corrected by increasing the KH and pH. Calcium chloride by Kent liquid calcium will increase the KH but not the pH. Calcium carbonate using Caltrate or Tums will increase both. Other alternatives are plaster of Paris pucks, limestones, crushed corals, crushed oyster shells, Wonder Shell, aragonite and marble chips.

I find it a very poor excuse to add loaches just to eradicate the snails. I'd recommend leaving the snails alone and simply remove the adult ones and allow the young ones to grow. They are part of the ecosystem after all. Adult snails are removed due to the fact these can already reproduce. Both of your snails are asexual. Many other species however are sexual particularly all the species of the Ampullaridae family which includes the popular Pomacea diffusa and Pomacea canaliculata. Before you consider other snails, correct your KH and pH first. Make sure the fish are snail-safe as most fish do nip their soft tissues. You could try assassin snails (Clea helena) to eradicate the adult "pest" snails you have but again, increase the pH and KH first. I'd keep the pH consistent at 8.0 with hardness level at 10-12 dKH.

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post #4 of 6 Old 03-14-2009, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Some aquarists have suggested they eat plants, but I have never had that occur.
This has bothered me for some time. It is just coincidental to me they ate the plants because the leaves are dying or already dead and they blame the snails for that when they should blame themselves for not checking their nutrient levels. I've never seen mine eat them at all.

Here's my article on controlling snail population.
Snail Infestations and Solutions to Eliminating Them - Aquaria Central

Quote:
There is also the ramshorn snail that is somewhat common, and the shell grows circular like a ramshorn. I've never had these.
They can proliferate quickly but not as quick as the Physas sp. The first time I had them, I had plenty but not as plenty as the pouch snails. I'm still stuck to only two here but I suspect my Pomacea diffusa are eating their eggs.

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post #5 of 6 Old 03-14-2009, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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I am just wondering cuz I want live plant but those snails always seem to be on them. My water is zero for softness so they proubly wount have a great chance of surviving in my tank. My p.h is 7.6

Got new 56 collum tank 12/26/2008
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-15-2009, 02:43 PM
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In my opinino a few snails never hurt anyone.

Anyone that says that their tank is completely overrun by snails probably were overfeeding anyway.
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