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.