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Discusgirl18 03-13-2009 03:28 PM

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?

Byron 03-14-2009 01:39 PM

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.


Lupin 03-14-2009 08:10 PM

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.

Lupin 03-14-2009 08:15 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 179727)
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


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.:evil:

Discusgirl18 03-14-2009 08:23 PM

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

wmoyer2006 03-15-2009 01:43 PM

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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