Does anyone have experience with using loaches in their planted tanks? (Especially for snail control)I've read some have used clowns, yo yo's, and red tails. I have a 29 gal tank w/ 2 cories, a small pleco ( it's not going to get bigger than 4") and, and a san raphel cat. I'm getting an order of plants consisting of; anacharis, blood stargrass, japanese fan, dwarf lily, dwarf onion, ambulia, sagataria subulata, ozelot sword, crypt walkeri, & java fern. Thanx in advance for the help.
First of Welcome to the forum!
Many if not all of these Loaches will outgrow your 29g by miles, they will simply get too big for this tank, sorry to say that.
If you need something for snail control:
1) Feed less to your fish and/ or feed ever other day
2) toss a slice of washed cucumber on a fork in your tank over night, take the snail covered mess out the next day, repeat till snail population is at the level you desire
FYI: Snails are actually VERY beneficial in tank in general, but specially in planted tank and they actually help you keep the tank clean :-)
Angel is correct, many loaches get very large, far too large for a 29g tank, although there are a few species that would manage fine. However, they are very social fish and must be kept in groups, three being a minimum. Also some loaches are not noted as snail predators although they will eat some. I do not recommend adding fish to an aquarium for snail control unless it is a fish that you really want in the aquarium, since every fish--especially when it has to be a group to be healthy--adds to the bioload and having fish you don't actually want means not having something you do want in its place.
Snails are actually very useful in any aquarium. They eat algae and waste (both food and fish to some extent), some burrow through the substrate which is very beneficial especially in a planted aquarium, and almost all of them (the smaller species anyway) will keep the substrate surface loose and thus prevent algae from forming. All told, quite a useful addition to an aquarium. If they are too plentiful, it is a sign of too much available food as Angel mentioned, and that is another benefit because they alert the aquarist to possible problems from excess food.
Another point to make is that any loach that is
b) will fit in a 29 gallon
Will be far to small so aquequately control a snail population. I have a Batik Loach, a rare but awesome variety of loach in my 20g... he is only about 3 inches long (and hasn't grown for 6 months) and Batiks don't require company (so I have been told). I give him snails as a treat but even those tend to escape to the top of the tank where he can't see them and breed :/
But in a planted tank I have to agree... as long as you are not overfeeding they will be a benefit rather than a disadvantage. I never have to scrape algae in my 10g thanks to the snails. I sometimes do sweeps where I pick a whole bunch out and give them away as puffer food just to keep the population under control but no complaints so far!
I have also heard that dwarf shrimp species will eat snail eggs.
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