I was contemplating breeding snails as a nice little snack for my loaches. I have 2 yoyo's and 2 clowns. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. Why types are easiest to breed, what do loaches prefer if any.
I figure the asexual variety would be the easiest but I don't want to risk an infestation in my community tank. Lastly will a 2.5 gal be sufficent, or should I have a 5 or 10? anything special needed for the snail tank? heating range? filter requirements etc woudl be helpful.
The loaches you listed would love rams horn snails, but if you are planning to breed snails for food you're going to need quite a few of them to keep up with that type of appetite demand. Ram's horn snails are typically tropical, so temps in the low to mid 70's range works well. They seem to thrive and reproduce the fastest at the low end (72 - 75F). Live plans and flake fish food, algae wafers.. snails will eat almost anything, including dead/rotting fish.
Watch water params with the snails. They put out a lot of solid waste and are very sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Dead snails is one of the most awful smells there is.
If you have the ability to start out with at least a dozen snails you will have more success at keeping a good supply of small ones, then only feed out the small to medium size snails and take breaks when you notice your population decreases. (always allow at least a dozen snails to mature to full grown or large in size to keep your egg supply plentiful) It takes about 6 months to a yr to get a good snail breeding supply going for food... and the bigger the tank/container you use for them the more snails you will get. A rubbermaid tub with heater and sponge filter works well and is less expensive than setting up an actual tank. Water changes don't have to be large, but they should be done weekly to keep enough mineral content in the water for the snails bodies to utilize and to promote healthy shell growth.
If this were an only food I would suggest purchasing them regularly to keep up with supply/demand... but if this is just a snack for once in a while, this type of procedure should provide what you're looking for.
Hope that helps. If you have more questions, please ask away...
Exellent! Thank you very much. This is just suppose to be a snack, I feed tropical flakes, shrimp pellets, frozen blood worms, and frozen brine shrimp, however it is a community tank, so I am not sure how much of the frozen feed they are getting, so I figured if I toss in a few snails once or twice a week It would be a nice treat for them.
I imagine I want to keep a clear bottom (IE No gravel/sand) for easy harvesting?
With rams horn snails I have not found the need for clear bottom as they spend more time on the glass than in the substrate, but the choice is entirely yours. If you were working with trumpet snails you would surely want a substrate as that is where they thrive, they are a detrivore.
For what you are describing, a rubbermaid tub would be the ideal set up for rams horns, and if you can toss in some live aquatic plants to help feed them, even better. I have found that naja grass works great for this purpose.
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