I'm cycling a 20 gal tank and I bought a few plants last week. About three days ago some leaves started dying off the plants. I removed all the dead leaves so they wouldn't rot in the water.
Yesterday I saw a snail sliming itself up the glass. He looked kinda cool so I left him alone. Today there are about a hundred snails chillin on the driftwood and plants!!! What to do?? The tank is nearly finished cycling and it took a very long time to do so, so I really don't want to start over.
I read about the "lettuce method" here http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquarium/snails.php
This is the driftwood. The picture didn't do the snails justice. There's a lot more than it seems.
This is an ugly looking leaf which had tons of bubbles beneath it. To the right is a "bubble nest".
This is another bubble nest.
What should I do with this stuff?
Once you've got snails you've got em. The traditional advise is to 1) hand pick them out (forget this method) 2) put lettuce or cucumber down on a saucer (lightly boil the lettuce to soften it up) and take the snails that climb on the saucer out after 24 hours, repeat as needed 3) get snail eating fish, this isn't a good one for a small aquarium as most are larger fish, and some with a reputation for eating snails may not 4) chemical eradication - this isn't recommended as the chemicals can do damage to fish 5) assassin snails - these guys eat other snails, don't breed quickly like other snails, won't eat your plants and will eat the dirt on the substrate left over by fish. An aquarium with "some" snails is actually not a bad thing; you will need around 5 to 10 assassin snails.
Thanks for the input. I put a large piece of lettuce in the tank. Hopefully this stuff won't be too much of a problem. Is there anyway to get these plants back into shape? I have no fish in the tank yet.
Lightly boil the lettuce, it softens it up a tad, you only need to boil for about three minutes. Immerse once water is boiling.
Bluepillow, can you take another photo of the plants from a bit farther back? The lack of clarity makes it difficult for me to see the issues.
On of the plants looks like Dracanea, which is not a true aquatic plant, and it will in time rot if kept under water. This is the plant with green and white streaked leaves. If this is the plant that is rotting now, I would remove it before it pollutes the tank. But more photos would be helpful just to be certain.
A comment on snails, I like them. I have hundreds of Malaysian Trumpet Snails in my tanks. My water is very soft and acidic, so other snails do not fare too well (MTS can manage in soft water), but I am able to keep a few bladder or pond snails in my 115g with a pH of 6.2. Snails are very useful; they eat algae from plant leaves, eat any leftover food, eat decaying plant material, and MTS burrow through the substrate keeping it from compacting. These common small snails do not eat live plants unless the leaf is dying.
Also, I wanted to add Fluorite substrate to the current gravel. Is that a good idea?
I am willing to keep the snails only if they don't harm the plants.
This is before any visible damage.
The green and white striped leaf is Dracanea, a terrestrial plant. It will last underwater for a while, sometimes several weeks, but eventually it will rot and should be immediately removed when that starts. Many fish stores are still selling these "house plants" as aquarium plants, sad to say. This plant would be fine in a terrarium with the roots under water but the leaves in the air.
The plant in photo 6 from the top is Java Fern, also shown on the far right in photo 1. It is planted in the gravel but should not be, it will rot. It has a rhizome from which emerge hair roots; the rhizome should be attached to rock or wood (you can use a piece of cotton thread, or it there is a crevice sometimes the rhizome can be carefully stuck in it) and the hair roots will in time firmly anchor the plant to the rock or wood.
The common snails will not harm live plants.
Flourite is a good plant enriched substrate, but should be put under the gravel. At this point I would not add it to this tank.
I am still not certain of the plant with yellowing leaves; in the photos with the yellow it looks like a sword (Echinodorus sp). If it is, it is normal for existing leaves to yellow and die, and once they start they should be removed from the crown. If new growth is emerging from the centre of the crown the plant is probably fine.
I have heavily planted tanks, and tons of ramshorns, MTS, and pond snails.
It's not that snails don't eat plants. It's that they don't eat living plants.
What kind of lighting schedule do you have?
(not enough light can cause plants to wilt)
What kind of bulbs do you have in your light setup?
(If it's the wrong spectrum, the plants can die.)
What kind of filter is running?
(If there's not enough CO2 in the water, it could be harming the plants. Aeration increases oxygen and decreases CO2- without any fish and without enough bacteria, maybe there's not enough CO2. The bacteria that you grow when you cycle produce co2. :))
I've heard that mystery and apple snails will occasionally munch on a plant if they're starving, but they get big and are pretty easy to identify.
If you go to the Freshwater pictures and videos forum you can find my topic called "all my tanks- lots of pics" and see the snails that I have.
If you have that kind, then you're okay on the snail front.
Can't really see the snails in the pics... but you can be sure they're not MTS since MTS don't lay eggs.
Regarding the Java Fern, when I was buying all the plants, I specifically asked the associate if they can be planted in gravel and the answer was yes to all. I'll tie it to the driftwood in a few minutes.
The plant that looks like a sword/Echinodorus sp is the one that is dying the most. I will do my best to remove the Dracanea now, because I don't want to deal with this plant decaying later on.
Do you have an idea of what kind of plant this one is?
The markings on the bulb say Cool White 20W F20T12 H188.
I'm running two "Whisper" carbon filters. Should I only be using one? (I received this tank, hood, light, and filters from a friend.)
The snails are about 0.5 centimeter in length. The baby snails are barely visible.
Also, for completeness sake:
pH: 5.0 (if not less, because the API test kit doesn't indicate below 5.0)
Ammonia: 1.0-2.0 ppm
Nitrite: 1.0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm
My tap water is soft.
Also a question a bit off topic, if my pH is low (like it is now), can I add more aquarium salt to raise it?
I don't think salt raises the PH. Also plants DO NOT like salt.
5 PH is very low. What is the PH of your tap water?
That red plant may be Alternanthera reineckii, not sure. And I don't know any info about it, other than seeing it at petsmart before.
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