Been a while since anyone's posted here...hope someone sees this. I have a 30 gallon community tank: Platys, neon tetras, zebra danios, 2 loaches (yoyo and another one with stripes...forget the type.) I had a serious, serious ramshorn snail infestation. Like, hundreds. Every day a new population explosion. I want to get rid of them.
Loaches were unable to control it. They threw up their little fishy hands in despair.
Vegetable bait attracted many of them, but the other snails decided to lay off the vegetables and lay eggs instead.
I got a new tank, new gravel, soaked the plants in 1/19 bleach solution x 5 minutes THEN quarantined them for 7 days
Got new wood. So, all new furnishings. Cycled the tank with new media. Put fish in.
Snails reappeared 2 weeks later.
Have removed media and charcoal, dosed with copper 4 ppm x 1 week THREE TIMES.
First time: After I cleaned all the copper out of the water, snails reappeared 3 hours later.
Second time: After I cleaned yada yada yada, snails reappeared 2 days later.
Third time: Tank has been marinating in copper for 2 weeks now....every day I see a snail or two cruising around like the copper isn't there.
Apparently, copper doesn't kill eggs.
Next I plan to go nuclear.
Have ordered Potassium Permanganate. This stuff is SERIOUS. (Like, you can keep it to start fires with when the zombie apocalypse comes and matches are in short supply.) Plan: Remove fish and biological media; soak plants in PP solution; and sterilize the tank with 5 ppm PP x minimum 6 hours.
Anybody tried using Potassium Permanganate?
i found that if one removes all the fish and drains the tank and then pours boiling water over everything the pests generally are reduced to nothing however this includes the filter and its media and does smell kinda funky.
Totally just got rid of about 30 of these pest snails that hitchhiked on a plant that I purchased.... My daughter and I are on the hunt everyday in my shrimp tank looking for them. We find them, look out, we'll take out the decorations they are on and get rid of them immediately... I think i'm finally cleared of them after 2 weeks of purging.
Whilst there's a lot going for loaches, for those of us looking for South American fish I can recommend the Corydorus sp.. Obviously, the snails have to be of a size small enough for the fish, which use their 'whiskers' to search through the substrate. I've also watched pencil fish enjoying a find of snail eggs.
I'll start off with the pest snails which many of you find hard to rid from your tank and go through the methods of removing them weighing up the pros and cons of each.
Chemical solution for killing snails:
Had-A-Snail is just one of the many chemical solutions - usually using copper and sulphate ions (incedently fact of the day human red blood cells contain haemoglobin (iron), snails have copper in place of iron and their blood is actually blue!). I'm not sure why the copper kills snails, but you'll have to take my word for it. The pros are that it is very fast however the cons are two fold:
1) You'll tend to have many little shells just left lying around in your tank (may/may not bother you).
2) The dead snails pollute the water TERRIBLY. People sometimes use a medications with copper in it and have found out that inadvertently their population of trumpet snails (or others) is wiped out, as they rot the ammonia and nitrite readings will shoot up and you have to be alert not to lose a few fish because of it. Obviously this will only happen if you have a VERY serious snail infestation.
Biological- snail solution:
A better solution that using chemicals is a solution involving other living organisms or in this case more fish! (Yes a great excuse!) However it is not always ideal. The most common fish suggested for snail munching is the clown loach which as you will see on the Clown Loach Profile grows up to 12" or 30cm. Obviously, this is not practical for many aquariums as they will soon outgrow the tank. Keeping them in a tank too small for them will limit their lifespan (they should live to about 15 years) and make them more susceptible to diseases. Other fish such as puffers are sometimes suggested to combat water snails, but these are generally not suited to a community aquarium as they use their beaks to rip tails and fins of other fish.
Manual- snail solution:
As you will see the other two solutions do not work for everyone and have problems for the bulk of wanabee snail haters. This is probably the most obvious and the most boring solution to the problem, results won't be instant but you have to assess the causes of the snails:
1) The snails are there - not because they eat fish mess (it has low energy value as well as probably not tasting nice ), they are there because there is excess food for them. Perhaps you are overfeeding your tank - cut back the feeding to every other day and reduce the amount you feed to your fish - they should be furious at the surface fighting for food everytime you feed them not lounging about in the middle of the tank and waiting for it to sink down to them and looking bloated. Cutting back feeding will also solve any algae problems you are likely to be suffering.
So the snail population will decrease over time - not because snails die off and pollute the tank, but because - well yes they will die over time but the fact is the food is no longer in great excess and so they don't rapidly multiply in a period of relative "snail boom".
To help them on their way you can manually remove them, there are many "methods" for making it easy to remove vast amounts of snails but unless you are SERIOUSLY overun with pest snails I have found them to vary in success never the less I will list them later. One solution is to pick the snails off in the tank - this is time consuming you drop them and they then lurk in the gravel, a modified solution to this is crushing them when they are in the tank instead of taking them out - i do not know a single fish which will not eat squashed snail! They make a sort of crunch - perhaps pest snail squashing isn't for everyone though .
The two main methods I hear as the "miracle cure" may work for you, but didn't for me.
1) Anchor a piece of lettuce under something, leave it overnight and when you turn on the lights the next morning it should be covered. Just pitch them in the trash. Simple and completelty safe.
The second method varies only in that it uses courgette /zucchini (I believe you Americans call it that?) inside a glass, and feeding the caught snails to a tank of puffers or clown loaches instead of throwing it into the trash.
Note, I'll update this as I have time and add to the sections in the order they are in the title. Feel free to add comments which I can include in the article as it will be pinned and people redirected to it for all common aquatic snail issues.
Thankyou i did wonder if they polute the tank. As they create a sort of soup effect in the water with larvae all over the glass Ive ordered a gadget to catch them on the internet. An 8 hole thing Its taking a long time to arrive i dont know if the little pastic umbrella type thing works either. I try to hoover up the dead shells with the gravel cleaner. Most of the treatments such as esha say they kill snails but i havent found that to be the case i am guilty of over feeding. That made me chuckle. The way you described that point.
If you dont want ANY decorative snails, by that i mean apple snails and such, assassin snails do the job, as soon as they hit the tank you see the 'prey' drop and run for cover.
Put 4 in my tank a long time ago, must have been a male female mix, have had many problems come up over the years but snails has never been one of them. Have no idea how many there are now. Double figures at least.
Assassin snails are slow breeders as well so don't infest a tank. When you think you are clear of vermin the assasin are easy enough to pick out, if you need to.
I just started a new nano tank for Celestial Pearls and Panda Cories last week, with new plants and yesterday I noticed a couple of racing snails in the tank. I've no idea what their real name is, but they are small pea shaped and go like the clappers all over the place - would make a good companion for Lewis Hamilton. I have been infested with these before and know they a damn difficult to get rid of and multiply at about the same speed that they move. They aren't Nerite snails for sure as they don't get big enough.
I picked those out and dropped a few Assassin in the tank. I'll keep an eye on things as I really don't want the damn things.