Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to try to get some Zebra loaches (Botia striata)
. I had already been considering them, and the information received here confirms that they would be a good choice for my tank. I also like their markings. Hopefully, I can find someone locally to special order some for me (along with a number of other fish in hopes of getting the price down).
Bluebell, I understand your reservations of having loaches for the purpose of eating snails, but after having given it considerable thought, I have concluded that most fish we buy are bought for a specific purpose of some sort, be it to add a flash of color (cardinal tetras), to enjoy their breeding colors (dwarf cichlids), or just because we like them (guppies!). They each serve a particular purpose for us all. So why not buy fish for the purpose of keeping the snail population in check?
As long as each fish selected is given proper care in a healthy environment, I don't think it really matters why we buy them. I find that getting fish for a certain purpose actually helps to widen my enjoyment of fish that I might not otherwise get, such as my dwarf chain loaches. I know I would never have gotten them had I not wanted them to help control my snails, but after getting them, they opened my world to their adorable personalities. Now they are a favorite in my tank! I would have never found that enjoyment had I not wanted them for the snails. Now I not only have fish that help with snail control, but fish that I have learned to enjoy and appreciate for themselves and of themselves. The snail control is just a bonus.
And speaking of dwarf chain loaches controlling MTS snails, I have found them to be helpful. They will not eat the larger snails, but they do a good job on the smaller ones which serves to not eradicate the snails, but to help keep their numbers in check. It's the level of control I had wanted (I added the MTS in that tank intentionally).
Now I'm fighting not only ramshead snails, but pond snails from an unsuccessful trade. Those snails have managed to populate all of my tanks, thanks to the use of my python (the only way I can figure out how they've moved into tanks otherwise free of them and without the addition of new plants). The MTS snails don't harm my plants, hide during the day, and help to keep the substrate stirred up. But the ramshorn and pond snails are just unsightly to me. They are on the glass and plants 24/7.
I learned from my MTS that manual control is an exercise of futility. They can reproduce faster than I can catch them.
And for those who think that control is achieved by not overfeeding, I beg to differ as I ran an experiment that proved, at least to me, that snails will not only survive, but reproduce, even when it appears there is no food available for months. I put MTS snails in a bucket with driftwood and a second bucket with nothing but rocks. The driftwood and rocks had both undergone extensive cleaning including long term, high dose bleaching, followed by long term exposure to high dose of vinegar. (Long term = 2 weeks or more; high dose = 25% concentration or more). In fact, I used the snails to see if the driftwood and rocks were lethal after having undergone such extensive sterilization.
What I found surprised even me. The snails in the driftwood bucket not only survived, but thrived. They grew and multiplied! It appeared they actually ate the wood. NO food was ever put in the bucket! In addition, when I ran the experiment with the rocks, I was again surprised to find that the snails survived and even multiplied! Again no food was ever given. The snails with the rocks did not multiply as fast as the ones with the driftwood, but not a single one died. I ran the experiment for over 3 months before I gave up.
I cannot say whether ramshorn or pond snails could have survived or even multiplied under the same conditions, but I know for certain that MTS snails cannot be controlled nor eradicated by controlling the amount of food placed in a tank. The fish would die long before the MTS snails.
Sooooo... now it's just a matter of finding some Zebra loaches. I'm thinking 5-7 would be a good number since they do prefer to be in groups. I have found that fish that prefer to be in groups not only do better when in a group, but their personalities come out more which only adds to my enjoyment of them.
Thanks to everyone for their help! I'm looking forward to finding and adding zebra loaches to my 75g tank!