How to keep nerite snails alive while I clean out a tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: Medford, OR
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How to keep nerite snails alive while I clean out a tank?

I've gotten an infestation of pond snails from a bad batch of plants, and now I'd like to poison the tank with a copper-based fish medicine. I understand that that's fatal to invertebrates even in low concentrations. However, I've got two nerite snails that I want to keep alive. How can I keep my nerites alive while the tank is full of copper? What, specifically, do they need to keep them alive for a couple days while I poison the tank and then cycle the water to remove the copper?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 09:07 AM
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As far as I know any copper based meds will soak into the substrate and leech out over time. I wouldn't risk it. Maybe a new scape is in order? Uproot and treat plants as per usual, boil substrate and start anew. Maybe through disaster you'll find inspiration.
Another option is...
Add fast breeding competitive snails. Giant Rams worked for me. Their eggs are easily visible and the snails grow large. I have gone from over ridden to none in 3 months. Bought some assassins to keep the ram population down.
Worked well for me.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 10:29 AM
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mine were fine in a small container of tank water with a few plants....

I thought copper left traces after the treatment.... :/
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 07:23 PM
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Hi, I'd recommend against using copper in a tank that you ever want to put inverts in. I picked up a used tank from someone that couldn't have inverts in it for a year. I suspect the previous owners used a copper medication on their sick fish (that died anyways, hence them selling it). I tried ghost shrimp, ramshorns, red cherry shrimp, and nerites and they all were sick or died within a week of being placed in there. Finally after a year of being planted and water changes I have been able to put my nerites in it and my ramshorns have started breeding as well.

I'd suggest looking into some assassin snails for a biocontrol. They are a snail that eats other snails. I don't have any myself, but I've looked at getting some and they should leave your nerites alone as they should be too large for the assasin's to handle.

Do you have troubles keeping enough algae in your tank for the nerites to eat? I've got that issue now....
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 08:56 PM
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Assassin snails will work wonders for you. BUT, they have been known to team up and take down bigger snails, so I wouldn't recommend keeping your nerites in there. I would relocate them as you were going to and let the assassins do their thing.

The other route would be to throw a piece of lettuce or zucchini in there, shut off the lights for like 2 hours, then go in there and the snails should be all over the veggie. You can just pluck it out with the snails. Repeat a few times...
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 10:13 PM
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I would think that rather than copper, use salt. Just dose the water with a high concentration of aquarium salt. It will kill the snails, and it is much easier to rid your tank of saltwater than it is to get the copper out.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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I rarely see algae in my tank, but I've had two nerites in there for months, and they seem happy enough.

So how long would it take for a bunch of assassin snails to clean out a 10 gallon tank? And again, how do I keep my nerites alive for that time in a mason jar? What do they need?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 04:27 AM
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whoah... copper is a bad idea. I think it will take a loooonnng time before it becomes safe again. I would start picking out the pond snails with tweezers. Make it a game or a therapeutic exercise. after a while (~ 1 week) you'll start to see less and less of them as you pick them out of the tank. It sounds like a long process but really, you can make short work of the pond snails if you pick at them a few minutes each day. It will be a lot shorter than having to wait for a tank treated with copper to be snail-safe again
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 04:45 AM
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+1 on *not* doing a copper treatment. Why poison your tank, potentially rendering it lethal to the stuff you want to keep, if there are other options?

Manual removal, done regularly and persistently, will go a long ways to getting rid of the problem. If you've got floaters, they're an easy place to find 'em. If you don't--do a light prune and let the trimmings float on the surface--pond snails will tend to congregrate on 'em, making the critters easy to find and pull.

Meanwhile, ease back on your feeding and do a good clean of any dead or decaying plant material. And then get yourself a single assassin. Takes two of 'em to reproduce so a singleton won't put you at risk of a new snail problem, and a singleton is pretty unlikely to tackle a nerite. The assassin will be able to reach the areas you can't even see, much less reach.
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