Snail Bioload in 5 Gallon? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Snail Bioload in 5 Gallon?

I have a small, low tech, filterless, heavily planted 5 gallon tank and I would like to know if I should add some snails (MTS for substrate, and/or ramshorns for algae + scavenging...or even some tadpole snails). I currently have no cleaner crew in the tank (shrimps were picked to death by the betta)

2" self mixed clay heavy soil+sand (demineralizing method)
1" dark gravel top

Anubias Nana
Java Fern
Java Moss
Marimo Ball
C. Wendtii

1x Female Betta
3x glowlight tetras

standard 5.5 Gallon tank
10 watt compact florescent with 12h on/12 off timer

In my opinon, I am already pushing the limit for bioload since my tank is filterless and relies only on plants for water quality. Water quality is good and I have not yet had any algae (except a tiny bit of GSA), cloudy water, or any problems in the two months that that the tank has been up. All fish and plants seem healthy
......but I really would like to have a cleaner crew (is it even necessary?) and I think the MTS should help aerate my substrate to prevent future problems.

What do you guys think. I'm thinking I shouldn't, but if people seem to think its OK to get a little MTS/ramshorn/tadpole snail population going, then I would certainly like to.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 09:26 PM
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I can't imagine a snail population being a fact I don't know how you can avoid it. Snails always make their way into my planted tanks. Giggle. Go for it. I'd even get a mystery snail, I love watching them, they are acrobats!

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 05:29 PM
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It's iffy. There is no real reason to have a "clean-up crew" in a freshwater tank if you are doing the correct maintenance (i.e. water changes, gravel vacuuming, and proper feeding). If you have room and like inverts, then go ahead. However, I would move the glowlight tetras to a different tank or rehome them if you do add some sort of snail.

MTS, pond snails, and ramshorns would probably quickly take over the tank if overfeeding, so be careful. You only need one MTS to reproduce, but I'm not sure about the others.

Snails, in general, make more waste and hence have a higher bioload than shrimp, I believe. IMHO, I think it would be okay to get a few MTS for the substrate. They will also eat algae and food detritus. If your tank is heavily planted, then you probably can't stir up the substrate yourself, but you probably also don't have to worry about toxic anaerobic gas pockets either because of the roots. MTS would be optional, I guess. Again, just be careful about not overfeeding.

For algae control, IMHO, there is no substitute for nerite snails. There are many different ones available for freshwater, and most cannot reproduce in freshwater. That's pretty nice for a small tank. I'm not sure what the minimum gallon requirement is for them though.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-02-2009, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll hold off for now with adding any snails. I figure that when in doubt, the choice with less bioload is the better answer

....then again, I also remember reading somewhere that snails do not add any additional bioload to the tank because the ultimate source of all pollution is the food you put in the tank and since snails do not specifically get fed (I feed my fish directly from my hand), It does seem logical that they might only further break down any existing waste. I only remember seeing this opinion in one place so I am no sure how valid it might be. Anyone have any thoughts regarding this?
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filterless, low tech, nano, snail, substrate

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