Pond Snails Eating Healthy Plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Pond Snails Eating Healthy Plants?

Hi all!

After struggling to keep any snails alive in my tank, I finally seem to be having success with pond snails - they were received totally by accident, as they hitchhiked in on plants.

They've done great at eating any algae off my plant's leaves (they even ate a small clump of blue green "algae" - I'm serious. I'm certain as I watched them eat it), but now I'm very concerned that they are eating the healthy plants themselves. I keep reading that they will only eat dying leaves. However, there are tons of holes in what otherwise look like healthy leaves (and in SO many leaves that it seems insane that ALL of them could have been secretly dying?) on my anubias, hygro polysperma, and bacopa caroliniana. One of them is on my favourite echinodorus, and I'm extremely worried that they're damaging it. I put blanched slices of carrots in the tank, but this is still happening.

Any suggestions would be immensely appreciated - I'm so frustrated, because I need snails for algae control, and after a LOT of effort, these are the only ones I've kept alive, but now they seem to be destroying things.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-23-2020, 06:41 PM
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Sounds more like a nutrient deficiency than snails eating holes. A manganese deficiency will do that.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-23-2020, 07:21 PM
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I don't think it's a deficiency. I've seen this happen and upped dosing and no change. And it's happened with active soils where it's hard to be deficient. Also those plants you mentioned are not very demanding.

What I think actually happens is once the algae is visible on the leaf, the leaf is damaged/weakened and then the snail comes along and is able to eat away at it. So I believe the snail technically did it, but the algae is the issue.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the replies! I hadn't thought of a deficiency, but this happened over the course of maybe 5 days (going from what, to my eyes, looked like a healthy leaf to having holes punched in it), so is that too fast to be the effects of a just a deficiency? Many of these plants are brand new to me, so it's hard to say what they might have been deficient in before. My tank is organic pond soil capped with gravel, but perhaps I should be dosing extra in the water column?

So do you think it's more likely that the leaf was somehow ailing already, even though maybe not visibly, and the snails attacked it because of that? There was never a ton of algae on the leaves, but there were some diatoms that the snails cleaned off in the past (of the plants that aren't new to me). I really want to have snails in my tank, because they can create such a balanced ecosystem, but I'm so afraid of them doing damage. Among the plants in the tank are about $60-worth of my dream red sword plants, and I'm especially panicked about those just becoming an expensive snack.

We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice.
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