what causes algae and snail outbreaks - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2006, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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what causes algae and snail outbreaks

Me and my wife are plagued with massive snail outbreaks and green and BBA algae, what are the causes?Thanks
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2006, 02:02 PM
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IMO, snail outbreaks are typically caused by over-feeding, and algae outbreaks are caused by not having your tank in 'balance'. The first one is easy to remedy, the second one is much bigger challenge.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2006, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks BSS- My wife doesn't study so she doesn't have a clue- She says "I don't want my fishies to starve" I say "good god hon,go easy on the food it will make the snails go nuts" So hopefully this will help her to understand.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2006, 04:17 PM
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BBA outbreaks are often attributed to low fluctuating CO2 levels. This is why they are so common with DIY CO2 setups where the CO2 output is naturally unstable.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-13-2006, 04:36 PM
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Snails or snail eggs actually hitch ride on live plants. Whether you feed allot or just enough, snails WILL multiply. Snail killer meds usually don't work. I even put a concentrated dose on snails that went above the water line and all I did was stunn them and make them fall to the substrate. Maybe I just gave them a nice buzz. Eventually, they got up and started crawling around and multiplying again.

You can remove them by placing a piece of lettuce overnight in the bottom of the tank, they will feed on it, so the next morning, you can get rid of it. Unfortunately, snails will still continue to multiply. One other method I used was I fed them to my fish. Fish cannot eat them with the shells, so if you lightly tap on the snails until the shells break apart, the fish will be able to eat them. Guppies and mollies are grazers so they will eventually eat them. If they don't, suck up the snail bodies with a turkey baster and then squirt it in the tank, so the snail body will fall. Fish usually go after moving things in the water, since they figure it's food.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2006, 06:55 AM
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Snails are actually beneficial to some point. For example trumpet snails help keep you substrate from compacting. Others eat old dying leaves off plants. They actually help decompose matter in your tank and process it rapidly into a form that your plants can assimilate. I never had a problem with snails in any of my tanks over the last 20 years and the last few with planted tanks. I actually add them on purpose to all my tanks. The only time I see them is when I overfeed and a lot of uneaten fish food settles. Although when the lights go out at night they tend to emerge out of hiding.

Fish don't need much food, but if you need to feed them more (for example you are growing out babies) then rather then do a large feeding take that amount and divide it into 3 or 4 smaller amounts and feed several times a day. This will make sure more food gets to the fish and less gets to the snails, but remember the more you feed the fish the more often you will have to do water changes/ change filters and so on to maintain water quality. The population of most any species is dependent on the availability of its food source, all other factors constant. So if you can just limit it's availability to those guys then their population will naturally decrease, although the idea of using "bait" to lure then out is a good one to do in addition. It definitely speeds the process up.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2006, 01:11 AM
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Trumpet snails does help prevent the substrate from compacting, because they bury themselves within the substrate. The downside is, snails create waste, so they bury their waste within the substrate as well. Since they multiply rapidly, eventually, then snails will outnumber the amount of gravel you have
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