What's killing my snails? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2007, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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What's killing my snails?

When I started my planted 58 gallon over a year ago, I started getting a huge explosion of snails, mostly ramshorn. I never really minded but then I started to slowly notice fewer ramshorn and then suddenly, MTS starting appearing by the hundreds. Gradually all of the ramshorns disappeared, completely overtaken by MTS. In the last few weeks, I have noticed nothing but hundreds and hundreds of empty snail shells littering the substrate of my aquarium.

I can't find any live snails anywhere and don't know if this huge die-off was caused by water conditions or if fish are eating them. The fish seem an unlikely culprit because the shells are of every imaginable size, some too small to seem worth bothering with.

Right now I'm dealing with a ridiculous amount of diatom algae and a million dead snails and am hoping I don't have two water param issues to deal with...

The specs:
58 gallon
Nitrates: >5.0ppm
pH: 6.0
Phosphate: as high as my test kit will read, at least
KH: 1
GH: 4
CO2: 30ppm

Fish: 6 German blue rams, 1 bleheri rainbow, BN pleco, 8 hatchetfish, 5 kuhli loaches


Anybody have any ideas?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2007, 01:14 AM
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It could be the loaches. I know most people buy loaches when they want to clean up a snail population (or puffers), so I would imagine this could be a very likely cause.

The only other things I know that adversly affect snails (and other invert's), is copper, some medications, and any traces of ammonia, nitrite, and a high level of nitrates. Your nitrates should not have been high enough to cause this problem though, so IMO unless you added some chemicals with copper (or food with copper), or meds then the loaches are your culprits.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2007, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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I had never heard that about kuhli loaches...could those little guys really be responsible for hundreds of snail deaths in a 2-3 week span? I'm only dosing EI and don't think that any of them contain copper so, it must be the loaches...

I know most people complain about the number of snails but I like them because they're so useful for all the cleanup in the tank and am sad to have them all gone!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2007, 07:43 PM
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Nah, kuhli's won't do that. Only "loaches" from the genus Botia have the little switch-blade mechanism on the side of their nose, which adapted for eating snails. Kuhlis and dojos just have a face full of whiskers . They are harmless to snails.

I had something similar happen too, and it happened when I cut way back on feeding. The amount of extra food really does control the population. If you have excess, then you have excess snails.

Have you been feeding every day, or have you cut back?


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2007, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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I had something similar happen too, and it happened when I cut way back on feeding. The amount of extra food really does control the population. If you have excess, then you have excess snails.
Now that makes a lot of sense! I recently increased my bioload adding 5 rams and I probably do not have a lot of food going to waste these days! I'll have to transplant a few from another tank and hope they make a comeback. I'll try and add just a little bit more food.

Thanks for the help Jen!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2007, 03:14 AM
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Hopefully that's what's doing it! Try some sinking food or even chunks of blanched veggies.


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