60 gal tall and too many snails - Tear it down or not? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Tear it and rebuild or Suck it up and stop being a wuss
Tear it down and eradicate those snails! 2 9.09%
Live and let live - you've got better things to do than mineralize top soil 15 68.18%
Are you for real - the economy is melting down and you want to play in mud? Get a life 5 22.73%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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60 gal tall and too many snails - Tear it down or not?

My tank has been set up and running for about 2 yrs. This past spring, trumpet snails were accidentally introduced while putting in new plants. They multiplied as only snails can do and were covering the glass and grossing me out.
I read and read and read and ended up getting a gang of Yo-Yo loaches (7). The Yo-Yo's have kept the snail population under control but their are still more than I would like.
Recently, I doubled up my lighting to 260 watts and am just about ready to start injecting C02.
But I am really unhappy with all the snails. I know some love them and they serve a purpose. But in my case, they are unwelcome guests and the huge amount of them really does give me the creeps.

So, I am contemplating, tearing the whole tank down, putting all the fish and buckets with the filter running into it...throw away all the plants I have now, and rebuild with new substrate, rocks and plants.

I'm not at all looking forward to this extra work...but the snails really make me a little crazy.


Any\all advice comments are appreciated.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 03:32 AM
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I agree with you that they are unwelcome guests. Snails would be fine only if there was a way to prevent them from reproducing exponentially.

I vote against complete teardown, especially if you like how your tank looks. How about making a snail trap and manually removing them as this page suggests?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 03:56 AM
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Trapping doesn't get them all, it's just like adding loaches - it controls them. Your only solution other than breaking it down is (if you DON'T HAVE OTHER INVERTS, can't stress that enough) nuke 'em with copper. Copper the tank up w/ any invert killer and you are good to go.

If you really must keep inverts, then take your shrimp/crays/whatevs out, nuke the snails w/ copper, then use Cuprisorb several times thoroughly, and then slowly reintroduce your inverts (i.e. one at a time to avoid massive death if there's still copper).

I wouldn't go the copper route if I had something like Crystal Reds that I was going to reintroduce though; while all inverts are sensitive to copper, something as sensitive + expensive as CRS might not be wise to reintroduce.

But since you mentioned no inverts I think this is your easiest solution - plus if the snails bother you that much but you have inverts, selling/trading/new tank for the inverts might be your best solution that doesn't involve breaking down the tank.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 04:19 AM
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The copper should work. I believe there are some copper meds out there made for medicating fish and that might work. If you use more than what is suggested or go another route you may have problems with the copper harming your plants.

I would be worried though that some snails could be in your filter and if you don't clean that out you may reintroduce them.

You may be able to simply make your tank unfriendly to them by dropping your ph low enough. I am not sure what kind of fish you have other than the yo yos but they might be able to deal with a ph of around 6 which might kill the snails. If that doesn't work you might be able to use the pressurized co2 to lower it which shouldn't bug your fish (just make sure they aren't gasping) and still lower the ph low enough so the carbonic acid starts dissolving the snail shells to the point where they die. Doing this might bug your KH because of the increased carbonates but it really depends on how many snails you have and stuff. Either way watch your ammonia levels.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 04:53 AM
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MTS are much more resistant to low pH than other types of snails, in my experience. I've had ramshorns with shells turning brittle and crumbling, but MTS doing generally fine with pH below 6.

You can drive many of the snails out of the substrate and to the top of the tank by turning up your CO2 really high. I had a bit of an accident with CO2 at one point, and my MTS went berserk. You'd have to move the fish for this, of course.

Personally, I'd go with a snail trap. Snails love zuchini! Use copper only if you will never keep a shrimp in your tank. I've heard that it can leech even into the silicone in the tank, let alone the substrate, wood, etc. And given that your signature says you keep bamboo shrimp and mussells... copper is a bad idea.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 04:56 AM
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1) Snail trap, diligent manual removal.
2) Remove fish, gas the tank with CO2. Run it 24/7.
3) Assassin snails. They will probably eat the baby snails and then you just let the bigger ones die out. Not sure about this, though, PM Arakkis and ask.

I like #2.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 06:12 AM
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Starve them!


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 06:18 AM
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I actually try to get MTS into my tanks. They're the ultimate for keeping a sub healthy.

The glass infestation thing comes and goes, IMPE, and you can just scrape them off the glass for pics. just my 2

Maybe I don't see the true potential issue, mine never seem to make it long, either from CO2 or starvation, I imagine.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 06:37 AM
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I use to hate snail sooo much. But you cant help not getting them. They will come with plats you buy from other people and stuff like that. What i did when i had a really bad snail problem is i picked them out by hand. I did this about once a day. If you find any clear Jelly like substance NET THAT OUT. This is just snail larva. That is what i did. Like other people have mentioned snail traps work. There is also snail chemical prodcts that you can use but i would not go that route because it is just not good for ur tank and fish. If you do choose to use chemicals do frequent water changes and check ammonia levels.
umm i hope some of this helps...


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 02:04 PM
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Don't forget that if you dose copper or meds to kill the snails to remember to go in and pick out as many dead bodies as you can, including inside your canister filter. All those decaying bodies would release a lot of ammonia into your tank.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 02:22 PM
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-02-2008, 07:22 PM
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I share your dislike of snails, but I believe it should be possible to get rid of them. Even if you rebuild the tank, as long as you buy fish or plants a snail is going to get in there again and it is best to learn to deal with them.

My first question is if you have been able to figure out what their primary food source is? My second would be how active are your loaches eating snails. If there is a large population of snails, is there a large amount of empty shells left on the ground? I had some dwarf loaches when my second snail outbreak occurred and very few snails were eaten. I increased the flow of my tank and all of a sudden my loaches went bananas for snails and wiped them out leaving tons of shells on the ground. I would estimate that I easily had a few hundred (very small) snails in my tank before the loaches became more active.

If the loaches cannot do it by themselves, then I believe you need to get the snail population low enough so that they can finish the job. What I found 100x more effective than cucumber/zucchini traps or crushing snails was just siphoning the snails out as if you were doing a water change. I could easily get 100+ snails in this way. Most of the snails stay at the bottom so you can put most of the water back into the tank.

Copper could work but I was overcautious about my loaches and never tried it myself.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2008, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great feedback.
At first, I didn't think I'd get any replies but you all came through!

I tried to amend the poll to add two more choices "Nuke 'em with copper" & "gas those spineless !#^%#!!"
But I can't seem to figure out how to change it.
Anyway...
My bamboo shrimp ended up being some fishes dinner so the snails are the only inverts left (I don't plan on any for this tank either). This makes the copper treatment a viable solution.

The snails current food source is the left over zucchini\cucumber\algae wafers, which I feed to the plecos every couple-few days. Even the rainbows and yo-yo's nibble on the zucchini.

Trapping seems like it would be time consuming and I've five young children at home who don't allow time for tank maintenance as it is.

I tried sucking them up, but my Python doesn't have enough strength to pick up even the empty shells. I think they would probably clog the valve on the sink end anyway.

The loaches do eat them and yes I do have hundred of empty shells in my tank...another consequence of these snail I don't appreciate.

I think I will proceed as follows
(1) hook up the C02 and crank it up for 24 hours
(2) 50% water change\pick out as many shells as time allow
If any snails remain
(3) add copper
(4) wait till the next weekend and repeat the 50% water change and scoop out maybe 50% of the current substrate (getting rid of remaining shells)
(5) replace substrate with some topsoil and rescape

Hopefully I wont need to go through step 3. I'm not crazy about adding copper as I am sure there will be unintended consequences. But I am determined to be rid of them....this is my show tank...it's viewable from both sides - one being our living and one being our kitchen. The snails bug me so much I was willing to tear it down and start over.

I want them gone for good.

Again, any comments\criticized are appreciated.

PS. For those who responded to the poll by telling me to get a life, you must have forgotten that one of the byproducts of hobbies is that they (a) keep us out of trouble and (b) contribute to the financial health of our suppliers
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-03-2008, 01:15 AM
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I don't see remove the fish. the CO2 will kill them as well.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-02-2009, 01:11 AM
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You could just net them out on a weekly basis and sell it for cheap. Everybody wins and your loaches can still become fat...sell it when it gets too big and use the money to buy more. Repeat cycle and you can use the extra money to buy more stuff =)
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