Possible snail issue - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Possible snail issue

Tank is approx 3 weeks old, going well aesthetically, water parameters are very close to being what they should be, just a tiny bit of ammonia left.

Added 3 Zebra Neriteís 2 weeks ago & I noticed what I believe is just snail waste, photo below, just wanted clarification if it is or not. Also I have seen numerous baby snails, even though this is fresh water I have read it is possible, if the baby snails to survive, is it okay to keep them and theyíll help clean, or will they be a pest being small.


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 04:53 PM
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That is a pest snail, once they grow they will multiply like crazy. You could have introduced the eggs with plants or decorations. You better get rid of it before it's too late.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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All the plants came from Tropica, part of the 1-2 grow range, I believe that they guaranteed pest free, but regardless I plan to get rid of them, already have 3 adult Nerites cleaning, best way to get rid?


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 06:56 PM
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They may be pest snails, or they may be beneficial snails ...depends upon your view. I can't tell, yet, what type it is, but the common "pest" snails are pond/bladder snails or ramshorns. Your nerites won't reproduce so, the question is: will three nerites keep your aquarium clean and help with algae control? If the answer is "yes", then any other snails are superfluous. If the nerites can't keep up with the cleaning, then other snails will help. This is a function of how much you feed them, directly or indirectly. If the "pest" snails multiply rapidly, that means that you are feeding too much and/or you have other things dying in your tank and becoming food and may not be cleaning well enough. The population will die off if it does not have sufficient food. In any case, they generally act as a good clean-up crew and, if their population is under control, can be a good indicator that you are feeding properly and cleaning well. I have intentionally added red ramshorns to my tank.

Getting rid of "pest" snails is extremely difficult on a short term basis and, no matter what you try, you will have to remove the nerites to a different tank and nurture them until you determine that the pests are gone for good (their eggs are incredibly hardy and long-lasting). The food sources can be reduced enough, with meticulous cleaning and food control, that they will starve and gradually die as new ones hatch before they can lay eggs, but this can take a couple of months. You can treat tanks with chemicals, such as copper, to kill them, but this can harm all other life in the tank if not done carefully. There are tricks, such as leaving food in traps and removing them when they fill with snails, but this just reduces the current population. However, combining this with starvation in the rest of the tank may speed the process a little.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
They may be pest snails, or they may be beneficial snails ...depends upon your view. I can't tell, yet, what type it is, but the common "pest" snails are pond/bladder snails or ramshorns. Your nerites won't reproduce so, the question is: will three nerites keep your aquarium clean and help with algae control? If the answer is "yes", then any other snails are superfluous. If the nerites can't keep up with the cleaning, then other snails will help. This is a function of how much you feed them, directly or indirectly. If the "pest" snails multiply rapidly, that means that you are feeding too much and/or you have other things dying in your tank and becoming food and may not be cleaning well enough. The population will die off if it does not have sufficient food. In any case, they generally act as a good clean-up crew and, if their population is under control, can be a good indicator that you are feeding properly and cleaning well. I have intentionally added red ramshorns to my tank.

Getting rid of "pest" snails is extremely difficult on a short term basis and, no matter what you try, you will have to remove the nerites to a different tank and nurture them until you determine that the pests are gone for good (their eggs are incredibly hardy and long-lasting). The food sources can be reduced enough, with meticulous cleaning and food control, that they will starve and gradually die as new ones hatch before they can lay eggs, but this can take a couple of months. You can treat tanks with chemicals, such as copper, to kill them, but this can harm all other life in the tank if not done carefully. There are tricks, such as leaving food in traps and removing them when they fill with snails, but this just reduces the current population. However, combining this with starvation in the rest of the tank may speed the process a little.
Hi Deanna, I understand your point but I believe that leaving these snails can have unpredictable results and we always strive for stability in our systems. You asked if 3 Nerite snails would be enough to keep his tank clean. I would say that if 3 are not enough then he can just buy more Nerite snails, since they don't multiply then you put 5 Nerites you know you have 5 Nerites.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Deanna, I understand your point but I believe that leaving these snails can have unpredictable results and we always strive for stability in our systems. You asked if 3 Nerite snails would be enough to keep his tank clean. I would say that if 3 are not enough then he can just buy more Nerite snails, since they don't multiply then you put 5 Nerites you know you have 5 Nerites.

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Thank you for both sides, Iíll leave them for now, I have only seen maybe 3 or 4, I plan on putting the first fish in very soon, would it be an idea to potentially have a fish who will maybe make a small snack of the baby snails, possibly a small clown loach maybe, itís only a 30L tank, 30cm cube, if not Ive seen some people use assassin snails to eliminate pest snails?


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 08:06 PM
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Thank you for both sides, I’ll leave them for now, I have only seen maybe 3 or 4, I plan on putting the first fish in very soon, would it be an idea to potentially have a fish who will maybe make a small snack of the baby snails, possibly a small clown loach maybe, it’s only a 30L tank, 30cm cube, if not Ive seen some people use assassin snails to eliminate pest snails?
Assassin snails will work, but they will also work on the nerites, so you would still need to remove the nerites. Clown loaches will do the job, but get very big for a tank your size and will dig into your substrate (like most loaches), uprooting plants. Although not guaranteed, it is possible to adapt some fish to a snail diet. I have done this in the past, but it doesn't always work. The successes I did have were with bettas and platties (maybe there are others). The way to do this is to stop feeding the fish for a few days, then smash the snails against the glass or hardscape. If the fish eat the smashed snails, they may then go after the live snails.

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Originally Posted by vanostav61 View Post
Hi Deanna, I understand your point but I believe that leaving these snails can have unpredictable results and we always strive for stability in our systems. You asked if 3 Nerite snails would be enough to keep his tank clean. I would say that if 3 are not enough then he can just buy more Nerite snails, since they don't multiply then you put 5 Nerites you know you have 5 Nerites.
I don't think that there would be any stability issues, but it is a good point that the nerites can be manually added/subtracted depending upon the need.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 09:42 PM
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Thank you for both sides, Iíll leave them for now, I have only seen maybe 3 or 4, I plan on putting the first fish in very soon, would it be an idea to potentially have a fish who will maybe make a small snack of the baby snails, possibly a small clown loach maybe, itís only a 30L tank, 30cm cube, if not Ive seen some people use assassin snails to eliminate pest snails?


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In addition to what @Deanna stated, snails are a good indicator organism, in that if they multiple too much it means you have too much organic content in your tank, like food, waste, etc and it's time to reduce feeding and/or step up maintenance.

There really is no downside to snails.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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In addition to what @Deanna stated, snails are a good indicator organism, in that if they multiple too much it means you have too much organic content in your tank, like food, waste, etc and it's time to reduce feeding and/or step up maintenance.

There really is no downside to snails.

To be honest to this day I havenít actually fed the Nerites a thing, theyíve been happy cleaning the small amounts of algae, but as this is running out I may have to start feeding small amounts


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 10:48 PM
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To be honest to this day I havenít actually fed the Nerites a thing, theyíve been happy cleaning the small amounts of algae, but as this is running out I may have to start feeding small amounts


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I just meant overall feeding for fish, etc. If the snails multiple too much.

Side note on Nerites. I don't know if there's a lid on your tank, but nerites will go right over the edge. Had two in my setup and they both went over the top.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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I am actually looking for a decent lid, I stupidly stood on the glass lid that came with the tank, Iím probably going to order a piece of Perspex cut to fit on top, Iím assuming it wouldnít have any affect on the PAR levels, well not enough to cause concern. Iíve noticed they get very close to the top, almost over, havenít made it all the way yet though


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2020, 11:14 PM
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I am actually looking for a decent lid, I stupidly stood on the glass lid that came with the tank, I’m probably going to order a piece of Perspex
Plexiglas, instead, if you want acrylic. However, glass won't scratch, but it has 5% less light transmission.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 06:40 AM
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Mini ramshorn snail if you were wondering.... the giants, although 'pests', can be neat snails.
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