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pest snails--how to ensure 100% eradication?

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Hi everybody! I am currently redoing several tanks right now and have several nice plants that need to find new homes in other tanks. -However- since some mistakes were made (i.e. buying swap-meet plants with snail eggs, and rehoming freshwater clams from local pond with planeria, and not quarantining properly for either), I have to put the plants through a decontamination process before I can trust them to go into my 30gal tank.

The good news: I put them in a small rubbermaid bin with a few inches of water and a little bit of Coppersafe to kill off invertibrates. (I measured off 2 or 3 threads on the little screw cap). Plants marinated for over a day. Everything's dead, right? Yay!
The bad news: when I went to pull plants out, a giant adult ramshorn snail didn't seem to care that I had poured a dose of snail poison in his container :icon_mad:

Plants are currently quarantined in an unused fish tank with some water and a light, and have been for ~1 week now (no sign of hatched snail eggs, but I can't afford to cross contaminate my good tanks).

So here's my question: what dosage of coppersafe should I use to kill off all snails and eggs, and for how long should I let the plants soak?


When they are safe, plants will be going into a 30gal planted tank with amano shrimp and nerite snails, so they will be rinsed obsessively under water.
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Only surefire solution I've found is fire. Fire cleanses all. Just out of curiosity, why not? I'm waiting for a shipment of ramshorns for my tank and many others WANT them... Could always go with some snail eating loaches, or assassin snails to kill them off...
 

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I don't see a problem with having snails at all tbh

It happens to everyone, so just live with it really. They don't look ugly and they are healthy to have in a tank.

In fact I wish my 75 had more snails, but the fish I keep don't play nice with snails lol
 

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My aquarium anxiety when down tremendously when I accepted that snails are a part of any natural underwater environment, and they clean the tank. I have an assassin to keep them in check, and may get a couple more, but once I stopped caring about them it got easier. ;)

Surefire way is copper, but I don't know how long to soak.
 

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Hi Jen8560,

I too prefer snail-free tanks; all of my tanks have been snail-free for over 3 years.

There are several recommended treatments including dips in dilute hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), potassium permanganate, and mild (5%) bleach. All can have some positive effects, but some damage sensitive plants. Unfortunately I have not found any to be 100% effective; especially when dealing with snail eggs.

Today I use the quarantine method. I purchase a plant and it goes into a quarantine tank or tray with moderate light above it and water mildly fertilized with a balanced general purpose fertilizer like Seachem Flourish Comprehensive. I also add 2 -3 drops of Seachem Cupramine per gallon of water into the quarantine container or tray. The copper in the Cupramine kills the snails, but not the unhatched snail eggs. I continue the treatment for about 4 weeks depending on water temperature to insure all snail eggs have had sufficient time to hatch. If I am treating the water in a tray without filtration I change the water 1 - 2 times a week as needed to avoid surface scum and stale water. Rinse plants thoroughly after treatment to remove copper, avoid using plants treated this way in aquariums containing shrimp or other invertebrates.

I try to purchase plants from forum members that are snail-free to begin with (but I always quarantine anyway)!

Quarantine Bottle


30 Gallon Snail-Free
 

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I got small snails on a few plants I got from a LFS once, my dwarf gourami happily took care of them all (nom nom nom) before they could grow.
I'm not a fan of chemicals with anything in/going into the tank, natural solutions are always fun IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the imput guys! I had tried assassin snails in the tank to take out the ramshorns, but since I had intentionally seeded the tank with malaysian trumpet snails, the ramshorns didn't take too much of a beating, and the assassin snails spent most of their time sleeping off their last meal.

I dont mind the trumpet snails since they usually aren't very visible, and nerites are fun, but the amount of ramshorns was out of control and I couldn't buy fish eating snails for either tank with problems. One is a tank for guppies and had only ramshorns, and the other is a nano shrimp tank that had 3 different species of pest snails (between the three species, they chewed holes in plants, covered the glass walls, and made a big pile around the food dish whenever we fed shrimps). After I finish re-doing the guppy tank, I would consider doing a dwarf gourami but then I would be worried about putting in nerites :/

I will try doing some peroxide dips and continue to keep them quarantined for another few weeks.
 

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I have a terrible problem with Malaysian Trumpet snails. They reproduce at a phenomenal rate, and while cleaning up the substrate, take a few chomps out of the nearest plant stem. I'm thinking that a clown loach will play the role of assassin...
 

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I've never tried this but I've heard it works great, and it doesn't require any chemicals. I've heard of people placing a melon/cantaloupe rind at the bottom of the tank (any fruit or vegetable should do, but the melon rind has the most surface area and works well) and usually by the next morning its covered in snails. You just remove it and get rid of the snails however you see fit (I don't recommend turning them loose in the wild though, the U.S has enough invasive species ha). I know you wanted something 100% and something to get rid of the eggs, but this method is easily repeated and will keep your numbers down. I don't know if it works for all species however. Hope that helps, best of luck.
 

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I've never tried this but I've heard it works great, and it doesn't require any chemicals. I've heard of people placing a melon/cantaloupe rind at the bottom of the tank (any fruit or vegetable should do, but the melon rind has the most surface area and works well) and usually by the next morning its covered in snails. You just remove it and get rid of the snails however you see fit (I don't recommend turning them loose in the wild though, the U.S has enough invasive species ha). I know you wanted something 100% and something to get rid of the eggs, but this method is easily repeated and will keep your numbers down. I don't know if it works for all species however. Hope that helps, best of luck.
I keep snails in all of my tanks, but use this method to move species around and to seed new tanks. I use zucchini or squash usually. This works well, and there are a lot of people looking for snails. Instead of flushing or squishing them, consider doing RAOK's on here. After a few weeks of daily baiting and removing, your tank will be snail-free and you can help out others who actually want the snails.
 

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Assassin snails, remove pest snails and decaying animal matter. Ie dead fish etc. Good little clean up crew. But they can breed and become prolific, but the hide in the substrate 99% of the time.
 

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I had a hundred or so pest snails. Honestly, I squished them and handpicked them out of the tank. It was extremely affective, I haven't seen any since! I hate seeing the dead snails and their gross shells littered all over the gravel.
 

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Two ways to ensure snail eradication. A group of assassin snails, I bring home pest snails from work, over 40 a day and threw them in my beta tank where I keep 3 assassins. By morning there all gone. Or yoyo botia wich I throw about 100 of pest snails in the tank and ther Walsh gone by two days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Update: plants were quarantined in lighted empty aquarium for ~1 week, then I did a peroxide soak and put them in 1-gal ziploc and floated them in their future home for 5 days. Am doing one last peroxide dip before putting them in. I'm glad I did the first peroxide soak--found 1 cluster of snail eggs and 2 different species of parasites that had hitched a ride from their previous tank :X
I will keep the melon trick in mind for future use! I may look into some of the fish to see if they would be compatible with nerites and amano shrimp
 
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