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What are your feelings about snails in your aquarium?

  • I have never had snails in my tanks.

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Personal preference. For me I have a nice nerite snail that's been cleaning my tank for years and it's always interesting to try and find them crawling around somewhere u thought they couldnt get. Lids are almost mandatory for snails tho, dont wanna lose them. If u dont want one theres all different types of fish that can deal with algae for you too!

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I don't mind them. I have water lillies and the get all up in them and eat their decaying leaves. I have to do much less maintainance on everything really, plants, glass, rocks and decor. I got the little pond ones from some plants. I will some times knock out some of the eggs but usually the pleco gets most of them. I know i get a fair amount of juveniles in water changes/gravel vac. Over all i think cause of the gravel vac they don't get out of hand. overall I'm glad they are there with my situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I am 3 weeks into setting up a new 180g tank. The first (and so far only) critters in my new tank are pond snails. I have been pulling them out of our old 35g tank and putting them in the 180g as fast as I can find them, about 2 dozen so far and they are laying eggs like crazy in the 180 (a half dozen tiny jelly egg sacks on the glass that wipe off very easy). When it comes to cleaning out algae... better them than me!

To me algae seems inevitable in new tanks. I wonder how many new comers to the planted tank community could be well served by a healthy population of snails during start up?
 

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I would say for a long-term tank regardless of high-tech or low tech snails are a integral part of the ecosystem. Everything working together in a symbiotic relationship is what handles algae. Snails are simply a step in breaking down organics into usable forms by bacteria and plants thereby outcompeting algae. Snails are rad lol


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I deliberately introduce them, and not just any snails, I got me designer snails. Specifically blue ramshorn snails.



I honestly don't get people's hesitation with snails, I think they are wonderful, they clean our tanks and you don't have to do anything to get more from them.

That said, I will never again keep nerite snails. The eggs are a great example of the cure being worse then the disease.
 

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I deliberately introduce them, and not just any snails, I got me designer snails. Specifically blue ramshorn snails.



I honestly don't get people's hesitation with snails, I think they are wonderful, they clean our tanks and you don't have to do anything to get more from them.

That said, I will never again keep nerite snails. The eggs are a great example of the cure being worse then the disease.
I used to put Nerites in my tanks but the eggs ruined the experience. They are unsightly and ruined my beautiful piece of driftwood. I had to remove it from the tank it was so ugly, and no amount of scrubbing would remove them.

Sounds like Ramshorn snails don't lay as many eggs? And they actually hatch in freshwater tanks? If so, I'm guessing they will be eaten by my angels and geos, which would be fine with me. I could get a couple adults for my 75 gallon to help with cleanup and if the eggs get eaten that would be fine.
 

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I used to put Nerites in my tanks but the eggs ruined the experience. They are unsightly and ruined my beautiful piece of driftwood. I had to remove it from the tank it was so ugly, and no amount of scrubbing would remove them.

Ramshorns snails don't lay eggs?
Oh they do, but their eggs are little jelly sacks that disappear on their own. They will reproduce in your tank but it's not at the rates of other snails.
 

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I like them. They add a little more interest without increasing the bioload much. I have both rams and pond snails and have no trouble with them. They don't eat the healthy plants, only the dead and dying material and excess fish food. Few fish will pass up a snack of mashed snail if you get too many.
 

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I think they are good to go. I have had a few types in the past (10yrs ago) - got to many and dif types at one point and eggs got annoyingly everywhere. My preference is to avoid snails that will lay a bunch eggs. I dont have a lot of knowledge on what is better or worse for that. I do have a single Nerite in my little beta tank - no eggs and the tank is spotless - we had a tad bit of algae/detritus prior to adding it in. The yellow stripes are cool looking and its a good size to get clean up work done.

Not sure what ill add in my new tank. Just started it. I could use some pro tips myself.
 

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In my shrimp bowl I have ramshorn and pond snails to keep the glass clean and the population is under control as I only feed the shrimp lightly. They are good at cleaning gds and gsa off flat surfaces, but not that good with hair algae. In my high tech tank, I rely on sucker mouth bristlenose and gara to clean the same type of algae as snails do but better. I had nerite snails there for a while and they have amazing color and pattern but laid unsightly eggs. So after they died, I superglued their shells onto hard surfaces as ornaments and no one can tell the difference.
 

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I have a new tank and I’m resisting the idea of getting snails because I really dislike the idea of having (and seeing and removing) loads of snails and eggs in there. I’m hoping that I can get some shrimp and some otos and/or pigmy corys to help remove algae. I fear I’ll end up having to get a snail eventually, though ...
 

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Does anyone know if tiger nerites and zebra nerites can breed? I have a female zebra laying eggs like crazy and in another tank a male tiger. I always thought of placing the male with the female to fertilize the eggs and see if anything would happen but not sure if its worth it? Also, i love my snails!!! They are the best, and super easy to take care of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Does anyone know if tiger nerites and zebra nerites can breed? I have a female zebra laying eggs like crazy and in another tank a male tiger. I always thought of placing the male with the female to fertilize the eggs and see if anything would happen but not sure if its worth it? Also, i love my snails!!! They are the best, and super easy to take care of.
It does not look like Nerite snails will breed in fresh water. It appears they need brackish water to breed.
Zebra Nerite Snail - Care Guide

I have a new tank and I’m resisting the idea of getting snails because I really dislike the idea of having (and seeing and removing) loads of snails and eggs in there. I’m hoping that I can get some shrimp and some otos and/or pigmy corys to help remove algae. I fear I’ll end up having to get a snail eventually, though ...
This was the exact reason I started this thread. I see so many... "I have a new tank and it is overrun with algae what should I do?" posts. I have never seen anyone recommend adding a bunch of pond snails. There are algae eating fish but snails are very hardy, even in the tough conditions of a brand new tank. I have a heavily planted 35g tank and snails have been keeping it clean for YEARS. Setting up my new 180g I knew the algae outbreak(s) were coming. A couple dozen snails from my 35g tank have done a marvelous job of attacking and controlling the algae. I had no idea that I even had a couple of dozen snails in my 35g tank. I see a couple every now and again busily doing their clean up work but for the most part they stay hidden.

I had a gut feeling that in time most experienced planted tank keepers come to really appreciate their snails. They are excellent at their job... keeping the thank clean.
 

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The other nice thing about Snails is just like beneficial bacteria there is never more than you need in the tank. There will only ever be as many snails as is needed to consume the leftover food, rotting plants and organic matter. If you are Johnny on the spot with keeping a very clean tank your snail population will remain very small.


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@Oughtsix i realize I will inevitably end up with snails. I just wish I could find a variety that stays smallish, eats a lot of tank debris and algae, and doesn’t leave ugly egg deposits visible in the tank. I think I’m asking too much and will never find such snails!
 

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I feel like if you keep it smaller, shrimp and otos, maybe one other thing in there then you should be good. Especially with an established shrimp colony (I'm thinking Neocaridina like RCS).

I ended up with pond snails in my 75 and they don't seem to multiply that much. I think their larvae get eaten by things before they get a chance. which is fine with me.
 

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I am sick to death of the snails in my tank. Ramshorns would be fine. In fact, I will be searching for them once the newest tank cycles. But right now I have little hitchhikes of some sort. Pond snails, or clear snails, or whatever. I really don't want them. And gravel snails! They are all over the glass in the morning! I imagine there are hundreds of the little buggers!

I agree that snails are good & beneficial, but I'd like them to be snails of my choosing. Once you've got the little pest snails you have them forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mickmac said:
I feel like if you get keep it smaller, shrimp and otos, maybe one other thing in there then you should be good. Especially with an established shrimp colony (I'm thinking @Oughtsix i realize I will inevitably end up with snails. I just wish I could find a variety that stays smallish, eats a lot of tank debris and algae, and doesn’t leave ugly egg deposits visible in the tank. I think I’m asking too much and will never find such snails!
I am glad Nuthatch chimed in! My experience with pond snails is very different than his. I would see them on plants, especially the dying / dead leaves, but I had no idea how many snails I had until I started moving them into my 180. In my 35g planted tank they all stayed about the size of a plump pea and I would rarely see one on the glass. I took the same pond snails from my 35g and threw them in my cycling, algae rich180g tank and they are about the size of a dime now. These are snails that hitched a ride in 5 or so years ago. So, to me, it appears that pond snails do limit their growth and their population based on food at hand and possibly the tank size. Since I put the pond snails in my fishless 180g I have noticed that they did lay eggs on the glass of my aquarium. The egg sacks look like little pieces of clear snot about the size of a grain of rice. After a few days there are some dark spots forming in the egg bags smaller that grains of fine sand. I cleaned the startup gunk off the sides of my tank with a rubber squeegee and accidentally knocked a couple of the egg sacks off. They came off very easily. I have never seen these eggs on the walls of my 35g though, I am guessing some of my fish must have been snaking on the egg sacks? I know guppies like mosquito larva, maybe they like snail eggs too? For me, I like my pond snails.

They sure do a heck of a good job cleaning out the brown algae (diatoms), green powder algae and clear slimy fungus (that grew on the new wood in my tank) during startup. I did hit my fishless startup 180g tank pretty hard with Metraside (Seachem Excel) which helped with the green hair algae but the snails did the brunt of the work before I resorted to metracide for the hair algae. The snails do not seem to mind the metracide at all. I know from previous experience that injecting HO (hydrogen-peroxide) directly on an algae laden submersed plant will instantly knock the snails off the plant... DEAD! I.e. Snail falls to the gravel and never moves again.

The reason I am glad Nuhatch spoke up about his dislike of pond snails is that I think a counter point of view is very helpful! Just because I like the pond snails in my tank doesn't mean that everyone is going to. I hate to recommend something with no counter balancing opinions.
 

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Pond snails are ubiquitous, but you don’t see them much in a fish tank because of predation. But you will likely find them inside the filters and hard to reach crevices. In a shrimp only tank, ramshorn and pond snails can multiply out of control because there is no fish predation, and shrimp are slow and passive feeder easily overwhelmed by snails in feeding time. But I found a trick to prevent snails from taking over by feeding my shrimp with floating pellets. Snails cannot swim and have difficulty reaching floating pellets. Shrimp can swim to the food and feed upside down.

I find snails indepensable in my shrimp bowl because I have no other algae grazer alternative. Shrimp are algae browser that feed on hair algae, but not effective grazer of gda or gsa on hard surfaces. So the two complement one another. In my fish tank, snails are dispensable as I have choice of many sucker mouth fish that can graze surfaces faster and more effectively than snails.

Correction: To be specific, what I referred to as pond snail is the tiny bladder snail, Bladder Snail – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding - Shrimp and Snail Breeder
 
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