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Snails | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium

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Snails are usually rated as one of the top aquarium pests. Why? Because all it takes is ONE to get a population started in the aquarium. Yes, one. One lone snail can be the parent of hundreds. Before you know it your tank may be crawling with the little buggers. When we first got our aquarium setup and had bought some plants to get started in the tank (but no fish). I noticed a tiny little speck on the glass. It was a snail!

At first we were kind of excited to have SOMETHING alive in our tank. He started to grow quickly and soon we realized that there were three. All about the size of little pencil erasers or smaller. We called them each Gary (spongebob reference.) Anyway, I had read online and seen that a tank can get quickly overrun with snails and asked at the fish store about them.

They suggested that it would make my life a LOT easier if I could get rid of them while possible. So, I followed directions to place a slice of cucumber into the tank to lure them. However, they wound up liking the heater and that led to their demise. I managed to pick them off one at a time hanging around the tank heater and got rid of them. (Smushed on the pavement.)

The most common snail to invade home aquariums is the pond snail. It likely hitches a ride in on the plants that are nursery grown for sale to keepers of home aquariums. I’m not certain WHICH store we had got the “infected” plants from because we had bought plants at a couple of stores leading up to the discovery of our guests.

This is a good argument for having a quarantine tank where you place new products that are destined to go in your main tank. Leave the plants in a quarantine tank for several days. Perhaps a week or too even to make sure that snails don’t start appearing right and left. You may regret it later if you don’t find a way to quarantine your inbound plants. I suspect that snail eggs could hitchhike on most any plant.

Loaches, like the Clown loach or Skunk Loach will eat snails. So will Dorid and Banjo Catfish. Other species of fish will leave them alone. If you have an infestation of snails you may want to try one of those varieties of fish to control the problem (if it’s a big infestation they may not eliminate them.) Lettuce leaves also can make good snail bait. Let it sit over night and then retrieve it the next morning (hopefully with snails attached.)

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September 6, 2009 - 10:09 PM