FAQs on Control of Snails in Freshwater
Aquariums by Predators
Related Articles: Snails and
Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, In vertebrates for
Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Fresh and Brackish Water Nerites by Neale
Monks, Assassin Snails and
Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the
Aquarium by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Freshwater Snail Compatibility &
Control,, Freshwater Snails 1,
Freshwater Snail Identification,
Freshwater Snail Behavior,
Freshwater Snail Selection,
Freshwater Snail Systems,
Freshwater Snail Feeding,
Freshwater Snail Disease,
Freshwater Snail Reproduction,
Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Apple/Baseball Snails,
A few species of Loaches, some Puffers, Assassin
Snails; control, FW 1/17/15
Yes, I have a snail problem. I have a 15 g aquarium with a Betta and an apple
snail, both of which I love. But I tried live plants for the first time and now
I have pond snails. (We learn by our mistakes.) Do you think I should quarantine
my snail in or out of my aquarium and get a loach? I know I will never be able
to keep up with manually removing the offending
snails. And while no question is stupid....do I keep checking your site for an
answer or my email? Or both?
<There is no (traded) loach species that will (a) kill snails AND (b) be
small enough for a 15 gallon tank. So biological control via fish is not an
option. Assassin Snails, Clea helena, are an alternative, but they aren't widely
traded. While they do breed in aquaria, they do so very slowly, and being
carnivores, you only get a tiny fraction (a hundredth or less) of them in the
same given area as you'd get herbivorous or scavenging snails.
For 15 gallons, 4-6 specimens would do the trick nicely. But if you don't want
to go down that path, then the easiest approach is, in all honesty, a
combination of manual removing and preventing snail population growth. In other
words, every day, remove as many as you can find, including egg masses
(jelly-like blobs, usually). Do this week after week, and you will
eventually knock their numbers back a long way. Simultaneously reduce the amount
of food for them. Remove any uneaten food at once, and make sure you aren't
overfeeding. The big problem here will be the Apple Snail, which eats the same
stuff as pond snails, so if you can remove it to another tank for a couple
months, so much the better. Snails aren't pests so much as
symptoms, rather like rats in a kitchen. Rats move in where there's food and
shelter, and just so the snails, they only breed exponentially where there's
plenty for them to eat. So yes, you can starve them into submission, and if you
remove as many adults as you can see, then there'll be so little food lying
around for any unseen youngsters, most of those young snails will grow so
slowly, or not at all, and the snail problem will essentially fade away into
insignificance. Finally, don't obsess about
snails. Most do little harm (rarely damaging healthy plants significant, for
example) and some good (oxygenating the substrate, for example) so provided you
can keep the population at a low level, they're actually not something to lose
sleep over. Bear in mind marine fishkeepers treat them as welcome "clean-up
crew", so why freshwater aquarists get so het up about them is a bit mysterious
to me! Cheers, Neale.>
Thank you. That is very helpful!
Snails in aquarium; Whence forth? Whence go?
Been a few years since I had to write for help. I have had my tank set
up for about 4 years now after moving. I have not added any fish,
decorations or anything else since then. The only thing that goes into
the tank is frozen blood worms and flaked food. I somehow got snails in
my tank. Have no idea how. Have you seen or heard o this happening
before? I read that a yoyo loach does a good job getting rid of snails.
Is this true and do you recommend to get one? My tank only currently has
3 Cory cat fish and a 9
inch black ghost.
<The snails were probably always there. You just never saw them. No,
they don't materialise out of thin air, so yes, they have to get in
there the usual ways, typically on aquarium plants. The easiest/best way
to eliminate snails is a combination of physical removal (repeatedly,
likely across many weeks) and the addition of some sort of predator.
However, loaches tend to be more trouble than they're worth. For a
start, you don't get "a" loach.
They're highly social; you get five. Second, they're boisterous,
sometimes aggressively so. The Yoyo Loach is fairly peaceful if kept in
adequate numbers, but adding 5 specimens may not be practical. Finally,
adding 5 fairly big fish to your aquarium will add more stress to the
filter than the snails, so think carefully before doing so. Personally,
I think the Assassin Snail is an infinitely better choice. It's small,
slowly, eats snails, but leaves plants alone. In any event, do start by
Snail deal 12/27/13
hi Neale, i hope you're enjoying your holidays.
<Yes indeed, thanks!>
I don't suppose there is anything that will eat snails but not eat or
harm cherry shrimp.
<Possibly Clea helena, but there are some reports of these Assassin
Snails eating juvenile shrimps. But ecologically at least, freshwater
fish adapted to deal with snails (in other words, shelled or armoured
invertebrates) will likely view shrimps as potential prey.>
There's black sand in there... that's the substrate so i haven't
vacuumed, I just stir it occasionally and water change. There's
tons of java moss and bladderwort. Any ideas? I pulled some out
with cleaning but it appears there are a lot. Though... What
damage could they do, with that huge mass of java/bladderwort?
<Snails? Minimal damage assuming you have the standard sorts like Physa
and Physella "tadpole snails" or Melanoides spp. livebearing snails
(these latter snails do virtually no damage in any aquarium except
insofar as large numbers are unsightly/add to the biological loading on
I imagine a trap would trap shrimplets too. Though if it were a
live trap, and they weren't harmed, I could separate the wheat from the
tares(weeds) as they say.
<Quite so. Snail traps are a risk to air-breathers though, particularly
Corydoras, dwarf frogs, etc.>
I suppose I could do the kind of cleaning where I remove all the shrimp
to a bucket. There are quite a few though, so it's a chore, and I
don't like to stress the little guys too often.
<I doubt the shrimps care! So long as they're handled gently, they
aren't likely to become emotionally stressed in the same way as, say,
Thank you, have a happy new year. I know some folks are on
vacation so i don't mind waiting for an answer.
<Enjoy your holidays, too. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Snail deal 12/27/13
Dwarf Puffers and MTS (and filter bacteria)
Dwarf Puffers and Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Sabrina's Old Nemesis!) -
<Hi, Gord! Wait. Gord? You again?! Just kidding. Didn't realize this was
from you until I just now scrolled down to take a look to see to whom I
should be saying hi. I just happen to have a soft spot in my heart for
eliminating Malaysian Trumpet Snails.>
I'm planning a Dwarf Puffer setup in a 60 litre tank
that currently holds a pair of Lamprologus ocellatus with a sand
The N. ocellatus will be going to a new home at the weekend. I had
introduced Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS) into the tank,
<Nooooooooooooo! Malaysian Trumpet Snails.... My old nemesis! Every time
someone says, with an innocent tone, "I added some trumpet snails!" a
piece of my soul cries.>
since I'd read they keep the sand aerated and I have positively
encouraged them to thrive.
<.... I have nothing good to say here. I'm trying. See, I do know people
actually seek them out intentionally, and add them to tanks, but.... I
just can't wrap my brain around it. THEY'RE EVIL. Complete with little
pointy beards and moustaches, and maniacal laughter. Not kidding, listen
closely to your substrate. They're laughing at you *right now*.>
However I also read that puffers can damage their teeth on MTS.
<I wouldn't be surprised. And these little trapdoor devils can thwart
puffers, too. I only know one fish that can definitely dispose of them.>
I'd like to use the same substrate for the puffers but I think I need to
get rid of the MTS to do so (please correct me if I'm wrong).
<I would get rid of them, but for other reasons. Your reason, however,
is reasonable, too.>
My options as I see it so far:
1: Dump some molluscicide (copper?) or bleach in there and wait a month
for decay to complete. Wash substrate and tank.
<DON'T do this. Trumpet snails may survive it, for one, and for another,
the copper that leaches into your substrate may release at some time in
the future - and your puffers are very sensitive to copper. Don't do
this; it's not worth it.>
2: Starve them. Don't feed the tank for a few months.
<Won't work. Evil doesn't need to eat. Okay, the snails *do* need to
eat, but there's plenty for them, whether you feed them or not. Even if
only one of these livebearing nightmares survives, you'll soon be
3: Sieve the whole substrate.
<Won't work. Newly born baby snails will still make it through. And they
grow up to be evil.>
4. Dump the substrate and start again.
<An excellent option. But there are others.>
5. You tell me I don't have to get rid of the MTS, I celebrate.
<Well, you could do this. But I think you're not unreasonable for being
concerned for the puffers' well-being.>
Obviously I'd rather go for option 3 since it doesn't involve decaying
organisms in the substrate but I don't know what size the newborns are
and whether they would pass through the sieve.
I have a feeling option 5 isn't going to happen.
<That's up to you, and how risky you feel it is. I, personally, for just
the reason of the puffers' teeth, would probably eliminate them.>
Any guidance on this would be most welcome. I feel bad asking since
there's already so much on ridding tanks of snails on WWM but I'm in a
(to me) fairly unique position of being able to do it without any
livestock in the tank and have an opportunity to break the system down
if necessary. I'm not trying to get rid of an outbreak but a
deliberately cultivated population.
<That concept still makes me cringe. Anyhow, you have a couple of other
options. One of them stinks, literally, and one of them involves Botia
striata. I have seen, firsthand in my own tank, Botia striata suck
Malaysian Trumpets out of their shells with no problems at all. It's
like the trapdoor isn't even there; they just knock the snail over and
suck, and it's empty. I don't know how successful other Botia would be
at this, but B. striata are a dream come true. They're also super cute.
Try 'em, you'll like 'em! The smellier option a buddy of mine tried with
It's less than ideal, if you ask me - even cruel, perhaps - but it
Microwave the substrate. He did his in microwave-safe casserole dishes
for an extraordinarily long time, and said the smell was appalling. But
he was giddy with glee to have gotten rid of the little soul-sucking
demons. Just don't miss a single pebble, nuke it all. Or just get a
little school of B. striata. Oh, and drying the substrate out - for
months - won't work. Been there, tried that. They just shut their little
shells and nap, only to wake up and laugh when they're wet again. Why do
I hate these snails so, so much, you might ask? They are really, really
good at growing to a huge population and eating every speck of anything
in the tank. Folks say they won't eat plants, but after they eat
everything else, they most certainly do. And when they get to that
point, they're like lawnmowers. First it's any decaying bits (they
really don't take the live parts until last), but eventually, they just
plow through everything. And have you ever seen, just after lights-out,
how the substrate starts to crawl, and then they march up the sides of
the tank like they're coming to take over the world?
Also, while I'm writing, can I clarify a concept that's been bugging me
for a while?
<I'll try. No promises!>
To my mind, if I remove all of the livestock from a cycled tank and the
bacteria is no longer being fed, it will START to die off,
and release the nutrients it held back into the water column. If this
happens then there will be ammonia present from the decay and the
remaining bacteria will eat that, grow and die again when it completes,
so the system should stay cycled, albeit to a lesser degree.
<Yes, to a lesser and lesser degree over time, until a balance is
Would this equilibrium occur?
It's relevant if I need to fallow this system to get rid of the snails.
<Still won't work. So sorry.>
I can't thank you enough for your help and resources. You've taken a guy
that didn't even know what cycling was to overcomplicating it with
questions like that!
<Haha! Isn't life, and learning, just wonderful?? So glad to have added
to your life in this way.... and for you to have added to all of ours,
and our readers'!>
I've also managed to do about 4 hours reading on Dwarf Puffers long
before I've even set up the system, thanks to the influence and hard
work of the Crew.
<Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you, Gord, for your very fun questions, and
for your kindness and encouragement.>
<Best wishes to you always, -Sabrina>
Dwarf Puffers and Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Sabrina's Old
Nemesis!) - II 11/04/2012
Yes, me again! I'm like a bad penny. Thanks for a very entertaining
email. I read that over my morning tea and you had me in stitches. It
really set me up for the day.
<Hah! I'm glad.>
I can only assume that you don't like Trumpet Snails then?
<Can't imagine where you got that idea! *grin*>
Given what you've just told me, I'm not too sure I like them now either
and it's not because of their evil laughter and pointy beards! Eat my
plants? No way!
<Many/most folks will claim otherwise, but I've seen it firsthand.
They do eat any/everything else first, but as they grow too populous for
the tank, they'll take down plants too.>
The worst thing is I put 4 into my community tank (60 litre, Barbs and
Tetras) a week ago when I decided to conserve some Trumpet Snails for
future use. I feel it might be time to go on a snail squashing spree and
give the Barbs a little extra protein.
<My opinion is that trumpet snails aren't for my tanks. Your
mileage may vary.>
I'd be hesitant to take on life purely to rid a tank of a pest,
<Botia striata really are a wonderful fish, if you've got the room for a
small school. Quite a delightful little loach.>
so that leaves me with your buddy’s nuclear winter idea for the puffer
I might go for a different take on this, though, and boil the substrate
then sieve out the bodies. Unless these super-snails are immune to 100C
water, that is! To my mind, it shouldn't be any different to cooking
whelks. I wonder if you can eat Trumpet Snails? I have some quite big
<Mmmm, tasty.... Or not.... Wait 'til you smell 'em.
DO NOT do this if you have a significant other in the house, or if
family is going to visit. Trust me.>
Anyway, thanks. I think I have a way forward that doesn't involve too
much hassle now.
<Good luck! I, personally, prefer the loach option, as for some
reason I can't bring myself to kill things in one way if I think there's
a "better" way, and for something to become a meal is, in some messed-up
way, "better" in my mind. It's an odd quirk. I don't even
kill spiders in my own home. I guess I'm a pretty weird case.>
Thanks for clearing up the filter bacteria issue. It made sense to me
that equilibrium would be reached, but often I think that there might be
something I've overlooked in an aquarium setting.
<Seems like you're a pretty sensible guy, Gord.>
It is useful to know since I don't like moving fish just to keep feeding
a filter, nor do I like feeding empty tanks.
<Feeding the empty tank just keeps a higher load of "waste" - mimicking
having fish in the tank, basically, so that there will remain a greater
amount of nitrifying bacteria. Nothing wrong with doing that.
If you don't, and the tank is left alone, it just means being slow and
careful when you add fish again. No biggee either way.>
<Best wishes again and always, -Sabrina>
CW Nerite-egg eater? 6/10/12
I have a 12 gallon non-heated freshwater tank with
several Nerite snails. The eggs are becoming unsightly and wanted
to know if you were aware of any FW room-temperature fish that
will eat the eggs.
<Nope. If you find one, let me know! I scrape them off, using an
algae scraper. The ones which hold razor blades work well.>
I've read online that some options may be a MTS, Betta fish, Rosy Barb,
Cherry Barb, Dwarf Gourami, Dwarf Loach, or Scarlet Badis.
<None sounds likely. The egg cases do fall off eventually, but they are
quite hard, so it seems improbable any fish would be able to dislodge
them short of something like a Panaque.>
MTS can overpopulate, so I'm ruling that out.
I've read that the Dwarf Gourami & Dwarf Loach don't like room
temperature tanks during the Winter if they're as cold as the high
sixties, so I'm thinking of ruling them out…
I think the Scarlet Badis look really nice, but read online that they
require live food only (I'd rather feed packaged fish-food), so I'm
unfortunately crossing that off of my list.
<Can't imagine them eating egg cases! They're fussy feeders, yes.>
I know that the Paradise Fish is room temp -- not sure if they will eat
Nerite snail eggs ... do you know?
Do you know of any other room temp fish that will eat Nerite Snail eggs?
<Sorry can't offer more help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater? 6/10/12
I appreciate your response. It seems like I'm destined to scrape
off those little eggs by hand, at least for the time being.
Perhaps I'll wait until my Nerites live out their life in my tank and
then only keep Amano Shrimp & Otos in the future as my algae eaters.....
<Hi Christine. The sad thing is that Nerites are infinitely better algae
eaters than either shrimps or catfish. You may want to shop around on
the Nerite front. Since Nerites need to mate before laying eggs, if you
keep one each per species, you shouldn't get eggs! Make sense? Cheers,
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater? 6/11/12
Thanks Neale - yes, I've heard the same thing that you mentioned below
(that Amano shrimp & Otos, while good at eating algae, pale in
comparison to Nerites....)
Since I have a pair of olives, a pair of zebra, & only 1 corona, I'll
take your suggestion & ask my LFS to take back one olive & one zebra, so
that should take care of the egg situation.
<That's the theory, at least! They may be hold onto sperm for a few
weeks or months after mating -- many animals can -- but eventually they
should "run out".>
I had originally bought pairs thinking that a snail may want a "buddy"
of the same species ... but I've noticed that there's not a lot of
interaction between snails of the same species (other than mating)…
<Among Nerites, yes, you're right. But I have kept other snails that
seem to spend a lot of time together. Possibly mating or something
related to pre-mating behaviours. Can be quite bizarre watching heaps of
big Tylomelania snails stuck together on the glass!>
they don't seem to have similar behavior fish wanting to shoal together
(or be in close proximity)....so I think the lone Nerite species won't
feel lonely if I have only 1 of each…
<For sure. I don't imagine they're terribly smart animals.>
Re: CW Nerite-egg eater? 6/12/12
Thanks for the info.
That's interesting about the Sulawesi snails .. if I ever have any in
the future, then I'll make sure that I at least have a pair so that
<Definitely fun animals. Look out for them! They're slow breeding
livebearers (sort of), so you don't normally see their eggs.>
Potential snail problem
Hello WetWebMedia Crew,
Several months ago I was given a small floating plant by LFS. I do not
have a planted tank, know nothing about them in fact, but thought it
might provide a lovely bit of additional shade. In keeping with the
perpetual "learn by experience" aspect of fish keeping, I now
know that one has to be careful of snail eggs coming in on
plants. I have a 21Gallon (tall) aquarium that has been
established for 7 months. It houses 10 Neon Tetras, a small
<Mmm, a note re... will get larger in time; too likely consume your
a Glass Cat
<A social species; best kept in a group>
and a Plecostomus.
<A smaller species I hope/trust, like an Ancistrus>
and now, many little snails rapidly growing into large snails
that are making yet more little snails!
They seem to be regular pond snails and research tells me that there
are a few different types of fish I can add to my tank that will take
care of this soon-to-be problem.
<Mmm, there are other controls... Please read here re:
and peruse the related files linked above>
I was considering Clown Loaches but am thinking that my tank is
probably not big enough for 3 of them. (and 2 would be too few if
I'm not mistaken?)
<Correct on both counts>
Someone also told me that a Red Tail Black Shark would eat them but I
have yet to find any such information online.
<Also mean and potentially large... like the Angel>
I figured it best to ask advice!
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome! I'd read; consider another avenue... simple collection
and removal may be the way to go here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Potential snail problem 12/1/11
Thank you very much for the suggested reading. I really appreciate your
and Neale's insight on this matter and I am always excited by what
I learn on your site!
Regarding my potential pond snail overpopulation, I will definitely try
your "food in a dish at nightfall" suggestion, but I will
also keep researching Clea helena per Neale's endorsement. So far,
the only incompatibility I can see with putting Assassin Snails in my
tank is that it has gravel substrate. Is this completely
<Mmm, no... most can/will live exposed>
They do seem to be the only biological solution considering the
small size of my tank. I really haven't been able to find any
downfall to having this seemingly wonderful little snail; are there
<Not many, no... w/ the loss of suitable food, they can die off en
masse, polluting water and what that portends>
Regarding your observations on my existing tankmates, I'd like to
take a moment to explain and I certainly welcome further advice.
Inexperience lends that I don't always know to do the right thing,
but I do try to research before I purchase new fish in order to provide
the most appropriate environment that I can. I am quite new to the
hobby but I am aspiring, and my goal is to have a 55 or 75 gallon
freshwater tank established by this time next year. Re: Angelfish... it
had been at the LFS for 3 weeks+ looking a little the worse for wear,
its companions dying off one by one, so (right
or wrong) I brought it home aware that it would someday want to snack
on the Neon Tetras but hoping to have my larger tank in place before
Compassion overruled logic I'm afraid. (I'm working on
I also live in a small, somewhat remote town in northern Ontario,
Canada which has the only LFS within a two hour drive in any direction.
There is only one supplier willing to ship fish to our LFS every second
week, and their selection on offer (to us) is often random at best.
Ordering online would be an alternative but it comes with its own
exorbitant shipping costs and questionable success rate. Re:
Plecostomus... I waited (and am still waiting) for an Ancistrus. A
Starlight Bristlenose Pleco to be specific.
But, alas, the supplier has not come through yet. The LFS offered me a
common Pleco that I could exchange once they were able to bring in an
They will then put it in the store's 75 gallon display tank. And
finally, the single Glass Catfish. My fault, lack of consideration on
my part. Per planetcatfish.com, a school of 4 is acceptable but 6 is
Would 6 be too many for my little 21 gallon tank?
<Yes... I'd go w/ three as a minimum and maximum here>
I thank you again and look forward to more lessons!
<I look forward to our future sharing. BobF>
Loach/Pleco/Frog Question... snail
Hi, I hope you can help me with my dilemma'¦
I have a 55 gallon tank with a 7" Clown Loach, a 6"
African Clawed Frog, and an 18" Plecostomus. We have
a pretty bad snail problem (over 100, easy), and while
we remove them as we see them, I can plainly see that they are in the
substrate rocks. I am sure there are eggs all over as well. What's
the best way to get rid of them? The Pleco and the loach don't seem
to be eating them - or if they are, they aren't making a dent.
<I assume these are the Livebearing snail Melanoides
tuberculatus. These convert organic detritus into baby snails.
The dirtier the tank, the fewer snails. So, the fact you have hundreds
of snails is a symptom rather than the problem itself. Given that 55
gallons is far too small for these fish, it's almost certain the
tank contains lots of uneaten food, fish faeces, and algae for the
snails to eat. Hence, your "solution" is to fix this. More
water changes, better filtration, less food, introduction of
fast-growing plants to outcompete algae, regular cleaning of the
substrate will all help. Realistically, in an overcrowded tank, unless
you remove all the snails in one fell swoop, all of this will take time
to have any effect at all. Removing everything from the tank, deep
cleaning it, and reintroducing the fish will provide a surer way to
knock back the snails to near zero levels, though mature filter media
can carry some snails, so you will need to prevent these survivors
multiplying through the methods described above. Clea helena snails can
help as well.>
I know getting more loaches may be the answer,
<Is not the answer at all. Will make things much worse because your
tank already provides excellent conditions for Melanoides.>
but I worry about the large loach (or the Pleco or frog) being
aggressive to the smaller newcomers. We thought about moving them to an
entirely new tank, but I can't work out how to set the new tank up
and get it cycling because - how on earth do you lift a full 55 gallon
tank onto the stand at that point?
<You don't. Assuming you aren't using an undergravel filter,
then moving mature biological media from one tank to another, you
merely keep it damp. No need to transfer gravel or water.>
We only have one stand, and while we could afford a new tank, we
can't afford a new stand as well. I also know that when setting up
a new tank it is wise to use some gravel or decor from the old tank to
help establish healthy bacteria in the new tank - but doesn't that
defeat the purpose, as those items would have to be thoroughly cleaned
to remove the snail eggs?
Zebra Loaches, snail cont., comp.
Hi Crew, hope all is going well for you. I have a couple of questions,
please. I wanted to know if it is true that zebra loaches indeed do eat
<If hungry, yes, up to a point. But this is misunderstood by many.
They will have near-zero impact on Melanoides livebearing snails for
example, and really only tackle small Physa and Physella. They
generally ignore the tiny Planorbis snails. In any case, if you're
feeding them -- or the other fish they're kept with -- they'll
generally eat that "easy" food rather than the snails. Any
retailer who tells you a given loach will cure a snail problem is not
really being honest. Many fish eat snails on occasion, for example
Oscars, Synodontis and many of the Mbuna, but that doesn't mean
these fish are snail cures.>
and if they would be good tank companions for angels and Corys.
<Bit on the boisterous size, so it does depend on the size of the
Assuming 55 gallons/250 litres or more, yes, a group of Botia striata
will get along with most community fish. There will be competition for
food though, so take care with Corydoras. Personally, I prefer not to
mix Botiine loaches with Corydoras except for Dwarf Chain Loaches.
Angels generally dislike strong water currents, so you'll need to
be careful ensuring proper circulation for these loaches while not
buffeting about the poor Angels. Would recommend Kuhli Loaches as the
classic "pond" loaches as opposed to these stream-dwelling
Also, what is the minimum grouping that is healthy for them
<As with all Botiine loaches, 5 or more, or they'll fight all
the time and will be so shy you'll never see them.>
and are they hardy to keep?
<Given the right conditions, i.e., low to moderate temperature, lots
of water current, and a soft substrate, yes, they're quite hardy.
The usual cautions apply though with regard to copper and
Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Zebra Loaches 7/31/10
Thank you Neale, I guess I won't try to use that method then.
Could you please recommend some safe product (if any) that will rid my
tank of snails?
<I wouldn't use any "product", but I will recommend
the snail-eating "Assassin Snail" Clea helena, a species that
will consume snails and over time does establish an equilibrium. They
aren't an instant fix, but you will find they have a strong
negative effect on snails by eating the juveniles, so that the number
of adult snails declines. Clea helena breeds but since they're
either male or female you will need a reasonably large group to be sure
to get males and females. They breed slowly, and it is several months
before you'll spot any juveniles.>
I do not even know what type they are. I had never used live plants of
any kind until I set up this current aquarium and the ones I have now
are java fern. I assume that is where the snails came from. I try to
vacuum as many as possible when doing a water change (I have a sand
bottom). I know of a product called "rid a snail" but have
heard that would hurt my cories.
<Indeed. The molluscicides sold to aquarists typically contain
potassium permanganate, and this is very toxic indeed. Broadly, it is
safe used as short dip for new plants, but otherwise should not be
added to the aquarium. Even if it was safe in the aquarium, having
handfuls of dead snails rotting in an aquarium will bring down water
quality. So why bother?>
Also I currently have 6 angels and 3 gold gouramis in addition to my
cories. I am getting tired of the gouramis and have decided to have
just an all angel (except for the cories) tank. Will there be fighting
if I add more angels to the ones who have been in the 75 gallon tank
for over a year? Thanks again for all you do.
<Angels can be territorial, so fighting is definitely a risk. You
should be okay because you already have six of them, but there's no
guarantees. For what it's worth, I think you might want to leave
the Gouramis; I find they
have a "disturbance" factor on the Angels that ensures the
school of Angels stays together. They do what cichlid keepers call
acting as the target fish, a focus for the aggression that maintains
pair bonds. In a 75 gallon tank the impact three gold Gouramis will
have on water quality is minimal, so I'd honestly leave them there,
or at least replace them with another largish Gourami species like Lace
or Moonlight Gouramis.>
Re: Zebra Loaches -- 7/31/10
Hi Neale, as far as this "target fish" thing goes, does that
mean that the aggression some of the angels have towards one another
may be directed towards the gouramis thus keeping them from fighting
<No. Target fish are *different species* that are threats that
cichlid social units recognise, and those threats help to keep the
cichlids working together. Without target fish the cichlids have more
energy to divert into fights over hierarchy. Also, without target fish,
pairs tend to be weaker, so males are more likely to bully the females.
In other words, by ensuring the cichlids are "scared" a bit,
the social group works better. It's complex, and I'd encourage
you to read Paul Loiselle on this issue, in 'The Cichlid
I do think they are pretty fish but even though I have one male and two
females I get tired of seeing the male always chasing one of the
females around the tank all the time.
<Male Gold/Blue Gouramis -- varieties of Trichogaster trichopterus
-- are notorious bullies, and as you'll see elsewhere I recommend
people just keep females. Lace and Moonlight Gouramis are much less
That is the only reason I want to get rid of them. I don't know if
the male chases the same female or not, but would adding one more
female help the situation?
<Possibly, but I'd prefer to remove the male if you can, or swap
for another Trichogaster species.>
Thank you again. James
Re: Zebra Loaches -- 7/31/10
Thank you for the information. It is always good to learn new things in
the aquarium world. I managed to catch the male gold Gourami and take
him back to the LFS. Do you recommend me buying any more females or is
having just 2 OK? Thank you again.
<For the purposes of target fish, two is fine. Cheers,
FW, remedy for snails in a community tank -
I have 2 tanks of community fish currently set up and had a few of the
small snails come in on plants. As you can imagine, the few snails have
turned into a few hundred.
<Yes, this can happen, but do understand why. Contrary to popular
misconception, snails cannot break the laws of physics. To make one
snail takes a certain amount of energy and food. To make hundreds takes
a lot more energy and food. Snail populations are limited by the amount
they have to eat. If you have a lot of snails, you have a tank with
enough food (i.e., uneaten fish food) for them to multiply and grow
that rapidly. The best way to control snail numbers is to keep a tank
clean, remove uneaten food, remove dead plant material, and then let
the snail population die back to a lower level.>
Short of picking the out daily by hand, I'm having trouble keeping
them under control.
<Indeed. Unless conditions change, snail numbers will always rise up
to the level supported by the amount of food available to them.>
I tried assassin snails, but they don't appear to be doing
<You do need a sufficient number. Try doubling the number you
Tanks are vacuumed about weekly with 15-20% water changes; I have well
water so no additives needed; pH stays around 7, no detectable ammonia
or nitrite in either tank. Current tank inhabitants are as follows: 10
tank with 3 white skirt tetras, 1 rubber lip Pleco, and 3 fancy
<Wrong fish for this size tank, which may be one reason conditions
favour the snails.>
50 gallon tank with 4 black skirt tetras, 4 zebra Danios, 8 Neons, 6
fancy guppies, 3 dwarf Platies, and 3 or 4 ghost shrimp (hard to count
them-they mostly hide). My thought was to get some loaches to take care
of the snail problem but I'm not sure which species would be best.
I was primarily looking at Dwarf Chain Loaches or Zebra Loaches just
based on internet research.
<Depends on the snails, but to be honest, Loaches and Pufferfish for
snail control sound much better in theory than in practise. If nothing
else, the extra food you put out for these fish will increase the
amount of uneaten food available to the snails. Also, Loaches and
Puffers really only eat snails very much smaller than they are, and
things like Dwarf Loaches have hardly any impact at all. Once Loaches
and Puffers learn you're feeding them nice, soft food items like
bloodworms and catfish pellets, they won't eat snails
My plan is to put them in the 10 gallon tank temporarily to deal with
the snails (perhaps relocating the current inhabitants to my quarantine
tank for that time), then move them to the 50 gallon tank to live.
I'd like to get rid of the snails, but don't want to exchange
one problem for another.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Pest snails and planted tank 05/20/09
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my email. I searched
your site and found some wonderful material, but I still have questions
on two topics.
An experienced fancy guppy breeder told me that soaking aquatic plants
in a strong aloe vera solution for a day would kill pest snails and
their eggs. This sounds less messy, less dangerous to the plants and
more environmentally friendly than the potassium permanganate dips that
I am currently using. Do you know if soaks in aloe vera really kill
snail eggs? If this does work, do you know what concentration of
aloe vera should be used?
<Never heard of using Aloe Vera, so can't comment; as for
environmental friendliness, perhaps, but if you happen to drive a car
then you already do far more damage to the environment in a day than a
lifetime's dipping of plants in potassium permanganate! So if
that's a motive, perhaps focus on stuff where you actually can make
Also, before I became careful about plants, I accidentally introduced
some pest snails into my 29 gallon BioCube tank (actual capacity is
more like 22 gallons). I have been manually removing the pest snails
and using homemade snail traps, but it seems to be a losing battle. I
am interested in a non-chemical way of controlling the snails in the
tank, but I have some concerns and questions about the methods
suggested on your site. Assassin Snails - I thought about the
"assassin snails", but I have heard from some people that
after they eat the current snail population, then they overrun the
<They eat protein, not plants; in other words, if the tank is filthy
with uneaten food, their population can, will, expand to use up those
available resources. Though it's unarguable science, many people
still don't grasp that snail populations are depending on the
energy (food) available to them -- they cannot magically multiply if
there's nothing for them to eat. Hence, a clean tank will
always be a tank with few snails; a messy tank will always have the
potential for snail plagues.>
Other people have said that after the assassin snails eat all the pest
snails, they starve and the dying assassin snails pollute the tank. Do
you know what happens with the assassin snail population after they are
<My specimens seem to maintain a low population that causes no
problems at all. Since they don't eat plants, the upper limit on
their numbers is firmly fixed by the available protein: fish food, dead
fish, other snails.>
Loaches - I thought about the small Botia sidthimunki loaches (max size
about 2.5 inches), but it looks like they are most happy in groups of
at least 5 (total of about 11 inches of fish).
<Correct; in fact, I'd have six or more.>
I am afraid that this would be too much fish for my aquarium that has
an actual capacity of about 22 gallons. I currently have 2 dwarf
cichlids (Apisto cacs - max size about 3 inches each), 7 panda tetras
(Aphyocharax paraguayensis - max size about 1.5 inches each) and 5
ember tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae - max size about 0.75 inches) for
a total of about 20.25 inches. Would it be acceptable to put 31 inches
of fish in an aquarium that has an actual capacity of 22 gallons?
I have very good built-in filtration with a mechanical filter and
bioballs and I do a 25% water change every week. The tank is lightly
planted and will be heavily planted if the snails ever stop eating all
my plants. I don't know if this is relevant, but I have soft water
(10GH, 40KH) with 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrites, 0 ammonia and a pH of 6.8
kept at 80 degrees. I don't overfeed my fish, but the population of
"pond-type" snails continues to grow because they are happily
eating all of my plants.
<I suspect you'd find Clea helena very good in this tank. I use
them and like them.>
I would appreciate any advice that you could give me.
p.s. In my search I found and read this article. . .
Re: Pest snails and planted tank 05/20/09
Wow! Thank you for the fast reply and thank you for reassuring me
regarding the Clea helena. I am glad to hear that the Clea helena
snails work well and that they stay at a low population. Now I just
need to fine some. I have a few more follow up questions if you
Would the Clea helena eat much larger apple/mystery/Briggs snails? I
have some pet apple snails and I could move them to another tank if
be in danger.
<My Clean helena ignore larger snails, including adult Nerite snails
and adult Tylomelania snails. In fact, they seem only to take snails
their own size or smaller. So while I can't guarantee it, certainly
mine have not killed larger snails in a year of cohabitation. They will
of course eat baby snails.>
Can you recommend a good source for the assassin snails?
<Here in the UK at least, they're reasonably widely traded at
the better aquarium shops including such places as Wildwoods. Elsewhere
in the world,
I'm afraid you'll have to consult aquarists in your
I also have a few comments/observations below. I do focus on
things where I can actually make a difference. I don't own a car. I
am lucky enough to live in a place with good public transportation. I
use Zipcar, (car sharing by the hour), and I walk to places when I
<Sounds cool. Since I never learned to drive, and either walk,
cycle, or train anyplace I go, it's quite easy for me to be a
little too casual with telling others they shouldn't drive. But, as
you appear to realize, choosing not to drive so often is one of the
best ways to "do your bit" for the planet.>
I am OK with population dynamics (I actually have a Ph.D. in
<Mine's in palaeontology, yet here I am talking about
I just didn't know whether the Clea helena are exclusively
<They're carnivores that also eat carrion; in other words, they
eat snails and worms in terms of live (or frozen) food, but also dead
fish and shrimps, probably fish eggs, and certainly catfish pellets,
flake, etc. What they don't eat are algae and plants, and unlike
Melanoides snails, (adults) don't consume micofauna either (though
I suspect the burrowing juveniles do so). There's very little
written about their biology, but they're whelks, and much said
about saltwater whelks (Buccinidae) applies to them.>
If they were omnivorous (e.g. they might eat some algae or plants),
then it would be possible for them to overpopulate the tank even
without overfeeding. I also didn't know their rate of population
<Slow; it's something like one egg every couple of days, and
there may even be cannibalism between adults and juveniles. Certainly,
when I bought a starter population of four specimens, it was some
months before I saw a juvenile, and even a year later, the population
is probably 20-30, which in
a 20 gallon tank is a trivial load, especially given the tank is
Although the population will eventually reach a stable equilibrium, if
their population expansion is rapid enough, then there could be a
die off in the short term when the population of pest snails has a
<More likely, the snails won't breed; that's the usual thing
with these sorts of animals. What tends to happen with animals that
don't have set
breeding seasons is that their reproduction rate rises or falls
depending on the availability of food.>
This paragraph isn't meant to dispute what you are saying. I just
wanted to point out that for some systems there can be wildly
population levels in the short term before the system settles down to a
<Yes, indeed; this is the classic Lynx and Snowshoe Hare thing. But
with warm-blooded vertebrates, which typically breed once a year,
offspring are initiated (mating takes place) some time before the
offspring actually need food, so the parents gamble that food will be
present. As I understand it, with small invertebrates (and indeed fish)
that live in relatively stable, tropical habitats, breeding can take
place all year around, and there tends
to be diverting energy into reproduction depending on what's
available. More babies in the good times, fewer in the bad. Since the
snails are very small, even if they did die (e.g., lack of food) the
amount of ammonia produced by a whole batch of their little corpses
would still be
less than one uneaten catfish pellet. In other words, no big deal.
Whatever the science, all I can say from experience is that I've
never found Clea
helena a problem, and in fact a rather lovely addition to what I call a
"freshwater reef tank" alongside larger snails (Nerites,
Re: Pest snails and planted tank 05/21/09
Thank you for the in-depth explanation. I really appreciate it.
I hope that the job market for palaeontologists in the UK is better
than the job market for physicists in the US.
<Not really! Hence, I work as a writer for fish magazines!
Ironically, I learned most of this stuff while looking after the
display aquaria at my university during my spare time, so my four years
at college were not entirely wasted...>
Snails... control... no reading or referral...
Hello Crew, hope all is going well for you and you aren't too busy.
I have a 75 gallon tank that right now only has Cory cats in it. Even
before I had any fish I found several snails in my tank which I caught
I assumed they came in on my driftwood because I have no live
<Possibly, if the driftwood was stored in an aquarium. Unlikely to
come in via dried wood sitting on a shop shelf. Snails sometimes come
in via aquarium fish, especially if you (foolishly) pour water from the
fish bag into your aquarium. Just to recap, you put the fish bag water
and the fish into a bucket, add water from the aquarium to that bucket
over half an hour, and then net out the fish from the bucket into the
aquarium, discarding all the water in the bucket. Not only does this
keep out snails, it also stops the ammonia from the fish bag getting
into your aquarium, and also reduces (though doesn't eliminate) the
chances of parasites getting into your aquarium.>
Now that I have the cories I am noticing more of them even though I am
trying to keep the feeding to a minimum. Do you know of a product that
is safe and effective in killing snails that will not hurt the
<None. Anything that kills snails will result in their decay, and
that messes up water quality.>
I know clown loaches are said to eat snails, but I have read that they
should be kept in groups of at least 3, and I don't want that
<Three! Clown Loaches should be kept in at least twice that number.
If the snails are small, then any of the smaller and more peaceful
loaches might work, for example Dwarf Chain Loaches (Yasuhikotakia
sidthimunki) or Cherry Fin Loach (Acanthocobitis rubidipinnis). The
Yo-Yo Loach (Botia almorhae)
is another option, but like many in its genus, it's fairly
boisterous, especially when not kept in sufficient numbers (six or
Synodontis will also eat snails, and some species, like S.
nigriventris, are good community tank fish except perhaps around things
with long fins like Fancy Guppies. It should go without saying all
these fish only eat snails when hungry. But really, snails are almost
never a problem, and I don't mind them at all. In a clean tank all
they really do is eat algae and a bit of uneaten fish food, and
provided you eliminate the plant-eating species, they do no
Thank you for your help.
Snail Problem, comp., sel.
I have been reading feverishly for the past night and day regarding how
to safely remove snails from an aquarium. My problem is that all the
snails I have seen are located in my sump/refugium.
<Nothing really wrong with that, is there? Marine aquarists go out
of their way to put invertebrates in their refugia!>
75G FW with two Comet GF (6-8") and one Pleco (6-8"). Tank is
heated/chilled (it's a hobby...) to around 75/76F.
I have a 20G sump/refugium with plants (Anacharis, if I remember
correctly) that I purchased a few weeks ago, and this is likely where
they came from. I thought they were clean, but I was obviously wrong. I
have an Eheim 1262 pump in the refugium for return flow, and I need to
know if the snails/eggs can transfer through the pump into the main
tank? I have not noticed any snails in the main tank and boy did I look
around hard last night after finding the snails in the sump. The sump
has a 6" deep Seachem Fluorite
Black Sand substrate. Will the snails burrow into this?
<Some genera of snails are burrowers: Melanoides, Clea for example;
others, like Physa and Pomacea aren't really burrowers
I haven't noticed any, but then again, I might not be able to see
I've been reading that the
"put-food-in-something-and-remove-in-a-day" method helps
control population, and I will be doing this (cleaned salt shaker with
algae wafers in there now) over the weekend as I am leaving on a trip
tomorrow morning and won't be back until Monday night.
<Takes a long time to have much impact.>
However, I also know this won't kill/capture all of them, but
merely maintain the population. Since I have the plants in the
refugium, I'm concerned about them being eaten. I am also concerned
that due to the large
amount of algae in the sump/refugium, I'm never going to catch the
They don't seem to be concerned with the "free food" when
they have all they can eat off the glass. Which brings me to more
concerns, such as upsetting the balance I had with nitrates, and
potentially getting into the main tank where I will most likely lose
the war and have to restart the entire aquarium (something I'm not
really wanting to do for obvious reasons and since I don't want to
put the fish through the stress).
<Repeat after me: Snails are harmless. There is X amount of protein
in your aquarium, and some goes into the fish, the rest into the snails
and heterotrophic bacteria. The snail population expands to equal the
amount of protein. Provided you don't overfeed the tank, the snail
population CANNOT expand indefinitely. It reaches a level. In itself,
all the snail population does is speed up the decay of organic matter
into the ammonia that the nitrifying bacteria can use.>
I've also read that chemicals, like Had-A-Snail is a bad idea for
the fish and possibly the plants.
It especially says to "take care with catfish". Not something
I'm willing to risk unless the experts (you) say it will be ok for
<Snail-killing potions do more harm than snails do! Think about what
happens if you kill all the snails, and they rot away all at the same
Ammonia spikes galore!>
But, I've also read that Fluke tabs may solve the problem.
<Copper at least will kill all sorts of invertebrates, but it's
also toxic to fish, some more than others. Catfish, loaches, Mormyrids,
puffers are among the species most intolerant of copper.>
However, I can't tell from reading online and the manufacturer
instructions how detrimental it will be to catfish and plants. This
would obviously be the easy solution and I'd be happy to try it if
you guys think it won't hurt any of my fish. I would take the fish
out of the aquarium if I had another place to put them, but
all I have is a 10G tank I use if I ever have to move/do construction
on the main tank. This is definitely not a suitable home for them for
more than a day.
<Specific fluke medications other than copper will have little/no
impact on snails.>
Another idea I read about, a loach, doesn't seem feasible as the
environment just isn't suited for them. I'd hate to put a fish
in a place that isn't suited for them just to help me out. No
reason it has to suffer for my mistake.
I was thinking the following in regards to killing the pests: Replace
the sump for a couple of days with a canister filter I have and remove
the water from the sump leaving it mostly exposed to air (the sand
holds a good amount of water) and attempt to "dry out" the
snails. Does this work? Will the snails die out of water?
<Some will, but others, such as Melanoides, can survive for months
out of water in a hibernating state.>
Will they try to burrow into the sand?
<Some will, yes.>
If that isn't a good idea, what about mixing only the water in the
sump with a large dose of aquarium salt? If I do this, will the sand
absorb the salt?
<Melanoides can tolerate up to 50% seawater, so your plants and fish
will die long before they will...>
Will the plants die if I leave them in there? I want to try to
disinfect everything I can, so I'd attempt to leave pumps and
heaters in the salt water if I did this.
Will this be fatal to the fish upon reinstalling the sump? I understand
I can dilute, like a couple of 100% water changes, but I'm worried
it will ruin the substrate which will kill the plants and harm my fish.
find any of this information on your site. Surely I can't be the
only one that ever had a sump infected with snails, but then again,
maybe I'm one of the rare people running a sump on a FW tank?
<Snails aren't that big of a problem. Simply remove the surplus
snails as you see them, but otherwise ignore, and instead control
excess protein via better aquarium management.>
Help! And THANK YOU so much!
<Do see here for a useful snail-eating snail, Clea helena.
Widely sold in the UK at least, sometimes as the "assassin
Hello I could really use some help. Have a 90 gallon with Cyprichromis
(15). I have an infestation of snails that just keeps getting worse. No
live plants and unsure where the snails came from. Any help would be
greatly appreciated. You have helpful to me in the past. Thank you.
<Snails aren't that big of a deal in terms of fish health, and
population explosions tend to reflect overfeeding and/or
under-cleaning, so do review overall conditions. But more specifically,
avoid snail poisons, and instead either use snail traps (e.g., the JBL
LimCollect) or add some type of snail-eating fish or invertebrate. My
snail-eater of choice is the Assassin Snail, Clea helena (sometimes
called Anentome helena). It's a small, pretty snail that eats
snails such as Malayan livebearing snails alongside bloodworms, fish
food, etc. I can't recommend it highly enough. There are some
snail-eating Malawian fish, but a lot of them tend to be highly
aggressive (Melanochromis, Pseudotropheus, etc.). Labidochromis
caeruleus is perhaps one exception, but being fairly small, it'll
only take small snails, and then only when hungry. The same goes for
Synodontis catfish. Cheers, Neale.>
FW 20 gal tall stocking question: snail remediation
Hi! I've learned invaluable things from your site but need to be
some confirmation or redirection regarding my tank.
I have a 20 gal tall FW, artificially planted, smaller substrate gravel
w/ several drift wood pieces, double hang-on-back filters (each rated
for 20 gal). Water parameters are ammon: 0, Nitrite: 0, and Nitrate 10.
Ph 7.8+ due to municipal water source. Tank is kept at 78 degrees
Current stock: 1 bristle nose Pleco, 10 glass fish. I will be adopting
an unaggressive female three-spot Gourami in another week and have
already provided a dedicated cave for her (on opposite side of tank
from the Pleco's preferred cave).
<Hmm... like children, fish often want to play with the SAME cave,
even if there are caves to go around!>
I also, unfortunately, am now the not-so-happy owner of unwanted pond
snails (most likely came in with the last add of glass fish). I've
already removed a dozen or so and yet babies are cropping up all over!
I read that Botia sid dwarf loaches are an excellent natural solution
to this problem.
I know I don't have room for FIVE as suggested, but have read
others have kept them in happy groups of three. Do you think I have
room in my tank for three? I need a snail remediation solution, but
don't want to disrupt my currently peaceful tank.
<Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki (formerly Botia sidthimunki) is a
schooling fish, so keeping a single specimen isn't fair.
They're intensely gregarious, and even in groups of six look pretty
forlorn. To be honest, the idea of choosing a fish for snail control
rarely works in practise.
Puffers and Loaches will eat snails when they're hungry, but they
cause problems of their own. Loaches tend to be aggressive and
sometimes bully other fish, while Puffers are often territorial and
frequently nippy, even putting aside the fact some of the species sold
need brackish water. By far the best control for snails is manual
labour. Begin by keeping snails out, for example by dipping new plants
in an off-the-shelf snail-killing potion for a few minutes. Secondly,
kill any snails you see on sight. Squish them, and leave your catfish
or whatever to clean up the corpses. Thirdly, make life difficult for
your snails: keep the tank clean, and in particular remove uneaten
food. Finally, consider adding a predatory snail or two.
Clea helena (sometimes called Anentome helena) are sold as
"Assassin Snails" quite widely now, at least here in the UK.
They're attractive animals that get to about an inch in length and
are prettily marked with
yellow and brown. They eat snails, but don't eat plants. While they
do breed, they breed so slowly that they're unlikely to cause
problems. Worst case, you remove any you see. They're amazing
little snail-eaters, and though their impact is slow, it is substantial
in the long term. You end up with a balance of predators and prey, and
the snails stop being a major problem.>
As always, thanks for your thoughts and support!!!
Re: FW 20 gal tall stocking question: snail remediation solution
Just to clarify, you say not to add a SINGLE sidmunk (Botia
sidthimunki), but I asked about adding a small group of three (knowing
they are best with buddies).
<Yes, I caught this. My point was you shouldn't keep them in
groups of less than six, and ideally twice that number. They really are
nervous animals kept in too-small a group, by which I mean they're
skittish and prone to "unexplained" deaths.>
Aside from this, though, it doesn't sound like an over-stocking
issue to add these but rather an action that may create a rather
Did I read your reply right?
<Precisely. While Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki isn't particularly
aggressive (far from it in fact) most of the loaches big enough to
actually deal with a snail problem tend to be more trouble than their
worth: Clown loaches, Skunk Botia, etc.>
I did reading on the Assassin Snails - doesn't appear to be common
here in the U.S. I think I'll just crush them as you suggest and
hope for the best. I've already scaled back on food for the tank,
so don't know how much I can change that. My daily feeding habits
for the tank are: AM: small amount of flake and PM: 1/2 small block of
bloodworms OR 1/2 small square of brine shrimp with an algae wafer for
the Pleco every once in a while).
Any changes suggested in my feeding given my livestock and the snail
<Nope. Sounds fine. A certain number of snails are good. They're
like earthworms, keeping the substrate aerated. Vast populations of
snails, on the other hand, tend to come about through chronic
overfeeding and/or under-cleaning.>
And - I will repeat over and over - THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
<There's also a little device called a "limcollect"
from JBL. It catches snails. Or is supposed to, anyway. My unit never
seemed to catch any at all! May depend on the snail species in
question. On the other hand, the
tank with Assassin Snails would be snail-free if I didn't
deliberately add more (small) snails to keep them well fed.>
Do goldfishes eat snails 1/11/09
Hi, I have a quick question we had a tiny snail hitch a ride on the
live plant that we bought for the aquarium and yesterday it
disappeared, he had taken refuge on the top of the canister filter half
in water and half outside from the goldfishes who were continuously
nudging him. We have one red cap Oranda named Luna (1 inch w/o tail)
and one red Oranda named Goldie (1.5 inches w/o tail) in a 20 gallon
tank with a decoration rock, and a live plant. Could they have eaten
him, my son is really worried about his see-see the snail. We have
searched the whole tank even opened the filter and looked inside. If
the goldfishes have eaten him will they be alright and should we be
worried about them getting sick. Thank you very much ..... your website
is amazing and thank you for helping me out again and again and again.
Best Regards, Midhat. <Goldfish don't normally eat snails, but
they will eat anything they can swallow, so if the snail was unlucky,
then yes, it might get eaten. This won't do the Goldfish any harm
(they have powerful teeth in their throat for grinding up food). If you
want a pet snail to add to a Goldfish tank, then the best bet is
something like a Ramshorn snail (Planorbis spp.). These are often sold
in garden centres, at least they are here in the UK, usually for people
to put in their ponds. For various reasons I don't recommend Apple
snails (Pomacea spp.) even though they are often sold as
"scavengers" for aquaria of all types. The reality is they
don't do all that well in fish tanks, and when they die, they cause
major pollution. Cheers, Neale.>
A question of loaches, sel.... Snail
Hi guys and girls :D
Need some suggestions/recommendations regarding a trumpet snail
infestation of biblical proportions occurring in my 40 gallon (180l)
Amazon tank! The snails were originally introduced (would you believe)
to provide a natural food source for our three dwarf puffers, who are
now no longer with us, however the snails have thrived... the tank is
currently home to two discus, a variety of tetras, hatchet fish and two
dwarf golden bristlenosed catfish.
<Ah, Carinotetraodon spp. puffers are too small to handle Melanoides
snails. So this combination wouldn't have been one I'd have
Our local LFS has recommended adding a couple of clown loach, but
I'm loathed to do this for several reasons, mainly that I don't
think our tank is large enough for even one, let alone a group of these
fish, but also that we're planning on adding two juvenile discus to
our current pair (we recently lost our third discus) so I don't
want to increase the bioload that much... the tank is 5 years old and
water parameters are stable, but not worth the risk! I've read on
here that zebra loach (Botia striata) are also good snail eaters but
not sure if any other fish could do the job?
<Adding animals, even Clown Loaches, to fix snail problems rarely
That said, the Assassin Snail (Clea helena) can do a great job if kept
in sufficient numbers. But the main thing with Melanoides is this: it
turns organic matter into baby snails. It cannot break the laws of
physics; ergo, no food, no baby snails. If you have a Melanoides
problem, you also have a lot of organic matter decaying away in your
tank. Dead plants, uneaten food, fish faeces. Review filtration and
general maintenance. Make the tank cleaner and less food-rich, and the
population of Melanoides will decline over time.>
All suggestions gratefully received - it gets a bit eerie every night
when the army of snails migrate up the sides of the tank and you can
hardly see in through one side!
<Doradidae catfish would be the obvious options, being peaceful,
usually gregarious South American catfish; a school of Platydoras
costatus for example would eat some snails, if sufficiently hungry. But
do bear in mind the Melanoides don't actually do any harm, and in
fact do much good.
Wouldn't risk mixing Cobitidae with Symphysodon; not only are more
Cobitidae a bit on the boisterous size, but rather few appreciate the
very high temperatures Symphysodon require.>
Snails and clown loaches... contr.
11/26/07 Hi guys, I was wondering, I have a snail problem and I was
thinking about getting a clown loach. <For a start, no kind aquarist
gets "a" Clown Loach; they are schooling fish, and should be
kept in groups of three at least. Single specimens are nervous,
unhappy, and constantly stressed.> Do you know what community fishes
go well with clown loaches? <Almost anything too large to be eaten
and robust enough to deal with their pushy personalities. Classic
tankmates are things like Spanner and Clown barbs, Silver Dollars,
medium-sized gouramis, Australian Rainbowfish, Plecs, Brochis spp.
catfish, etc.> Are they aggressive? <More boisterous than
aggressive. Singletons sometimes turn nasty (frustration more than
anything) but in groups they mostly confine their aggression towards
one another. I wouldn't mix them with anything else that was a
territorial bottom-dweller, that would be asking for trouble, but
otherwise Clowns are pretty good pets.> I so far have a 45-50 gallon
tank with lots of snails, 3 platies, and 2 swordtails. Also, do my
fishes I have eat snail eggs because I have seen them eating things on
the plant. <Platies and Swordtails both eat algae. They *must* eat
algae. Aquarists often ignore this. For lack of anything
"green" in their diet, Livebearers will peck at the green
algae on plant leaves.> Another question is, about how many snails
do clown loaches eat? (I have gold Inca snails.) This is because I
don't want all the snails gone. <They will all be gone. Imagine
keeping cats and mice in the same enclosure. That's what we're
talking about here.> Will the clown loach eat all of it or just some
and the snails reproduce again...and the loaches eat and etc.? <The
Clowns will eat them until they are all gone.> I'm planning on
getting just one clown loach. <Don't. Keeping one Clown Loach is
cruel. A single Clown Loach is one of the saddest sights in the hobby.
They have strong social instincts and a deep desire to be with their
own kind. Only aquarists who don't care about the feelings of their
fish keep them singly, and I have no time for such fishkeepers! Serious
Loach-keepers actually recommend they should be treated just like any
other schooling fish and kept in groups of 6 or more. I certainly
consider keeping 3 the absolute, non-negotiable minimum. If you want a
singleton bottom-dweller of some sort, get something that doesn't
mind being kept alone. Loricariid catfish tend to fit into this
bracket. Besides Plecs, many of the whiptails make fascinating pets and
they won't harm snails. There are also some lovely Synodontis out
there that can work well in medium/large-sized fish communities, such
as Synodontis decorus and Synodontis angelicus. A school of Brochis
spp. catfish would also be a lot of fun.> Thanks for all your help.
~Chris <Hope this helps, Neale.>
Clown loaches for snail control <Ananda here
tonight, answering the freshwater fish questions...> hi guys need
your help again if you do not mind . <Not at all -- that's what
we're here for.> 100,s of stinking snails. these are the cone
shaped type not sure of scientific name. <Probably the ones commonly
called "Malaysian trumpet snails".> guy at local fish
store said clown loaches will not eat them shells too hard <Baloney.
My clown loaches eat these all the time. They don't need to crush
the shells; loaches suck the snail out of the shell.> want to
refrain from chem.s- he suggested a product called
had-a-snail. <I'm surprised he's trying to sell you
chemicals rather than more fish.> at my wits
end heeeeeeelp meeeee rocky <Check out our loaches page
and its associated FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cobitids.htm
...also http://www.loaches.com has
much info from loach fans. --Ananda>