Some people love them, some people hate them. Snails would probably be more welcome in aquariums if they weren’t so prolific. They do serve as good aquarium janitors. they will eat any leftovers, gathering it all up, processing it and then leaving it in convienient little packages known as “snail droppings”. Snail droppings are much easier to remove than the fine crud that they eat, hence the snail is a very valuable addition to any fry tank.
Snails are very easy to reproduce, you don’t get any BAP’s (breeder award points) for breeding snails. In fact the worst trait of just about all snails is the fact that they will quickly overpopulate any tank, in a matter of weeks.
Universally the least liked or most under appreciated snail is the Pond Snail. It usually gets into your aquarium on new plants. Since these are native snails and sometimes harbor parasites and other nasties they are considered a real pest.
The Ramshorn is generally more well liked by many, but it still has the potential to overrun a tank in short order.
The Apple Snail is more well thought of by most aquarist. They are big, sometimes approaching the size of an apple (hence the name) and since they lay their eggs above the water line in easy to see, and easy to remove, light colored masses they aren’t too hard to control.
Pros and Cons
Pros – Snails help to keep an aquarium clean by eating left over foods and cleaning up the algae that gets on the aquarium glass. And some people really enjoy watching snails.
Cons – Snails reproduce fast. They will quickly overpopulated an aquarium and they are not easy to completly erradicate once a tank is “infested”. Many snails eat live plants, a definate no-no for any plant lover.
Getting Rid Of Snails
A lot of people just don’t want to kill the excess snails. I can relate to that. But theres no birth-control pill for snails. So what to do with the excess snails is generally a problem.
There are several ways to remove snails, first, but least effective, is to remove them by hand. This is usually a losing battle.
Poisoning with copper based snailicides is another option but the treatment might have a bad effect on fish and plants. I do advocate the use of “Had-A-Snail” for treatment of some diseases, but I don’t use it for snail control. Poisoning leaves you with a lot of dead snails, hard to find and some are always left to rot in the tank.
My choice of snail removing is to use a small glass or plastic bottle. I just put something in the bottle that the snails find irresistable, such as a piece of shrimp. Lay the bottle down on the gravel and push it in a ways so that the opening is even with the gravel, overnight the snails will have congregated inside the bottle for easy removal, repeat as often as nessasry. What you do with the snails now is up to you.
Another more natural snail erradication program would be to use snail eating fish such as Clown Loaches and Puffer Fish.
Comments: My favorite way of removing snails is by getting fish that eat snails. Apple snail don`t reproduce as often as some other snails.
Snail Eating Fish