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Old 10-12-2010, 04:54 PM   #1
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Community fish that will eat snails?

About 3 weeks ago I noticed that in my planted tank (with no fish in it) there hatched a swarm of baby snails. A good amount died, and now the snails are probably teenagers. I had heard that they can take over your tank (I have no idea what kind they are) but I decided to keep them in there to help clean up.

APPARENTLY they love it in there so much THEY bred! Now I have ANOTHER batch of freshly hatched snails! So it's time to take action.

What kind of fish can I have in there that will eat snails but are good community fish? I have heard clown loaches, dwarf puffers, and assasin snails, but I have issues with each of those. The clown loaches get too big, the dwarf puffers aren't community fish, and assasin snails are non existent in my town. Any ideas?
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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Botia loaches will eat them. You could always buy assassin snails online. Mgamer may have some. He seems to have every snail I know of and a whole lot that I don't.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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I do like the idea of the loaches, but I would have to get sand because I have gravel as a substrate right now, and all my plants are planted in it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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You shouldn't have let the [moderator edit] breed. They destroyed my tank four years ago and I am still [moderator edit].
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
You shouldn't have let the (insert curse word) breed. They destroyed my tank four years ago and I am still pissed.
You're right. How silly of ME. Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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I would really suggest you hop on that issue asap. I nuked my tank with everything I could and still the snail eggs prevailed. Including clorox bleach, taking them out by hand, and scrubbing them off. Assassin snails sound cool, though they might not cure the infestation unless you get a bunch and they eat the eggs. Consider eggs might be in you filter. I had to throw everything away on my tank that got infested because i didn't want to risk contamination.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #7
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First of all... if pest snails are overpopulating, there is something you can change to relieve the issue. They are a great indicator IMO. You are either not doing adequate maintenance, there's something dead in the tank, or you are overfeeding. Regardless of the cause, there are excess nutrients in the tank. Take care of that before you add fish into the equation. Botias would be the best option that I could think of if you were to opt for fish though. All JMO.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:28 PM   #8
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YoYo loaches eat snails too, and stay relatively small. (I had one YoYo loach that ate every snail in a 29g tank in less than a month.) As a bonus, they are also quite fun & active in a tank--they remind me of longer, thinner versions of corys.

Snails only "take over a tank" when there are large amounts of food available to them. That means either you are overfeeding and they are eating leftover fish food that is sitting around on the substrate, or else it means you have a lot of dead/decaying plant matter in your tank that you aren't removing in a timely fashion. Or as a third option, it could be that you have a lot of algae in your tank and they are eating that; if you ask me, I'd rather have more snails & less algae than vice-versa but you may feel differently.

I would suggest you NOT attempt to treat them with any chemical. I know it sounds tempting, like a "quick fix," but it can cause problems down the road.

If you have a really small tank (under 20g), the easiest & most effective way to deal with them is manually. Every time you see a snail, just smush it up against the glass or between your fingers and let your fish snack on it. Healthy, nutritious snack for the fish, and one less snail in you tank. You can also blanch some fresh veggie like a slice of zucchini, a leaf of spinach, etc., put it in your tank after the lights go out, wait a couple of hours, then go back and check on it -- it will be covered in snails. Remove it from the tank, shake off all the snails in the trash, then repeat. Do that every night (or every other night) for a week or two and you'll get every snail in the tank.

The last thing I'll say is that, because they do eat decaying plant mattter and many (not all) forms of algae, snails can be a real blessing in a planted tank. If you are worried about them reproducing too much, consider getting a few nerite snails. They cannot reproduce in freshwater, so you get all the benefits of having a snail or two in the tank without any worries about a population explosion. Nerites are a favorite of people who battle Green Spot Algae (GSA) as they are basically the only snail out there that will eat it, both on glass and on plant leaves. There are a variety of nerites (green, zebra, red spotted, crown, etc.) out there, some are quite stunning looking. Assuming your tank isn't completely overrun with algae, a stocking ratio of 1 nerite per 10 gallons seems to do the trick to help keep GSA and some other algaes in check.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:41 PM   #9
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+1 for HN1 and JohnPaul. Don't nuke the tank.

There's also no need to replace the gravel with sand as long as the gravel isn't sharp.

As HN1 said, pond snails are a great indicator of whether you're overfeeding. I'm not that disciplined, so I got some assassin snails. They keep my MTS populations at reasonable levels.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:19 PM   #10
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Zebra Loaches. Just another loach option. They don't grow very big and while shy, are relentless snail eating machines. Plus it's fun to hear them make crunching noises when they feed. Just make sure you keep some dark shadowy places for them to hide in.
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