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Old 08-09-2007, 03:48 PM   #1
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Can I kill snails with an intentional ammonia spike?

So I set up my new tank and have been cycling it for just over a month. The cycle is complete. I can add ammonia every day, and all I see is nitrate. So hurray, right? Time to buy the plants and prepare the tank for adding fish!

My old tank is DOMINATED by nuisance snails, and I wanted to prevent a repeat of that with this new tank. So I soaked all my newly shipped plants in KMnO4 (10mg per liter of water) to kill any snails/eggs that might be present on the plants. Well, no dice. I planted the plants YESTERDAY and I already see a tiny snail crawling around and a whole bunch of egg sacs attached to moneywort leaves. UGH!

I don't want any of these nuisance snails. I want to eventually keep inverts in this tank (including an apple snail) so I don't want to dose copper.

I was reading somewhere that some snails don't tolerate ammonia. If I add ammonia several times a day, trying to keep it at 6ppm or higher for several days, do you think the snails will die? Will the plants be adversely affected? I don't know what this will do to the bacteria, but I'd rather start the cycle all over again than have to put up with snails.

What other options do I have to kill these snails without killing the plants?

Oh, by the way, here's a pic of the tank.

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Old 08-09-2007, 08:16 PM   #2
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To be perfectly honest, I'd recommend just living with them. As long as you don't have excess decaying matter in the tank and aren't overfeeding, the population shouldn't multiply out of control. If you have plants in your aquarium, you're going to eventually end up with snails. Just the way it goes.
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Old 08-10-2007, 07:51 AM   #3
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I had the same problem at one time. I heard a clown loach will do the trick. And it did. I never saw another snail again. Pick off all larger snails by hand - yuck. Place the clown loach in the tank and they will eat all the small snails and keep things in check. Of course these guys can get big - I can't tell what size tank you have. It may be that one would be too big in this situation.
Someone told me that dropping a bit of lettuce in the tank will attract them thru-out the night and you can remove it in the morning. This didn't work for me. I think because both you and I had plenty of plants in the tank.
Hope you find an answer as it can be frustrating!
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:40 AM   #4
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Unfortunately looks like his cube(which is nice btw, love the driftwood) looks too small for loaches.
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:08 AM   #5
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You would need very high ammonia levels (probably over 10ppm) to even start killing them. They can hole up in their shell for days if not weeks, climb out of the water and stay above the water line, or burrow (depending on species) into the substrate and avoid the toxins. Basically what I'm saying is that its possible to use ammonia to kill them but its not practical nor fast. Manual removal along with not overfeeding is your best remedy. Depending on what fish you purchase the population of egg-laying snails should not get out of hand (even WITH overfeeding). Many fish relish the egg sacs you are seeing on your leaves and they will never stay long enough to become viable.

So I'd add in your fish and see if the snail population remains relatively constant. As long as your not grossly over-feeding or allowing lots of decaying plant material to stay in the tank it shouldn't become a problem.

Goodluck!
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Old 08-11-2007, 10:18 AM   #6
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Here's the plan for stocking; do any of these guys eat snail egg sacs?

I'm going to quarantine each batch for 2 weeks prior to putting them in the 24g cube tank.

Week 1: Add my 5 existing panda cory cats from the Q tank.
Week 3: Add 9 neon tetras.
Week 5: Add 3 new panda cory cats.
Week 7: Add 12 cherry red shrimp.
Week 9: Add 1 golden mystery snail (bridgesii).

If any of those guys will eat snail eggs, I'll change the order to move the snail-eaters up to the head of the line!

Thanks for the advice everyone. Instead of going nuts with the ammonia, I just did a mini-spike of 4 ppm for one final check of the cycle, and then I'll start adding fish. I really hate the snails because they get into the filter and the shells can bind the impeller and stop the pump! Instead of 300+ pond snails, I'd much rather have one apple snail to take care of dead plant parts.
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:38 AM   #7
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A clown loach would definitely be out of the question, but some of the smaller species might be OK. My striatas are small, and took care of my snails in no time...haven't seen a snail in over a year. Botia sidthimunki would be good too, they are even smaller. Or maybe yoyo's. Not sure if they would eventually bother the mystery snail, though.

I don't think any of your proposed livestock will eat snail eggs...not sure about the shrimp but i doubt they'd make much of a dent even if they wanted to...unless you had tons of them! They are such cool little guys, though.
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitalgerl
I had the same problem at one time. I heard a clown loach will do the trick. And it did. I never saw another snail again. Pick off all larger snails by hand - yuck. Place the clown loach in the tank and they will eat all the small snails and keep things in check. Of course these guys can get big - I can't tell what size tank you have. It may be that one would be too big in this situation.
Someone told me that dropping a bit of lettuce in the tank will attract them thru-out the night and you can remove it in the morning. This didn't work for me. I think because both you and I had plenty of plants in the tank.
Hope you find an answer as it can be frustrating!
Clown loaches get way too big for that tank. Also, they aren't as good snail busters as some of the others. If you want a real cool fish that will definitely keep the snail population down, or even get rid of them, then you need a Striped (Zebra) Loach. They stay real small, and are cool looking. And they do fine with the cories as well. I would get 2, as they do like company of their own kind as well.
http://www.loaches.com/species-index/botia-striata
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:27 PM   #9
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Unfortunately most anything that will eat the pest snails will also make a snack out of your Cherry Red Shrimp.

If I remember right, some snails will eat the eggs or other snails. I think that the Brig might be one of those, I can't remember for sure.
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Old 08-12-2007, 02:45 PM   #10
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Just wanted to say....REALLY COOL tank, nice driftwood and I love the way you set the plants in the back with the little "wall" of sorts, NICE!

I have a bunch of snails but they blend in with my gravel so much I barely notice them most of the time. One way I have been able to thin them out though is to scoop them off first thing in the morning with I turn the lights on....another thing I notice is that during a large cool water change a lot of them will start heading for the top of the tank, that is when I pick them off.
Overfeeding and slacking on maintenance definitely increases them so watch out for that.

But IMO some snails are beneficial in the way of algae control so I dont mind them so much.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:13 PM   #11
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happygirl: thanks! I went to home-depot and got some plexiglass and cut it to shape, then bent it using the heat from the gas stove (ouch ouch ouch). It makes a good partition between the Eco-Complete planted area in the back and the 3M ColorQuartz s-grade sand area in the front. I wanted the colorquartz for the cory cats because it's really fine, smooth sand that I think they'll enjoy digging in. Way easy on the barbels, too. But the colorquartz, being very fine and heavy, probably compacts too hard for good plant root growth.

I'm happy with how the planted area in the back turned out looking too, but if I were to do it over again, I would skip the moneywort. I love how it looks, but it's just too dang buoyant. They don't want to stay planted. Trying to re-plant one that's popped up to the surface is a pain because planting it causes 1 or 2 adjacent ones to pop up out of the substrate. It's like trying to squish down a bubble in your linoleum floor... you just chase the bubble around. Heh. That, and my corkscrew vals don't appear to be doing that great. They're kinda turning brown/clear and melting down. I avoided crypts because I heard they do that, and I'm not using flourish excel or anything. Maybe they didn't like the MKnO4 bath? Hopefully they'll come back. I'm just gonna leave 'em and hope for the best.

I think snail control will be much easier in this new tank because I can just net the sand and sift it through the mesh, trapping the snails. But still- I just wish I coulda done without them entirely.


And everyone else: thanks for all your input. If I had a bigger tank, I'd do loaches for sure. The dwarf loaches or zebra loaches would be cool, but ultimately I want to keep 8 panda corys in there and there's not any floor real-estate to spare since its a cube-type tank.

I'll add the mystery snail sooner rather than later... applesnail.net doesn't list bridgesii as one of the snail-killing snails, but apparently they'll eat dead snails. So I've gotten myself a long dowel (aka the Snail Deathstick) and I'll just start the job and let him finish.
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #12
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Wow, definitely confirmed about the bridgesii eating the pond snails. At least the dead ones. I squish them against the glass with a stick (sorry little fellas) and 15 minutes later the mystery snail has vacuumed them all up. He sucks one up, pauses for about 3 seconds, then cruises along in search of the next one. Yay!
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Old 08-19-2007, 12:50 PM   #13
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I vote for a trio of kuhli loaches
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