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Old 11-22-2013, 04:15 PM   #1
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Snail poop!

I have a planted 5 gal Fluval Spec, which I admit, I kind of ignored while wedding planning. Anyway, the tank became over run with snails. I mean, some days I wake up, turn on the light, and it begins raining baby snails. There is a beta in the tank, and I only feed him 3-4 times a week, so I am not sure if I am overfeeding. Since the tank was kind of neglected, I think they are eating a lot of dead plant material.

I got an assassin snail to help deal with the issue, but I think it's too much for one snail to handle effectively, so I will probably get a couple more tomorrow. What I am concerned with is the massive amount of snail poop in the tank. I doubled up on the amount of plants to help break down the poop and maintain water quality. I want to know if it would be a good idea to siphon/vacuum the gravel or should I just leave it alone. I read somewhere that you should not vacuum planted tanks, so I have never done so during water changes. Any advice? Also, I have root tabs, but should I even use them right now, since there is so much poop?
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:45 PM   #2
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Hello! I actually have a 5g planted tank with a betta and invasive nerite snails. What I would recommend is that you test your water first for ammonia- make sure the ppms aren't getting too high and that'll tell you more clearly if they're throwing your tank out of balance or that it's not as bad as it looks. If you feel the snails are overrunning the place then you can always squish them by hand or look at snail traps online both purchase and diy or go with more assassin snails so long as you don't get too many to develop the same problem with poop n what not. I will express that if they're only eating the dead waste from plants then they're doing a good job at trying to maintain your tank while it was being neglected. I'm not sure where you heard not to siphon in a planted tank at all, but light siphoning is a great idea as it will clean up large portions of waste but keep your tank from having too much waste so it will prevent ammonia spikes. Leaving a bit of dibree is good because it breaks down into nutrients, however it's broken at a slow pace so siphoning in the beginning is very important especially with such a small tank. Although as your tank matures and has more of a balance siphoning will be required less and less as well as water changes. Depending on the substrate you've used (as well as the kind of plants) will depend on whether you need the root tabs or not. If they're low light slow growers you more than likely won't have to worry about them. If you're using nutrient enriched soil then you won't need it till the nutrients is exhausted and even then you can just change the soil and start anew because root tabs only last a few months in compared to about a year with soil/plant specific substrate. If you have something that isn't enriched like gravel or sand and your plants are heavy root feeders then root tabs will be a great choice. Just make sure to drain your tank as much as possible when inserting the tabs otherwise the tabs will desolve some in the water and cause algae growth with the abundance of nutrients released in the water. Hope that helps n good luck!
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draug Isilme View Post
Hello! I actually have a 5g planted tank with a betta and invasive nerite snails. What I would recommend is that you test your water first for ammonia- make sure the ppms aren't getting too high and that'll tell you more clearly if they're throwing your tank out of balance or that it's not as bad as it looks. If you feel the snails are overrunning the place then you can always squish them by hand or look at snail traps online both purchase and diy or go with more assassin snails so long as you don't get too many to develop the same problem with poop n what not. I will express that if they're only eating the dead waste from plants then they're doing a good job at trying to maintain your tank while it was being neglected. I'm not sure where you heard not to siphon in a planted tank at all, but light siphoning is a great idea as it will clean up large portions of waste but keep your tank from having too much waste so it will prevent ammonia spikes. Leaving a bit of dibree is good because it breaks down into nutrients, however it's broken at a slow pace so siphoning in the beginning is very important especially with such a small tank. Although as your tank matures and has more of a balance siphoning will be required less and less as well as water changes. Depending on the substrate you've used (as well as the kind of plants) will depend on whether you need the root tabs or not. If they're low light slow growers you more than likely won't have to worry about them. If you're using nutrient enriched soil then you won't need it till the nutrients is exhausted and even then you can just change the soil and start anew because root tabs only last a few months in compared to about a year with soil/plant specific substrate. If you have something that isn't enriched like gravel or sand and your plants are heavy root feeders then root tabs will be a great choice. Just make sure to drain your tank as much as possible when inserting the tabs otherwise the tabs will desolve some in the water and cause algae growth with the abundance of nutrients released in the water. Hope that helps n good luck!
Nerite snails are not invasive which is why they are a snail of choice in the hobby they can only reproduce in brackish or salt water. It sounds like you have pond snails.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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Oops I get the names confused I was just trying to get my huge reply in without thinking about it. Wrong snail/name aside everything still stands.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:12 PM   #5
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I've been keeping planted tanks for well over 30+ years and unless a tank is lightly planted with open substrate area's gravel vacuuming is discouraged as there is too great a chance for damaging roots. I've left planted tanks up and running over 5 years without ever doing a gravel vac.

OP if your doing a 50% water change weekly your water should be fine even with a lot of snails. To be sure do a nitrate test weekly to be sure nitrates stay below 20ppm and you should be fine while the assassin snails do their job.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:09 PM   #6
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As opposed to a proper gravel vacuum whereby you shove the end of the vacuum into the gravel, I can't see any issues with siphoning by hovering your siphon over the gravel in areas where there's snail poop when you do your water changes.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #7
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Depending on the plants you really can't if I did that with my dhg would be everywhere in my tank but the substrate. In a heavily planted tank it is not only unnecessary it is damaging even light vacuuming I learned that the hard way.
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:36 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! The tank is about 9 months old and has never been vacuumed. The substrate is EcoComplete. I tested for ammonia and nitrates and both came out 0ppm. I'm just going to leave the gravel alone and let the assassin snail do it's thing.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:19 AM   #9
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The assassins will get the job done. I over bought on mine I was noticing around 18-20 new snails every morning. I knew they were new because I was a snail squisher. I figured that was a pretty hefty problem. So I got 10 Because I was told they only eat 1 snail every 2-3 days. Well in my limited experience they eat way more than that within a week I was having to move pond snails from my little mini tank to the big one. I am now using the little tank for really small plants and to breed snails to keep the assassins fed. Just give it some time and they will decimate the population!
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #10
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Update: My lone assassin snail had babies, a lot, at once! I can't win :-/
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