Snail Snails Snails!!

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Aquarium Advice Activist
Jun 21, 2006
Linden Michigan
Snail Problems-

Ok i have a 20 gal. 16 fish
I have a serious snail prob.
I don't want to use any chemicals or maybe a trap.
I'm thinking clown loaches, but they wouldn't have a future

how big are the snails, kuhlis and dojos are pretty small, and will get the job done for smaller snails
umm well, how big are the snails?

im not sure on how big skunk botias or yoyo loaches get, but they devour snails
Rams horn and Apple- pinky nail size at the biggest

There killing my sword plants!
Ill research a couple fish
if they were rams eatting your plants, chances are they are marisla, which get huge, fast.

if you cant handle the problem manually, they go for a dojo or yoyo (after looking up the size tanks they need) im sure clown loaches are outta the question as they get 10" big
If your 20 gallon still has all the fish listed in your "my info" popup, I would not recommend adding any more fish. The tank IMO is heavily stocked at this point, and adding more fish would be asking for water quality issues. Plus, I'm not sure if I would trust either yo yo loaches or skunk botias with long-finned fish. My yo yos do well in a semi-aggressive community with cichlids, and the skunk botias we have at the store are really pretty aggressive.

Try putting a piece of lettuce in the tank at night, and removing it the next morning- it should be covered with snails at that point. You may need to do this once a week or so to keep the population down. Also, what is your feeding schedule like? Any overfeeding will contribute to the snail population.
Clown loaches can actually get much larger than 10 inches. It's rare in the aquarium, but it does happen. I think Toirtis once reported seeing some real monstrosities.
The lettuce trap works well. You might want to put it inside a shallow clear plastic bowl and then clip the bowl to the tank wall. The snails will crawl onto the lettuce and you won't lose any when they let go when they feel movement. You can also try nuking the lettuce for 10 seconds to make it softer - for some reasons the snails like that also.
I'm not big on adding a fish to take care of a problem (snails, algae etc) unless it is a species you trully have always wanted.

On an ongoing basis just try and manually remove the snails as you see them - it really helps a great deal (as does watching out for accidental overfeeding of the fish).
True apple snails are easy to to control, since they lay their eggs above the water line. Just scrape off the egg clutches when you see them. Plus, you need both a male and a female to reproduce, so just keep one to a tank.
And if your ramshorns are Marisas, I'll take em ;)

But your info didn't say anything about any snails you put in the tank intentionally, so I'm guessing what you've really got are hitchhiking ramshorns and pond snails that came in with the plants. Reducing the extra food in the tank helps a lot. Feed sparingly every other day or so.
One thing I want to add to what was said previously is that Botia sidthimunki, aka dwarf loach, makes a fine choice for bringing an unwanted snail population in check. You should get three of them since they are happier in groups and they don't get very big at all (~1.5"). Unfortunately most fish stores don't have them and they usually cost more than other loaches (about $18 at my LFS). You could return the two loaches you have now to minimize the effect on the bioload of the tank. Dwarf loaches do appreciate a lot of cover and are fun to watch as they constantly swim all over the tank.
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