5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Aquarium Pest Snails
Bladder, ramshorn, and Malaysian trumpet snails are often called pest snails in the aquarium hobby because they reproduce very quickly and are difficult to remove once introduced to a fish tank. They can enter your fish tank by hitchhiking on live aquatic plants or even at the bottom of a fish bag from the pet store.
Are pest squid bad for fish tanks? They are an integral part of aquatic ecosystems and can be useful in aquariums. They eat algae, clean up uncooked fish food, remove fish waste and feed the snail-eaters in your aquarium. They won’t harm your fish or plants but will eat any sickly leaves or dead animals to keep your aquarium clean.
Although they are sometimes called “pest snails”, ramshorn snails can be kept by fish keepers due to their amazing cleaning abilities and beautiful color variations.
These benefits are not for everyone. However, some people dislike being overrun with so many snails in their aquarium that they cover every surface. These 5 proven methods will help you keep your aquarium snail population in check.
Method #1: Less Food
Fish-keepers know that the best way to reduce the number of snails in your area is to give them less fish food. Even though snails have a rapid reproduction rate, they can only produce new babies if there is enough food. You should limit the amount of food you give your fish to ensure that they can eat all of it in a matter of minutes. Also, smaller meals mean that snails will have less to eat. High-quality foods such as live, frozen and freeze dried foods are more likely that the fish will eat all of them, leaving little food for the snails.
This bladder snail is a hermaphrodite and can reproduce sexually and lay viable eggs even though there aren’t any other snails in an aquarium.
Snails eat leftover food as well as algae and dying plant matter. You should prune your plants regularly and get rid of any algae when cleaning the fish tank. You can also use an aquarium siphon and vacuum the substrate to remove any excess mulm or other debris that snails could eat.
Method 2: Manual Removal
It can take time to starve snails. You can speed up the process by physically removing them whenever you have the chance. The simplest technique is to just use your hands and pick them out one by one. If the snails are small enough, some people use a length of siphon hose to suck them up into a bucket during water changes. If you’re passing by and spot some snails on the aquarium walls, try using a snail catcher to easily scoop them up without getting your hands wet.
The Dennerle Snapper is a clever tool that allows you to capture small snails on fish tanks walls.
Method #3: Snail Trap
Some species, such as the Malaysian trumpet snails, are nocturnal. They prefer to burrow under the substrate and it can be difficult to get them out of the tank. You can attract snails with delicious vegetables. Drop a piece of cucumber, zucchini, carrot, or lettuce into the aquarium overnight, and by the next morning, the vegetable should be covered in snails for you to remove. Some hobbyists prefer to use a DIY snail trap to keep the snails from escaping.
Malaysian hornsnails (also known by MTS), are resilient and have been known for many months to survive in used gravel.
How can you humanely kill snails after they are caught? Give your extra snails away to snail-eating fish, give them to hobbyists with snail eaters, or crush them.
Method #4: Snail Eaters
Because they provide essential nutrients and enrichment to the animal’s natural hunting behavior, pest snails are highly sought after if you have a snail-eating fish. Almost all freshwater pufferfish – from the tiny pea puffer to the massive Mbu puffer – love to eat snails, and the crunchiness of the snail shells can help grind down puffer teeth and prevent them from getting too long. Many loaches, such as clown, dwarf, yoyo, and zebra, can use their pointed noses to get into snail shells and take out the insides. Oscars and turtles are also big fans of mollusks so make sure to get some. Some aquarists also employ the services the assassin snail, a carnivorous snail measuring 1 inch (2.5 cm) that eats other snails.
Assassin snails are Anentome helena and they eat all other snails, even larger ones.
Method #5: Quarantine
If you are determined to ban pet snails from your home, remember the saying “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Carefully inspect any new plants, and manually remove all snails and snail eggs. Some people run their plants under running water to help wash away any unseen hitchhikers. You can then place your plant in a quarantine container with light and fertilizers. Keep checking for any new snails. The time it takes for snail eggs (depending on the species and water temperature) to hatch can vary from one week to the next. It is important that you have patience.
Although this quarantine plan may not be bulletproof, it is better to take a steady and slow approach than resorting to chemical treatments such as bleach or aquarium salt. It can be difficult for you to determine the right dosing concentration to kill snails or eggs, but not to harm sensitive plants such as cryptocoryne or vallisneria.
Bladder ramshorn snails and Bladder lay eggs sacs that have multiple babies, while Malaysian trumpet snails give life to their young.
You might be interested in other clean-up crew members than snails. Check out our article to learn more about the top 10 useful animals for freshwater tanks.