Snails are often seen as the uninvited guests in any aquarium.
Almost every healthy aquarium has a few of these guys. However, the problem is that snails multiply at a fast rate. It only takes one snail to overwhelm your tank.
This makes it important to keep a check on the population of these pesky inhabitants in your aquarium and take quick actions to make sure your aquarium is never loaded with snails.
Where do Snails come in Aquariums?
Well, snails or their eggs can be transferred to your tanks in multiple ways. For instance, transferring new plants or aquarium décor without cleaning them properly can introduce snails into your aquarium.
Another way that snails make into your tank is when you transfer new fish in the aquarium using water bags. The water may carry snail eggs or mollusks that can lead to a snail infestation over time.
Apart from that, using the same tools and equipment, like nets, for different tanks can also transfer snails from one tank to another.
In short, there are many ways in which snails can infiltrate into your aquarium so don’t be surprised if you notice them roaming around your aquarium.
How to Get Rid of Snails from Aquarium?
The good news is that while snails can easily get into your aquarium without you noticing, getting rid of these snails from your aquarium is also equally easy.
Scroll down to read about some tried and tested ways to quickly get rid of aquarium snails.
Remove Them Manually
This may sound like a tiring task but it works!
Every time you see a snail roaming around in your aquarium, just remove it manually. This method works best if you only have a few snails in your tank. However, if your tank is overwhelmed with snails, picking them manually can take a long time.
Plus, you probably won’t be able to take them all out manually, which means that the problem is likely to persist.
Another thing to keep in mind is that snails are nocturnal. This means they are generally more active during the night. That’s when you are likely to see them in the tank.
During the day, snails like to hide, usually in the substrate. This makes it difficult for aquarists to remove them manually as you can only remove them during the night.
Overfeeding acts as a catalyst when it comes to the rapidly multiplying population of snails in your tank. It is one of the major reasons for the snail population boom in any aquarium.
Therefore, if you want to get rid of pesky snails from your tank, make sure you don’t put in extra feed for these uninvited inhabitants.
Monitor the time and quantity of the feed carefully and add the feed that is enough only for your fish. Over time, lack of food will diminish the snail population in your aquarium. Cherry on the top – your tank will stay cleaner and you will not waste any feed!
Remember, while it is a good idea to limit the feed for getting rid of snails in an aquarium, make sure you don’t overdo it. In other words, make sure your fish get all the food they need to remain happy and healthy. Don’t starve your fish to remove snails from your aquarium.
Set Snail Traps
Another highly effective way of eliminating snails is to set snail traps. A number of snail traps are available in the market. You can visit your local fish supply store or even order them online. Another option is to make your own trap.
Here’s what you can do to remove snails from your aquarium:
- Snails are attracted to cabbage and lettuce. So take a large piece of cabbage or lettuce and insert it in the fish tank.
- Clip the strong end of the stem to the side of the tank.
- Leave it there for a night. As snails are nocturnal, they will gather around the bait during the night.
- Remove the piece of cabbage or lettuce in the morning. You will likely notice many snails gathered on the underside.
- Repeat this process multiple times for a few nights until the snail crisis is under control.
This is just one snail trap. You can find many other options to lure snails out of their hiding spots and get rid of them for good.
It is advisable to take the time to learn about different snail traps. Consider every option including readymade as well as DIY traps and choose the option that suits you the best.
Add Snail-Eating Fish
Adding snail-eating fish to your aquarium is another healthy way of getting rid of snails for good. It is a natural way of dealing with snail infestation without damaging or disrupting the environment inside the aquarium.
There are different kinds of fish that you can introduce in your aquarium as a measure to control the snail population. Some examples are given below.
- Clown Loach: This is a great choice to get rid of snails in a tropical fish tank. However, keep in mind that these fish are huge in size and may not the ideal addition for small tanks.
- Yoyo Loach: Yoyo Loach is more suitable for smaller tanks. A school of around 6 Yoyo Loach can take care of a snail infestation in a 55-gallon tank.
- Goldfish: Large Goldfish are known for their appetite for snails. However, keep in mind that Goldfish are not tropical fish. Therefore, make sure you introduce them only in a cold-water tank. Also, it is essential to ensure that the size of your tank is adequate for your Goldie.
- Green Spotted Puffer: Snails are a huge part of Green Spotted Puffer’s diet, especially when they are young. These fish have bony plates in their mouths which can overgrow and cause certain problems if they don’t get enough hard foods. While GSP is a snail-killing machine, they don’t do well with most fish. This makes them a less viable solution for your snail problem. However, if you keep them in a separate tank, you will always have something to do with pest snails!
There are many other snail-eating species that you can introduce in the tank to get rid of unwanted snails. Zebra or Dwarf Chain loaches are good choices for small tanks. For larger tanks, you can go for Pictus Catfish.
The best approach is to learn as much about a snail-eating fish as you can before you add it to your aquarium. Make sure they are the right fish for your tank environment and also get along with the rest of the tank inhabitants.
Add Snail-Eating Snails
How do you feel about sending in an assassin to do the job for you?
Worry not – we are talking about Assassin Snails. As the name suggests, these snails are known for their appetite for their snail brethren. Adding them to your aquarium should not be a problem as these snails do not reproduce as readily as most pest snails.
Moreover, apart from snails, they also feed on other things like leftover feed, algae, sinking pallets, etc. This makes them perfect for keeping your aquarium clean while limiting the snail population.
However, keep in mind that it is never a good idea to introduce snail-eating fish and snail-eating snails in your tank at the same time. This is because fish cannot differentiate between good snails and pest snails and will eat both of them.
Consider Using Snail-Removal Products
Certain chemicals can be used to get rid of snails. However, it is advisable to use this method only in case of a maddening snail infestation. The most common chemical to kill snails is sulfate.
While it is generally considered to be fish-safe, you still need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to make sure your fish and aquarium plants are not affected by the chemical treatment.
Also, keep in mind that snail-removal products can alter the environment, including water conditions, inside the tank. Furthermore, since these products are likely to cause massive die-off, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time removing dead snails and adjusting the water.
Transfer Plants and Fish the Right Way
This is more of a preventive measure that focuses on stopping the infestation before it begins! We know that snails are often transferred from one tank to another when you transfer plants, décor or fish.
This means an easy way to stop the spreading of snails is to make sure you transfer everything the right way.
One way is to clean all plants and décor using a snail-killing solution before transferring them into a new tank. While you can freely use these products for cleaning aquarium decorations, be cautious while using them for plants as they may not be suitable for certain types of plants.
This makes it important to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Similarly, when you are transferring fish, make sure you use a clean, treated net to reduce the chances of starting a snail infestation.
These are some of the most-effective methods of dealing with a snail crisis in your aquarium. Keep in mind that not all snails are bad. In other words, it is okay to have a few of these guys in your tank as they are not completely useless.
They eat up algae and leftover feed and help keep the substrate clean. However, if the snail population in your aquarium is getting out of hand, follow the tips discussed above to maintain a healthy tank and keep your fish hale and hearty!
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