Snails in the Aquarium

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First of all, how do they get there?

Generally these crafty critters hitch a ride to your Aquarium on new plants or in fish water. More often than not, they are in the form of eggs, so you would not immediately notice. Simply just running the plants under the tap is often not enough.

So here's the story so far... Your newly set up Aquarium is going fine, the eggs hatch and suddenly it's Snail City!

Snails, in themselves, are not a bad thing. They do a great job of clearing waste food particles and also turning over any sandy substrate present. This is important as their movement helps to prevent the sand compacting and producing, what is know as, dead spots. Within dead spots, gasses can build up which could prove lethal to the fish. This phenomena only tends to occur in substrate depths of an inch and a half and greater and can be compensated by manually stirring the sand every so often.

The key here to a healthy aquarium, is controlling the snail population. The Population will soar if there is an abundance of food to snack on. If you are in the middle of a sudden snail epidemic, cut down on feeding.

If your current stocking allows, one cure is to add some snail eating fish. Dwarf Chain Loach, Clown Loach and Yo-Yo Loaches are particularly good snail eaters.

During one bad spell, I had particular success with manual removal by hand. Removing 20 snails a day until it was hard to find 20 to remove. This combined with a better cleaning regime worked wonders. Snails will also feed on old plant matter. Regularly remove or siphon this out.

Snails tend to hide in the substrate a bit. Sometimes it will seem like your snail problem is improving when in reality, it isn't. One method is to create a trap. Place a lettuce leaf or piece of weighted down cucumber in a jam jar overnight. By morning, the jar should have attracted a considerable number of them. Repeat this for a few days.

In summary, snails are not a bad animal to have in the aquarium and certainly nothing to worry about. They serve a purpose as they would in the fish's natural environment. The key is Population control.

I hope this guide is of some help for those who are currently experiencing problems.

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