How to remove snails
from your aquarium

Although these ‘common’ snails do not do any real harm to your aquarium, they can become very unsightly and reproduce at amazing rate. They tend to feed on leftover food and sometimes plants as well. On the other hand they aerate the sand preventing dead patches that may cause the roots of your plants to rot.

There are many ways to remove snails:

1. Spend a little time every day, once you first find the snails, pulling them out by hand. If you crush their shells many fish will swarm over to eat the dead snail. Or you can just throw them away.

2. My least favourite method is the addition of copper to the tank. Copper additives can reduce the snail population, as the element is toxic to most invertebrates. As an alternative to a copper based medication, some people will add pennies to their aquarium to increase copper levels. However this can be dangerous to your fish since you do not know what might be on a penny. Only use related medications as a last resort and also remember to remove the carbon from the filter when adding any medication.

3. Snail eating fish can also be helpful. Freshwater puffers (most of which are actually brackish water fish and need a little salt in their water and are typically very aggressive) will eat snails, as will some cichlids, and most Botia. The Clown Loach, Yo-Yo Loach, Dwarf Checkered Loach, Skunk Botia and the Bengal Loach are all Botia that may be found in a community tank and will eat snails. Remember when adding a fish to the tank to help with a problem like this that the new fish does contribute to the tank population. You could also add an apple snail that will do the same thing as the other fish if you do not have the size tank for a loach or a puffer

4. Possibly the best and most favoured method to remove snails in larger groups is tempt them with food. After the lights go off for the night and the tank is dark, place a jam jar on the substrate at the bottom of the tank with a piece of lettuce or cucumber in the jar and leave for a couple of hours or overnight. When you come back there will probably be several snails attached to the food in the jar. Remove the jar with the snails and throw away. Repeat over a couple of nights and remove whatever snails you see and you cannot go far wrong. You can similarly use spinach, scallions (green onions) or other fresh vegetables to do this and it is useful to anchor the vegetables to the bottom of the tank using, for example, a lead weight.

Author: Damon

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