How to dispose of aquarium snails

Aquarium snails are beautiful, useful and for the most part, do not harm other inhabitants. However, there are times when they multiply so abundantly that they start to annoy the fishkeeper.

This is especially true for ground snails, such as melanoides. Getting rid of them completely is not easy, and in this article, we will look at the main ways to how to dispose of aquarium snails.

Variety of aquarium snails

Snails are gastropods, part of the genus Mollusca, which also includes mussels and mollusks, featuring a single shell. They move along the surface with one large and muscular leg, eating food with their small mouth. You can look up snail pros and cons at the aquarium here.

A pair of sensitive tentacles come out of the head and eyes are located on them with the help of which the snails explore the world. They have lungs that they breathe on the surface, gills for breathing underwater, or both.

Most snails are hermaphrodites, that is, they have both male and female genital organs at once. In most cases, mating requires a pair to lay eggs in a slimy protective film, in the aquarium it can often be seen under the leaves of plants. They often breed so much that after aquascaper tries to find how to dispose of aquarium snails faster and faster.

Ampularia lay a large number of eggs above the surface of the water, the clutch looks like yellow or orange eggs in a dense, tough heap. Some snails, such as aquarium melania, are viviparous.

Aquarium snails are omnivores, they can eat algae, food debris, carrion, rotting plant parts. Some large snails can damage delicate plants, but contrary to popular belief, small snails do not damage them.

Snails in the aquarium

A controlled population of snails does not harm the aquarium, on the contrary, snails eat food debris, cleanse algae, and ground snails mix and aerate the soil, preventing it from rotting.

Many contain interesting snails – ampularia, which are not very demanding and are not prone to rapid reproduction. However, small snails such as physa and coils tend to multiply quickly in favorable conditions, and quickly fill the aquarium, covering glass, filters, plants.

How to evade appearance of aquarium snails

Usually, snails enter a new aquarium as eggs or adults, which are transferred with plants, decor, or when replanting fish. Check all plants for snails or their eggs, or dip the plants in a solution that kills them (Hydra-Tox), even the most attentive aquarists have snails.

For a balanced aquarium, snails are not a threat. Instead of fighting against their penetration into the aquarium, it is better to keep track of their number, vigorous reproduction means any problems in the aquarium.

The growth of the snail population in the aquarium

The main reason for the excessive number of snails in the aquarium is the abundant feeding of the fish. Snails devour leftover food and reproduce in a square progression. If you began to be bothered by snails, or rather their number in the aquarium, check if you are overfeeding the fish.

Waste usually accumulates in the ground and serves as a warehouse for snails, so the second task is to siphon the ground and remove the remains of food. Snails also eat algae, and if you don’t have ancistrus or similar catfish, you should add them to the bank, creating food competition. In addition, catfish devour snail eggs.

Do snails carry disease?

Snails are involved in the transmission of disease among fish populations, as they can act as a host for parasites and pathogens. However, you shouldn’t worry too much, nevertheless, when buying new types of fish or feeding them live food, the chance to bring the disease is several times higher.

How to dispose of aquarium snails

Snail dispose of aquarium by chemical methods

Snail control drugs can be bought at pet stores and online stores, but still, they should only be used as a last resort, as they have so many side effects. The main problem is that when it works, the mass death of snails will upset the balance in the aquarium.

Death will cause a bacterial outbreak, change in water parameters, and fish disease. Moreover, the chemistry will not kill all snails and their eggs, and they will continue to reproduce by eating the remains of their relatives.

Read the instructions carefully, many preparations contain copper and are toxic to fish and shrimp, also avoid using other chemicals for the aquarium, they can reduce the effectiveness.

The natural method – snail traps

Snail traps are now produced by many brands, but it is not easy to buy them from us. Easier to do it yourself. The most basic snail trap is to leave a leaf of scalded cabbage overnight at the bottom of the aquarium on a plate. In the morning it will be covered in snails, which are easy to remove. By doing this regularly, you will significantly reduce the population.

If fish, for example, catfish do not allow to do this, then you can upgrade the method. We take a plastic bottle, close it, burn or pierce holes in the bottom so that the fish cannot get in, and the snails are easy.

Inside we put either salad, or cabbage, or other vegetables, better scalded, so they will work more efficiently. We flood the bottle and leave. In the morning you will receive a full bottle of snails.

Natural method – fish

Some fish eat snails in nature, and you can use them for fighting. However, if your fish is well fed, they are unlikely to pay attention to them. Keep them slightly hungry.

An excellent snail eater is the tetradon, but it has a bad temper and will not be suitable for general aquariums. Less aggressive ones are clown fighting, paradise fish, some gourami species.

Also, all types of catfish eat snail caviar. To help the catfish in the fight, turn over the decor, snags, pots, etc., since eggs are most often deposited under it.

Natural Method – Helena’s Predatory Snails

In my opinion – the most effective, safe, and affordable method of dealing with snails. Until recently, Helena was not so easy to find, but now they are everywhere and cost a penny.

Natural Method - Helena's Predatory Snails

Carnivorous Helena snails (Antentome helena) are carnivores and eat other types of snails. In recent years, they have become quite popular and it is not a problem to buy them. These are beautiful, cone-shaped snails that also look attractive. They grow up to 1.2 cm.

Helenas can significantly dispose the number of aquarium snails and even completely exterminate them, if this happens, they begin to eat like all snails, although such a diet is not typical for them. Although Helena snails do not reproduce as fast as normal snails, they can breed. However, the snail is quite expensive, and if this happens you will not be at a loss.

By hand

This mechanical method of getting rid of snails is the hardest. Its benefits depend directly on your labor costs. First, you need to remove any large snails you find from the tank. If your aquarium is densely overgrown with plants, then this will be very difficult. Small snails can not be taken out, but simply pressed against the glass of the aquarium, the remains will be eaten by the fish. If this procedure is carried out regularly, the number of snails can be controlled, and in some cases (extremely rare) and completely removed from the aquarium.

Reducing food fish

You can reduce the growth and reproduction rate of snails by reducing the amount of food for the fish, as the snails eat up the remains. But this method will be ineffective in aquariums with dense vegetation, as the hungry snails will begin to devour the plants.

Mechanical methods also include snail traps. Their meaning lies in the fact that a leaf of lettuce, cabbage, or a piece of meat is placed in a small container as bait. During the night, many snails crawl into this container, the container is removed from the aquarium, and the snails are destroyed. You can even use a small saucer as a container, or you can come up with an ingenious design, into which snails can easily crawl, but can no longer crawl out.
All mechanical methods cannot give one hundred percent guarantee that you will get the answer for question on how to dispose of aquarium snails but with their help, you can easily control their population in the aquarium.

Snail myths

Snails pollute the aquarium
Quite the opposite, aquarium snails eat waste, clean surfaces, and destroy algae. This myth is most likely due to the fact that snails thrive in neglected aquariums with abundant feeding and poor maintenance.

Snails can kill small fish
Snails are omnivorous and will eat whatever they can reach. When the fish dies or is already very weak, the snails instantly gather for a feast. The fishkeepers see that the fish lies at the bottom and snails eat it, but they are not to blame for its death. With a little thought, it is easy to understand that a slow-moving snail cannot pose any danger to healthy and frisky fish.

Snails spoil plants
Some snails, especially from nature and local waters, can damage plants. But the bulk of aquarium snails do not harm plants in any way. Snails have a small mouth adapted to scrape off surfaces, while higher plants have a hard surface. The origin of the myth is easy to understand – snails constantly eat old, dying leaves and it seems that they were the ones who killed them.

How to control the population of aquarium snails:

  • Don’t overfeed
  • Clean the soil regularly
  • Get catfish or shrimps to eat algae
  • Get some snail-eating fish
  • Flip driftwood and decor
  • Use snail traps
  • Check new plants and decor for caviar and snails
  • Never use plants or decor from local waters
  • Do not feed fish for a couple of days, they will be more willing to eat snails
  • Watch out for water if using chemicals