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 be found in your aquarium by hittingchhiking on aquatic plants, or at the bottoms of fish bags purchased from a pet shop.
Are pests good for fish tanks? They are actually quite useful in aquariums, and are an integral part of the aquatic ecosystem. They consume algae, help to feed snails, and clean up any fish food that is not eaten. While these snails won’t cause any harm to your fish or plants, they can help keep your aquarium healthy by eating dead or diseased animals.
Even though they’re called pest snails, ramshorns are still kept by fish keepers to enjoy their beauty and cleaning abilities.
Despite these many benefits, some people do not like being overrun by so many snails that they start covering the glass and every surface in the fish tank. Here are 5 proven ways to keep your aquarium snail population under control.
Method #1: Less Food
Fish keeping veterans know that the easiest way to lessen the number of snails is to feed less fish food. Even though snails have a rapid reproduction rate, they can only produce new babies if there is enough food. Your fish should only be fed enough food to last them for a few minutes. Also, smaller meals mean that snails will have less to eat. Higher quality foods, such as frozen, live, and freeze-dried food, are more likely to be consumed by the fish. This leaves little 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.
Not only do snails feed off leftover food, but they also eat algae and dying plant matter. When cleaning your fish tank, make sure you prune and remove any algae. Use an aquarium siphon for gravel vacuuming to remove any mulm and other organic debris the snails may eat.
Method #2: Manual Removal
Slowly starving the snails may take some time. Therefore, you can speed up this process by physically removing the snails as soon as possible. The easiest way to remove snails is to use your hands to grab them one by one. For small snails, you can use a siphon hose to scoop them into a bucket. To easily grab the snails from aquarium walls while you are passing, use a snail catcher.
The Dennerle Snail catcher is a handy tool to catch small snails from fish tank walls.
Method #3: Snail Trap
Some species like the Malaysian trumpet snails are night-active and prefer to burrow in the substrate. It can be hard to collect them from the tank. If you have to lure them, use some tasty vegetables as bait. Place a piece of lettuce, carrot, cucumber or zucchini in the aquarium overnight. The snails will then be able to eat the vegetable the next day. Some hobbyists place food in DIY snail traps (i.e., containers with holes in the lid large enough for snails to access but small enough for fish to pass), so they can’t escape even if they are full.
Malaysian hornsnails (also known by MTS), are resilient and have been known for many months to survive in used gravel.
How do I humanely eliminate a snail from my garden? Give them to other snail-eating hobbyists (see our list), or crush them for an instant death.
Method #4: Snail Eaters
If you are a fish owner, pest snails will be highly in demand. This is because they provide the animal with essential nutrients and enrichment. All freshwater pufferfish, including the tiny Mbu puffer and the large Mbu puffer, enjoy eating snails. The crunchy shells of snails can be used to grind down puffer’s teeth and prevent them becoming too long. Many loaches – such as clown, zebra, yoyo, and dwarf chain loaches – can use their pointy snouts to poke into snail shells and slurp out the insides. Certain larger animals like oscars and turtles also enjoy a good meal of mollusks, so don’t forget to save some for them. Finally, some aquarists employ the services of the assassin snail – a 1-inch (2.5 cm), carnivorous snail that specifically targets other snails as its primary diet.
Assassin Snails (Anentome. helena), eat and ambush all kinds of snails.
Method #5 – Quarantine
If you want to ban pet-snail pests from your home, it is important to remember that an ounce of prevention is more than a pound cure. Some people run their plants under running water to help wash away any unseen hitchhikers. Then place the plant in a quarantine tank with light and fertilizers, and continuously remove any snails that appear. It can take up to four weeks for snail eggs to hatch depending on their species and the water temperature. This requires patience.
The quarantine plan will not protect you from bullets, but we recommend that you take a slower and more steady approach to getting rid of any potential threats. It can be hard to find the exact dose that kills snail eggs and snails, but doesn’t damage sensitive plants like cryptocoryne or villisneria.
Bladder or ramshorn slugs lay egg sacs with multiple babies. Malaysian trumpet snails, however, give birth to live young.
We recommend the following 10 animals to clean up freshwater tanks: