While you often hear hobbyists saying they can't get rid of all the snails in their tank, having snails in your freshwater aquarium as a rule is actually quite beneficial. Most snails act as a "clean up crew" in the aquarium, eating excess food, decaying plant or fish matter, and moving gravel on the tank bottom. The problem with snails in an aquarium is that they reproduce very quickly, and can marr your beautiful tank by being stuck all over the glass and decorations. The real challenge is keeping the snail population in check.
Snails are most often introduced into an aquarium through plants, gravel, or decorations that have moved from other tanks that have snails. While the snails themselves may be small, their eggs are even smaller! Unless you are willing to thoroughly clean everything before it goes into your aquarium, snails will eventually be introduced to your tank.
|Snail Eating Fish
||In most cases, this solution requires the least amount of work on your part. Results will vary with the type of fish, your feeding patterns, and the type of snail in the aquarium. Common snail eating fish include; Malawi Cichlids, varieties of Gourami, varieties of Bettas, and most Botia species.
||This is simply just picking the snails out as you spot them. This is probably the most common method used by hobbyists, and the most immediately effective. Depending on what is in your tank, leaving a tray of food overnight will attract the snails, which can then be easilly removed by removing the container in the morning.
||Snails can only populate a tank to a level that the tank will sustain them. This means that by cuttting down on feedings to your fish, you can effectively reduce the overall snail population.
|Snail Killing Chemicals
||You'll see snail remover chemicals sold in most pet stores. While they are usually effective, anything designed to kill snails is probably not healthy for other plants or fish. Even if the chemicals are harmless to the fish, the massive die off of snails will leave decaying snail bodies in your aquarium, which can affect the water quality.
||As a last resort, and the only 100% effective method to remove snails, you can completely tear down your tank setup and clean everything. This includes gravel, the hood, plants, the filter... anyplace a snail may have been able to lay eggs. This extreme is probably not practicle for most hobbyists.
By: Phi Anderson