Pest Snails

Pest Snails

Pest snails are something every hobbyist will have to come across at some point. They get into your tank without permission and then explode their population! Well today I’m going to talk about what you can do to help keep this from happening and how to keep their numbers in check if you do have any.

First things first, we need to talk basics. So, what is considered a pest snail? They are generally the same few species that will get into your tank, usually from adding new things to your aquarium like plants.
Species generally considered pest snails are:
Pest snails can be problematic for many fish keepers because although only a couple may get into your tank, they quickly have babies and those 5 snails will turn into 50. They can increase the bioload in your tank and may just be unsightly to look at.

So what can you do to keep from getting these dreaded snails?

First off, if you’re buying something other than a fish that was in a tank at the store, it’s already likely to have snails on it. Plants are the most notorious for bringing in snails, but other decor like driftwood or clay pots could be carrying them as well. You can boil some decor to kill the pest snails, but plants can’t be, so it’s more difficult to clean them. A technic you can use with plants is putting them in a solution of 1 part water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes and it should kill any snails and eggs.

What happens if I do get pest snails?

Well, you can of course take it out, but there still may be more. You may not get them all out.
This next part is really important that you need to remember.
Pest snails aren’t always bad.
What’s important is that you keep their numbers in control. Over feeding will cause them to breed and get out of control, but when they’re in check they can actually be beneficial. They are good algae eaters and a clean up crew, and often a snack for your fish. Many fish keepers keep them on purpose for these reasons.

Here is more information on how to control a snail infestation.

A snail population can be controlled in several ways. You may not completely get rid of their population, but you should be able to get them down to healthy numbers.

  1. Traps - If there are more snails than you can take out manually, you can set a trap for them overnight. Add a piece of a vegetable, like a slice of zucchini, into your tank overnight. You will wake up to several snails on the vegetable, and you can then just take the vegetable with the snails out, and throw it away.
  2. Predators - If the population is REALLY out of control, it may be a viable option to add a predatory fish to eat your snails. Some options are assassin snails, pea puffers, and loaches. Please make sure to research these before taking them home.
  3. Feeding - This is the best way to keep your snail population in check before it explodes. Make sure you monitor how much you're feeding your fish - excess food will lead to more snails.
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I'm interested in learning about 'pest' snails, but I would add in here breeding habits of each type you've listed. The time from eggs laid, to hatching, the full life cycle. Also methods of catching and proper euthanasia if they are an undesired pest.
Very well written and answers questions about pest snails well. Great job. :)
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