Am I guarenteed snails with real plants?

BlueRaccoon

Hello! I am super interested in live plants; however, I have read that you usually get snails. I wouldn't mind some, but I don't want them getting out of control. I will have a 55g, with probably 3-4 plants in it. Will they get out of control? I really don't like seeing tanks that are covered in snails. I don't think it looks good. I know there are tissue plants and 'guaranteed snail free' plants, but they aren't easy to find, and they can be more expensive. Any thoughts? I know I can bleach them, but is that normally effective? Also, like I said, I wouldn't mind some, I just don't want them out of control.
 

Pwilly07

Hello! I am super interested in live plants; however, I have read that you usually get snails. I wouldn't mind some, but I don't want them getting out of control. I will have a 55g, with probably 3-4 plants in it. Will they get out of control? I really don't like seeing tanks that are covered in snails. I don't think it looks good. I know there are tissue plants and 'guaranteed snail free' plants, but they aren't easy to find, and they can be more expensive. Any thoughts? I know I can bleach them, but is that normally effective? Also, like I said, I wouldn't mind some, I just don't want them out of control.
You can bleach dip, but I like to do hydrogen peroxide dip which is safer and just as effective on snails and eggs. Also, you can quarantine plants for a few weeks if you really want to be sure after the dip. Good luck!
 

BlueRaccoon

You can bleach dip, but I like to do hydrogen peroxide dip which is safer and just as effective on snails and eggs. Also, you can quarantine plants for a few weeks if you really want to be sure after the dip. Good luck!
Thank you! So hydrogen peroxide is normally effective? Do you know what happens if you don't? Do they normally stay in low numbers, or does it get out of control?
 

Arvil

Depends on the species. I have hundreds of Malaysian Trumpet snails which started as one on a plant I bought years ago, but I don’t mind them. Some others may be not so much.
 

StarGirl

No plants are going to be guaranteed snail free even if it says it is.

I use Alum in my plant dips. It seems to be more effective on the eggs. Bleach is too harsh IMO. 1G water 3TBLS Alum soak overnight. Eggs will be white and very easy to see.
 

0100010

If you only purchase tissue culture only plants, you should not get any snails.
If you properly sterilize your non-tissue culture plants you should be able to kill off any hitchhikers you get. However, different plants will have different levels of sensitivity, and you need to research each time to try and find recommended sterilization procedures. Some still might sneak in anyway.

I got bladder snails despite sterilization attempts, though I probably didn't do as good a job as it was my first attempt. Their population did explode for a bit, then came back down. I cull them occasionally by dropping a blanched veggie in, waiting for them to swarm it, then pull the snail-covered thing out. As I introduce more fish over time I expect their numbers to drop as predation of their eggs or the adults themselves begins to occur.
 

Pwilly07

Thank you! So hydrogen peroxide is normally effective? Do you know what happens if you don't? Do they normally stay in low numbers, or does it get out of control?
I got ramshorns from someone and the more the tank is fed the more they multiply. I can sell mine by the thousands lol. Like someone else mentioned, tissue culture plants should be snail free. Never had issues with them.
 

Sewerrat

Never got any snails from tube plants at petco or petsmart just wouldn't buy any plants if you see snails in the stores tanks and quarantine if your worried. I actually like pest snails took awhile to find a local store willing to sell them. Still haven't even seen any ramshorn in person
 

PeterFishKeepin

just pick them of the glass as you see them if you get any, if they lay the clearish bubble of eggs pick em out and throw them in the trash. Or perhaps get a snail eating fish? pea puffers? also they may breed but they will stable out, i have a 5 gal guppy tank with bladder snails, i have a lot when they first got into tank i think around 40-50snails but they often were on the gravel, then after a month when there wasnt enough food for them their population dropped to like 10-15 and they are still alive today. They dont bother me too much unless they block the filter part where the water spits out.
 

Mudminnow

Hello! I am super interested in live plants; however, I have read that you usually get snails.
True.

The tissue culture plants don't have snails. But, in my experience, the tissue culture plants take longer to adjust to tank conditions and melt more.
I wouldn't mind some, but I don't want them getting out of control. I will have a 55g, with probably 3-4 plants in it. Will they get out of control?
"Out of control" is relative. But, they're usually not too hard to control. Certain fishes are more than happy to help in this regard. For example, in one of my tanks, I have a keyhole cichlid that loves to eat them.
Any thoughts?
Embrace the snails. They eat algae, leftover food, and dying plant matter. Some, like MTS, will stir up the substrate for you. Overall, they are a huge benefit to a planted tank. Their numbers are not too tough to control...just feed less and/or get some snail eating inhabitants. Plus, if you keep the glass wiped down and clean, there won't be so many on the glass causing an eye sore.
 

Huckleberry77

I have always quarantined and bleach dipped my plants and never got pest snails. I did kill a couple plants though along the way.
 

FishDin

I've tried bleech, H2O2, and alum. None of these treatments have worked for me. I'm not saying they don't work, just that they may not work.

In the future I am going to quarantine them as well. I've also started buying tissue culture plants when available.

Once you have snails that you consider a pest, you will need to manage the population unless you are willing to nuke your tank with chemicals. Remove them by hand and don't overfeed the tank. Their population will be proportional to the excess food in the tank.

You can add snail predators as well.
 

RayClem

Many people consider snails to be "pests", but they are just another part of the aquatic ecosystem. They serve a valuable purpose in keeping the tank clean. Snails will multiply rapidly if they have access to an ample supply of food. If you do not overfeed your fish, it is unlikely that they will become a nuisance. At one time, I did have quite a few snails, but controlled them by scooping out snails near the surface when I did water changes. When I cut back to feeding every other day, I have very few snails. If you feed your fish multiple times a day, snails can become a pest.
 

Fisch

What kind of plants do you want to get?
I agree with above post, the plants individually packaged from petsmart do not have snails. Peroxyde and Bleach are hit and miss, I heard some good feedback in regards to Alum.
I agree with your sentiment in regards to pest snails, but I gained an appreciation over time. As a matter of fact I re-introduced bladder snails after I eradicated them, for the specific purpose of cleaning plants and removing diatoms, and also feedback if I am overfeeding as my stocking changed in the big tank. Knowing that I am able to control the population (without chemicals or added predators) makes the snails friend, not enemy.
 

RayClem

What kind of plants do you want to get?
I agree with above post, the plants individually packaged from petsmart do not have snails. Peroxyde and Bleach are hit and miss, I heard some good feedback in regards to Alum.
I agree with your sentiment in regards to pest snails, but I gained an appreciation over time. As a matter of fact I re-introduced bladder snails after I eradicated them, for the specific purpose of cleaning plants and removing diatoms, and also feedback if I am overfeeding as my stocking changed in the big tank. Knowing that I am able to control the population (without chemicals or added predators) makes the snails friend, not enemy.

When you mention the individually packaged plants from pet stores, they are typically plants that are grown emerged (out of water). Since they have never been in an aquatic environment, they are unlikely to have snails or snail eggs. However, these emerged-grown plants have to go through a transition when you transplant them to a submerged environment.

If you purchase plants that have been growing submerged, either from a local fish store or from an online retailer, there is a significant chance that the plants will come with snails or snail eggs. If you freak out at the thought of snails, then purchase the emerged-grown plants, but you will miss out on some great submerged plants.

I have kept fish for over six decades and have never had an issue with snails overwhelming one of my tanks.
 

BlueRaccoon

When you mention the individually packaged plants from pet stores, they are typically plants that are grown emerged (out of water). Since they have never been in an aquatic environment, they are unlikely to have snails or snail eggs. However, these emerged-grown plants have to go through a transition when you transplant them to a submerged environment.

If you purchase plants that have been growing submerged, either from a local fish store or from an online retailer, there is a significant chance that the plants will come with snails or snail eggs. If you freak out at the thought of snails, then purchase the emerged-grown plants, but you will miss out on some great submerged plants.

I have kept fish for over six decades and have never had an issue with snails overwhelming one of my tanks.
Wow, thank you. This is a great explanation. Do you, or anyone else know if I should wait to add live plants until after my tank is cycled? I read you should wait until after the cycle is complete because it can disrupt it.....
 

MasterPython

If you have plants you want snails. They will gently clean your leaves, break down plant and animal waste to keep mulm down. The more layers of organisms you have eating the food you put in the less there is to end up in the water column.
 

Nickguy5467

i havent gotten plants in a long time but all i got was a small amazon sword, anubias nana, and some grass i cant think of ... ordered from aquariumcoop.com. never had any snails
 

RayClem

Wow, thank you. This is a great explanation. Do you, or anyone else know if I should wait to add live plants until after my tank is cycled? I read you should wait until after the cycle is complete because it can disrupt it.....

This is simply a matter of degree. Yes, plants are capable of utilizing many forms of nitrogen. Thus, they will compete with the bacteria colonies for available urea, ammonia and nitrites. As long as you are continually replenishing the ammonia, you won't disrupt the cycle process, but you might extend the process a few days. The advantage of adding the plants early is that they will help keep the nitrate level from getting too high.

The optimal timing might be to wait until you start seeing nitrite and low levels of nitrates in the tank part way through the cycle process and then add your plants so they will have an opportunity to get established before adding the fish.
 

BlueRaccoon

Very good to know! I really appreciate it!
 

EnlightenedOne

Hahah I was running into the problem recently. But it's actually pretty awesome for all my tanks. I've bought tissue culture, you'll know by them being bare root or in gel and no dirt! I've been buying tank grown plants lately because it's more cost effective. I don't quarantine them because I was hoping they would have hitch hikers. Detritus worms, bladder snails, copepods. Loe and behold after a few weeks of being in this hobby I found snails and all sorts of copepods in my pea puffer tank. Awesome for me. I've discovered them in most of my tanks in small numbers because I have micropredators in every tank. They are a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem in your tank if the numbers don't explode. They clean algae, dead/dying plants(Pond snails will eat live plants too, not bladder snails), eat left over food, eat poo. For me they are an added bonus of being a treat for my badis, corydoras, kuhli loaches, pea puffers, clown pleco. I have one tank where I can't find anything alive, or algae.... That tank just has so many feeders nothing can survive in it.

Back to your original question. If you do a dip depending on the plants in bleach or H2O2(peroxide) it would eliminate most if not all depending on how long you bathe the plants. Each plant has a different tolerance to it though so it's not practical for me. Go for it. It's not as bad as you think unless you are overfeeding or something is off in the tank. Once they take over, bladder snails or pond snails are asexual reproducers and sexual so it only takes one or two. They are hardy enough to survive cycling. and reach sexual maturity in around a month. They can survive in puddles and sewers but they aren't a plague. They're manageable as long as you take proper care of your tank.
 

BlueRaccoon

Thank you! This is extremely helpful! It's good to know that a healthy tank will keep them under control.

Thank you everyone! This has been a helpful conversation!
 

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