Pest snail bioload

CTYankee79

Active Member
Member
Messages
302
Reaction score
241
Location
Western CT
Experience
Just started
Does anyone know if bladder/pond/ramshorn snails in the dozens will produce a significant amount of ammonia?

I ask because I finished cycling a 40 gallon tank a few weeks ago. I had 2-3ppm of pure ammonia being converted to nitrites in well under 24 hours. 2-3 weeks ago I added 16 Harlequin Rasboras, and it just seems the cycle can’t keep up. Mind you these fish are young and very tiny so I purposefully added that many to keep my cycle strong in preparation for adding more fish eventually.
But ever since then I cannot seem to keep ammonia at zero. It is consistently at .25-.5. Then I had an extended power outtage and even after a 50% water change the ammonia is at .5-1.0. I never let the filter media dry out during this time.
Please note my nitrites are ALWAYS at zero, it makes me think is the ammonia even getting converted?? Or it’s getting converted but the bacteria can’t keep up with ammonia, but can keep up with the nitrites. I just can’t see 13 Juvenile Harlequins having that much of a bioload.

I have a sponge filter and an Aquaclear 70, tank is heavily planted.

So the one thing I started thinking about is—I have TONS of snails in the tank, many dozens. Could this be adding that much bioload to the tank? They have multiplied rapidly since adding fish.
 

RockinRy

Active Member
Member
Messages
163
Reaction score
122
Location
South Dakota
Experience
1 year
I am sure they produce a small load, but I wouldn't expect it to be massive. I also have dozens in my tank and have never had an issue with ammonia. What are you using to test ammonia? Could be a false reading of 0.25

Could also be overfeeding too. Usually the snail population doesn't explode if you don't have too much food sitting around the tank. The excess food will eventually convert to ammonia whether it is from breaking down, the fish expelling waste, or the snails expelling waste. Is there any food leftover after a few minutes of feeding the fish?
 

Megaanemp

Well Known
Member
Messages
821
Reaction score
320
Location
Canada
Experience
Just started
CTYankee79 said:
Does anyone know if bladder/pond/ramshorn snails in the dozens will produce a significant amount of ammonia?

I ask because I finished cycling a 40 gallon tank a few weeks ago. I had 2-3ppm of pure ammonia being converted to nitrites in well under 24 hours. 2-3 weeks ago I added 16 Harlequin Rasboras, and it just seems the cycle can’t keep up. Mind you these fish are young and very tiny so I purposefully added that many to keep my cycle strong in preparation for adding more fish eventually.
But ever since then I cannot seem to keep ammonia at zero. It is consistently at .25-.5. Then I had an extended power outtage and even after a 50% water change the ammonia is at .5-1.0. I never let the filter media dry out during this time.
Please note my nitrites are ALWAYS at zero, it makes me think is the ammonia even getting converted?? Or it’s getting converted but the bacteria can’t keep up with ammonia, but can keep up with the nitrites. I just can’t see 13 Juvenile Harlequins having that much of a bioload.

I have a sponge filter and an Aquaclear 70, tank is heavily planted.

So the one thing I started thinking about is—I have TONS of snails in the tank, many dozens. Could this be adding that much bioload to the tank? They have multiplied rapidly since adding fish.
What’s the pH of your tank, a low pH can be associated with ammonium that will register on your ammonia test kit.
 

Pfrozen

Well Known
Member
Messages
753
Reaction score
464
If you've been overfeeding, I've had some problems with that as well. Harlequin rasboras should be fed very very small amounts multiple times per day instead of one or two large feedings. Most of it will go to waste. Try switching up your feeding methods and see if that helps!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
OP
CTYankee79

CTYankee79

Active Member
Member
Messages
302
Reaction score
241
Location
Western CT
Experience
Just started
RockinRy said:
I am sure they produce a small load, but I wouldn't expect it to be massive. I also have dozens in my tank and have never had an issue with ammonia. What are you using to test ammonia? Could be a false reading of 0.25

Could also be overfeeding too. Usually the snail population doesn't explode if you don't have too much food sitting around the tank. The excess food will eventually convert to ammonia whether it is from breaking down, the fish expelling waste, or the snails expelling waste. Is there any food leftover after a few minutes of feeding the fish?
I’m using API master test kit. I’m pretty sure it’s accurate because it was registering 0 ammonia recently.
So I definitely was overfeeding a couple weeks ago and I’m sure it contributed to the ammonia as well as the snail explosion. I’ve since cut it down quite a bit.
Good to know that the snails shouldn’t produce much ammonia, thank you for the reply.

Megaanemp said:
What’s the pH of your tank, a low pH can be associated with ammonium that will register on your ammonia test kit.

It’s about 8.2, so it’s high
Pfrozen said:
If you've been overfeeding, I've had some problems with that as well. Harlequin rasboras should be fed very very small amounts multiple times per day instead of one or two large feedings. Most of it will go to waste. Try switching up your feeding methods and see if that helps!
I’m learning that as well about the Harlequins! I was giving a healthy pinch of krill flakes and I soon learned it was way too much, unfortunately during the first week Of having them I lost 3 fish and I’m pretty sure it was due to overfeeding. At this point I am literally giving the whole tank 1 or 2 flakes about the size of my thumbnail, crushing it up, and feeding them once every other day. So I don’t think I’m overfeeding anymore, but still getting that ammonia!

I appreciate everyone’s responses
 

JakeXP

New Member
Member
Messages
46
Reaction score
28
Location
UK
I had a very similar experience after cycling my tank. I was dosing 2ppm ammonia every day, which was being fully consumed along with the respective nitrites within 24 hours. I had a huge pest snail outbreak - I'm talking hundreds in my 50g tank. All of a sudden I started getting ammonia readings whilst dosing my regular amount. I was convinced it was the snails as the population was growing and some of them were getting bigger. I asked the same question and was told their bioload would be negligible despite there being hundreds. I started convincing myself that I may have dosed too much ammonia, or I may have cleaned too vigorously, but the more I think about it now the more I do believe it was the snails. I introduced a group of assassin snails and although not eradicated, they've done a very good job of drastically reducing the numbers.

In terms of keeping their numbers under control, overfeeding wasn't the issue for me - I wasn't feeding at all due to no fish being in the tank. They were living and thriving off of algae, decaying plant matter, whatever else organic in the tank. Assassins have done wonders for me.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
OP
CTYankee79

CTYankee79

Active Member
Member
Messages
302
Reaction score
241
Location
Western CT
Experience
Just started
JakeXP said:
I had a very similar experience after cycling my tank. I was dosing 2ppm ammonia every day, which was being fully consumed along with the respective nitrites within 24 hours. I had a huge pest snail outbreak - I'm talking hundreds in my 50g tank. All of a sudden I started getting ammonia readings whilst dosing my regular amount. I was convinced it was the snails as the population was growing and some of them were getting bigger. I asked the same question and was told their bioload would be negligible despite there being hundreds. I started convincing myself that I may have dosed too much ammonia, or I may have cleaned too vigorously, but the more I think about it now the more I do believe it was the snails. I introduced a group of assassin snails and although not eradicated, they've done a very good job of drastically reducing the numbers.

In terms of keeping their numbers under control, overfeeding wasn't the issue for me - I wasn't feeding at all due to no fish being in the tank. They were living and thriving off of algae, decaying plant matter, whatever else organic in the tank. Assassins have done wonders for me.
That’s very interesting, so after you introduced the assassins and the pest snail population declined did the ammonia go away?

I was also thinking maybe I overcleaned the tank as well, but I really don’t think so.

During the time the ammonia reappeared in your tank, were there nitrites present as well or were those being consumed?
 

JakeXP

New Member
Member
Messages
46
Reaction score
28
Location
UK
CTYankee79 said:
That’s very interesting, so after you introduced the assassins and the pest snail population declined did the ammonia go away?

I was also thinking maybe I overcleaned the tank as well, but I really don’t think so.

During the time the ammonia reappeared in your tank, were there nitrites present as well or were those being consumed?
In my case I think the 2ppm I was dosing plus the copious amounts of snails was too much. I stopped dosing ammonia and introduced 7 guppies and 5 assassins and I didn't read any ammonia after that.

I don't think I did get any nitrite readings either to be honest. Probably the best way to know for you if it is fully cycling is to keep a close eye on your nitrates and see if they're steadily increasing.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
OP
CTYankee79

CTYankee79

Active Member
Member
Messages
302
Reaction score
241
Location
Western CT
Experience
Just started
JakeXP said:
In my case I think the 2ppm I was dosing plus the copious amounts of snails was too much. I stopped dosing ammonia and introduced 7 guppies and 5 assassins and I didn't read any ammonia after that.

I don't think I did get any nitrite readings either to be honest. Probably the best way to know for you if it is fully cycling is to keep a close eye on your nitrates and see if they're steadily increasing.
Ok that makes sense.

The tank was definitely cycled, but now I’m dosing ferts and it’s heavily planted so it’s nearly impossible to gauge anything with nitrate readings as they fluctuate based on fertilizer and what the plants are consuming.

I can only assume my nitrites are still being processed, and that the ammonia consuming bacteria are just overwhelmed at the moment.
Thanks for the help!
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
68
Guests online
1,815
Total visitors
1,883

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom