Snail Infestation?!

frostmystique

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Hey guys,

I recently started up my very first planted tank. I bought some Anubias which had been growing for about a year in my favorite aquarium store, so I decided that would be a good idea to get some good bacteria.

The lady there (who is normally very helpful) assured me that there would be no need to do any kind of disinfecting or dipping of the plants for snail eggs, because she’d never had any snail eggs in the past. Because she’s given me such good advice I took her word for it and I probably shouldn’t have.

The tank has been running for about two weeks however literally overnight I have noticed a sudden infestation of snails, as well as a whole lot of brown stuff on the leaves. So far I can see about four or five snails sliding around in there.

Now I don’t mind a couple of surprise guests. However my main concern is that this brown stuff is just gonna lead to a bunch more popping up, or even problems with the plants.

I’m also concerned that it may cause issues with plant growth or even with my Betta when I add him in a couple of weeks.

What should I do? Do I need to add extra fertilizer? How do I stop the snails taking over?! Pics included below!

PS sorry about the bluriness, they’re the best I could do
 

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CheshireKat

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I can't at all tell if that "brown stuff" is poop or algae or what; images are too blurry in full view.
Those kinds of snails will breed and live as long as there is enough food for them to do so. Sounds like you've got plenty of food for them! I have tons and don't mind 'em at all, I think they're cute and they like to eat decaying or dead plant matter and help clean the tank walls, so I'm good with more maids. You can probably get assassin snails to kill them, but otherwise there's no real birth control for them.
 

Mrfister1116

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Looks like some algae, they look like bladder snails there they’ll eat that for you.
Personally I like having a clean up crew in my planted tanks, plus I feed snails to my puffers so breeding them is nice.

To get rid of them you can get an assassin snail or some pea puffers

Assassin snails will eat then and then die if you don’t feed them, pea puffers don’t play well with others so I don’t really suggest them they’re just very cool and will obliterate a snail population
 
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frostmystique

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Looks like some algae, they look like bladder snails there they’ll eat that for you.
Personally I like having a clean up crew in my planted tanks, plus I feed snails to my puffers so breeding them is nice.

To get rid of them you can get an assassin snail or some pea puffers

Assassin snails will eat then and then die if you don’t feed them, pea puffers don’t play well with others so I don’t really suggest them they’re just very cool and will obliterate a snail population
Thanks for your response! If that’s just algae then that’s fine, my main concern was that they were snail eggs or something but that shows how much I know!

Based on your personal experience do I need to be concerned about a full blown infestation? (And should I be doing something about the algae)? Thanks!
 

Mrfister1116

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You can scrape the algae off.... uh if they’re bladder snails, which they appear to be, they eat dead foliage, extra fish food, and other dead matter. Very helpful cleaners really. You’ll see the population explode and then drop back food becomes abundant and they eat it all.
The eggs will look kinda like a little glob is spit, kinda hard to see if they aren’t on a black background or glass.

It could be a nerite snail too that can’t reproduce in freshwater with the white dots on it... it’ll be clearer as it gets larger what type it is.
Personally I’d let the snails take care of the algae unless it starts taking over, maybe increase my water changes if it continues to spread or add more plants to steal the algae’s nutrients

If you don’t like snails for aesthetic reasons get them out ASAP and maybe get a scavenger fish in there, cories or gold fish tend to eat the snail eggs whenever they find them
If you don’t mind them I’d let them go, they add to bio load but are great cleaners I actually bought ramshorn and bladder snails to get a good population in my fw tanks.
If only my sw snails reproduced as fast I’d be making a fortune
 

CheshireKat

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If it is algae, it's probably caused by too much lighting and/or too much fertilizer. Algae won't hurt the fish, but you may not like seeing it. Reducing fertilizer or lighting amount would be thr first step to stopping it. You can clean it off with a toothbrush or your fingers, etc.

The snails will continue to reproduce, but it's up to you whether or not they bother you. You don't have to do anything about them if you don't want to. I don't. I like them around.
 

Mrfister1116

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Oh, if you do choose to keep them, think about getting some cuttle bone, they can take awhile to sink but the snails will munch on it for calcium which they need for healthy shells. It’s sold for birds and pretty cheap
I got a two pack for like $3 and a half of one has lasted 6 months in the bucket I breed rams horn and bladder snails in
 
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frostmystique

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You can scrape the algae off.... uh if they’re bladder snails, which they appear to be, they eat dead foliage, extra fish food, and other dead matter. Very helpful cleaners really. You’ll see the population explode and then drop back food becomes abundant and they eat it all.
The eggs will look kinda like a little glob is spit, kinda hard to see if they aren’t on a black background or glass.

It could be a nerite snail too that can’t reproduce in freshwater with the white dots on it... it’ll be clearer as it gets larger what type it is.
Personally I’d let the snails take care of the algae unless it starts taking over, maybe increase my water changes if it continues to spread or add more plants to steal the algae’s nutrients

If you don’t like snails for aesthetic reasons get them out ASAP and maybe get a scavenger fish in there, cories or gold fish tend to eat the snail eggs whenever they find them
If you don’t mind them I’d let them go, they add to bio load but are great cleaners I actually bought ramshorn and bladder snails to get a good population in my fw tanks.
If only my sw snails reproduced as fast I’d be making a fortune
If it is algae, it's probably caused by too much lighting and/or too much fertilizer. Algae won't hurt the fish, but you may not like seeing it. Reducing fertilizer or lighting amount would be thr first step to stopping it. You can clean it off with a toothbrush or your fingers, etc.

The snails will continue to reproduce, but it's up to you whether or not they bother you. You don't have to do anything about them if you don't want to. I don't. I like them around.
Oh, if you do choose to keep them, think about getting some cuttle bone, they can take awhile to sink but the snails will munch on it for calcium which they need for healthy shells. It’s sold for birds and pretty cheap
I got a two pack for like $3 and a half of one has lasted 6 months in the bucket I breed rams horn and bladder snails in
If you don't have calcium in your water, they'll need it. I have very hard water with lots of minerals and my snails do fine without any extra calcium.
Thanks guys for everything! I was that child who literally borrowed books about snails from the library, so I definitely have no problem in keeping them!
As long as this new bioload is not going to effect my Betta when I put him in, I dont have any problems with leaving them in there (unless it ends up being overrun with them!)
I guess my plan at the moment will be to just continue as I am and wait for the population to naturally increase and then die off? Is that a good idea?
I was hoping to add 2 Otocinclus catfish to clean the algae but I guess this is off the table now? I’d love to still stick with that plan if I can as I’ve only ever owned a long lineage of fighting fish in the past and want to try something different. The tank is only five gallons.

As for the algae.... I haven’t added any fertiliser yet due to multiple issues with delivery. However I was told this was also fine due to them being planted in Fluval stratum. I’m aiming to add the fertilizer tomorrow though. So I guess that means the algae is being caused by the lighting? I researched that a good amount of hours for the lighting was around 12 (for Anubias, Java Fern and an S. Repens tissue culture) but I guess that does seem a bit high? Does anyone have any other recommendations? Thanks!

Having said that though... I’m only a poor student and the tank is literally in my bedroom. I can only really afford to buy a certain amount of fish products based on my fortnightly paychecks hence why I chose a nano tank with a fighting fish, so I can look after him properly while keeping it within what I can afford. If keeping these snails are going to cost me a lot of money to maintain then therefore I dont think it’s a good idea for me to try and keep them as well, as I won’t be able to give them what they deserve to have a good life. Any thoughts?
 

Mrfister1116

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If you don't have calcium in your water, they'll need it. I have very hard water with lots of minerals and my snails do fine without any extra calcium.
See I have super hard ward too, but before the cuttle bone they all had super weak shells ... reproduced and lived fine I suppose mostly just needed their hard shells for the puffers
 

James105

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Hey

I always "bath" new aquarium plants in snail killer and run them under the tap before adding them into my tank. I once had such a massive infestation that they totally took over the tank, I could barely see in. Even though I completely emptied my tank, thoroughly cleaned everything and re filled it, they call came back within a week.

My suggestion for you is to A simply add some snail killer product into the tank. From my experience It will not harm your fish and it will kill the snails B IF you have space in your tank, add some snail eating fish, they will clear them out pretty fast.

On a positive note, snails are a sign of a healthy aquarium!
 

Mrfister1116

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I don’t Fertilize my planted tanks, depending on who you talk to it’s only worth it if you have super strong lighting and/or co2 injection.

I would assume your tank is in the cycle process and has extra nitrates this algae growth, water changes can help that ... fertilizers can exacerbate the issue.

If you’re not using a timer for the light get one, if you’re providing 12 hours of light maybe try dropping back to 10 for example. Personally I like having mine cut off for about 2 hours midday to help let co2 build up some but that’s probably overthinking it.

Algae is always going to pop up in a new tank ... forever and always I wouldn’t stress much unless it really starts to take over. The snails will help allot with that... I’d hold off on the fertilizers till you see what the algae does, since your substrate is already providing good macro/micro nutrients right now anyway.

If the algae starts getting out of hand you can start taking more aggressive steps to combat it, depending on your scape ideas you can add more plants, my tanks are jungles personally... or you can increase water changes and clean it off, you can add snails /algae eating fish (mollies will munch some of leaves or I love my bushy nose plecos), you can do co2 injection ... lots and lots of options out there but a little bit of algae at start up isn’t a big deal so long as it stays small
 
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frostmystique

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Hey

I always "bath" new aquarium plants in snail killer and run them under the tap before adding them into my tank. I once had such a massive infestation that they totally took over the tank, I could barely see in. Even though I completely emptied my tank, thoroughly cleaned everything and re filled it, they call came back within a week.

My suggestion for you is to A simply add some snail killer product into the tank. From my experience It will not harm your fish and it will kill the snails B IF you have space in your tank, add some snail eating fish, they will clear them out pretty fast.

On a positive note, snails are a sign of a healthy aquarium!
What is the name of the snail killer? And will adding it directly to the tank have any effect on the plants? I’d also love to know how the heck you got rid of the infestation when there were that many!!

I don’t Fertilize my planted tanks, depending on who you talk to it’s only worth it if you have super strong lighting and/or co2 injection.

I would assume your tank is in the cycle process and has extra nitrates this algae growth, water changes can help that ... fertilizers can exacerbate the issue.

If you’re not using a timer for the light get one, if you’re providing 12 hours of light maybe try dropping back to 10 for example. Personally I like having mine cut off for about 2 hours midday to help let co2 build up some but that’s probably overthinking it.

Algae is always going to pop up in a new tank ... forever and always I wouldn’t stress much unless it really starts to take over. The snails will help allot with that... I’d hold off on the fertilizers till you see what the algae does, since your substrate is already providing good macro/micro nutrients right now anyway.

If the algae starts getting out of hand you can start taking more aggressive steps to combat it, depending on your scape ideas you can add more plants, my tanks are jungles personally... or you can increase water changes and clean it off, you can add snails /algae eating fish (mollies will munch some of leaves or I love my bushy nose plecos), you can do co2 injection ... lots and lots of options out there but a little bit of algae at start up isn’t a big deal so long as it stays small
Thanks so much! This makes me feel a lot better. Well I guess at the moment the snails will take care of the algae but what I really want to know is whether I can still add the two cat fish in the future with all these snails hanging around. Thanks
 
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