Depends on the type of snail you plan to get... if your looking for something that will dig through your substrait(sp) to airait(sp) live plants, MTS, but if there is a ton of food available expect a population bomm... mystery snails are good algae eaters, not hermapidites, and come in a verity of colors... but they are also able to breath through lungs so they enjoy escaping tanks on occasion... nerites(sp) are good eating algae and can't breed in freshwater, eggs only hatch in brackish water, they also come in an awesome array of shell types... I own a verity of snails and love them all!
I have had all four of them, pond ( pest snails )
MTS ( WAY too much breeding from them! )
Mystery snails ( love them, they don't do much but are very amusing and pretty ) Nerites ( love that they don't breed in fresh water, VERY effective on getting rid of Diatoms ) very pretty but their eggs that they lay EVERYWHERE are really really hard to scrape off of glass, etc.... Not unsightly but can be if there's tons of eggs!!!
If I would want a few snails to eat extra food, clean up a bit, and to just enjoy, would I want a variety of them? I do NOT want an explosion of snails. We had a fish tank when I was growing up and had one snail. It had a bazillion babies - so many that they were literally falling out of the tank! I do NOT want that. =S
The idea of the MTS and how they stir the sand up sounds fantastic, but.. I don't want 100s of them. Are they easy to unload on people if one gets too many? And would that even really keep their numbers in check?
I'm really considering the apple/mystery snail at the moment. They seem colorful and get large enough to see. But.. they don't dig through the gravel. Ho hum!
Hello; A very large population of snails is often a sign of overfeeding. I have had very large numbers of snails such as MTS and rams horn in the past when I tended to overfeed. I have been more careful with the extra feeding the last few decades and have noted a big difference in the snail population.
The rams horn and pond snails will be visible and active all the time. They lay eggs covered in a tough membrane that, so far as I know, nothing can defeat. They have shells easy to crack. If the numbers start to build up I keep some hemostats handy and crush the shell and drop them into a tank. The fish take them eagerly and they are a problem free source of live food. When the rams horn start to approach nickel size hey have taken some bites out of more tender leaved plants such as amazon swords. I have moved a few of the big ones to my quarantine tank (QT).
The MTS are livebearers and do plow the substrate. If their numbers are not too large they are not seen very much when the light is on. They have thick tough shells that are hard to crack and thus are not easy to use as fish food. They are probably the most useful because of the substrate plowing they do.
Another advantage of having snails is in setting up a new tank. I throw a number of snails into a new setup as soon as the water is in. I also will add some plants from an established tank. The snails and plants should, I think, have colonies of beneficial bacteria (bb) on their surfaces. This will seed some bb into the new setup. The snails will also produce ammonia waste which will feed the bb. Add some fish food for the snails and the cycling starts. This is also why I keep a number of snails in a QT and feed them fish food as they will keep some bb going during times there may not be any fish present.
Those are some very interesting points! Lots of good info!
I have ordered some mystery snails and will go from there! Nerites sound very appealing but are quite expensive (especially for staying soo tiny)... So maybe in the future. MTS.. well.. Maybe eventually!