what snails can i get that will eat algae but not my plants Question 

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jameswmoseley94

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hI I was thinking of getting some snails but I was worried that they would eat my aquatic plants does anyone have any suggestions
 

bass master

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I have nerites in my tank, theyve worked out great so far, theyve even cleaned algae off some of my plants with broader leaves. My tank is somewhat new so I still get patches of diatoms from time to time and the snails have done a pretty good job taking care of it.
 

Jaysee

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Mystery snails and MTS both leave plants alone. IMO MTS are the most versitile and beneficial snails you can get.
 

harpua2002

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Nerites are great algae eaters and don't harm plants, I'll second the recommendation for those.
 

potatos

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nerite snails (although they will leave hard-to-remove eggs that look like sesamie seeds everywhere) ramshorn snails, MTS snails. in my experience, mystery snails die without warning, then foul the water if not removed. MTS and ramshorn are self sustaining, and will breed. of course it all depends on the type of algae you have.
 

Elodea

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Nerite snails (in my book) will always be top on the snail list. They come in such beautiful colors they look like they've been painted, but it's all natural! Excellent algae eaters that will make short work of the algae, and they don't bother plants or the tank inhabitants. The only drawback is that their eggs won't hatch in freshwater, but that may be a good thing so they won't overpopulate the tank. Great little snails. Here's a basic overview of the most common types.

Olive Nerite Snail - That's the common type. Hence the name, they have olive colored shells and get almost an inch long. That's it. Medium-sized nerite snail, but they have great algae eating abilities.

Zebra Nerite Snail - One of the larger species, zebras are a little more than an inch in shell diameter, and have beautiful black and gold stripes. The larger size makes them voracious algae eaters, except they might not be able to eat algae off the leaves of smaller plants.

Ruby or Tracked Nerite Snail - The shell of this beautiful snail is an orangey-red, with little black "track marks" running down it. They are about the same size as the zebra nerite snail, an inch or maybe a bit larger.

Horned Nerite Snail - My personal favorite, these snails are the smallest of the nerites: a mere 3/4 of an inch long max. The shells are golden-yellow, with a thick black line running along the spiral. Their main attractions are the tiny, needle-like spikes the stick out of the shell, making them look quite exotic. The tiny sizes make them perfect candidates for eating algae off the leaves of smaller plants that larger snails can't reach.

I would suggest to have a niche of snails, each serving a different role. Larger ones like zebras and rubies can patrol the gravel and walls of the tank, while the horned nerites attack algae on the leaves. That way, the whole tank will be clean.
 

Jaysee

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Elodea - you'll have to tell us how you tell your snails what to work on

I'm pretty sure ramshorns devour all plant life.....
 

pepetj

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I like the "gardening" work that Apple Snails perform. They do have some bioload as they grow quite big but they respect most plants except a few species, e.g. Giant Baby Tears and some Higrofila species, in my experience. My Anubias, Vallisnera, Sagitaria, Cambomba, Hornwort, Anacharis, Swords and Crinum were quite safely cleaned with them. When I went soft/acidic my population of Apple Snails couldn't make it.

I have a wild caught (rescued to be precise) Nerite snail that keeps quite clean a 5.5gal tank.

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

amber_lea84

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I have both olive and tracked nerite snail and they're totally good with my plants. They spend most of their time either cleaning the tank walls or hanging out on my driftwood.

And my malaysian trumpet snails clean my plants constantly without doing any harm. If you want to keep your plants clean, I highly recommend them.
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

I have moved your thread to the Freshwater Invertebrates/Snails section of the forum.

Thanks!

Ken
 

jclee

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Apple snails will eat plants. It might depend on how many flakey leftovers they have to eat. I also don't find them to be terribly efficient algae cleaners. The ones that I have had tended to prefer flake-foods first, plants second, and algae third.

(Just a little cautionary tale to throw in the mix, although perhaps it depends, in part, on the kind of plants?)

I didn't realize that MTS ate algae. That's good to know!

I also have had nerites, and I agree that they don't seem to eat the plants. SpixI snails are also pretty, and mine weren't eating my plants for years. (I think decreased calcium in the tank might've driven them to it; they've been moved to another tank.)
 

amber_lea84

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Yeah, my MTS go to town on algae. They're great.
 
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jameswmoseley94

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thanks for all your replies it helped a great deal. now I can decide which ones to buy
 

Elodea

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Jaysee said:
Elodea - you'll have to tell us how you tell your snails what to work on

I'm pretty sure ramshorns devour all plant life.....
I thought it was obvious...you whisper in their little ears!

If that doesn't work, you can always count on the fact that the big ones will probably do a cleaner job on the glass, except if they try to crawl on plants they'll fall off.

The little ones, being lighter, will take care of that.
 
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