Snails, especially the ones sold in fish pet stores, can be excellent additions to our aquarium. The Mystery snail, for one, is a beautiful, peaceful, and slow-moving herbivore that lets you sit back and relax as it cleans the aquarium for you.
Some also prefer the Nerite Snails because they effectively clean the algae’s rocks as well as the aquarium glass.
And, with its gorgeous natural colors, aquarium snails make an eye-catching decorative element as well.
Unfortunately, though, most aquarium snails are a nuisance and a headache to fish owners. Snails like Trumpet Snails, Rams Horn Snails, and Pond Snails can reproduce rapidly and quickly overrun your aquarium.
One day, you will discover a small snail on the tank’s glass. At first, it seems like a cute, harmless, and lovely creature. A week later, that snail has over a dozen buddies inside your aquarium.
Slowly, they become a nuisance. And, before you even know it, your fish tank is crawling and riddled with these little buggies.
How did these snails multiply at a rapid pace? Where exactly did these small herbivores come from? And, more importantly, what can a fish tank owner do to stop the aquarium snail invasion?
The thing is, the snail battle is a rather tough one, especially if you have just ventured into the world fish keeping. But, there are tons of ways and techniques to keep these not-so adorable creatures at bay.
And guess what? I am going to reveals some tips on how to get rid of snails in aquariums effectively.
- Do Snails Pose Risks to Your Aquarium?
- Where do Snails Inside Your Fish Tank Come From?
- How do These Creatures Multiply?
- How to Control or Prevent Snails in Your Aquarium
- How to Get Rid of Snails in Your Aquarium
Do Snails Pose Risks to Your Aquarium?
You have nothing to worry about if you have a few snails in your aquarium. As a matter of fact, almost every healthy tank is home to a few of these creatures.
Truthfully, they can even be rather useful for your aquarium.
As with eveything in life, there are good and bad parts to having them in your tank. Let us talk about them pretty quickly.
- Snails make terrific natural moving decorations.
- They are excellent indicators of how clean and pure the aquarium water is.
- They effectively clean your aquarium. Snails hunt through the substrate to eat any unconsumed fish food. Furthermore, they eat water slime, rotten aquarium plants, parts of dead fish, and fish waste.
- They can infest your home, once they get out of your aquarium.
- Excess food in your aquarium will cause these creatures to breed pretty fast.
- A ton of snails in your aquarium will cause a drop of oxygen in the water, ultimately endangering your fish’s well-being.
- Snails will start to consume and kill aquarium plants if their food supply is scarce.
- They multiply at a ridiculous rate, infesting your aquarium with dozens of snails in a few weeks.
Here is an informative video on the upsides and downsides of having snails in your fish tank:
Where do Snails Inside Your Fish Tank Come From?
Sooner or later, an aquarist will have to face the snail colony. Even if you really do not want them, these mollusks appear in your aquarium out of nowhere.
Like a new update from Windows, these creatures often pop up when you least expect snails. Even worse, it takes forever to get rid of them if you do not handle these mollusks on time.
There were no traces of these small creatures when you were setting up your fish tank. So, where on earth did these little buggies come from?
For the most part, these creatures arrive on the tank’s plant, either as egg packets or grown snails.
They, sometimes, arrive with your finned pets, after being scooped up as the fish was captured at the pet store and were added to the tank with the transport bag’s water.
All it takes is a small egg or a stray snail to build a colony of it.
How do These Creatures Multiply?
The most fascinating and intriguing thing about these creatures is how they multiply so quickly, especially when there was just one egg or snail, to begin with.
It literally takes just one egg or snail.
Snails do not need any matchmaking app or service. A snail fertilizes eggs on its own, and less than a month later, it is officially a single parent.
Essentially, snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they produce offspring without any partner. That is why one small snail can, all of a sudden, turn into an army of around 100.
How to Control or Prevent Snails in Your Aquarium
Aquarists are mostly not entirely thrilled with the idea of a fish tank swarming with these mollusks. Once they have established a base and formed a colony, it is tough to stop them from multiplying.
To keep your aquarium tidy, healthy, and nice, make sure to take these preventive measures:
Snails do not just show up in an aquarium out of the blue. Normally, they hitch their way out on rocks, filter material, equipment, and plants.
And, one small snail is just what it takes to trigger an array of problems in your aquarium.
So, when purchasing fish, make sure that nothing in the container bag, even the water, gets dumped into your aquarium without a thorough check-up.
If you are buying a live plant, treat it before you add it to the aquarium.
Here are some terrific options for plant soaking:
- Potassium permanganate – Put ½ tablespoon of potassium permanganate on a gallon of water to create a soaking solution. Soak your plant for about 15 minutes. Afterward, rinse it pretty well before putting it in your aquarium.
- Bleach – Put 1 and ½ of bleach on a gallon of water to prepare the soaking solution. For 5 minutes, soak the aquarium plants. With a dechlorinating agent and plain water, rinse it again for about 5 minutes. Keep in mind that some fragile plants may be damaged by bleach. Even sol, bleach is one of the most effective ways to get rid of snails and their eggs.
- Alum – Soak the plant in a gallon of water with 2 tablespoons of alum for 2 to 3 days. Do not forget to rinse well before you plant it in your aquarium.
- Saltwater – For 15 minutes, soak your plants in saltwater. Then, rinse them using freshwater before you put them to your aquarium.
Also, spend some time inspecting everything that enters your aquarium. From decors to fish, everything should be checked thoroughly before entering the ranks.
If you spot them or their eggs, remove them as quickly as possible.
How to Get Rid of Snails in Your Aquarium
If for some reason, the snail managed to make its way to the tank, there are ways to remove them effectively from your container.
While snails hide easily and have the advantage of multiplying quickly, you can still come out victorious in this battle.
You just need to use your brainpower and employ a few proven strategies.
Here are some incredible ways and techniques that I have proven and tested when it comes to battling snails.
Use a Shemical
Chemicals are usually a no-no in fish keeping.
Like most savvy aquarists, I prefer to treat my aquarium naturally.
But, in this case, you will need them to effectively and quickly remove and kill the harmful snails.
And do not worry. These chemicals are safe for the fish since they are specially formulated to get rid of snails.
Furthermore, they work faster and efficiently get rid of the whole snail population in your aquarium.
Just be careful when using them and always carefully read the instructions before pouring it into your tank. Remember, you are putting chemicals into your aquatic ecosystem, and too much of it might kill the other inhabitants in your aquarium.
By the way, the most popular fish-safe chemical for snail removal is copper sulfate, which I highly recommend.
Also, you might want to check out Tropical Hydra-Tox if you are planning to use chemicals to remove the snails in your aquarium.
Other aquarium snail removers that I recommend include:
- Seachem Cupramine Copper
- Dennerle Snail Catcher
- Tetra No More Algae
Manually Remove the Snails
Although it is unlikely to totally eradicate the problem, eliminating the snails manually can reduce the population of your aquarium’s uninvited guests.
You can use a net or your hands to simply pluck these creatures out of the fish tank.
Of course, getting snails that are hiding in plain sight will not work this way. But, you can use traps like browned banana skin, vegetables, or lettuce.
Put any of these things inside your aquarium, to lure the aquarium snails. Once they are attracted to your traps, remove them from your aquarium.
Use this technique for 3 consecutive days. I know that it is not the fastest and most convenient way to remove snails, but it can be quite useful nonetheless.
Buy Some Snail Traps at Your Pet Fish Store
Speaking traps, there are devices specially designed and made to trap these creatures. To use a snail trap, you just have to put food on it, and let the small things wander into it.
Truth be told, it likely will not catch all the snails in your fish tank. Still, it is a pretty decent option and an effective way of reducing their population.
Avoid Food Overloading
Too much food can increase the population of snails in your aquarium. Try to underfeed the inhabitants in your tank, and see if it fixes your snail invasion problem.
Just make sure that you are giving your fish enough food every time you feed them.
Add Some Snail Predators to Your Aquarium
If you do not mind having another finned pet in your aquarium, consider adding fish that prey on your aquarium’s unwanted guests. Fish like cichlids, bettas, zebrafish, and loach will delight at the sight of a bunch of snails.
Even better, some of them can eat hard-shelled snails with ease.
You must, however, be a little careful when introducing other types of fish to your aquarium. Do some research and find out if they are compatible, in terms of water chemistry, to your fish. Also, check if they make an excellent company for your current fish pets.
For smaller fish tanks, my advice is to go for zebra or dwarf chain loaches. For larger tasks, Clown Loaches or Pictus Catfish will do wonders chasing and removing aquarium snails.
Check out this cool video of dwarf chain loaches in action:
Introduce Predatory Snails
Yes, this solution comes with a crystal clear drawback. After all, predatory snails are still snails.
But, on the bright side, these ruthless snails will eat their brethren and, without mercy, eliminate the whole population of other snails.
Plus, assassin snails do not reproduce too quickly, meaning controlling their population will not be extremely difficult.
Use a Combination of Solutions
There are different methods of removing snails in your aquarium. If one solution does not work, try combining it with other solutions.
With their uncanny ability to multiply, you will have to use different tools and techniques to get rid of the whole clan of aquarium snails.
Clean the Fish Tank Thoroughly
Tried everything, but still dealing with a massive and growing snail population? Then, it is time to consider cleaning your fish tank thoroughly.
To me, this should be your last resort, especially since it is the least practical fix or solution for all aquarists.
And, it can be quite time-consuming as well.
When cleaning your aquarium to eliminate the snail population, carefully remove every item from your aquarium, including the tank filter, plants, gravel and aquarium heater.
Remember, some snail eggs are supremely tiny, and they can be everywhere in your tank.
So, check everything thoroughly, and perform a good, old-fashioned thorough aquarium cleaning.
Before you put everything back and refill your tank, examine every item, and make sure no egg can spark another snail invasion.
Also, you might want to consider keeping your plants and decorations quarantined for a couple of weeks in an alternative aquarium.
And, if any of them show up, crush those snails as soon as you can.
Here is an informative video guide about getting rid of snails in the aquarium:
Having a handful of snails in your fish tank is not exactly a terrible thing. Keep in mind that they consume algae as well as eliminate leftover fish food, helping you keep your aquarium clean.
As long as you keep snails at bay, they can even work in your aquarium.
But, if they are becoming a nuisance for you and your fish, then heed the tips I have shared above.