FAQs on Chemical Control of Snails in
Related Articles: Snails and
Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, In vertebrates for
Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Fresh and Brackish Water Nerites by Neale
Monks, Assassin Snails and
Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the
Aquarium by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Freshwater Snail Compatibility &
Control,, Freshwater Snails 1,
Freshwater Snail Identification,
Freshwater Snail Behavior,
Freshwater Snail Selection,
Freshwater Snail Systems,
Freshwater Snail Feeding,
Freshwater Snail Disease,
Freshwater Snail Reproduction,
Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Apple/Baseball Snails,
Molluscicides... none are entirely "other
life" safe. Copper, other metal solutions... Biocides like
Using Copper (for snail control) and then Adding Shrimp
(BobF, may need to review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)<<Ok>>
I am setting up a tank (currently only gravel, one fish, basalt, plants,
wood, aquatic moss).
<<Biota and wood, mulm... will absorb a good deal of Copper... NEED to
employ a test kit... NOT simply pour in and hope>>
Very recently (less than two weeks) contracted snails in my aquarium and
bought some copper sulfate on sale to try and combat it (can't stand
snails for whatever reason or another). Still haven't added it, and I'm
hesitant to due it because upon reading around I discovered it
would be harmful to shrimp, and I had been planning on keeping some
cherries and hopefully having them breed once I got my hands on some.
<You are right to be cautious. Copper compounds are extremely toxic, not
just to snails but to fish, plants, you! While they do kill most types
of snails quite quickly, you're then stuck with a bunch of rotting snail
carcasses in the tank, and the more dead snails, the worse water quality
will become. Other types of management are usually best, not least of
all manual removal if the number of snails is small.>
Reading on your site in the marine section I heard of people managing to
get rid of the copper enough to keep shrimp using several products, most
notably CupriSorb which I also ended up buying.
Now others are telling me using any copper will just muss it up any
shrimp keeping plans completely.
<There is that risk. Essentially, copper is absorbed by various sorts of
non-organic <<And organic>> materials in the tank, as well as
being dissolved into the water. Quite quickly copper in the water can be
diluted through water changes or removed using Cuprisorb, but the copper
that's been absorbed by, say, calcareous rocks and shells in the tank
will leach out slowly over time. If you have fresh Cuprisorb in the
filter for a long time thereafter, then all well and good because
that'll remove any carbon that leaches out of the rocks and shells, but
remember that Cuprisorb needs replacing <<And testing for free cupric
ion>> and of course gets clogged up with bacteria and detritus quite
quickly as well, reducing its usefulness.>
I also read something about chelated copper and ionic copper being more
or less harmful in a tank, and about using chelated in freshwater so it
doesn't bind, or something along those lines.
<Not aware of this, but generally we have less calcareous material in
the freshwater aquarium than the marine aquarium. Let me direct you to
Bob's Copper FAQ, here:
In a nutshell, if you choose to use copper, best to remove as much
material as possible from the aquarium, even the rocks and gravel.
<<Yes>> The emptier the tank, the better the copper will work and the
less potential for absorption of copper by rocks, gravel, etc. Obviously
you can wash gravel under a hot tap to remove snails, and do likewise
with rocks and ornaments. Plants are trickier, but can be dipped in
dilute potassium permanganate solution to effectively kill snails and
eggs (such potions are sold in aquarium shops and reasonably safe to
use, though KMnO4 is extremely toxic so handle with
care, especially around children). Run the tank "empty" save for the
water, filter, and heater for as long as recommended with the
snail-killing potion you have, then do a series of water changes, use
the Cuprisorb, and once Cu ion concentration reaches zero (use the test
kit sold for marine aquaria) reassemble the tank. It would be easiest to
have the fish (and plants) in a QT/hospital tank while all this is going
on, but not essential unless your fish are notably copper intolerant
ones such as loaches, catfish, most oddballs and some of the more
delicate tetras, cichlids and such. If you aren't using a QT tank, then
I'd still keep the plants out of the tank while all this was going on,
perhaps in a container of water somewhere sunny for a couple (no more)
hours a day (a cheap plastic goldfish bowl would be ideal). Sound like a
faff? Yes indeed. The use of copper is a pain in the backside in
freshwater and marine aquaria, and to be honest, there are almost always
safer ways to tackle problems we used copper for in the past.>
So should I go ahead with copper and Cuprisorb? Would I be able to keep
shrimp after doing it?
<If you do as described, you'll have minimised the risk of copper
remaining in the system. So yes, the maintenance of shrimps should be
Will chelated or ionic copper make some sort of difference?
Or should I quickly get used to the site of shells in my tank?
<I do. Do read here:
<<Yes; or employ other means of control>>
Snails generally become a pest in tanks where one or other parameter
isn't balanced; too much food, too much algae, too much waste
accumulating on the substrate. I think of them like miners' canaries: if
the snails are troublesome, then there's something amiss with the tank.
Not always, but usually. A few small snails doing their thing in a
balanced, healthy planted tank will generally do no harm and perhaps
some good, particularly the Malayan livebearing snails and little Physa
species which aerate the substrate and consume algae respectively. You
can also add non-breeding snails, Nerite snails, that will remove algae
and keep down the populations of other snails by removing their food, or
even add carnivorous snails,
Assassin snails, though the jury's out whether these also eat small
shrimps too. Some of the big snails are good "uber-competitors' too, the
Tylomelania species especially, and by letting them loose in your tank,
you'll go a long way towards suppressing populations of other, less
Thanks a ton!
<Most welcome, Neale.><<RMF>>
Re: Using Copper and then Adding Shrimp (BobF, may need to
review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)
I just wanted to write back and thank you both for your time and effort
in answering my question. You have both helped me very much, and while I
still haven't chosen my route yet I'm glad I finally have some good
information to base it off of (oh, and I apoligise for not inserting a
hello in the beginning, I must have been sleep writing :) ). Thanks
again, and have a great day!
<Most welcome and good luck with the aquarium. Neale.><<RMF>>
Re: ? Sick female swordtail 2/14/14
Thanks for the advice - I appreciate it. Do you have any
experience using Paraguard on a tank with snails? I've seen anecdotal
evidence that states it's safe.
<No experience at all -- it's not sold in the UK. If all else fails,
remove the snails to a bucket or similar, and then treat the fish. Keep
the snails warm and ideally aerate them with an airstone if you don't
have a small filter you can add, and change some of the water every day
or two. Should be fine like that for a few days. Acclimate them back to
carefully, taking care to do a water change to the aquarium beforehand,
and ideally running carbon for a day to remove any leftover medicine.
All sounds like a faff to me, so I'd just risk it, and only remove the
snails if they were "clamming up".>
Possible snail treatment poisoning of FW
shrimp? Oh yes 11/24/11
Firstly I'd like to thank you all for maintaining such an
interesting and informative website.
Despite searching here (and beyond) I've been unable to find the
answer I seek; apologies if it's been here all along and I've
simply overlooked it.
After keeping a large, heavily planted FW aquarium for the last 8
years, I decided it was time for a change. About 6 months ago the last
of the ancient fish inhabitants quietly passed away, leaving what I
thought would be a few cherry and tiger shrimp that I'd adopted
about a year ago. As I slowly dismantled the tank I discovered more and
more shrimp - I gave up counting after a while but I'd say I
salvaged about 60 or 70 of them all together.
I've never really bothered about the shrimp other than ensuring
them a healthy environment, but having been forced to house them in
their own tank while I get round to setting up the old one again
I've kind of grown fond of them, now that I can actually see what
they're up to. During the summer I helped my 12 year-old
granddaughter set up her first FW aquarium, and a few weeks ago gave
her 3 sub-adult cherry and 3 sub-adult tiger shrimp. All was going well
until this afternoon when she bought a large, potted plant
(Limnophila sessiliflora) which I suspect had been treated with some
snail killing agent or other (I shall visit the shop tomorrow to
<Most of these are toxic to other life as well...>
The plant was dutifully checked for snails (none found), rinsed, and
planted in the aquarium where it stayed for the next hour or so.
Luckily my granddaughter lives next door, so when she arrived in floods
of tears telling me that her shrimp were all dead we were able to
quickly take action; the shrimp were in fact still alive but in a very
state. We managed to remove them all and subsequently spent most of the
evening watching them in their makeshift hospital tank.
Amazingly they seem to be slowly recovering, but I can still find no
information on symptoms of poisoning.
The shrimp were at first immobile, but would suddenly flick into life
and swim erratically before drifting to the substrate and laying on
their backs, legs waving. Two of them showed little sign of life at all
<Does read as some sort of poisoning. Glad you were quick to
The 5 neon tetra that live in my granddaughter's 20 gallon tank are
fine; we've removed the plant and are currently filtering the water
with active carbon, having carried out a 20% water change. The tank was
properly cycled and the water parameters were/are all good. Other than
blaming the plant I'm at a loss...
Is it possible that the shrimp could have been made 'unwell' by
this supposed snail treatment as opposed to being killed outright?
Any comments would be gratefully received.
<Mmm, how to be clear, more complete here? There are
"pretty" specific molluscicides, that mal-affect snails et
al. relations more exclusively; however, the products sold in the
aquarium trade include a few that are generally toxic/problematical for
other invertebrate groups... And not much in the way of "warning
labels". Blue solutions/tablets are often metal-based... being
toxic to both snails and crustaceans.
Re: Possible snail treatment poisoning of FW
Hi Bob, thank you very much for your prompt and friendly reply.
<Certainly welcome Wendy>
I visited the pet shop today and discovered that they do use snail
treatment in their plant tank. Unfortunately I was unable to find out
which product it is, as the owner was absent and the young lad left in
charge was unable to help. I'm guessing whatever they use probably
contains copper and that the plant my granddaughter bought was well
enough contaminated that despite her rinsing it, it still caused the
problem with her shrimp.
<Sorry to hear/realize>
On the upside all 6 of the affected cherries and tigers are still alive
and appear to be behaving normally.
<Ahh! Then I give you/them good odds at recovery>
Whilst I've never had cause to use snail treatments I'm still
aware of the dangers that they (and various medications) can pose to
inverts, etc. With this in mind, I suggested to the lad at the pet shop
that maybe they could display a sign advising customers to thoroughly
wash the plants before placing them in an aquarium. Whether they will
do so or not remains to be seen...
A seasoned fish-keeper once told me "Every time you think of
putting something in your tank - whatever it is - think again. And then
think again before you decide." I consider that to be pretty sound
<I do agree, yes>
Cheers, and thanks again :)
<And you, BobF>
They win this round... FW Snail Armageddon!
I followed the advice, I did the right things, but for all my efforts a
horde of pond snails have stormed the ramparts of the wife's guppy
They are everywhere their rampant growth unstoppable. I have lost the
war but their victory will be pyrrhic!
I am initiating "Operation Hammer Down" Tuesday at 18:00
hours! The complete eradication of life in that tank!
<Good gosh; this is reminding me of the Dune movie/book... the
Padisha Emperor's prophetic statement of "eradication of all
life on Arrakis!">
I plan on washing out the filter and tank with tap water, and letting
both dry out completely and sit for a
day or two.
<Mmm, this "won't do it">
Now here is the rub, the wife wants me to spare a lovely piece of
driftwood alive with java moss and java fern. I worry that it would be
a snail lifeboat. Is there anyway to kill all the snails and save the
<A few... the simplest biocide to use: Chlorine bleach... rinse all
(the tank, gravel, filters, driftwood... all things wet) and over-dose
with dechlorinator... let run for a few days... Best to leave the wood
the water to air-dry for a week or so...>
As always thanks for your help, and Happy New Year!
<Thanks for the levity Rob the Gastropod Terror! Bob Fenner>
Re: They win this round... 1/5/11
Thanks, if only I had tiny Sardaukar terror troops in that tank I would
probably be in better shape.
<Or that floating fat man, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen... then
I had no idea that I needed to use bleach, can you imagine my chagrin
if those darned snails won again!
<I don't know if I can imagine this...>
I was planning on using filter media from another tank, which I suspect
has had the same species of snail infesting it but never to the same
degree and for months none have been observed. Is it foolish to clean
out the tank and then try to reboot it with media with snails in
<Umm, only foolish if you don't think you'd be spreading
My LFS has a shipment of Aphyocharax Paraguayensis - Dawn Tetra coming
in next week, and I want to set up a heavily planted species tank.
Should I score media from the store and just jam it into the
<Yes I would>
Have them hold onto the fish and do a super boring fishless cycle?
<Mmm, not so much a fan of this approach... Moving some water from
snail-land is likely okay>
Hold off the OP and heavily dose with snail killing chemical?
<Not a fan... though Assassin Snails might be a call>
I have a new substrate ready to go, one of those nice planted tank
types. So one way or the other I'm tearing the thing down but
I'm hoping to keep a filter going for the new setup.
Thanks for your time Doc.
Snails, FW, contr. 11/4/10
Hi , I bought some green Cabomba for my 25 gallon show aquarium , but ,
before I put it into the show aquarium I decided to put it into a 5
gallon tank I setup , with some other small plants and a led lighting
system , and now I see those snails that most people say are bad
crawling around . Do you think I should try to kill them or keep them?
I have heard they can be good for the planted aquarium and that they
are misunderstood , people say that they only turn to eating the plants
when there is no dead plant mater , algae , and fish food left , ( like
apple snails do ) , I hear they also eat detritus under the gravel . Is
this true ? Should I keep them or kill them ? And what way is the best
way to keep them under control or just to kill them , or to prevent
them from getting to my show tank when I move the Cabomba into it .
<Does depend on the snails. Most are fairly harmless, but if they
breed quickly they can be annoying -- though more as a symptom of poor
aquarium hygiene than anything else, since all they do is turn
unremoved waste into baby snails. If you want to stop snails and snail
eggs getting into your tank, a very dilute concentration of potassium
permanganate can be used for this, no darker than rosÃ©
wine--up to 10 mg/l--to create a suitable dip. Plants can be dipped for
10 minutes before being removed, rinsed in a bucket of lukewarm water,
and then placed in the aquarium. Alternatively, a few Clea helena
"Assassin snails" will keep pest snail populations under
control. Do read:
Me? I don't worry about them too much. I have some Assassin snails,
and basically let them do their thing. Once in a while I might cull any
snails I see, but otherwise I have better things to do with my life.
Re: Snails 11/4/10
Hi again I looked around and it looks like a common pond snail , and I
do not have access to any potassium permanganate , can I use salty
<No. Cheers, Neale.>
Freshwater Snails Overtaking My Tank
I have searched your site to try to find out the best way to rid my 20
gallon freshwater quarantine tank from snails.
<If it's a QT tank, then manual approach will work best. Strip
the tank down, clean the tank, deep clean or replace the gravel, and
that should be that.>
I received quite a few plants from someone and knew from past
experiences that they would most likely have snails within the
<Can be the case; use a potassium permanganate dip. Take care not
expose the plants for too long though, as snail-killing potions are
harmful to plants.>
I set up a tank only for the plants so I can monitor them for a month
or two to see if my suspicions were correct, and guess what, I was
right. Now since there are no fish, I have been leaving the tank alone,
with only co2 and some dechlorinator when I do a water change, roughly
once a month hoping they would die from lack of food.
<The bigger problem is that the filter bacteria will die without a
source of ammonia. So to a degree, the snails are helpful here, since
they eat food and excrete ammonia.>
They don't seem to me eating my plants (I don't have any idea
what types of plants or snails I have) but they eggs must have hatched
recently. I have a good 50 babies latched onto glass, leaves, roots,
etc. there is no gravel or decoration in the tank. Strictly plants.
<Dip the plants, siphon the remaining snails from the tank, and then
return the plants.>
I just bought one of those cheesy snail catchers but I know that
doesn't work very well and liquid snail killer is also a plant
<Not if used for short periods, typically a 20-minute dip.>
I was squishing them but they are just too many snails with too many
hiding spots. What should I do? If I continue to not feed, will they
all just eventually die?
<Population size is certainly related to food availability, so
eventually yes, population will drop to that supported by ambient
Some of the leave seem to be dying off which is causing some debris at
Should I give it a good cleaning to get it all out of the bottom so the
snails have nothing to feed off of?
<If you want.>
Thank you for your time.
<Snails aren't really a big deal, so I tend to ignore them. Clea
helena is a good snail-eating snail, and breeds quite slowly, so adding
a few of these will control most snail populations nicely. Otherwise in
themselves snails do little harm, barring a few species that eat
plants. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Snails Overtaking My Tank 6/1/10
Thank you for your reply Neale. Most people don't mind snails but I
am one of the few that will do everything I can to avoid them.
<I see. Well, you're probably wasting your time here.>
I don't like them climbing everywhere and they multiply too fast
which makes aquarium maintenance more work that I need.
<On the contrary, snails can be very useful for keeping aquaria
Melanoides sp snails, the ones often called MTS or Malayan Livebearing
Snail are the equivalent of earthworms, burrowing through the substrate
removing organic matter and aerating the substrate. Now, can you have
many of them? Sure. But when that happens it's a result of chronic
overfeeding and/or under-cleaning of the substrate. Think about it:
these snails need food to grow and breed. No food, no baby snails.
It's like finding cockroaches in the kitchen, and blaming them for
making the kitchen messy. No, the cockroaches are there precisely
because a messy kitchen has lots of food for them.>
I am glad you mentioned the potassium permanganate but I have been
unable to find this within any US Fish supplier. I found that Jungle
brand liquid Water Clear has potassium permanganate in it but have not
been able to buy it since only the tablets are what seem to be common.
There is nothing to tell me if the tablets have the same active
ingredient. Can you please point me in the right direction?
<Potassium permanganate is fairly toxic, so should be used with
care. When dipping new plants, immerse them in a dilute "rose
wine" coloured solution for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off the plants
before putting them in the aquarium.
There's no real way to kill snails in an aquarium without risking
the lives of your fish and plants. So ultimately snail control comes
down to [a] keeping them out; [b] minimising waste food so snail
populations cannot grow rapidly; and [c] stocking some type of
Pest snails and planted tank 05/20/09
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my email. I searched
your site and found some wonderful material, but I still have questions
on two topics.
An experienced fancy guppy breeder told me that soaking aquatic plants
in a strong aloe vera solution for a day would kill pest snails and
their eggs. This sounds less messy, less dangerous to the plants and
more environmentally friendly than the potassium permanganate dips that
I am currently using. Do you know if soaks in aloe vera really kill
snail eggs? If this does work, do you know what concentration of
aloe vera should be used?
<Never heard of using Aloe Vera, so can't comment; as for
environmental friendliness, perhaps, but if you happen to drive a car
then you already do far more damage to the environment in a day than a
lifetime's dipping of plants in potassium permanganate! So if
that's a motive, perhaps focus on stuff where you actually can make
Also, before I became careful about plants, I accidentally introduced
some pest snails into my 29 gallon BioCube tank (actual capacity is
more like 22 gallons). I have been manually removing the pest snails
and using homemade snail traps, but it seems to be a losing battle. I
am interested in a non-chemical way of controlling the snails in the
tank, but I have some concerns and questions about the methods
suggested on your site. Assassin Snails - I thought about the
"assassin snails", but I have heard from some people that
after they eat the current snail population, then they overrun the
<They eat protein, not plants; in other words, if the tank is filthy
with uneaten food, their population can, will, expand to use up those
available resources. Though it's unarguable science, many people
still don't grasp that snail populations are depending on the
energy (food) available to them -- they cannot magically multiply if
there's nothing for them to eat. Hence, a clean tank will
always be a tank with few snails; a messy tank will always have the
potential for snail plagues.>
Other people have said that after the assassin snails eat all the pest
snails, they starve and the dying assassin snails pollute the tank. Do
you know what happens with the assassin snail population after they are
<My specimens seem to maintain a low population that causes no
problems at all. Since they don't eat plants, the upper limit on
their numbers is firmly fixed by the available protein: fish food, dead
fish, other snails.>
Loaches - I thought about the small Botia sidthimunki loaches (max size
about 2.5 inches), but it looks like they are most happy in groups of
at least 5 (total of about 11 inches of fish).
<Correct; in fact, I'd have six or more.>
I am afraid that this would be too much fish for my aquarium that has
an actual capacity of about 22 gallons. I currently have 2 dwarf
cichlids (Apisto cacs - max size about 3 inches each), 7 panda tetras
(Aphyocharax paraguayensis - max size about 1.5 inches each) and 5
ember tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae - max size about 0.75 inches) for
a total of about 20.25 inches. Would it be acceptable to put 31 inches
of fish in an aquarium that has an actual capacity of 22 gallons?
I have very good built-in filtration with a mechanical filter and
bioballs and I do a 25% water change every week. The tank is lightly
planted and will be heavily planted if the snails ever stop eating all
my plants. I don't know if this is relevant, but I have soft water
(10GH, 40KH) with 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrites, 0 ammonia and a pH of 6.8
kept at 80 degrees. I don't overfeed my fish, but the population of
"pond-type" snails continues to grow because they are happily
eating all of my plants.
<I suspect you'd find Clea helena very good in this tank. I use
them and like them.>
I would appreciate any advice that you could give me.
p.s. In my search I found and read this article. . .
Snail Problem, comp., sel.
I have been reading feverishly for the past night and day regarding how
to safely remove snails from an aquarium. My problem is that all the
snails I have seen are located in my sump/refugium.
<Nothing really wrong with that, is there? Marine aquarists go out
of their way to put invertebrates in their refugia!>
75G FW with two Comet GF (6-8") and one Pleco (6-8"). Tank is
heated/chilled (it's a hobby...) to around 75/76F.
I have a 20G sump/refugium with plants (Anacharis, if I remember
correctly) that I purchased a few weeks ago, and this is likely where
they came from. I thought they were clean, but I was obviously wrong. I
have an Eheim 1262 pump in the refugium for return flow, and I need to
know if the snails/eggs can transfer through the pump into the main
tank? I have not noticed any snails in the main tank and boy did I look
around hard last night after finding the snails in the sump. The sump
has a 6" deep Seachem Fluorite
Black Sand substrate. Will the snails burrow into this?
<Some genera of snails are burrowers: Melanoides, Clea for example;
others, like Physa and Pomacea aren't really burrowers
I haven't noticed any, but then again, I might not be able to see
I've been reading that the
"put-food-in-something-and-remove-in-a-day" method helps
control population, and I will be doing this (cleaned salt shaker with
algae wafers in there now) over the weekend as I am leaving on a trip
tomorrow morning and won't be back until Monday night.
<Takes a long time to have much impact.>
However, I also know this won't kill/capture all of them, but
merely maintain the population. Since I have the plants in the
refugium, I'm concerned about them being eaten. I am also concerned
that due to the large
amount of algae in the sump/refugium, I'm never going to catch the
They don't seem to be concerned with the "free food" when
they have all they can eat off the glass. Which brings me to more
concerns, such as upsetting the balance I had with nitrates, and
potentially getting into the main tank where I will most likely lose
the war and have to restart the entire aquarium (something I'm not
really wanting to do for obvious reasons and since I don't want to
put the fish through the stress).
<Repeat after me: Snails are harmless. There is X amount of protein
in your aquarium, and some goes into the fish, the rest into the snails
and heterotrophic bacteria. The snail population expands to equal the
amount of protein. Provided you don't overfeed the tank, the snail
population CANNOT expand indefinitely. It reaches a level. In itself,
all the snail population does is speed up the decay of organic matter
into the ammonia that the nitrifying bacteria can use.>
I've also read that chemicals, like Had-A-Snail is a bad idea for
the fish and possibly the plants.
It especially says to "take care with catfish". Not something
I'm willing to risk unless the experts (you) say it will be ok for
<Snail-killing potions do more harm than snails do! Think about what
happens if you kill all the snails, and they rot away all at the same
Ammonia spikes galore!>
But, I've also read that Fluke tabs may solve the problem.
<Copper at least will kill all sorts of invertebrates, but it's
also toxic to fish, some more than others. Catfish, loaches, Mormyrids,
puffers are among the species most intolerant of copper.>
However, I can't tell from reading online and the manufacturer
instructions how detrimental it will be to catfish and plants. This
would obviously be the easy solution and I'd be happy to try it if
you guys think it won't hurt any of my fish. I would take the fish
out of the aquarium if I had another place to put them, but
all I have is a 10G tank I use if I ever have to move/do construction
on the main tank. This is definitely not a suitable home for them for
more than a day.
<Specific fluke medications other than copper will have little/no
impact on snails.>
Another idea I read about, a loach, doesn't seem feasible as the
environment just isn't suited for them. I'd hate to put a fish
in a place that isn't suited for them just to help me out. No
reason it has to suffer for my mistake.
I was thinking the following in regards to killing the pests: Replace
the sump for a couple of days with a canister filter I have and remove
the water from the sump leaving it mostly exposed to air (the sand
holds a good amount of water) and attempt to "dry out" the
snails. Does this work? Will the snails die out of water?
<Some will, but others, such as Melanoides, can survive for months
out of water in a hibernating state.>
Will they try to burrow into the sand?
<Some will, yes.>
If that isn't a good idea, what about mixing only the water in the
sump with a large dose of aquarium salt? If I do this, will the sand
absorb the salt?
<Melanoides can tolerate up to 50% seawater, so your plants and fish
will die long before they will...>
Will the plants die if I leave them in there? I want to try to
disinfect everything I can, so I'd attempt to leave pumps and
heaters in the salt water if I did this.
Will this be fatal to the fish upon reinstalling the sump? I understand
I can dilute, like a couple of 100% water changes, but I'm worried
it will ruin the substrate which will kill the plants and harm my fish.
find any of this information on your site. Surely I can't be the
only one that ever had a sump infected with snails, but then again,
maybe I'm one of the rare people running a sump on a FW tank?
<Snails aren't that big of a problem. Simply remove the surplus
snails as you see them, but otherwise ignore, and instead control
excess protein via better aquarium management.>
Help! And THANK YOU so much!
<Do see here for a useful snail-eating snail, Clea helena.
Widely sold in the UK at least, sometimes as the "assassin
Problem with Snails Taking
Over 1/6/07 Hello.....help! <Hi Ginger,
Pufferpunk here to try!> I am exhausted from hours of seemingly
endless research and am now turning to you. Here's the
deal: 20g. tank, 7 ADF's <African Dwarf
Frogs... RMF> , 1 male Betta and a golden mystery
snail. I had a live plant in with them and apparently there
were snail eggs. Now, my tank is becoming infested with baby
snails. <No surprise there. Always inspect
live plants for snails & rinse well, to remove any eggs.>
I've talked to all the pet and aquarium stores and no one has any
solid suggestions or even entertainable ideas. I can't
use chemicals such as "Had-A-Snail", etc. because these
cannot be used with the frogs. Can't get a loach because
of the Betta. There has to be a way to be free of these
snails once and for all! In the meantime....I continue netting and
picking them out. Thank you in advance for any assistance
you can offer. <You've got it--this is pretty much all you can
do. Inspect the glass/decor/filter daily, for eggs &
remove promptly, along with the adults. Otherwise, take everything out,
replace filter material, clean with hot water & OxyClean &
recycle with Bio-Spira. ~PP> Sincerely, with Wrinkled and Cramped
Fingers, Ginger <<RMF would remove the Betta and Frogs... use
copper or a Loach or two for a while...>>
Re: ADF's & Snail Issue. Snails &
Frogs 1/7/07 Thanks so much for
responding! ("Pufferpunk"??? ROFL)
<Hey now... :P> After reading your response, I went back to your
web site to see what snail eggs look like, as I'm clueless to what
I'm to look for. I saw my letter and your response
posted with the end comment that if it were you, you'd remove the
Betta and frogs and "use copper or a Loach or two for a
while". <I wrote that??? I said to clean
out with OxyClean & hot water. maybe another Crewmember
added comments? Ah, I see it now, that comment was by the
great, Bob Fenner--he knows all!> <<Heeeeee! Am adding this to
my resume! RMF>> Arg, I'm so concerned about stressing these
dudes out. When I moved them into the bigger 20g. tank, the
frogs acted like they were being killed. Although dramatic
in that ADF kind of way, it was hard for me to watch their
stress. <Did you dechlorinate the
water? You'd think they'd love a bigger tank.>
Now that I've finally got the temperature, pH and all the other
intricate details balanced for these guys, the thought of temporarily
moving them in order to "cure" their current home seems
overwhelming. So, I must follow-up to ask...do/will the
invading snails ultimately cause harm or damage to the ADF's or the
Betta? Or their home? <Nope> Or are they
just perpetual nuisances? <Yup> If I were to get the
loaches to "clean up", what do I do with the loaches
afterwards? Lastly, if I moved them out and did the copper
treatment, how long should I wait to return everyone back into their
home? (concerned about the fragility of the ADF's skin)
<I do not suggest copper myself personally but if Bob
does... See if your LFS will let you
"borrow" some loaches, if that is the course you wish to
go.> For such little fellows, ADF's sure require a lot of
attention and care in order to make their tiny lives happy! <But
they're so cute & well worth it!> Thank you again for
assisting with your response, it is greatly
appreciated. <No problem. ~PP> Still
Snails in the
sewer 11/8/06 I bought a snail and a plant from
the pet store and now 4 weeks later I have over 20 baby
snails and I don't really want them. Will they survive in
the sewer if I flush them? What should I do? Please help!!! <Hi
Kim, Jorie here with you this afternoon. I hate to say it, but
generally once snails have introduced into the freshwater aquarium via
plants, or directly (as in your case), it is very difficult to get rid
of them. To directly answer your question, the snails will
likely not survive the chlorinated toilet/sewer water, and this will
kill them. But be aware that you've probably snails eggs
in the filter, filter media, etc. that your naked eye can't see,
and you will probably keep finding babies forever. This is one the
nuisances planted tanks created. Read here:
Depending upon the size of your tank and other factors, you may be able
to introduce a snail eating fish - such as a puffer, or some species of
Botia, such as striata, to control the snail
population. Alternatively, there are chemicals out there
that will likely kill the snails, but I hesitate to suggest putting
those copper-based meds in any tank. In all likelihood,
you'll have to learn to make peace with the snails (as I have, 1.5
yrs. later in my brackish water planted tank), as many species can
survive even mild beach or potassium permanganate
dips. These are resilient little buggers... Kim <Best of
luck. Learn to love the snails! Truly the only way to safely
eradicate them is the completely tear down the old tank, bleach
everything, and not re-plant the aquarium, but use plastic/silk plants
instead. Jorie><<Please put such pests in a plastic
bag, freeze them (as in the freezer) and put this in turn in your trash
can/s near "trash day". Release nothing alive to the wild.
10/26/06 Thanks very much. We have replaced the
driftwood that was yucky with a large rock. I now have too
many snails. I read that this might be from overfeeding the
fish. It was a population explosion. I am
pinching the little ones and letting them fall to the
bottom. The fish do seem to want to eat
them. And, I am removing the large ones with a
net. I am going to wait a day before I feed the fish
again. Our friend said that the guppies and mollies can go
for two days without any food, so I guess they will be alright. I'm
going to be stingy with the food from now on, because I prefer to see
fish when I look at my aquarium rather than snails. Any
other advice? Thanks. < The snails can be easily killed and removed
for good with Fluke-Tabs.-Chuck>
Fluke Tabs Safe 10/29/06 Are these "fluke
tabs" absolutely safe for the fish? Thanks. < If used as
directed they are deadly to invertebrates such as snails. If the snails
are very numerous their decomposing bodies start a very strong ammonia
spike that will affect the fish. Many people use this to treat
Malaysian Burrowing snails. The snails are livebearers and make up most
of the gravel. Then the tank is treated and the snails are all killed.
Their bodies are high in protein. Buried under the gravel the bodies
are being broken down by bacteria. The bacteria use oxygen and generate
ammonia as waste. The combination is very bad for fish and when they
have problems they blame the medications. I would recommend that you
check for ammonia spikes when using any
Snails and starting over I love your site and thought if
anyone can help it will be you. I have a HUGE snail problem in my 30
gallon tank. It started with two snails and now is up to oh, 200 or so.
<LOL! I'm sorry for laughing but I've had this same problem
myself.> My tank contains a black angel, a balloon molly, a platy, a
crab, a Plecostomus and now two clown loaches. I tried
aquarium salt (no effect) <Salt won't have an effect on the
snails unless it's in very large quantities, nearly brackish
conditions and this can harm some of your fish.> None of the fish or
the crab wants to eat the snails except the tiny clown loach that is an
inch long. The large one 4 inches just hides! I
am moving march first and wonder if it would be easier to get new
gravel and start over (my gravel is the same color as the snails) Do I
have to do the gold fish thing again and of so what do I do with the
fish and crab till that's done? Or can I just set up the
tank and put in the fish? <To avoid having to go through the whole
cycle process again you should set it back up with the same gravel and
filter media and some dirty water from this tank. Unfortunately, this
won't help the snail problem. I'm going to tell you how I would
do this to avoid the cycle period again and still eradicate the snails.
It's up to you if you want to try this though because it
doesn't always work and sometimes your tank will still go through
the cycle period again. So use this method at your own discretion. Get
yourself several bottles of a product called Lime-It (if you can't
find it at your LFS you can mail order it from several online stores).
Follow the directions and use this to soak your
gravel/plants/decorations/etc. The Lime-It will kill all of your
snails. Rinse all of your stuff very well. Set your tank back up using
all of the stuff you just rinsed. Have your LFS give you a large bag or
two of *very* dirty water from one of their tanks or you can use dirty
water that you saved from when you tore your tank down. Dump all of
this water into the tank and fill it as normal. Your water will be very
murky but will clear. The more dirty water you can add the better, for
a 55g tank I used 4 gallons of dirty water so I'd recommend at
least 2 gallons of it for your tank. This should provide enough of a
bacteria start that you will be able to avoid at least the worst of the
cycle. Still keep a very close eye on your ammonia and nitrite levels
and do water changes as necessary.> <Good luck! Ronni>