Most aquariums at some stage will more than likely get snails in them. But do you know how to dispose of aquarium snails? Do we really need to keep our tanks snail-free? In this article let’s take a look at how the little critters get in there, if they are harmful to the fish, and what we can do to dispose of them. Snails that invade your aquarium come in all shapes and sizes, firstly let’s identify the most common 2 invaders you may be likely to encounter.
Two Common Snails That Are A Pain
Pond snails that are also known as Tadpole snails are probably the most common invasive snail you will come across in your aquarium. These little buggers can hitch a lift on plants and gravel that get added to your tank. A lot of the time they are so small they are nearly impossible to spot. The eggs are also very prone to sticking to plants and gravel or in the water that new fish come in. Obviously, these are even harder to see. These snails are prolific breeders and grow to about 10mm across. In a short amount of time, they can be literally everywhere in your tank.
Another common snail that can be a pain in your tank is the Trumpet snail. Though a lot of people class this invasive species as a pest they can actually be very beneficial to your aquarium. The Trumpet snail likes nothing more than eating scraps in your tank. They basically do a pretty good job of keeping your tank clean. But, like the pond snail, they like to breed pretty rapidly. There would soon be an abundance of them if they are not kept under control. For that reason let’s look at the easiest way of getting rid of the nuisance snails.
How To Dispose Of Aquarium Snails
If you are unlucky enough to have an infestation of invasive snails there are a few ways you can dispose of them.
Buy A Snail Trap
One of the easiest ways of disposing of aquarium snails is to buy a simple snail trap. Simply place it in your aquarium overnight and collect the snails out of it in the morning. Your local aquatic store will be able to sort you out or buy them here.
Get Some Assassin Snails
Assassin snails are a great way of disposing of nuisance snails such as the pond snail. The Assassin snail can grow to about an inch long and loves to eat smaller snails. A lot of people like these snails for this reason and the fact they are nice to look at. The shell is cone-shaped and coloured in yellow and dark brown stripes. These particular snails are slow breeders and only lay 3-4 eggs at a time, making them perfect for most freshwater aquariums.
Feed Less Food
Part of a snail’s main diet in your tank will be leftover fish food. If you have noticed leftover food in your aquarium then you are overfeeding your fish. If the snails have an abundance of food then this could spur on breeding amongst them, which is what you don’t want to happen. So keep an eye on your feeding patterns.
Get Some Snail Eating Fish
Another way of disposing of unwanted snails is to add some fish to your aquarium that like to eat them. Certain fish such as Catfish, Cichlids, Puffers, and Loaches are all quite partial to a snail. Just be sure to do your homework and check that the new fish are compatible with the fish you already have.
Other Types Of Snail
Not all types of snail are regarded as a nuisance in the aquarium. In fact, a lot of them are classed as a good thing to have in your tank. Below are 5 of the most common snails to have in your aquarium. These really can be an asset to most people’s fish tanks.
Most Common Aquarium Pet Snails
Not all snails are pests. In fact, most snails are actually an asset to your aquarium anyway. They naturally clean up the place for you and keep the tank nice and clean. For this reason, you may want to purchase some rather than dispose of them. Below is a list of the 5 most common snails for your aquarium.
Apple snails are favoured by many aquarists for their beautiful pastel-type colours. Like with most of the snails featured they are at home eating algae and all your unwanted decaying debris. They can grow to about an inch and a half long and will live to 3 or four years old in the right conditions. These snails will come to the surface and can escape, so a secure lid is a must.
Some aquarists love them and some hate them, but the Ramshorn is here to stay. Due to their ability to reproduce rather rapidly, they can be classed as a pest. No one wants a tank crammed with snails. But if you control the numbers these snails can be quite helpful in your aquarium. The Ramshorn will happily munch on all your leftover fish food and decaying debris, they will even make a dinner of your unwanted algae. Generally speaking, they won’t eat your living plants. Saying that if they have a shortage of debris to feast on you may find your plants will start to disappear.
As I mentioned earlier Assassin snails are a great way to dispose of unwanted invasive snails. Not only are they good at eating unwanted pests they also look pretty damn cool. These snails are fairly easy to look after and are popular amongst aquarists.
Rabbit snails get their name by kind of resembling a rabbit in looks. These snails haven’t been about in people’s aquariums as long as the Ramshorn or the Assassin but they are becoming increasingly popular. These snails will happily eat all your leftover debris in your tank and won’t be tucking into any of your plants. They like the water quite warm at around 76-84F and a PH around 8.0. They will live to about 3 years old in the right conditions and can reach a length of between 2-4 inches.
Nerite snails come in some really stunning colours adding a bit of flare to any aquarium. They are fairly small snails but will eat a fair bit of algae and leftover debris for their size. These cool little snails will totally leave your plants unharmed and can live between 3-5 years.
So Are Snails Good For An Aquarium?
The short answer to that is yes. In general, snails are good for your aquarium. They clean up all the unwanted debris, uneaten fish food, and plow through any algae that may be growing. So basically helping to keep your water nice and clean. Usually, snails only become a pest when they start to produce large numbers of eggs. Before you know it your tank can be overpopulated with literally hundreds of them. Keep the numbers down and you will be able to enjoy most types of snails.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do aquarium snails live?
This really depends on the breed of the snail and the conditions of the tank in which they live. On average I would say the average snail will live between 2 and 5 years.
Will snails eat my plants
As a general rule most aquatic snails won’t actually feed on your healthy living plants. They prefer their leaves to be decaying and rotting away. A couple of breeds that may have a nibble are the giant ramshorn and a couple of species of apple snails. If there’s plenty of other stuff for the snails to feed on then this will not be a problem.
How to dispose of aquarium snails with chemicals
To be truthful there are chemicals on the market that will dispose of aquarium snails. But I personally wouldn’t recommend any of them. I don’t agree with putting that type of chemical in any aquarium.
Can fish eat snails?
Not all fish will eat snails mainly due to their outer shell. Fish such as Betta fish, Clown Loach, Green Spotted Puffer and Cory catfish are all partial to munching on unwanted snails. Please don’t just add these fish though without thorough research. They may not be compatible with other fish or shrimp in your tank.