Snails are useful, even to your plants

31 Dec

I have the two most common types of freshwater snails in my aquariums. The Common Pond Snail and the Maylasian Trumpet Snail.

The Maylasian Snails spend their time under the sand or gravel, slowly churning things up, then coming out at night and climbing on the glass and everywhere else. I figure that they are eating leftover food in the gravel, and basically converting it into fertilizer for my plants.

The Pond Snails are good in two ways. You might see them crawling on your plants and think they are destroying them. They may nibble on them a bit BUT, more importantly, they are scraping the algae off of the plant leaves. My tanks with the healthiest plants have healthy populations of snails.

Some snails and this African Cichlid cleaned the algae off this Java Moss.

I bought a Yo-Yo Loach a few years ago (and lost him in the giant Ich outbreak that I had in 2010), and I put him in a community tank full of plants and fish and snails. It took a few months but the Loach ate all the snails. Then, within a few weeks the plants started to be coated with algae. I had to scrape the glass more often, the plants were getting choked.

I suggest keeping a healthy population of snails. What happens if you get too many? Seriously, squish the pond snails. Pop them against the glass and your fish will love them, very nutritious. The trumpet snails are hard to crush, you can remove them by hand. Just turn on the lights in the middle of the night sometime, they will be all over the place.  Or borrow a snail-eating fish like a Clown Loach or other Botia species, or a Puffer that is acclimated to fresh water.

I have a Green-Spotted Puffer in a brackish tank and he gets a few snails on most days. Crrrrunch.

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