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Re: Snail Problem

> ------------------------------
> Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 18:15:52 -0400
> From: "Thomas Zaccone" <tomjean at worldnet_att.net>
> Subject: Snail Problem
> I used gravel from another tank which had Malayasian Trumpet snails.
> Gradually, very gradually, these creatures bagan to exhume the humus and
> deposit it in layers on top of the gravel.  This created a mess, burying the
> plant stem bases and covering some of the leaves with the humus.
> I dosed the tank with multiple doses of Rid-A-Snail.  This reduced the
> number of the miserable creatures to a smaller level, but did not fully
> exterminate them.  They have succeeded in exhuming just about about ALL of
> the humus to the top of the gravel at this point or contaminating the gravel
> layer with it.

MTS are "trapdoor" snails, and nearly impossible to poison, as a result. 
They can go dormant for months and re-emerge when the toxins are down 
below threshold.

> Now, I feel my sole alternative to this mess is to break down the tank and
> set it up again.  Since the plants did so well, I would like to use humus
> again.  However, I want to make sure there are NO more of those damnable
> snails left anywhere.
> Is there anything I can safely use to ABSOLUTELY de-snail the plants,
> gravel, and tank?  I had used a weak bath of Alum in the past on incoming
> plants, but apparently these damn snails are resistant to that as they
> established themselves in the tank where the gravel came from anyway,
> despite the Alum.  I tried using clown loaches in the tank, but their
> rooting around in the gravel made the situation worse, so I removed them.

Alum kills snail *eggs*, but MTS are live-bearers, so the alum never can 
get to the eggs.

> Is organic humus the problem? Should I use organic topsoil instead?

It has nothing (but the mess) to do with it. You are probably a lot better 
off with less organic matter, though. Some suggest never more than 5% by 
volume of the substrate.

> Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I have soaked gravel for many weeks in strong bleach solutions, only to 
have MTS (with bleached outer shells) crawl up the glass (at night) upon 
reintroducing normal water!

IMHO, the only practical way to kill them is to boil the sand, or soak it 
in strong acid to dissolve shells, and then bleach it to dissolve and 
remove all that dead organic matter so it will not foul the new setup.

Unless your substrate is priced like semi-precious gemstones (e.g., 
"Flourite") it usually isn't worth the bother. Toss it and start with 
clean, new gravel, after carefully washing out the old tank and visually 
(and tactually) inspecting all old plants. New baby MTS are hard and easy 
to feel, usually, like a speck of gravel.

For those of us who breed fish, MTS are most unwelcome visitors as they 
are terrible egg predators. Please be very careful not to spread them to 
our tanks.


Wright Huntley -- 209 521-0557 -- 731 Loletta Ave, Modesto CA 95351

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