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[APD] Re: burrowing snails/MTS

A cautionary tale....

I had what I think are common "pond snails" in my tanks and encouraged them
to hang around for general maintenance--throwing the big ones to the
goldfish as snacks when they started to get out of hand.  Then one day some
tiny white snails appeared in one of my tanks--hundreds of them all at
once.  I later noticed a large conical darker snail, just one, in the first
tank where the little ones appeared.  After reading in the archives here
and elsewhere on the net, I believed that these were MTS and good for
planted tanks as they'd go for algae and cleanup leftover fish food but not
eat the plants themselves.  I think I read about the egg eating caution but
didn't worry about it because the only fish I was breeding were livebearers
who were happily procreating like mad in the same tank with the putative
MTS.  So I thought they were a good idea and deliberately encouraged them
to spread to all my tanks....

Then later, after I bought my first pair of killifish who began to spawn in
one of my tanks, I got more interested in breeding fish, but as the MTS got
bigger and more abundant, the yield of baby killies declined.  And this is
in a tank full of loaches who keep the other snails well under control.
Now I'd like to clear out the MTS entirely.  Trouble is, they are by most
accounts nearly impossible to kill; you need to literally cook them--I
haven't heard that they have any defense against heat), because they can
survive freezing and have excellent "trap doors" that they can close
against chemicals--including high-strength bleach--until the chemical is
gone and then they come out again.  And they're self-fertilizing
hermaphrodites, so all it takes is one microscopic survivor to fill the
tank with them again.   So I've concluded that to get rid of them I'd have
to throw away the tanks and plants (they're so tiny when born that you'd
never be able to be sure you got rid of every last baby on every leaf, stem
and root), bake or pressure cook the gravel, and start again.

So....unless you're really, really sure you'll never ever ever want to
spawn that some interesting fish in your tanks....I'd avoid deliberately
introducing the MTS.  And even if you think you're sure today, I'd still
think twice.

Diane Brown in St. Louis

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