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[APD] snails - pro's and con's

Snails in the planted aquarium - some love them, some loathe them. 
I was wanting to get some of your opinions.

I used to control the population in my tank by manual removal, 
but one day decided that that they were good little algae eaters 
so just let them multiply at will. Now I've got hundreds and thousands 
of them! (he he!) They don't eat the plants though, so don't bother me too much. Not sure what species they are, but here are some pics (ID anyone?)
Snail 1: http://img66.photobucket.com/albums/v200/clintbrearley/09-snail_macro.jpg
Snail 2: http://img66.photobucket.com/albums/v200/clintbrearley/snail08_small2.jpg
Snail3: http://img66.photobucket.com/albums/v200/clintbrearley/snail07_small2.jpg
Entire tank: http://img66.photobucket.com/albums/v200/clintbrearley/02-entire_tank_and_frame.jpg

The pros: (feel free to add to my list anyone!)
good algae eaters
clean up mulm and detritus*
interesting critters

The cons:
Multiply quickly
can eat plants
unsightly to some
increase the bioload
clean up mulm and detritus*

The last two points is what I've been thinking about for a while.
Initially I thought they were beneficial, but I was wondering if the snail
population was large enough, would the rapid cycling of nutrients be
detrimental? I mean, if all that fish mulm is being processed into ammonium
etc by snails before it can be mechanically removed by filtration and gravel
vacuuming, would that infact contribute to algae growth? (at moderate to 
high light). I know that too much fish/feeding can cause ammonium issues, 
but what about too many snails? What about no snails? Would that be good or 
bad also? Thoughts anyone?

Clint Brearley
Melbourne, Australia


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