Re: ramshorns eating plants and not algae

> From: Harold Wong <hgw at math_ucla.edu>
> Date: Fri, 29 Sep 95 01:02:24 PDT
> Subject: Why isn't my ramshorn eating algae?
> I always thought ramshorn snail eat algae but just as I'm watching him
> right now, he's chomping on my plant with his really big mouth. He's
> really chomping away!  Did I misread something here? Perhaps I'm
> thinking of the wrong kind of algae? I was hoping he would eat spot
> algae.

	We had that problem but only with the larger ones.  Apparently they
can't get enough just scraping algae, so they eat the plants.
	We had some success feeding them something they liked better..
specifically, red sails variety lettuce.  They would smell it when we put it
in the tank and come "running" (well, after they were finished with the leaf
they were currently devouring).  Unfortuately, I've never seen this particular
variety in the supermarket.. we had seeds and were growing it at the time.
	Experiment with other vegetable foods.. there's got to be something
they will like better than your aquatic plants.. it'll be obvious when you
find what they like better because they'll stop eating the plants until it's
all eaten up.
	BTW, we found that there is a direct correlation to food input and baby
snail output.  So be prepared for babies if you don't already have them :-)

	One solution is to wait till they lay eggs and then remove the large
ones to another tank that doesn't have plants (like, sell them back to the pet
store :-).  We had a heat wave come through and kill all the larger ones, which
conveniently solved the problem for us.. please don't use that solution though.
	In our experience, the babies don't eat plants (mouths too small I
think) but will themselves reproduce when about pea-sized, making many, many
more even smaller mouths that will clean the mouth marks left behind by their
parents.  In every tank we've put them in, they eventually reach a balance
between food input and baby output when the tank is completely spotless of
algae.  Some probably die off from starvation after the initial population
explosion, but after that they reach equilibrium.

	Be careful about any algae eating fish you have.. if you have the same
success with ramshorns as I've had, you'll need to think about how to feed
supplemental foods to the fish as there won't be enough algae for them to even
make an occasional snack out of.