> From: "Robb D. VanPutte" <ROBB at bio_tamu.edu>
> I need some info on the biological control of snails.
> 1. Are Loaches picky about what kind of snails they like to eat?
Not large snails. Otherwise I don't think so.
> 2. Will the snails eat the plants?
No. They're pretty beneficial.
> Also, what type of algae eater would people suggest?
Siamese Algae Eater, & ottocinclus. George likes farlowellas but
mine have all died. Lack of wood for 'em to chew on? Try to look
at the SAE identification guide from Liisa S. and Neil Frank. It
was in an issue of TAG and I think on a web page somewhere. Many
fish sold as SAEs don't eat brush algae as well as the true ones.
One method to controlling snail population without eradication is
to keep your water very soft. This makes the snail shells weak
and they don't get too big or reproduce as much. Another method
is to keep the fish a little hungry so there's less snail food.
I've stopped worrying about them. They only chew on leaves which
are already rotting. They eat soft algaes.