reply on snails and clown loaches

Jim Capelle asked about clown loaches and snails.

First snails - I have never seen large numbers of snails in a lightly fed 
tank.  The snails will eat extra food so that if the feeding volume is 
fairly constant the snail population will adjust upward to take care of 
eating all the left over food.  IMHO a heavy snail population indicates 
overfeeding and eliminating all or most of the snails could cause that 
food to rot.  The snails I use are mostly Malaysian live bearing snails 
and a few red ramshorn.  As with most things in our hobby it is a good 
idea to look behind the symptom and find the cause of the problem.

Loaches while reported to eat lots of snails did little to affect my 
Malaysian snail population.  I love clown loaches and do not keep them 
with snail control as the motive.  They are just neat fish.  I have not 
had a problem with them burrowing in the gravel so the substrate should 
be safe.  

OTOH, avoid orange tailed loaches.  They are reclusive and nocturnal so 
you won't enjoy seeing them.  The cutting bone beneath the eye does a 
great job cutting down val and other plants while they cruise at night.

Back to snails, your solution is in your comment, Jim.  If you have an 
algae wafer that is covered with snails, simply remove the entire mass.
I would welcome hearing from others re population as a function of 
available food.  I have observed this so much I accept it as fact but 
would like input from others to see if I am right.

--Earle Hamilton from northern Michigan where coral once grew