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>The problem i understand with snails is when you have large quantities in
>tank. Not living necessarily, (though lately i have wondered how much snail
>excrement adds to my tanks water) but all those little dying bodies. 

This should only be a problem if you have a mass die-off (as in killing
them with chemicals<g>)

>THe snail
>bodies and shells decomposing must add tons of harmful stuff to the water.
I have
>no test or anything, but logic seems to me.

Where do you think the nutrients came from that grew them to start with?
From your tank.  They can't possibly return more to the tank than they took

> I mean we look for gravel without
>shells, and snails don't live forever (no idea about snail life span,
imagine it
>varies form type to type) so all those shell must go somewhere. I know i
>can hear shells crunching when i move rocks in my tank. 

Again, the calcium carbonate in those shells came from somewhere... Your
water.  Unless you kill them off, the live growing snails will be removing
calcium carbonate from your tank at least as fast as the older ones are dying.

Harvesting excess snails, of course will remove the minerals bound in their
bodies from the system, which is a much better solution than chemically
killing them off.  Using snail eating fish will sequester a lot of the
nutrients in the fishes' bodies, although the shells will probably mostly
be left behind.

>Someone forgot whom
>mentioned raising (maybe lowering again don't remember) the ph of the
water and
>having the snails surface for easy removal. 

Lowering pH and more importantly, KH and GH will cause snails shells to
soften and in extremes die.  But again, this can have other ramifications
in the system that may not be what you want.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association