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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1008

Aquatic Plants Digest wrote:

> Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 22:54:10 EDT
> From: "Chaca Chaca" <chacachaca at hotmail_com>
> Subject: Snails
> Is there a simple, DIY method to get rid of snails -- besides crushing them
> one by one (never seem to zap the last one) or tearing the tank down and
> starting over? I've been keeping fish for years and never had a snail
> infestation till now. They came with some plants I purchased from an
> Internet source based in AL, and I just can't seem to get rid of them!

Given that you didn't treat the plants in anyway prior to adding them to your tank means you
are also likely to have a population of Hydra in your tank as well.

It's much easier to prevent snails (and Hydra) than it is to get rids of them. A 30 minute
dip in a strong Potassium permanganate solution works wonderfully ( the color of dark grape
cool aid).  Nearly all plants tolerate it extremely well and it kills all Hydra, snails and
most snail eggs.  The only snail eggs I've seen survive and hatch are the smaller variety of
rams horn snail, which are easy to control with other means.
A weak bleach solution works also, but your plants won't take it as well.
Once you have snails you still have some options.
You can trap them which will only reduce the numbers (jam a piece of a carrot stick in a baby
food jar crosswise and remove it when the snails migrate in to feed), tear down and start
over or add some sort of biological control.

Clown loaches are a popular choice for biological control, but most Botia species will do the
job provided you don't supply an easier food source (I.E. flake foods).
One fish that prefers to eat snails but can also damage plants and can be a mean fin nipper
in slower moving fishes is a small freshwater puffer fish. (Tetrodadon spp.)  Buy them small,
then trade them in once the snails are gone. You'll likely lose a bit of money in the deal,
but you also lose the snails.

What's commonly sold as a "gold puffer" is much less likely to nip plants and fins than a
figure eight or green spotted puffer.  Figure eight puffers actually prefer more saline water
I just watched a TINY gold puffer (< 0.5") attack a 1.25"diameter Colombian rams horn snail
in a local store.  He ripped tiny little pieces out of the foot and eyestalks of the snail
each time the snail tried to move.  Larger puffers will crush the snail shell outright with
Paul E. Turley
ICQ# 32030620

"Never before in the history of man have so many known so little about so much."   Carl Sagan