You hate snails. You hate them so much that you are deathly afraid of plant purchases, and scrutinize every millimeter of your newly bagged fish, lest those demons hid themselves in the gills.
We've all heard the horror stories, stories of those hitchhikers that multiplied and took over the world. they bear demonic horns and have impenetrable shells which house their slimed innards...
The truth is, the above perspective on snails is extremely skewed, as many do not understand the benefits of these invertebrate creatures.
Snails come hand in hand with plants. In fact, they aid in keeping your planted tanks healthier by noming on the dead and dying. This breaks matter down via digestion rather than leaving the work to some nasty bacteria or fungi.
Many species, with the exception of the rabbit snails (well named, well named...) do no harm to aquatic flora. In fact their mouths are not made to chew through live plants. They prefer the softer items on the menu, such as algae, rotting plants and surface film. All of which are common headaches to the aquarist. Especially an aquarist with snail phobia.
Speaking of surface film, how many of you have that nasty stuff canopying your betta's lovely planted domain? You be arming yourselves with paper towels and doing the manual removal thing, frantically trying to skim off the rest with a spoon or sucking it up with the turkey baster.
The most efficient clean up crew for protein films, believe it or not, are pond snails. they glide on the water tension like a ballerina on ice. You can be sure that 3 or 4 of these guys will keep that surface polished and looking spanking new.
Ramshorn snails are another type of fascinating hitchhikers.
They are so named after the shape of their shells - a tight coil resembling a ram's horn. These fellows come in a broad variety of coloration and patterns. Red, brown, leopard spot and russian blue to name a few. The babies are definitely a favorite betta snack due to their relatively thin shells.
The above mentioned snails are hermaphrodites. This essentially means that any two snails can mate and lay eggs.
Malaysian trumpet snails on the other hand are live bearers, these do not need another snail to mate with, and the offspring are essentially miniature clones of the parent. Malaysian trumpet snails are useful in working the substrate. Much like how the earthworm is beneficial in working land soil.
If you only feed your betta in the tank, you shouldn't have a snail population explosion. A baby population of snails in a betta tank can take up to 6 months to become breeding adults, due to lack of excess food. This is especially so in a planted tank. In a planted tank, plants absorb nutrition and make it unavailable for algae aka snail food.
Those who wants to play it safe will find that assassin snails and nerites snails are the way to go.
Nerites are not hermaphrodites and nerite eggs only hatch in brackish water. This is possibly due to the fact that certain essential minerals are not available in the freshwater aquaria for shell development.
The only flip side to these guys are their size, making them a tad too heavy to maintain anything that cannothold their weight. They are however, perfect for the non planted tank.
Assassin snails are slow breeders. offspring will take up to 6 months to mature and will live exclusively in the substrate. Also due to their popularity and high demand, you can always sell extras for a hefty sum. Another bonus? They will snack on other snails and possibly keepthe population in check. But, don't depend on it if you feed them...
So you still want to get rid of these lovely creatures? Then potassium permanganate is your best friend.
(usually purchasable from ebay)
a tiny bit of this stuff goes a long way. mix just enough for the water to go light pink to make a plant quarantine solution. This compound will kill micro organisms, snails, snail eggs, protozoans and bacteria
Change out water after 4 hours and quarantine for another week to be doubly sure. Plant quarantine should be done with tank water and plants placed in a bright area of the house.
Your plants should now be snail free!
(you snail murderer)