Snails - yay or nay? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Question Snails - yay or nay?

So I know a lot of people recommend QTing plants, but it seems that QTing plants is usually more for preventing snails than for preventing disease, but it seems that lots of people actually like pond snails, and it sounds like they may be hard to get rid of, so I'm wondering if it is really worth the trouble of trying to get rid of them. I have a few questions...

1. Can they potentially harm live plants or my bettas?
2. How do they affect the bio-load? (This one is my biggest concern.)
3. Easiest way to keep them under control? (If I got an assassin snail, how would that affect the bio-load?)
4. Easiest way to rid them while QTing plants if I decide to do that?
5. What if my bettas try to attack or eat them?
And 6. Any and all other pros and cons that are not listed in the first four questions?

P.S. I am planning on getting these live plants for a ten gallon tank with regular gravel that will have a cycled filter and 6 female bettas. I'm not sure if the tank size makes a difference.

I've never had live plants or snails before so I am completely lost so please do not assume I know anything already :p thank you! :)

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 11:42 PM
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1) Hitchiker snails from what I've seen (from my hitchikers) haven't harmed my plants but I have heard of some people getting Ramshorn snails which are considered pests and I believe they eat plants too as well? Not sure.

2) They do add a lot to the bioload if you let them reproduce and overtake your tanks, snails are quite the poopers. So be wary of that.

3) Keeping them under control, I really don't know to be honest. I would assume an Assasin snail would wipe them out completly eventually (never had one). Since your assasin buddy is gonna be eating lots it will add to the bioload, but your bioload should drop when the snail eats the other snails (faster than they can reproduce).

4) Drop a piece of cucumber that's been blanched and leave it in there, all the snails should gather there since it's pratically free good, and just pick up the cucumber and toss it in the trash with the snails stuck onto them!

5) This might pose as a hazard, I've read a couple of stories from Bettas dying from eating snails (since they literally choke to death). When a tiny snail falls down whether it was stuck on the tank wall or floating Bettas might mistake that for food and eat it.

Hope that helps you. :)
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 11:46 PM
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Pond snails won't harm the bettas but they can and probably will nibble at the plants. If they're kept well-fed, this is less likely though.

A few pond snails here and there won't really do much to the bio-load. But if you suddenly find that you have hundreds, then you might experience an ammonia spike. If you do suddenly get a population boom, it could mean you are overfeeding the tank because well-fed snails breed more.

Easiest way to get rid of them is to remove them manually as you find them and uh . . . squish them. Put them between paper towels or newspaper so you don't have to see the squish results. Also be on the look out for egg sacs, gelatinous masses attached to plants decor, tank walls . . . pretty much anywhere. Remove the eggs and there will be no baby snails. You can also control them with assassin snails which also wouldn't affect your bioload much either. You would want maybe 2-3 assassins for your tank. Not all assassins do a very good job of snail eating though. Both Laki and I have had experiences with assassins that refused to eat snails. Hers eventually did, after a couple months, but mine just flatout died.

Easiest way to get rid of snails during a QT is potassium permanganate. Some local fish stores may carry it or I've been told you can find it in the water purification aisle at hardware stores like Lowe's. It's 10mg per gallon for 10 minutes. You can also use Jungle Labs Clear Water at double strength. This also takes care of external parasites and some bacteria.

If your bettas attack or eat them, let them. It'll keep the snail population down, provide your bettas with amusement, and if they eat them, give them a nice snack. :)

The pro of pond snails is that they eat up any leftover food. If you're usually very careful about not overfeeding your tank, then you probably don't need them. If they don't have enough to eat, they go for the plants.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies.

I don't over feed. All my bettas get a certain amount of food, and my blind fish is the only one who ever lets any food sink, but I don't plan on adding live plants to his tank for several reasons...

I might check for PP at ace hardware since its the only hardware store we have in town, but Walmart has many Jungle products.. We don't have a fish or pet store in town. I think I will likely try to rid the snails in the QT process. I am very concerned about water quality since this is a sorority tank and I also have no experience with live plants so I would hate to have snails trying to kill them 0_0

How long do I have to QT the plants with PP? Will it kill the plants if I use it for too long or too much? Or will one salt bath do the trick?

I eventually would like to upgrade to a 20 gallon long but I will have to find space, first. I am also concerned about moving the tank with live plants.. I will be going to college soon so all of my tanks will be moved (but of course I don't have the patience to wait that long to set up the new tank :p). I've moved my current tanks before but I've never had live plants so I have never needed to move them.

Thank you again! :)

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 07:37 PM
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From a few sources, and what makes sense to be, I wouldn't QT your plants. Itll probably end up harming your plants, over what? A few pond snails? Just rinse the plants off and thumb thru leaves to find any jelly-like substances. Even if you do catch some hitch hikers which is probable... its not too hard to control them if you put in a little effort. On both my plant orders i received some pond snails, and after about 4-5 days of removing 3-4 a day...they went away. Like I said, this process happened twice already, and its not too big a challenge to get them out if you act as soon as you see them
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 07:52 PM
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Be careful when using the PP. I've heard it stains very easily so were gloves. It may also be hard on plants.

If you buys plants that came from a tank that had fish in with the plants there is a risk of ich coming in ln the plants. I usually qt my plants by throwing them in a bucket of treated heated water for a week or so. Without a host the ick will die off.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-28-2013, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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I actually can't find PP here.

I do plan on QTing the plants since I can't add them to the tank while I am QTing my females. The QT tanks floating in the tank would block out the light. I do have a separate tank and lamp, though.

I guess I might also be getting a 20 gallon long, so I could put the plants in there and wait for my girls to be QTed. I guess the only problem with that is I kind of need the space and all the equipment, first, lol :p

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micho View Post
4) Drop a piece of cucumber that's been blanched and leave it in there, all the snails should gather there since it's pratically free good, and just pick up the cucumber and toss it in the trash with the snails stuck onto them!
Please don't ever just toss them in the trash! These snails can be seriously invasive. The eggs may even hatch in the trash if you just scrape them off and toss them. As with anything you remove from your tank (plant clippings, etc), you need to freeze it first before throwing it away!

I blame spelling mistakes on my iPad. You should too!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 07:08 PM
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Agreed. That's why it's best to squish all snails you remove. Place them between sheets of newspaper and just . . . squish.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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I know it's probably more of a slow, painful death, but I have to say that freezing them sounds better than squishing them :/

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