As some of you may be aware I recently set up an NPT (roughly 6 gallons in size) with a soil substrate capped with sand. All's been going well; plants are exploding into life and putting out noticeable growth every day. I've been trimming back dead leaves as needed and keeping a close eye on all new growth and water parameters.
I have approximately six adult Malaysian Trumpet Snails in there alongside some of their newly hatched offspring. There is also a Ramshorn Snail that hitchhiked with the plants who I have decided to keep. And... of course... I have pond snails. They are everywhere. At first it was a couple of individuals, I removed them as I saw them but I must have missed a large adult as babies are coming out of my ears at the moment.
I'm sat with a bucket and a turkey baster right now removing them as I see them... I have a few questions regarding not just the snails in my NPT but general maintenance and I'm wondering if anyone could please help me. I'm feeling a bit... overwhelmed. I did the research but really want to clarify a couple of things I'm curious about. Up until two days ago I've been doing daily water changes due to nitrite/nitrate spikes (which have since stopped, nitrites are 0 and nitrates are ... I can't see the test tube from here, but I'm also getting ammonia readings (between 0.25 and 0.5ppm), hence my concern). Please bare with me while I get my thoughts together.
- Baby pond snails. I'm removing them (as mentioned) but they keep showing up. I can only assume that this means there is an excess of food. I'm pruning the plants regularly and have missed a couple of leaves here or there - are the dying plant leaves the food source of my snail population explosion? I've been trying to reach the denser areas of the tank but it's difficult pruning when I run the risk of uprooting plants.
- Snail poop. It's everywhere. Of course, I used light sand so I see it more; I don't honestly care about seeing
it, but there is a lot. I've been siphoning some of this up and out of the tank but from what I've read and been told the poop serves as a natural fertilizer for the plants. Should I leave all of it? Could this also be a food source for the snail explosion I'm witnessing?
- Pond snail removal. Is there any other way I can remove the smaller of the pond snails? The large ones are easier to gently dislodge and siphon out but the little'ns... I've tried the "lettuce in a jar" method but there's not enough ground space for me to place this and I woke up only to find my MTS in there...
- I believe one of the reasons for my nitrite spikes was courtesy of two species of plants I had chosen (Twisted Vallis
& Hygrophila Corymbosa
). They started to rot under the substrate (they were removed early in the week after I discovered this). I have some Echinodorus Tenellus
in the aquarium at the front and I honestly can't tell if it's doing okay or not. There are a few dying leaves but there are also green leaves. Does anyone have any idea how I can really check the state of these plants without uprooting them? Do I just need to wait a little longer? With the snails moving through them it's impossible to tell if they've grown or expanded. I'd rather remove them if they are causing some of my ammonia problems.
- I have a group of 10 red cherry shrimp in temporary accomodation right now, waiting to make sure the NPT is safe before adding them. Will they be able to help with the cleaning up of the plant debris? I have food for them and know they are scavengers but I guess I'm looking to have a few facts spelled out for me. I'm completely exhausted from all the water changes... though I expected them and won't let maintenance slide.
I just... need a little help. I won't say I've bitten off more than I can chew; I'm confident that things will turn out okay. The tank is looking great and I know the shrimp and Kaze will love it when it's finally ready for them... I just have to get passed these first two months without losing my arms and head. I also feel sorry for my trumpet snails. One of them currently has a baby pond snail sat on him while he's climbing the side of the tank (my MTS prefer to be out during the daytime... is that odd?).
I am sincerely sorry for the sheer length of my post. The species in my tank are as follows:
, Echinodorus Tenellus
, Hydrocotyle Leucocephala
, Hygrophila Rosanervis
, Lemna Trisulca
, Ludwigia Repens
, Willow Moss (too tired to find the scientific name at the moment)