New to snails - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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New to snails

I've had problems with brown algae (diatoms?) for a while. My tank is not extremely close to a window, but is somewhat near to one, which is what I suspect to be the cause of the algae. Moving the tank is not an option currently, and I'm not extremely worried as the algae cleans off fairly easily and mostly grows near the side of the window. It grows back fairly quickly though, in the crevices of decorations, on the (silk) plants, and along the glass.

Recently I've been considering getting a snail, and have heard good things about Nerites and their ability to eat algae. I have a ten gallon tank, and think one snail should be fine? I've also thought about mystery snails, but don't know as much about those, so if anyone has input on this, please let me know.

The only complication I've thought of is that I'm going to be dosing the tank with Kanaplex, as an attempt to heal my injured betta
(more information about that here: https://www.bettafish.com/99-betta-f...870-tumor.html) and was wondering how introducing a snail would affect either the snail or the betta? Should I wait until Tsuki (my fish) has healed? (or in worse case scenario, if I get a new betta) I wouldn't want to stress the betta or put a snail into a harmful environment..

Skye - My first betta, a blue halfmoon. SIP
Tsuki - Current betta, a spirited halfmoon
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 03:17 PM
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I love nerites! The thing with them though is that they will only eat algae, not even algae wafers or algae-based "snail jello", so if you don't plan on starving it to death you need to make sure your tank continues to grow algae, which kind of defeats the purpose of wanting a snail to get rid of the algae for you. You can cultivate algae-covered rocks in jars on your windowsill and put them in the tank to give the nerite food if there isn't enough in the tank itself, though, so if you really want one then it's not impossible even in a mostly-clean tank.

I've never had any other types of snails (besides the detritus snails in my planted tank), so I can't comment on their algae-eating abilities.

However, I would not introduce any other critters into your tank until your fish is out of the woods, one way or the other. It's unlikely that a single snail is going to stress them or the filter's cycle too much, but better safe than sorry IMO, to say nothing of the possibility of introducing a parasite or disease in with the snail.

To cut back on algae without a snail, try covering the tank with a towel or cardboard where the sun hits it, and if you don't have live plants turn the lights off or cut back the length of time they're on for a week or so. Your boy won't mind the dark for a few days- it might even help keep him calm, actually, which could be beneficial to his recovery. After a couple of days the algae should be mostly dead or on its way there, so you can scrape it out of the tank- take a paper towel and move from the bottom of the tank up to the top, so you're not just letting the algae back into the tank but actually getting rid of it. Works even better if you have most of the water out of the tank at the time.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 04:02 PM
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Both Nerite and mystery snails are great algae eaters. However one snail in a 10 gallon tank would be like giving a single mouse the state of Texas to roam and feed in. In recent months I have had some problems with Green algae. I knew what caused it was the lighting I had for my plants. The plants thrived but so did the algae. I dropped in 6 mystery snails, in a 5.5 gallon tank. It took about 6 weeks for them to get the algae under control. There was still algae but no longer on the glass. With live plants the algae would not be any problem, but when it covers all 4 sides that the tank was looking totally green something had to be done. Cleaning the glass helped a lot, The snails really went to work on the plants and soon there was just enough that would grow back to keep the snails fed.

Each mystery snail and nerite snail needs 1/4 gallon of water in space, of the tank. They also need a constant source of food. When the algae is gone, (and it will be) The snails will starve unless they have a supplemental diet. Like blanched green Veggies on the bottom and a calcium additive. (calcium keeps their shells hard).

Algae under control in the tank is a good thing. It shows the tank is healthy. If you can keep it under control by cleaning the glass. as for the plastic or silk plants, and the decor Snails would be a good bet.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys! I wouldn't mind algae continuing to grow, as long as it would provide some food for the snail. And honestly, there's not that much algae to deal with, but just enough to annoy me when I have to clean it, as it basically grows back right after. It hasn't gotten too out of hand so far, I was just wondering if a snail would help with maintenance. And I've actually been wanting to try snails for a while now, just never got around to it..

I'll keep the tank a bit darker in the following time while my betta is healing and remove the bit of algae that's there right now, thanks Rana! For the moment, I don't even have a light on my aquarium (I know that's probably not great) but I've never had live plants, and my hood doesn't accommodate a lighting fixture, so I never considered adding a light to the tank. I'm planning on getting lighting for it sometime soon, but that's a whole different topic!

Regarding your advice, Old Dog 59, I did hear that they will eat some vegetables such as cucumber or lettuce, but wasn't sure how to go about feeding those sorts of things in an aquarium. I was also worried that if I had more than one snail, they would starve since there's not a huge amount of algae. (though now I realise I could feed them other ways) So would you suggest getting a larger amount of snails? Or maybe mystery instead or nerite? I was thinking about dividing the 10 gallon sometime in the future, but at the time that I would get a snail, it would still probably be one undivided area.

For now I might invest in a "fancy" algae scrubber, (as I feel reaching to the bottom to use a sponge kind of disturbs the fish) and once I've learned more about snails, I'll get one , or more if you recommend it. I was honestly just worried that I'd have trouble keeping one alive, let alone 5-6!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 06:57 PM
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Deleted duplicate post and follow-up for you.

I have a bit of a different take on Nerites. There should be no more than one or two Nerite per 10 gallons (excluding tiny Horned Nerite). IME, they will not eat algae wafers, blanched vegetables, etc. Unfortunately, people mistake skating over the wafers, vegetables, etc., as eating. Place more than one or two in a 10 gallon and they deplete the algae much faster than two of any other species of algae-eating snail. This is because other snails will source more than algae to sustain them.

All of the above is why the number one cause of Nerite death is starvation.

If you do not have live plants, the occasional dose of some brand of bottled algae cure might be best.

BTW, how long have you had your tank? Does it have sand substrate? Do you run lights? How long? Do you have any live plants? Marimo Moss Balls do not count as they are not plants but a specialized form of algae. Trying to uncover why you have this problem.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice, (and deleting my duplicate) RussellTheShihTzu. With the low amount of algae I have in the tank, I have decided that one or two snails would be more than beneficial. I've heard such mixed reviews about their eating, some saying they thrive off of vegetables such as lettuce and zucchini (blanched) and others saying they only eat algae. If I were to get nerites, I would do my best to insure that they're being sustained, but with the mixed reviews, I'm not entirely sure what to do..

I don't have live plants, and I do suspect an algae cure would easily rid the tank of the algae, but I did want to attempt at having snails. I'll keep doing research as to whether nerites eat blanched vegetables. It's quite weird how people have completely different opinions on the subject. (though I do completely understand that many people see the snail move over the food and think that it is eating it.)

The particular tank (and water cycle) has been going on for only a few months, my old tank started leaking (slowly, thankfully) and I ended up having to restart the aquarium, doing a fish-in cycle. (I believe that I was dealing with algae before the tank / water exchange) Gravel substrate, and no live plants. Though I have been entertaining the idea of somehow transitioning it into a planted tank, but I'm so inexperienced on the subject. The hood I have on my aquarium currently doesn't support lighting (lighting fixture broke years ago) And I'm looking for a new hood with lights, as I'm starting to realise it is somewhat a necessity. No moss balls either.

Skye - My first betta, a blue halfmoon. SIP
Tsuki - Current betta, a spirited halfmoon
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 10:23 PM
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If you want to try a planted tank, start slow. Get one Anubias and if it is still doing well after a month or two, get another Anubias. If you've gotten a light, then go with a small Sword like Tropica or Pinwheel or stem plant like Water Sprite, Hornwort or Anacharis. Let those float until they develop good roots or weight down and let them self-root. Do not plant Hornwort as it does not develop viable roots. Build you confidence as you build your planted tank. Think of it as replacing the artificial one at a time.

The occasional Nerite *will* test a wafer or blanched vegetable. But I've had them for 10+ years and some in tanks where they were the only snails or critter which would eat blanched vegetables. When the vegetables started rotting instead of being eaten. Same with wafers; they just dissolved in tanks with a Betta and a Nerite. That's when I finally believed those who said algae-only (with occasional plant detritus; especially Anacharis).

Unfortunately, it takes these poor snails months to starve to death so people don't associate their deaths with lack of a food source.

I advise people to grow algae for their Nerites. Find some pretty rocks you wouldn't mind seeing in your tank. Set them in a bowl of water in a sunny window. Rotate rocks as the Nerite(s) eat them.

I think you will like either a Mystery Snail or a Nerite. MS come in glorious colors and I love them. Nerites, except for the tiny Horned/Thorned, aren't as colorful but have wonderful patterns.

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Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 07-02-2019 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Deleted pontificating. ;-)
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all your advice, and apologies from me for having so many questions. It's crazy how I'm always learning something new in the betta hobby! I love the idea of gradually transferring over to a planted tank, that way I won't waste money and plants if they all died immediately. I was wondering, however, if it would be necessary to swap out my gravel for sand?

I would hate to accidentally starve a snail just because I thought I knew better, and it sounds like most people agree that algae is mostly their entire diet, but I don't mind the idea of cultivating some algae on rocks. I think once I do choose a snail, I'll try a nerite and see how it goes, providing extra algae through "hand grown" algae rocks.

I do love the selection of colors mystery snails come in, though. I noticed Aquarium Plants Factory, the company that I believe you use/like (please correct me if I'm incorrect) had a selection of "sun thorn nerite snails" which seem interesting. If there's any differences between regular nerites and thorned nerites that I should be aware of (care-wise) please let me know.

Skye - My first betta, a blue halfmoon. SIP
Tsuki - Current betta, a spirited halfmoon
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:21 PM
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Never hesitate to ask questions. IMO, Forums are to educate. There are hundreds of other members and lurkers who benefit from just one person's question.

You don't need to change out your gravel for sand to do a planted tank. You just need to be careful with stem plants that you don't bruise them when planting. I would make a little hole, plant and then gently push the gravel around the plant.

There is no difference in the care of different types of Nerites.

And once you get going, if you choose a Nerite, you can always get a Mystery Snail.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 04:32 PM
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The smaller horned nerites make a lot less of a mess then the larger nerites, I'd go with 3 or 4 in a 10 gal tank. If you get larger ones go with 1 or 2 unless you enjoy vacuuming your tank 2 or 3 times a week....
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