Years ago in middle school, for a personal project, I attempted to breed apple/mystery snails. The venture was a failure as the two snails I purchased did not breed and instead crawled out of their tank and died. It was gross and so-ended my journey with snails.
Or so I thought...
Fast forward to a month ago when I purchase new hornwort for Howard's 2gal (he's doing great by the way). I had heard about people "accidentally" get snails/eggs on their new plants but it hadn't happened to me yet with any of my plants. Imagine my (believe it or not) happiness when a week or so later I noticed two itty bitty snails crawling around. Tiny and black/brown; I learned that these are the infamous bladder snails. A few more weeks and a water change or two pass, and suddenly I find a good dozen tiny snails...I do another water change today, and now have a striking total of 14 snails in my little snail colony (I had more initially, but lost a few I wasn't able to find/catch including one of my original two
It was a bit of a struggle to individually catch and pick up each snail, even the tiniest ones I tried to save before dumping the water and doing a good scrub...I have really long acrylic/fake nails though, so I found they work really well as like a spoon to scoop the little monsters up. Waters all clean, I threw em' back in, though I am curious how much they'll continue breeding, and how they breed...I hate killing even snails (goes against the ethos of my personal work) and as I promised myself when I first got into keeping Betta/fish "properly" that I wouldn't kill/hurt things unless I absolutely had to...not too mention I have really become attached to my lil colony, but I am worried about the bioload, and have heard that pond snails do breed like rats which is why so many consider them pests...which leads me to my questions because google and wikipedia have not been very informative (guess no one cares about snails)...
How do pond/bladder snails breed/could I prevent it? What do their eggs look like? Is it possible I could scoop the eggs out before they hatch to keep numbers down? Are pond/bladder snails really that bad for the tank/bioload? Do they eat leftover food (and with only one guppy in the tank, despite how carefully I feed him, those dang flakes end up everywhere) and if so, isn't that a good thing? Do they crawl out? I noticed today my second original snail (Tiny) who is recognizable by how much larger she is than the rest was missing, I'm not sure if she got lost in the gravel and unfortunately eliminated in the water change or if she crawled out, or if she died and I didn't notice...I haven't noticed any of them crawling out though (which is a good thing, otherwise might feel different about them). How long do they live for?
Also why are they called "bladder" snails, what an off-putting and prejudiced name, isn't it? Sure scientifically speaking, snails have less than 11k or some-odd neutrons, but science is inconclusive on what "that" even means to begin with, and snails are loosely related to cephalopods which are arguably-potentially the smartest group of animals in the world-so excuse my reluctance to apocalypse style flush em' down the sink HAHA.
Attached is a picture of my little colony I took while cleaning, the biggest snail in the photo is named Prometheus (brother to the now MIA Tiny), and for better reference, Howard is a guppy. Howard and the snails will also be moving the fall to a proper 10-20gal set up with more guppies don't worry-my friend is well prepared to take him when I move to Europe. I know Bettas live with snails, but my roommates Betta last year killed and ate the apple snail she put in his tank so...I'm not sure if a Betta would be that impressed with my very athletic colony of snails.