I Have Some Questions about Pond/Bladder/"pest" snails - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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I Have Some Questions about Pond/Bladder/"pest" snails

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.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Here we go!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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sorry for some reason my pictures weren't posting. There we go :)

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 03:36 PM
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It was suggested to me to get an assassin snail, which will eat them. So far, I only had one. Got rid of the plants when someone told me it could happen and got new. I could be wrong, but I think they reproduce on their own unlike nerites. Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 04:35 PM
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If you take one finger and place it over each snail you find and push down until you feel the squish you will have saved your tank from one of the most horrible infestations known to man. These snails are not what a lot of people think (cute) they are a pest that will foul your tank and filter. They will continue to breed to the point you will have to tear down the tank and start over. Including but not limited to throwing out every plant you have, and replacing all the substrate.

These pests hitchhike into your tank from tanks that have an infestation of them at the farm the plants are grown. Their eggs look like a mass of jelly attached to the under side of plants leaves. Assassin snails, Loaches. are one way to rid the tank of these pests. just remember when you have so many all over the tank, it's hard for the assassin snail, and loaches to to keep up. So before you really get an infestation I would take each plant out of the tank and dip them in bleach (do not dip the roots, just the leaves ) The solution should be one cup bleach to one cup water. Dip the plants for a count of 5 Remove them and rinse them for about 2 min. in distilled water. and then rinse them again. Make sure the bleach is washed off by placing them into a bucket of conditioned water for 24 hours, just to make sure you have killed the little pests.

If you haven't come to the conclusion yet I hate these pest's. I can have any other type of snail or fish but bladder snails I have no use for.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 06:23 PM
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From what I understand, whether you tolerate/like "pest" snails depends on your view of them. Bladder snails breed prolifically, but as with any snail, will self-limit their population based on what food is available. Unfortunately in the case of bladder snails, they're so small that their food source is basically unlimited in a tank with live plants, so you may see a huge population. They may eat some types of live plants, but generally they stick to algae, bio-film, and dead/dying plants, as well as leftover fish food. Some people consider them vital to have in a planted aquarium because of the work they do to clean up detritus!

If you want to keep them, they don't really have any special care requirements. They'll be happy eating leftovers, so you don't need to feed them anything extra. Just make sure not to use copper medicines in the tank, which will kill them and poison the tank (because it soaks into the silicone seals) against future snails/invertebrates.

Their eggs are completely clear, laid in jelly-like clumps, so good luck finding them. They hatch between two to four weeks, usually. Bladder snails are hermaphroditic, I believe, so any time you have two or more they can breed. I don't know of any method of limiting reproduction- and they reproduce fast.

To prevent snails in other tanks, you can soak live plants in a bath of alum (found in the spice or canning section of a grocery store) for a couple of days; the benefit is that alum takes care of both the snails and their eggs, which other common methods (bleach, copper) don't. I used 2Tbs per gallon on my plants for two days and it seems to have taken care of them completely.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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I can see that the consensus seems to be they are not welcomed...that is understandable especially given the giant and expensive set ups many people on here have. I think I too, will try avoid them when I have such a big tank and high-tech set up. Fortunately right now, my set up is pretty null, so not much for them to destroy substrate and plant wise. I have anubias sword, hornwort, and some random little bunch plant in my 2gal, and only one guppy, so it seems for now there's no reason for the little colony not to stay since there is plenty of food debris and detritus to keep around.
How long do they live for? Do they grow exponentially? Or stay around 2-3CMs?

If I somehow get rid of the 13 and keep only big Prometheus are you saying he won't breed on his own? I will mention that to my friend if that is the case, as I can see how individually scooping 14 tiny snails out one by one every few days for a water change can get tiring for people not as personally invested in their cuteness as me. I still think its iffy to keep any of the bigger/prized snails with Bettas, as my friends Betta Finley absolutely destroyed her snail, it was brutal to watch and to clean up (that is, the chunks he didn't eat). I'm surprised more people on here haven't had similar experiences. I like to think that the snails keep Howard company a bit, since I know guppies "should" be kept with other fish.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:54 PM
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As Rana noted, in a balanced planted tank that is not overfed pond and bladder snails perform a duty and do not usually overpopulate. One of the times I was overrun with them was when we went on vacation and I had a sitter feed the tanks. She overfed and we came home (after three weeks) to a mass invasion of snails. I bought some Assassin Snails and thinned out the herd.

In all of the years I've had Betta I have never had one kill/destroy a healthy snail, shrimp or fish. I have seen them opportunity feed on ones that were dead or dying; but never any that were healthy. Snails often go belly-up when they are dead or dying which makes them irresistible to other residents. Never a pretty sight but it is nature at work.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 02:26 AM
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Forgot: It's as OD59 said...If you let pond, bladder or Malaysian Trumpet Snails get out of hand they are a bugger to defeat.
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