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In the future I'm interested in adding a snail as a tank mate but I'm unsure of which type to go with. I have a 5.5 gallon tank, it's heated to 79°-80° and is in the process of cycling. I won't be adding a snail until it's completely done but I'm just taking my time to learn about them until then.

First off, I don't have live plants in my tank, is it still ok to have a snail? I've got a big pipe hiding decoration and a few big silk plants, I'm going add additional silk plants because my betta loves them but I'm not planning on putting in any live plants.

I originally was planning on getting a nerite but I saw black mystery snails and I really liked them. I'm just wondering some pros and cons to each of them? Or if it doesn't really matter which one I pick. My tank doesn't have any algae yet but I have no issue feeding the little guy algae wafers or whatnot.

Thanks!
 

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Personally I'd advise against a snail in that small of a tank and without live plants.. the bioload (amount of poop-increases nitrates) they cause is a bigger pain to frequently siphon out poop/reducing nitrates with water changes then just removing and cleaning fake plants/decor and wiping down the glass with a damp paper towel. In a planted tank where disturbing/uprooting plants makes it hard to put them back as they were (and some being too delicate for general algecide treatments-bleach or peroxide dips) you can better justify the need for a snail (also the plants will help with absorbing some of the nitrates they produce-faster growing plant=absorbs more nitrates)...This is just my opinion though.
Snails need a lot of food so unless you tank is COVERED in brown algae (aka diatoms) they will run out of food and need supplements such as blanched veggies and algae wafers. They can clean a algae covered tank/decor pretty quick so be ready with a food supplement when the algae runs out.
If you do get a snail keep an eye on it and the betta for several hours/days-some bettas don't tolerate tank mates and will even kill snails. Read on here that some members' bettas smashed the snails against the tank, others eat their eyes and antenna. Be ready to remove the snail if the betta is hostile.

No personal opinion on nerite vs mystery snail-I've only kept nerite so far never tried mystery. I've also kept ramshorns, mini ramshorns, Malaysian trumpet snails, pond, and bladder snails.. and I've had a few bettas who eat them.

Nerties supposedly have a bad habit of crawling out of tanks but I have 2 in an open top 55g community tank and they have never left the water (thought one got stuck in driftwood then hid on the inside black trim of a temporary tank when the 55g needed re-siliconed). I think they'd only leave the water if quality of water is bad or they're being harassed by the tank inhabitants-trying to escape a predictor, or complete lack of food.

Another thing you need to be aware of before getting a snail: what is your water hardness? Do you have calcium in your tap? Snails need calcium for their shells or they'll break down/chip and can expose the snails innards making it an easy meal.
http://jmorgan.zenfolio.com/img/v4/p125558800.jpg
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You can get an API liquid GH and KH test kit for fairly cheap to test your water. The GH general hardness test is mostly for calcium and magnesium (but some some other trace minerals) if takes very few drops to change color (and/or you never get those pesky calcium deposit water stains on your tank glass) you'll need a calcium supplement. Some people use cuttle bones (in tank or in filter), lime stone (small decor or crushed in bag in filter-if decor make sure betta's head cannot get stuck in small holes), or crushed coral (in bag in filter) as a natural calcium additive.
I have very hard water and a lot of calcium-a terricotta pot with dampened soil turns mostly WHITE as the clay absorbs the tap water then dries.
 
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Ah...snails. I'm in the same boat as you right now, sailbond. I have a 5.5 gal (not planted) and I'm considering a snail. Obviously, I can't give you any knowledge from my own experience, but I can tell you what I've learned from excessive research.

Mystery snails get big...like, golf ball big. That means they end up producing more waste than nerites, which don't grow as large. Nerite girls, however, have a tendency to lay unfertilized eggs which, I understand, are a pain in the butt to scrape off as they're very hard and stick to things like glue. Mystery snail tentacles are longer and more susceptible to curious nipping. Nerites are better algae eaters but some will refuse to eat anything but natural algae. (Do yours eat supplements, Aqua Aurora?) I hope this helps. :)
 

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Ah...snails. I'm in the same boat as you right now, sailbond. I have a 5.5 gal (not planted) and I'm considering a snail. Obviously, I can't give you any knowledge from my own experience, but I can tell you what I've learned from excessive research.

Mystery snails get big...like, golf ball big. That means they end up producing more waste than nerites, which don't grow as large. Nerite girls, however, have a tendency to lay unfertilized eggs which, I understand, are a pain in the butt to scrape off as they're very hard and stick to things like glue. Mystery snail tentacles are longer and more susceptible to curious nipping. Nerites are better algae eaters but some will refuse to eat anything but natural algae. (Do yours eat supplements, Aqua Aurora?) I hope this helps. :)
Oh yeh forgot to mention the eggs.. big pain in the [censor]
55g pardon the wood fungus.. 1/2 of the tank was covered in eggs (all those white dots) they take many months to dissolve and nothing will eat the eggs. old photos.. oo bonus fat otos in middle photo ^^



tank has since had a change of driftwood and the eggs scrapped off the back glass with a razor.

As far as I know my nerites have only eaten algae on the glass/wood-I've never caught them on the cucumber or other algae food supplements I use. But they might eat that stuff at night when no one is around to bust 'em on it.
 

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I have a 10 gallon and a 5.5 gallon tank going right now. I have mysteries in both. I raised them myself except the 2 ivory ones. I got them to pea size and gave most away to friends, hobbyists, and a (good, not mad) science teacher who runs huge aquariums in her room. The ones I put in the 5.5 gallon are absolutely THRIVING! I put the nicest yellow ones I kept in there so I think I have 5 juveniles...10 gallon filter. I meant to have 2 but this little wild colored one snuck in there so I let him stay. He's less than a marble size so he's nor hurting anything :)

I know they make boiload, but they also clean. They kind of even out. This is why I don't think you should get a snail to clean. I don't think you should avoid one b/c of bioload either b/c it's a tradeoff. I clean my tank well every week and I watch what I feed. I try to put down a zucchini peel or a carrot slice vs messy food, but I will also use snail jello and algae wafers. Snail jello doesn't dirty your water like flakes. I have also used crab cuisine but it gets lost easier than zucchini peels and jello...so it would be a dirtier option. You could always stick it IN the jello though.

If you made me pick snails or fish, snails would win. They are so comical. It's fun to hatch them when you have spare tank room. Everyone who received mine have come back and thanked me later because their kids fell in love with the little clowns.

BTW, the smaller tank isn't planted but my larger has plants. They only eat plants when desperate. They much prefer algae wafers and zucchinis. They also enjoy eating off of the decor. Plants are a last resort, and usually only when they are decaying.
 

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mysteries lay pink eggs outside of the water. You let them dry one day and then pop them off, freeze or squish to destroy (for the ecosystem) and then trash them in a ziplock. The residue will rub off with tank water. They will lay on the hood if you don't leave wall space for them. They will leave the tank if you don't provide a hood and your water quality sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the input guys!

I love snails and I really have my heart set on one. After seeing all of those nerite eggs I'm definitely leaning towards a mystery snail. I like the fact that if they lay eggs it will be above the water line so I can just remove and dispose of them. As much as I love snails, I'm only interested in owning one!

In the future I'm hoping to set up another tank with different community fish so if my betta behaves aggressively I would definitely remove the snail and set up an additional home for it.

My tank has zero algae right now so I definitely plan on feeding it wafers and vegetables. Is there a specific brand of wafers that anyone recommends? As far as snail jello goes I saw a recipe online with baby food, tums and gelatin, would something homemade like this be good?

In regards to the bio-loid, it's only going to be my betta and the snail in the tank. I have heard snails are messy but If I do weekly water changes (Which I already do) that should keep everything safe for both of them correct? I'm still cycling my tank so I have been frequently testing my water with the API masterkit and using prime to keep my betta happy and healthy. As far as water hardness goes our tap water is fairly hard, I will pick up the API GH and KH tests on my way home from work one day.

Thanks again for all the input! The more I can learn about these guys the better so I can make an educated final decision before getting one!
 

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Yes they can lay "blank" eggs but they still lay above water. You can see spirals in the egg if they are fertile and of they are colored you can see darker shells as they develop.

Calcium - cuttlebone is great. You can apparently boil it to get it to sink fast but as it stay in the tank it will sink but it takes weeks.

My snails avoid tums and its messy. They avoid the recipe for snail jello. They like plain jello mixed w fish foods, and chopped blanched veggies. In fact the snails from different mothers like different things!! Seriously family genes are going on!. Crab food has shell builders and you can add that to the feeding rotation. I have had only one snail die from shell decay- it was more interested in snail nookie than munching on the cuttle bone. I say he died but I euthanized him bc he was kinda circling the drain.

The thing about calcium is you have to make sure you don't mess w ph for fish it give snails what they need.

They are so fun- I hope you enjoy it. Your plan is solid. My snails salute you LOL
 

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