Snails in your fish tank...

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Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia

Snails in your fish tank...

Post by Downunder35m »

For some the worst thing that could happen...
You got a new plant and somehow there were one or two tiny snails in it.
Before you realise it they multiply.
For me though the common apple snail or as some call then golden snail is filling my tank up intentionally.

Started years ago with a pair I took over from my sister when she moved home.
I wanted to see how their first eggs woul come out and how many sails really survive.
Bad idea....
At least for you if you did not plan for it.
Quite fascinating to watch mature snails in a tank when there is no fish in there with interest to pick on them.
The float, the drop off from the top lid and sink right away.
Sometimes they even pop up to surface instead of climbing the walls.
Explains how they multiply so quickly in our waterways if introduced by bad people....

One day I decided redo my whole tank as a deep clean including the gravel was required anyway.
As it was a hot summer day I took my time with no need for the heaters.
Left them switched off on the power boards.
Three days later I was happy with my tank but with still no colder temps in sight I did not bother with the heaters.
Weeks later it was finally time to keep the tank warm over night again ....
A few days later I came home work and my house smelled like fish soup - literally....
Had to get my digital thermometer to confirm the shock: above 50°C in my tank...
All life gone, only a few of the biggest plants came back weeks later....

The only thing "living" left in there was one cluster of snail eggs.....
I drained and cleaned the tank and left it for a day wondering what to do and how to digest all this.
My breeding stock of about 50 rare bristlenoses gone.
My minature guppies took over 5 years of selective breeding, gone as well...
All my other fish, about 60 more, gone down the drain.
Almost 7 years of hard work and fun disappeared because one of the heaters got the contacts fried together when it switched on.
It never turned off.....

About a year later I now have some nice and healthy green back in the tank and a nice amount of still growing snails.
Their parents were about the diameter of a soda can but their are not even half way to this size yet.
Feding is already turning into a real frenzy.
You have no idea how good the sense of smell or taste is for these sanils and how fast they can get to food....
Sometimes I think the must do races when I am not watching them as they are suddenly on the other side of the tank....
And what to do with smaller snails I don#t really need?

Selling snails in AU is not as easy as it seems...
Shops simply don't like them due to their tanks often using just one one common filter.
And a lot of people try to make money with those snails before they flush them down the toilet...
But did you know that most snails are able to survive in our sewers and given the chance will find an escape to other waters?
The don't like dry surfaces but have no issues crossing them if they really want to get somewhere.
I found one of mine tucked away (getting too dry) in my kitchen.....
Never use a lid with openings allowing snalis to sneak out....
But I have a few friends with turtles in a tank.
Not the nicest option, I agree, but better than no use at all and just killing them before disposing them.
At least another creature had a benefit from it.
And yes, the death is really quick when it comes to snail VS turtle....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:32 am
Location: Australia

Re: Snails in your fish tank...

Post by Downunder35m »

I would like some apple snails but I really only want one or two!

One is cruel, you need at least two as otherwise your single won't survive for long.
With two you have a 50-50 chance to get the same sex and again a 50-50 chance it actually stays that way.
Snails are hermaphrodites and have no issue adjusting to the other snail to match ;)
Comes down to matter of liking really, like all thing sex in nature I guess.

What about my precious plants?
Snails are really picky here.
Leafy plants of the bigger kind are of no interest to them.
Basically everything that feels or is soft though is fair game for them.
There is guides on the internet listing aquarium plants that snails usually won't touch.
If you really want adjust for some snails select the right plants or if you have to go the "modern" way and fake it artifical plants.
Some plants grow faster than what two good sized snils with enough other food you provide would have interest in.
Any delay, especially during the egg production times though means you risk that they eat too much.
As a rule of thumb: If your tank is really overgrown introduce the snails first.
You will see how much they might eat off what plant in your tank ;)
And well, there really is only soo much two snails can eat...
Keep in mind though that they are like dogs!
Means they will eat as long as there is food available and only stop long enough to digest enough to eat again.
The more food they get the faster they grow but it requires enough calcium in their diet.
If you want to keep them small and they won't eat any of your plant you can just let them kick the leftovers your fish can't eat quick enough and some steamed or mircowaved lettuce or cucumber ever now and then.

And what you my snail with my existing fish?
Anything big enough will certainly at least every now and then to inspect or nibble.
Especially chilids or any type of fish that is territorial will attack them if they interfere.
Often resulting in the sensitive "tentacles" to be chewed off.
To really enjoy apple snails growing and roaming free you have to stick with "friendly fish" .
Bristlenoses and other bottom suckers quite like to eat tiny snails as a snack.
Some bottom feeder also won't mind a snack if you missed a small egg cluster or did not get every single egg ...
If in doubt there is really only to try it out in the cheapest way possible.
Don't invest a lot of money into one or two large snails, go for a hand full of quite small ones instead.
If they won't be harmed by your fish then once bigger they won't be harmed either.
Just keep them above snack size for those that might eat tiny snails.

Sometimes there is nother option to safe one or many of your fish than to use medication.
An isolation tank certainly comes in handy here but most hobby users won't have one running at all times with their primary tank.
And if the small breeding tank is full of birthing fish or little babies....
They tolerat clrysatl clear water as easy as murky and almost stagnat water.
If the temp is right they are true survivors and even cope with hard water rather well.
What they don't tolerate are the common medicines our fish require.
Unless it spefically states on the pack or user info that it is safe for use with snails you can rest assured that it will kill them.
Especially any meds containing ANY copper coumpounds.
If you have to medicate you entire tank you should always remove your snails from it!
If it is just a matter of under 10 and not to huge you won't even need anything special.
Any spare tank or food safe container with a small heater thrown in will do them fine if you can place a lid over it.
Just fill with the same water they are in now and let the heater keep the same temp.
Collect them and drop then in.
If you have to medicate for more than 2 or three days it really pays off to fill some rather coarse gravel in the tank or container.
You do need need some buuble stone or small filter pump but don't use anything that creates a lot of low or turbulence.
You want things to settle down into the gravel!
The water, without some floating or established plants will only be good for about a week - denpending on water volume and snails size/amount.
Once it becomes murky or gets a rather unpleasnt smeel you need to change it.
Pays off to have a large enough bucket with clean water on stand by so you do the exchange once cludiness sets in and BEFORE it starts to smell badly ;)
Once your big tank is "clear" from meds you can not expect that this is also safe for the snails to return!
Plants they eat might have absorbed some of the meds in this period of time and require a few days for the levels to go to safe levels.
And your fish certainly absorbed the meds.
Snails often eat the poo of yu fish and through than the remains of the meds.
And is just one fish dies shortly after and you miss it before the snails feed on it...
Only really way to make sure you snails won't be harmed to do a deep clean.
Filter, all hoses and connections, gravel, glass and all...
Then a partial water change, proper check of vital levels to ensure proper water quality followed by a filtration with activated charcoal.
The snails should only be introduced once you cleaned the filter again and disposed of the charcoal.

Ok - how big do these apple snails get ?
As said, they keep growing the older they get and most won't dy from old age in good care...
I have seen images of them being amost as big a large male hand...
It takes many years though and as long as you remove all the eggs or have interested enough bottom feeders you can enjoy watching them grow grow....
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
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