Aquarium pest snails and their eggs can hide on the leaves of an aquatic plant that you bought or live on bits of gravel culture. Regardless of where they come from, snails can be a huge pain to eliminate, especially if they’re eating through your plants and causing tank waste to skyrocket. If you’re struggling to weed out these critters, read on to learn how to get rid of pest snails in your aquarium.
Introduce Snail Eaters in the Tank
If you want consistent snail prevention, adding a snail eater fish or two can help get rid of snails you didn’t even know were there. For freshwater tanks, loaches and other bottom feeders can help rid your tank of snails. Loaches are generally easy to care for and very peaceful. Meanwhile, saltwater pufferfish have hardy beaks, great for crushing snails. Just remember that they will eat other invertebrates as well, so keep an eye out.
Try Feeding Less Food
Because most pest snails are scavengers, they’ll eat any leftovers they can get their mouths on. Additionally, less food means less fish waste for snails to feed on; the less the snails eat, the less likely they are to reproduce. When you feed your fish, always remove excess food after bottom feeders have a chance to get their fill.
It’s important to note that an influx of snails may correlate to how much algae is growing in your tank. One of the most common causes of algae growth is an excess of food, so you can easily tackle two problems at once.
Quarantine New Plants
Depending on the type of snail, eggs can take up to a month to hatch. Quarantining new live additions to a tank, including plants, can help you catch any hitchhikers. If this isn’t an option for you, you can inspect the plant and rinse off new additions in water to remove any hidden eggs or live snails. You should avoid chemical treatments, which can also kill other invertebrates.
Manually Remove Snails and Eggs
Snails have a rapid reproduction process, so when you see eggs, you want to get rid of them as soon as possible. You can use a snail catcher to grab live snails or use a siphon to suck up those hidden in the substrate.
If snails or snail eggs remain in your substrate, you can lay a snail trap. Luckily, these traps are easy to make; all you need is an empty spice container and some string. Remove the container’s lid but leave the sifter in place, then tie the string around the closed container and put a tasty treat like zucchini in it. Wait for the snails to come in for a snack, then pull them up and out of the tank.
No matter the method you use to get rid of pest snails in your aquarium, remember that snails reproduce rapidly. Once you notice an issue, act swiftly.