Many hobbyists love to have snails in their aquarium. Snails appear gentle and calm. Their slow and graceful movement has a soothing effect. Many snails are placed in the aquarium deliberately as part of the display.
However, too often, a small number of snails can lead to a full blown infestation. Snails usually eat detritus, algae and other organic matter. Sometimes, though, they can attack aquarium plants. A huge number of snails on everything from plants to aquarium walls to the gravel and the filters can affect the aesthetics of the aquarium.
The Snail becomes a pest which needs to be controlled. There are different ways of controlling snails.
Commercial pesticides for Snails available at your petshop can be used. However, these pesticides tend to damage the beneficial bacterial in the aquarium affecting the biological filtration.
There are mechanical snails traps which lure the snails into an enclosure form which they cannot escape. The snails can then be discarded.
Another method is the use of snail eating fish such as loaches and puffer fish. These fish target snails and can be effective, particularly in large aquariums.
Preventing Snail infestation
It is best to avoid snails. Many people put snails in the aquarium as part of the display. However, the snails can quickly turn into pests.
Disinfect new additions such as plants and accessories
The most common way snails enter aquariums is as eggs in plants. If the aquarium plant was previously in a tank with snails. There are chances that there are eggs in it.
The best way is to disinfect the plants by immersing them in a solution of Potassium Permanganate for half and hour. Rinse the plants thoroughly with freshwater before putting them in the tank.
Snails can be delightful additions to your tank. But sometimes, unwanted species or an increase in the population can wreak havoc on the tank system particularly the plants.
There are chemicals which can control the snail population. However, they destroy the good nitrifying bacteria as well, damaging the biological filtration. Hence, these should be used only as a last resort.
Snails reproduce very fast and hence their population needs to be monitored and kept in check. When the population explodes, they may have to be removed. One easy way is to boil a lettuce leaf and immerse it in the substrate and leave it overnight. The next morning, you will find that the snails have climbed on to the leaf to eat it. Remove the lettuce leaf and the sails and throw it away. Repeat this for many days till the problem is under control.
Another method is the introduction of snail-eating fish. Several Loach species eat snails. These will help you keep the population in check.
There are chemicals which can control the snail population. However, they destroy the good nitrifying bacteria as well, damaging the biological filtration.