5 Easy Ways to get Rid Of Aquarium Pest Snails


5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Aquarium Pest Snails

Bladder, ramshorn, and Malaysian trumpet snails are often called pest snails in the aquarium hobby because they reproduce very quickly and are difficult to remove once introduced to a fish tank. They can be found in your aquarium by hittingchhiking on aquatic plants, or at the bottoms of fish bags purchased from a pet shop.

Are pests harmful to my fish tank? Although they have the unfortunate nickname “pest snails”, they are actually very useful and a natural part the aquarium ecosystem. They eat algae, clean up uneaten fish food, break down fish waste, and help feed the snail eaters in your fish tank. These snails will not harm your live fish or plants, but they do keep your aquarium clean by consuming any dead animals or sickly leaves.

Even though they are known as “pest snails,” ramshorn snails are often kept by fish keepers for their cleaning abilities and beautiful color variations.

Despite these many benefits, some people do not like being overrun by so many snails that they start covering the glass and every surface in the fish tank. To keep your aquarium snail population under control, try one of these 5 proven methods.

Method #1: Less Food

Fish-keepers know that the best way to reduce the number of snails in your area is to give them less fish food. Despite their rapid reproduction cycle, snails can only create new babies if they have enough sustenance. Therefore, only feed enough food that can be completely consumed by your fish within a few minutes. Your fish will also produce less waste, which is good news for snails. Higher quality foods, such as frozen, live, and freeze-dried food, are more likely to be consumed by the fish. This leaves little for the snails.

The bladder snail is an herbaphrodite, which can reproduce sexually and produce viable eggs, even though there are no other snails.

Snails eat leftover food as well as algae and dying plant matter. You should prune your plants regularly and get rid of any algae when cleaning the fish tank. Also, use an aquarium siphon to gravel vacuum the substrate and remove excess mulm or organic debris that the snails can use as food sources.

Method #2: Manual removal

Slowly starving snails can be time-consuming. If you are able to physically remove snails, it will speed up the process. The simplest technique is to just use your hands and pick them out one by one. If the snails are small enough, some people use a length of siphon hose to suck them up into a bucket during water changes. You can use a snail catcher to quickly scoop up any snails that you see while walking by the aquarium walls.

The Dennerle Snail catcher is a handy tool to catch small snails from fish tank walls.

Method #3: Snail Trap

Some species, such as the Malaysian trumpet snails, are nocturnal. They prefer to burrow under the substrate and it can be difficult to get them out of the tank. In those cases, attract the snails by using some delicious vegetables as bait. Place a piece of cucumber or zucchini, carrot, or lettuce in the aquarium overnight. The snails will then be able to eat the vegetable the next day. Some hobbyists prefer to use a DIY snail trap to keep the snails from escaping.

Malaysian thunder snails (also called MTS) are extremely resilient and can survive for several months in dry, used gravel.

How can you humanely kill snails after they are caught? Give your extra snails away to snail-eating fish, give them to hobbyists with snail eaters, or crush them.

Method #4: Snail Eaters

Pest snails are actually in high demand if you own a snail-eating fish because they provide a lot of essential nutrients and enrichment for the animal to display its natural hunting behavior. All freshwater pufferfish, including the tiny Mbu puffer and the large Mbu puffer, enjoy eating snails. The crunchy shells of snails can be used to grind down puffer’s teeth and prevent them becoming too long. Many loaches, such as clown, dwarf, yoyo, and zebra, can use their pointed noses to get into snail shells and take out the insides. Some larger animals, such as turtles and oscars, also love mollusks. Don’t forget to keep some for them. Some aquarists also employ the services the assassin snail, a carnivorous snail measuring 1 inch (2.5 cm) that eats other snails.

Assassin Snails (Anentome. helena), ambush other snails and eat them, even if they are larger.

Method #5: Quarantine

You can ban pet snails from your house by following the advice of “An ounce prevention is better than cure.” To get rid of any unidentified hitchhikers, some people wash their plants with running water. Then place the plant in a quarantine tank with light and fertilizers, and continuously remove any snails that appear. Snail eggs can take 1-4 weeks to hatch, depending on the species and water temperature, so this process requires some patience.

Although this quarantine plan may not be bulletproof, it is better to take a steady and slow approach than resorting to chemical treatments such as bleach or aquarium salt. It can be hard to find the exact dose that kills snails and eggs while not causing damage to sensitive plants like cryptocoryne or vallisneria.

Bladder, ramshorn and ramshorn snails conceive multiple babies from their egg sacs. Malaysian trumpet snails are able to give birth to young children.

You might be interested in other clean-up crew members than snails. Check out our article to learn more about the top 10 useful animals for freshwater tanks.