Like many other aquarists, I’m a big fan of some species of aquarium snails. They can make a helpful cleaning crew and some are very interesting to watch!
However, this unfortunately does not go for all aquarium snail varieties. We all know the scenario; it starts with a single tiny snail that hitchhiked into your tank somehow, and suddenly there are hundreds of them! Oops.
How did that happen, and more importantly, how do you get rid of them? A snail infestation can be difficult to deal with, but there are definitely things you can do to prevent and end them!
Controlling a snail problem
Once you start noticing snails in your aquarium that you do not want there, it’s usually already too late. ‘Pest’ snails like Malaysian trumpet snails, pond snails and ramshorn snails multiply incredibly quickly and the tank is likely already covered in more eggs that will hatch soon. So what can you do?
- Feed less. One of the reasons the snails can multiply so quickly in your aquarium is that there is plenty of food for them. Cutting back feedings can reduce the number of snails to something that is manageable.
- Trap the snails. There are multiple ways to do this. The simplest is to put some food, like lettuce or cucumber, in the tank, preferably when the light is off. The snails will flock to the food in huge numbers, and after waiting a while you’ll be able to simply lift the food (with snails attached!) out of the water. If you do this every once in a while, you’ll be able to keep the snail population under control. You won’t be able to wipe out all of them, but that’s not necessary! Snails eat algae and detritus and are actually helpful in smaller numbers.
- Assassin snails. These do exactly what the name suggests; they find other snails and literally assassinate them! A small group can really help keeping your snail population under control without harming their other tankmates. This is the only living animal I would suggest to keep your snail problem under control. You can buy assassin snails (Clea helena, also sometimes still referred to as Anentome helena) online here!
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