Snails in an aquarium are pretty common. It is highly recommended to use snails in an aquarium for their cleaning abilities and appetite.
The truth is, snails are vital cleaners in the tank, but when they start breeding they can be very annoying. There are several methods of eliminating snails from your aquarium. Most of these methods are easy to follow, inexpensive, and can be accomplished with items you already have at home.
Although some people advocate the use of pesticides for snail control. Using toxic chemicals can be harmful to fish and plants in the aquarium, particularly if the user is not an experienced aquarist.
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7 Methods On How To Get Rid Of Snails In Aquarium
So what do you do when you've got an infestation of snails in your fish tank? Well, first off, don't panic. Snails aren't actually that dangerous to humans or fish. They're only a nuisance, and they can be dealt with.
Below is a list of things you can do to get rid of snails in your aquarium for good. Check out all the methods, pick one, and try it out. I’m sure you will be happy with the outcome.
1. Reduce Fish Food
Here is one of the methods to completely get rid of snails. While these water-loving creatures produce at a rapid rate, they need food to feed in order to reproduce. Reducing the amount of food you give to your fish would rarely leave wasted food lying around, this would starve the snails and they would eventually die off with time.
If they do die off eventually, you’ll need to manually remove them from your tank. Or simply leave them as an extra decoration for your aquarium until you are ready to do a complete cleaning of your aquarium.
2. Clean Aquarium Plants
This is one method a lot of people do not know about. Besides eating food wasted by fish, snails also feed on algae that grow on plants. So, even after reducing the amount of food given to your fish on a daily basis, the snails still have another option on the menu!
How do you fix this? Take out your aquarium plants and give them a good clean removing algae completely. In case you missed it, we have covered an article that shows you an ideal way to clean aquarium plants.
Cleaning your plants on a regular basis would really help to get rid of snails in the aquarium. You should try this method. It won’t get rid of snails immediately, but it will work if you give it time.
3. Remove Them Manually
This method is for people who want to get rid of snails in their aquarium fast. Other methods might take a while, but this method is fast and actually depends on how fast you can remove the snails manually.
But then comes the big question, what is the best way to remove aquarium snails manually without hurting your fish?
Use your hands to carefully remove the snails if they are big enough, if the snails in your aquarium are small, you can get a snail remover. I have a friend that uses a net to remove snails, you could try this too.
4. Use Copper Sulfate
Copper sulfate is the most common chemical used to tackle a snail infestation problem. It works like magic, however, this should be your last resort, copper sulfate is great but can be deadly if not used properly.
When you purchase this chemical, make sure you read the terms and conditions for usage thoroughly before using it in your aquarium. Most labels indicate that this chemical should not be used in aquariums where you have Koi fish, goldfish, and trout.
As I said, if you care about your fish this should be your last resort and if your snail problem is unbearable, you should triple check the terms and conditions before using it in your aquarium.
5. Use Snail Eaters
Snails eaters are basically fish that feed on snails. While this might seem like a scary option especially if you have smaller fish in your aquarium, the method actually does work. If your fish is way too tiny, you might want to think again before bringing in the snail predators, some of them might feed on fish.
If the fish in your aquarium is big, it should not be threatened by snail eaters. Below are some snail eaters that you can add to your aquarium;
|Small Fish Tank||Large Fish Tank|
|Zebra Loach||Clown Loach|
|Dwarf Chain Loach||Pictus catfish|
|Yoyo Loach||Striped Raphael Fish|
6. Snail Trap
Some snails like to hide and it almost seems impossible to get them out. This method works by drawing them out of their hiding spots via the bait and then trapping them eventually. There are a lot of snail traps out there that you can use in your aquarium.
You can even search for some DIY options that you can make without having to leave the comfort of your home. However, when outsourcing for a snail trap, you need to be careful so you don’t trap your fish too.
7. Complete Cleaning
This method works best when the whole snail situation is out of hand and you want to put a stop to it for good. Your best here would be doing complete cleaning. You will have to completely empty your fish tank and get rid of the snails.
Here’s a summary of everything you need to do.
- Transfer your fish safely: Remove the fish carefully from the aquarium and place it in a bowl containing water from the aquarium.
- Drain out the water: Drain out the water from your aquarium tank using a siphon, stop the draining process when you are almost at the bottom. (Keep the drained water for later use)
- Remove Decorations: Take out all the decorations and plants that you have in your aquarium. Don’t place them back in the aquarium without giving them a good wash with warm water.
- Remove Substrate: You might not know this but your substrate could be where the snails’ eggs are, use your hands or your preferred tool to remove the substrate. You’ll have to wash the substrate properly before putting it back in. See how to clean aquarium sand and how to clean aquarium gravel.
- Remove Filter: If you have an aquarium filter, remove it and clean it too, if not you can move to the next step.
- Wash The Tank: Give your tank a good wash with well water or tap water and then allow it to dry.
- Rebuild Your Aquarium: At this point, you must have washed everything and gotten rid of the snails and eggs. The next thing to do is put everything back in place.Make sure you pour back the water that was initially in the aquarium, exposing your fish to new water might cause shock. After pouring in the initial water, you can add a little bit of well, or tap water (without chlorine)
- Allow Fish To Acclimate: Do not release your fish to the water yet, place the bowl containing your fish inside the aquarium and allow for a while. Your fish would slowly get used to the water change.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes snail infestation in aquariums?
Breeding can cause infestation. Two snails can turn into an escargatoire of snails in no time. Another cause of infestation might be due to the accidental introduction of snail eggs to the aquarium via live plants, and also the presence of eggs in gravel transferred from another aquarium.
Should I remove snails from my aquarium?
Having a couple of snails in your aquarium isn’t a bad thing, while snails may be annoying to you, they actually have some benefits in the aquarium, one of which is helping to keep the aquarium clean by eating algae and food that isn’t consumed by the fish in your aquarium. Instead of completely removing snails from your aquarium, I suggest that you control the number of snails in your aquarium rather than getting rid of them.
Can you have too many snails in a fish tank?
A couple of snails in your aquarium is a good thing, however, it becomes a problem when you have an infestation in your aquarium due to a lot of factors. When you notice an infestation, your next option should be to take care of it immediately.
What do I do if my snail lays eggs?
You are in luck if you even find snail eggs in your aquarium, it is usually tough to spot snail eggs especially if you have a tank with decorations and plants. If you would not mind snails in your aquarium you can leave the eggs, but if you wouldn’t want more snails in your aquarium you can remove the eggs and flush them down the toilet or transfer it into another tank.
Perform 1 or a couple of these methods and you should successfully get rid of snails in your aquarium. I hope this article has been helpful to you. If the answer to that is yes, kindly share this article with your friends and family.
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