The little snails in your fish tank are actually real snails. You probably introduced them into your fish tank the last time you added live plants or fish. How come you did not see them when you were adding the live plants or fish? Because snail eggs are usually transparent and microscopic. They are very difficult to see using naked eyes.
At this point, you are probably wondering how come there were snail eggs on the live plants or fish you recently introduced into your fish tank. Well, below is the explanation you are looking for.
If you recently introduced live plants or fish into your fish tank, you probably bought them from a pet store that keeps aquarium snails or that gets its supplies from a bigger pet store that keeps aquarium snails. This is the only way the live plants or fish you introduced could end up with snail eggs on them.
How Did the Little Snails Grow When I Don’t Feed Them?
Snails feed on algae. So while you were not deliberately feeding them, they probably grew feeding on the algae growing in your tank. Snails also feed on uneaten fish food. So even if your fish tank does not have algae, it can still support snails if you overfeed your fish or if your fish does not like eating a lot of food at a go.
The best way to prevent snails from growing in your tank is to prevent algae from growing in it because this is what snails primarily feed on. You should also stop overfeeding your fish if you do not want snails to grow.
However, before you try preventing snails from growing in your fish tank, you should note that snails are actually beneficial to aquariums.
The Benefits of Having Snails in Your Aquarium
Many people assume snails are harmful to aquariums but they are not. They are actually very beneficial.
For example, snails help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in aquariums. In other words, they increase the capacity of tanks to get rid of toxic ammonia because getting rid of toxic ammonia is what beneficial bacteria know how to do best.
Snails are also cleaners. They clean tanks and reduce the need for frequent maintenance. They do this by eating algae on glass walls, decorations, and other surfaces. They also clean tanks by eating uneaten fish food, fallen leaves, and unfiltered fish waste. So having a couple of them in your tank will ensure your tank does not get too dirty and, therefore, reduce the need for you to clean it frequently.
Snails are also known to clean the substrate/ gravel and leave it sparkling clean.
The Drawbacks of Having Snails in Your Aquarium
As mentioned in the section above, snails are not harmful to aquariums. They are beneficial. However, there are two reasons why people do not like having them.
First, many people find snails unattractive even if they are small in size as is the case with aquarium snails.
Second, snails multiply very rapidly. This is because they do not need partners to multiply as they are a hermaphrodite species. A single snail can lay eggs by itself and can quickly create a small colony.
The fact that you are reading this means you probably do not like having them. If this is the case, then read the next part of the post. In it, I explain how to permanently get rid of snails.
How to Get Rid of Snails
There are several methods you can use to get rid of snails. They include chemical and natural methods.
The chemical method works very fast and it is very convenient. You simply need to buy a snail removal chemical to neutralize all the snails in your tank. However, a snail removal chemical can negatively affect your beneficial bacteria, your fish, and your plants. In other words, it can damage your ecosystem.
The natural methods are usually less expensive but more time-consuming. While they are time-consuming, you can use any or several of them to permanently get rid of snails. They are recommended because, unlike the chemical method, they cannot negatively affect aquarium inhabitants.
Below are some of the chemical and natural methods you can use to get rid of snails in your tank.
1. The Chemical Method
The easiest and most convenient way to remove snails from your aquarium is to buy and add a snail removal chemical to your fish tank. There are many effective snail removal products/ chemicals available online.
Some of them are more effective and safer than others.
The only problem with this method is that snail removal products can negatively affect other living tank inhabitants such as bacteria, plants, and fish. Therefore, you should only use it as a last resort.
Furthermore, if you choose to use this method, you should frequently inspect your tank for dead snails. Because the dead snails can quickly make your aquarium water unclean and unhealthy for your fish as they rot.
2. The Manual Method
This method involves picking snails directly using your hands (make sure you wear clean gloves). Sometimes snails hide so if you opt for this method, you should inspect your tank thoroughly to get rid of all snails.
Snails also like coming out at night. So if you opt for this method, you should inspect your tank at night as that is when you will be able to easily pick them and remove them from your tank.
3. The Food Bait Method
This method is great and quite effective. It can help you to remove the majority if not all of the snails in your tank.
It involves using a piece of food as bait to attract snails so that you can easily remove them. Practically, you will have to put something like lettuce, cabbage or cucumber on a plate or inside a clean empty bottle and lower it into your tank. You should do this just before you sleep.
And then you should wake up early in the morning to remove the bait along with the plate or bottle you used as its platform. There will be plenty of snails on the plate or inside the bottle. The purpose of waking up early is to catch the snails before they go back into hiding.
To make sure you get rid of all the snails, you should repeat this method several times.
4. The Professional Trap Method
You can get rid of the snails in your tank by buying a snail trap. There are many professional snail traps available online. Most of them feature a simple mechanism. You are supposed to add food bait inside them and deploy them inside your tank at night. The snails inside your tank will get attracted to the bait and get trapped there while feasting.
In the morning when you wake up, you are supposed to remove the trap and eliminate the snails before redeploying the trap at night.
This method is great because it is cheap and you can easily use it again and again whenever snails threaten to colonize your tank.
5. The Commonsense Method
Since snails need to eat to survive, you can reduce their numbers by reducing what they like to eat. As stated earlier in this post, snails like feeding on algae and leftover food. So you can reduce their numbers and eventually get rid of them by eliminating the algae in your tank and feeding your fish only the food they can eat.
6. The Predator Method
In my opinion, this is the best method you can use to get rid of the snails in your fish tank. There are several fish species that love eating snails. They include pufferfish, wrasses, bettas, African cichlids, dwarf loaches, and clown loaches.
So find and buy a fish species that is compatible with your current fish species and introduce it into your tank. It will gradually eat all the snails in your tank and will prevent snails from ever growing in your tank again.
The new fish will also make your tank more fascinating to look at.
7. The Deep Cleaning Method
You can also get rid of snails in your aquarium by cleaning everything in it thoroughly. This method involves taking everything out of the tank and then cleaning and rinsing everything thoroughly. Remember, snail eggs are small so you need to just clean everything inside the tank to make sure you get rid of them.
The little snails in your tank are real snails. You probably introduced them when you recently added live plants or fish into your aquarium. They are not harmful to your aquarium. However, they can be a nuisance. Fortunately, there are many chemical and natural methods you can use to get rid of them including the manual method and the predator method.