How to get rid of snails in aquariums infested by freshwater snails?

Here’s an interesting discussion we are having within the forum of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association.

Snails are introduced into tanks most commonly through plants. Either the snails are tiny, or they contain snail eggs. In time, they’ll multiply and your fish-tank will turn into a snail-tank!

So, how do you eradicate pesky snails from aquaria?

Some suggestions…

Clown loaches are helpful to remove small snails, but they can then become quite aggressive when they get larger.

Another biological control agent that my be available in some parts of the world may be the assassin snails (Clea helena).  They are carnivorous and readily prey on other snail species. They are slow-growing, reach a maximum size of 3 inches, and aren’t prolific themselves, so they don’t generally become pests.

If you’re into chemicals, copper sulphate can be used, provided there aren’t sensitive fishes.

Anecdotally, salt at 2g/L may inhibit snail breeding.

Another option is to place blanched lettuce, weighted with a peg. As snails congregate, the snail-laden leaves are removed each night. Works better than the snail traps sold at fish shops. Thicker bodies leaves are easier to handle.

Do you have other tricks?

Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh 

DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics& Pathobiology), CertAqV, NATA Signatory.
THE FISH VET, Perth, Western Australia, AUSTRALIA. 

Mobile Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Ph: +61 (0)421 822 383

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