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Home Forums Invertebrates & Other Critters SNAIL INVASION!!!!!!!!!!

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    One day I came back home, when I looked into my aquarium which was still cycling, and there were hundreds of tiny snails (I’m not sure what species they were) hanging on my airline tubing connected to my airstone, I looked around the tank and found many more, I found a more developed and larger one, which was about 2mm, or 1/16inches long, It had a curled, cone shape shell and was moving quickly across the glass. I want to keep some snails, but this is just too many snails. I think, that the snails hatched out of eggs which were stowaways on an anubias plant attached to driftwood, which I had bought a month earlier. Before the snails and shortly after I introduced the anubias, there where these tiny brownish wriggly things on my pebbles. When I saw the snails, there were significantly less wriggly things. Does anyone know the life cycle of snails? I want to take care of them, so I can give them away. My tank is a 15 gallon or 56L tank.



    All the freshwater snails I’m aware of hatch from eggs as miniature snails, so the “brownish wiggly things” are unlikely to be anything to do with the snails (although a snail that finds another snail crawling on its shell will sometimes twist from side-to-side quite energetically). You’ll be lucky to give them away unless they are a particularly desirable species, better off finding something that will enjoy them in other ways. 



    I was about to post the same thing!

    Yesterday morning I found a tiny little snail scooting around my brand new setup and I was wondering what to do with it.  It’s a freshwater tank so I was wondering if I could try catching the critter and relocating it to my pond or if it’s OK to leave it in there to finish the cycling process and just keep an eye on it to make sure there isn’t a population explosion.

    I’ve only seen one snail so far, but I was wondering if there’s anything I could add to the water at this early stage to stop any eggs hatching?

    Thanks :)


    Byron Hosking

    There is nothing to fear from these small snails, quite the opposite.  They can be extremely beneficial.  First thing is to ID the snail.  Cone shaped suggests Malaysian Livebearing Snail, which is probably the best; these will burrow throughout the substrate, keeping it clean and somewhat oxygenated.  There are also bladder snails and pond snails that are much alike in appearance.  The other small species sometimes encountered is the ramshorn.  I’m attaching photos below, in the respective order named.  The first is obviously livebearing, but the others lay eggs which can often be seen as small gelatin-like masses on the undersides of leaves and other surfaces.

    These are all harmless to live plants; they will munch on dying plant leaves.  They eat algae (though not to excess) and all organic matter including fish excrement, breaking it down so the various bacteria can get at it quicker.  These snails get into places the aquarist never could, so I consider them my friends in the aquarium.

    If you feel you need to remove some, pick them out or remove the eggs.  Never use snail eradicators as these chemicals will harm fish indirectly if not directly.  You will have snail numbers equal to the available food, so recognize that if there are lots, then there is a lot of decaying organic matter.  Some fish will eat these; loaches (though not all species) and puffers, some cichlids.  But never acquire fish just for this purpose, as the fish themselves usually have issues and need proper conditions and may not suit the aquarium in other ways.







    I don’t like pond snails! I’ve had crazy outbreaks that had nothing to do with over-feeding. The tank in which they first appeared, this was several years ago, also had a problem with fish wasting. In researching the cause I found that snails can be an intermediate host to certain parasites. So I set out to eradicate them. Flubendazole works well and doesn’t have any ill effect on fish. Not that I’ve seen. But it only takes a few snails buried deep in the substrate to avoid the treatment. So they began to re-appear. That’s when I discovered assassin snails. They finished the job. No more snails, no more wasting. Of course flubendazole is also an effective treatment for internal parasites so I’m sure this was at least part of the cure.

    Byron’s info is solid. Mine is just another perspective.



    Nay, I’m with Byron all the way.

    The only negative of snails I see is that they eat fish eggs… at least the ramshorns do.



    Some snails can definitely serve as intermediate hosts for certain pathogens, such as some worms. Eliminating a pathogens intermediate hosts can terminate any pathogen infestation to only the animals that introduced the pathogen into the water system. The presence of an intermediate host allows a pathogen (that requires an intermediate host) to propagate and infect other animals.

    This is a big consideration for me in using snails. On the other hand they do eat excess food and other stuff nicely.



    The question is just how common are the parasites that require snails as intermediate hosts….

    Regardless, what I did/do is: all the new fish is treated for parasites… as for the snails, the way pond snails were introduced to the fishroom was to bring in some and breed them for a few months in a tank without fish….hopefully this shook off whatever infection they might have been carrying, at least no problems were later noticed that could be linked to the snails.



    Digenetic trematodes (flukes with a two host life cycle) are an example of pathogen requiring a second host.

    I don’t know how common they are normally but they can come from wild caught fish and probably fish from outside fish farms.



    Thank you Byron, that’s extremely helpfuil :)


    I recognise ‘my snails’ as the second-from-bottom photo.  They haven’t touched any of the healthy leaves on the few plants I have and actually seem to spend most of their time scooting up up and down the glass.

    I don’t mind if they eat fish eggs and I have a very soft spot for snails so I shall just enjoy them for now :).

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