Aquarium Snail Care Guide
If you’re familiar with tank algae, dying plant matter and extra fish food lying on the bottom of your tank then this can make for a depressing aquarium. Good news though, we’ve got a simple solution to fix each of these issues! Aquarium snails can make excellent additions to your tank, they’re colourful, have their own personalities and help keep your tank clean. The most common of these is the apple snail. It can grow to be around 6 inches long and it’s defined by a yellow apple-like colour.
Rest assured though, not all snails grow to this size, some are only a couple of centimetres big at full size. Also, there are types of snails that don’t reproduce in aquariums, the rest though will leave up to 600 eggs in one go. This is typically when there's a big amount of extra food going to waste and there’s space. This is what prompts the snails to reproduce, however they can do it at any point. Taking care of snails isn’t difficult though, about the same level of difficulty as your average starter fish. Firstly, snails, just like your fish, need water and space. Typically about two and a half gallons will be fine for each snail. They also need a nice filter on the go even if your tank is just a snail tank - if you have fish already then you’ll already have the filter. Snails do clean, but the filter has the benefit of keeping the water oxygen rich too which they need. Secondly, snails obviously will stick to the side of the tank, and they can climb in this manner. Tape up any holes or gaps in the top of your fish tank so that when the lid is down, the tank is sealed. Wherever there’s a hole big enough for them to fit through, assume they will! Water needs to be dechlorinated with a pH level near 7. If you've got tropical fish this will be fine as they tend to prefer a balanced pH too. For temperatures stick to between 65 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. To dechlorinate your water we suggest using Tetra’s Aquasafe - it’s just 5ml per 10L of water and gets to work over around a 48 hour span to make your tap water safe for your tank inhabitants! You can pick up a bottle of Aquasafe here. By placing fish that are friendly or compatible with the snails, you’ll give them the best chance at thriving in your tank. Some fish that you may not even suspect, will eat the snails if the fish are large enough. Some compatible fish are: Danios Which Cloud Minnows Neon Tetras Guppies Fish to avoid with snails are: Clown Loaches Skunk loaches Dorid catfish Banjo Catfish Puffer fish Betta Fish Goldfish Angelfish And Barbs For feeding, nighttime feeds should be for your snails as they’re much more active at night than during the day. Using a mix of vegetation and fish food, give them what you feel is a standard amount. If they eat the food really quickly after you put it in the tank, or if they start eating your plants, then feed them more. If, however, you wake up to see that there’s still food left in the tank, then feed them less. Let’s have a look at some different snail varieties!
Mystery Snail Mystery snails, a smaller species of Apple snail, are a very popular snail that can be found at almost any local fish store. These snails are true detritivores and will helpfully eat different types of algae, decaying plant matter, and leftover fish food. They only live for around a year, so commitment isn’t a huge issue and they’re easy to care for. They get on well with others and will just slide around nibbling on what they can find. Mystery snails are one of the larger snail species in this article, but they still only top out at around 2in, making them a sure bet for smaller community tanks as well as larger ones.
Nerite Snail Nerite snails are in high-demand within the pet trade, mainly because they come in a variety of colors and patterns and, unlike most other snails, will not breed in the aquarium. This is a job for most owners as anyone who’s researched snails will see that most commonly, when snails reproduce they’ll create hundreds of eggs. Nerites are intense algae grazers, willing to eat almost any type of algae while not harming any live plants within the aquarium. Zebra and tiger nerite snails will grow to around 2.5cm, the rest are slightly smaller and will mainly grow to around 2cm so these little guys won’t take up too much space in your tank.
Malaysian Trumpet Snail This particular species of snail is practically required for any planted aquarium. These snails are prized for their tendency to scavenge for food underneath aquarium substrate so if you’ve got a habit of feeding a lonely fish that won't always eat all of what you give them, these little guys will dig in to the rest. They are detritivores and will eat plant and protein matter found underneath the substrate while also coming out to eat soft algae. They grow to be about an inch and only live for around a year. Their drive to look for food underneath the substrate effectively makes them plow the soil, so to speak, aerating it for live plants. The only drawback is that this species of snail will very quickly and rapidly breed within the aquarium if food is abundant.
Assassin Snails These guys have a distinct colour pattern of bands of yellow and brown rings on a cone-shaped shell which has given them the nickname of “bumblebee” snails. They grow to around 5cm long and they're called assassin snails because they’ll eat some of the smaller troublesome snails if they’re abundant. This species do breed in tanks but only if there’s a good supply of food available. When they do reproduce, they create large amounts of eggs. If they’re in groups, these snails will also attack larger snails however people often buy one or two to perform population control on other snail eggs.
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