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Snails in the Aquarium

Many hobbyists love to have snails in their aquarium. Snails appear gentle and calm. Their slow and graceful movement has a soothing effect. Many snails are placed in the aquarium deliberately as part of the display.

However, too often, a small number of snails can lead to a full blown snail infestation. Snails usually eat detritus, algae and other organic matter. Sometimes, though, they can attack aquarium plants. A huge number of snails on everything from plants to aquarium walls to the grave and the filters can affect the aesthetics of the aquarium.

The Snail becomes a pest which needs to be controlled. There are different ways of controlling snails.

Commercial pesticides for Snails available at your petshop can be used. However, these pesticides tend to damage the beneficial bacterial in the aquarium affecting the biological filtration.

There are mechanical snails traps which lure the snails into an enclosure form which they cannot escape.  The snails can then be discarded.

Another method is the use of snail eating fish such as loaches and puffer fish. These fish target snails and can be effective, particularly in large aquariums.

Preventing Snail infestation

Avoid Snails
It is best to avoid snails. Many people put snails in the aquarium as part of the display. However, the snails can quickly turn into pests.

Disinfect new additions such as plants and accessories
The most common way snails enter aquariums is as eggs in plants. If the aquarium plant was previously in a tank with snails. There are chances that there are eggs in it.

The best way is to disinfect the plants by immersing them in a solution of Potassium Permanganate for half and hour. Rinse the plants thoroughly with freshwater before putting them in the tank.

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