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Snails, are they worth it?


Butterfly

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Hello!

I have a bit of hair algae growing in my tank that is really hard to scrape off the walls and so I've been thinking about trying a snail. I don't mind the diatom algae, but the hair algae is like yuck-o. Dang fish don't eat it (Repashy snobs apparently).

This is tough for me because almost of my snail experience has been with the dreaded pond snail that had covered my lotus in the past. Yuck! The thought of snails really makes me recoil in horror. But...

I like the Sulawesi snail but I think my tank is a little cool (72ish). Thoughts? Anyone with this type of snail?

Nerite snails seem like my best bet and I do like the zebra and tiger patterns, so I was thinking of trying one of each and maybe a horned for my betta tank. I understand they don't breed in freshwater but will still lay eggs...? That are hard to scrape off? True? They also only seem to have a lifespan of a year? Seems really short to have to replace and re-QT...

So, is it worth it? I'm so on the fence here.

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Yes, but you'll probably need more than one. I'm under sure if they like hair algae. But nerites are great snails! :thumb: they don't reproduce in freshwater tanks either.

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Removing nerite eggs from tank walls is next to impossible. I currently have a 20 gallon tank that has been through 2 or 3 sanatizations and I still can't remove the eggs from 2 years ago. 

 

Nerites can live up to 3 years.

 

My nerites wouldn't consume hair algae either. A better bet would be to put some Seachem Flourish Excel fertilizer in your tank. It has a habit of killing algae. 

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If you're basing worth on its ability to eat algae, then the answer is no. Relying on any fish/snail/shrimp for algae removal is just a waste in my opinion. A little elbow grease will remove most algae. Toothbrushes, razor blades, liquid co2 and (in the case of more stubborn algae like black brush) hydrogen peroxide are all you should need. The other reason I consider it a waste is that adding something for algae removal doesn't treat the issue. Ideally you want to look at what is causing the algae--too much light, etc.

That said, if you really want a snail regardless of your algae problem, then they're interesting little critters to have. :D

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Thank you so much for this info.  I don't have too much substrate so they're probably not the best match for me.  Good to find out ahead of time!

 

Sulawsi snails will not climb around the tank much. They are more on the bottom of the tank, and only once in a while will climb up the tank, but they don't really climb rocks or roots

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Eh, I don't really have an algae "problem".  I have a decent light and so some has been growing but not overwhelming... thought was more of- gee, I wonder if a snail could help me keep this in check and amuse me too.  I've got heavily greased elbows, but only one pair.

 

 

If you're basing worth on its ability to eat algae, then the answer is no. Relying on any fish/snail/shrimp for algae removal is just a waste in my opinion. A little elbow grease will remove most algae. Toothbrushes, razor blades, liquid co2 and (in the case of more stubborn algae like black brush) hydrogen peroxide are all you should need. The other reason I consider it a waste is that adding something for algae removal doesn't treat the issue. Ideally you want to look at what is causing the algae--too much light, etc.

That said, if you really want a snail regardless of your algae problem, then they're interesting little critters to have. :D

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Thanks for this info!  I'm still up in the air about it.  I found some tiger nerites at my LFS but they were so small I was worried about their survival vs my large inquisitive fancy goldfish.  And they didn't all look too hot so I moved on.  If I find a nice one I think I will add to my betta tank in the future.

 

If my hair algae issue gets bad enough I might try Flourish Excel.  It seems to come and go, same as in my pond.  I regret using some river rocks from my pond in my tank now...   thought I was being smart trying to seed the tank.  eh, live and learn. 

 

 

Removing nerite eggs from tank walls is next to impossible. I currently have a 20 gallon tank that has been through 2 or 3 sanatizations and I still can't remove the eggs from 2 years ago. 

 

Nerites can live up to 3 years.

 

My nerites wouldn't consume hair algae either. A better bet would be to put some Seachem Flourish Excel fertilizer in your tank. It has a habit of killing algae. 

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I found fertilizers exacerbated my algae problems, it was easier to balance nutrients and light with just root tabs. My our mileage may vary though :)

Excel is rather special as far as fertilizers go. It's made to kill algae using Glutaraldehyde.

Edited by ChelseaM
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no, i don't think that snails are worth it, to be very honest. some snails are pretty to look at, but they poop a lot and add more to the mess than the cleaning they do, in my honest opinion.

 

i also don't believe that chemical of any sort is required. i recently allowed my tank to become super grubby where it concerns green and black/brown algae. then gave it a huge superclean. i posted about my efforts on this.. 10 days later and not a spot of algae. so i support Dan in Aus where he suggests some elbow work is all it takes.

 

a paper handtowel that doesn't fall apart when wet (and slightly abrasive) is sufficient enough to scrape the algae off the glass.

 

here is my post, if it helps :)http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/123154-an-attempt-to-control-the-regrowth-of-algae/

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I found fertilizers exacerbated my algae problems, it was easier to balance nutrients and light with just root tabs. My our mileage may vary though :)

Excel is rather special as far as fertilizers go. It's made to kill algae using Glutaraldehyde.

I should have been more specific. It was excel that exacerbated my algae problems - specifically hair algae. Laterite was a nightmare too. Some people don't experience this but with my systems and water chemistry fertilizers haven't been worth the effort.

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I found fertilizers exacerbated my algae problems, it was easier to balance nutrients and light with just root tabs. My our mileage may vary though :)

Excel is rather special as far as fertilizers go. It's made to kill algae using Glutaraldehyde.

I should have been more specific. It was excel that exacerbated my algae problems - specifically hair algae. Laterite was a nightmare too. Some people don't experience this but with my systems and water chemistry fertilizers haven't been worth the effort.

 

Ah! I've not heard of Excel doing that in any other tanks that have tried it for removing algae. There's a first time for everything. Do you run a well up there?

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Glutaraldehyde is toxic to fish.  What concentration is in Excel?

I've read numerous times it's 1.5%, but I don't know that Seachem has ever acknowledged this when asked by consumers. I did have a discussion with them once (which is in the archives on here somewhere) about Excel killing fish, and their response was basically: we don't have the facilities to test our products on every species.

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Yes, I did a little internet research on Excel.  There seem to be anecdotes that it works on the soft slimy kind of hair algae but not the hard, tenacious, thready kind.  I am quite sure the kind in my tank is the latter unfortunately (although I have experienced both in my pond).

 

Apparently some planted tank people will even dose their tanks with straight gluteraldehyde, AKA Cidex which is a hospital disinfectant.  Quite interesting actually but not for me at this time... 

 

I did use a product called Nualgi in my pond this year and whether it was due to that product or my fully mature bog, I had NO algae at all in my pond which receives blazing all day sun.  Towards the end of summer the water surface was at least 70% covered with lily pads too.  But, I didn't get the usually green up I have in past springs before those plants got going so, eh... 50-50 but I will use it again come spring.

Edited by Butterfly
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Yes, I did a little internet research on Excel. There seem to be anecdotes that it works on the soft slimy kind of hair algae but not the hard, tenacious, thready kind. I am quite sure the kind in my tank is the latter unfortunately (although I have experienced both in my pond).

In my experience Excel will kill most algae, even the troublesome thread types and BBA. If needed, I don't spot dose or overdose like most other planted tank people though. I drain the tank so the algae is exposed and put it directly on (either with a dropper or soaked cloth). This seems to work faster, although the downside is it will melt plants if you get any on them. Edited by dan in aus
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Well, I bit the bullet and got a tiger nerite for my betta tank.  My LFS had a new tank full of small active tigers and huge zebras, so I got a little tiger hoping that he will have a good life expectancy.  He acclimated quickly to my tank and is already taking the diatoms to task.  I'm pretty happy especially since I picked him from the sucker side (he was the smallest most active one that I could identify).

 

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