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Tiny Snails Everywhere


Carolinedoodle

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I've had a 40 UK (50 US) gallon tank sat for a few months, without a filter but with water and plants in (the water was to check it didn't leak but we ended up adding plants too!).

The new filter arrived a few days ago, and today we were going to put fresh water in and the filter and get it going and begin a fishless cycle... but I was just looking in it and everything is covered in little tiny snails!

They're all under 5mm, after I moved a plant I had one in my finger nail and thought it was a bit of gravel till I realised! I assume they're off the plants we bought!

Will they do any harm? Do they produce lots of waste? Will all the ammonia we're about to add kill them off? Should I buy a snail treatment from the petshop to get rid of them, and will this affect my fishless cycling process?!

Eek! So many questions!

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Yes just one common, after it's cycled (he's very precious!)

They could have been there for months. Do they grow bigger? When it's finished cycling and he goes in, will he just gobble them up, won't the shells be a choking problem?

Would salting affect the cycle?

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I have had this problem recently in my 20g trop tank. Mine hitched in from a purchase at the lfs. I slowly increased the salt, bringing it up to .3%. I kept it that way for at least 2 weeks. Now I am slowly decreasing it back to .1%. (I have shrimp and fish which prefer brackish water.) The addition of salt shouldn't disturb your cycling. I tried Had-A-Snail, which didn't do a bit of good. I'm not too sure about the common eating the snails though. If it were going to be a tropical setup, I would say get a couple loaches....some species will eat snails. I may be doing this sometime soon myself. Salt may be the safest way to go for you. Let us know what happens! :)

Adding chemicals (such as Had-A-Snail) can disrupt the cycle; I wouldn't advise it since you are in the middle of cycling the tank. ;)

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Salt is best way to go. Anotheroption is a pair of dojo loachs as they love to eat snails but your tank may be a bit small for a pair :)

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How about running salt for a while to deal with the snails before you add the ammonia to cycle. As the freshwater biobugs are slightly affected by salt, it might be best to establish your cycle once the salt is finished; it would just be easier to manage. I always notice a nitrite spike when I salt so if you're trying to establish a cycle at the same time as adding and decreasing salt it will just take longer.

I think it's a very good idea to kill off the snail population if you can as, if you have a large colony, they can play havoc with the filters by crawling inside and gumming up the works. You will need to turn the gravel over regularly and do a good vac after treatment finishes. The plants should go elsewhere while you salt - you could also treat the bucket they're in with a parasiticide in case of eggs or small snails on the underside of leaves.

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Ah ok I will shove the plants in a bucket and salt before I start the cycle then.

I don't have any gravel, just some nice smooth stones here and there!

How long do you suggest I use salt for? There is no filter in there and it's only 2/3 full of water (which has been there for months!)

The aquarium salt I already have and I'd forgotten! I bought some 'just in case' ages ago. It is in cubes and it says to use one-two cubes for every 5 litres... this is far too mathematical :rolleyes:

So a 2/3 of 180 litres is 120 litres... so with 1/2 for every 5 litres, I'll need at least 24... I'm not sure there's that many in the tub! Ah well, we'll see how it goes.

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Just one question - when you say the water's been there for ages, have you changed it at all? Did you have an airstone or anything to keep the water moving?

If not, I'd just strip and sterilize the tank instead (either PP or bleach will do) and treat the plants in a bucket. Much easier.

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No nothing, it's just sat there not moving! So, if I took all the water out (which I intend to do anyway before I cycle as obviously it's old and yuck) and stones out it's easier than putting some salt cubes in? There is a big driftwood archway in there, which is probably covered in tiny ones I can't see as there are many crevices in it- how could I treat that?

I'm cautious about using bleach!

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Hun, if it's just been sitting there with no circulation there could be bad bacteria sitting around and you really want a perfect environment in which to begin a new cycle.

The most simple solution would be to nuke everything in the tank with either Pottassium Permanganate (neutralized by Hydrogen Peroxide afterwards) or a 1 -20 part bleach solution (rinsed and neutralized with de-chlorinator afterwards) You can find instructions for this proceedure pinned at the top of the Tanks and Equipment section. Maybe PP would be better for use on the driftwood.

Put the plants in a bucket with a snail killing parasiticide while you do this.

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Yeah I was going to empty it and wipe it down anyway- the water was put in to check for leaks when we bought it and was never taken out.

Ok, I will look into the nuking methods and get onto it tomorrow hopefully. Thank for the help :) :)

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The same thing happened to me when I first set-up my tank. I didn't know to look for snails or to QT plants for safety, so I ended up with a snail epidemic, too. If you ever buy plants in future, make sure to QT them before adding them to the tank. All sort of far worse things than snails can enter the tank on plants.

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We did the snail-zapping bleach solution today in the garden. It's fully dry now. The only reason I didn't qt these plants is they came already in the tank and looked healthy and snail-free, so we just left them in there, added a bit of water to check for leaks, and left it whilst we tried to sort a thousand other problems with filters... the next thing is, snails everywhere! Grah well hopefully we have got rid. Thanks for all your help :) if any come back once it's cycled and my fish is in, they'll hopefully get eaten and I won't have to start all over again... I don't even want to think of that!

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