Snails are always welcome inhabitants in the aquarium, like the earthworm in compost or the ants in the forest. They fulfil important tasks, are interesting and attractive to look at too. However, there are also snail species that are hermaphroditic and seem to reproduce uncontrollably when a large food supply is present. The result is a "snail plague". Most purchased ornamental snails have a distinctive gender and therefore reproduce in a controlled manner.
What is the cause?
However the problem isn’t the snail, it’s the cause of its proliferation. An oversupply of food guarantees mass reproduction. Without snails the food remains would "rot" and cause other problems. You may not realise you’re overfeeding because there may not be any leftover food visible on the ground. Flake food and granulated food need to be eaten up completely within three minutes after feeding and there should be nothing left on the ground. If there is you’re overfeeding. It’s better to feed in several small portions.
But "waste" also arises when food is eaten. The grating and gnawing of the fish leave tablets crumbling, flakes are torn apart and leftovers fall to the bottom of the aquarium. All these food remains are absorbed by the snails. If you can’t prevent this, you’ll need to carry out more frequent water changes and remove the mulm (sludge). With the AquaEx and Aqua In-Out products for the Gravel cleaning you can easily siphon and remove food residues from between the pebbles.
What happens to the snails?
The simplest method used to be an "anti-snail agent". This was not only cruel for the animals, but also a heavy burden for your aquarium and possibly a problem for the other dwellers suffering from a strong increase of NO2 and NH4 as well as from an oxygen deficiency. We are pleased to announce that these active ingredients are no longer allowed on the market.
Another alternative are snail-eating fish or snails. These inhabitants are not always compatible with your previous stock and should only be considered if they are. Animals should never serve a purpose, they should be used mindfully.
The best and most gentle method is the introduction of so-called snail traps, such as the JBL LimCollect . A food is placed in them as bait which attracts the excess snails overnight, and the snails can’t escape again. The snails you catch can then be passed on as food for puffer fish and other snail-eating fish, or the local pet shops will be happy to receive them for their fish stock. If you use the trap daily for 1-2 weeks, the plague will return to a normal snail stock. In our experience, the catch is most successful with JBL NovoTab or PlanktonPur .
We wish you a lot of success and some patience. And please keep in mind that good maintenance prevents problems in the first place.