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Unwanted Snails

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Tuesday, 1 October 2002, at 3:38 a.m.

I have somewhat of a problem, which may not seem so to some of you at all, but I can't seem to see the forest for the trees, as they say.

I have a bare-bottomed q-tine tank, in which I've always used two plastic plants, a small grapewood log, and a rock cave as cover for new fish.

10 days ago, I got a Leopard Cactus Pleco (Pseudacanthicus Leopardus), and placed him in q-tine. One of the reasons I q-tine is not only to address possible health issues, but to also try to determine what a new fish eats. Because this new pleco didn't eat for the first 3 days, I decided to add a plant from his previous environment to help him feel more at home, as well as help supplement his diet, if he was in fact previously eating plants.

Well, I don't know if that did the trick, but all of a sudden he started eating bloodworms, Hikari Sinking Wafers, Hikari Algae wafers, and spirulina tablets.

Since this fish seems to be so rare around here (I've never, ever seen one before anywhere), and so beautiful, I don't want to take the chance of making a mistake with him, so I figured I'd keep him in q-tine for a month, just to be safe. With that thought it mind, I decided to replace the two plastic plants in q-tine, with two real ones, which I did this afternoon.

I rinsed the plants in running tap water, then placed them in the tank. Within a couple of hours, I spotted a tiny snail on the front glass. I promptly smashed him. Now, 6 hours later, I can see tiny creatures crawling on the glass. So, herein lies my problem.

I'd like to eradicate these snails completely and quickly, like tomorrow. Now, I've added real plants to tanks with clowns before, and I've only seen a snail once about 6 months ago, whe he was stuck up against the intake of a powerhead down in a UGF uplift tube. I figure some snails came in on some new plants, and the clowns took care of them.

But, I don't have a clown in the q-tine tank. The pleco is alone. And, even if I did, I'm unsure if a clown will eat them into extinction. Plus, I'd be taking a risk putting a small clown into the q-tine tank. I'm not worried about compatibility so much as I am about stressing out the clown, so he gets ICH, which he might then transfer to my prize pleco.

What should I do? Can I use some kind of snail killer without hurting anything else, especially my pleco? And, would my plants be safe with a snail-icide?

Or, should I move the pleco into another tank, while I treat with snail killer? I'd rather not risk the inhabitants of my larger tank, so I would probably put the pleco in a 10 gallon, which has two 1 inch clowns, a 3 inch butterfly pleco, and 4 molly fry.

Now, the thing I worry about most there is that the ecosystem might not be able to sustain the two super-pooper plecos, and the close quarters might cause compatibility problems with the plecos? Am I being practical?

To summarize, I see that I have 3 choices, and I need to pick the one that will be the safest, yet effective way to deal with these snails:

1) Put a clown in the q-tine tank, and hope it eradicates the snails. I'm not even sure a clown would annhilate a population of tiny snails, and if a clown can, how long would he have to be there? And, I risk the clown getting ICH.

2) Don't move any fish, but use a smail killing chemical (yikes!).

3) Move the pleco into a community 10 gallon, and risk territorial aggression between the plecos, high bioload levels, and although not much of a concern given that the pleco appears healthy, a small risk of disease to the other inhabitants of the 10 gallon.

What should I do? All responses from those with experience getting rid of snails in tanks with fish and plants would be greatly appreciated.



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