Aquarium – Populating the tank – Snails

One of the things I’m trying with this tank that I hadn’t done before is including some snails. I’ve had infestations of small snails in other tanks in the past, and this tank has those too, but it also has some large Nerite Snails. These are nice because they come in many different varieties and they require salt water to breed, so they won’t overrun your tank.

The tank is set up with some plants, a few fish and a few snails
Another view of the tank to give perspective on the size. There is one Nerite snail on the bottom of the Stargate

I picked up several snails from Shrimp Keepers Anonymous, a local vendor here in Calgary. I bought two Zebra Nerites, two Tiger Nerites, two Tiger Nerites and four Malaysian Trumpet Snails. I was taking a chance on the Trumpet snails as I know they can breed rapidly, but I had something in mind for that possibility.

The reason I got them is that the Trumpet snails burrow through the substrate which helps prevent pockets of gas build up.

Sadly, one of the Tiger Nerites didn’t last. I’ll have to replace it at some point.

A container of snails ready to be added to the tank
The initial “Snail Dump”. Most of them landed upside down.
Starting to spread out, a Zebra, Tiger, and Fruit Nerite.
One of the Tigers is hitching a ride on one of the other Nerites
Dispersing across the tank
A Zebra Nerite on the bottom of the Stargate
A Zebra Nerite on the bottom of the Stargate
A Zebra Nerite crawling on the driftwood
A Zebra Nerite on the Stargate and a Tiger Nerite in the front corner of the tank
A Zebra Nerite on the driftwood with a shrimp. There is actually a second shrimp on the wood under the first one.

The solution to keeping the number of Trumpet snails and other pest snails that inevitably come in with live plants is to get some Assassin Snails. Their preferred food is other snails. They prefer to go after snails that are similar or smaller in size to themselves. As long as my population of Trumpet and pest snails is sufficient, the Nerites, being quite a bit larger, should be safe. I’ve had the Assassins for about two months now and so far they haven’t gone after the Nerites.

I initially just got two, but they couldn’t keep up so I picked up five more. One died, so I currently have six in total. They also burrow and help keep the substrate from compacting and building up gases. They also breed very slowly so they shouldn’t overrun the tank.

So far they are working out well, there are still a lot of Trumpet snails and the other small snails, but they aren’t overrunning the tank and at the moment there seems to be a good balance between them and the Assassins.

The first two Assassins
Off hunting!
Hanging out near a plant that has several pest snails on it
Several Malaysian Trumpet snails. The smaller ones are potential meals for the Assassins.
An Assassin hanging out with a Crystal Black Shrimp
An Assassin heading underground

In looking at these I’ve realized I don’t have any good shots of the Fruit Nerites. They seem to prefer the darker areas of the tank, or the corners where it’s hard to get a good picture of them. Or they climb right up the front where I can’t get a shot of their shell. It’s interesting because it’s got a lot of small protrusions rather than being smooth. They aren’t as colourful as the other Nerites but they do have an interesting look.

A Fruit Nerite hanging out on the driftwood
A little fuzzy but you can see the protrusions on the shell of this Fruit Nerite as it crawls up the front of the tank
Fuzzy again, but kind of shows the pattern of ridges on the shell of the Fruit Nerite

I’m enjoying having the snails in the tank, it will be challenging to see if I can keep the population balanced.

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