Snail eggs can end up in your aquarium from infested live plants and tank decorations.
A simple way to get rid of snail eggs is by scraping them off with a thin, flexible card or vacuuming them with a siphon. It is advisable to always quarantine new plants for a few weeks or give them a bleach dip before putting them in your tank. The most important thing is to identify the eggs before they hatch and colonize your tank, as they can multiply quite rapidly.
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In this article, we are going to explore simple ways on how to remove snail eggs from aquarium plants.
How to remove snail eggs from aquarium plants
Using A Dip/Bath
A common way of reducing snail populations is by using a bath or dip for new plants to kill snail eggs and snails before they find their way into your aquarium.
You probably know that salt can harm slugs or snails on land, but it can also dehydrate them underwater. Simply prepare a solution of 1 cup per gallon of water using kosher salt or aquarium salt. Do not use iodized salt or table salt, as this contains preservatives and other chemicals that are not suitable for your plants.
Wait for all the salt to dissolve and then rinse the plants for fifteen to twenty seconds in the saltwater (with the roots suspended above the water). Rinse the plants once more in dechlorinated fresh water before planting them in your aquarium.
Related article: Beginner’s guide to aquarium plants
You can find aluminum sulfate in the salts and spices section of some grocery stores. Dissolve the aluminum sulfate in warm water (1 to 3 tablespoons per gallon of water). Soak your plants in this solution for 2 to 3 hours (or up to 24 hours in weaker solutions). This method is slightly less effective at eliminating snail eggs, but it works great for snails. Rinse the plants in fresh water before adding them in your aquarium.
Regular chlorine bleach is one of the most effective ways to remove snail eggs from aquarium plants, but you need to be extra careful when using it as bleach can be rather corrosive. Always wear gloves and protect your workspace when using this method.
Soak your plants in a solution of 5% bleach (about ¾ cups per gallon of water, or a ratio of 1:19) for two to three minutes, and then rinse them in dechlorinated water.
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Potassium permanganate is commonly used as an ingredient in medications for bacterial infections and parasites, but it is also available in some hardware stores where it is sold as a strong oxidizer for removing iron from appliances such as water softeners. Due to its strong oxidizing properties, potassium permanganate will react to any organic compound (even your skin) so you should always wear gloves and protect your workspace when using this product.
Mix potassium permanganate with warm water until the solution forms a dark pink color. It is hard to give an accurate dosage as different sources contain different levels of potassium permanganate. However, for most aquarium medications, the measurement is about twice the recommended dosage when used as medication.
Dip your aquarium plants in the solution for ten to twenty minutes and then rinse them in fresh dechlorinated water. Once the potassium permanganate is deactivated, you can add the plants in your aquarium.
One of the easiest ways to cut down the number of snails in your aquarium is by using less food to feed your fish. Snails have a rapid reproduction cycle, but they can only create new snails if there is sufficient sustenance. As such, only feed your fish just enough food for them to eat without leaving leftovers.
In addition to eating leftover food, snails also feed on algae and decaying plant matter so be sure to regularly scrub off visible algae and prune your plants when cleaning your fish tank. An aquarium siphon may also come in handy to gravel vacuum the substrate and get rid of organic debris or excess mulm that snails can snack on.
Feeding Them To Certain Fish species
Snails and snail eggs can be a reliable source of food for snail-loving fish species. Some of these fish species thrive on the calcium-rich and high-protein snails while others like the pufferfish crunch on their hard shells to strengthen their teeth. Other fish that can eat snails and their eggs include:
- Clown loach
- Bala shark
- Zebra loach
- Dwarf chain loach
- Betta fish
- Cory catfish
- Yoyo loach
You can feed the snail eggs directly to these fish or let them hatch first. Some of the snail-loving fish above prefer to eat baby snails as these are easier to digest.
Prevention is better than cure if you are determined to prevent a snail infestation in your aquarium. Before introducing new plants, be sure to inspect and manually remove any snails and snail eggs. Run the plants under running water to help get rid of any unseen eggs and then place them in a quarantine tank with fertilizers and light. Watch out for any snails that hatch and then remove them continuously.
Snail eggs can take one to four weeks to hatch, depending on water temperature and the snail species, so you need to exercise some patience during this process.
When you control their population, snails can actually be beneficial for your aquarium. They help control algae growth and add to the biodiversity of your fish tank. Some great species you can add to your aquarium include:
- Trumpet snails – these proficient burrowers can help avoid possible anaerobic pocket problems often found in deep gravel/sand beds.
- Nerite snails – Nerite snails are a great option as they will never overpopulate your aquarium.
- Mystery snails/apple snails – These are arguably the best freshwater snails you can get for your aquarium. They feed on algae and detritus, and it is fairly easy to control their population (by simply regulating the water temperature to around 21 to 23 degrees Celsius).
A relatively less popular method you can use to control the number of snails in your aquarium is by using certain types of snails known as assassin snails. These snails will eat the smaller snails in your tank, which helps reduce their population.