Calluna V. (callunav) wrote in aquaria,
Calluna V.

euthanizing snails?

I have a planted 10 gallon aquarium full of 'feeder' guppies I'm rehabilitating from neglect at the moment, and it is being overrun by tiny snails. They're not the Malaysian trumpet snails that do a nice job aerating substrate, they're the little round snails with a bit of a point on them that probably do eat algae but in miniscule amounts. They come in on plants, and I'm used to them, but there's a LOT. I don't mind a few of them, but I have way too many, and am worried about what they're going to do to the stability of the tank, both in population boom, and if/when they have die-offs. I've gotten the tank back to a degree of health, but it's not as robust a system as it should be yet, and besides, it's annoying to have to scrape snails off my glass just to be able to enjoy looking at my fish.

I used to be able to feed snails to my turtle, but I no longer have a turtle, so that's out.

My favorite aquarium store suggested a yoyo loach to eat them, which sounded great until I got home and read up on them and discovered that A: even though they're small, the tank's still too small for them, B: they're schooling fish and I'd need to get at least 5 or 6 of them for them to be happy, C: they need a sand or very smooth substrate and I have pebbles, and D: they're boisterous enough that they'd be likely to upset my guppies. Also, it's possible they'd eat the fry, which would make me sad. So that looks like a big round 'no', and I am disappointed in my otherwise favorite aquarium store.

I'd rather not add chemicals to the tank that will have any effect on my fish, and it's hard to see how anything I add to the tank /wouldn't/ affect the fish. I don't mind hand-collecting snails to winnow down the population - and I don't mind that it won't get them all and I'll have to keep doing it - it's just a question of what I do with them afterwards. If I could feed them to something I would. But if I have to kill them to no good purpose, what's the best way? I can't dump them where they might get into the natural ecosystem of my part of the world, and I don't want to just resort to hitting them with rocks.

Advice? I know how to euthanize a fish - clove oil and then alcohol - but what about dozens and dozens of tiny snails? Also, is there anything I can do in maintaining the tank to make conditions such that they're less likely to breed like crazy?

Thanks for any thoughts.
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