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Myth Busting: Snails Edition

So, maybe you've thought about getting some aquatic snails for your tank. They can be pretty cool, keeping things tidy and adding a bit of nature's charm to your underwater world.

But where to start? Which ones should I choose? Let's clear up some common snail myths in plain and simple language:

Myth 1: Snails Are Pesky Overpopulators

Fact: Some snails do breed like rabbits in the right conditions, but not all of them are troublemakers. Snails actually help keep your tank clean by munching on leftovers and algae.

If they get out of hand, you can handle it with a little effort, like scooping them out (google the 'Lettuce trick' or bringing in snail-eating buddies like Assassin snails, loaches, or Pea Puffers.

Myth 2: Snails Are Lazy Cleaners

Fact: Some folks think snails are lousy at cleaning. 

In fact, they clean up like their life depends on it... because it does.

They'll snack on algae, dead plant bits, and even stray food scraps. They won't replace your fancy filter, but they're like the cleanup crew at a party – they help keep things tidy, because that's literally their job.

Myth 3: All Snails Are Identical in Function

Fact: Snails come in all shapes and sizes, with varying abilities.

Nerite snails are the algae-eating champions that don't breed in freshwater, while Mystery snails are the big, round ones that lay eggs above the waterline. They're wonderful at munching on decaying plant matter, but they do produce more waste than others due to their size.

Malaysian Trumpets are great breeders that work tirelessly to churn and aerate your substrate, while Ramshorns are colorful little guys that are like your general tank clean up contractors.

Choosing the right snail depends on your tank and your taste.

Myth 4: Snails Carry Fish Diseases

Fact: Snails aren't generally germ factories, but they can harbor diseases or parasites, just like fish. It is very rare for them to be able to transfer anything to fish, however.

To stay on the safe side, quarantine new snails and keep the water quality great in your tank!

Myth 5: Snails will eat your plants.

Fact: Another common myth is that snails will devour your plants and leave them bare. This is not true for most common snail species like MTS, Ramshorns, Bladder, or Nerites.

Most snails are detritivores, meaning they feed on dead or decaying organic matter, such as algae, fish waste, or leftover food. They will only nibble on healthy plants if they are starving and the plants are particularly soft and tender. In fact, snails can help keep your plants healthy by removing algae and dead leaves from them.

Certain snails like Mystery Snails have been known to consume the soft parts of some tender aquarium plants, but its uncommon. This has been witnessed with plants such as Nymphoidies Lily plants, some Cryptocorynes, and Sagittaria species.

Myth 6: Snails are useless.

Fact: I want to hammer this home: Snails are an important part of a functioning ecosystem!

They have many benefits for your tank. Here are some of them:

  • Snails help clean your tank by eating algae, waste, and debris.
  • Snails help aerate your substrate by burrowing and moving through it.
  • Snails help balance your ecosystem by  providing food for other animals.
  • Snails continually recycle nutrients in your tank and help maintain your biological cycle --- helping to prevent crashes!
  • Snails add diversity and interest to your tank by displaying different colors, shapes, and behaviors.

Explore More: 

Hungry for even more snail-related wisdom?  "Mystery Snail Magic: Your Complete Aquarium Care Guide."

Conclusion: Snail Myths Busted!

So, there you have it! Snails can be a cool addition to your aquarium once you know the real deal. They help keep your tank balanced, add some charm, and are fun to watch. But remember, like any pet, snails need some love and attention. By busting these common snail myths and understanding their needs, you'll be all set to create a thriving and exciting aquatic world for your fishy buddies.


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