We wife set up a 10 gallon aquarium for her mom.
It has a Beta, two quarry catfish one adult Mystery snail, and 50 to 100 baby snails, plus many more more eggs.
If the fish eat them, they certainly can't keep up.
What the hell should we do with all these snails?
I'm trying to think about how to apply Permaculture principles to an aquarium... its a closed system with basically food and light and water as the inputs. This is also a small aquarium so its much more difficult to manage as it will easily "tip" one direction or the other.
Snails can help eat algae and obviously they are thriving b/c there is a need for their services!
a) get an algae eating fish. There are several types, I think we found (its been a while...) that a Siamensis Algae eater was right as they are active, don't get big and will also eat other foods if algae runs low.
b) add some copper. That'll do in the snails. There are fancy medicines ... or find a piece of copper pipe and toss it in there and see what happens. I once made the mistake of getting fancy, replacing the vinyl tubing with soldered copper ... killed my shrimp in a day. No snails though...
c) as soon as the snails start disappearing, start changing that water! there's a lot more bio material there than the aquarium needs.
d) its hard, but control the feeding. Fish need surprisingly little food.
e) live plants? live plants are wonderful for aquariums
I used to have quite a few aquariums. The snails seemed to live on next to nothing. I think it would be quite a task to starve them out. They'll eat the plants, the fish poop, their own poop... I had the luxury of knowing my snails were native, having brought them in on plants and rocks from the river and creeks around my place. So I'd just return them to the river when they gt out of hand. If you've got a true mystery snail that might not be a responsible course of action, however.
Any chance you've got a local aquarium store that would buy said snails? Or perhaps they could be food for something outside the aquarium? I wonder if chickens would like them once they were large enough..
If memory from my fish keeping days serves, Siamese Algae Eaters like to be in schools of 3 or more, which would be way too much fish for a 10 gallon tank and only exacerbate algae issues. A bristlenose pleco (not the common pleco, they get huge!) might be a good fit, as they are decently effective. Adding plants can help with algae too, since they'll take up the nitrates it uses for food. Plus it makes the fish way happier.
"Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky."
1. Predatory “assassin snails” which you can buy at the fish store (petco etc. may not have them, but stores that are just for fish)
2. The occasional bait-and-purge. Put some cucumber slices on a skewer in the tank. In a short time, the cucumbers will be covered in snails. Lift the whole thing out and compost it.
This just barely keeps it from being solid snails.
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri
Thank you all for great replies.
Evidently, most stores will not but from hobbyists, but then why would they need to?
My mother inlaw has a very poor memory, she feeds them fish a lot, which is why we acquired bottom feeders and snails.
My wife says Mystery snails are a variety of Apple snail?
We had two, one buggered off, but evidently they mated first.
Got some mossballs but other than that the plants are fake.
My youngest is delighted and would like to have a tank of nothing but snails, while that idea sets my skin to crawling.
It might be a great way to produce protein from waste but count me out.
Snails are just shelled slugs, and slugs are objectively terrible...
Earth and composting worms are entirely wholesome and delightful, so clearly I have some arbitrary issues with invertebrates.
Fortunately, feeding snails to my chickens is apt vengeance against the unspeakable horror of their almost faces.
The hens will love them, cucumber and all.