Snails in Your Aquarium
Plants are usually responsible for the introduction of snails to your aquarium. It is also possible that live foods, fish or even equipment may introduce snails. Preventing the introduction of snails is very difficult as the eggs are tiny and can be well hidden. However, an anti snail treatment can be used as a preventive bath for new plants before they are introduced into your aquarium, thus avoiding snail colonization.
Snails are not essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium although some people like to keep them as an ornamental feature. However, snails can transmit disease to your fish as they are hosts for a range of parasites. They consume and ruin aquatic plants and can look unsightly. In addition, they reproduce at an alarming rate and in a short period can take over your aquarium. Large quantities of decomposing snail waste pollutes the water which is bad for your fish and plants. In aquariums which are used for breeding, snails pose a problem as they eat fish eggs.
If snails can be seen in the aquarium, on the glass or in the gravel, then you'll need to use an anti snail treatment as soon as possible. Snails are relatively common in aquariums and in small quantities pose few problems. However, they pollute water and become a serious nuisance, so take action sooner rather than later. When you have a snail epidemic, removing them by hand again and again becomes a time-consuming chore. Total removal of all snails is nearly impossible and usually the epidemic returns. Use an anti snail treatment to eliminate all aquatic snails including those hidden in the sand, gravel, plants and decorations.
Note! In the case of a snail epidemic, it is strongly advised to remove as many snails as you can by hand before or just after treatment. If there is a very large snail die-off, the dead snails will rot and pollute the aquarium water. This in turn may harm your fish and plants. Siphoning your gravel to remove the dead snails buried in it is also advisable (for example, the Malayan live-bearing snail abounds in substrate like gravel).
Algae In Your Aquarium
A small amount of the 'right' algae is natural in an aquarium and can even be beneficial for your fish. Temporary blooms can occur, especially in new aquariums, and they often go of their own accord. Algae blooms can die off when their nutrient supply is exhausted. The resulting dead algae should be removed before it causes poor water quality as a result of rotting. However, it is the persistent and excessive algae growth that poses problems.
Excessive algae looks unsightly by attaching to glass and decor and impeding your view of the fish and plants. It can also affect the water quality causing your fish to suffer gill irritation. Excessive algae growth can pose a threat to aquarium plants as it can settle on the leaves and reduce their ability to photosynthesize.
Excessive algae growth is easy to spot with the naked eye and can take many forms. Most algae are either slimy, hair or thread-like, powdery, or suspended in the water and are usually either green or reddish / brown in colour. Algae growth usually begins with a thin brown film of algae covering the whole aquarium. If this is left untreated a bloom of free floating algae cells may develop leading to dark green slimy sheets covering plants, decor and substrate.
Types of algae commonly encountered are:
• Filamentous Algae.
• Slime Algae (covers everything with a green, jelly like material).
• Beard / Hair Algae (tufts from black to green).
• Brown Slime Algae / Black Algae.
• Blue-Green Algae (not real algae but should treat as such).
• Suspended Algae (causes green water in aquarium).
• Green Algae (harmless in small quantities - can be healthy - uses up excess nutrients).
There are also many transitional forms of Algae. There are over 25,000 species, that thrive in all sorts of conditions. There are many causes of algae growth in aquariums. The main causes of algae growth are biological and one of the biggest problem many aquarists have to deal with is trying to control these biological causes. More specifically, algae flourish on a diet of nitrates and phosphates and light of the right spectrum. However, numerous other factors affect algae growth and it is almost impossible to be certain of the exact cause of an algae problem.
Therefore, the best action is to try and maintain a good biological balance in your aquarium. This will reduce the likelihood of algae growth and keep algae and their annoying side effects at bay. Achieving a good biological balance is more likely to result when you have the following:
1. A dense growth of healthy aquarium plants.
2. Sufficient light (check correct wattage and time approx 10-14 hours per day).
3. A stock of fish suitable for the environment.
4. Regular refreshment of water (approx. 20 to 25% - refer to an aquarium keeping guide).
5. Correct nutrient levels in the water.
6. Discussion of your problems with your dealer (who should be happy to give you advice).