If you have an aquarium around, snails may end up in it only due to two possible reasons. You introduced them deliberately as pets or due to the hatching of snail eggs that travel with aquatic plants and water.
Either way, snails are perfect for your aquarium, especially if you have other aquatic organisms inside. They help maintain health and balance by removing algae, dead plants, uneaten food, and other detritus that usually accumulate unchecked.
If you don’t clean out your aquarium regularly or leave it unattended for long, your snail might not survive. One way to do this is by learning how to get rid of snail poop in your aquarium.
Why Do Snails Poop In An Aquarium?
As mentioned before, snails help remove organic matter in the tank. The downside is that they contribute their share of waste after the cleanup job by pooping.
Incidentally, snails poop often. You could clean out the aquarium and find a lot of snail poop back there within a very short time.
Typically, snails are very picky about what they eat because they need to consume a lot of calcium to keep their shells healthy. So if your snails are pooping more than usual, then it’s a sign that they’re eating more food than they usually would.
This could also be a clear indication that your aquarium needs an immediate health check.
What Happens To Snail Poop?
Snail poop increases the bioload of the aquarium. It contains organic and inorganic matter made up of carbon and other minerals. Sometimes, it also contains undigested food.
Organic waste does not readily dissolve into the aquarium water. However, it will eventually mix and break down into smaller particles over time. These particles can affect the tank’s pH, among other physical factors affecting aquatic life.
Also, these particles could contribute to the hardening of the aquarium water. This is why it is vital to get rid of snail poop regularly.
How Do You Remove Snail Poop From Your Fish Tank?
Snail poop may be trapped on the aquarium’s decor, ornaments, and substrate. Sometimes, you may find it dried out on the body of the tank itself.
There are many ways to remove it, depending on where it is present. Some of the methods are:
Using A Net
You might be lucky enough with the snail poop floating on top of the aquarium. When that happens, you can use a net to scoop it out.
Using A Fish Gravel Vacuum
You can also use a vacuum to siphon the poop and other waste materials that may be trapped in the sand, gravel, or ornaments. Take absolute care not to siphon off tiny snails in the process.
Directly put the vacuum onto the areas affected by snail poop to remove it. However, if it is embedded deeply into the sand, rock, or gravel, you can first rake them over. Then use the vacuum to siphon it out.
Also, make sure that there are no residual chemicals in the vacuum that could harm the snails, cause a pH imbalance, or contribute to water hardness.
Do A Spot Clean
Snails also poop along the edges of the aquarium, which may smear the tank’s body. Wipe the inside of the tank with a damp cloth to remove poop slime and smear stains.
Make sure to do this daily to prevent the buildup.
Cleaning Out The Entire Tank
Sometimes, it is better to clean out the entire aquarium. However, we advise against emptying the entire tank. This may change the water parameters substantially, sending the aquatic life into shock.
You could also clean the aquarium with fish and snails inside.
Here is the step by step guide:
● Remove all the snails and place them in a temporary safe tank with similar conditions.
● Remove all the ornaments, gravel, and rocks.
● Scrape out the snail poop from the aquarium glass using an algae scraper.
● Rake over the substrate to bring the buried dirt, poop, and other waste to the surface and siphon it.
● Clean the substrate and set it aside.
● You can clean the other items such, as the decor and ornaments, separately by scrubbing. Use bleach for persistent stains. Do not use soap or detergent.
● Ensure you rinse well to remove all traces of bleach and let the items dry completely.
● However, take care while cleaning up the filter as you may lose beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help regulate harmful chemicals such as ammonia and nitrates.
● Change the substrate or reuse the one you already cleaned.
● Refill the tank if required and check the water parameters.
● Return the ornaments, gravel, and snails to the aquarium.
How to Clean The Substrate?
The method for cleaning the aquarium substrate depends on its type. For example, coir substrate (coconut fiber) can be cleaned by baking at 200°c for 1-2 hours to sterilize it.
After baking, the substrate should be left to cool down and dampened before you place it back inside the aquarium.
You can clean sphagnum moss by placing it in a sieve or colander and rinsing thoroughly with water at room temperature. Avoid using boiling water as this might harm the moss.
The water condition in your aquarium is very important for the growth and health of snails and other aquatic animals. Snails, in particular, are very sensitive to changes in water conditions.
This is why you should remove all dirt and organic waste from the aquarium, including poop. This guide comprehensively describes how to do it the right way.