Everything around you feels rosy when you bring snails home for the first time. But soon, you realize that these crawlers have encroached every nook and cranny of your commune tank. And you are left with mixed feelings like every other beginner snail keeper.
Snails have an insatiable urge to breed at a prolific rate. This is why you’ll find egg clutches sticking all over the tank.
So, how do you stop snail hordes from conquering the entire tank? Would it be wise not to let them breed at all?
Let’s find out.
How To Stop Snails From Breeding?
Distinguish the sexes of your snails and set up a male-only or female-only tank. Other slightly inhumane ways would be to lower the water temperature, cut back on their diet, and put less substrate.
For most snail species, the go-to solution would be to differentiate males and females and keep them in separate tanks.
However, not all species are the same. For example, some are hermaphrodites, which means they can breed independently without the need of the opposite sex to fertilize their eggs.
So, your attempt to put them in a separate tank might just be futile. Read more to find out the list of species that aren’t hermaphrodite and check if your snail falls under that category.
How Do I Stop My Aquarium Snails From Breeding?
- Identify their sexes and keep specific gender only
- Identify The Species
- Lower the water temperature
- Not Putting Enough Substrate
- Cut Back On Feeding
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Identify Their Sexes And Keep Specific Gender Only
It is pretty tricky to identify sexes in snails. They all look the same! And I have found that people often mistake their snail’s siphon for their male organ. So, there’s more to it than what meets the eye when differentiating male from female.
Here’s how you do it.
First, pick your snail gently and turn it upside down. Make sure you hold it correctly as their bodies are slimy and can slip through your fingers.
You won’t be able to see your slimy pals’ reproductive organs right off the bat.
When you pick snails up, they’ll try to right their body from being upside down. Then, they will extend their “foot” to grab onto anything within their proximity. So, this is the right time to closely observe your snails’ private parts.
Adjacent to the shell, you will notice two holes to the left and right sides of the internals. These are lungs. Both males and females have them. But what you need to observe closely is the hole to the right.
Females have open and wide holes, whereas males have a sheath that slightly blocks one of the holes. This is where they cache their male organ.
And a reminder: Do not keep your snails out of water for more than 10 minutes. The longer you keep them out of the water, the dryer their body gets.
As soon as you identify them, put them back in their designated tanks.
Identify The Species
Gastropods are one of the unique species that can be both hermaphrodites or either one of the sexes. So, even if you got males only or females only to begin with, your effort would be counterproductive if they turned out to be hermaphrodites.
Most terrestrial snails are hermaphrodites. Some are even simultaneous hermaphrodites, meaning they can change their sex later in their lives.
So, here is a list of popular snails that have differentiated gender:
- Mystery Snail
- Nerite Snail
- Apple Snail
- Assassin Snail
- Rabbit Snail
- Ivory Snail
- Black Devil Snail
- Gold Inca Snail
Now, I will list out a few ways some people opt to prevent their snails from breeding. However, take them with a pinch of salt. Many believe these methods are inhumane and not for faint-hearted hobbyists.
Lower The Water Temperature
Snails get busy mating during late spring or early summer. So, it is clear that they are mostly sexually active when the climate is hotter.
For example, garden snails can lay eggs year-round if the weather is suitable. But if it is cold, they won’t go out of their way to ensure their lineage.
Furthermore, studies show that the lower the water temperature, the slower the snails reach sexual maturity. Research on the freshwater planorbid snails showed that temperature affected juvenile snails’ growth rates and fecundity.
When the mercury drops, snails prepare for hibernation – thus, reducing the frequency of mating.
The ideal water temperature for snails to breed is between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
All that aside, I don’t think this is how you should keep your snails from breeding.
Not Putting Enough Substrate
Some snail species dig the substrate to lay eggs. And when you don’t add adequate substrate, your snails will not luxuriate themselves in breeding.
However, popular species like apple snails, nerite snails, and mystery snails do not need substrate to bury their eggs. Therefore, this method will not work on all species.
Cut Back On Feeding
Breeding requires a tremendous amount of energy. Only after your snails are glutted will they involve in mating. So, many hobbyists starve their snails to prevent this phenomenon.
Although it isn’t a guaranteed method, the breeding frequency will undoubtedly decline.
But What To Do If Snails Breed And You See Eggs All Over The Tank?
First of all, you need not worry because these eggs are unlikely to hatch. However, some may find the sight of eggs all over the tank repulsive. So, if you are one of them, use a thin card to scrape these eggs off your tank. No judgment.
But if it is nerite snails we are talking about, scraping their eggs off can be cumbersome. Also, unlike other species who lay eggs in a bunch, they disperse their eggs all over the tank. So, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you beforehand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Snail Keep Laying Eggs?
A warm temperature coupled with an abundant food supply could explain why your snails keep laying eggs. It is their second nature. Frequent laying of eggs is a sign that your snails are healthy and well-fed.
How Do I Control My Aquarium Snail Population?
Search for eggs sticking on the glass and driftwoods regularly. If there are too many snails, you need to set traps and pluck them out manually. Or you can introduce assassin snails that are infamous for eating snails.
How Do I Get Rid Of Snails In My Aquarium Naturally?
If you are unwilling to use chemical products, you need to introduce predators like assassin snails. Another way would be to remove the eggs before they hatch. Also, put traps and bait and remove them manually.
How To Get Rid Of Baby Snails?
Baby snails can be easy targets for assassin snails and carnivore cichlids. Also, you can put bait like cucumber to attract snails. After leaving it overnight, you will find a walk of snails hovering over it. Put them in an air-tight bag along with the cucumber, and toss them in the garbage.
How Do I Get Rid Of Snail Eggs In My Garden?
Search for objects and areas that provide shade and harbor snails. You will need to look under plant foliage, logs, and rocks. Turn these shelters upside down to spot snail eggs. And once you find them, scrape them off, put them in a sealable plastic bag, and dispose of them.
Apart from separating male and female snails, there is no appropriate method to stop snails from breeding. Although there are certain techniques to prevent your slimy pals from copulating, they are controversial.
Rather than lowering water temperature and cutting their provisions, it would be better if you prevented eggs from hatching. This way, you get to keep these beautiful snails in your tank without worrying about the baby boom.