Will a Clown Loach control my Aquarium Snail problem?
Clown Loach, as well as many other species in the same family, are often marketed as 'snail eaters' or 'pest snail control' for aquariums, but is this fair, and is this wise?
While yes clown loach will eat snails (and shrimp!) snails are not really an ideal staple meal for any fish. Snails can carry parasites, and most loaches will prefer a balanced diet of meaty foods - bloodworm in particular - and vegetable treats or pellets.
Buying a 'pest controller' for your aquarium may also ignore the underlying problem of why you have pests in the first place. The most common cause for an explosion in a snail population is overfeeding and poor aquarium hygiene. Ultimately its poor aquarium management that may have led to the problem.
Clown Loach are known to be a very delicate and sensitive fish, which is particularly susceptible to white spot when introduced to a new aquarium or stressed. Before you take the lazy option and buy clowns to control snails, remember that a snail-infested fish tank is likely to be exactly the kind of polluted, poor water quality environment that could kill them shortly after introduction.
Aquarium Plants and Snails
If you want to introduce live aquarium plants (the primary source of snail eggs) its always a good idea to treat them first by way of a plant dip. Soaking plants in a diluted solution of a snail treatment product like Esha Gastropex overnight, or even for a few hours, may stunt or prevent the hatching of snails or other pests that may hitchhike in on the plants.
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