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I need a little snail birth control. I don't want the massacre I'd get with a clown loach. Just want to slow them down a bit. Are there any loaches that don't get so big and aggressive?

There is a small loach at the local fish store right now that is labeled a checkboard loach but it looks too long to be one. The owner said it's what it came in labeled as but says the labels from his supplier have been a little hinky lately so he doesn't dare truly say it is. Body on it is more eel-like than a clown loach but not as long as a kuhli loach. Does have sort of a checkerboard pattern but the body shape is wrong. Color is about the same as a chinese algae eater.
Cheap enough. But if they turn out to have totally insatiable appetites I'm not sure I want them. Not going to be an easy fish to net back out either.

I like snails. I like my shrimp. Tired of hand picking.

Will the common little kuhli loach eat small snails? Doesn't seem like they get big enough to cause a massacre.

Suggestions?
 

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I'm not familiar with the checkerboard, but a good choice for a small non-aggressive snail-eating loach would be Botia striata, the Zebra loach. If you would like to confirm the ID for what you saw at the LFS, you should be able to do it here:

http://www.loaches.com/

It's going to be a little difficult talking your charges, whichever loach you end up with, into a snail conservation program, I think! Generally, they don't get rid of them all, though, especially in a heavily planted tank.
 

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Hi Sue,

I've never relied on fish for snail control, so I can't help there, but a method that has worked well for me in the past is to use a canteloupe rind as bait. Just cut the meat off (and eat it...yummy!) and stick the rind in the tank meat-side up. You can cut as big a piece of rind as you want. In practically no time, it will be covered in snails. Take it out, rinse the snails away, and repeat as necessary. Other stuff like zuchinni, apples, etc. work, but I like the melon best because of its large surface area -- you get more snails at once. Don't forget to wash and scrub well to remove any nasty pesticides etc.

In my experience, snail population is primarily a function of food availability, so if the problem is really bad, look into what it is they're eating. Excess fish food, algae, or decaying plant matter should be removed as much as possible.

Hope it helps, and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was looking at that site last night. Couldn't figure it out. A good close look would send them peeking out from under driftwood. Kind of interesting, they were shy but curiosity would get the better of them and they would have to peek back at me.

Honestly I don't mind snails. They don't really bother any of my plants except for dying leaves and eat a lot of debris that fish won't touch.

I've always had some in the tank. They get too many and I pick them out. Very shortly I'll be able to plunk the excess in a natural pond outside so no guilty conscience. I just barely got some MTS and don't want them slowed down quite yet. The pond snails and the ramshorns are hardy outside year round.
I've also got two big mystery snail and they work the glass more than anything else.

Maybe I should just keep hand picking.
 

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Sue said:
I need a little snail birth control. I don't want the massacre I'd get with a clown loach. Just want to slow them down a bit. Are there any loaches that don't get so big and aggressive?

There is a small loach at the local fish store right now that is labeled a checkboard loach but it looks too long to be one. The owner said it's what it came in labeled as but says the labels from his supplier have been a little hinky lately so he doesn't dare truly say it is. Body on it is more eel-like than a clown loach but not as long as a kuhli loach. Does have sort of a checkerboard pattern but the body shape is wrong. Color is about the same as a chinese algae eater.
Cheap enough. But if they turn out to have totally insatiable appetites I'm not sure I want them. Not going to be an easy fish to net back out either.

I like snails. I like my shrimp. Tired of hand picking.

Will the common little kuhli loach eat small snails? Doesn't seem like they get big enough to cause a massacre.

Suggestions?
Sue,

i think clown loach grows very slow. thats one of reason adult clown loach is very expensive. i like a way clown loach sleep. :lol: i had been told that if you want some, try to ask them to pick the leader for you. it seems to be hard, but try coz leader is the best fish in that group(only in clown loaches as far as i know). i don't know if its true or not. aobut loach at your LFS. you said color is about the same as a chinese algae eater. is that zipper loach? just with different name :?: :roll: some loaches eat snails. is that kuhli loach like a small/thin snake? i mean a body shape. if you really want to control snails, buy dwarf puffer. i'm 100% positive they will eat all of your snails in few days, but they are aggressive. since you like your shrimps, don't buy it. dwarf puffer like shrimps as you do i'm sure. :lol:

Tim
 

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aquaverde said:
I'm not familiar with the checkerboard, but a good choice for a small non-aggressive snail-eating loach would be Botia striata, the Zebra loach.
I added 2 zebra loaches into my aquarium a few weeks back. I wanted more since they like to be in groups of 3 or more, but all they had left was 2. I was going to add 2 more the other day but had an ick outbreak (Got to love it when the weather outside changes from 80 to 32 in a few hrs. Anyhow, these are great loaches. I got them for the exact reason sue wants them, something small, non-agressive, but that still eats snails. These little loaches I have in here are about 1-1/2" long or so and are playful as can be. They also have done a fantastic job on my snails. I used to see a ton of snails in my tank, now I see very few and many empty shells (that the loaches check constantly by flipping them over. They have done such a fantastic job they even ate my smaller amanos and now I just bought 50 MTS' off of aquabid and hoping a few of those can survive so I can have atleast a few snails in there while the loaches take out the smaller ones. Make sure your shrimp are big or they will definatelly eat them for lunch. I have seen no babies/small snails since I added these 2 into my 55G. They don't mess with your leaves and leave V's in them like clowns will, and they stay at about the 3" mark. Very non-aggressive and are doing great in my community tank. I would definately recommend zebra loaches to anyone looking for a population control in a community enviornment that want the loaches to stay a tad bit smaller.

Matt
 

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i woulnd't buy too many fish for functional purposes... once the snails are gone, will you stillwant your loaches?
 

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hubbahubbahehe said:
i woulnd't buy too many fish for functional purposes... once the snails are gone, will you stillwant your loaches?
I know I do. They are some of the most playful and friendly critters around. I love the personalities they have. It's fun to watch them play and scavenge around.

Matt
 

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Ok, just making sure! :D

In that case, my vote is for Yoyo loaches
 

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Non of my nor my friend's, Khulis have ever eaten a snail that we've seen.

My Yoyo loaches sure love them though , get a max of about 3-4"
 

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GRGeorge said:
Botia sidthimunki .....pretty small...pretty efficient.....IME
Wouldn't I love a raft of those for my tanks. Been looking for them for over 6 months with no luck. Saw a post recently that Absolutely Fish in Jersey has them- $20 a pop! :shock:

But, what a great loach. I wish.
 

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James, have you tried special ordering them through a lfs? if you know the owner real well, you just strike up a conversation with them and more often than not they will offer to special order for a decent price.. 20 bucks is too much....Try 10 bucks? That's what I've seen them for. Good luck, bro.
 

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I hound several of them on a weekly basis. Some go down to Jersey or elsewhere and choose fish in person, others work through a distributor. None so far have seen B. sidthimunku, or so they say. That includes the lone aquarium-only LFS that claimed, "just tell us what you want, the owner can get anything", and subsequently got none of the four species I named.
 

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aquaverde said:
I hound several of them on a weekly basis. Some go down to Jersey or elsewhere and choose fish in person, others work through a distributor. None so far have seen B. sidthimunku, or so they say. That includes the lone aquarium-only LFS that claimed, "just tell us what you want, the owner can get anything", and subsequently got none of the four species I named.
Man, that's a disappointment. How bouts aquabid.com? or any other online vendors of fish?
 

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aquaverde said:
I hound several of them on a weekly basis. Some go down to Jersey or elsewhere and choose fish in person, others work through a distributor. None so far have seen B. sidthimunku, or so they say. That includes the lone aquarium-only LFS that claimed, "just tell us what you want, the owner can get anything", and subsequently got none of the four species I named.
Man, that's a disappointment. How bouts aquabid.com? or any online vendors of fish?
 

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I'm simply not willing to pay the shipping necessary for buying fish online. Patience is a virtue that is well-exercised in this hobby, and getting there is part of the enjoyment for me. It took me 6 months to find SAEs, but I have plenty of them now. B. sidthimunki is on the red list, so it's no wonder it is rare in the hobby now.

One day I may get a call, or walk in to see something unexpected in a tank in a store somewhere, and I'll get to go home with a treasure!
 

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I totally agree, in every single aspect of aquarium keeping, patience is a virtue, whether it's waiting for a tank to cycle, to waiting for your plants to grow in ...etc.etc.etc. Well, I hope you don't have to wait too long! :D
 
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