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Guest DaveOponic

Snails in the growbeds ..... what to do?

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Early this morning I found several small snails eating the Pak Choy seedlings in one of the growbeds. The snails are tiny cone shaped, not like the common garden snail. I removed about six of them from the seedlings but when I tried to pick up some of the snails on the surface of the clay balls, they just dropped into the grow bed.

Can anyone suggest a method of removing the snails without using something that might poison the fish or plants?

I think these snails may have come into the system via water hyacinth. I don't think they have climbed up the grow beds as they are too high.

I know a few tricks to stop the common garden snail or slugs in a soil garden, like using ashes around the plants etc. I am sure that there will be too many of these pests to just pick them off the leaves every morning as they are so tiny I assume they are part of a litter, so probably hundreds of them in the growbed.

Dave

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Murray had a similar problem with tiny snails, blocking pumps and inlets, getting in the grow beds, pipework and so on!

I think the only way he got rid of them was to completely dismantle the system and start afresh!! I'm not sure if he found any other way to do it, just as well he was replacing the "infected" system anyway!

Cheers IanK:D

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Hi Bunya Boy, I still have the snails in a big way...they are only in the two systems that have sleepie cod in them. Obviously the sleepie cod don't dine on snails.

The other systems that have Jade and Silver perch do not have the snails in any number at all.

I have overcome the problem for the moment by fitting a pump with a larger inlet that sends the snails for a fast trip around the system. I imagine that loads of them are being "processed" by the pump and thereby becoming part of the system "nutrients"

Still looking for a fish type that can co-exist with the sleepies that like eating snails.

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Hi,

It may be necessary to empty the system of fish and plants and add a heap of chlorine to the water to rid it of the water snails completely.

It's a radical approach but better to clean them out properly than have them linger on for months.

Gary

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I have overcome the problem for the moment by fitting a pump with a larger inlet that sends the snails for a fast trip around the system. I imagine that loads of them are being "processed" by the pump and thereby becoming part of the system "nutrients"

Still looking for a fish type that can co-exist with the sleepies that like eating snails.

I am only finding these tiny snails in the growbed. In fact only in one growbed even though they are adjacent and flooded from the same pipe. I haven't seen the snails in the tank at all or on the walls etc. They are the cone shaped snail, like a periwinkle but very small, only 1 or 2 cm length.

At present they are not a nuisance, I have found less than a dozen on my Pak Choy seedlings. Several plants have been eaten so my response has been to plant another 50 or so seedlings. I check every morning and evening and have removed a few each time.

I have some bio-control buddies at work ..... frogs, toads and small lizards are regular visitors to my growbeds so I am hoping I won't have to empty the GB any time soon.

Thanks for replies, Murray & BB

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Hi Dave,

Your snails appear to be a different type to those that have infested Murray's system. His are white and breed up in the pump and other irrigation fittings.....to the point where they have blocked the pump and required manual removal at very frequently intervals.

These water snails are another good reason not to introduce foreign organisms (or water) into your aquaponics system. In Murray's case, he had little choice......it seems that they might have come from his dam (the source of his fish tank water).

Gary

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Hi,

It may be necessary to empty the system of fish and plants and add a heap of chlorine to the water to rid it of the water snails completely.

It's a radical approach but better to clean them out properly than have them linger on for months.

Gary

Thanks Gary

I think I'll try picking them off for the time being unless they appear in large numbers. I am going to try laying out some treats for them (lettuce leaves) and see if I can catch a bunch of them and remove them to keep the numbers down. Meanwhile will do some research on wht eats them.

I don't know whether these kind of snails are a pest in Aust. I was surprised to see them in fresh water in my system as they look more like a saltwater snail you find at the beach. I rarely see the garden snail you see in Aust. but quite a few slugs in the garden and also millions of millipedes.

So far I have been fairly safe from insect pests in my AP systems, the main one being a white scaly bug which occasionally gets out of control - light vegetable oil/mineral oil fixes these bugs but mostly the ants visit my GB's and eat these white critters. Presumably the snails are feeding on the solid waste at the bottom of the GB and surface now and then for a vegetarian snack.

Dave

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Dave,

For the garden snail you can use stale beer or an alternative is to boil some yeast and honey in water and place in shallow containers. (If they are sea snails you might want to add some salt.:rolleyes:)

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Thanks Jonty

The snails are now well and truly out of control in one growbed. These are not garden snails. They are a tiny cone shaped snail, like the kind you would find on the beach or in a rockpool. I am actually wondering whether they came in when I introduced the Barramundi fry as the fry were kept in sea water and spent three days acclimatising to fresh. Perhaps the Barra. babies carried the snail eggs/larvae in with them.

I am growing Pak Choy and it is getting eaten leaf by leaf daily. Each day there are more and more tiny snails. Each day/evening I squash probably 50 to 100 snails. It is difficult as they often drop down into the clay balls before I can squish them between thumb and forefinger.

I laid lettuce leaves out this week and caught and destroyed scores of tiny baby snails. It is a plague.

I will try sprinkling salt around but doubt whether this will be effective as it will only kill those in direct contact and will wash away quickly each time the GB floods.

I think the only solution will be to shut down the growbed and remove clay balls and completely clean everything, pipes and all.

Dave

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I think you were right Gary. Still have snails months later. I am now sprinkling them with salt every time I see them on the surface of growbeds... they like to come up when the GB is flooded. Concentrated salt kills them alright but there are still too many to count and tiny ones as well.

I now plan to wait till all the Tilapia have been eaten and shutdown the system, empty the growbeds and chlorinate the gravel and clay balls, pipe and fish tank.

Do you think I could avoid emptying the GB's by running chlorine through and then flushing the system thoroughly? Since chlorine (pool chlorine) would kill the snails, don't want it to kill my fish/plants.

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My snails are under control. I find a few small slugs in the grow beds that I feed to the fish, but very few. The snails show up in the DWC tank and Sump. I keep 3-4 Koi or Gold fish in the DWC and a dozen in the sump and they eat the little ones and eggs. I have not seen them in my grow beds or the fish tank.

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Hi Dave,

Chlorine will definitely kill the fish, and the bacteria, and the plants won't care for it either. When it comes to snails, it's a harsh solution to a desperate problem.

While not all species of snail are so pervasive, I've seen little white snails proliferate in a system to the point where they required mechanical removal every day (or they'd stop the pump). The best way to deal with these creatures is to empty the system of fish and plants and add enough chlorine to dispense with snails......and then to cycle the system again.

Gary

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I recently had a bit of a slug problem, and I found that sprinkling some fine Lime powder (used for pH up) over the top of the hydroton, stopped them very quickly. It burns them :D

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I recently had a bit of a slug problem, and I found that sprinkling some fine Lime powder (used for pH up) over the top of the hydroton, stopped them very quickly. It burns them :D

Thanks Ian, I'll try the lime solution.

Dave

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Ian? :eek:

Colin :)

A slip of the tongue is no fault of the mind!

and a Freudian slip is "when you say one thing, and mean your Mother. . . "

I'm sure Dave meant no offence,

Cheers; Colin errr. . IanK!! :D

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I might have to try thatt... i found a few days ago a snail and went " WTF ? .." ... then looked closer.... total infestation.... small coneshaped snails EVERYWHERE and Man do they breed ..... Im thinking of taking my fish out to a save-tank, then to flush the whole system with lime .. kill it all and start over ... this is probably why no plant survive anymore ... theyre just barely out of their seeds, then they wither and die..i think the snails and bugs are eating and killing the roots.....

post-4737-13795789823525_thumb.jpg

... does anyone have an idea what i can do OTHER than resetting the system ?

post-4737-13795789822614_thumb.jpg

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If you can get some iron phosphate, that will do the trick. It does not take much and too much will kill worms , but won't harm your fish. I had the same problem and tried the lime, but it did not help as my humidity was two high and kept getting washed into the growbed. The iron phosphate I found came in pellets. Sprinkled some on the growbed and no more snails in a few days. The iron and phosphate then become plant food.

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good idea ... will go check it out at the local hardware .. here in the philippines its kid of hard thou... ppl arent paid, not have the wish to konw anything about what theire selling...l if you dont know EXACTLY what youre looking for, and its CLEARLY stated on the label... the employee looks at you with this sheepish look and goes .. " out of stock, sir" ... i.e .. they have no clue :P

will try thou...

just tried a 50/50 solution of normal vinegar and water, sprayed it over the GB .. the snails sure as H*** didnt like it... not sure thou if it kills them.... will look ffor iron phosphate granulates and a few ammonia granules.....

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Yes, they are the same snails as we get here. I find some in the seed beds at times in the soil. Haven't seen them in the GBs for a while now at least not an infestation.

I'm thinking they were possibly introduced when I transplanted seedlings from the dirt.

Dave

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well.. the snails are not happy thats for sure.. but.. it also killed or burned the frail and struggling plants i have.... so .. ill treat the gravel with more diluted vinegar to really get rid of them, and start over.... atleasrt im not killing ALL the microorganisms....

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I have a smallish docile loach (tropical fish) that loves snails. It's an organic mercenary under my employ I move from tank to tank to keep snails under control if they start to get out of hand. Organic, available, lazy solution, cheap, (after purchase) and effective as they tend to start in the tanks and move to the plants.

Hope it helps,

Ejubjub

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Hi,

I have a smallish docile loach (tropical fish) that loves snails. It's an organic mercenary under my employ I move from tank to tank to keep snails under control if they start to get out of hand. Organic, available, lazy solution, cheap, (after purchase) and effective as they tend to start in the tanks and move to the plants.

The loach solution is a good one.....but they have to get hold of the snails before they make it into the pipework. Once they get inside the pipes, their numbers can build up to the point where they can jam a submersible pump....at which point they create the circumstances for a catastrophic system failure.

If they get a good grip on the system, you may have to empty it right out and disinfect it.

Gary

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I also had snails problem until I introduced the native cat fish (Tandanus). Don't see them at all in the pond now. Only a few in the filter box.

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