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Nerite Snails and spot algae

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  • Nerite Snails and spot algae

    hi all,

    I've been reading that nerite snails are one of the few snails that can tackle green spot algae. But I haven't been able to find if they are able to remove this from plant leaves without damaging the leaf.

    Anyone know if they can or if it's even possible to remove that stuff from the leaves without damage?


  • #2
    I'm not sure about nerite snails and GSA. If you have problems with GSA though, you should be aiming your PO4 up around the 3-5ppm mark. I personally trim off affected growth rather than just hoping it will regress. That being said, I keep my ppm's fairly high and I haven't lost a leaf to GSA in a long time.

    - Dan


    • #3
      Hi Blue,

      One problem with Green Spot Algae is the way it adheres to surfaces. Even if you kill the algae outright and brush the leaf, you will find it damaged.

      You have probably noticed that unlike other alga, Green Spot does not just wipe of the glass and the glass is not nearly as porous as the leaves of your plant.

      You can try carefully scraping the leaves especially of slow growers or thick leaved plants, but it is doubtful.

      Generally, Green Spot is low phosphates and lack of water changes. So I am with Philosophos, up the phosphates (actually I would increase everything). I add scrape (credit cars, razor, whatever) and change the water (60 or 70 percent).

      During the water change spray down the glass and plants with a phosphate solution, I think that is a Tom Barr trick. Then another 70% water change two days later.

      Good luck,
      The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
      • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
      • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
      • When in doubt "don't."


      • #4
        Hey thanks for the info, the low phosphates makes sense to me. I was investigating symptoms of a plant I have (older leaves eroding then falling off) and it sounds from what I read it's likely a low phosphate problem as well.

        I'm just starting EI (got my first batch of dry ferts in) and am following the info posted by Greg Watson in the EI for less techy folks post. It's too soon to tell if that'll do the trick but I'm hopeful.

        It seems like it'll be tough to get rid of all the spot algae from the plants thou, if I were to simply cut off the leaves I wouldn't have a plant left on most of my plants
        Maybe I'll pick up a couple of nirites just to see how it goes (their not a bad looking snail anyway


        • #5
          Hi blue,

          Big thing I would advise is patience. It will take a bit of time for the plants to get better and to acclimate to different (even better) conditions.

          Are you using c02 at all?

          Use new growth as an indicator.

          Once you see any new growth that STAYS healthy (no algae, stunting, discolor, etc) you are on the right track. If your new growth does not remain healthy, then all is still not right.

          I would get ruthless myself. Many stems respond well to pruning, and if all goes well, the new growth should start to fill in. Crypts and other rosettes also respond well to pruning.

          I would trim 50% of the worst leaves and see how that looks. A few extra water changes over the next week or so won't hurt either

          The leaves generally do not get 'better' and you end up losing them anyway. The longer they are damaged, the more opportunity to leach NH4 and produce, more algae!

          As the new growth comes in and stays good, then prune the remaining bad leaves.

          I have had issues with GSA in the past, and even heavy pruning loss will be back in 2-3 weeks given good conditions.
          Last edited by Gerryd; 11-23-2009, 01:43 AM.


          'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

          Current 220 scape


          • #6
            Most nerites are too big and heavy to tackle plants. They also prefer hard surfaces. The smallest species available in the hobby, Clithon Corona may be small enough to get on plants though, but I have never kept it.


            • #7
              Nerites prefer the glass over plants. And you would have to buy A LOT to make serious damage to the GSA. Another disadvantage is that they leave eggs everywhere which don't hatch but are hard to remove.

              More PO4 is a better solution.


              My 2011, 2012 and 2013 AGA aquascaping contest entries:


              • #8
                Yes, never use animals just to resolve a problem, better look for teh cause.

                Nerite won't climb on any plant, even an Anubia which is rather a hard plant.
                Clithon do climb on plants, but you'll need tens and tens of them. They won't eat much of this algae too, they are so small. Finally, all Nerite need to be fed or they will die by starvation. I kept many of the Nerite snails before realizing that it's much easier to deal with algae without them
                Aquatic Natur Cocoon 7: 11gal, dry start success / low light / CO2
                >>Follow it here<<

                Aquatlantis Evasion 120: Stopped ---> Malawi setup = No Plants


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jonny_ftm View Post
                  Nerite won't climb on any plant, even an Anubia which is rather a hard plant.
                  My zebra nerites regularly climb on my larger swords.


                  • #10
                    Olive Nerites will move over any surface stable enough to accomidate their negatively bouyant charcteristics. The smaller ones I have are even in my Java Moss now and then. I have very little GSA, but in past setups I must agree that even if they were to mow it down, this would be a moot point as GSA is more invasive to vascular plant tissue than some other species seem to be, as has been aforementioned. I have not found a better hardscape cleaner however. Mine have over several months fallen victim to shell erosion due in part to generous CO2 levels. They are from predominately marine environments to begin with, and as such are sterile in freshwater, their eggs, (an aesthetic issue) will be seen when first added to the aquarium, but of the many in my tanks, I have not had eggs in months. l
                    "You still don't understand what you're dealing with,......the perfect organism,.....its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility."


                    • #11
                      My zebra nerites have been all over my crypts & anubias. I can tell because of the eggs! I've had the spot algae - never very bad & I just scrap it off with a credit card.


                      • #12
                        Use higher PO4 and you don't have to scrape either.


                        My 2011, 2012 and 2013 AGA aquascaping contest entries:


                        • #13
                          Zebra nerites seem to do some algae damage. I say seem because they did nothing in any of my own tanks, however, others have reported miracles.

                          I have no good reason to doubt these reports. While there are other management factors and methods, they do not hurt and they are pretty, non pesky etc.
                          But in some cases, they do little. Olive nerites are not the same, it needs to be a zebra etc.


                          • #14
                            They are pretty to look at Tom. I agree that they dont do much but look attractive in the tank. They also die in very soft water from what I understand as I have lost 6 or 7 that I had.


                            Plants give me peace!