How To Get Rid Of Vermetid Snails
Posted by on 03/01/2023
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Whether you're new or experienced in saltwater aquariums, invasive pests - such as flatworms, bristle worms, and feather dusters are just a few life forms that you'll want to be on the lookout for. One pest, known as Vermetid Snails, is an unsightly pest with one of the worst reputations in the saltwater hobby.
Once introduced into an aquarium, vermetid snails can multiply quickly, and their removal can be incredibly difficult. In this post, we'll provide some background on these pests, and recommend options for their removal.
Vermetid Snails: What Are They?
Vermetid Snails are small sea snails with irregular shells that resemble a worm. Over 3000 species are considered vermetid snails, and each of these species varies in size. These snails live a stationary lifestyle and cast out a web-like net to capture their food.
While these snails are prolific throughout the Pacific Ocean, they've recently made their way to the Atlantic Ocean , requiring scientists to keep a watchful eye on this invasive species.
In an at-home aquarium, these snails can quickly overrun a tank, so you should try your best to prevent an outbreak from occurring.
How They're Introduced Into Aquariums
Vermetid Snails enter an aquarium as unwanted hitchhikers, and attach themselves to different types of coral and other invertebrates.
One of the best decisions you can make as an aquarist is to have an established quarantine tank. Quarantine tanks prevent bacteria and harmful pathogens from being introduced into your display tank.
Whether you're adding leather corals, blastos, or a blond naso tang - it doesn't matter, everything should go into an established quarantine tank for a few weeks so that you can monitor your livestock for diseases or invasive species.
If you weren't able to quarantine the Vermetid Snails, and they've already been introduced into your display tank, you have a few options for their removal.
Keep in mind, not every hobbyist will try and remove these snails. Some consider it a natural part of the hobby. But if you're up for the challenge, here are a few removal options.
Using a product such as Seachems Reef Glue , you can apply a small amount - just enough to cover the vermetid snail's feeding tube, so that it's no longer able to feed.
Over time, the snails will die off, but you'll want to monitor your water chemistry to prevent a sudden change in water quality.
Another approach to removing vermetid snails is starving them of any potential food sources. This approach is best for hobbyists with smaller tanks. You'll need to have an established aquarium so you can relocate all of your tank's inhabitants.
After about 9 months, the vermetid snails should die off in your display tank.
If you're not set on completely eradicating your vermetid snails, many hobbyists will only relocate their inhabitants for 2-weeks. While it may not completely eradicate the vermetid snails in the display tank, it should be enough time to get their population size under control.
Any reduction in feeding should reduce their population size.
Bumble Bee Snails
Bumble Bee Snails (scientific name: Engina mendicaria) are one of the few predators that will attack and kill vermetid snails.
These snails are quite tiny, only reaching about ½" in size. Depending on the size of your tank, you'll need a lot of these snails to get a vermetid snail population under control.
Aim for 1 Bumble Bee snail for every 2 gallons of water.
While not as effective as Bumble Bee Snails, Emerald Crabs are capable of knocking Vermetid Snails off of any rock they're attached to, making them easier to manually remove.
Hobbyists have suggested that Emerald Crabs will consume these snails, but we haven't seen any evidence of this occurring.
Using a sharp tool, such as a knife or an ice pick , you can chip the vermetid snails off of whatever they're attached to.
You'll want to perform the manual removal outside of your display tank, otherwise, the snails will just fall into your substrate and begin to reproduce.
As you can see, dealing with vermetid snails can be a frustrating experience. However, many hobbyists choose to just manage the population size, rather than eradicate them.
If you want to have a pristine aquarium with no vermetid snails, then the best thing you can do is quarantine new tank additions and buy from reputable vendors.