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I'm trying to optimize my ponds through natural means. Per "Would my fish benefit from snails in their pot pond?", I understand that my fish would benefit from snails, but I don't know which species of snails to acquire.

Which snails should I get to focus on consuming the algae and not the plants?

Are there snails that I can use to do this?

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There are...

  1. The ramshorn snail is an algae eater that will tend to stick to algae unless they become starved. As wiki notes, though, they can end up being a pest in the tank rather than an aid to it if you have more than one.

  2. The nerite snails are also algae eaters, but with the added bonus that they won't breed in fresh water.

  3. The trapdoor snails are algae eaters, they're bigger, and they can give warning of water issues before they become acute. These use to be hugely popular in fish tanks back in the day, you probably saw them in action plenty of times as a kid. They also live breed rather than lay eggs. These may be hard to get, but I would think these are ideal.

In most cases, all of these snails will prefer to algae over other plants in your tank or mini-pond. However, if they run low or out of algae, then plants are probably fair game to them. There are fish species that are far better algae eaters, but as far as I know, none are goldfish compatible.

As a note, there's various beliefs that goldfish can/will eat smaller snails. Dead snails maybe, there's not really any good evidence that they can, or will, eat live snails.

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  • that is perfect information and the reference to the algae eating fish and not being goldfish compatible, I will let you know how my pot ponds get on ty – user6796 Nov 10 '13 at 14:04
  • It's a struggle with this heat and I've already used some tips I found on here. I am madly studying, had to ask a Q on Stack Overflow, so am catching up with the pings. :) I am used to aquariums, not ponds so much and am monitoring these pots as they are (i'm sure) borderline on maintaining healthy fish – user6796 Nov 10 '13 at 14:17
  • I'm referring to invasive species and the potential access to them, considering the pots are outdoors; granted, they are contained systems and I don't expect the snails to be able to escape, but there may be limitations on what can be accessed. – JoshDM Nov 10 '13 at 18:01
  • Presumably, if you source them from an appropriate space, there should be no issue. – John Cavan Nov 10 '13 at 18:43

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