Aquarium snails can live in a pond. They serve as nutrient recyclers that clean the pond water. Snails are kept in ponds to keep the algae growth in check. Ramshorn pond snails, Dwarf pond snails, Nerite snails, and Great pond snails are some of the few snail species that can live in ponds.
Aquatic snails play a vital role in maintaining a pond’s water quality. A lot has been said about these little creatures and how they are useful to the ecosystem. So, let’s understand in-depth the various pros and cons of adding snails into ponds. But first, let’s start with the different snail species that can be kept in ponds.
Which Snails Are Kept In Ponds?
There are a lot of snail species worldwide. Amongst all, numerous aquatic snail species can be kept in ponds.
It is near impossible to cover all the aquatic snails that can be added to your pond. So…
Given below are the most popular snail species that can be kept in ponds.
Ramshorn Pond Snails
Ramshorn Pond snails are a popular choice to keep in ponds as they are cheap with low maintenance cost.
These snails eat all kinds of soft algae. Hence, they are preferred as they aid in keeping algae bloom in check.
Ponds that contain lots of algae are an ideal habitat for these snails.
Ramshorn Pond snails usually do not eat pond vegetation unless food is scarce.
So, your plants are safe in the pond as long as these snails are well-fed.
Ramshorn pond snails survive in a pond because they breathe through the lungs and skin.
This enables them to thrive in an environment with less dissolved oxygen levels than snail species breathing with gills.
The only drawback of keeping these snails in ponds is that they breed rapidly.
So, your pond will get overpopulated if you do not keep a check on their breeding.
Dwarf Pond Snails
Dwarf Pond snails are tiny compared to other snail species.
They are found in still water bodies across Europe, portions of Asia, North Africa, and Alaska.
These snails are preferred in smaller ponds as they are tiny.
Like other giant snails, Dwarf Pond Snails eat algae, aquatic vegetation, decomposing matter, dead fish, and leaves.
Big Ear Pond Snails
Big Ear Pond snails originated in East Asia and Europe.
However, they soon spread to New Zealand and the United States. These snails are a popular species to add in ponds.
Their primary diet consists of green algae, sand grains, and decaying matter.
Hence, these snails are added in ponds as they aid in clearing unwanted elements from the pond.
Great Pond Snails
Great Pond Snails are mostly found in colder climates of Russia, Canada, and regions of Europe.
They prefer calm water with lots of vegetation around.
Their primary diet consists of algae and live or dead vegetation.
Besides, they are also known to eat small fish, insect larvae, and even other snails.
Hence, they are mainly kept in ponds for controlling the unwanted bug population.
Japanese Trapdoor Snails
Japanese Trapdoor Snails are yet another popular species kept in ponds.
These snails are preferred in ponds due to their ability to survive in colder climates.
During winter, these snails do not come up to the frigid surface. Instead, they stay at the bottom of the pond in warmer water.
Since these snails eat algae, uneaten fish food, decaying matter, fish waste, and other nuisances, they are preferred in ponds.
Another advantage of adding these snails to your pond is that they do not breed prolifically.
This is because these snails give live birth to their offspring.
Nerite snails are popular freshwater snails. They are kept in ponds since they help in keeping the pond clean.
Nerite snails consume algae in a large quantity than any other snail species.
With these snails in your pond, you will never face the problem of excessive algae.
Besides, nerite snails are peaceful. They get along well with other inhabitants, such as fish and shrimp.
Mystery snails are added to a pond due to their ability to keep the pond clean.
They eat leftover food and any dead or decaying matter.
The most significant advantage of keeping these snails is that they will not eat the pond’s live plants.
Mystery snails reproduce quickly. However, they lay eggs out of the water and not underwater, unlike other snails.
So, if you do not want to breed these snails, you can always remove and dispose of their eggs as they are easily visible.
Tadpole snails are added to a pond due to their hardy nature. These snails are resilient. Hence, they survive well even in polluted ponds.
Besides, tadpole snails primarily feed on algae and decaying matter. So they help in keeping the pond clean.
Just like tadpole snails, rabbit snails are also preferred for ponds. They mainly prefer warm water.
These are small snails that thrive on algae and other decaying plant matter in the pond.
Alright! Now that you know the various snail species that can be added to your pond, let’s also understand how to introduce snails to your pond.
How To Introduce Snails To A Pond?
Just like fish, snails also need time to acclimatize to the new environment.
When you introduce snails to a pond, you need to take care of certain things to make the transition smoother.
Following are some of the things that need to be taken care of while introducing snails to a pond:
- First, you need to assess your pond’s characteristics. It is essential to determine the species and the number of snails you will introduce in your pond.
- You need to take into account the size of the pond and also the climate. A good thumb rule in deciding the number of snails is one animal for every square foot of pond floor surface area.
- It is always advisable if you purchase your snails from a reputable supplier. This will ensure that your snails are disease-free.
- You should never directly introduce the snails into the pond water. First, you need to put the snails in a plastic bag and float it in the pond water for a few minutes. After that, you can fill half of the plastic bag with pond water. Let it float again for some time, say about 10 minutes. Once the snails adjust to the pond water composition, you can then dump the snails into the shallowest part of the pond. If the snails get frightened, they will lock themselves up in the shell. However, after some time, they will adjust and soon start exploring the deeper parts of the pond water.
- You may initially notice your snails floating. However, there’s no reason to worry. Snails may float if air gets trapped in their body. As long as the trapdoor is still in its place, there is nothing to worry about. Your snails will soon work their way into the pond.
- Snails need adequate calcium intake for their shell development. Hence, you need to ensure that they get their calcium dose frequently. Also, feed your snails with a varied and nutritious diet. In the absence of adequate food, your snails will start consuming plants, small fish, or other snails for survival.
- If you keep large aquatic snails in the pond, keep the water level as low as possible. Snails are known to escape the pond, particularly at night.
- In a harsh winter climate, Japanese black trapdoor snails are a good option for ponds. These snails are also suitable for warm regions. Besides, they breed only twice annually and require both male and female to reproduce. Hence, you can keep the snail population in control.
After introducing the snails into your pond, you need to ensure that they get a safe environment.
If you already have other pets and animals residing in the pond, your snails may become a meal.
So, you need to exercise caution while introducing your snails.
Another point to be careful about is using chemicals for cleaning the pond.
Most algaecides kill snails. Hence, the best way to safeguard the inhabitants is to manage your pond proactively.
Are Snails Good Or Bad For Garden Ponds?
Snails are often overlooked compared to fish, turtles, ducks, and frogs in a pond.
However, little do we realize that snails play a vital role in the ecosystem. They can benefit the pond in several ways.
Most freshwater snails consume algae, dead fish, leafy vegetation, detritus and bacteria that form on the rocks, vegetables like kale, lettuce, and fruits like apples.
As snails eat algae, they help to keep the pond clean by preventing excessive algae growth.
Besides, snails also help to prevent fish waste and gas build up in the pond water due to decaying organic material.
The gas is hazardous as it kills the living inhabitants of the pond.
If you have a heavily planted pond, snails do not damage your plants in any way.
Also, if adequate food is available to them, they do not look upon the pond’s plants as a food source.
Snails devour algae. However, it is not that simple.
Snails prefer to eat slime algae in the pond as against planktonic algae that cloud the pond water.
Slime algae are actually beneficial for pond maintenance as they help to filter the water and provide food to the fish.
Slime algae also help in removing excess nutrients without making the pond water cloudy.
Hence, snails are sometimes unsuitable for the pond as they prefer to eat the good algae.
Also, another disadvantage of having snails in the pond is the risk of overpopulating the pond.
Snails are famous for their breeding. You may find your pond overloaded with snails in no time.
Besides, if there are too many snails present in the pond, deceased snails will merge with the sludge.
This makes things worse.
Are Pond Snails Good Or Bad For Ponds?
Pond snails are considered to be a beautiful addition to the pond.
Many people across the world prefer keeping pond snails in their pond due to their various benefits.
Having said that, there are also certain drawbacks of pond snails too. Let’s discuss both sides of the coin one-by-one.
So, let’s first start with the benefits.
Benefits Of Pond Snails
- Pond snails play a vital role in removing unwanted infestations from a pond, like rotting matter.
- They graze on the algae in the pond water. It helps to prevent algae bloom in the pond.
- Pond snails also assist in nutrient cycling. They do this by releasing nitrogen from residue deposits and feeding on detritus.
- They also consume pond debris that may otherwise accumulate at the pond sludge layer, making the pond water filthy.
- Also, pond snails consume organic matter. This prevents it from sinking to the pond’s bottom and decomposing. This helps prevent the decomposition process, which in turn reduces the growth of unwanted plants and pond weeds in the pond. Thus, pond snails are beneficial to the pond as they help maintain the overall health of the pond environment.
- Some freshwater snails, such as great pond snails, are more sensitive to pollution. You can determine the water quality of the pond as poor if your snails come to the surface of the water.
Drawbacks Of Pond Snails
- Snails reproduce very quickly. So, your pond may get overpopulated in no time.
- The higher the number of snails, the more will be the waste created. This results in spikes of harmful waste substances such as ammonia and nitrites that are deadly to pond inhabitants.
- Overpopulation of snails leads to dead snails getting mixed with the pond sludge. This may contaminate the pond water.
- Although snails feed on algae, they prefer to gorge on healthy slime algae that are beneficial to the pond’s ecosystem.
- Pond snails may also eat healthy plants in the pond in case of food deficit.
- If any wild pond snail enters your pond, it can be dangerous. Wild snails are host to numerous nasty parasites and bacteria that easily transmit to fish and other animals in the pond.