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Snails and septic tanks


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I have pond snails in my tanks, and I am wondering what might happen if they get into my septic tank.  could they happily go to town and reproduce?  could shells from die off be a problem?  I use lots of my water change water to water my house plants, but that does not use it all.  and I'll be honest, here in CT in winter I'm not always thrilled to go outside to dump on my garden (it's COLD!!).  Just one more of the things that get contemplated  while not going anywhere...

 

thanks all! stay safe.

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It is very unlikely the snails will survive in a septic tank as they tend to be extremely oxygen deficient.  As a general rule you do not want to flush anything down your pipes into your septic that is hard or may take a while to breakdown. It would take a tremendous amount of snail shells however to cause a problem.  And most likely you would see the problem occurring in your drain fields.

If you are concerned that problems may occur, then I would encourage you to consider using a septic supplement to boost enyzmes and bacteria in the tanks. From testing different products over the last nine years for performance at my office, we typically recommend the product Bio-Clean for monthly septic maintenance.  Bio-One is another good product.  Rid-x septic is ok but not that great.  By supplementing you will help to keep the bacteria colonies going strong in your septic, especially as some get killed off through general house hold cleaning and what not.  Plus as an added side benefit, if you introduce them through your drain pipes they will actually help keep your drain pipes clean (a kitchen sink drain for introducing it is a great spot just fyi).  Now this does not mean you shouldn't pump every five to seven years for general maintenance.  All the supplemental enzymes and bacteria will do is to help break things down quicker in your tank.

Edited by Ben_RF
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If I remember right, Amazon links are ok on here?  If not, moderators please remove this post.   Anyhow here is a direct link to the Bio-Clean that I was speaking of in my previous post. For anyone with a septic, I would highly recommend using this atleast on a monthly basis to keep your septic system healthy.
 
https://www.amazon.com/Bio-clean-Drain-Septic-Bacteria-2/dp/B001N09KN4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=bioclean&qid=1614134952&sr=8-1
 

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21 hours ago, Philip said:

There won't be enough oxygen in that environment. The "bugs" that live there are anaerobic bacteria. They don't want any oxygen. Snails on the other hand do. 

 

My neighbor recently had a new septic system installed and it's an Aerobic Treatment system with an air pump/blower and multiple chambers. Pond snails could probably survive in such a system. More modern septic designs often incorporate air pumps and don't just rely on anaerobic decomposition. Also even in older systems water dumped into a septic system would have some measure of oxygen in it anyway and some new water would be entering the system fairly regularly. It might be enough to keep a few tough snails alive.

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That is a good point about aerobic systems. They tend to be uncommon because they are somewhat newer, tend to be more expensive, and require more maintenance. Both in traditional and aerobic systems; ammonia, nitritres, and nitrates tend to be exceedingly high. So I am not sure if snails would be able to survive. Aerobic systems are fantastic if you live in area with a medium to high water table or if your location produces a larger than normal amount of organics. Aerobic bacteria breakdown organic waste way quicker in septics than anaerobic.  

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49 minutes ago, gardenman said:

My neighbor recently had a new septic system installed and it's an Aerobic Treatment system with an air pump/blower and multiple chambers. Pond snails could probably survive in such a system. More modern septic designs often incorporate air pumps and don't just rely on anaerobic decomposition. Also even in older systems water dumped into a septic system would have some measure of oxygen in it anyway and some new water would be entering the system fairly regularly. It might be enough to keep a few tough snails alive.

All true. That leaves the question, why? Why would you want to put them there? Believe me, there is no love lost between me an Mr. Snail, I could care less about their fate, but can you imagine being one of them and someone telling you, "hey, I got a new home for you"? Hold your breath. 

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2 minutes ago, Philip said:

All true. That leaves the question, why? Why would you want to put them there? Believe me, there is no love lost between me an Mr. Snail, I could care less about their fate, but can you imagine being one of them and someone telling you, "hey, I got a new home for you"? Hold your breath. 

If you have a tank with a lot of snails and you're doing water changes, how do you keep the snails from going down the drain? Baby pond snails are very, very small and if you're doing gravel vaccing as you change the water, you'll gravel vac out multiple baby snails. It's not a question of intentionally putting them there as much as could they survive if they ended up there. As Maggie points out ammonia would be an issue. As would soap and detergents. Now all of that could get diluted depending on your water usage so even those factors wouldn't necessarily preclude snails from surviving. I don't think they could ever reach a population density where they'd be a problem, but I could see a scenario where they could survive in a more modern septic system.

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1 minute ago, gardenman said:

If you have a tank with a lot of snails and you're doing water changes, how do you keep the snails from going down the drain? Baby pond snails are very, very small and if you're doing gravel vaccing as you change the water, you'll gravel vac out multiple baby snails.

I don't have a septic system, but worry about the little snails getting caught in the drain along with bits and pieces of plant material, and building up in there. I tried using cheesecloth in a regular spaghetti strainer which was a miserable failure! 

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28 minutes ago, gardenman said:

If you have a tank with a lot of snails and you're doing water changes, how do you keep the snails from going down the drain? Baby pond snails are very, very small and if you're doing gravel vaccing as you change the water, you'll gravel vac out multiple baby snails. It's not a question of intentionally putting them there as much as could they survive if they ended up there. As Maggie points out ammonia would be an issue. As would soap and detergents. Now all of that could get diluted depending on your water usage so even those factors wouldn't necessarily preclude snails from surviving. I don't think they could ever reach a population density where they'd be a problem, but I could see a scenario where they could survive in a more modern septic system.

OK, I'm following now. Thanks for clearing that up. That makes a whole lot more sense!

Please excuse me, sometimes I'm a tad slow. 

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I tend to love my snails in my planted tank, especially my military helmet Nerites, they are ferocious when it comes to hard spot green algae on the glass, they are also the only snails I ever witnessed going after BBA when I had some in a previous tank due to fert experimentation. Just another piece of the mini eco-system we call aquarium, they only become a nuisance when things are badly out of balance and even as such they work in the opposite of the proverbial canary in the coalmine, in that it is time to check when you see too many.

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