Snails! What other aquarium inhabitant is like them? Some love them, some hate them, but most don't know much about them. Snails are very nice creatures, and this page is about them, as well as how to get rid of them if needed.
There are many different types of snails, and they are all different, from the ramhorn to the apple snail to the pond snail. Some are helpful in an aquarium, and some do nothing more then chew up plants. Snails are very hardy, so hardy in fact they are very hard to eradicate. The main problem with snails is that they "reproduce like crazy", the words of a pet shop sales guy. Up to this day, I can't think of a better way to describe them.
To some, snails are slimy, yucky creatures who have no place in an aquarium. To others, no aquarium is complete without them. The main problem with them is the fact that people are misinformed about them. People expect them to eat feces, and they seem to eat none and produce a lot of their own. The function of snails is to eat uneaten food, not feces. Snails are unable to eat feces, much like catfish. However if you know that they will not eat feces, there will be much less confusion about their function.
Snails are invertebrate animals. Most snails are egg layers, although a few species do give birth to live young. They need a partner to reproduce, although in some any other snail will do, and in some there are males and females. Most can come up to the surface and breath atmospheric air.
For people who know some things about snails, the main problem is in keeping their amount in control. As I said above, the quote "reproduce like crazy" applies to snails like to no other living thing. To keep them in control, the best thing to do is get a snail eating fish. Clown loaches and other botia species seem to do it nicely. A good way to reduce the population is to remove all snails you see for several days. Then the population will be in control for a couple of months.