Invasion of the Snails

About a month ago we noticed a tiny snail in our fish tank. We guessed he'd arrived unnoticed on a new plant we'd just added to the tank. He was cute. And fast. Little snail dude could make some time as he scooted around the tank.

I mentioned to my yoga instructor that we had a snail and she warned me to be careful. "I think they can reproduce on their own," she said.

Naturally, I ignored this.

Fast forward 3 weeks. Our little snail dude has gotten quite big and we're attached to him--he's part of the tank. Then we notice a baby snail dude hanging out next to him. Had the snail reproduced? Nah, we decided. We'd put yet another plant in the tank and figured this snail also had hitched a ride. Two snails--how fun!

Yesterday evening: I walk by the tank, stop, and go back. I lean in to examine the rock. Guess what? Covered in snails. I stopped counting when I got to eight. Blair came home from work and I welcomed him with the words, "We've got a snail problem."

Here's the bad part: we got rid of them. All of them, including our big buddy, First Snail. I haven't reconciled the hypocritcal part of me that does animal rescue with the fact that I'm willing to trash snails to keep my tank clean. I went online and did some reading and pet stores won't take them. What does one do with snails? I feel bad but apparently not bad enough to put up with snails. I just didn't see an end in sight. How many snails would 8-12 snails produce in a week? A month? A year? The only way we saw to keep the tank was to make a clean start.

I'm sorry, little snails. I enjoyed your brief time with us.

We'll be checking those plants a whole lot closer in the future.