NOTE: This thread was split off from another thread: http://forum.nanfa.o...rate-questions/
I must recommend AGAINST ramshorns. They will eat healthy, as well as rotting, plants. Actually, they will eat anything, even eachother. They are fierce and will multiply like crazy. I bought 5 Assassin Snails to take care of an overrun 30 gallon tank, and I've found that the ramshorns have killed and eaten some of my Assassin Snails. I know I have one that is still alive, but I saw the ramshorns killing one of them before my eyes and I've seen two other Assassin shells that haven't moved in at least a week.
I don't overfeed the tank, so I know that isn't the reason for the population explosion of ramshorns. I have a lot of Java Fern and Anubias in the tank that the snails can munch on with out decimating the plant stock, but my Wisteria and Cabomba can't seem to hold up to those ramshorns.
I have pond snails. They are not so bad. They do multiply easily and get into the filter, just like the ramshorns, but they only eat rotting plant matter. As long as there isn't a lot of rotting vegetation in the tank, the pondsnail population can be kept in check.
Hi Beeker - please post a pic of your "ramshorn" snails. The behavior of yours does not sound at all like the small red & brown Planorbis ramshorns that many of us keep without any problems in planted tanks. Perhaps yours are the S. Amer Marisa (Colombian ramshorn) which is really a type of apple snail (Ampullariidae) with a ramshorn-shape.
Sand: I like medium-grain sand, about 0.5 to 2 mm diam, brown or gray-brown when I can find it. I usually gather my own from sandbars in streams, and sift it through a screen to get out any trash and larger particles. Soil under the sand is fine for your shiner/darter/livebearer tank, but sunfish may dig it up. If you want soil in the sunfish tank I would use it only with potted plants, then lay some large flat stones around the base of the plant so the sunnies cant dig it out as easily.