JBL Snail Trap Review
JBL Limcollect Snail Trap
I needed to clean up my aquarium and remove some ramshorn snails that lately seem to be exploding in population. I thought about using chemicals. But didn't want an ammonia rise due to the dead snails decaying in the substrate.
So I looked around for a simple snail catcher. There is not many of these available from the shops. Probably I guess because you could have used the old fishkeepers method of an upside down saucer. But I was in a local aquarium shop (Dobbies Garden Centre) and came across their range of JBL products which I had never seen before. JBL is a German company and makes some interesting and unique products. This item wasn't very expensive, it was what I was looking for and seemed well made so I purchased it.
It comes in a cardboard display box which you just throw away and the item itself is a transparent plastic container 11.5cm (4.5") long by 9cm (3.5") by 2.5cm (1") high. The base pops off to allow you to add bait and to clean it.
As you can see from the photo it has 3 green items. The two sets of green 'fingers' pivot to allow the snails to crawl under them to get in. But not to let them out. The small green centre piece is suppose to keep the bait from floating out and this item pops off and you place a pellet of food in there. I happened to have some TetraPlecomin or TetraTabimin tablets and these fitted nicely in there.
On first placing the trap in the water I noticed a problem. You need to tilt the item upside to remove the air bubbles so it will sink. Now I understand why it has a little food trap in the centre. Without that, the bait probably would have escaped.
Then I noticed another problem. When the item is brand new the plastic green fingers collect tiny bubbles on them and this causes them to lift and stick open to the inside surface. If the fingers remain like this it's not much use as a trap! After 10 minutes with no change I decided to intervene and I placed my arm again in my tank and manipulated these fingers so they came down.
The next morning I looked at the trap and it was full of snails.
So a success.
After using the item for a few weeks I've came across a couple of problems with its design which just irritate me because they could have been fixed at a prototype stage.
- Due to the lack of air holes in it, you have to tilt it when you put it in. So those plastic fingers keep sticking in the open position. Which means I can't just attach a line of thread to it and sink it into the tank without getting my arm wet. Add some air holes in it JBL!
- If the horizontal transparent plastic areas just above the green fingers had been made at an angle then the fingers would have had much less tendency to stick open.
Add air holes, add a central fixing point, add a length of thread and slightly redesign the shell to make it less fiddly to use.
- JBL, can you add a hole in the centre so I can attach a line of thread to it to allow easy 'dry' removal? Supplying three feet of waxed cotton or fishing line would be a nice touch too.
Once I saw a Cory startled by another fish and it ran right into the trap. It got in, but of course it couldn't get out! Good job I was there to release the animal as it may have died due to lack of oxygen. So I suggest you rotate the item in the tank so that a bottom feeder can't simply rush into either opening.
- Keep looking at it to ensure a fish, frog or shrimp doesn't become trapped in it.
I've given one of these Snail Traps to a new Betta and Dwarf African Frog owner. The Betta and DAF both love the same types of foods so the betta tends to eat the food far faster than the frog can get to it. The result the frog starves. I removed the green fingers, drilled a couple of holes in the top and attached a line of thread to allow it to be removed easily and now the frogs can eat the food inside the trap in peace.
Author of Review
--Quatermass 06:39, 26 March 2007 (CDT) UK, Scotland.