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Beer and salt for the fish tank - Rob Felt

Black is usually the color associated with death, not translucent aquamarine blue. If your fish tank is infested with snails however, that watery blue color is the electric chair, the gas chamber and the lethal injection all distilled into one.

Had-a-Snail is the name of the product. It comes in a small eyedropper bottle that the manufacturer has somehow managed to squeeze multiple paragraphs of warnings and disclaimers on. I've been instructed that if I use Had-a-Snail "in a manner inconsistent with its labeling" that I will be in violation of Federal law.

Placing one drop of this blue death per gallon of water in your fish tank will destroy the hopes and dreams of any and all snails living there and leave your fish unharmed.

The active ingredient is a form of copper "expressed as a metallic." I have no idea what this means. Apparently aquatic snails don't share the distaste for beer or salt that their earthbound cousins do. Maybe dumping beer into an aquarium would harm the fish more than this copper liquid, and I know that freshwater fish don't like salt too much.

Cutting to the chase, the stuff got used.

As I write this there are nearly 30 snails in various states of demise floating around my fish tank at home. I never meant to cause this much destruction, honestly.

The snails hijacked their way into my aquarium by way of a live plant shipment from a chain pet supplier. The same supplier I purchased the Had-a-Snail from – hmm.

Regardless of how they got there, they got there. Soon they began to multiply and the charm of a few little snails wore off fast. I was picking them out by hand when I fed the fish, only to see even more the next day rising up from the ranks.

What finally led me to make chemical war against these pests was witnessing what I can only guess was their mating practice. This is a family newspaper, so I won't elaborate, but walking past the fish tank on the way to eat dinner shouldn't include an underwater peep show.

Witnessing that scene of wanton expression may indicate why a special copper-based solution is needed to cure the aquatic snail problem. Would mixing alcohol with an already – ahem – liberal social structure really cause the snail population to decrease?

Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at rfelt@henryherald.com.