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Snail Shell Repair - Any Suggestions?


BronwynH

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Hello all!

This is not so much a diagnosis issue as it is an issue of 'I know what I have to do, but am terrified to do it'. I'm looking for advice, helpful hints and general guidance.

Here's the problem: this morning I noticed that Isis' shell had a crack in it (see photo below). I have no idea how this happened, but she has been experiencing extremely rapid shell growth and as you can see her shell is largely transparent and very delicate. From all the reading I did before I got the snails I know this kind of damage has to be repaired or it will kill her. The procedure I found online is described here about half way down the page: http://snailhobbyist.blogspot.ca/p/part-2-safety-how-to-safely-handle-your.html (I hope it's OK to post this here).

I already have the appropriate crazy glue for the procedure and a friend of mine is picking up some mystery snail shells from the lfs this evening.

As you can see the crack is quite close to all her fleshy bits, which makes me extremely nervous. The fact that she'll probably crawl deep inside her shell while I'm handling her is reassuring, but my major fear at the moment is a crazy glue mishap. Anyone had to do this before? Any suggestions?

IMG_26351_zps3a90ca6c.jpg

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I have not had to do this personally. But I have read you can also use eggshell :idont.

I agree it will need repaired though. Also if you can lower the water temp this will slow growth and will help the snail ti repair the shell.

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I have not had to do this personally. But I have read you can also use eggshell :idont.

I agree it will need repaired though. Also if you can lower the water temp this will slow growth and will help the snail ti repair the shell.

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Eggshell, who knew? Well you I guess. If something happens and the mystery snail shells fall through I shall use this. As for the temperature there is no heater in the tank, so the water is naturally sitting at 71*F right now. For most of the winter it was 68*-69*, but despite the weather warming up a tiny bit here the neighbouring apartments are still blasting their heat making it a bit warm in here. I was going to move her to the QT tank once the procedure was done. Since I keep the QT tank in the bathroom it's usually slightly cooler (without a heater that is) and tends to naturally sit at about 66*. I could move her there sooner, but was wanting to avoid handling her too much before I do the procedure (just in case). I suppose I could do a partial WC to lower the temp a degree or two if you think this is necessary. Of course I usually pull the snails out of the tank during a WC just to avoid any chance of injury . . . Sorry thinking out loud.

I won't do anything until you let me know what you think of the current tank temp.

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That temp is not bad. With the rapid growth I thought it was closer to 80.

Still if you can lower it to the mid 60s it would help give him more time to heal the damage. Mine have grown in lower temps all of their life. This is particularly because I dont have a spare heater and because I did nit want them to grow to fast due to the minimal tank size. So I know he will do good in the 60s. When you pick him up you can see the division of the new and older shell hold be the older growth to avoid additional fractures. Also high calcium levels would be good. Crushed egg shell is good fir this. I wish you the best of luck.

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Thanks. I'll lower the temp a bit and be sure to hold the old shell. My water is fairly hard and I have cuttlebone in the water, just in case, so hopefully I'm ok on that point.

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I hope the procedure goes well Bronwyn, when you do it.

Thanks. It doesn't look like I'll be able to do it tonight. My friend who drives cab and was going to pick the empty shells up for me (since he was probably going to be in the area, and I'm across town from the store) hasn't gotten back to me yet. At this point I'm assuming I'll have to get up there tomorrow. I'll try to post some pictures of the procedure and will definitely post an update once it's done.

Thanks for the good wishes. Still terrified of screwing it up! Oh well. I suppose I know she'll die if I don't do it, so it's not like things can go any worse.

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They can live out of water for a while. So just make sure she is dry before you do it. Also if your afraid you wull squeeze too much out then you can use a toothpick to dot alittle on. Id use just a little to secure it then maybe hit alittle more around the edge of the new piece. But thats just my thoughts. Like I said ive never had to do it before so you do what you think is best. Im sure you will do a good job. Think of it like a skin graft. :)

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It's hard for me to tell from your pic, but that looks like it's pretty close to the growth edge. If it is, keep in mind that she MIGHT have damaged the growth section, which is responsible for making new shell. If this has happened, she should be fine, but she'll likely have a "stripe" on her shell where it doesn't grow properly. I had this problem with one of mine, and other than a funny-looking shell, he was perfectly healthy. What did him in wasn't the damage, but a filter intake. I'm having photobucket problems right now, but if you want, I'll post you pics of his shell so you can see what I'm talking about as soon as I can.

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They can live out of water for a while. So just make sure she is dry before you do it. Also if your afraid you wull squeeze too much out then you can use a toothpick to dot alittle on. Id use just a little to secure it then maybe hit alittle more around the edge of the new piece. But thats just my thoughts. Like I said ive never had to do it before so you do what you think is best. Im sure you will do a good job. Think of it like a skin graft. :)

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I was thinking about using a toothpick actually. I figure I'll use a piece of shell considerably bigger than what I need so I can glue it far away from any tissue. 'Painting' over the edge/seam seems like a good idea too.

It's hard for me to tell from your pic, but that looks like it's pretty close to the growth edge. If it is, keep in mind that she MIGHT have damaged the growth section, which is responsible for making new shell. If this has happened, she should be fine, but she'll likely have a "stripe" on her shell where it doesn't grow properly. I had this problem with one of mine, and other than a funny-looking shell, he was perfectly healthy. What did him in wasn't the damage, but a filter intake. I'm having photobucket problems right now, but if you want, I'll post you pics of his shell so you can see what I'm talking about as soon as I can.

Thanks for the heads up. I would appreciate a picture when you get a chance, but no rush. I need to get through this procedure first! Quick question: did you have to continually repair the stripe that didn't grow properly?

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Thanks for the heads up. I would appreciate a picture when you get a chance, but no rush. I need to get through this procedure first! Quick question: did you have to continually repair the stripe that didn't grow properly?

No, it looked real odd, and it's difficult to describe, but his shell kinda curved on either side of it... looked a little like a butt, lol. the stripe didn't seem to be growing as fast as the rest of his shell, but it was solid. I got him that way, and he never had a repair done. I suspect that he would have needed one EVENTUALLY because the gap at the front of his shell kept getting bigger, but he got stupid about the filter before he got big enough for me to know one way or the other.

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Good luck with your snail! I hope it goes smoothly for both of you! :)

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Front view, you can see the curvature at the edges of the gap, and the fact that he was doing an ok job of filling it himself. If you look carefully, you can see the permanent curves in the ridges on his shell above the gap.

20140327_173533.jpg

Bottom view, you can see the gap in his shell really well here. If you look on the left, you can also see the part of his shell where the initial damage occurred and the stripe starts.

20140327_173659.jpg

The reason I suspect he may have needed repair work eventually, is because it took him longer to fill in that gap than it did for his shell to grow, so the gap was slowly growing in a stripe up his shell. That's why the ridges on his shell were curved toward the gap, those curves were also slowly getting more dramatic. Had the gap gone too much further up his shell, I don't think he'd have been able to seal himself in well, and that would have required a repair

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You may want to go ahead and coat her whole shell in clear nailpolish simply to protect it since it does look a bit weak (and of course increase calcium etc. as Daniel suggested). You'll want to obviously stay clear of fleshy bits when doing this. I know that Fang does this regularly with her snails ;) you just have to leave them out of the water long enough for the polish to dry.

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You may want to go ahead and coat her whole shell in clear nailpolish simply to protect it since it does look a bit weak (and of course increase calcium etc. as Daniel suggested). You'll want to obviously stay clear of fleshy bits when doing this. I know that Fang does this regularly with her snails ;) you just have to leave them out of the water long enough for the polish to dry.

Couple quick questions about this:

1) I thought you weren't supposed to do this. Are there any ingredients to avoid? I have a vitamin enhanced clear base coat that's intended to strengthen nails. Would this be a good option? Or plain clear coat? I have both. Both are Sally Hansen, just in case this matters.

2) The line on her shell about 3/4 back was the front of her shell about three weeks ago. I wasn't too worried about the apparent weakness of the shell because of this rapid growth and figured it would thicken up with time. Should I be worried? Heimdallr's shell has also experienced a great deal of growth and is similarly thin. The other snails' shells are all quite thick and shiny. As previously mentioned I do have cuttlebone in the already hard water.

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I have read about nailpolish being okay on applesnail.net which I tend to trust their information :idont do you have a source for it not being an ok practice? I would personally just use a plain clear coat.

If the shell is growing back thicker and stronger the no, I wouldn't worry.

If you haven't seen this yet it might be worth a look. It goes through some common shell problems and remedies

http://www.applesnail.net/content/various/snail_disease.php

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I've applied nail polish to my snails when they first arrived and in poor shape. Fang did as well. I don't know how much it helped having no real objective way of quantifying such things, but it certainly did not cause harm. :)

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I have read about nailpolish being okay on applesnail.net which I tend to trust their information :idont do you have a source for it not being an ok practice? I would personally just use a plain clear coat.

If the shell is growing back thicker and stronger the no, I wouldn't worry.

If you haven't seen this yet it might be worth a look. It goes through some common shell problems and remedies

http://www.applesnail.net/content/various/snail_disease.php

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Honestly, I no longer remember where heard it. This is info stuck in my brain from when I had my fist apple snail a decade ago. It could have just been a lfs employee.

I did not see or notice the nail polish recommendation on applesnail.net even though I pretty much read everything they had on the site before getting mine. I'll have to double-check it. The other shell repair page stuck in my mind, probably because of the valiant attempt at drawing by the person providing the info! I'll double-check the applesnail.net site.

I've applied nail polish to my snails when they first arrived and in poor shape. Fang did as well. I don't know how much it helped having no real objective way of quantifying such things, but it certainly did not cause harm. :)

OK, good to know!

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I'm not sure if my snail's damage is exactly like your snail's damage but I did nothing. I'm not sure what the long-term ramifications will be, but I didn't feel confident doing anything when I noticed he had shell damage (this is my smallest, pure white, snail). So far, he has been with us a year, 6 months with an obvious shell split.

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OK. I have the shells now. I have decided not to do the repair until tomorrow. My fibromyalgia is really acting up today and I find I have a tendency to muddle fine motor tasks when the pain is intense. Tomorrow should be a better day.

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