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Snail Shell Repair: What I did, what worked and what didn't (Photo Heavy)


BronwynH

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So I finally got up the guts to repair Isis' shell. Despite calling on all my bravery reserves my hands were pretty shaky, but both Isis and I got through it. This is not meant to be an instructional per se, but perhaps sharing my experience will be helpful for the next person who has to do this.

For starters here's a picture of the damage:

IMG_26331_zps68684d95.jpg

Here are the links I used as instructions:

http://snailhobbyist.blogspot.ca/p/part-2-safety-how-to-safely-handle-your.html

http://www.applesnail.net/

Here's what I did:

I set up a working space in a tray as the edging made me feel confident nothing would get knocked off/over. After laying down some plastic I noticed a bit of static, so I fit some cardboard from a cereal box inside the tray.

IMG_26501_zps496633a5.jpg

You can see the shells in the plastic bag from the store.

Once that was done I boiled some water and let the shells soak in the hot water while setting everything else up. I figured this was the best way to ensure no baddies were transferred into my tank.

The only toothpicks I had were pointed, so I chewed the tips of two of them to create mini brushes. I also laid out nail clippers to

cut the shells and a nail file to take care of any sharp edges. I also ensured that the glue, paper towels, a washcloth and q-tips were handy. (I never used the q-tips, so if you need to do this don't worry about these). The tupperware was for the snail.

IMG_26511_zpscd72785d.jpg

Once this was done I ran the shells under cool water and decided to try my hand at cutting bits of shell. I deliberately got extra shells for practice as I didn't know how hard or easy this would be. Turns out this was a good call as it was hard! The shells were thin and really wanted to shatter. Here's the first piece I cut. Well, really I only got two small cuts into the shell before it shattered like this:

IMG_26531_zpse777af8d.jpg

Fortunately it basically stayed in two pieces.

I tried filing down sharp edges, but this just chipped the shells. Clipping off any sharp corners is a much better idea. My advice to anyone else who has to do this is to get several shells to use for practice so you can get used to how the shells cut, crack, and/or shatter.

After getting two good size pieces I decided to pull Isis out of the tank just to see where we stood and how well those pieces fit.

Here's the first few pieces

IMG_26601_zps631ca666.jpg

You can see all the little bits of shell that chipped off just with gentle handling.

Once I compared the pieces I had with Isis' shell I realized that my biggest difficulty would be matching the curve of her shell with the new shell. Luckily one of the shells the lfs guy gave me was almost the same size as Isis (just slightly smaller) so VERY carefully I cut out the same section of shell. Even once I did this it took some fiddling to fit this properly to her shell. I trimmed it very gently, slowly, and in tiny increments with the clippers. I definitely recommend laying the shell you plan to use to use as a patch over the spot BEFORE even opening your crazy glue.

I'm not sure how possible it would be to use shell from smaller snails to effect repairs as matching the curve was so crucial. The only time it might work is if the area needing repair is on a flatter part of the shell.

Now I apologize for not having any photos of this next part. My hands were shaking pretty badly by now and I didn't want to let the crazy glue dry on me.

Once I had the patch fit to the damaged area and the curve of the shell I dried Isis shell and laid her on her side on moist paper towel in the tupperware. I used my tooth pick brush to paint some crazy glue on her shell outlining her damage, but a good ways away from the crack and the living soft tissue at the base of her shell. Imagine a 'V' of crazy glue above the crack. The first time I tried to attach the shell patch I had been too conservative with how much glue I'd used (I was paranoid about it spreading into the crack when pushing down the patch) and too slow to put the shell patch down and the crazy glue had already dried, so I had to do this twice. The second time it stuck and I 'painted' over the edges of the patch, but again only away from the opening of the shell.

Then I just let Isis be and lie on her side on the paper towel for 15 minutes while the glue set.

IMG_26541_zps1faf6a0d.jpg

(Sorry about the overexposure).

The glue I painted over the edge looks like rough shell.

By this time my hands were shaking so badly and I was so nervous that the thought of painting some clear nail polish over the thinner parts of her shell was too much. I may do this in days to come, but I needed a break!!

After those 15 minutes I removed the paper towel and added a few millimeters of water to the tupperware. I let Isis stay there for an additional 30 minutes to allow the glue to fully set (according to the instructions it only takes "a few minutes" to set, but I wanted to be SURE). Pretty soon Isis was motoring around the tupperware.

IMG_26641_zps13574224.jpg

After that half hour I put her back in the main tank and she returned immediately to all her old behaviour and seems completely unaffected by her experience.

Edited by BronwynH
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You did it! I remember you posting about her and needing to do this. I loved your post explaining everything to us. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Bronwyn. I bet your glad it's over with. I'm glad Isis went back to her normal behavior.

It surprised me that Isis didn't move around the first 15 minutes though. I would have thought she would have wanted to come out of her shell and start moving around. No?

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:o WOW! You did fantastic! :clapping:

Thanks for sharing pics with us along the way! :)

I bet you're happy it's over :hug

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You did it! I remember you posting about her and needing to do this. I loved your post explaining everything to us. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Bronwyn. I bet your glad it's over with. I'm glad Isis went back to her normal behavior.

It surprised me that Isis didn't move around the first 15 minutes though. I would have thought she would have wanted to come out of her shell and start moving around. No?

The relief I felt at everything going ok is indescribable! I was less nervous the first time I gave someone an injection (insulin)! Gotta admit though I still keep going over to the tank to check on her. Can't quite believe there wasn't some apocalyptic muck up. ('Cause, you know, I try to repair my snail's shell and the world ends!)

As for not coming out of her shell I'm pretty certain the texture of the paper towel threw her off. As soon as I removed it she was out and about.

Wow! Nice job. :clapping:

Thanks!

:o WOW! You did fantastic! :clapping:

Thanks for sharing pics with us along the way! :)

I bet you're happy it's over :hug

Thank you very much! So relieved. Can't even begin to describe . . . :doh11::D

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Oh that was interesting about the paper towel throwing her off and not wanting to move. I'll have to remember that, if I heaven forbid, don't want my snail to move if I have one out. ha ha

Again, Great work you did on Isis. :) And I think I understand that indescribable feeling you had. I too had one of those last year with a fish of mine.

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Oh that was interesting about the paper towel throwing her off and not wanting to move. I'll have to remember that, if I heaven forbid, don't want my snail to move if I have one out. ha ha

Again, Great work you did on Isis. :) And I think I understand that indescribable feeling you had. I too had one of those last year with a fish of mine.

I can't guarantee that the paper towel was the deterrent, or that it would work for every snail. But you never know! If you try it just keep an eye on the snail just in case.

What procedure did you need to do with your fish? I think the only thing that gave me the courage to do the repair was knowing that if I didn't the crack would eventually kill her, so I couldn't really do worse than that!

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Well, I'm hoping I'll never have to take out one of my snails and keep him still. But, if I do.....................paper towel (try). :)

Last year I sedated one of my Oranda's and did surgery on him with the help of Helen (mod) skyping with me and also keeping me calm and focused. I had that "indescribable" feeling. If your interested there is a topic on Jet. I think it's in the dx section. I don't want to take up your topic here. :)

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Hi Bronwyn,

You did a fantastic job, and thank you for presenting so well here in this thread.

I have moved this thread over to the Snails & Crustaceans subforum, while leaving a link of it in the surgical procedures section, so now it's visible in both places. I have also pinned the thread in the snails section, as well as requesting that admin promote this to an article. :)

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Well, I'm hoping I'll never have to take out one of my snails and keep him still. But, if I do.....................paper towel (try). :)

Last year I sedated one of my Oranda's and did surgery on him with the help of Helen (mod) skyping with me and also keeping me calm and focused. I had that "indescribable" feeling. If your interested there is a topic on Jet. I think it's in the dx section. I don't want to take up your topic here. :)

I can't imagine having to sedate one of my fish for a full blown surgery. I think that might be the one way to make me even more shaky than I was! Congrats on your achievement (i.e. getting you and your fish through that process)!

Hi Bronwyn,

You did a fantastic job, and thank you for presenting so well here in this thread.

I have moved this thread over to the Snails & Crustaceans subforum, while leaving a link of it in the surgical procedures section, so now it's visible in both places. I have also pinned the thread in the snails section, as well as requesting that admin promote this to an article. :)

Thank you for putting this thread in the right place. I actually was debating which section to put this in.

Thank you also for the compliments. I was just trying to share my experience - I never thought it would be something worthy of article status, but if others find it useful I'm very pleased. :)

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Wow, great job!! I completely missed that you had done this already. Very cool!!

Just completed yesterday evening. Contrary to all my irrational fears she is still doing really well.

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Wow I am very impressed!!you did an excellent job,thanks for sharing with us :)

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Thank you!

That was an amazing read. You did a really good job, Bronwyn. :)

How is Isis now?

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my rambling tale! Isis is doing really well. Her shell has grown at least another 2-3 millimeters since the procedure (despite keeping the tank below 70*!) and everything below the crack is completely filled in. Other than the giant patch stuck to the side of her shell you'd never know there had been a problem. :)

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Hi Bronwyn,

You did a fantastic job, and thank you for presenting so well here in this thread.

I have moved this thread over to the Snails & Crustaceans subforum, while leaving a link of it in the surgical procedures section, so now it's visible in both places. I have also pinned the thread in the snails section, as well as requesting that admin promote this to an article. :)

Alex, just out of curiosity, I was wondering if this was deemed worthy of article status or if it wasn't quite up to snuff. The original post was just me rambling, so if you want it rewritten and more 'formal' I don't mind doing that. I have to get some practice in for writing papers anyway as I am returning to school in the fall :)

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Hello,

I would not go against anyone wanting to improve on their writing, so if you think that this is something you want to do and would be willing to do, I think it is to the benefit of the forum, and all its readers. :)

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I've got a chunk of free time in a couple of days. I'll rework it then. It's been almost a decade since I wrote my master's thesis and I haven't really done a whole lot of formal writing since. It'll be good to get back in the groove of things again.

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congratulations, hun! you did a really fine job :)

years ago, i used plastic and superglue to mend a snail's shell. i never once thought to just go get some empties from the LFS! brilliant idea!

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congratulations, hun! you did a really fine job :)

years ago, i used plastic and superglue to mend a snail's shell. i never once thought to just go get some empties from the LFS! brilliant idea!

Thank you! Although I can't take credit for the idea of using empty shells. The idea came from one of the websites I referenced :)

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