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Lost a bunch of snails


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Hi Bronwyn,

I understand that you don't know much more than that there is copper. I was asking to see if you could get Chris to find out a bit more, if possible. :)

Oh! I'm sorry. I clearly had a brain . . . hiccup shall we call it. I can do that!

Hahahaha it wasn't you. I just re-read what I wrote in the earlier post, and found that I left out a few crucial words. :yikes

I meant to write, "Will you make sure TO ASK CHRIS..." but did not manage to complete my thought. :rofl

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  • Regular Member

Hi Bronwyn,

I understand that you don't know much more than that there is copper. I was asking to see if you could get Chris to find out a bit more, if possible. :)

Oh! I'm sorry. I clearly had a brain . . . hiccup shall we call it. I can do that!

Hahahaha it wasn't you. I just re-read what I wrote in the earlier post, and found that I left out a few crucial words. :yikes

I meant to write, "Will you make sure TO ASK CHRIS..." but did not manage to complete my thought. :rofl

No worries! it happens to me all the time - thinking faster than I type. :)

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Any updates? :)

I went on the repashy website and found the ingredients for super green

INGREDIENTS: Spirulina Algae, Algae Meal (Chlorella), Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Alfalfa Leaf Powder, Stabalized Rice Bran, Dandelion Powder, Dried Brewer’s Yeast, Ground Flaxseed, Schizochytrium Algae (Source of DHA), Dried Seaweed Meal, Dried Kelp, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Lecithin, Potassium Citrate, Taurine, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Calendula Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Selenium Yeast. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Choline Chloride, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2- Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement).

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Any updates? :)

I went on the repashy website and found the ingredients for super green

INGREDIENTS: Spirulina Algae, Algae Meal (Chlorella), Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Alfalfa Leaf Powder, Stabalized Rice Bran, Dandelion Powder, Dried Brewer’s Yeast, Ground Flaxseed, Schizochytrium Algae (Source of DHA), Dried Seaweed Meal, Dried Kelp, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Lecithin, Potassium Citrate, Taurine, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Calendula Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Selenium Yeast. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Choline Chloride, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2- Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement).

Yeah, that's definitely different from what's listed on tastyworms. I don't know why I didn't think to check their website directly! It looks like all their gel foods contain copper, so that's a bit of a bummer. I was hoping that once I was done the jar of soilent green I could switch to a copper free formula, do a massive WC and put the loach and snails back in the 55g. Now I'm definitely going to have to get creative with housing.

And no, I haven't heard back from tastyworms yet.

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Bronwyn, why don't you write directly to Allen Repashy? He's a very nice person, and will be happy to answer your questions, I'm sure. :)

Thanks. I might do this!

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So I e-mailed Repashy this afternoon to ask (a) If any of their foods did not contain copper, and (b) If they had changed their formula recently. This evening I received this response:

Hello Bronwyn,
I am not really sure where you are getting the information that tells you that trace amounts of dietery copper have ANY toxicity for snails or other invertebrates. I would welcome you to show me any scientific publications that determine such toxicity. Dietary copper and Dissolved copper in the water are two completely different things. For example, shirimp. which can die when exposed to 1ppm disolved copper, do not thrive without 50-100ppm in their diet.

Invertebrates that are sensitive to high amounts of copper in the water still require trace amounts of copper in their diet like ALL living things. The amount of copper we include in our diets is less than 10 parts per million and is completely safe. There is a lot of misinformation on the web and there are lots of reasons that your snails could have been lost. I raise and have raised several species of Pomacea snails, Nerite snails, Assasin Snails, Ramshorns, all on a variety of our formulas.
I would suggest you check out this thread I posted some infomation on int the planted tank forum.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=178476&highlight=copper+myth&page=3
I welcome any SCIENTIFICLY publised evidence you can provide that shows dietary toxicity in snails or other invertebrates fed diets that are less than 50ppm copper..... even beyond that, the chelated forms I use are the most natural and are accepted at typically twice the levels of non chelated forms. I really think you need to look to other causes for the problems you have experiences. There is no such thing as a diet that does not contain trace amounts of copper. It is essential to life for all living things. It is in every natural food ingredient..... plants all contain copper. The amount we add is just for insurance and to insure that the minimum levels are met.

Cheers, Allen Repashy


Repashy Ventures Inc.
810 North Twin Oaks Valley Road Suite 131
San Marcos, Ca. 92069
858 405 2006 (direct cell)
760 471 8230
(local office)
855 REPASHY (855 737 2749) Toll Free.
Office, Shipping, and Receiving Hours: 8:00AM to 4:00PM Pacific Time.
allen@repashy.com
Skype: Repashy
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I thought I'd share it here for all those concerned about feeding Repashy in tanks with snails and/or loaches. Personally I have separated my snails and loach from the goldfish who need to be fed Repashy and I will not be feeding any in the snail/loach tank. That being said it seems I am simply being paranoid and there is no real need for concern :). I am now searching for scholarly articles on apple snails and copper.

If it wasn't the food I wonder what killed the snails?? Too bad I've done massive WCs on the tanks. All the standard water params were fine, but maybe my lfs could have tested for other things (heavy metals maybe??).

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Bronwyn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I noticed your post right after I posted about my baby snail loss. Like you, I don't have a clue what happened and am heartbroken over it. :-(

I directly feed my adult snails SG, and they have absolutely thrived on it. I have never seen such dramatic growth. I do agree with Mr. Repashy's assertion that copper is nontoxic in trace amounts. I work in quality control in the dietary supplement industry, and many of our products contain trace minerals. Basically, we all need TINY amounts of elements like copper, selenium and chromium, but if we ingest much more than that it becomes toxic. We test for the elemental content in the raw material, and if it tests above that specification, we use less in the finished product so that the consumer gets the right amount. If it is the same for snails, this would explain why copper-BASED medications are toxic but copper as an added trace mineral in a food/supplement is nontoxic (and may even be an essential nutrient for them).

Oh - and I just checked the bottle of Prime; it says it detoxifies heavy metals too (although it doesn't say which - probably As, Cd, Hg and Pb?).

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Edited by *Amanda*
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OK. Here's three articles.

The first is typical of the articles I've found which seem most concerned with environmental copper.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10646-008-0243-8#page-1

Interestingly it does say, "For adult snails, dietary uptake of Cu resulted in higher bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) compared to uptake from soil." which would seem to indicate that copper found in food is more easily absorbed by the snails. Admittedly, if the food in question has copper below threshold toxicity levels it might not be a problem. Although presumably like other toxic metals copper would build up in the system over time eventually becoming a problem?

The other article does deal with dietary copper, but not in apple snails:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00017437#page-1

This article does conclude that dietary copper has a negative impact on growth rates and fertility in the snail species studied. It does not seem to address mortality.

For actual numbers on toxicity levels see:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00244-007-9106-1#page-1

The 30mg/kg mentioned in the article is equal to 30ppm and is far less than the 50ppm Mr. Repashy states as his copper levels. This article does not seem to deal with chelated forms and states that water parameters, including pH can affect the toxicity of copper so . . . ????

This relatively brief google search of scholarly articles has me convinced that both dietary and environmental sources of copper are toxic to snails. Unfortunately I wasn't able to read the entirety of any of the articles (some just the abstract, some gave me the intro and methods as well, but never the conclusions section). Additionally it is generally understood that heavy metals build up in both animals and humans over time so that even sub-toxic doses can eventually cause morbidity and/or mortality if repeated over time. Copper is a heavy metal.

Mr. Repashy is correct that trace amounts of copper are essential dietary requirements, certainly for humans and I don't doubt for other species as well. It is also pretty much impossible to develop copper-toxicity solely from normal dietary sources. Given the above articles however, I do question if trace amounts suitable for goldfish might be too much for snails. Unfortunately without numbers specific to chelated copper I can't make any conclusions either way. That being said I will be erring on the side of caution.

I apologize if I seem to have been rambling. I wrote this as I was doing online research - notes for myself and for you!

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Bronwyn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I noticed your post right after I posted about my baby snail loss. Like you, I don't have a clue what happened and am heartbroken over it. :-(

I directly feed my adult snails SG, and they have absolutely thrived on it. I have never seen such dramatic growth. I do agree with Mr. Repashy's assertion that copper is nontoxic in trace amounts. I work in quality control in the dietary supplement industry, and many of our products contain trace minerals. Basically, we all need TINY amounts of elements like copper, selenium and chromium, but if we ingest much more than that it becomes toxic. We test for the elemental content in the raw material, and if it tests above that specification, we use less in the finished product so that the consumer gets the right amount. If it is the same for snails, this would explain why copper-BASED medications are toxic but copper as an added trace mineral in a food/supplement is nontoxic (and may even be an essential nutrient for them).

Oh - and I just checked the bottle of Prime; it says it detoxifies heavy metals too (although it doesn't say which - probably As, Cd, Hg and Pb?).

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Saw this only after I made my last post. Thanks so much for the additional info. I definitely agree with you and Mr Repashy on the required trace elements. I just wish I could find out what the threshold amounts for chelated copper are for snails :(

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Bronwyn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I noticed your post right after I posted about my baby snail loss. Like you, I don't have a clue what happened and am heartbroken over it. :-(

I directly feed my adult snails SG, and they have absolutely thrived on it. I have never seen such dramatic growth. I do agree with Mr. Repashy's assertion that copper is nontoxic in trace amounts. I work in quality control in the dietary supplement industry, and many of our products contain trace minerals. Basically, we all need TINY amounts of elements like copper, selenium and chromium, but if we ingest much more than that it becomes toxic. We test for the elemental content in the raw material, and if it tests above that specification, we use less in the finished product so that the consumer gets the right amount. If it is the same for snails, this would explain why copper-BASED medications are toxic but copper as an added trace mineral in a food/supplement is nontoxic (and may even be an essential nutrient for them).

Oh - and I just checked the bottle of Prime; it says it detoxifies heavy metals too (although it doesn't say which - probably As, Cd, Hg and Pb?).

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Saw this only after I made my last post. Thanks so much for the additional info. I definitely agree with you and Mr Repashy on the required trace elements. I just wish I could find out what the threshold amounts for chelated copper are for snails :(

The chelated copper my company uses contains 20% Cu. However, the problem with chelates is that the amount of copper depends on what substance the copper is chelated with (usually an amino acid), so what we use may not be what Repashy uses. But normally you would see no more than about 30% of the element in the chelate.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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Bronwyn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I noticed your post right after I posted about my baby snail loss. Like you, I don't have a clue what happened and am heartbroken over it. :-(

I directly feed my adult snails SG, and they have absolutely thrived on it. I have never seen such dramatic growth. I do agree with Mr. Repashy's assertion that copper is nontoxic in trace amounts. I work in quality control in the dietary supplement industry, and many of our products contain trace minerals. Basically, we all need TINY amounts of elements like copper, selenium and chromium, but if we ingest much more than that it becomes toxic. We test for the elemental content in the raw material, and if it tests above that specification, we use less in the finished product so that the consumer gets the right amount. If it is the same for snails, this would explain why copper-BASED medications are toxic but copper as an added trace mineral in a food/supplement is nontoxic (and may even be an essential nutrient for them).

Oh - and I just checked the bottle of Prime; it says it detoxifies heavy metals too (although it doesn't say which - probably As, Cd, Hg and Pb?).

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Saw this only after I made my last post. Thanks so much for the additional info. I definitely agree with you and Mr Repashy on the required trace elements. I just wish I could find out what the threshold amounts for chelated copper are for snails :(

The chelated copper my company uses contains 20% Cu. However, the problem with chelates is that the amount of copper depends on what substance the copper is chelated with (usually an amino acid), so what we use may not be what Repashy uses. But normally you would see no more than about 30% of the element in the chelate.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

So this would mean if Repashy uses a 30% chelate and since toxic levels of regular copper are 30ppm toxic levels of the chelate would be 100ppm??

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Bronwyn, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I noticed your post right after I posted about my baby snail loss. Like you, I don't have a clue what happened and am heartbroken over it. :-(

I directly feed my adult snails SG, and they have absolutely thrived on it. I have never seen such dramatic growth. I do agree with Mr. Repashy's assertion that copper is nontoxic in trace amounts. I work in quality control in the dietary supplement industry, and many of our products contain trace minerals. Basically, we all need TINY amounts of elements like copper, selenium and chromium, but if we ingest much more than that it becomes toxic. We test for the elemental content in the raw material, and if it tests above that specification, we use less in the finished product so that the consumer gets the right amount. If it is the same for snails, this would explain why copper-BASED medications are toxic but copper as an added trace mineral in a food/supplement is nontoxic (and may even be an essential nutrient for them).

Oh - and I just checked the bottle of Prime; it says it detoxifies heavy metals too (although it doesn't say which - probably As, Cd, Hg and Pb?).

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Saw this only after I made my last post. Thanks so much for the additional info. I definitely agree with you and Mr Repashy on the required trace elements. I just wish I could find out what the threshold amounts for chelated copper are for snails :(

The chelated copper my company uses contains 20% Cu. However, the problem with chelates is that the amount of copper depends on what substance the copper is chelated with (usually an amino acid), so what we use may not be what Repashy uses. But normally you would see no more than about 30% of the element in the chelate.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

So this would mean if Repashy uses a 30% chelate and since toxic levels of regular copper are 30ppm toxic levels of the chelate would be 100ppm??

Yes, that would be correct. You may want to ask Repashy what the elemental copper percentage is in the chelate to confirm; our boron chelate is just 5% boron, so it can vary a lot.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Edited by *Amanda*
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Hi Bronwyn,

Thanks for doing all this fantastic research and work. I very much appreciate it. :)

I just wanted to point out that Allen stated that he has less than 10ppm of the copper in any of his food. :)

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Hi Bronwyn,

Thanks for doing all this fantastic research and work. I very much appreciate it. :)

I just wanted to point out that Allen stated that he has less than 10ppm of the copper in any of his food. :)

Thanks so much! I totally misread that!! :doh11: I blame the fact that I'd spent a full day with my nieces and nephews. 16, 9, and 4 year old triplets. (And that's only half the full crew!) That's a legitimate excuse, right?? :idont:no:

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Heard back from tastyworms:

Hi Bronwyn,

My name is Chris and I am the President of Tasty Worms Nutrition. I apologize that is has taken us so long to get back to you. I wanted to make sure that I properly researched this issue before replying. The Copper Methionine is in most Repashy Superfoods products including the Super Green and Soilent Green products. It is not specifically added, but occurs in trace amounts in the dietary calcium that is added to Repashy products. There is no quantity specified because it is trace.
All invertebrates need copper in trace amounts in order to facilitate oxygen carrying in their blood. It functions like hemoglobin in humans. I actually received this information from Seachem, as their products also contain trace amounts of Copper Methionine.
It is important if you have invertebrates in the tank to ensure the levels of copper do not rise to unsafe levels by doing frequent water changes. Trace elements are added with every food or chemical product added to the tank and they can build up over time without water changes. I was able to find invertebrate specific food from companies like Hikari which also contained Copper Methionine, so it's not uncommon. The amount of copper in the product is not sufficient to hurt invertebrates when used as directed. But, I think most people in the aquarium trade assume weekly water changes. I don't know what your water change schedule is, but, I think this information will be helpful to put the issue into perspective.
I've updated the ingredients on the Repashy products Super Green and Soilent Green to their most recent versions. The products have not actually changed, but the labels have this year to add the trace mineral content. So the addition of Copper Methionine was not recent, it was always in the product to my knowledge, just not on the label.
Thank you,

Chris

So with the info provided by Repashy (which admittedly I misread the first time), the articles I fund online, and the Tastyworms response it was not the copper in the food.

I do 80% water changes once a week, with supplemental 50% changes if the water gets cloudy or nitrates go above 10ppm (ammonia and nitrite have been at 0 and pH from 7.6-7.8 depending on the tank). Now I'm completely puzzled as to the root cause and of course I've done several water changes in the mean time so I can't even get ay additional water tests at my local fish store. I guess it's going to remain a mystery. I suppose it could even be multiple poorly timed causes! (Although Occam's razor . . .)

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thanks for following up on all this! it's been interesting to read :) good to know that the food was unlikely cause of the deaths

I'm sorry, Bronwyn. :(

I will say again that I really appreciate the thoroughness with which you tackled the topic. Thank you!

No problem guys. I'm sorry I went back and forth on my verdict (partially mental exhaustion, partially incomplete info, and probably a little jumping to conclusions), but in the end I think I've got some reliable info. :)

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Have you tested your tap water for copper content yet?

Have you tried keeping remaining snails in a bucket of spring water and see how they do?

I can't find answers to these questions in this topic, but I might be missing them. There is a ton of info and research in here after all, for which I want to thank you very much :)

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Have you tested your tap water for copper content yet?

Have you tried keeping remaining snails in a bucket of spring water and see how they do?

I can't find answers to these questions in this topic, but I might be missing them. There is a ton of info and research in here after all, for which I want to thank you very much :)

I have not tested for copper as I do not have that kit. After Heimdallr and the babies died on the same morning and then Isis hadn't moved all day they were all put in a food safe tub with fresh water. At that point Isis was on her way out, in fact I thought she might be dead, but as soon as she hit the clean water she came out of her shell and started motoring around. I did a 90% WC on my 20g and put the snails and the loach there with Peaches and the Aten (way overstocked, but temporary) as those fish didn't need to be fed Repashy. The remaining snails have been doing great since.

Since the food doesn't seem to be the problem I'm debating putting them back in the larger tank as it'll save me having to set up extra tanks.

Jacques and Heimdallr were in two different tanks and the babies in a third. Theoretically it could be possible that the babies got to cold (their container was being heated by the 55g lights. It may be that with the lights off at night perhaps the temperature dropped too far, but it had been only dropping to 70* on previous nights.). Jacques may have died from old age (I don't know how old he was). Heimdallr died from drying out behind the tank, but I thought she may have climbed out due to water quality, although originally I thought she might be looking for a place to lay eggs. Isis, who did not die, was in the same tank as Heimdallr and recovered in new water leading credence to my theory that something in the water was the cause. Unfortunately I only have tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH all of which were in good ranges. The only commonality between the tanks was the food which started my concerns when I found copper listed on the Repashy. In the end I don't think I have enough info to ever conclude whether there was one single cause, or multiple, much less what the cause was. :idont

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I don't think they were too cold. Even in the 60s, the temperature is fine for these guy.

They do sell tests for copper, and I wonder if your LFS has not tested for copper yet, if they would do that even though you already had your free testing? If they are able to test for it, that is.

API sells a copper test kit, and it is around ten bucks. Some LFS may carry it in store, but it is also easily found online. In the worst case you learn that there is no copper in the tap water and you have a copper test kit to expand your fish keepers "pharmacy" with. :)

Still, the cause may remain a mystery forever, who knows?

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I don't think they were too cold. Even in the 60s, the temperature is fine for these guy.

They do sell tests for copper, and I wonder if your LFS has not tested for copper yet, if they would do that even though you already had your free testing? If they are able to test for it, that is.

API sells a copper test kit, and it is around ten bucks. Some LFS may carry it in store, but it is also easily found online. In the worst case you learn that there is no copper in the tap water and you have a copper test kit to expand your fish keepers "pharmacy" with. :)

Still, the cause may remain a mystery forever, who knows?

I have no idea if my lfs tests for copper. I was going to call to find out, but they are a real pain to get to and I knew I wasn't going to be able to get up there. I haven't had water tested there in forever (it's just way easier to test everything myself, but I only have the basic API freshwater test kit), but I'm a good customer and I'm sure they'd do it for free. I'll probably pick up a copper test kit from tastyworms with my next order, or from my lfs if I get there first.

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