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I think my baby snails are dead


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I had 3 mystery snail babies that were about 3 weeks old. Two had grown quite a bit, while one had hardly grown at all since hatching. They were living in my boyfriend's 20 gallon tank with the heater set at 75F.

The tank got really gross, and I felt it was hazardous for the snails to be living in it. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate were all 0 but my boyfriend was not cleaning up the leftover food; every time I went there there was moldy food on the bottom of the tank and detritus all over, and planaria worms everywhere. In our other tanks we have goldfish who eat the leftover food, but the snails weren't and it was developing fungus. Knowing that he would not clean up the food or remove the snails for feeding, and that the snails needed to be fed more than once a week when I came over, I decided I would take care of the snails myself in order to provide them with clean water and daily food.

Yesterday I took the snails home with me and put them in a 10 qt Sterilite pail with the water filled about 1/4 of the way. I was planning to do the bucket to bucket method, adding Prime to the water and switching the pail every day (I bought 2 for this purpose). I also added a pinch of calcium to strengthen their shells. I had high hopes.

I noticed last night that the snails were hardly moving at all, which I chalked up to it being nighttime and cold. When I woke up this morning, they were all huddled together in a corner, still not moving. I switched the bucket and added an algae thin.

When I returned home a half hour ago, I saw that none of the snails had moved from the spot they were in when I had left. I took the snails out and saw that their feet were still attached. Their tentacles and part of their bodies are out but they are completely unresponsive, as if they had died while moving or had crawled out of their shells while dying. The tentacles have developed a slimy film.

What on earth could have happened?? I am puzzled beyond belief, seeing as how I took them from a filthy environment and gave them clean water and food. The temperature did drop to about 50F last night, but don't plenty of people do the bucket to bucket method with no heater and in much colder weather than we have in California? Surely that couldn't have killed them? I am hoping to get goldfish fry soon, and possibly more mystery snails, and really want them to survive!

If you have any suggestions, please let me know ... I am feeling absolutely heartbroken right now and am dreading breaking the news to Mario, especially after I assured him I would take good care of them. :-(

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Edited by *Amanda*
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  • Regular Member

I'm sorry this happened. The snails most likely got too cold and died. Last year, I ordered a bunch of baby snails and managed to kill some of them by exposing them to low temperatures (most likely).

The ones that have thrived and survived have been kept at 20C in a heated tank. The ones I had in unheated containers either died or failed to thrive. Once I figured out what was going on, I moved two surviving snails that were a quarter of the size of the ones in the heated tank (they had all arrived at the same time). One never recovered and died. The other one shot up in growth and cannot be told apart from the ones that were always in a heated tank.

My experience is that they need to be kept in warmer water.

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Actually 50F is way too cold for mystery snails:

"The optimal water temperature for apple snails lays between 18 to 28°C (65-82°F). As with many cold-blooded animals, apple snails are more active at higher temperatures. At higher temperatures, they eat faster, creep faster and they grow faster. Also higher temperatures mainly induce the reproduction of the apple snail. At lower temperatures (18°C/65°F) the apple snail enters a dormancy state in which they creep away in the mud and become very inactive. Temperatures below 18°C/65°F should be avoided as the mortality rate quickly increases."

http://www.applesnail.net/content/care.php

That, in combination with probably already being weakened due to the prolonged exposure to the toxins in your boyfriends tank, is probably what did it :(

You could put them in a warmer environment and see if maybe you are lucky and they were only dormant.

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OK, thank you. So then, because a heater cannot be affixed to a bucket, the bucket to bucket method is NOT appropriate for baby snails (unless you live in a place that never drops below 65F)? A modified bucket to bucket method with two heated tanks might be the best option, in that case. I will do that next time.

I have kept mystery snails in all my goldfish tanks for a little over a year, and couldn't figure out why they kept dying after a few months. Several months ago I was correcting major nutritional deficiencies in my fish, and around that same time I added heaters to all my tanks. Suddenly, both the fish and the snails started growing and thriving, and I got my first clutch of eggs. I chalked this up to the fact that they were finally getting proper nutrition, but in retrospect, the snails' sudden well-being likely had as much to do with the added heat.

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I have put a 50w aqueon in a bucket and it surprisingly did not overheat at any point.

I'm sorry for your losses. :(

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So then, because a heater cannot be affixed to a bucket,

Why not? I've used 50watt heaters with analog dial in small 1.5 gallon tubs before without problems. It probably helps though to have an air stone for water circulation and proper heat distribution :)

I do feel like I am misunderstanding something here though!

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So then, because a heater cannot be affixed to a bucket,

Why not? I've used 50watt heaters with analog dial in small 1.5 gallon tubs before without problems. It probably helps though to have an air stone for water circulation and proper heat distribution :)

I do feel like I am misunderstanding something here though!

I had heard (could have sworn by someone in here, but can't remember who) that it was unsafe to use a heater in anything smaller than a 5 gallon. It was in a discussion about bettas. I would have especially been afraid to use one in a bucket for fear of melting the plastic - especially since I am only home at night and would be terrified of burning my condo down. But perhaps this is really not an issue at all?

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I'm sure that you read that somewhere on here.

But I personally had not yet a problem. I use the heater with suction cups, and suction-cup it along the center of the bottom so the heater itself does not touch the plastic. Then I place an airstone right beneath the heater so the heated water is being spread out throughout the tub.

Unless the heater malfunctions, there should not be a problem with overheating or melting the plastic, since it is constantly submerged.

But I understand that not everyone feels comfortable with it, especially when one is not home to watch it.

Is it that cold inside your condo that the water temperature was this low? Do you have a refrigerator that gets a little warm on top and you could place the tub on top of it to keep it a little warmer? Or anything else like that? :)

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OK, I will get a very low-watt heater next time. It does regularly drop to 50 degrees at night here, although my condo has insulation. I did have a window open for most of the day because I had used Superglue to repair something, but the weather was not cold during the day.

I did want to mention that when I was living in my old, uninsulated house back in January, I brought home an injured fish for treatment (my telescope who got wedged between the driftwood and the tank wall). I put him in a 10 gallon with a heater set at 75F. When I went to check on him the next morning, the heater was off, the water was very cold and he had died. I know heaters aren't supposed to run constantly, but I have no idea why it would have allowed the water to get that cold. It was probably 40 degrees. Any thoughts on this? I just wouldn't want it to happen again.

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Sounds like the heater was faulty. The ones with analog dial can often be a bit tricky because you have to play around to find the setting for the temperature you need. But even on lowest setting, the heater should not have let the water drop to 40F. That really sounds like the heater was not working right at all. :(

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