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Escape Snail


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Hi there!

So I have an apple snail that likes to take excursions out of the tank. Is this normal?

The first time I found her on the floor, I couldn't even see how she was getting out of there. The only thing I can think of is that must be crawling up through the opening where the water flows in from the filter. An apple snail couldn't push up the lid--could it? Luckily, there is a plush carpet on the floor, and the cat did not find her first, but her shell does look a little beat up. It looks like there are some small white lines--not quite cracks--and there is a place where it looks like the pretty purple color has faded.

I don't know how long she was out of the water each time. By the time I found her she had gone way up into the shell. After I put her back into the tank each time, she slowly came out and started behaving as normal.

I need to find something to block the opening. I tried a towel today, but it got wet.

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You can try adding a screen top, like people do for reptile cages. I bet that that bad little snail will still get out anyway! Lol! When they set their mind to something.... :o:rofl3

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how is the water? snails don't always tolerate nitrate very well, i have heard that sometimes they try and crawl away if the levels are high. (Just an idea. Mod?)

Edited by Cyprinidae
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I don't have apple snails, just nerites, but they escape quite regularly. I just watch for it now and push them back into the tank before they make it out. :rofl

Mine have always done this and my water parameters are just fine . . . . :idont Although I'm sure if parameters are off, that would be one reason they would escape.

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According to applesnail.net Apple snails are actually designed to inhabit swampy areas, so although they are aquatic, they can survive out of the water for a week without issue. So your guy may just have a taste for adventure lol ( assuming water params are good of course) I wonder if you could use something like some filter padding to fill in gaps between equipment and the lid?

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how is the water? snails don't always tolerate nitrate very well, i have heard that sometimes they try and crawl away if the levels are high. (Just an idea. Mod?)

Oh, what would be a high nitrate level for them? I was under the impression that they were quite hardy.

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I don't have apple snails, just nerites, but they escape quite regularly. I just watch for it now and push them back into the tank before they make it out. :rofl

Mine have always done this and my water parameters are just fine . . . . :idont Although I'm sure if parameters are off, that would be one reason they would escape.

So snails like adventure! She only seems to do it in the middle of the night. Maybe I'll stay up one of these days to see how she does it.

According to applesnail.net Apple snails are actually designed to inhabit swampy areas, so although they are aquatic, they can survive out of the water for a week without issue. So your guy may just have a taste for adventure lol ( assuming water params are good of course) I wonder if you could use something like some filter padding to fill in gaps between equipment and the lid?

Okay, so as long as it is normal. As far as I can tell the water parameters are good, unless they are super sensitive to nitrate. Even if she can tolerate being out of water, the fall from the shelf to the floor, can't be a good thing. Unless she is crawling all the way down? And then there is the cat....

I have some spare screen from fixing a window somewhere. I will try that or some filter floss. Thanks, everyone!

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Could it be related to breeding behavior? These snails mate all the time! This is another thing I've been wondering about. I've removed at least ten egg clutches in the last few weeks.

Edited by Saracatt
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They do leave the water to lay clutches , but usually it's right above the water line.

What's your nitrite reading? Are you not cycled yet?

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No, I am definitely cycled. I just checked, and it is at 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 10ppm Nitrate, and 7.8 pH. There is also a new clutch of eggs today!

Now, I am wondering if it is the Nitrates. I just changed the water 2 days ago, so that seems like a high nitrate reading for only two days. Although, I do have a hard time telling exactly which color the tube matches on the API chart. I had water quality issues in this tank before. It took a while to completely cycle because I guess I underestimated the bio-load of the snails. They grew really fast!

Right now I have 5 of them in a 20 g with an Aquaclear 50 filter. But I used lots of Prime and did water changes daily or every other day until it finally cycled.

I have also wondered if I am overfeeding the snails. I alternate between giving them two algae wafers or some pellets one day. Then the next day they get a big piece of veggie--usually cabbage or broccoli, and they just work on that until it is done. That can take a few days. Then they get their wafers again.

I was originally going to put two of the snails into the goldie tank, but I decided against adding them because it took me so long to get the goldfish well, I'd hate to add anything unknown, and those snail antennae look to me like a goldfish might just mistake them for a tasty worms. My fish are such spazzes when it comes to food.

I just scored another 55g on Craigslist, so I am planning on moving the snails to that, and then adding some kind of community of tropicals.

Edited by Saracatt
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Could it be related to breeding behavior? These snails mate all the time! This is another thing I've been wondering about. I've removed at least ten egg clutches in the last few weeks.

BINGO! She was probably looking for a place to lay her eggs. They rarely come out of the water, unless it is to lay eggs. Yes, it will usually be right above the water line and inside of the tank. I've had mine lay eggs on the outside of filter inlet tubes from my canister, and on the sides/ tops of the outer box of HOB filters, as well. She was probably crawling around on the rim of the tank and fell to the floor, and then just decided to continue her adventure.

Try lowering your water level to give her a good 3-4" of empty tank wall above the water line, and see if she keeps coming out. Sometimes, they just want to lay eggs further away from water.

The small white lines may be growth lines- I'd need a pic to see if that were the case, or if they were fissures. The purple fading in places is normal, as they grow. They start off pretty much uniformly light purple/magenta when they're tiny, and turn to white with purple/magenta stripes, as they get larger. How much white vs. stripes varies from snail to sail.

Your params are fine for snails. That is not high enough nitrate to bother them. They will also be OK in a tropical tank, but they do generally live a shorter time in warmer water.

Your feeding schedule looks fine, for adult snails, as well. :D

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Here are pictures of the lines on the escape snail's shell. She is the only one who has them, so I think they are from the trips outside.

They are somewhat hard to see. They are the little white lines that go parallel with the dark purple stripes on the shell.

Is this something to be worried about?

snail3_zpsbc48d5b6.jpg

snail2_zpsbc4af8b7.jpg

snail_zps76322dbd.jpg

Edited by Saracatt
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The cracks look fine. As long as the shell isn't open it usually isn't a problem. (One exception is a crack caused by impact. You can recognize those because they are sharper, thinner and more irregular without any whitening. Although I have to admit I'm not sure if it's the crack itself that's the problem or that the impact causing the crack caused other internal damage. I just know that impact cracks tend to come with problems :idont ). As for the vertical cracks your snail has the one recommendation I would make is to make sure your water has sufficient calcium content. One way to raise the calcium in your water is to add cuttlebone to your tank. Just boil it until it sinks, let it cool and toss it in you tank. Calcium from the cuttlebone with slowly dissolve into the water, but some snails will also eat it like a dietary supplement. It doesn't look like the cracks extend all the way to the front of the growing shell so I doubt that calcium content is a current issue, but it doesn't hurt to be sure. :)

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I did have an apple snail escape once. Fortunately it was found by my boyfriend, who put it back in the tank and all was well. They sell plastic back covers at thatpetplace.com. I was planning on starting a dojo loach tank and will most definitely need one of those, since they like to jump!

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The cracks look fine. As long as the shell isn't open it usually isn't a problem. (One exception is a crack caused by impact. You can recognize those because they are sharper, thinner and more irregular without any whitening. Although I have to admit I'm not sure if it's the crack itself that's the problem or that the impact causing the crack caused other internal damage. I just know that impact cracks tend to come with problems :idont ). As for the vertical cracks your snail has the one recommendation I would make is to make sure your water has sufficient calcium content. One way to raise the calcium in your water is to add cuttlebone to your tank. Just boil it until it sinks, let it cool and toss it in you tank. Calcium from the cuttlebone with slowly dissolve into the water, but some snails will also eat it like a dietary supplement. It doesn't look like the cracks extend all the way to the front of the growing shell so I doubt that calcium content is a current issue, but it doesn't hurt to be sure. :)

OK, then I won't worry. Can the cracks heal?

Last month I started giving them calcium in the form of calcium carbonate tablets from the drugstore. I just plop one of them into the tank once or twice a week, and some of it dissolves, and then they eat some of it. That's what the white stuff in the picture is. It's kind of messy, though. Maybe I'll get a cuttlebone when they finish this bottle.

I did have an apple snail escape once. Fortunately it was found by my boyfriend, who put it back in the tank and all was well. They sell plastic back covers at thatpetplace.com. I was planning on starting a dojo loach tank and will most definitely need one of those, since they like to jump!

That looks perfect! Right now I have it rigged with left over filter floss, but it keeps moving around and getting into the tank.

It is shocking to find an aquarium animal on the outside of the tank. That's lucky that your boyfriend spotted him. I was only inches away from stepping on mine the first time she came out. She made it all the way out into the hallway, and it was early morning, so it was dark.

I don't know much about the snails, but I think it looks OK. If you worry, put some clear nail polish on it.

Well, if it's not that bad, I think I'll just watch it for now. I've got enough nail polish around. It isn't toxic to the snails?

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The cracks might be able to thicken a little from the underside (I don't actually know), but they don't really heal. The growth plate is at the front edge of the shell, so that's where the growth occurs, although even there if the crack is large enough the snail might not be able to keep up and fill it in and you have to do repairs. I wouldn't worry about that scenario though as that's not what you seem to be dealing with.

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