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My Snails Are In Trouble!


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Thank you for your time! I've never kept snails before and always wanted to. I cycled a 10 gallon tank and over time added 4 fiddlers, 2 red claws, 15 ghost shrimp, 3 bamboo shrimp, and a variety of mystery snails: 6 gold, 1 black, 1 gray, 1 white, 1 rams horn, 2 trap door who had 4 babies since. Also, I gave the crabs their own tank a week ago.

Now reading this I think I went overkill, but the water chemistry has always been great. The problem is that in the last weeks I've noticed significant loss of shell on the goldies. The mantle edges all had a little growth damage but since being here and growing it's shocking to me. Some of the lines are an inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Some of them have flesh exposed! Is this painfull for them? How do I know when it's time to humanely euthanize?

I'll list my chem levels here:

Ammonia: 0

Nitrites: 0

Nitrates: 30 ppm

KH: 10 degrees

GH: 8 degrees

PH: 8

Two weeks ago I had added buffer max to increase pH from 6.8, and then found seachem's reef complete. Raises calcium, maintains magnesium and strontium. Last week I changed 50% and added a half cap of the calcium. Then, Monday, a guy at the lfs told me that was for marine only, so I did another 50%. The only thing added after the last change was a little vitamin pyramid that had calcium, and a couple of feeder blocks with "extras" in them.

Feeding: spinach, green leaf lettuce, cucumber anchored for a week, cuttlebone, dried spirulina brine shrimp, floating pond pellets. The greens and cuttle are always there, the rest are treats twice a week.

Also, I removed heater thinking that would slow the growth.

I am writing to you in hopes that we can figure out what I'm doing wrong, and do whatever I can to help these guys! I'm totally a novice, and have been reading like crazy online, but I'm starting to panick for these little guys. They are all still moving around and eating, so I assume they are okay.

Please help us!

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I don't know a lot about snails but read in my Aquarium magazine that adding coral will not only keep the ph up but add calcium to make the snails shells harder. Sorry I don't know more but I hope this will work for you. :)

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it sounds like they have a calcium deficiency. do they look like this?

Apomacea_brid_shelldamage_light.jpg Bpomacea_brid_shelldamage_heavy.jpg

Cmarisa_shell_hole.jpg Dpomacea_brid_toperod.jpg

you really do need to add calcium to their diet or to the tank itself. spinach is not a good food for them as it inhibits calcium absorption. crushed coral, as mentioned above, is an EXCELLENT choice for adding calcium as well as keeping your pH stable. "A good way to regulate the water quality is to add a source of calcium in the form of crushed egg shells, specialized preparated, crushed sea-shells, marble or something similar"

just to give you some more snail info:

- pH should be between 7 and 8

- kH and gH should be HIGH

I'm afraid to say that these snails will not be able to recover on their own if their flesh is exposed. You will need to intervene and glue other snail shell pieces, egg shell pieces, or plastic to the damaged area. Snails are able to repair their shells somewhat, however, your MAIN problem is that the other snails in the tank will start eating the damaged snails and I doubt the snail can repair any severe damage like photographed above.

here is a patched up snail.pomacea_can_repaired.jpg

here is a website w/ more info: Pam's Critters

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Thanks Martha and vickielm. And after calming down I read some of the past posts and saw some of your same advice there. Thank you for reiterating it! I've been to Pam's website and will be glueing eggs shells to my snails. Most of them are at picture A, but with a wider line. Last night I noticed two of them didn't have shell around surface of the opening. I know that if conditions are right they can calcify the soft tissue. I sent an email to Pam's website about the cast she's playing with, but waiting to hear from them. I want to help my guys, I'm just really timid because I don't want to make it worse. It's almost like I need a little hand-holding? Anyway, thanks for all your advice. I removed the spinach, and will replace the substrate with crushed coral tonight, only 1-2 cups at a time.

I have noticed the healthy snails snacking on the hurt ones. Maybe I'll put a divider in the tank until they show signs of improvement? Also, when glueing the egg shells on how long do the snails need to stay out of water for it to set? And it's not okay to get the glue on the flesh, right? I'm so afraid I'm going to hurt them...like salt on a wound.

Thanks for helping me!!!

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ok, so if they resemble picture A then you can breathe easier!

this is mostly from mating behavior and growing and the snail will "patch" itself. if you are still concerned you can help the snail by limiting it's eating (but don't fast) and lower the water temp a few degrees. if the shell starts to get worse you can intervene and repair the shell yourself. you are correct about NOT getting glue on the flesh. getting any of those chemicals on the snail's flesh may kill it. the snails will be ok out of water for the repair. the shell needs to be dried before adding the glue, and then the glue needs to set (although this is depending on what kind of glue you use. maybe there is a water proof super glue?)

"Problems regarding shell growth often start when the temperature suddenly increases in combination with an abundance of food or when the water quality changes (after a large water change)." depending on the species (omg there are so many) and circumstances the snail will stop growing and use it's energy to reproduce. you may need to separate them so they do not continue to mate and then they will focus their energy on growing and repairing themselves.

now which part of the shell are you noticing the lack of shell?

shell_anatomy.gif

btw, I forgot to link the pics I posted before. they are property of AppleSnail.net.

(this is also where I get my info. ;) )

this site is so amazing and has helped me SO much! I learn new things about snails daily, so please share your snail-y experiences and photos!

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Be careful not to get the glue on their flesh. It depends on the kind of glue you're using, but if it's superglue it cures quickly in water (I always use gel superglue on my corals so I assume that would be safe for the snail shells). The snails can be out of water for a little while without being injured. They are known to come out on their own, anyway.

I just wanted to caution you about having crabs in there with the snails. I'd definitely get those crabs out. It's lucky they haven't attacked yet, but being scavengers, they will munch on any slow moving thing they can find. I also would separate the hurt snails to keep them safe while they recover.

Good luck.

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Thanks for all the advice! Here's what I've done. I used some aquarium apoxy putty, green on the outside white on the inside and made little casts for the 5 snails that were really bad. The stuff liked to stick to me more than the shells but I eventually got the hang of it. Sort of. After about half an hour I felt they were dry, gave them a rinse, and popped them back in the tank. I added organic kale for them to nibble, and over the nexr few days will be adding crushed coral for the substrate. I have some before and after pics but I can't figure out how to post them! The snails are all doing good after their little ordeal. Most of their damage was to the outer lip and transverse stria (thanks for the illustration Martha). They are a little top heavy but they look so much better.

All of the crabs have been removed to their own bracking tank, complete with wood and sand. One of the female is preggers! From what I hear the eggs will be a snack for them later on.

I wish I could show you those pics!

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congratulations! must have been a lot of hard work, but it just shows what a big heart you have! :hug

have you tried Photobucket? this is a photosharing service that many of us use. the membership is free and it makes posting picks so easy! :)

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That is great news!! I hope to see the pictures soon.

I second Martha on Photobucket. I've been using it for many years (I just have a free account) and I love it. All the pics I ever post on here are hosted through Photobucket.

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oh wow, those poor babies!! you did such a fabulous job mending them too!! :clapping::thumbs:

I wonder if you wouldn't mind posting a new thread with step by step instructions on how you repaired them? it might come in handy for someone else? :D;)

and I just love this photo:

DSCF0021.jpg
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