FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Snail
Related Articles: Snails and
Freshwater Aquariums, Invertebrates
for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Assassin Snails and
Sulawesi Elephant Snails. Keeping Clea and Tylomelania in the
Aquarium by Neale Monks, Fresh and
Brackish Water Nerites by Neale Monks,
Related FAQs: Freshwater
Snails 1, Freshwater Snails 2,
Freshwater Snail Identification,
Freshwater Snail Behavior,
Freshwater Snail Compatibility,
Freshwater Snail Selection,
Freshwater Snail Systems,
Freshwater Snail Feeding,
Freshwater Snail Reproduction,
Snails by Species: Mystery Snails, Apple/Baseball Snails,
Mystery snail deaths
I'm sorry to have to bother anyone with my problem but I'm at wits end!
I belong to a fish forum and have gotten good advise there on fish but
when it comes to my little mystery snail friends...I'm afraid I've
gotten more bad information than good.
<To be fair, Apple Snails/Mystery Snails are difficult to keep. Long
term, anyway. Anyone can keep them for up to a year, but the problems
come soon after. In the wild they aestivate during the dry season, often
in mud rather than underwater, and this period is a sort of "rest" for
them. Not sure of the specifics. But in any case, kept underwater at
tropical temperatures, sort of wears them out. In a sense, Apple Snails
are easier if you think of them as disposable individually, and aim to
keep a colony.
They're easy to breed, and the juveniles easy to rear. This way, if
some/most only live a year or so, it's no big deal, and you might get
lucky and find a specimen that lives two or three years, and these are
the giant, tennis ball-sized specimens we see in photographs.>
I absolutely love snails, I started out with fish but became fascinated
with snails, now my focus is more on them than the fish. When I started
I knew nothing about snails and my ignorance resulted in snails not
living very long. I decided I wasn't going to quit, so I learned as much
as I could and kept trying. The big thing I learned was the water we
have here is unbelievably soft, so I addressed that issue and then pH
<Good. However, do understand pH is a bit less significant than
carbonate hardness. If you go here:
Scroll down to the Rift Valley salt mix, and try using this, perhaps at
half dose, to harden the water. Epsom salt raises general hardness,
baking soda raises carbonate harness, so you can actually tweak the
recipe as you
need. You may even opt to use the baking soda alone.>
My snails started to thrive and live longer but I'm still having
My oldest snail was nine months when it died. I had other that lasted
six months. Four out of the last six have all died within six months. I
add calcium tabs x2 per week and kept a constant PH of 7.2 - 7.4 temp is
around 77.0 F I am a fanatic about tank cleanliness as I do bi-weekly
30% water changes and my nitrates are never above 10-15 ppm.
<All sounds good. Do you feed them anything specific? I'd recommend
catfish-style algae wafers (Hikari make an excellent brand) alongside
regular offerings of "shelly" foods such as krill from which they can
This tank has two canister filters and a behind the tank type. I have
six black skirt tetras and two cory's in this 29 gal tank. I have live
plants (very large Amazon ferns) which they seemed to love. I also have
some other plants as well. Most of my snails have started floating
before they die, all efforts to get the bubbles out have been to no
avail. The latest snail to die was last night, it was female that had
been floating for weeks, I was constantly putting her on the ferns. She
would grab on but as soon as she let go...off she went! Last night I
tried everything because I knew she
would die and sure enough within two hours she died. Here is the crazy
thing; She appeared to have ripped open hanging out of her shell! I have
seen this five times now and I cannot find an answer for this.
<Our understanding of snail medicine is basically zero. So far as modern
science goes, snails are either healthy or dead -- we're just not at the
point where we can diagnose their illnesses. On the other hand, snails
are remarkably tough animals (ask any gardener!) and on top of that
their requirements are very well understood. Specifically, a balanced
diet will include plenty of calcium, and in the case of Apple Snails, a
period of time once a year that allows them to "rest" for a few weeks,
perhaps in an aquarium maintained a little cooler (18-20 C) than usual.
Some aquarists have tried to get them to aestivate in damp coir, but I
don't think there's an established protocol for this.>
I have put several post's up on my fish forum and out of a 120 views no
one has seen this! It looks as if she was just cut open...sliced like a
chub of bologna! I have had some snails die for obvious reasons, cracked
or deteriorated shells, I've seen and understand what causes that but
this thing where they are just ripped open has me stumped. I love snails
and would like to raise them but I don't want to be responsible for
killing anymore. Please if you have answers to this, I would be
<In the meantime, do review Tylomelania snails; massively easier to keep
than Apple Snails, and in the UK at least, widely sold in an
increasingly good range of types/colours:
Re: Mystery snail deaths 4/20/16
Thank you so much for your quick reply! I was feeling a little guilty
thinking I wasn't doing enough but from what you've said I think I'm on
the right track. I guess I shouldn't take it so hard if they don't make
it a year or so but I will turn the temp down a little and try
everything you've suggest. I have been feeding them good food and the
wafers as suggested but I've never been able to get them to eat veggies
as others have told me they do. One thing I found early on was some of
the shrimp pellets they were eating contained copper so I got rid of
that and only feed them top quality foods. At the moment I only have one
snail left, she's a real beauty...I wasn't going to get anymore but
after your information I've decided not to give up...I love these little
creatures too much. Thanks again, gratefully yours Gary
<Glad to have helped, and good like going forwards! There's a great
website, AppleSnail.net, that happens to have a forum that would be a
good place to chat with other apple snail keepers. They're not easy
pets, despite their wide availability, as you're learning, there's a
great deal of uncertainty to getting them surviving past the first year.
I was cleaning my tank today and using the gravel vacuum, moving gravel around.
I have a baby snail in my tank, approx 1cm in length and now I can't find it. I
didn't suck it up as I've checked the vacuum. It is possible that I moved gravel
or put a decoration on top of it. Will the snail make its way out on its own or
should I be searching the gravel for it?
<Well; can't say w/ certainty, but I suspect you'll be seeing this; and likely
other snails in future.>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby Snail 3/6/16
Thanks but that really didn't answer my question. If I accidentally buried him
with gravel will he dig himself out or should I search for him?
<Will either dig out, is dead, or you will crush by searching. BobF>
Apple Snail; dying in a tropical setting
I have three apple snails in my 10 gal tank with Bettas and tetra spp.
<Mmm; not compatible... Apple snails aren't tropical species...
Please read here re:
There are other snails that are>
One of my larger, and healthy looking snails hasn't moved for three
days. I took him out and touched him but no response. He does not smell.
I pried open his door, which was minimally open already and still has
not moved. Is he dormant or dead?
<Likely the latter>
The other two so far seem ok. If any would be sick, I would have thought
the smaller one with eroding shell and algae growth but this one that
isn't moving was very active previously. I am wondering if it was from
the fish meds? I used Stressguard and Paraguard by SeaChem. Please help
<The latter is toxic to Gastropods. Bob Fenner>
Apple Snail Mantle Collapse. No useful data
Hi crew, I have a question about one of my Apple snails(pom. Diffusa). He
appears to be suffering from mantle collapse. Based on research I assuming it is
right sided since he can breathe and has survived for a few weeks now.
Visually it seems to be the center portion is disconnected from the shell.
<What re water quality and feeding here? Such troubles are almost always a
matter of one and/or the other with Pomacea in captivity. Review what we have
archived on WWM Re... need hard, alkaline water.... at times useful to supply a
bit of calcium carbonate....>
He cannot move but has tried every few days. He just appears to struggle to
grasp any surface, stay up right, or even extend from his shell. At first he was
closed up tightly for a week or so, then when taken out of the tank and put into
clean water he opened up but clearly could not move much as his shell appeared
to be too heavy. I have been hand feeding him fish flakes which is all he will
I've tried every trick i could find but his condition has only gotten worse
since he seems to no longer be able to retract tightly into his shell. I've
contacted applesnail.net but haven't received a reply. Should I gradually lower
the water temperature and then refrigerate him, or is there a chance this is
<.... the reading. Start here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
I have noticed white, somewhat stringy cloudy discharge from him now and
again..not sure if this is relevant, but just thought I should mention it. Btw
he is only about 4 months old.
Thanks so much
Sick apple snails 8/24/15
While searching your site for tips on adding calcium to my apple snail tank, I
noticed one of your members mentioning iodine. The suggestion was to add 1 drop
per 20 gallons(or 10 can't remember) each week for tanks containing snails and
<More so for the shrimps than the snails. Not sure who'd recommend Iodine for
snails. Not normally a limiting factor. Do you have the link?>
Persuaded by the information, I added 1 drop of Kent's iodide solution to my 20
gallon apple snail tank 3 days ago. Since then 2 of my snails have become
severely ill and 2 others are becoming increasingly weak.
<Yikes. Do a water change, 50% now and 50% in a couple hours. See if they perk
The ill snails are barely moving and producing mass amounts of slime when they
<This does suggest some irritation.>
They are also too weak to retract into their shell as much as they normally
would when touched. I have already been increasing partial water changes, but
haven't see an improvement just yet so I removed them from the tank. My question
is - did I do something wrong? Did I misunderstand this advice?
<Possibly. Let's think about the iodine supplement. It's routinely used in tanks
with snails, marine snails in reef tanks. So there's no reason to predict it
would be dangerous to snails. On the contrary, it would be expected to be safe
on the basis of the fact it's harmless to marine snails, clams, corals and many
animals far more delicate than Apple Snails.
On the other hand, it's not been tested, and freshwater animals may be different
in how they metabolise iodine supplement. It's certainly helpful for crayfish
and crabs. I wouldn't personally use in on shrimp tanks except with giant shrimp
species (Macrobrachium spp.). The little algae shrimps (such as Amano and Cherry
Shrimps) should get enough iodine from their
Is it even possible that this could be causing the sudden change in my snails? I
trust all of your advice very much and realize that I may be jumping to
conclusions, but I can't imagine what else could be going on with my snails.
Thank you for your help.
<I agree with your analysis, and while I'd never predict this sort of negative
reaction, it does sound as if it's one plausible explanation. Do a series of
water changes, and also add carbon to the filter (one of the few times I'll tell
you this) because carbon removes iodine. Chuck out the carbon after a few days
to it doesn't release the iodine back. HOWEVER, do
also keep an open mind to other possible explanations. Shrimps can/do pick at
Apple Snails, high and low temperatures can stress them, and moreover, they do
naturally have a 'hibernation' period lasting a few weeks in the wild and if
yours have been in the tank for more than 9-10 months, they may be ready to
sleep. Quite normal, what they do, and who knows, the presence of iodine may
even have triggered this somehow (perhaps they go dormant when the water
chemistry changes as water evaporates in summer). DO ALSO check you dosed the
Re: Sick apple snails 8/25/15
Thank you. Here is the link and what I was referring to can be seen under
"Iodine and Inverts" submitted 8/22/2004.
<Right. That's Sabrina's comment rather than mine, so I can't really speak to
it. She's an expert fishkeeper though and wouldn't have recommended it for no
reason. But speaking for myself, I'd recommend iodine for crustaceans rather
than snails, but as stated last time around, given snails do just fine in reef
tanks, I see no reason why iodine would be bad for snails.>
Luckily I have single species tanks for both my apple snails and cherry shrimp,
so no chance of harassment here.
I did 2 large water changes last night and saw an immediate improvement.
Then today when I got home, 2 snails were back to being extra slow and acting
<Odd. But at this point any damage will have been done, and it's now about
recovery. The good news is that snails seem to operate in a binary state: alive
or dead. So if yours are still alive, I'd be hopeful.>
I added carbon to the filter, did another large water change, and again their
behavior improved within minutes.
<Is the new water cooler or warmer? If cooler water perks them up, that could be
a clue; and conversely if the new water is warmer, then again, that's a clue.>
Assuming this up and down behavior continues, would you suggest I lower the
temperature a bit to allow for a hibernation period as mentioned?
<Worth a shot, but no lower than 18 C/64 F.>
Also, before the last water change I noticed that the ammonia and nitrite levels
were suddenly spiking. Could this be caused by the excretions from the stress
response that the snails are having to the water or is it more likely a result
of too many water changes in such a short period?
<Nope. But ammonia and nitrite levels being non-zero could EASILY account for
odd Apple Snail behaviour. Something is amiss with the filter (turnover, media,
oxygen availability, etc.) and/or quantity of organic matter in the tank.
Review, and act accordingly.>
Thanks again for all the help!
Re: Sick apple snails 8/25/15
The filter. Neale, you are a genius.
<Possibly an overstatement.>
Unfortunately this was the one thing I did not consider. I modify my filter
cartridges routinely and since I have had the same routine for a while, I didn't
even consider this as a possible issue. Thank you yet again for saving my little
<Well, let me know if it helps. In short: for Apple Snails, I'd employ the
simplest filter, something like an air-powered sponge. I'd do essentially
nothing to it except give it the occasional rinse under a lukewarm tap (aquarium
temperature water) to rinse away the gunk. Baby Apple Snails love feeding on the
algae and microbes on sponge filters. I'm old school with filters and do AS
LITTLE as possible to them. Replacing media cartridges is usually a racket, so I
tend to stuff filters with 'immortal' media like ceramic noodles, sponges, even
Re: Sick apple snails 8/26/15
I remove the carbon from my filter cartridges and replace it with crushed coral
and ceramic rings in my snail tank. I think this time around I packed it in a
little too tightly.
<Understood, and the risk is minimising water flow; a bad thing! Loose packing
is what you're aiming for. The media should rattle a bit when shaken.>
Anyway, I decided to remove any possible contributing factors and soak each one
separately in clean water overnight. The problem was the cuttlebone.
The ammonia and nitrites were very high in the cuttlebone water.
<Ah, must have still had some organic material in it.>
I've had this same piece in the tank for a few weeks without any issues up until
now. Didn't realise they could "go bad" so quickly.
<Apparently so. Usually best to add a small piece, coin-sized, one bit at a
Hopefully this will prove to be the only issue. Unfortunately one of my snails
is exhibiting some really odd behavior still despite water changes.
Is there a possibility for long term damage in snails after ammonia/nitrite
<If they recover, no, they should be fine.>
I've spotted him quite a few times "munching" on his own flesh. At one point he
looked like he was trying to crawl into his shell backwards. Poor guy. Well,
thanks again for the much appreciated words of wisdom.
<Could be doing some cleaning, recycling of mucous.>
<Good luck, Neale.>
Stressed Apple Snail
Hello again crew. Following the advice offered in response to my last message, I
have moved my cherry shrimp and apple snails to their own tanks, apart from the
fish. Shortly after moving them, one of my adult male snails mated with a much
smaller female snail. The male is about 2" and the female is about 0.75". The
next morning I found the female in the same spot of the tank, lying on her side
with half of her body retracted out of her shell. I placed her right side up,
but she has remained hidden in her shell most of the time since then(about 2
days). This morning, I found her attached to the glass at the surface of the
water. She has white dots surrounding her and there was a thin string of these
dots floating along the glass next to her. I placed a small cup near the string
of dots to see if they were
attached to the glass, but they were not. Any search I've done suggests that
these are eggs, however they are not bound to each other or the glass.
I have attached some photos for you to review. She has remained in the position
as seen in one of the photos for the last 3 hours or so. There has been no other
notable changes other than being moved to the new tank. I used tank water from
the original tank, as well as borrowed some filter media. Your opinion would be
very much appreciated.
Thank you, Danielle
<Didn't we reply to this question a couple days ago? Pretty sure I did. Anyway,
I don't think these are eggs. They're certainly not viable eggs, anyway. Apple
Snail eggs look like exactly like raspberries and are laid above the waterline,
often on the hood, a reminder Apple Snails must be in covered aquaria. These
white bits look like the snail has chopped something up, perhaps paper or
polystyrene. Remove the white bits, and review diet, ensuring the snail has
access to fresh greens and a source of calcium (a piece of cuttlebone will do).
I agree, keeping such a small female away from the male is probably a good idea.
Apple Snails - small black specs in water
Hello again, I picked up these little guys today and transferred them to a
little container before acclimating them to my tank. After about an hour, I
checked back to find little black specs in the water(see attachments). This was
the water from their original tank, but the specs weren't visible when they were
bagged up. The specs aren't moving and the snails seem fine otherwise. Thoughts?
Is it safe to transfer them to my tank? Thanks again for all your help. Don't
know what I would do without it.
<Probably snail faeces. Cheers, Neale.>
I'm such a pain, I know. Will donate right after completing this email
This is a female apple snail whom I picked up a few weeks back. She seemed very
sick and lethargic when I brought her home. Then she "bonded" with my male
golden apple snail.
<Seems unlikely. These aren't very smart animals.>
She has been doing very well, but recently has spent most of the time inside her
shell. She turned down every veggie offered to her today, and when taking a
closer look I noticed that the portion of her shell where the new growth would
be, is darker and thinner than the rest of her shell. This new growth is soft
and flexible. Thank you again for all your help.
<Review environmental conditions (temperature, access to air, water quality) and
by the looks of the shell, provide more calcium. I think we've discussed this
before. Unshelled shrimp (a small piece at a time) or a chunk of cuttlebone will
do nicely. This snail has a pitted shell, classic symptoms of insufficient
calcium and/or low pH. Review, and act
accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Mystery snail with a shriveled foot, help!?!
Almost 2 weeks ago, my golden mystery snail decided to not come out. We had just
added 4 cherry shrimp to the tank, so we thought she was just being a baby about
no longer having the place to herself. We moved her to another tank for 2 days
alone and she still did not come out of her shell. I decided to move her back to
the original tank and was acclimating her in a
plastic container when she began to stick her tentacles out and attempt to come
out. This is when I realized that her foot was all shriveled and she was unable
to use it. I am currently letting her sit in a shallow dish of ro water in an
attempt to give her a chance to use her foot. Can anyone tell me what is going
<Can't really answer this without some facts about the snail's environment.
So let's recap. Apple/Mystery snails cannot be kept with fish. Fish peck them,
eventually causing damage. Shrimps may or may not do the same thing.
They also need a "resting" period once a year. Ideally, you'd keep them
reasonably warm for most of the time (24 C/75 F is about right) but cool them
down (18-20 C/64-68 F) for a month or two. In the wild they'd actually aestivate
during the summer, in a mud burrow or similar, but recreating that is hard. So
simply cooling them down for a while, so they become
inactive, is the next best thing. They shouldn't be disturbed during that time,
so don't combine with other livestock while this is going on. While it is
possible to maintain Apple Snails at a constant tropical temperature all year
long, this usually ends up with the snail "wearing out" within a year or two,
and it's pretty uncommon for people to maintain them for the 4-5 years they can
reach under optimal conditions (which also explains why the legendary tennis
ball-sized specimens are rarely seen as well).
Finally, a word about water quality. Assuming the tank is upwards of 20 litres/5
gallons, it's big enough for two or three Apple Snails, but you also need
filtration (just as with any other livestock) and crucially, water chemistry
must be hard and alkaline. This doesn't mean add salt, which actually harms
them, but it does mean the water must have a reasonably high mineral content,
upwards of 10 degrees dKH is good, and the pH certainly above 7. Never, ever use
fish medicines in a tank with Apple Snails as both copper and formalin are
highly toxic to them, and many other fish medicine ingredients are probably bad
for them too. I'd strongly recommend the AppleSnail.net website, including it's
forum, where people will gladly help you out. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Apple Snails and holes in their shells?
Greetings. I have a 55-gallon aquarium with good parameters, pH = 7.4,
ammonia & nitrites = 0, nitrates = 30, phosphorous = 0. We have very
hard water, so I assume it has plenty of calcium in it.
<Possibly, but they also need calcium in their diet. Throw in a
piece of cuttlebone!>
I'm pretty sure that they are Pomacea canaliculata. The snails seem to
be developing thin areas in their shells and some even have developed
holes that I've had to repair (what a delicate job). They live
with Plecos and Otocinclus, whom I sometimes see cleaning the algae et
al., off their shells. Do you think that this could be causing their
shells to wear down?
It seems kind of unlikely to me since they have lived with the Plecos
and Otos for several years and this just recently started, but then I
don't know what to think.
<As the Plec grows, it becomes more destructive.>
I haven't added any new chemicals or ornaments to the tank recently. The
only new addition to the aquarium is this: We do have a Malaysian cone
snail problem that came in on some plants that I recently bought and I
bought three Yoyo Loaches to eat the pond snails. Could they be
bothering the apple snails?
<Not directly but damaging their shells.>
But they don't eat the snail's shells, so I rather doubt that they are
the cause...but again, I could be mistaken.
<No, I agree with you.>
The people on applesnail.net say to add calcium, but our water is so
hard that one would think that they have plenty of calcium. Can I use a
salt-water calcium testing kit to test our water's calcium?
Should I feed them some broccoli in case it's a calcium problem?
<Possibly, but not necessarily the cleanest/easiest source.
Could it be a genetic problem? We recently had a hatching and yesterday
I put the baby and adult Apple Snails in my 10-gallon tank just in case
there is something in the 55-gallon that is causing this problem? What
do you think could be causing this? Thank you very much in advance for
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Apple Snails and holes in their shells?
Cuttlebone is a great idea! I'm going to get some for them today. Thanks
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Tylomelania snails with leeches problem. – 09/9/13
Hello WWM crew!
First of all, I've read the article on Tylo snails about a year ago and
I really enjoyed it.. At the time I was reading to get info on Clea
helena, but I kept thinking back on the Tylomelania from the article,
and when I saw some for sale I went for it and I'm really glad I
did. They're great pets.
<Yes, they certainly are fun.>
(I re-read the article today, and read "Snail Disease", "Freshwater
Leeches" and so on, but couldn't find anything on the topic of snail
leeches... If it was there and I missed it, I'm sorry.)
<Hmm... problem is that mollusc healthcare is barely understood.
Snails are either healthy or dying, with little, if any, understanding
of what medications could help with parasites or diseases.>
While I was online researching the needs of the Tylomelania, I found
that a pretty common problem people were having was finding leeches
(Glossiphonia sp I think) on their snails. When I got mine I didn't
notice any at first, but then I did see a leech attached to one of my
snails, so I used the salt dip method on that snail, and all the others
as a precaution.
<I see. While this might work on a chemotherapy basis (stressful to both
snail and leech, but leech being smaller dies first) these snails are
not going to be happy with this sort of treatment, and timing it right
to kill leeches without killing the snails will be hard. Plus, once the
snail retracts into its shell, any parasites inside the mantle cavity
will be isolated from the salty solution. Bottom line, I wouldn't expect
this approach to do any more than have a vague chance of succeeding.>
I found that all of them had at least a few smaller leeches under their
shells, but by putting them halfway in tank water, and then slowly
adding water with salt added, and squirting under their shells with the
water, I was able to get rid of most of the problem... I did two
treatments a week apart, and the leech problem was mostly solved.
The trouble I'm having is with one particular variety/species of snail
that seem to be extra sensitive to salt. The other snails didn't
exactly like the treatment, but as long as I added the salty water
slowly and only put them in the water up to the rim of their shells,
they tolerated the treatment pretty well.
The two sensitive ones just snap shut into their trapdoors as soon as
the tiniest bit of salty water touches them, so I'm having a lot of
trouble getting the leeches off.
Today I saw a big leech on one of the "sensitive snails" head, so I
tried *very* gradually adding the salty water, but again as soon as it
felt the tiniest bit of salt, it snapped shut like a clam, and wouldn't
come out again until he'd been back in the tank water for 5-10 min,
whereas all the other snails would come out of their shells immediately
once I'd put them back in their tank after treatment.
I'm kind of stumped... The only thing I can think of trying next is
holding the snail by his "foot" while I squirt salty water on him, but
I'm afraid that might hurt him.
<Hurt, possibly; do fatal harm, unlikely, though pinching onto the foot
(e.g., with tweezers) could cause at least as much damage as the
Is there anything else you can suggest for me to try?
<You could try an antihelminthic medication such as Praziquantel (e.g.,
Prazi Pro) and see what happens. Leeches are annelid worms, but I'm not
sure Praziquantel has been tested on these particular leeches let alone
how safe they are with snails. For sure people have used Praziquantel
safely in takes with Melanoides (MTS) snails but those snails will
survive Armageddon; your Tylomelania are more sensitive animals. Perhaps
try out a few in a hospital tank and see what happens.>
Thanks in advance.
Re: Tylomelania snails with leeches problem (Bob?) <<Nothing further>>
Okay, I've decided to just let them be for now and not try to remove the
leeches from those two unless they seem to be in distress...
<Sounds like a plan. To be honest, this is what I'd do. Most fish and
invertebrates collected from the wild are probably parasitised anyway --
it's only in this case you can *see* the parasites and consequently
worry about them!>
I noticed while I was treating the group that the snails who stayed
buried in the sand/gravel most of the time were the ones who had dozens
of leeches come off when I did the salt treatment, and now all of them
are active and don't hide that way any more... but the two
sensitive ones were always out and about even with the leeches attached,
so I'm not too worried.
If the problem gets worse I'll look into treating with Praziquantel.
Thanks for the tip, and thanks for all the great articles and FAQs by
the way... always a good read. I don't know how you manage to have the
patience for all of us bums who write in with our problems though!
<Ah, thank you for these kind words.>
Thanks again, Neale.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Freshwater Snail foot concerns
Our freshwater snail, medium-sized, green shell, has an issue with the
foot discoloring. It was tannish-white (healthy and normal) turned
brown on one edge for two days, cleared up for a day, and now is black
across the entire foot (which is actually where the mouth is located).
Our snail is still moving around the tank, slowly, which is her/his
usual gait. I even
wondered if it's changing color to attract another snail? Please
share your thoughts. Thanks! Perplexed in Kansas....
<Hello Debra. There's no easy explanation for this because we know very
little about snail healthcare -- they're basically healthy or dying so
far as most aquarists can tell! Chances are that if the snail is
otherwise active and feeding, and doesn't do something odd like climb to
the surface of the water (something they often do if water quality goes
bad) then chances are it's fine. Snails have poor eyesight so changing
colours for communication seems unlikely, but they may well use chemical
signals, pheromones if you will, that are produced by glands in the skin
that change colour as they come into use then go dormant for a time. I
just don't know. Indeed, we know little about snail-to-snail
communication, though presumably they are able to follow chemical
signals of some sort, if only for the purposes of finding mates.
Re: Freshwater Snail foot concerns 6/17/13
Thanks so much for the reply. This morning I checked my snail
first thing and today the black color is gone and the external ring is
light brown. This is the most peculiar thing. I will just keep
monitoring. I so appreciate your feedback!
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Snails, disease. Trouble in a small volume
Hello- I hope you can help. We have a 2.5 gallon tank with 3
apple snails (I'm pretty sure they are apple snails) two are
big and one is little (dime size) then other two are about the size of a
tootsie pop. My sons guppy died from a parasite. Do snails get
<Yes; they do... and perhaps more importantly, there are several (some
important) human diseases/parasites that gastropod molluscs are vectors,
intermediate hosts for>
Also, for the first time last night I noticed all three snails where
extending some sort of third very large antenna!
<... breathing tube. Put the string "Ampullaria breathing tube" in your
It was the first time I had seem it and it was very alien like. We thought
it was maybe a sex organ. Or maybe they also have a parasite? I can not
find anything on the web about this and I'm kinda freaked out. I have
since seen the smaller one retract and extend this "third antenna"....
<Keep your hands out of their tank, wear rubber gloves; wash your hands
w/ hot water and soap after handling... Bob Fenner>
Wow. Thank you. I did not know their parasites could affect humans.
<... Schistosomiasis... so many more>
What do I search to find symptoms to watch with my kids?
I am getting rid of them. Thank you. -Ashlee
<Don't be backward... read re. BobF>
Snails dying 3/18/13
I am setting up a new 20 gallon tank. I added driftwood and a lot of
plants and was letting the tank cycle. I dropped in about 4 dime sized
Ramshorns from a different tank about 2 weeks into the cycle and they
thrashed and twisted violently for a few min.s and then were soon dead.
The bodies turned a weird white color. The ammonia is testing .25ppm. Is
it just a matter of
waiting longer in the cycle?
<Ramshorns are sensitive to ammonia, so yes, let the tank fully cycle
and do properly acclimate them. - Rick>
Snail twisting in shell??? 3-8-13
I've been searching and searching to no avail for an answer to this one.
First the tank, right? Forgive my ignorance, but here's what I know:
10-gallon tank with filter, heater, all that stuff we're supposed to
water condition and temperature have been reviewed several times by
local shop and deemed worthy (Dad handles tank maintenance. I believe
him that he's on top of things.); live plants, Platies.
<I can't comment without data, but seems this is not pertinent to the
I'd say, well over a year ago, we got some moss for the tank for fry.
Surprise! Some teeny weenie snails came along for the ride.
<Yeah, that tends to happen. Plants should be quarantined, just
You can hit them with an anti-snail treatment without having to worry
the impact on fish that way. >
We inquired about them and were advised that they were considered "pests"
and could be "squished" to control the population.
<Pests in the sense they aren't particularly attractive, but they are
actually beneficial to the tank by eating food the fish never find. They
also produce waste, keep in mind.>
We didn't do that, but all the same, some didn't make it.
<I usually only squish snails in my angelfish tank because the angel
eat the meat and spit out the shell.>
Some did. The largest ones are now still smaller than a pea, but we feel
like they're gigantic compared to what they were and we enjoy watching
tool around the tank.
<Not a past for you, then.>
Nothing has changed in our tank for nine months or so? Last night my son
and I were watching one of the larger ones hang out on a plant leaf as
seemed to be squeezing himself out of the shell and then rapidly sucking
back on, twisting/twirling/rotating it rapidly in the process. Any ideas
what that was? He did it over and over while still moving around the
like always. The squeezing out was slow, the sucking back on was fast.
I checked him this morning and all seemed normal, business as usual, but
just want to make sure he's not being somehow tormented by some grievous
snail nightmare. (And what do I do for him if he is???)
<Probably the snail had some irritating foreign object like a grain of
inside the shell and moving about was the snail's way of trying to work
Thank you tremendously!
Re: snail twisting in shell??? 3-8-13
Wow! Really? Poor little guy was really working at it then. I'm glad it
<How annoying is a rock in your shoe?>
Thanks so much!
<My pleasure - Rick>
run away snail 9/30/12
I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 platys, both female, and about 4 guppies, 3
female 1 male, and 3 apple snails; one orange, one black, and
<Population is pushing the limit of that tank. Those guppies will
My question is about my blue apple snail, he at least think he's a
he, climbed out of the tank and fell down behind it...
I recently noticed a cluster of eggs, which I promptly removed, then
notice that he was missing.. when I found him I portioned off some water
and half of an algae tablet to see if he would come out of his shell...
he did briefly so I put him in a breeding net..
<Why a breeding net? Better to put the snail into its own container with
an algae wafer to munch on.>
He has some gravel in his shell which I've been able to remove most of
it with some tweezers, carefully I might add, but he isn't responding to
much. I think he's injured from the fall cause there is a teeny tiny
hole in his shell.. is there anything else i can do?
<Could be injured, sure, but could also be irritated by the remaining
foreign objects in the shell. Try to flush out the foreign objects with
water the same temperature as the tank water.
Since you describe the hole in the shell as small, the snail should
calcify tissue near that area, so no reason to patch it as long as fish
or other snails can't get at the soft flesh.
At this point, I think you wait and read these links while you wait:
and some general information here:
Re: run away snail 9/30/12
Thanks, he spit out the last stone after leaving him be in the breeding
net.. I moved him in to the bigger area of the tank and check him this
morning. He seemed to be sleeping in one of the decorations so I left
him be.. the fish are leaving him be and I patched the hole on the lid
that he crawled out of.
<Ah, good. Hopefully the snail makes a full recovery. - Rick>
Golden Apple snail, beh., hlth.
I was looking for a similar case but I found none so I decided to ask.
For the last two days my golden mystery snail has not moved.
She's not closed up. She's laying on her side with her body exposed
but still attached to the shell. I took her out and poked her but she
didn't react. However when I pulled gently on her door shell her body
didn't pop out and felt firmly in place.
<Possibly dead or dying.>
I noticed she hasn't added calcium to her shell on her new growth and
her foot looks almost translucent. I have cuttlebone in there for my
<How hard is your water and what is the pH? The cuttlebone may not add
enough calcium to the water if you live in a soft water area.>
I have two other snails. One a blue and one a black mystery snail. The
latter male and the former female. There have been caches above the
waterline from both the golden and the blue since last spring and all
through the summer. My blue and black are just fine. Don't seem bothered
by anything. My levels are fine. The temperature in the tank is between
75-80. No ammonia. I also have a baby Molly in the tank and she seems
happy as can be, too. Can you explain this behavior to me or have any
suggestion of what to do? It seems to me like she's sick.
<It isn't normal snail activity. Could just be old age since this snail
seems to be the only animal suffering from the illness.>
Re: Golden Apple snail 9/26/12
I don't have the equipment for my water hardness. But I do leave crushed
coral bags in there for added alkalinity and calcium.
<That should do the trick.>
Assuming I purchased them from the pet store at about the same age she
would be the middle child.
<Hard to tell relative age.>
Her shell is also the only one suffering from deterioration.
<Maybe something that happened to this snail before you purchased it.>
She cracked the tip of her whorls a while back but it didn't bother her.
She also had green matter on her shell. Though she was the only thing in
the tank with it growing on her I figured it to be some kind of algae
and managed to wipe most of it off. It didn't grow back and now this.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I'll watch her until I'm sure
she's gone. I just hope it isn't contagious or anything. Do you think if
should separate her from them or leave her?
<Probably wise. That molly might nibble on the body if allowed to.>
<Welcome and good luck.>
Re: Golden Apple snail 9/28/12
She's passed away now so if anything happens with my remaining snails I
will ask you then.
<Sorry to hear that. I assume you've removed the snail from the tank.
Hopefully it was a one-off thing.>
Hello! Snail problems?
This may be a bit rambling. I have a ten gallon freshwater tank in
which I keep freshwater plants and two snails - a black Mystery snail
from PetSmart and an unknown little brown snail from my science
professor, likely local.
When I first introduced them to the tank, I also had four goldfish in
there as well.
<Yikes... too small a volume/>
The goldfish soon perished but the snails seemed fine. We checked the
water quality, like the pH and the nitrite, and everything was normal.
We tried a few more fish and they died as well, so we gave up and are
now just keeping the snails there because they seem unaffected by
whatever is wrong.
My Mystery snail is acting odd lately - he will retract into his shell
and stay there for hours, not coming out to eat that I can see.
However, sometimes I'll find him in a different place than before,
but I still rarely see him move and he acts very lethargic and
reluctant to come out.
Could the problem that killed the fish be affecting my Mystery
<Mmm, perhaps some aspect of water quality is mal-affecting the
that worked the goldfish woe as well>
Also, my little snail has a bubble in his shell and has begun to float
around. Before, when one of them would float to the top, I'd push
him down with a stick or something and he would sink again. However, I
can clearly see the bubble in the little one's shell and, though he
has attached himself to the side again, I worry that maybe the bubble
could damage him internally. Is that plausible and if so, what should I
do about it?
<Monitor water quality, execute regular (weekly) water changes. The
Mystery Snail may be simply showing signs of normal behavior... Please
do read here:
Spotted Deterioration? <<RMF>>
Long time reader, first time writer here.
It seems my apple snails have been getting some round
deterioration on the center of its shell, and I was
wondering what the cause may be.
I appreciate any information in this matter, and thanks very much
for your time!
<Hello! The pitting on the shell is likely caused by
insufficient calcium <<And/or alkalinity>>
in the diet and/or acidic water. Ensure your snail has a calcium
rich diet (a chunk of cuttlebone will be nibbled on, if provided)
and that the water is moderately hard, 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5.
Re: Spotted Deterioration? 1/16/12
Thanks very much for the quickest reply!
My Apple Snails and I thank you. I will get to that right
<Glad to help and good luck! Neale.>
My Snail, hlth., env. 1/13/12
Hello. I have a snail in a large bowl with a beta.
<Mmm, can't live long or well in a bowl... need a filter, steady
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm>
Both have been doing great up until the last 2 days. My snail
keeps flipping itself onto it's back and laying like this.
Every time I flip it back over it flips itself back. It has never done
this before so I'm not sure if I should be concerned. I took it out
of the large bowl and put it into fresh de-chlorinated water with half
an algae tablet and it is still flipping itself onto its back. A small
amount of it is out of the shell and goes back in when I flip it onto
its belly. Is it dying? In stress? What can I do to help? Thanks!
<Please read here:
and the linked file above for the species you have. Bob
dying Mystery snails
I've been reading and enjoying your site, but have been unable to
find anything sufficiently like our problem to avoid writing.
Our tank is 10 gallons and quite new, having been set up 6-7 weeks ago.
We ran it with some live plants for a time, then added two mystery
snails from different stores as the tank was cycling about a week
apart. They appeared very happy in the tank, moving quickly and easily
about, eating the spinach, Swiss chard, bits of organic pear, etc.,
that we put in. It also appeared that they were attempting to procreate
on a daily basis. Their active times were mostly at night.
<As is their nature.>
Cuttlefish bone scrapings were added and both snails were growing
healthy, smooth, well-colored new shell at a steady rate.
The tank finished cycling and all parameters are within the normal
ranges. pH is 8.4, hardness 170, tank temp about
<Bit warm for all-around care; for best results, cool slightly down
to 18-20 C during the winter. Obviously this is only doable if the
tankmates are other subtropical species like the Apple Snails, but
frankly, Apple Snails do best on their own.>
nitrites & ammonia at 0, nitrates around 20.
The tank looked healthy and stable with several types of plants at this
point and we decided to add fish. The first round was three White Cloud
Mountain fish, on the small side, and very active.
<A subtropical species, and potentially good tankmates. However,
they can sometimes decide to start nipping at the "tentacles"
of the poor Snails, and that makes infections and stress more
A few days later, we added four more of the same, slightly larger in
this batch. Almost immediately, the snails retreated. They sat stuck to
the side of the tank, partially above the water line (where we had
never seen them previously), or mostly inside their shells at the
bottom. They seemed to head up the tank walls eager to pump air on a
more frequent basis and never regained their previous active state.
<Curious. Apple Snails will gulp more air if overheated. Turn the
heater down to 22 C today, and 20 C in 2-3 days time. That'll let
the tank cool down slowly. The Minnows will be fine; in fact
they're happier kept cool during the winter.>
One stayed mostly at the top of the tank, either stuck to the side
partially out of the water, or floating suspended in the water. The
other was nearly immobile at the bottom of the tank, occasionally
putting up its snorkel, but never climbing the glass again within days
after the fish had arrived. We poked its shell and it withdrew its
partially-extended foot, but otherwise rarely moved at all on the
bottom of the tank. It was seen floating in the last day or so with a
small glob of cloudy white matter, perhaps 1mm x 3mm, extended from
under the shell. That snail was checked a couple of times for smell and
was found today to have a foul odor while floating in the tank and was
removed as dead.
The other snail is slightly more active, still moving about a bit but
far far from its former highly-active state when it would cruise about
looking for his mate.
In the last few days, three ghost shrimp were added. They are active
and look fine.
<Again, you're lucky here: Ghost Shrimps do well/better kept a
bit cooler than tropical.>
I find myself wondering if some sort of disease was brought into the
tank, either with one of the batches of fish, or with one of the
plants. If so, how would we go about treating it?
We have not seen the fish nipping at the snails at all.
Any input you may be able to offer will be gratefully received. We hope
to keep the second snail alive and give him another companion when it
seems safe again.
<Apple Snails don't do as well in aquaria as people think.
Tropical temperatures stress them, among other things. Do consider
keeping them cooler and see if that livens them up. Do also be aware
they may "aestivate" for part of the year, and at the very
least, tend to enter a period of dormancy for a few months. Maintaining
Apple Snails for more than 12 months is doable, but uncommon, and most
specimens usually die long before then. The are few reliable resources
of information, but do visit AppleSnail.net for some good scientific
information on their habitat, needs and care. I believe they have a
forum too, which may be a good place to ask questions.>
Re: dying Mystery snails 10/27/11
Thanks very much for your reply. We followed your advice and have
lowered the temperature in the tank. Unfortunately, the second snail
died and was removed.
<Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately these snails just aren't as
easy to keep as many suppose. If you want a general purpose snail, look
for Tylomelania "elephant snails". There are various species,
some up to 12 cm/4 inches in length! They are hardy in well maintained
tropical tanks, undemanding in terms of diet, and breed, albeit slowly,
so you have a self-sufficient population rather than a plague. They
don't eat plants or algae, and instead work as excellent
A day or so later, we noticed that one of the White Cloud Mountain fish
was acting reclusive, hiding under a rock, and was showing very little
Its color was faded, it showed little interest in food, and its tail
tended to hang. We treated it three times over two days by removing it
to 2 liters of water from the tank with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
dissolved in it for about 20 minutes. Each time, he perked up
considerably and was more social and eating upon return to the tank. He
died last night.
Just now, I see we have a second fish showing just the same symptoms -
faded color, reclusive, inactive, drooping tail.
We've examined both the fish that died and the current sick fish
and see no signs of infections, such as spots, etc. My wife's one
observation of the dead fish is that its lips appeared to be
<Which may indicate some either fighting, irritation by something in
the water, or incipient Mouth Fungus (or some other bacterial
Reading through the FW fish disease page in the site, the behavioral
symptoms sound familiar there, but nothing lines up well enough that I
feel like I've solved the mystery.
We're just not seeing the surface signs of infection.
We've tested the water quality with two different kits, just to be
Nitrates now read under 5, with all the other parameters in range.
<In range of what? I cannot stress too strongly how ammonia and
nitrite need to be zero. Forget ammonia test kits -- they sometimes
report false positives because of Chloramine -- but a nitrite test kit
is a MUST, more so even than ANY other test kit.>
Temp is now about 21C. Oxygenation appears fine, with no fish going to
the surface to breathe and the bubblers working actively.
We added a bit of Java Moss today and an Otocinclus, who is happily
cleaning algae off the rocks in the tank.
<Ah, now, Otocinclus are extremely sensitive fish. They're also
schooling fish. But in any event, if other animals don't last long,
this chap is even less likely to do well. Big picture, he needs 3-4
pals, but for now, hold off until you have no more fatalities for at
least a month.>
Any thoughts you may have on what might be going on would be very much
<No obvious conclusions. Would sit and wait. Let tank settle down.
Do your usual 20-25% water change each weekend. Don't overfeed.
Don't add more livestock. Make sure your water conditioner treats
not just chlorine but also Chloramine, copper and (tap water) ammonia.
If you must, add a very little salt, but don't go bananas, 1
g/litre would be ample.>
question about apple snail
I am a student of zoology. I have studied your website & I have
question. Please answer me through mail.
Q1.Brown spot on the body of apple snail is a disease or anything
<Likely either a non-organic "scale" (chemical) of some
sort or a mix of algae and other Protists. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
missing snails 7/14/11
It has been several years since I have come seeking your advice, but
I'm stumped. I have a 100G planted tank. I have
maintained the same routine since 1997. Almost all the hardware has
been upgraded including the glass tank itself, but everything has been
replaced with nearly identical items.
Basically, I have had the same protocol for a long time. I have had the
same plants as well, or rather propagations and clippings of the
It is heavily stocked with:
Microsorum (various types)
I keep the plant mass fairly constant with regular trimming. I
currently have two angels and a cardinal school that has varied from
5-30 over the years. I have had angels in the past, but that is it. I
have had SAEs in the past, but they seem pretty useless for algae
control once they get to about 3 inches. I have also had the random
clown loach to control snails (my new problem). I remove him when the
population gets safe again. I have not had him back in 5 years. The
tank has 2 175W 6700K pendants about 8" off the surface. I am
running compressed CO2 into an ADA diffuser (formerly Eheim) into a
powerhead. I dose with KNO3, Jobe fern sticks, and Tropica. I have been
doing this the same way for 10+ years. I change 40-50% water a week and
treat with regular Amquel.
Anyway, here is my problem: My snails are
disappearing. Starting last year, it seemed like my tank was
becoming very fickle. One week the new growth would be stumpy, and the
next week, there would be algae, etc. I am usually able to correct it
by tweaking things, but I've never had to do this before. I found
it odd that the snails were becoming fewer and fewer.
Normally, their numbers grow. These are just regular old pond snails. I
have reintroduced a few batches that I have obtained from my LFS. I
will notice egg casings for a few weeks in the tank, so they're
breeding, and then after about 2 months, they're gone -- not even
living in my filter like before.
There is obviously something out of whack. I have tested all the
typical parameters, and everything checks out. There are these very
tiny crab like things on the glass. They seem fine. The cardinals are
happy. What do you think is going on? Could it be chemistry? Are these
crab things predators? I just noticed them a year ago, but honestly, I
have never looked that close before. The city claims nothing new with
their water treatment, and the LFS seems to have booming snail
I have Googled everything regarding pond snails, but the web is
saturated with advice on how to get rid of them. I want them back. I
think my recent plant sensitivity is partly because the snails were so
good at converting waste into plant food.
Ever heard of such a thing as these disappearing?
Thanks for any advice!
<A couple things come to mind. Firstly, pH and
hardness. Snails generally don't do well in acidic water
-- their shells are calcium carbonate, and below pH 7, their shells can
decay faster than the snails secrete them.
Secondly, food. Snails need something to eat, and in a
very well managed aquarium with minimal algae, there may simply not be
enough to keep them going. To be honest, I doubt this latter
explanation, and would favour the first, without any information to the
contrary. Do of course check the snails aren't maintaining such a
low population you aren't noticing them.
Do consider some alternatives to Physa and Physella spp; for example
Neritina spp. are excellent algae eaters, while Tylomelania spp. do a
good job consuming some algae and most types of organic detritus,
including fish food. Clea helena is an excellent scavenger and sand
sifter, as well as a known snail-eater. Cheers, Neale.>
Is My Mystery Snail Checking Out? 7/14/11
Good afternoon. New snail owner here!
I have a medium sized glass tank on my work desk, no filtration
<Unacceptable, and the immediate cause of problems.>
not even sure of the PH and water conditions (temp is probably about 75
degrees) as I just started the tank last week with a Betta <Does
need filtration (0 ammonia, nitrite) and steady water temperature at
25-28 C/77-82 F, which isn't likely unless you live in the tropics,
so a heater is necessary, even somewhere "warm" like
California or Southern Europe. The dry air in offices can also cause
problems for Bettas, and Bettas will of course make suicidal leaps out
of uncovered bowls.>
and some plants and the Mystery Snail for eating the algae (along with
the small algae eater pellets I put in for extra food)
At first Applebee McFriday's was zooming around the tank in really
good shape. But now, for the last two days he's been floating at
the waterline, he had large white fluffy mucous thing hanging off him.
I took him out, touched the shell door, he was slow to close but closed
it (not all the way though). I did a water change, and I put him back
in and he attached himself to the glass and made his way to the other
side of the tank within 30 minutes or so. Always at the waterline with
the top of his shell sticking out of the water.
Come back today and he is still waterline floating, I took him out
again, he doesn't smell bad (he smells like dirt). he slowly closed
his shell door but again not all the way. I put him back in and
he's been floating in the middle of the tank now for about 20
<Dying; Betta will likely follow suit in due course.>
The Betta just attacked him (which the Betta has never bothered him
before he started floating) and he closed his shell door up all the
way. He won't sink to the bottom though which maybe it's
normal, I don't know it seems odd as he went from the bottom of the
tank to the side and now he's free floating around.
I'm thinking he's dying .. But then I read about hibernation in
the summer and we've had a crazy heat wave since the weekend.
<Hmm, no, you misunderstand. Aestivation, the summer pause when the
pond dries up, is difficult to replicate in aquaria and isn't
something you're likely to see. It's one possible reason why
*healthy* Apple Snails seem to die young; without this rest, they burn
out. In any event, seemingly "resting" or "lazy"
snails in aquaria tend to be either genuinely resting if for just a few
hours, or else dying if for days at a time.>
So now I'm not so sure. But I don't want to leave him in with
the Betta if he's got something that may kill the fish too.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
<Do review what Bettas need, here:
5+ gallons, a heater, a filter are all non-negotiable. Healthy Apple
Snails can make viable companions, but not always, and some Bettas,
indeed, many fish, will nip at Apple Snails given the chance. As
you'll read elsewhere at WWM, I do not recommend keeping Apple
Snails with any types of fish.
Your immediate action here will likely be removing dead/dying snail,
and upgrading the aquarium to a viable, humane one rather than some
sort of bowl. Daily water changes of 25-50% with dechlorinated tap
water will keep things safe-ish for a few days, weeks until you can
buy, cycle a real aquarium. Fish are a terrible choice for office pets
for reasons that should become clear after some reading, and I would
urge you to reflect upon this and replace with troll, pet rock, or some
other "pet" that won't place moral, ethical demands upon
you. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Is My Mystery Snail Checking Out? 7/14/11
While I totally understand what you mean about "troll"
I would not have started this had I not known someone who has a
Betta/mystery snail cohabitation in his office in a "bowl"
living happily side by side for over a year now.
<And countless other Bettas kept in bowls die within a year, often a
few weeks. The lifespan of a Betta kept properly is between 2-4 years.
If you aren't keeping your Betta in a heated, filtered aquarium,
you aren't keeping it humanely. You can rationalise all you want,
but if your aquarium is smaller than 5 gallons, isn't heated, and
isn't filtered, it's not a healthy, humane habitat for your
Betta. End of story. Please do look over the Betta disease section of
WWM to see how many messages we get from people keeping Bettas
precisely the way you're describing. If I sound inflexible on this,
it's because I'm having to deal with these situations weekly,
and it's heart-breaking. Obviously I volunteer here because I like
animals and want to see people keep their pets humanely. When people
resist that, and insist on keeping their animals in what any
experienced fishkeeper will tell you is the wrong way, then I feel
frustrated and irritated. There's nothing morally wrong about
someone keeping an animal in an inhumane way because they don't
know any better. But once someone knows they're keeping their
animal in a way likely to cause suffering or disease, then things
change, and that person has a choice to make -- ignore those facts and
carry on with what they're doing, knowing the animal has a high
probability of being stressed or dying prematurely, or else to swallow
their pride, spend the money, and buy a habitat with all the
accessories needed to keep their pet animal humanely. Those are the two
choices on the table -- your move.>
Thanks for the input!
<Glad to help and have a good weekend. Cheers, Neale.>
FW Snail... hlth. 7/14/11
This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years
in a 10 gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost
shrimp never tested the water( I know this is bad ) never had
anything die yet. He doesn't look like he's gonna make it
he is turning black but still moving around....poor guy....thank
u for your time!
<Mmm... please send along data re the system, water quality
tests/results, foods/feeding, other tankmates, history...
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm
and the linked files re freshwater snails above.
This is an MMS message.
This growth looks like a shell but is soft. Had him for 2 years
in a 10 gallon 2 other snail's 1 black molly and 5 ghost
shrimp never tested the water( I know this is bad ) never had
anything die yet. He doesn't look like he's gonna make it
he is turning black but still moving around....poor guy....thank
u for your time!
<This is an Apple Snail and the soft part of his shell implies
a lack of calcium in the water. Apple Snails should be provided
with a source of calcium, particularly if the water is soft,
which is what I think is the
problem here. Start by improving water chemistry (a half-dose of
Rift Valley Salt Mix should do) and placing a small (inch square)
piece of cuttlebone in the tank for him to graze.
Snails can't repair damaged shell in any meaningful way, but
they can survive this sort of damage, all else being favourable.
Ramshorn Snail in trouble? 3/1/11
I recently got myself 2 Ramshorn snails and 1 seems to be giving
out this white fluff-like substance. I've read numerous posts
on your website about white fluff ON the snails but this fluff
seems to be excreted (I think) BY the snail. It often ends up
under its foot preventing it from moving around, but once I
remove the stuff it seems normal, until it secretes the stuff
again. I cant seem to find any explanation for it anywhere else,
so hoping you can help.
<Hello Amanda. If snails live in a silty environment, the
mucous they produce will often trap silt particles. That could be
what you're seeing here. It's hard to say from your
photos because they're not in focus. And
please, we do specifically ask for folks to send small images,
500 KB or so; yours were 1.5 MB each! When people send big images
straight from their cameras, that clogs up the e-mail allowance
we have here, and also wastes time at my end as I download the
image. Use an application like iPhoto to trim, reduce the image
down to a more manageable size. In any event, if your snails seem
happy, don't worry about them. Cheers, Neale.>
Apple snail, white spots on foot
Hello! I had been searching through your site and saw on 1/3/11
where someone asked a similar question about white spots or
blotches on their snails foot but I'm not sure if there is
anything I can do since you stated it could be physical damage or
decay. Jasper, about 1.5" long, is in the tank with one
other snail, about 0.5" long, and they get along just
The little one often hitches a ride on Jasper and they travel the
tank together! The little one does not have these spots on her
foot so I figure it can't be bacterial related. I've
never had any fish in the tank (10 gallon), only snails. The only
objects I have in the tank are: two fake plants, both with
rounded edges; a terra-cotta type plant holder, washed with water
and never used as a plant holder; filter; heater; sand at the
bottom of the tank.
I've noticed for a few weeks or so that he's been
developing these white spots on his foot. I wasn't worried at
first since he's always active and eats not long after I drop
some food in (fish flakes and algae wafers, sometimes boiled
veggies). I have noticed recently that he sometimes produces a
white slime, but it doesn't seem to leave a trail, just kind
of floats in the water. I'm becoming worried now that there
are more spots and the white slime is continuing. I wonder if
this is something I've done to hurt him without knowing or if
he's just getting old? I've attached a picture to help
visualize what I'm talking about.
<Hello Vanessa. Your snail looks quite healthy to me. Are
these white spots on the "meat" of the foot? Do they
come away after a while? My guess would be white spots are silt
and the white slime mucous, and there's nothing particularly
wrong here. Snails generally have two modes -- healthy and dying
-- so provided he's scuttling about eating happily, I
wouldn't worry too much. If you haven't already visited,
AppleSnail.net is a great site for general Pomacea spp. reading.
But there isn't a huge amount known about apple snail
disease, so it's all about keeping them healthy. Provide lots
of greens and calcium-rich foods, don't let them burn
themselves on the heater (a heater guard is very useful), keep
the tank fairly cool for part of the year, and don't let
other fish nip them. Copper is toxic, and because they breathe
air, don't use things like bug spray around them. Hope this
helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apple snail, white spots on foot
I would say its not on the meat of the foot, if you mean that
they are directly on the outside foot. The spots don't come
off as he moves, they seem like they've developed inside the
foot and show on the outside if that makes sense?
I've noticed the spots develop greater in number, never
reduced so I don't believe they come and go. Although I
probably haven't given either of them enough calcium rich
foods so maybe it's a sign that I need to; he's the only
one with the spots on his foot. I never knew about a heater guard
but I'll be looking into it today, he does like to hang
around it quite a bit.
<Burns are usually obvious, much like small wounds.>
I have noticed he sometimes curls part of his foot in; it looks
like a raisin texture, kind of wrinkled.
Like if the inside of your palm was his foot and you curl a
couple fingers part way in towards your palm, that's what his
foot curling is like.
I'm happy he's still an active guy! Thanks for all the
<Glad to help.>
<Wouldn't worry too much about this chap. Cheers,
My Snail Lost A Layer Of It's Foot, using WWM
Hi, I'm a little worried about the snail I have in my 20 gallon
freshwater tank, it's lost a layer of it's foot...Is it normal
for snails to shed a layer of skin? Or is this something I should be
<Not normal... put your question in the search tool here:
and read. Bob Fenner>
Sick Snail, apple 1/3/11
Hi, my snail is sick.
<Ah, difficult to fix once the damage is done.>
I have a 44 gallon fish tank w 3 snails, 2 dojo's, 2 Corey cats, a
clam, 2 shrimp, and 3 goldfish. I noticed the other day that one of the
snails had white blotches on his foot.
<Sounds like physical damage and decay.>
The next day the snail was floating.
<Common problem when a snail is sick.>
We took it our but noticed it was still alive so returned it to
Over the last 2 weeks the white spots expanded and now it's foot is
completely white (which it was formally black) and it is upside down
seeming to writhe in pain. (poor thing) it is still moving. About a
week after I noticed these blotches on the snails foot we noticed that
one of our goldfish has a white blotch on it's head that seems to
be expanding. We are currently treating the tank for Ich but I am not
fully convinced that that is what it is because it doesn't look
like any of the pictures of Ich on line.
<Oh noes! Ick medications will stress, kill snails. Do please read
the instructions carefully -- copper and formalin are both extremely
toxic to your snail.>
Any suggestions of what it might be and how to treat it?
<Apple Snails do not tend to live long in aquaria for various
reasons. Do read here:
Also, AppleSnail.net is a good place to get information specific to
these animals. Most are killed by their owners one way or another, and
I do not recommend people keep them before providing an aquarium just
for them. Fun animals kept that way. Cheers, Neale.>
Our snail is floating 08/06/2010
My daughter came home and found our small fresh water snail floating in
our fish bowl. We tried to put him down but he keeps floating back up.
Before he would always stick to the side of the bowl or climb on the
He is still in side his shell.
Could he be dead?
My daughter received this snail along with a guppy and a plant about
six months ago.
I had never fed the snail, I just assumed it ate left over fish food or
<Oh, that isn't always enough.>
I clean the bowl every other week. The guppy seems to be doing
What should I do?
<Well, if the snail is dead, there's not much you can do now.
It's hard to say why it died. There are certain things (chemicals)
in some aquarium medications and supplements that can be toxic to
snails. So that's one possibility. Another is that it starved to
death. In the future, consider that snails often eat vegetation and/or
algae and bacterial slim that grows on the walls and rocks, etc. of the
tank/bowl. Cleaning the tank "too well" can actually cause
them to starve to death. Depending on the type of snail, I'd learn
what they eat and try to feed them appropriately.
Sometimes veggie sink pellets/wafers can help. Also see here:
hello I have an apple snail that got part of his foot
my large common Pleco decide to have a snack. he seems to be ok he is
just not moving around as much. will he be ok?or is he suffering and
going to die?
<Assuming optimal water conditions (including warmth, filtration and
access to air) Apple snails can heal a certain amount of damage. But
that said, they are notorious for dying quickly when abused like this,
and in doing so can cause gross pollution. By all means transfer to
another, hospital aquarium, but don't expect it to do well in the
same tank as the Plec.
Seriously sick gold mystery snail 12/7/09
I have been through your site a thousand times and it has helped me so
much but it seems that I have a rather strange problem.
I have a 5 gallon tank with two gold mystery snails, an Oto, and two
<Right. I see. Well, this isn't going to work in the long term.
Mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) are incredibly aggressive and nippy, and
they'd be a threat to something like an Apple Snail. Otocinclus are
*schooling* fish, and singletons last even less time than groups of
them (they're delicate fish unsuitable for small tanks, despite
what retailers might suggest). The mortality rate of Otocinclus would
astound you. Keep in groups of six or more, in mature tanks 15 gallons
or bigger, and make sure the water isn't too warm and there's
plenty of oxygen.>
I know that wild fish are bad to have in a tank, but they were the only
reason that I got a tank in the first place.
<No, wild fish aren't bad to keep at all. Indeed, they can be
lots of fun. What doesn't work so well is mixing wild and farmed
fish without first planning carefully. Imagine keep a wolf cub with a
I have had my snails for about 6 months now and they have been doing
<Pomacea spp. snails often do well for up to 12 months, but then
they invariably give up the ghost. In the wild they can live several
years, 4 or more, but they do so by "resting" for a few
months each year in a mud burrow. This is the bit people find it
difficult to do in captivity. You can sort of mimic it by keeping them
cool for part of the year, but really, the best bet is to remove them
and place them in damp sand or coir for a couple of months. Store
somewhere adequately warm (around 18-20 C should be fine) and then wake
them up gently by slowing filling up the container with water. Now,
even if your Apple snail is doing fine kept warm all year around, it
won't live as long as an Apple snail that snoozes for a few months
of the year.>
They started out about as wide as the top half of my thumb, and now
they are longer than my entire thumb. So recently I noticed that my
smaller one has been getting really sick.
<Unfortunately, once Apple snails are sick or damaged, they often
die (and decay) very quickly. Mosquitofish are precisely the sorts of
"nibblers" that would damage their antennae, and it's not
a long step from their to a dying snail.>
They both go from active to lethargic which I have taken as normal, but
my poor snail looks terrible. I am afraid that he is separating from
<They cannot do this voluntarily; if the body is "loose",
I used to see a pink patch through his shell that I assumed was where
he was connected to it, and that spot is gone now. He is hanging half
in and half out of shell, but a LOT farther than normal. I can see a
ring of his flesh about a half inch out farther than usual, that I am
afraid should be in his shell.
<Do also review water chemistry. Soft, acidic water is dangerous to
There also seems to be a large bubble under his skin that is now
hanging out. He is in a quarantine tank that is 1 gal, half full of
very fresh water. I am afraid that he may not make through the next
I would send pics but the tank sides create a funhouse effect that
would be of no help at all. Thanks for your help, EB
<There's a very good Apple snail site, here:
They have a forum as well as lots of articles, so you might find it
well worth getting a second opinion there. Cheers, Neale.>
My snails may be in trouble! 7/10/09
Hi there, I love your advice. However, I am unable to find a situation
like mine, and I'm afraid my snails may die before I find an
answer. My situation is, I had a 60 gallon hex tank containing 18
mystery snails (I adore them), 4 Corys, 4 orange glos, and 2 white
clouds. Well, I had a power outage for about 45 min, and then
discovered there was a leak in the tank. I had to go out an find a used
tank (all I could afford) and came up with a 27 gallon hex. I
transferred water from that tank to the new one, and am using the same
filter (Hot magnum) and plants. It's been a week now, and half my
snails are at the surface sucked to the glass and the other half are
closed up on the bottom. This isn't normal for them, they are
usually very active.
<Mystery/Apple snails can't tolerate tropical conditions
constantly, and do need very good water conditions to do well.>
My ammonia level is 1.0 and nitrite is .25 pH 7.6 Are they going to be
okay in this tank, I know the rule is 2.5 gal per snail.
<If your ammonia is 1.0 mg/l, then that's going to kill
everything in there, not just the snails!>
But I didn't plan this. Will the levels settle down?
<Only if there's a mature filter; otherwise, you'll have a
tank going through the cycling process while the existing (new) filter
matures, and that'll take several weeks.>
I've used Amquel plus yesterday and today and ammo-lock today.
<Do understand that ammonia-removing water conditioners only remove
the ammonia that comes with the tap water; they have zero impact on
ammonia generated by livestock. If they did, would we bother with
filters? We'd just add a few drops of ammonia-remover to the water
Do I have to find a larger tank?
<You need a tank with a mature filter, that's all. Try
transporting some of the live media from the 60 gallon tank into the
filter in this 27 gallon tank; that will dramatically speed up the
I'm gonna attempt to repair the old one, but have never done it. So
far, all I've done is taken it apart. I don't know what else to
do? Please help.
Saving Snaily 6/20/09
<Hi there Tamara>
I have read through a great deal on your sight about what could be
wrong with my Ivory mystery snail and what to do to treat him, but
cannot find a similar description to what is happening to my snail.
Yesterday morning I found him lying on the bottom of the aquarium half
hanging out of his shell.
I have a 41 gallon aquarium with 2 ivory mystery snails, 1 Ryukin, and
1 Oranda. All have lived together in harmony for the last 6 months. I
do 30% water changes once a week and the current temp is 74 degrees.
Anyway, I thought he was dead so I scooped him out right away. Not
being completely sure if he was dead I put him in a 1.5 gallon
Long and behold his little antennas were slowly moving and he stuck his
syphon up. I noticed he had some gravel substrate stuck to his flesh so
I gently removed that with my finger. 5 minutes later I noticed more
gravel on him that was not there earlier (I have no gravel in the
quarantine tank). So I removed the gravel again and while doing that
noticed him pushing out another pc from inside his shell so I removed
that as well.
Then I noticed a small amount of white 'goo' for lack of a
better term come out of his syphon. The goo had some very tiny clear
bubbles in it. This is the one and only time he has had this goo. He
has been in the quarantine tank for about a day and half and he is just
so sick. I have been trying to keep the water in the quarantine tank
clean since it is so small, but he still in not improving. He is very
very weak. He is moving sooooooooo slow and is just stuck to the side
of the tank at the top. When I remove some of the water to add more
clean water (treated with Aqua Plus tap water conditioner and Cycle) he
falls half out of his shell or completely falls off the side of the
glass when the water level goes below his shell. Once the water level
is up again he painstakingly slowly climbs back up to the top of the
water line and just sits there. I put in a small piece of lettuce for a
couple of hours just in case he felt hungry, but he just ignored it so
I removed it. Do you please have any remedies I can try to help him
feel better. I am not certain it is a water quality issue since the
other (larger) ivory mystery snail is doing terrific. I have no ammonia
or nitrites registering on the tests I am doing and PH is just about 8.
Please help me figure out how to make this little guy feel better! Much
<I wish I knew what specifically was wrong here, but I don't...
perhaps your one snail has an internal issue, some genetic
predisposition. You did the right thing by removing it to the small,
quarantine system... and I would continue to leave it there, and change
a good deal of the water every few days... with water from the main
system... and offer foods per your reading here:
and do take solace from reading the linked files above. Bob
Fresh water snail 05/29/09
My name is Sanet
Its been about three weeks since we last took our snail out of the tank
to clean the tank. We've noticed today that the shell has holes in
it and is very soft and crumbles easily. The snail shares the tank with
two Fancy Gold Fish. What could be wrong with the snail and will this
affect our fish?
<Hello Sanet. It's likely your water is soft and acidic. Snails
use calcium carbonate in the water to make their shells, and in acidic
water, this calcium carbonate dissolves from the shell into the water.
So snails are best kept in water that is hard and alkaline; aim for pH
7-8, hardness 10+ degrees dH. It's a good idea to provide some
carbonate hardness as well, around 5 or more degrees KH being ideal.
Funnily enough, Goldfish like
exactly the same water chemistry, and also do poorly when exposed to
soft, acidic water. Do read here:
Consider using the Rift Valley Cichlid Salt Mix described; it costs
pennies to make, and will optimize the water chemistry in your aquarium
automatically, if used correctly. Cheers, Neale.>
FW Snail shells turning white and stable water conditions:
I am inquiring about my snails again. I have two mystery snails that
are turning white again.
<Water too soft\acidic Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and here:
I have a 29 gal tank that has 17 adult guppies and lots of fry, two
sunburst platy wags and 1 fry, 1 loach, and two Mystery snails. My GH
is 100, KH is 40, pH is 6.5, Nitrites are 0, Nitrates are 40. Last time
I concluded that I needed to try and balance the water softness and
possibly get calcium carbonate.
<Yes, there is not enough carbonate hardness in the tank, Carbonate
harness keeps the pH stable..I started messing with the water, got a
different water softener that balanced the nitrites and nitrates, and
the white on the shell went away so I thought the problem was fixed. I
am currently working on keeping the pH at 7. I put a pH stabilizer in
the tank when I do water changes. I do water changes about 6 times a
month at about 25% at a time (I was told that
33% was too much, by the pet store). Are all the levels right for
snails and the fish?
<Getting the pH over 7.0 and adding carbonate will help.>
What do I need to do different? Do I need to add the calcium
<Yes, or add a cuttlebone from a pet shop (Bird section). It will
dissolve in the water and the snails will munch on it.>
Will the calcium carbonate hurt the fish?
<No. Do read here:
FW Snail Disease\Health: Snail Shell
My snail has a white film on its shell. It almost looks like it is
deteriorating the shell. My other snail just died. It had a hole in its
shell that got bigger but I don't believe it had the white film.
What is it and what do I do?
<Snail shells normally deteriorate due to the water being
You can read more about this subject here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and here:
<In future correspondence, please include some basic information
like tank size, and water testing results (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite,
pH, etc. it makes it MUCH easier to troubleshoot\diagnose
Re: Snail Disease\Health: Snail Shell
That helped I think I need the calcium carbonate, at least for the
<That, or a cuttlebone, (bird section of any pet store) added to the
tank for the snail to munch on.>
I have a 29 gallon tank full of guppies and a loach and the snail. It
is currently divided until I can get rid of some of the males.. I do
water changes about once a week, about 40 %. I did a water change
yesterday when I found the dead snail. I am not sure what to do now
except try the calcium carbonate. to help the shell.
<Do check your pH.>
Small white spots (bubbles?) on snail's skin
I have a black mystery snail I purchased from a local pet store about a
month ago. In the last few days, I've noticed a growth, I guess, on
it's left shorter tentacle. I haven't been able to find any
detailed information about this kind of situation on snail skin. I
checked the snail again this morning and I noticed two more similar
white spots/bumps long the left side of its foot. I have a golden snail
as well and a fancy tail goldfish. Everyone is moving around the tank
and eating just fine. Things seem pretty normal, with the exception of
the white bumps on the black snail. Just curious as to what these bumps
are. Thank you!
<Hello Sonya. The short answer is that without a photo, it's
difficult to say what these spots are. Apple Snails certainly don't
get infected with Ick, so that's something you don't need to
worry about. Conversely, any parasites the snails might carry won't
harm fish. These may simply be some type of colouration or genetic
abnormality, in which case I wouldn't worry too much. I would keep
an open mind about possible damage though. Wounded flesh often turns
white, and such spots can become focal points for secondary infections.
Because Apple Snails are so easily damaged by Goldfish and the like,
such trouble is not uncommon. Cheers, Neale.>
Growth on Snail Shell
My kids have had their freshwater aquarium snail for almost two years.
It is just a small grayish snail they got free when they bought fish.
Cloudy has light tan, stringy stuff which appears to be just growing on
its shell. At first it just looked a little fuzzy. I know almost
nothing about snails, but the snail itself appears to be acting and
looking normal. Can we get rid of the growth?
Is it safe to put the snail back in a tank with fish, assuming we can
<I would not "treat it", as in use a chemical, Algicide or
such... but maybe give the shell a light brushing (with an old
toothbrush) and rinse...>
We do not have a fancy set up, just a 10 gallon tank and a few small
goldfish, in addition to the snail. Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Algae on My Snail, Causing Me Discomfort -
02/07/2007 <Hi there! Mich here tonight.> My snail has algae
all over it, it can't be good for it. <It's really not
detrimental to it.> What do I do? <If it really bothers you, you
can remove it with a little manual manipulation, perhaps with a paper
towel. Hope that helps. -Mich>
Apple snail - Maybe sick,
definitely stressed, please help! 11/3/07 Hello,
<Hello.> I have an apple snail that has a problem. I know I
haven't been the best mom to it, but I would like to learn
how to make it well, if at all possible. This is my first snail,
and it's brand new to me, so what little I know about snails
I have learned very recently on the internet. <Hmm... there
are many articles, even books about Apple snails; so reading
around the topic should help.> I bought the snail last week to
help keep a 10 gallon tank clean. <Doesn't work this way.
No animal "keeps a tank clean". They all make a tank
dirtier. Imagine you had a live-in housekeeper for your home.
That person might clean up the dishes and vacuum the carpet, but
that person would also be eating food, drinking water, taking
baths, going to the lavatory and so on. In other words, while
your home might actually look a little tidier to you, it is
actually now twice as dirty as before.> The tank is used for
breeding Bettas. (I'm a beginner at Betta breeding, too, but
so many online resources have been helpful with that!) The tank
is about half full of water. The water was filtered through a
Brita, treated with a little aquarium salt, Stress Coat, and Top
Fin Bacteria Supplement, then allowed to rest for three days
before the addition of anything alive. <Apple snails do not
like salt. Various medications used to treat fish are harmful to
snails, so only add things you know are specifically safe with
invertebrates.> The water has kept a steady 79 degrees
Fahrenheit since starting. <Far too warm for all-year
maintenance. Apple snails require alternating warm and cool
periods otherwise they become noticeably short lived. Typically
when kept in tropical tanks Apple snails last about a year. In
the wild they live more than 4 years. Something in the 20-25C
(68-77F) range is about right. This is a bit cooler than Bettas
prefer, and one reason why the two species are fundamentally
incompatible.> I am using a disposable carbon filter that
hooks up to the air pump, which is pumping in a very very slow,
steady stream of bubbles. <Carbon filters are garbage. Carbon
was used in the Dark Ages of fishkeeping to remove dissolved
organic materials that turned water yellow over time. This was a
problem because people avoided water changes like the plague,
doing as little as 10% per month, on the assumption "old
water" was best. We now routinely do 50% water changes per
week. The prime job of carbon in the modern hobby is to extract
money from inexperienced aquarists. While it has some value for
certain jobs, such as removed leftover medications before
introducing sensitive fish, 99% of the time it is redundant. What
you need is a real filter that supports biological filtration. A
plain vanilla sponge filter should be just fine.> There are
three plants. I don't know their scientific names, but at the
store one was labeled a sword plant, one a banana plant, and the
third I don't know the name of. <Hmm... the Swordplant is
presumably Echinodorus sp.; the Banana plant is Nymphoides sp., a
species legendarily difficult to keep alive. While they
aren't impossible to keep, they are picky about their
environment. You need to identify the species. Some like warm
water and will die in cold water, but there are cold water
species that die in warm water! Soft, acidic water seems to be a
prerequisite. As for the 'mystery plant' you need to be
careful here; a LOT of aquarium shops sell terrestrial plants
such as Dracaena and Chlorophytum spp. as aquatic plants.
Needless to say, they die.> The snail and all three plants
came from the same plant tank at the same store. <Ok.> When
I first added the plants and snail, the snail was thrilled. It
moved around quickly sometimes, and lingered on a plant or tank
wall sometimes. It explored all the features of the tank. It
seemed very happy. The plants got a bit chewed up, but I
don't mind. It did produce what I thought was a huge amount
of feces, appearing like a lot of black dots, often connected
together by strands of mucous. <Apple snails will, do eat
aquarium plants.> I added the pair of Bettas and they spawned
on Sunday. The snail crawled up into the bubble nest and ate a
bunch of eggs. I tried to gently knock it out, but it was
determined to stay. <It's a snail. It's learning
abilities are minimal.> I let it be for a while, but got
really concerned when the collection of eggs in the nest was
visibly smaller. I knocked the snail out of the nest (gently) and
scooped it out of the tank into what I had available.
Unfortunately, this was one of those flat sided half gallon
bowls, half filled with Brita-filtered water. (I use the Brita
because I live in an area where the water is recycled, I am
concerned about what additives might be in my water. Straight
from the tap, it has an unpleasant, strongly mineral and
chloriney taste.) <Not an issue. Add dechlorinator. The water
will be fine for both fish and snail. For a 10 gallon tank you
need to be doing 50% water changes per week. Producing 5 gallons
of water through a drinking water filter will be ludicrously
expensive. It's also pointless. Do not use water from a
domestic water softener either. Just plain vanilla tap water with
dechlorinator will be fine.> The water is at room temperature,
75 degrees Fahrenheit. I fed it some lettuce and fish food. I
don't know how much it ate, but it did climb the side and
hang out just at the surface. It floated for a while, which
didn't worry me after I researched this and found that if the
door is closed tightly, floating is normal behavior. <Not
really normal for the species in general. Often a sign the snail
has been harassed, perhaps by nippy fish.> Well. The Betta fry
are now free swimming, so I thought the snail might like to go
back in the tank with the plants. I have been feeding the fish
fry on small amounts of boiled egg yolk, infusoria, and baby
brine shrimp. Unfortunately, upon return to the tank the snail
began to appear lethargic and swollen. That was last night. The
snail's flesh still looks firm, coral pink and whitish, as it
always has. But it will neither fully retract nor come all the
way out. It's just sitting there, half in and half out. I
worried that it might be dead or dying, and cause harm to the
fry, so I changed the water in the quarantine bowl and returned
the snail to it. I did not add any salt or fish treatments to the
quarantine. <Absolutely DO NOT keep this snail with your fish.
It may well be dying, in which case its death will rapidly
pollute the water.> I read on your site that calcium and
bicarbonate of soda are good additions for apple snails, so I
added a pinch of baking soda, and cut a small piece off a calcium
supplement and added it too. (It also contains vitamin D, is that
OK?) I also added a small amount of food. <No, no, no. Calcium
carbonate is a supplement needed for shell formation. Mostly
these snails extract it just fine from the food they eat. They
have a great fondness for bits of crustacean exoskeleton, so next
time you eat some shrimp, stick a bit of the skeleton from one
into the snail aquarium. But that all said, if there's a lack
of calcium carbonate, the snail doesn't become sick
overnight. What happens is you notice pits on the shell as the
snail has problems laying down new shell as it grows. This takes
months to become visible. Randomly adding supplements to the
water without having an idea what is actually wrong is kind of
like a doctor prescribing a patient the first drug he pulls out
of his bag.> While moving the snail back to quarantine, I
gently pressed on its shell door to see if it closed. It did not.
I think it's swollen open for some reason. I see plenty of
somewhat normal-looking folds of flesh, but I don't see eyes
or antennae. They seem to be tucked inside, but most other parts
are outside. I don't see any movement. On a bright note, the
snail did not stink, so perhaps it is not dead, but simply really
stressed out from being moved back and forth and back and forth.
<Snails don't really mind being moved about. They're
amphibious to some degree, and move from pond to pond during
rainstorms and floods.> What can I do to help this unhappy
creature? <Keep in its own optimised aquarium.> Did I
simply buy an already sick snail, and stress it beyond its limits
with too-frequent moves? <No idea. But restoring to proper
aquarium conditions should help. Keep at moderate temperature,
provide ample green foods, do copious water changes, and
don't randomly add stuff to the water.> Thanks for any
advice you can offer, Mary <Cheers, Neale>
Re: Apple snail - Maybe sick, definitely
stressed, please help! 11/14/07 Thanks! Unfortunately, the
snail didn't make it. Next time I try raising invertebrates,
I'll get them their own tank! Mary <Hello Mary. Not
surprised by this outcome. Please do read up on livestock before
purchase. Your life (and theirs) will be much easier. Cheers,
Sick Snail 10/21/07 I think my snail is
sick. I've only had him for a week, and he seemed to be doing
fine. His shell has even grown a 1/4 of an inch. He was moving
around the tank and appeared to be acting normal, and then 10
minutes later he was up at the top floating. I know snails do
sometimes float, but his body was just hanging out of his shell.
I promptly removed him from the tank and put him in a smaller
container. When I picked him up he did not close up. He will
occasionally move his antenna or stick out his siphon, so he is
still alive, but he's just floating with his body hanging
out. I really don't want to lose my snail. Is there anything
I can do? Thank you. <Hi Shelby, I need some information here.
What kind of snail? What sort of tank is he in? What is the water
chemistry (specifically, hardness and pH). What is the
temperature? What is the water quality (nitrite level, at the
very least). What sort of filtration do you use? What else lives
in his tank? These are all things we need to know. But broadly,
"medicating" snails is impossible at the present time.
However, most snail sickness seems to follow on from
environmental issues. So if you happen to know what kind of snail
you have (apple snails, Ramshorn snail, Colombian Ramshorn,
Nerite snails, etc.) then review the conditions you're
keeping it in, and see they match the tolerances of that species
of snail. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Sick Snail 10/21/07 Thanks for the
reply. The snail is an apple snail, in a 2.5 gallon Minibow tank
with a Betta. I use a Whisper filter that came with the tank that
has a medium sized bio-bag filter.. The temperature is 79, but
does drop down during the night. Nitrite and Nitrate levels were
at 0, Hardness was 150, Alkalinity was 300, and pH was 7.8. I
bought a pH decreaser since the alkalinity and pH were high. The
snail has attached himself to the side of the container, and has
withdrawn mostly into his shell. Hopefully he'll be okay.
<For a start, stop using the pH-down adjuster. Unless
you're also using soft water (not from a domestic softener,
but RO water or rain water) then adjusting the pH is pointless...
and potentially dangerous! Leave the water hard and alkaline.
Your Betta doesn't mind, and your Apple snail prefers it.
Also bear in mind Apple snails are *subtropical* not tropical
animals, and don't live a long time when kept too warm.
I'd keep them no higher than 25C/77F. My guess would be a
combination of excessive heat and fluctuating water chemistry is
the factor here. Do also watch the relationship between the Betta
and the snail; Bettas have been known to nip at snails, damaging
them. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Snail 10/23/07 Just to clarify, the pH
decreaser was not used previous to the snail getting sick. I only
purchased it after he got sick, but thanks for letting me know to
not use it. I just wanted to let you know that after more
testing, I'm almost positive the culprit was Copper in the
water. The snail is now back in the tank with what I hope is
copper free water, and he is slowly acting more and more like his
old self. Thanks for all the help. <Ah, copper can be toxic to
invertebrates. Most freshwater snails couldn't care less, but
Apple snails are an exception. For the time being, keep doing
water changes, and with luck this will flush the copper
concentration down below the critical level. Do also watch the
temperature: Apple snails are *subtropical* animals, and prefer
slightly cooler conditions than that enjoyed by many tropical
fish. 22-24 C is fine. If kept too warm, they end up dying
prematurely. This is one reason (of many) why they shouldn't
be kept with tropical fish. Good luck, Neale> <<Copper
is an effective molluscicide... a killer of all snails and their
Snail problems 10/11/07 Hi - I have a problem
with an unspecified aquarium snail. We purchased a 1.5 gallon tank, put
2 small fish and a snail in it All were doing really well until we
cleaned the tank 2 weeks ago. Now the snail - a blonde coloured one,
maybe 1.5" - has bubbles all over it and there is a mystery film
floating in my tank. I think the snail had a baby ( I saw it when we
cleaned the tank but haven't seen it since we put it back in after
cleaning. The big sick? snail lost part of its shell when I was putting
it back and has not been eating as voraciously. I know nothing about
fish/snails and only purchased/maintain the tank because it soothes my
mother in law who lives with us and is dying of terminal cancer. Please
help. I have been all over the web trying to find pictures and info on
what could possibly be wrong with this poor little snail. Thx
<Hmm... difficult to answer this one. The bubbles on a snail shell
could be caused by a variety of things. Changes in temperature will
cause oxygen to come out of solution, and the resulting bubbles can
stick to objects, especially ones with algae on. Bubbles can also be
caused by different kinds of microbial activity. For the most part, I
wouldn't worry too much if the snail is obviously still healthy. If
the snail is sick and not moving about, then I'd be tempted to
remove it and painlessly destroy it. A dead, rotting snail will be a
major problem in your aquarium. It normally isn't practical to
"treat" snails because we know virtually nothing about their
physiology. Now, the big problem here is a 1.5 gallon fish tank
isn't a fish tank at all. It's a small bucket. Long term,
unless you're an experienced fishkeeper, this is going to end
badly. The minimum tank for an inexperienced fishkeeper should be a 10
gallon tank. This is because the smaller the tank, the less stable it
is, and the more easily problems will spiral out of control. Please do
read this article on beginner's tanks: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm . One
last thing; as someone who's watched their own mother die from
cancer not so long ago, I know how difficult these times can be. So
good luck with it all. Cheers, Neale>
Black Mystery Snail, hlth. 7/5/07 Hello to the
operators of WWM, <Hello.> I found your site using Google because
I was searching for information on injuries to black mystery snails. I
tried to do as you requested and search the listings, but I
couldn't find an answer to my specific issue. I found my snail this
afternoon leaning back with his door wide open. His body was exposed
and I thought that perhaps he had been eaten by my shark. However, when
I removed him from the water and touched his exposed body he attempted
to close the door, so I suspect that he is still alive. This is when I
noticed what the problem was. Although his muscle (body?) is still
attached to the door, the hinge part where it attaches to the shell is
broken. I set him back inside the tank upright, but I am concerned that
he will not be able to open the door and crawl around to get air or to
eat. Is this injury fatal and if not, what can I do to assist him in
his recovery? <To start with, apple snails are only very rarely good
additions to a tank with fish. Small fish peck at them, bigger fish
bite them. Either way, the snail gets damaged. When a snail
"gapes" as you're describing, it is usually very sick. A
healthy snail will either be moving about or closed up tightly --
there's nothing in between. Just like buying clams or mussels from
the fishmongers, really. But there are some other factors to consider.
For one thing, apple snails naturally aestivate for part of the year,
and one reason they don't last long in aquaria is they don't
get this resting period. The common species are also subtropical rather
than tropical, so if the tank is too warm, that will stress them.
It's important it has ample breathing space above the tank, to the
degree that it can crawl out of the water if it wants. Water chemistry
is very important, as these snails (like most others) prefer water that
is hard and alkaline. Snails cannot really repair damage to their
shells or operculum because of the way these structures are laid down
by the mantle (the shell secreting tissue). At best, they can patch up
the area near the growing margin. So I doubt your snail will
"repair" its operculum (the trapdoor) if the damage is
severe. I'd highly recommend moving your apple snail to a hospital
tank. A dead snail rapidly pollutes the aquarium, and you don't
want that. In the meantime, try and get hold of Perera & Walls
(1996) 'Apple Snails in the Aquarium' by TFH -- possibly the
single best book for the science and husbandry of these (and other)
aquarium snails.> Thank you for your assistance, <You're
welcome.> Caleb <Cheers, Neale>
Snail on its side, Betta comp. 5/2/07 I have a
Ramshorn snail (Leisel) that has been laying on "her" side
the past two days. I thought she was dead, so I pulled her out and
pushed on her foot. She retracted way up into her shell, so I put her
back down in the bowl upright, and a few hours later she leaning way
over again. I noticed my Betta (Seth) has been really
"chummy" with Leisel, and is always right up next to her.
I'm hoping Seth didn't eat off one of her eyes, and now she
won't come out! (do Bettas do that?) <Sometimes, yes...>
Leisel looked really healthy the other day, trucking around faster than
I've ever seen a snail move! Do you think she's dying? <I
hope not> If so, what can I do to save her! Thanks, Faith <Do try
placing this snail in its own glass jar... with water from the tank (to
keep it separated from the Betta)... with a bit/sprig of floating plant
if you have this... feeding it a bit of sinking food every few days,
dumping the water out and replacing the next day... replacing with
water from the Betta tank... and see if its health, behaviour improve.
Dead Snail 4/22/07 Hi, <Hi Jen, Pufferpunk here (my
name's Jeni too!)> I got home tonight and went to feed the fish
in my 10 gal and saw my Ivory Mystery Snail's shell on the floor of
the tank. He is up in the corner...not moving at all. I think he might
be dead but I don't want to give up on him. He has only been in
there a month or so and was doing fine. The only thing I did
differently today then any other day was clean the tank...I am hoping
the stress of that did not make him come out of his shell and if he is
still alive, for how long and will his shell grow back? <I'd
take him out ASAP! There is nothing that will foul your tank & kill
everything in it, faster then a dead snail! You can tell, because they
have the worst odor you'll ever smell in your life. Snails do not
crawl out of their shell & then make another one. How did you
"clean" the tank exactly? (Please be sure to use proper
capitalization in your letters. I corrected this one for you, so we can
post it in our FAQs.) ~PP> Thank you so much!! Jen
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail - 04/22/07 Hi Pufferpunk,
<Hi Jen> I used a sponge & cleaned all the green algae off
the sides. We had an infestation of "the little snails that
won't die." Not sure what they are called, they showed up when
I put the plants in. I totally cleaned the tank and got the Ivory
Mystery Snail. That's when the green algae showed up. I think the
little snails kept it in check. I am not sure what to do, he is still
moving...kinda... <The snail cannot live without a shell. He will
only pollute the tank. I deleted your message with the pictures. They
were overloading our bandwidth --way too large. ~PP> Thank you SOOO
Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Euthanizing a Snail 4/22/07 So, Should I
just take him out of the tank? What is the most humane way to take care
of him? I re-sized the pics, I hope they work. Jen <I did see the
earlier picks, just couldn't leave them here or post them in our
FAQs. You could freeze the snail body in a Baggie with tank water.
~PP> Re: Ivory Mystery Snail. Getting Rid of Pond Snails
4/22/07 Thank you for all your help. I opened the tank tonight and
he was right at the opening and MAN did he smell bad. He was no longer
moving and when I touched him with the fish net he just fell off. So I
flushed him. <I'd do a 50% water change now. That dead snail has
been polluting your tank.> I think I am done with snails for now.
Now if I could just get the "snails that won't die" to go
away I would be a lot happier. Any ideas on that? <Now begins the
tedious job of picking them out 1 by 1. As soon as you see any eggs,
scrape them off. ~PP> Jen
Black Mystery snail in trouble 4/9/07 Hi, I have had a 5
gallon tank with a cherry barb, a zebra Danio, and a black mystery
snail for over a year. The snail has grown to almost the size of the
palm of my hand <Is not a "Mystery" snail then... maybe a
"Baseball", "Apple"... Please read here:
and is usually very healthy. This weekend, my husband and I went out of
town and left a weekend feeder in the tank. <Most of these are
white, chunky masses of dubious food value, not-so-doubtful sources of
outright pollution...> We've had warm weather for the past few
weeks and were not aware of the cold front that was moving in over the
weekend. The central air was on, instead of the heat, and I am not sure
how cold it got in the house. When we returned, the temperature of the
water in the tank was reading below 64 degrees, <The tank itself
should have a heater...> and our little pets did not appear to be
doing so well. The zebra Danio was fine, the cherry barb was stuck in
an overturned decoration at the bottom of the tank, and the black
mystery snail was curled up, half in and half out of his shell at the
bottom of the tank. We rescued the cherry barb, and he seems to be
returning to normal, but the snail is not looking very good. For
several hours he remained in the same position (the only thing moving
were his antennae and I could not tell whether he was alive or the
water current was just moving them around). <You'll know if this
animal perishes... They have a signature stench... plus the poor
behavior of its tankmates> He began to unfold very slowly, but
seemed to be caught in the same position with his shell resting on the
bottom of the tank and his foot facing the wall of the tank, unable to
turn himself right side up. The next time I saw him, he was further out
of his shell, but there was a large (about the size of a quarter) air
bubble under part of his skin. <Bad sign... decomposition> It
seems that the air bubble is keeping him trapped in that position, but
I think he is too heavy to float to the top. The skin around the air
bubble seems to be thinning, and he looks like he's about to pop.
We brought him to the surface of the water, to see if he would let the
air bubble out, but he folded himself over and the air was trapped in.
He is obviously alive for now, but I am worried he might not be for
long. Is there anything we can do? Thank you so much for this site, and
for your help, Amber <May be for naught... but I might try
"popping" this bubble area (with a straight pin)... to
release the gas. Bob Fenner>
My apple snail has broken her shell
1/19/07 Hi there <And to you> I have a big apple snail in an
open-style paludarium. She went mountain-climbing last night, and I
woke after hearing her land on the kitchen floor (I've been burgled
recently so I'm a bit sensitive to noises in the night).
<Yikes!> She's damaged the back part of her shell. I put her
back in the tank and she has moved around since then, not much but she
is definitely still alive. <I see> She's quite big now,
probably about 5cms in diameter. I was wondering if maybe there was
something I could glue onto her shell that would seal it up, but at the
same time, wouldn't hurt her. A little bit of her body is sticking
out the hole. <Yes... I would dry the outside of the shell off a
bit, and apply a thin sheen of "super glue" (cyanoacrylate)
about the cracked area... even on to the bit of exposed flesh> Do
you have any suggestions? Thanking you in advance! Kind regards Fran
<Am hopeful for a complete recovery. Bob Fenner>
|A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown
snail) 1/14/07 Hi WWM, <Hey Lucy, JustinN with you
today.> I have read your FAQs on snails and Bettas and searched
for information generally on the web and could still use some
guidance on my sick tank if someone please has any time! <Of
course, Lucy. Is what we're here for.> I have one Betta who
I've had for nearly a year now. I've just got him back from
a friend who kept him for me while I was away for 6 weeks, and had
to clean out a lot of moldy food from the bottom of the bowl. Now
he has a spot on his forehead that looks like it's lost
it's scale and there's even a bit of blood showing. There
are also two opaque scales on one side (not visible in the photo,
but could possibly be related to the spot on his head). This does
not look like fin rot to me, nor Ich, and, as it's a round bowl
with a live plant, I can't think of how he could have cut
himself to invite a fungal infection. <Mmm, is none of the
above. The symptoms you describe are likely completely
environmental. Bowls are not really appropriate for the keeping of
Bettas, they really need a space more in the range of 2 to 3
gallons minimum, with some sort of adequate filtration and heating
provided. Stability is the key here, and a bowl simply does not
provide that. Please read through here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the files linked in blue above.> I use an anti-bacterial
already in the bowl (have tried both 'Betta Fix' and
'Broad Spectrum Medication for Fish' - the latter includes
mafenide HCl, Aminacrine HCl and malachite green), and I keep a
lamp over the top to keep him warm. <When you say that you
already use an anti-bacterial agent in the bowl, do you mean that
you are always prophylactically treating your Betta? This is not a
good idea, it will weaken the immune system of your Betta when
being used unnecessarily, and when coupled with the small, unstable
environment, this leads me to believe that your Betta is living in
a very uncycled system. See here for more on tank cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the files linked in blue above.> Should I give him a salt
bath and, if so, won't it hurt the open wound he seems to have?
I'd hate to try it for the first time with fatal consequences!
<Your problem is not a disease, Lucy. You need to get your Betta
into appropriate quarters, and he will perk right back up in no
time!> Secondly, a few days ago I purchased a snail (not sure
what type, possibly a smooth turban snail, judging from the
pictures in Google?). <Looks like a common 'Apple snail'
to me.> He lies inert all day, either closed or partly open,
like in the attached picture, with lots of mucous coming off him.
<Not good.> Usually in the mornings, I find him floating at
the surface of the tank, like his shell has filled with air.
<Also not good.> I read that it hurts snails to be on their
backs, so have been pulling him out so the air comes out and
dropping him back in the tank, right-way up. I've changed the
water once in a few days and am happy to do it again, but if
there's something that's upsetting both snail and Betta,
I'd like to fix them both (especially if the tank/conditions is
the problem). Would adding salt help them both, for instance, or
would that help the Betta but not the snail? <Adding salt to the
bowl would completely kill your snail, which is likely on its way
out anyway. By adding the snail to this already unstable
environment, which is complete with medications in the water, you
have poisoned it and likely doomed it. Most, if not all, effective
medications will harm or kill invertebrate life. I recommend you
remove the snail before it gets any worse, chances are its already
losing the battle. Next, at least in the interim, perform 25 to 50%
water changes in your bowl every couple of days until you can equip
yourself with an aquarium with proper filtration and heating, and
begin its cycling process. Fix your environment, and you'll fix
your Betta right up!> Any help would be most appreciated! Lucy
<I apologize if I've been a bit of a downer here, Lucy, but
knowledge is crucial. Aquarium salt may help your Betta in small
amounts, but I would be wary of trying to balance salt content in a
bowl, as small and unstable as it would be. I certainly hope this
helps you out! -JustinN>
Re: A sick freshwater tank (Betta and unknown
snail) 1/14/07 Hi Justin - <Lucy> Not a downer
at all! An answer is just what I needed. Thanks so much for
getting back to me, will work on the environment! <Excellent,
glad to hear it.> Many thanks, <Do keep in touch, Lucy!
Good luck! -JustinN>
Tadpole Snails gone wrong, env. 12/30/06 Hi
Crew, <Nadia> I have read through most of the snail pages on your
site, and used the Google Search Bar, but haven't gotten an answer
to my questions. I recently decided to get some tadpole snails (also
called pond snails on some sites) for fun. <Physa species...> I
got five, each less than a centimeter long. I made a nice home for
them, that I believe is large enough, by filling up a glass container
with water, putting down gravel, and I even bought them a "peacock
fern" which they crawl all over (photo attached). <Won't
open for me...> They seemed to be doing well enough, but something
went wrong and now I have a few questions. First, I thought they might
not have enough food, so I bought a pack of sinking food wafers.
<Good> I chose the tropical fish food wafers rather than the
algae wafers at the pet store purely because they were smaller and
honestly, they had like the same ingredients. They seemed to eat some
of the wafer, but I got some algae wafers from my friend to try to see
if they liked that better. I'm not sure, but I think they hardly
ate any of it. Is there some reason why they would prefer the regular
wafers over the algae wafers? <Better tasting? Many snails prefer
"animal material" over vegetable of different sorts> It
could be just because the first company made better wafers than the
second, I suppose. I also thought it might be because they seemed to
have laid eggs that night. Could that cause them to ignore food?
<Yes> The next day, I noticed that my fern was suddenly wilting.
It's only about a week old, and I figure it's because it's
more of a high maintenance plant than I realized, or I needed
fertilizer sooner than I realized (which I will fix immediately) but I
was wondering if it could have to do with the snails. <Mmm, much
more likely due to water conditions... this system is cycled?> The
water got cloudy real fast with some light gook collecting on top which
hadn't happened before, and I had just changed some of the water.
All my snails were alive, so it wasn't a dead one decomposing, and
I'm wondering if it was the fern dying, the algae wafer they
didn't eat (though the other wafers didn't cloud like this) or
something having to do with the snails laying eggs/mating. <Could
all be inter-related... the snails perhaps reproducing out of stress to
a degree... perhaps the availability of food...> Also, perhaps due
to the dirty water, three of my five little snails jumped during the
night, and they had been perfectly content before, no sign of jumping
previously. They were completely dried out when I found them, and I put
them back in water, hoping they would rehydrate and come out, but no
sign yet. Could it just be the dirty water? <Mmm, yes... not
cycled... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm and the
linked files above> I was also wondering if the size of the jar and
the food limitations would inhibit the growth of baby snails.
<Yes> Would they not grow, or would they ridiculously crowd the
jar? <Could do both/either> If so, I should remove the eggs I see
and freeze them then dispose of them, right? <Yes, if you wish to
dispose of them> My jar, obviously, is not large enough for me to
put in an animal that would eat the young (I read that even for the
tiniest shrimp, I would need a quarter of a gallon). I'm sorry that
my email got so long, but I can't seem to find the answers
anywhere, and I'm floundering because my little snail home seems to
be completely falling apart all at once. They were really cute and were
fun to watch playing together, and I'd be kinda sad if I had to
just throw everything out due to my ineptitude. Any advice you could
give would be incredibly appreciated. Thanks a bunch! Nadia <This
bowl is not "cycling" biologically... Please read where you
were referred to above... and look for larger jars (we have a treasure
of one gallon ones nowadays... which I would have "flipped"
for as a youngster... from big containers of pickles et al... Or a
"real" aquarium... Bob Fenner>
My snail is dying
12/12/06 <Hi Leslie> I wish you could help me. <I wish
I could help you too.> My beautiful snail which I love very much
because he is so beautiful and graceful is dying because his shell is
dissolving very rapidly. <I'm so sorry.> What causes that and
what if anything can be done about it? <I'm assuming this is a
freshwater species we are talking about. I am not really familiar with
fresh water so I'm going out on a limb here, but I think the shell
may be dissolving because the water is too soft. If you have access to
water that does not go through a water softener, it may help the
situation. Basically you want water with some mineral content.> I
noticed it beginning to happen and I dreaded it but I just didn't
know what to do about it. <I don't know if it will help the
current situation, but you could try adding a little sodium bicarbonate
(baking soda) and a calcium supplement to the water to increase the
water hardness, if mineralized water is not available.> I put a lot
of that Novaqua stress reducer stuff in for a dying fish and maybe that
had something to do with the ultra rapid deterioration of the
snail's shell. <I don't know, but I wanted you to get a
quick response, this is not an area I am familiar with.> Can you
help me at all? <I don't know.> Thanking you in advance for
your offering of any helpful information. Even if you can't offer
help, at least if you could explain what's happening to his shell
it would make me feel a little better to at least know.
<Unfortunately I am not the best one to answer your questions, but I
think I am the only one here right now. Hopefully someone with more
experience in this area will also chime in.> (I'm crying right
now!) <I'm so very sorry. -Mich> Sincerely, Leslie
My snail is dying Redux -
12/12/06 I wish you could help me. My beautiful snail which I love
very much because he is so beautiful and graceful is dying because his
shell is dissolving very rapidly. What causes that and what if anything
can be done about it? I noticed it beginning to happen and I dreaded it
but I just didn't know what to do about it. I put a lot of that
Novaqua stress reducer stuff in for a dying fish and maybe that had
something to do with the ultra rapid deterioration of the snail's
shell. Can you help me at all? Thanking you in advance for your
offering of any helpful information. Even if you can't offer help,
at least if you could explain what's happening to his shell it
would make me feel a little better to at least know. (I'm crying
right now!) Sincerely, Leslie <<Hey Leslie, JustinN with you this
morning. I noticed your post about your snail, and thought I'd
chime in a bit as well. I would agree with Mich that it sounds as if
there's a lack of calcium and minerals in your water provided for
the snail. One quick and simple solution is to add a clean cuttlebone
to the tank for the snail. This should help him out some. Hope this
helps you! Good luck! -JustinN
Re: Tom: Snail update and hang-on
filter trick - 12/04/06 Hello Tom, <<Hello again,
Rachel.>> I wanted to update you on the cuttlefish bone addition
for my mystery snail. <<Updates are always welcome,
Rachel.>> The bone seems to be very slowly dissolving into the
water, and his shell has stopped deteriorating. The tank's pH has
not changed. Once in a while I notice the snail munching while on the
bone, but I couldn't say whether he's munching the bone or a
bit of algae off the surface. I don't see any tell-tale teeth
marks. Worth noting, though, is the fact that he did chew with gusto on
one of those terrible plaster "vacation feeders." The pet
store had run out of automatic feeders... thankfully I got my family to
bring me an automatic feeder just in time for break, and I pulled the
awful plaster thing out of my tank! But anyway, the bone seems to have
served its purpose.
never used a vacation feeder but, since plaster is largely composed of
calcium sulfate, perhaps yours
after all or, at the least, your snail knows something we
:) >> I also wanted to pass on a trick I discovered for my
Whisper Micro in-tank filter. My tank is a MiniBow kit and I've
written in before about a few modifications that can be made to these
kits to make them quieter and healthier. One more! I had some leftover
filter sponge from covering the intake of the filter, so I slipped a
piece behind the filter body. It helps keep the filter from resting on
the tank wall (which it's not supposed to do anyway; the suction
cup is supposed to prop it up but it's too flat) so the vibrations
and noise are greatly reduced. I also padded the hook that hangs the
filter from the tank's lip with a bit of sponge. Sounds much
better! And it feels better too now that the tank isn't vibrating,
for me since this tank sits on my desk, and hopefully for Terrence the
Betta inside too. <<I like your thinking, Rachel. Thanks for
passing this along to us and the rest of our readers.>> Thanks
for your help, Tom! Rachel <<Happy to have been of assistance,
Rachel, and thanks for the nice update and tip. My best to you.
Tom>> Medications With Snails And Frogs
9/9/06 Dear WWM Crew, Want to first say what a great site you guys
have, and the patience you have for all the numerous questions you guys
answer! I have tried looking through the Google search and forums
regarding my question, and wasn't able to find my answer, so I am
asking you. My first question is regarding my black mystery snail. I
recently gave it a soft leaf vegetable (Chinese vegetable called Xiao
bai cai which literally means small white veggie) and it is consuming
the entire thing. I was wondering if you can actually overfeed a snail,
or will they stop eating once they are full? < They are exposed to
all kinds of veggies in the wild and I am sure they quite eating when
they are full.> My second question is regarding the medication I
have been applying to my fish tank for fin rot. I checked the
applesnail.net site, but their link to fish pharmaceuticals led to a
dead link. I am using Melafix (active ingredient is Melaleuca) from
Aquarium Pharmaceutical Inc., and was wondering if it will affect
either my black mystery snail or my African dwarf frog? Thanks a bunch!
And keep up with the awesome work! Anson < Invertebrates and
amphibians really don't like medications. Melafix would not be my
first choice to treat fin rot. Stronger medications may harm them. I
would treat the sick fish in a hospital tank with Nitrofuranace of
Calcium for Snail Shells 7/24/06
Hello Again, Thank you Bob for your insight into my snail dilemma!
<Actually, Pufferpunk here today.> I'll be sure to try the
one gallon containers with the floating plants and the old tank water.
Just one last quick question, when I was reading/researching about
snails before I purchased my first one, I ran across liquid calcium,
but just for marine tanks. Would it help my snails any or just possibly
hurt them and my fish? I suppose it's better not to add anything
additional to the water that's not needed. I have been feeding them
turtle sticks that have calcium in them (forgot that food item) but
only on occasion. Would it help to increase feeding the snails those? I
guess that's two questions, oops...! I really appreciate all your
help, thanks again, <Give them cuttlebones (sold for bird's
beaks) to munch on, for calcium. ~PP> Amber
Apple Snail Question
7/23/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Amber> I finally have a question I
can't find the answer for. I've read through the snail FAQs and
the article on freshwater snails. A lot of them talk about the snail
being possibly dead, but not why they were dying, or were dead (I could
have missed one on that topic though, sorry if I have). I've had my
ten gallon set up now for about, seven months or so, and I haven't
lost any fish. However, it seems to be a death trap for apple snails!
I'm so confused. At first I started off with one snail, and I
really enjoyed him. Then my friend gave me a large snail she had found
in a local fish store as a present. I acclimated him, and everything
seemed to go well. Then the larger snail stopped moving, and I
didn't think too much of it until he hadn't moved a day later
either. My fish were gasping, pale, and obviously very stressed. So, I
did the "snail test," picked him up and took a sniff. What a
horrendous smell! <Ah yes... have this chemical memory...
Yeccch!> I removed the snail, checked the water parameters, and
changed water until ammonia was back to 0. About a week or two later,
my smaller snail followed the same route. I ended up missing my
"cleanup" crew and got myself two more snails. I had them for
around... three, possibly four months. They grew somewhat, though not
as quickly as my other two snails I have in a 20 gallon and 5 gallon,
which nearly doubled in size within a month. These big ones are now the
only two snails I have left, my newer two died Wednesday, and Friday of
this week. The first one I think died because of a cracked shell, when
I bought him he had a slight chip at the entrance to his shell and I
figured it'd heal over and he'd be fine. The crack instead grew
with him, though for the longest time it had white/cream shell over it
instead of his brown. The white disappeared and you could see through
to his foot. I was gone all day and came home to another disaster. Fish
gasping, stressed out, and pale... and I just knew one of the snails
passed. I removed the snail and changed the water until Ammonia was 0
again. Then I noticed my other snail start floating around at the top a
lot, I've read elsewhere on the Internet this is normal behavior.
Though when my other snails did this, they were always inside their
shells, not hanging out of the shell like this one (which I read in
your FAQs can be a bad sign). <Yes> I had a negative feeling, but
didn't remove him... unfortunately, which I will remember for next
time. Came home, fish were stressed out, again! Just fantastic!
Followed the same procedure, and the fish have fully colored up again,
and swim normally. Now I'm snail-less in my ten gallon tank, and
really don't want to get any more until I figure out what is
causing my ten gallon to be a serial snail killer. I'm considering
the swing in Ammonia and Nitrates might have ailed the second snail in
the tank, but since I lowered both with water changes, and I didn't
lose any fish, I'm not sure. Though, what would have killed the
first two snails I had in the beginning? <Mmm... the most common
causes of Ampullaria/Pomacea spp. death are "poisoning" from
too much, too soon addition of metals, sanitizers (and chemicals added
to neutralize these by well-meaning aquarists)... second to this source
is the absence of readily assimilable biomineral and alkaline
content... water mostly that is deficient in calcium and bicarbonate...
third is likely a dearth of palatable foods. Oh, and a huge source of
loss... likely as large as all others combined, is the poor initial
health of these snails from dealers... most are doomed from pollution,
starvation, poor "handling"> I have (and always had after
the cycle) a water change schedule, approximately 25% once a week,
vacuuming the gravel at the same time. I feed my fish and the snails,
regular tropical flakes, goldfish flakes, freeze-dried blood worms,
broccoli, algae wafers, and Spirulina discs (of course not everything
in one day). I don't believe they were starved because they
didn't have a "shrinking/shriveled" foot which I read can
signal they aren't getting any food. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0,
nitrates are kept in the 5-10 range, and the pH is currently unknown
(getting the kit from a friend soon, I'm out of money sadly and
figured the other test kits were most important since you can acclimate
inverts/fish to pH if it's kept stable). I've never had to
treat with any medicines, and the only thing I add to my water is a
de-Chlor, though I'm not sure I have to (I'm on well-water).
The temperature is kept at 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit. I have Neon
Tetras, Corydoras, and Pygmy Gouramis (Trichopsis pumilus), <Good
"test" fishes... if these are doing well, so should
Pomacea> didn't know if a fish list would help any, but figured
I'd give as much information as possible. Is it possible the snails
were just old, despite the small (approx. an 1in.-1 1/2in.) size?
<Not likely> Is the temperature too high and increasing their
metabolism, and lessening their life span? <Mmm, no> Or maybe I
don't have enough minerals in my water, but I think that'd
affect my other two snails too? <Can become
"habituated"...> Any help is much appreciated! Sorry for
all the parenthesis, and long email, but usually you want all that can
be provided, so I did try to help with that. Thanks a bunch! -Amber
<Thank you for writing so well, completely. I would try these Apple
Snails again, but keep them for a few weeks in "one gallon pickle
jars" with old tank water, some floating plant material, and no
new water, or chemical treatment whatsoever... With such conditioning
and "rest" they should be able to make the transition into
your main system. Bob Fenner>
missing trap door 6/10/06 Good evening. I have had a purple apple
snail for about 6 months. When I first received him from a friend I was
also given a Ramshorn. Both snails were about a quarter of an inch
across. The Ramshorn grew more quickly than the apple and in only a
month was quite a bit bigger. <Unusual> One morning I found the
Ramshorn attached to the apple where the door normally is. Apparently
the Ramshorn had eaten off the door on the apple's shell.
<Sounds/reads like a lack of alkalinity, biomineral here... the one
snail consuming the other for this> That was 5 months ago. The two
were immediately separated after the incident and while the apple is
still living, active and growing it still has not regrown it's
door. I have been keeping it with a ghost shrimp in a fish bowl and
wanted to wait until it was better to introduce it into my main tank.
Will it ever regrow it's door? <Likely so> Will the loss of
the door eventually kill it even if I keep it by itself? Thanks in
advance for any help you can offer. Trudy <One can only hope. Please
and the linked files above, particularly "Snail Systems",
"Nutrition". Bob Fenner>
Apple Snail's Had A
Fall! 6/11/06 I really hope you can help me.... While cleaning my
60ltr aquarium we took our Apple Snails out of the tank and while
holding one of the Snails my wife dropped her about 3 and a half feet
onto a laminated floor. <Ouch!> This fall caused some damage to
her shell (Some parts of the front of the shell have broken off) we
have removed the really sharp parts of the damaged shell but that is
not our main concern. At the moment she is sitting in the tank with her
shell partly open with white mucus seeping out, is this a sign that she
stressed or is she dying as we don't want to prolong her pain?
Could you please advise us as to the best course of action as soon as
possible please. From two very worried snail owners <Mmm, one can
never tell, but these Pomacea snails are quite tough... I do hope yours
recovers... I would do my best to keep this system stable (not make too
large water changes for instance). Bob Fenner>
out of shell... 6/11/06 I have a black snail, freshwater, it looks
like a Ramshorn, but I'm not sure. For the past 2 months,
(that's how long I've had it) it's been fine. Now it seems
to be acting weird. It's shell is slippery and seems to be shedding
a fine white skin from the top of the shell. Also, it is sitting all
the way out of it's shell and folded in half like it's licking
it's "toes" or hind-end. <!> It's antennae are
moving, but it's just sitting there. Is there something wrong with
it? <Yes... is likely dead, or at least dying... but from what?
Likely something adverse in its environment... and this probably some
aspect of water chemistry. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, particularly Snail Systems. Bob
Detached trapdoor on
Mystery snail 5/15/06 Greeting all! I have a freshwater aquarium
with one Mystery snail. I just found his trapdoor lying next to him on
the floor of the aquarium. <!> Can't be good. He's been a
great addition to the aquarium. Any comments appreciated. Thank you,
Marty <As you state, a very bad sign... Keep your eye and nose tuned
to the system... This snail may regenerate its operculum... or not. Bob
Snail with transparent, soft shell edge -
4/11/2006 Hi Bob (& Crew), <Gar and Car> First, thanks
for writing back re: my questions about a 10-gal. divided tank set-up
for my three Bettas. They're all doing fine, now ... seem to be
quite content -- even the one who seemed to be trying to starve himself
for a week! But now he eats as rapaciously as the other two. (Their
names are Bait & Switch & Bail.) I have read and re-read much
of the info on your site that is relevant to my "needs," and
have found most of the answers. (I hope [grin]). I have a gold mystery
snail that's been very healthy and active since I "built"
the tank -- that's been about a month. A couple days ago, I noticed
that he seemed to "hiding" in his little empty plant pot (I
use it like a 'cave'), and then the outer edge of his shell
looked white -- something definitely different, there. So I kept an eye
on him, and have today taken him out of the tank completely and put him
in a small container w/part old, part new water. The area that had
turned white has actually turned a yellowish, almost transparent now -
it's about 1/16" wide, and the very edge is a little soft.
I've tested the tank water; it's seems to be in all the correct
parameters. <Numbers, tests please> We have pretty hard water
w/some chlorine. Up until this last water change, I had been adding
"Prime," (an additive for slime coat, that de-nitrites,
de-nitrates, de-ammonionizes, and de-chlorinates), as well as some
aquarium salt (per directions). I've read that all of that might
not be optimum for the health of the fish, so have just let the water
sit out for several days before I used it. <Good> I did add a
little bit of Melaleuca - another snail had gotten stuck earlier last
week and died. Stink? WHEW! "Like the devil himself!" If
that's what the devil smells like, I DEFINITELY don't want to
get near him! <Can be stenchy for sure> Anyway -- Should I add
some marine iodine? <A drop every week, water change wouldn't
hurt...> He's been so healthy, and I think I caught this fairly
quickly, so I hope we can get him through this. I've been feeding
them algae pellets until more algae grows on the fish tank. Anything
else I should be doing? <Likely nothing> Sorry this got so long
and drawn out. I thank you for any help you give me on this. Sincerely,
...c... <What you see/describe is actually likely just new growth...
if your water is, as you state, hard... you probably don't need to
add sources of "shell hardening" mineral... supplied by foods
et al... I would not change anything here, but be careful re pouring
chemicals in this/its system. Bob Fenner>
Dropsy? Epsom salt and mystery snails?
4/9/06 Hi, <Ki> I have been reading your website on a fairly
regular basis for about three months now (from the time we discussed
purchasing an aquarium & since then--especially before purchasing
any new species). Currently we have a 10 gallon tank with 4 platies, 4
Cory catfish, 3 snails (gold mystery, black mystery, and blue mystery),
and 2 glass shrimp. The platies have been with us about 6 weeks. The
Cory cats about 2 weeks. The golden snail-6 weeks, the black one-4
weeks, the blue one-about 2 weeks. The ph is 7, the ammonia is 0,
nitrite 0, nitrate 20. <Take care to keep those nitrates no
higher> We do not plan to increase the community, though I am aware
that the platies might make that decision for us, in which case we will
get another tank. First, while this did not seem overcrowded to me
based upon what I have read, I am starting to have doubts. Namely, do
we have too many snails? <Not yet... and these are not
"bisexual" species listed... so, easier to monitor...>
Also, until tonight we had 5 platies, but I found one of them dead this
evening. She ate fine in the morning, but then died at some point in
the afternoon/early evening. Her abdomen looked somewhat swollen, but
not at all "pinecone-like." Her scales were still flat
against the body and only the underside of the abdomen was swollen.
Still, because of the swelling, I am wondering if it is some form of
dropsy. If so, are the other fish in danger? <Not likely> I have
read that many dropsy conditions are not contagious, but I am still
worried. Now I am paranoid that the other platies look swollen, though
my husband says I am imagining it. Also, would it be safe to do a
treatment with Epsom salt to be sure? And would the Epsom salt kill the
snails & shrimp? <Too likely so> I have seen a reference to
the safety of Epsom salt with invertebrates, but the ones listed in
that person's question were all saltwater creatures, not freshwater
ones. I just want to be sure before I do anything. I apologize if these
questions are all answered in obvious places on the website that I
missed. Thanks, Ki <No worries. I would be conservative here re
adding anything... Likely the system, fish being "very new"
and this being a "first batch" of young, some have died more
easily. Bob Fenner> Snail with a growth 3/30/06 I just
bought an aquarium and added a snail to help with upkeep. My black
mystery snail has a spotted growth on his shell. I am so concerned that
this may be a parasite or something. The growth is about the size of
the tip of a pinky finger. Please help. <<It is hard to guess
what this might be without a picture. However, it is common for snails
to have other living things "hitching a ride" on their shell
or simply to have minor irregularities on their shell. These things are
rarely anything to worry about. Best Regards. AdamC.>
Snails Don't Like Ammonia - 03/18/2006 Hi folks, In my 45
g tank I have a large Ramshorn snail. It is active for most of the day.
However, for the past 4 days it had not moved out of its shell,
everything else in the tank looked okay. On a hunch, I checked ammonia
and it was about .5 ppm. I immediately changed 20% of water and again
tested ammonia to be zero. To my surprise, the snail started moving
after an hour or so and is now active like it was before. Does this
mean that snails are more sensitive to ammonia than fishes as none of
the fish was showing any signs of discomfort? Thanks Sandeep R <
Snails are very sensitive to chemicals in the water like copper and
ammonia. You should investigate why you are experiencing elevated
Apple Snail Mystery 2/13/06 I was reading some of the
messages on your forum hoping to find some information about my problem
with an apple snail I have had since early January 2006. He is about 2
1/2 inches in diameter and has taken to giving off tremendous amounts
of slime and mucus. He seems to be otherwise okay. I have separated him
from the aquarium (10 gallon) in a bowl by himself. He doesn't seem
to be very active and doesn't appear to eat much. He is not dead
because he does come out and move around some, but not like the other
smaller apple snail I have. Any ideas what the mucus production is
about? Mike (new aquarium owner) <Could well be
"something" chemically about the system is bothering this
snail... too high pH, alkalinity, salts... metal... These animals are
in many ways more sensitive than fishes to such challenges, changes.
Best to treat, store new water before using, and to be very regular re
water changes (not add water simply to replace evaporated). Bob
My poor snail 1/18/06 I have a Ramshorn snail that I
have had for a few months. I had noticed a while back that his shell
was deteriorating from the center of the spiral outward. I called the
place where I had gotten him and asked what was causing it and they
told me that snails shed and not to be concerned. Well, it isn't
getting any better and I came across the article "Damage on
snail's shell" and realized what it was. My pH is 7.0 and I am
concerned about adding the crushed coral substrate so I was wondering
what else I could use to add calcium. At this point his shell is really
bad and I am afraid of loosing him but I don't want to harm my
other fish. <A small bag full of crushed coral in the filter will
have a good effect at this pH, but do monitor KH and remove if it rises
too high. Some commercial GH buffers such as RO-right may also raise
calcium, but add sparingly to get a feel for their effect. Do read up
on your fishes' requirements before attempting to adjust such
parameters. Bear in mind also that the snail may just be showing signs
of age or lack of food. Best regards, John>
Weekend feeder / snail shell erosion 12/30/2005 Hello! I have
been doing some Google searches trying to figure out what was wrong
with one of my snail's shell and read some of your responses. I
have two apple snails, two tiny goldfish and a Ramshorn snail in a 6
gallon aquarium. I believe the Ramshorn has shell erosion from some
form of nutritional deficiency or soft water. <These are the most
common causes, yes> The apples are fine, there shells look pretty
good actually, and everybody eats sinking algae pellets and goldfish
flakes. If it is because my water is too soft, how can I make it
harder? <By adding a source of alkalinity... the simplest? Likely
sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda)... a level teaspoon per ten gallons of
new water, mixed in, allowed to set for a day or more before use>
Will doing this hurt the fish? <Not if done in moderation, with
pre-mixed water> I read on another website that adding a weekend
feeder may help because of the plaster of Paris, <Yes> but I
don't know of that was a joke. I went to my local aquarium supply
and the woman behind the counter suggested a salt bath or
antibiotics!!!! <Mmm, no> (Also, they did not carry the marine
iodine) I need some real help, that won't kill my snails. Thank you
so much for your time. Sorry if these are elementary questions.
Sincerely, Kuniko <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Best
possible treatment for freshwater snail shell deterioration.
10/4/05 Hi Guys, <Sharon> I have a 30L BiOrb with 2 small (1
inch) goldfish, a real plant and a snail. (I realize that my fish will
soon outgrow the BiOrb, but....I am planning an outdoor water feature
with pond that I will transfer them to at a later date). I have a
comprehensive water testing kit - ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and pH, and
test my water regularly. Most recent test (2 October) showed ammonia
and nitrite zero, nitrate 20 to 40ppm and pH 7.2 to 7.4. <Try to
keep the nitrate below 20ppm... mainly through regular pre-treated
water changes> In the last week, my snails shell has started to
deteriorate - mainly around the central (oldest) whorl. The shell has
become whitish and pitted, and a crack has developed which seems to be
following the curve of the whorl. <Happens> I have read a few
articles on your website, and understand that this is caused by calcium
deficiency. What I don't understand is the best way to treat this
problem, that is, which treatment would help my snail and cause minimal
stress to the other inhabitants of my BiOrb. <Mmm, can add... oh, I
see you've been studying below...> The following treatment
suggestions come from a number of sources (your website, local aquarium
suppliers): * crushed coral - wouldn't this cause problem with the
pH?; * iodine (one drop per 10 gallons); * a neutralizer block; * a
feeding block; * aquarium salt. <All but the salt would help> Can
you please point me in the right direction? Regards, Sharon. <Bob
Fenner> Hurt Snail 9/30/05 Okay, here goes. We have a 60
gallon aquarium with mostly Mollies in it. We have some snails, a frog,
algae eaters, Molly fry and I think that's it. We had 4 snails, our
yellow ones died, don't know why. And our brown ones are still
kicking. However, I don't know what kind of snails they are. We got
them at Wal-Mart. <Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm> The
smaller of the two is now the bigger of the two, shell is about the
size of a half dollar. It got stuck in our "Power Sweep, automatic
self-rotating powerhead wavemaker" on the dial side. We had some
river snails (big mistake) and I noticed some of them had perished on
the same dial part. I don't know if they got sucked into it or if
they were looking for some food. However, I had to pry this thing apart
to get my big snail out of it. Now I don't know if it is dead or
alive. I just fished out a chunk of what looked like a part of him, but
he is still inside his shell (upside down), his door is partly open and
there is a tentacle sticking out which has moved from the back of his
door to the front. Is he alive? or is the water from the sweeper moving
him around. It has been about 2 days since I dug him out of the sweeper
and his door has closed some since then and the tentacle has appeared,
disappeared and now reappeared. Can they regrow parts that have been
harmed and fallen off? <Yes... if not too badly damaged> Is there
hope for him or do we "flush" him. Also if you can answer
another question for me, how do you tell when your fish are no longer
diseased? <Disease is sometimes defined as "a deviation from a
normal or healthy state"... When they appear healthy, they are>
I have 2 male mollies and 1 female molly in separate tanks for
diseases. The first male had white spots on his fins and he lost a lot
of his color. He also had nasty looking scales. I treated him for Ich,
but the Melafix seemed to work better on the white spots and scale
problem. Then he got anchor worms, picked them off cause the med.
didn't seem to work. Now he's back to having scale problems
again. I figured he was sick cause the bigger fish were picking on him.
My second male I just put in with him yesterday cause he was scratching
and the bigger fish were picking on him. Don't know what he has
yet. Hopefully by treating the other one, he'll be treated also. My
female is in another tank, she had Bug Eye and the same white stuff on
her fins. Got that cleared up, now she has Gill Disease? <...
can't tell from here> Open sores on her gills. I have bought
water treatments for the ph level, conditioners, aquarium salts and who
knows what else. I try to keep the water at about 76 degrees. I think
they like somewhere between 74-78. I treat her with the Melafix. Why
are my fish getting so many diseases? <Likely came with some... and
there are possible issues of your water quality... Have you read on WWM
re mollies?> I can only have so many quarantine tanks. We now have 2
hospital tanks, one with gold fish, a Betta, one for females, one for
males, and one with river fish. When is it safe to put my sick fish
back in with the others? Or should I "flush" them. Cheryl
<Mmm, no... better to educate yourself... Please peruse our
Freshwater Subweb: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Take
your time... Bob Fenner>
Apple Snail 9/27/05 Hi there, <Hi, Catherine
here.> I need some help. We have a 29 gallon tank. Two weeks ago we
put in an apple snail, cute little guy, well I shouldn't say little
he's about 2 1/4". He seemed to be doing very well, moving
around lots, cleaning up. Then about two days ago he started bobbing on
the top of the water, for days straight. He also seems to be changing
the color of his shell. We are very concerned about him and wondered if
you could tell us if this is normal behavior? <No, this isn't
normal behavior. If the snail has detached, he is probably dead. If you
are unsure, I would move him to a small tank (even a jar filled with
tank water) as a precaution. If he is dead, he'll quickly pollute
the tank. Unfortunately, there is very little information on treating
snail illness. If your tank has ever had a copper based medication,
this could kill him. He also might have been stressed by the move to
the new tank. Give him a veggie or two (peas, squash) to eat in the new
tank and cross your fingers. Thank you, Beverly Ventimiglia <Sorry I
didn't have better news. Catherine>
Dead Snail? New Cure for Ich? Hi my name is SuzAnn and I have
two apple snails blonde in color. Anyway one has been floating for
three or four days way out of it's shell and teenie weenie bubbles
are forming around the front of the snail . The bubbles are in some
form of thin slime. Is this snail dying? > < Unfortunately your
snail has passed away and needs to removed quickly so its decomposing
body doesn't add to the ammonia and nitrate problem.-Chuck> >
Chuck I removed the snail from the tank and put it in a bowl of water
from our pond high in algae the snail is doing fine. I also cured ick
that my three gold fish had with salt and grapefruit juice and shallow
water and sunshine they are growing so big and look very healthy.
SuzAnn < WOW, I thought for sure your snail was dead based on the
description you gave. Curing ich with grapefruit juice, salt and
sunshine's a new one for me too.-Chuck>
Snail and filter query Hello there from
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Hope you can help. My daughter just
received a starter goldfish aquarium with 2 goldfish and a snail. Set
up fine (yesterday). Snail and fish happy. Snail was wondering about
but earlier today he was just floating in the filter current. Is this
dangerous? What if anything should I do? Please reply-thanks so much.
Mississauga Mom <Mmm, maybe dangerous in that if the snail should
perish, it might pollute the water... I would remove it and some of the
tank water and leave it for a day or two in a plastic or glass
container (w/o a filter, bubbler is fine) and see if it will rally. If
you have a bit of live plant, I'd place a sprig of this in with the
snail. Oh, and please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm Bob
Snail Problem I thought my snail was resting by my power head
in my tank for 2 days and then I decided to pick him up. He had the
front of him stuck in the power head. The thing that he uses to breath
was pink and white. I left him alone for 1 day in the bottom of the
tank and the next day he hadn't moved. I took him out of the tank
for a night (thinking he would drown without air) and put him in a cup.
He hasn't come out of his shell since it happened. He seemed fine
this morning (poking out of his shell) so I put him back in the tank
and he seems a little better. Is there anything that I can do or give
him so that he heals quickly. I have had Sluggo for about 5 years.
Jeanette Browning <Snails are pretty resilient and will probably be
out in a few days. If there is no white fuzzy growth (fungus) then I
think Sluggo will be fine in a few days.-Chuck>
Help!! My snails are dyeing (new tie-dyed gastropods!> Hi
guys. I am a newbie to your site and also to a 10 gallon tank. I have 3
fire bellied toads, one platy and some snails. Some of the snails are
Ramshorn and I don't know what the others are. Just your basic
fresh water snails??? <Is there such a thing?> My snails are
dyeing and the ones left are looking pretty lifeless. Could it be the
toads?? <Mmm, yes> Half of the tank is built up with rock for the
toads and the other half is of course water. I bought these at our
local pet store. I have been feeding the snails and the platy sinking
algae wafers since the tank is new and there's not much built up
gunk yet for them to eat. Do you have any suggestions as to why this
may be happening? Thanks SO MUCH for a very informative site!! Connie
Howard <Many possibilities here... from nutrition as you mention, to
possible water quality issues... Is this system cycled? Do you have
test kits for the latter? Bob Fenner>
Floating Snail I have a snail that has been floating on and
off for the last couple of days. When it is floating it is closed up
inside of it's shell. Is something wrong with it? <Hopefully
not> What would make it float? <It may be looking for food>
I'm not sure what kind of snail it is, but it is not cone shaped.
It is round. I have four larger gold fish in the ten gallon aquarium
with the snail. I do not feed the snail anything extra because I
thought there would be enough algae, and left over fish food. Do I need
to supplement feed the snail? <Likely not> Any help you could
give would be greatly appreciated. I've never had a snail before.
Thanks, Lonnette <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm
and the FAQs file (in blue, at top) re these snails. Bob Fenner>
Re: snails floating Halloo I have a 2 gallon fishbowl with
one Betta and 3 snails (brand: unknown.) These snails have a peculiar
behavior lately of floating on the top. If I pick them up they retract,
and they otherwise seem to be happily doing their job (slithering
around, cleaning the bowl.) Is this a precursor to something bad?
Thanks -- KN <Likely nothing wrong here. Some snails are more
amphibious than truly totally aquatic... they may be looking for more
food, perhaps going to the surface for more oxygen. But the Betta is a
"facultative aerial respirator" (breaths atmosphere), so not
to worry re the latter for its sake. Bob Fenner>
Snails Don't Move at all! My children decided
that they wanted two snails. So off to the pet store we go and we
purchase two black mystery snails. I thought for sure they were dead
before we ever got them home so we put them in our 10 gallon aquarium
anyways just to be sure. This was on Sunday. On Monday they were just
lying with their little openings in the air still and had not moved at
all. Well the kids were upset and we were sure they were dead. So out
we go to return them to the pet store. The pet store assured me they
are fine since they don't stink and they still have their feet. So
back home we go and plop them back in the tank. The larger one now is
just floating around and the little one is just lying at the bottom
with his opening in the air. Neither one has come out or moved at all.
We have 2 Mollies, 3 Gouramis, and 13 Molly babies about a week old.
The fish swim by them but never pick at them and I am just at a loss on
what to do. Are they okay? Thanks, Christy <Did you acclimate them
to your tank when you got them? Inverts need to be acclimated just as
fish do to prevent shock. Make sure they are in a position so that if
they do decide to move, they can grab onto something and leave them for
a day or two longer to see if they begin to move around. Ronni>
Ramshorn snails I got a Ramshorn snail a few weeks ago. Since
I got him (Ryan is his name) he has gotten a white patch that is
growing. It kinda looks like someone took sandpaper to his shell. Is
this something to worry about? I got 22 baby swordtails less then 3
months old, 1 Pleco, 1 spiny loch, and one clown loach. My setup is in
a 20 gallon high. I got a heater and keep my tank around 72-74. Is my
probably getting picked on by the loaches (especially the Clown) and
they will end up killing him as snails are a favorite food of theirs.
Snail shell erosion Hello all! How are you tonight?
<Absolutely wonderful, thank you! Sabrina here tonight....> I
have a quick question for you. I've had two Apple Snails in my 120
with a bunch of large Central American Cichlids for the past year or
so. They're doing well, growing and eating and pretty active as far
as snails go. But I've noticed lately, their shell are pitting and
seem to be wearing away. I have crushed coral gravel in the tank and I
thought that should give them enough minerals to keep their shell in
shape, but I guess not. The Ph is around neutral, no ammonia, no
nitrites, low nitrates, etc. And they have all the algae then want to
graze on along with veggie and carnivore cichlid pellets, frozen tiger
shrimp and bloodworms. <Hmm. Everything sounds excellent,
really.> Is there some kind of mineral supplement for freshwater
snails or what else can I do for these guys? They're doing so well,
I hate to lose them because their shells are rotting away. <Well, I
can tell you my experience with snails (and their shells), even though
in my plant tank, they were an absolute pest, not a welcome denizen....
I am very much obsessed with freshwater shrimp, and have learned that
freshwater shrimp tanks should be dosed with iodine (Kent's reef
iodine supplement is fine, and is what I use) at a rate of one drop per
ten gallons every week. After I started dosing my tanks with iodine, I
noticed the shrimps were growing more, they were more active, seemed
all-around healthier. Another (possibly undesirable to me) side effect
was that all the snails that remained (only the ones too large for some
Botias to eat) no longer had holes in their shells, and were no longer
ragged and thin looking at the openings. Instead, all the remaining
snails in my tank now have thick, dark, lustrous shells. I wonder if
iodine would do the trick for you?> Thanks in Advance, Kristen:)
Snails hi! I have (or had, I'm not sure yet) 2 snails for
my 10 gallon aquarium. just recently, the bigger snail went up into his
shell and hasn't came out for about a week now. then, just a couple
of days ago, my other snail seemed to stay in its shell for a long
time. but the smaller snail's plate is kind-of just hanging there,
and on the bigger snail the plate is quite a ways back. I'm not
sure if there dead, or alive. I still have them, but removed them from
the tank and put them in a small one. what should I do???? <The
snail might be dead. I would check the water quality of the main
aquarium-also do watch the main aquarium closely for other fish/invert
deaths. Good Luck, IanB>
Here comes another one, just like the other one Hi I wrote to
you last week but did not see an answer posted. <Wow, my deepest
apologies! We do try to get everything answered right away, I'm
sorry this one fell through the cracks.> My question is... can
lobsters and snails live in the same tank? The reason I ask is because
two days after I put a snail in the tank with my lobster my lobster
died. He died on his feet, but the night before he died he had flipped
over onto his back twice. Could it have been the ph? <Woah....
Dude.... De ja vu and a half! I'm sure this is related to a
correspondence I just had with another person about the exact same
topic, but just in case, all the info again: Assuming that the snails
and 'lobster' are freshwater, as I was told in the other
correspondence, I feel that the 'lobster' death is likely
unrelated to the snails. Test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate,
and pH; if any of these are out of whack, it could be what did in the
little crustacean. Your little lobster (actually, either a
Macrobrachium shrimp or a crayfish) may possibly have just suffered a
bad molt. Sometimes, when they shed their old skins, the new shell
doesn't harden properly or tears, or has some other sort of
complication. This is one of those things that can 'just
happen'. The best way to avoid it ever happening in the future is
to dose the tank with iodine (I use Kent marine) at a rate of one drop
per ten gallons every week. Beyond this, the only risk in keeping these
two animals together is to the snails - I wouldn't put it past the
shrimp/crayfish to decide to dine on escargot some day.> I would
greatly appreciate any input. Thank you in advance! Deysha Rivera
<Hope this gets to you properly, this time! Wishing you well,
Shy Snail? - 03/27/2004 I recently bought a snail for my 20
gallon freshwater tank. I have a few other fish in tank that are about
a year old. I noticed today the snail was tucked in his shell and
wasn't eating, is this normal for a snail to stay in it's shell
all day long? <Mm, possibly, but certainly isn't a good sign.
Check ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, to be on the safe side.> I
don't know much about snails, if there is a certain temp. for
water...etc. <To be honest, I don't know, especially without
knowing what species you have. Try looking here: http://www.applesnail.net/ .> Any
information you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I just hope
he hasn't passed on. <Me, too!> Hoover, was so much fun to
watch. <"Hoover"? What a fitting name! My most recent
acquisition, an L-260 Pleco, has been named "Suckhead" :)
> Yes, we named all the fish including the snail.
<Understandable, of course :) > Please reply. Sandra <Done.
Hope you can find the answers you're looking for! Wishing you well,
Damage on Snail's Shell - 02/22/2004 I'm new to
this...keeping up a small aquarium and finding info on the internet.
Anyway, my problem is similar to one I read from a fellow named Ryan
writing to WWM. <I can't seem to find this particular
correspondence, but hopefully we can help you out.> I have a
Ramshorn snail that appears to have something (a parasite or organism?)
eating away at its shell. <Mm, likely not an organism, but a
deficiency in a certain nutrient(s). What is your pH? What about total
and carbonate hardness?> The shell has a covering of algae on it but
at the very center on each side, the area where the spiral is the
tightest (if that is a word), the shell looks as if it is being eaten
away. <I understand precisely what you mean. This is more likely
than not a nutrient deficiency.> Ryan, in his message described it
as appearing as if someone has taken sandpaper to the shell. That is
what I am seeing too. The strange thing is that it appears to be
following the spiral, as if an organism is eating from the center
outwards. <The reason this is happening is because the inner part of
the spiral, near the center, is the oldest part of the shell; as the
snail grows, the shell in the center just gets older and older,
it's not living tissue. If the water lacks certain stuff (calcium
and iodine, primarily) the shell dissolves over time.> In this case
the only other organisms in the 5 gal. tank are a small goldfish now
about 2 in. long tip to tip and a small catfish about 1 in. long. When
I mentioned this to the pet store they seemed to think that the fish
would not be doing this. <Agreed.> Is the goldfish doing this?
<No. I doubt that goldfish are ambitious enough to eat live snails -
and certainly aren't capable of pitting their shells in this
manner.> or is there a parasite or other organism responsible? <I
highly doubt that this is the case; I know of no organism that does
this.> If the fish is doing it wouldn't it have random pitting
all over the shell instead of a pattern identical on both sides? <Of
the few fish that would damage snail shells (puffers come to mind), I
agree, yes. The best suggestion I have for you is to check your pH, GH,
and KH, and depending upon what you're at now, you may consider
adding a satchel of crushed coral substrate to try to bring up the
calcium (and thereby, hardness, which will bump your pH up, too - so
beware). Before you do that, I recommend trying adding iodine (use Kent
marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons weekly - NOT the
saltwater dose printed on the label). I do this for my freshwater
shrimp, and as a side effect, the few large Ramshorn survivors in my
tank have rich, lustrous shells now. The damage that has already
happened on the shell is basically not reversible, but fixing the
problem should help your snails to produce lovely shells from here on
out.> Candace <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Salvageable Snails, or Escargot? I have an 80g freshwater
tank. Two of my fish are ill with fin rot, and I am treating this with
an antibacterial medicine, but unfortunately now my snails look very
sick. The snails are gold ones and black mystery snails, their shells
appear to be deteriorating. Do you think it is the medicine doing this?
Or do they have some other condition that I could treat? <What
antibiotic are you using, specifically? Some medications will effect
snails quite negatively, and some will seem to have no effect
whatsoever. However, the deterioration of the shells is more likely due
to a lack of certain minerals in the water that they need to build
their shells nice and thick. I have noticed that the snails in my
shrimp tanks began producing much finer shells after I started using
iodine for the benefit of the shrimps; you can even see the exact point
where it began to change. I use one drop of Kent Marine iodine per ten
gallons of water every week in my freshwater shrimp tanks. The
difference has been unbelievable, not only in the shrimps, but the
snails as well. I would also recommend that you test your general and
carbonate hardness, and raise if necessary, provided you can do so
safely with the fish that you have. I also encourage you to take a look
at http://www.applesnail.net/ ,
there is a whole load of snaily information there.> Thank you very
much for your time. Marilyn God bless! :o) <Wishing you well,
Snails, freshwater, unwanted Hi Bob, My first time
here.....but I have a 10 gal starter aquarium and I had 2 platys (1
male & 1 female) . The male died today after about a week of some
stress we just could not guess; he kept to the surface of the water
& was very lethargic. About 8 weeks before, the female died of ich
& we treated the water with "Rid Ich+" so could the male
have had the same? < Unless you saw the white spots then it
wasn't ich.> Our tank seems infested with common water snails.
could they be the cause for this? < Snails are scavengers. They eat
excess food and decaying matter. They are rarely cause for disease.>
Would like some advice on how to save 2 baby platys still alive? <
It sure sounds like you are overfeeding your tank or don't have
enough filtration. I would recommend a 30% water change and service the
filter. Next week vacuum the gravel to remove uneaten food lodged in
the gravel. Feed only enough food so the platies eat it all in a couple
of minutes each day. No more.-Chuck> Thanks Sad beginner
Mmmm, Escargot - 08/19/2004 Can a snail survive
without its shell? <I do not believe so.> For example, if someone
was to pull the shell off <I don't think this could be done
without causing the snail extreme damage - after which the snail would
undoubtedly perish very soon.> or somehow the shell falls off, <I
don't believe the shell would fall off of a healthy animal.... For
a snail to lose its shell, it would be at death's door, I would
think. The only time I've seen a shell-less snail, it was a land
snail, already dead, found in my pond. Really creeped me out, to be
honest.> can the snail survive? <I really, really don't think
so.> For how long? <Okay, let's say a perfectly healthy snail
wandered into a time warp or something and magically its shell
disappeared. Though the animal was perfectly healthy, it has now lost
all means of protection - from predation and its environment. If
it's a land snail, it has lost the ability to keep moist (a dry
snail is a dead snail). I do not believe it is feasible for the animal
to survive very long at all in this condition - if a land snail,
I'd think perhaps a few hours? A water snail, with no predators,
perhaps longer....> Thanks <You bet. May I ask what prompted this
question? I've really gotten curious, now ;) Wishing you well,
Mmmm, Escargot - II - 08/22/2004 Thanks so much for answering
my question. <Any time.> My boyfriend and I were outside one
night and we came across a slug. We began talking about it and snails.
<These are some of the neatest creatures, aren't they?!> We
made a small bet because he said that a snail could not survive without
a shell and I said that it could. I guess he wins! <Hope it
wasn't a significant dollar amount!> I am glad that I came
across your address because we had been researching for days and could
not get a solid answer. <I also recommend you check out http://www.applesnail.net
for some more good snail stuff.> Thanks Again!!! <Sure thing.
Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Lethargic Snails? - 11/01/2004 Do freshwater snails hibernate
or something similar? <Well, kinda, yeah. Their metabolism will slow
dramatically in extreme cold....> We have 2 apple, 2 rams horn and 2
cone shaped snails in our tank. Everyone was very active and moving
about the tank. Two days ago we noticed that everyone was just hanging
out in their shells and not moving. It has been two days and the only
movement has been the fish around them or the bubbles. <The
likeliest culprit here is poor water quality - what are your readings
for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH? Has pH changed recently? If
ammonia or nitrite are above zero, even by a tiny bit, that would cause
the snails to close up shop and hide; high nitrate may do the same
(nitrate should be less than 20ppm).> My husband says they are dead
and wants to get rid of them. <Pull one out of the tank - if it
smells like the devil himself has come for a visit, the snail is dead.
You will KNOW, immediately, if the snail smells dead.> I can't
figure out what would kill them all in one evening. <I'm not
confidant they're dead yet - check 'em and see. My best guess
is still water quality.> We did add 3 new fish, but we did not add
the water they came in. Any ideas? <Possible ammonia spike from the
new additions.... How many and what kind of fish in how large a tank?
Another possibility is that you might have a fish that is picking
on/harming the snails. Keep an eye out for this, and do get back to us
with a list of your livestock, and the readings on your water tests - I
hope we can nail this down for you, so you can fix it and not have the
problem again in the future!> Thank you... Snail less in Seattle
<Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
We've Got a Floater! 12/13/2004 Hi, <Hello.> I came
across your webpage, and I need some help. <And help we shall! I
hope.> I recently purchased two snails for my freshwater aquarium.
Both were doing fine for almost a week, now the one is upside down and
hasn't moved in over a day (I'm assuming its dead?) <I would
turn this feller over - there are some snail species that, once they
get flipped on their backs, can't turn themselves right-side-up.
Pull him out - if he's dead, he'll reek like an open grave,
you'll know instantly what I mean if he's dead. If he
doesn't reek, don't give him up for lost - put him back in,
right-side-up.> and the other is alive, but floating at the top of
the cage. Is it possible that the second one got air bubbles in its
shell? <Yes.> If this happens, how does it get the air out?
<It might not be able to - hold the snail underwater and turn him,
slooooowly, over and over in the direction that would let the air out
of his shell. Hopefully this'll clear any bubbles out. Usually they
can expel air themselves, but I've seen a few that needed help.>
Will it be ok? <I certainly hope so. Feel free to let us know if you
need further advice.> Thanks! ~Anne <And thank you for writing
in! Wishing you and your new mollusks well, -Sabrina>