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FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Snail Disease/Health

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, Malaysian/Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails,

Not good...

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 was addressed.
<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 problems.
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 extract calcium.>
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 eternally grateful,
Thank you
<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:
Cheers, Neale.>
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. Cheers,

Baby Snail     3/5/16
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
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     3/4/16
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.
<Not yet>
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        10/28/15
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 eat.
<Need greenery>
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 something curable?
<.... the reading. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm
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
Hi crew,
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 shrimp.
<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 up.>
The ill snails are barely moving and producing mass amounts of slime when they do move.
<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 iodine right!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
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 confused.
<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!
<Welcome. Neale.>
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 buddies.
<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 gravel.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
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 time.>
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 spikes?
<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     7/28/15
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. Cheers, Neale.>

Apple Snails - small black specs in water     7/28/15
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       7/29/15
Hi again,
<Hello Danielle,>
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!?!     7/20/15
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 on?
<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?        1/7/15
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. Cuttlebone!!!>
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 your answer.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Apple Snails and holes in their shells?      1/8/15

Cuttlebone is a great idea! I'm going to get some for them today. Thanks again.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Tylomelania snails with leeches problem. – 09/9/13
Hello WWM crew!
<Hello George,>
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.
<Quite so.>
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 leeches.>
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.
<Welcome, Neale.> 
Re: Tylomelania snails with leeches problem (Bob?) <<Nothing further>>  – 09/9/13

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      6/16/13
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. Sincerely, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Snail foot concerns     6/17/13

Dear Neale,
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!
In appreciation,
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.> 

Snails, disease. Trouble in a small volume     5/22/13
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 parasites?
<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 search tool/s>
 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".... Weird.
Thanks! Ashlee
<Keep your hands out of their tank, wear rubber gloves; wash your hands w/ hot water and soap after handling... Bob Fenner>
Re: Snails

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
<Hi Heidi>
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 have;  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 ultimate question.>
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 like fish.
You can hit them with an anti-snail treatment without having to worry about 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 will 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 them
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 he
seemed to be squeezing himself out of the shell and then rapidly sucking it 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 leaf 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 I 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 sand inside the shell and moving about was the snail's way of trying to work it
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 was nothing awful.
<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 one blue.
<Population is pushing the limit of that tank.  Those guppies will reproduce.>
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:
http://www.applesnail.net/content/various/snail_disease.php >
- Phyllis
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.       9/26/12
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 snails.
<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.>
Thank you,
Nicole Duhamel
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.
<Probably algae.>
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.>
Thank you,
<Welcome and good luck.>
Nicole Duhamel
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.>
Thanks again,
Nicole Duhamel

Hello! Snail problems? 2/2/12
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 snail?
<Mmm, perhaps some aspect of water quality is mal-affecting the snail...
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?
Thanks, Maria
<Monitor water quality, execute regular (weekly) water changes. The Mystery Snail may be simply showing signs of normal behavior... Please do read here:
Bob Fenner>

Spotted Deterioration? <<RMF>> 1/16/12
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!
- Daisuke
<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. Cheers, Neale.>

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 away.
- Daisuke
<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 temp..
Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm>
Both have been doing great up until the last 2 days. My snail
<What type/species?>
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! Deb
<Please read here:
and the linked file above for the species you have. Bob Fenner>

dying Mystery snails 10/21/11
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 25Ã'ºC,
<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.
<All fine.>
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 likely.>
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 the tank
looking for his mate.
<I see.>
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.>
Many thanks,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: dying Mystery snails 10/27/11

Hi Neale,
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 scavengers.>
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 energy.
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.
<Too bad.>
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 reddish.
<Which may indicate some either fighting, irritation by something in the water, or incipient Mouth Fungus (or some other bacterial infection).>
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.
<I agree.>
We're just not seeing the surface signs of infection.
We've tested the water quality with two different kits, just to be sure.
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 appreciated.
<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.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

question about apple snail 7/15/11
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 others?
<Likely either a non-organic "scale" (chemical) of some sort or a mix of algae and other Protists. Read here:
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/MollusksFW.htm/AppleSnailsF.htm
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 originals.
It is heavily stocked with:
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Echinodorus (Rubin)
Microsorum (various types)
Hygrophila polysperma
Hygrophila corymbosa
Rotala macrandra
Cabomba furcata
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 populations.
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 system,
<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 minutes.
<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!
Thank you!
<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" "pet rock" etc��
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.
Bob Fenner>

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. Cheers, Neale.>

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 2/25/11
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 fine.
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.
Thank you,
<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 2/26/11
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 info :)
<Glad to help.>
Thank you,
<Wouldn't worry too much about this chap. Cheers, Neale.>

My Snail Lost A Layer Of It's Foot, using WWM 2/14/11
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 concerned about?
<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 it's tank.
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 rocks.
He is still in side his shell.
Could he be dead?
<Could be>
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 fish poop.
<Oh, that isn't always enough.>
I clean the bowl every other week. The guppy seems to be doing fine.
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:
Sara M/L>

hello I have an apple snail that got part of his foot missing. 1/6/2010
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.
Cheers, Neale.>

Seriously sick gold mystery snail 12/7/09
Hey there.
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 wild mosquitofish.
<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 Chihuahua.>
I have had my snails for about 6 months now and they have been doing very well.
<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 his shell.
<They cannot do this voluntarily; if the body is "loose", it's dying.>
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 these animals.>
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 couple of days�� 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 each day!>
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 cycling time.>
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.
<Cheers, Neale.>

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 quarantine tank.
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 thanks, Tamara
<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: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnailfdgfaqs.htm
and do take solace from reading the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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: 5/21/2009
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm >
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 the
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 carbonate?
<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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm >

FW Snail Disease\Health: Snail Shell Deteriorating.4/13/2009
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 excessively soft.
You can read more about this subject here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnaildisfaqs.htm >
<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 problems.>

Re: Snail Disease\Health: Snail Shell Deteriorating.4/13/2009
That helped I think I need the calcium carbonate, at least for the shell deterioration.
<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 3/27/2009
Good morning,
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 �� 09/08/08
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?
<Mmmm, yes...>
Is it safe to put the snail back in a tank with fish, assuming we can treat it?
<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, Neale.>

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 kin. RMF>>

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. Bob Fenner>

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 much, Jen
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: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm> 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. <<I��ve never used a vacation feeder but, since plaster is largely composed of calcium sulfate, perhaps yours wasn��t so ��terrible�� after all or, at the least, your snail knows something we don��t. :) >> 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 Kanamycin.-Chuck>

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>

Apple 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 read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm 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>

Snail question........ 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 Fenner>

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 Fenner>

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 ammonia levels.-Chuck>

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 Fenner>

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 Fenner>

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 snail healthy? <He��s 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. Ronni>

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, -Sabrina>

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, -Sabrina>

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, -Sabrina>

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, -Sabrina>

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>

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