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FAQs about Pest Marine Snails Identification and Removal 2

Related Articles: Gastropods, Sea Slugs, Mollusks, Abalone,

Related FAQs: Pest Snails (Pyramidellids, Heliacus, Murex...) Identification and Removal 1, Pest Snails 3, Pest Snails 4, Snail Compatibility 1, Marine Snail Compatibility 2, Marine Snail Compatibility 3, & Marine Snails 1, Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail Behavior, Snail Selection, Snail Systems, Snail Feeding, Snail Disease, Snail Reproduction, Mollusks, Sea Slugs, Abalone, Marine Algae Eaters,


Tiger sand conch trapped in maxima clam     7/16/13
Hi Wet Web Media Crew, my problem is simple, though the solution may not be. I have a small Tiger Sand Conch that managed to fall into a Maxima Clam. The clam cannot close and the snail cannot escape. My attempts to free the snail predictably cause the clam to squeeze down and push the snail in deeper. Any suggestions. VR, Doug C.
Sent from my iPad
<Tilt the clam at about a 45 degree angle w/ the excurrent siphon at the lower-est point... Leave all else alone. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tiger sand conch trapped in maxima clam      7/16/13

Thanks for the rapid reply. I was all set to put your plan into action but it seems the snail was merely waiting for the lights to go out to makes its move. Within minutes of the lights going off it flipped around, wedged the broad end of its shell against the clam lip and launched itself free! Vr,
Doug C.
<Ah good! Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Help with clam gaping    6/14/13
> I'm hoping someone can help me with my maxima clam. I purchased it from Pacific East Aquaculture on May 18 at a frag swap. It looked like it was doing great for over the first three weeks - mantle extended, responsive when the fish moved over it, new shell growth, intake siphon in a normal shape, etc.>
> This past Tuesday evening, I noticed the clam was holding its intake siphon open more than usual. I did some research and saw this could be due to stress.
<... more likely... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_4/clams.html
and the linked files at the bottom>
No corals are near the clam and my water parameters were in line, but the clam had moved a bit and it looked like the mantle was being moved by the powerheads. I moved the clam slightly back away from the flow on Wednesday morning and made sure it was sitting on a flat rock. Here's the picture after I moved the clam. It seemed happy the rest of the day, but Wednesday night, the intake siphon was open more than usual again.
> On Thursday morning, I decided maybe the clam needed a little more light, so I increased the intensity of my EcoTech Radion LEDs from 70% to 75%. I run the Radions from 10am to 11pm in the natural mode. The clam has been placed directly below one of the pucks of the since I brought it home. I also added 1 tsp of reef buffer and 1 capful of AquaVitro calcification to bring up alkalinity and calcium slightly because they were 8.0 and 410, respectively, when I tested Wednesday night (my tank is 125 gallons)
Magnesium was 1320 and specific gravity was 1.025. I use a chiller, so my temp is always between 77.5 and 79 degrees. The clam looked happy yesterday during the day, but in the evening, the intake siphon was held open again, as you can see in this picture below.
> When I woke up this morning, the clam looked like this.
Once the lights turned on, the clam started to look a little better. Here are some pictures from about an hour ago. I also included some wider shots so you can see the placement in my tank.
I tested my water this morning with these results:
Temp: 78
SG: 1.025
pH: (in am) 8.17 (apex probe)
Ammonia: 0 (API)
Nitrite: 0 (API)
Nitrate: 8 (Salifert)
Phosphate: 0.5 (API)
Alk: 8.3 (Salifert)
Calcium: 405 (Salifert)
Magnesium: 1350 (Salifert)
<These are all fine>
Any ideas what may be wrong with my clam and what I should do to help it?
Thanks for any advice.
<Can only guess... perhaps an animal inside the system, maybe in the clam itself bothering it... I'd dose (3X) iodide-ate and be observant. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help with clam gaping    6/14/13
Thanks for the advice, Bob. I will read all of the information you attached. For the iodide/ate, do you mean I should do one dose three separate times (like one dose each of the next three days) or 3 times a normal dose all at once.
<Either will be fine. I'd do all at once now.>
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Help with clam gaping    6/14/13

Thanks for the quick response, Bob. I'll let you know how my clam does.
<Thank you>
Have a nice weekend,
<And you, BobF>
Fwd: Help with clam gaping    6/15/13

Hi Bob, I dosed the iodide and I was observing the clam. I found two small snails crawling along the clam's shell.
<Ahh! The predators I alluded to earlier perhaps>
 I took them off and got rid of them. They didn't appear to be the pyramid snails.
<Oh, there are other species>
I was reading the information you sent on pinched mantle, too. Do you think I should freshwater dip the clam or just continue to observe?
<For me, the latter>
Also, the clam definitely seems to do better when the lights are on. Now that they are dimming for the night, the clam is looking worse. Do you think I should keep the lights on that side of my tank on all night tonight?
<Worth trying; though I wouldn't leave on full intensity 24/7>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Parasite snails    8/15/12
I have some small snails hanging out on my turbo snails, I'm positive they are a parasite of some sort.
<Yep, Pyramidellids.>
I only have two Turbos, both of them have 5-6 of these little snails hanging out on them at all times.
<Likely many more. They retreat into the sandbed after they have had there fill. The Pyramids are also feeding on your Collonistas, Limpets, and other gastropod hitch-hikers.>>
 I've had the Turbos themselves about 6 months, they have been surviving just fine with the parasites. My concern is if they will eventually kill the turbo?
<Pyramid snails reproduce rapidly; the damage inflicted will rise as the population increases.>
 It doesn't seem to be what would happen based off how well they are doing over the last half year, but I suppose it could happen.
<It can.>
 My other concern is I eventually want to have a T. squamosa or deresa, and I've heard about little parasite snails on clams being a huge nuisance and eventually fatal to the clam. If these snails can parasitize (that a word?)
more than one species, then I'm worried.
<There are thousands of species of Pyramidellids. Some attack other snails, some only eat clams, and some are not so picky moving from one to the other.>
 But if they are obligate turbo snail parasites, then I'm not so concerned.
<I would manually remove them as I see them. There are quite a few wrasse that will eat them. Thalamita sima will prey on Pyramids but finding a properly identified one for sale may prove difficult.
Thanks for all the help! You guys are great.
<Quite welcome.>

Re: Parasite snails 8/15/12 - 8/17/12
Thanks for the quick reply.
I always see these Pyramidellids hanging out on the shell of the turbo, not actually on the flesh. How are they feeding?
<They have a long proboscis which is used to suck out fluids.>
 Do they stick out a long tongue similar to a butterfly and feast off the flesh or are they boring small holes through the shell and feeding in that manner?
<Penetration is near the foot but the snail will be attached to the shell.>
 I was looking today from the moment the lights turned on until now, which has been about 4 hours, and I never saw a single snail on the actual flesh/meat of the turbo. I assume they must be sticking out a long tongue that is just too small for my eyes to see, or else when I'm seeing them they aren't feeding but are just hanging around for a free ride on their food source.
<Actually seeing one eat may be quite difficult, if not impossible. Try watching after lights out with a red light.>

snail hitchhikers (WITH PICS) 5/1/11
I just bought two pieces of soft coral and when I put them in my tank (bobbing around the top in plastic bags) I noticed a very large amount of small snails in the bag with the mushroom polyps, perhaps 20 snails.
I carefully inspected the second bag (containing starburst polyps) in a large glass bowl and found 2-3 snails. I picked the snails off the starburst polyp and introduced it into the aquarium. I'm afraid to open the mushrooms bag because of the sheer amount of POSSIBLY dangerous snails (I could easily miss one). I know they're not pyramid snails and they don't look like the Sundial snail pictures on WWM. I searched all over and didn't see any similar snails. The fish store said they have seen them before but didn't know much about them and didn't think they were a pest.
<I find this hard to believe>
If so many were in with the mushroom coral it made me think they were "mushroom predators" maybe?
<See the Net re Heliacus snails period>
It also had a little anemone on the back of the rock which he said wasn't Aiptasia after I found it at home. Since he didn't know about the snails maybe he didn't know good Aiptasia identification?
<Not Aiptasia; see WWM re Actinarian ID>
I'm attaching three photos to
possibly help.
Thank you,
<I'd be physically removing these snails, looking into other control means... perhaps a Labrid... Bob Fenner>

Predatory Snail Problem -- 1/30/11
<Hi there, Lynn here today.>
I am having a problem with some predatory snails in my marine tank.
There are two types: one looks like a dove snail, but when it gets near to a dove snail it chases it. When it is close it looks to stab it causing it to fall off the tank glass. It seems to have recovered but I'm finding a lot of empty dove snail shells.
<There are a number of possibilities as to the culprit, but it sounds like some sort of predatory Whelk or possibly a Murex. In order to narrow things further, I'd need a couple of photos and a bit more information (where the snail originated, size, along with any other observations not visible in the photos). If possible, when taking the photos, try to get two shots from above, each showing the length of the shell (at least one showing the side with the opening). This is a whole lot easier to do if you can remove the snail to a bowl of SW. If you're unable to do this, just do the best you can with a photo or two of the snail while it's still in the tank.>
The second is white in colour and hides in the gravel. It is larger, about 1" long, and I have only ever seen it eating mussel meat and a fish I lost after being stung by one of my anemones. Is this likely to be predatory or just a scavenger?
<It could be both. Again, there are numerous possibilities. You could have a scavenging Nassariid (family Nassariidae -- includes Nassarius spp. as well as the often light-colored Bullia spp.), some sort of Olive snail (family Olividae), or something else entirely. If possible, please do send along some photos and a bit more information. Hopefully the combination will enable me to give you a better idea as to what you're dealing with. By the way, if you're unable to send photos, and decide to leave the snail in place, be sure to keep it well fed with meaty bits of marine origin such as fish, clam, shrimp, squid, etc., and keep an eye out for signs of predation.>
Is there a way I can remove the snails that are feeding on the dove snails?
<I'd opt for physical removal on sight. I'd also recommend periodic checks at night after the lights have been out for a bit.>
Thanks in advance
<You're very welcome.>
A Reid
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Please Help/Tridacna Clam Health/Predators 3/18/10
You could not get rid of me for long,,, maybe a new thread.
<Hello Craig, and yes this will be a new thread.>
This morning I noticed two pyramid snails on my squamosa. I have a sad face right now. After removing the clam I found about 10 more underneath. Now I have a really sad face. Scrubbed all of them off and returned. After inspection of the disgaured <discarded> water I could also see three of what I could only describe as a really small round flat clear worm, about the size of a pencil lead?????
<No idea here without a pic. Bob and/or crew may input here.>
Any way back to the devil snails, I am in trouble aren't I?
<Not yet.>
I also have a big derasa about 5" or so and could not find any on him, he is attached to a old clam shell so I don't know if this helps these snails from getting underneath. Both clams are on substrate.
<Are you sure these are Pyramid Snails? Pyramid Snails are generally white in color, have a slender shell that tapers to a point, and do not grow larger than a few millimeters. The Pyramid Snails use their long proboscis, which is a tube-like mouth, to puncture the mantle of a Tridacna Clam in order to feed upon the fluids and zooxanthellae cells. A few of these snails will typically not pose a threat to a healthy Tridacna Clam. If not controlled/eliminated, the snails can reproduce every 90-120 days, and if left to multiply, can cause serious harm or even death to the clam in a very short period of time.
If the infected clam has poor expansion and loss of color within the mantle, it may be too late to help it. Pyramid Snails feed mostly during the nighttime hours, and during the daytime, they will remain either at the base of the clam, or on the folds of the shell where they are difficult to spot. It is best to inspect with a flashlight a few hours after the lights have turned off on your aquarium. The snails will line up at the top of the shell just below the clam's mantle.
As you mentioned, it is best to remove the clam to a separate container of aquarium water where you can physically remove the adult snails, and brush the entire shell with a new toothbrush in order to remove any eggs.
I would do this weekly until no sign of the snails exist.
I will add that natural predators of Pyramid snails include several species of wrasse within the genus of Halichoeres and Pseudocheilinus. A few of the more popular species that are reportedly very efficient at controlling these snails are the Six and Eight Lined Wrasse (P. hexataenia and P. octotaenia), and the Green Wrasse (H. chloropterus). Hoping this helps remove your sad face. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Tridacna Clam Health/Predators 3/18/10-3/19/10
Thanks again, after getting home about 7 est the Squamosa, believe it or not is the fullest and most beautiful I think I have ever seen. I do not know if this is because he may had been bothered for some time by these pests? and now there gone he is happy again? I do believe they are pyramid snails by pics and also where I first spotted the 2-3 up by it's mantle.
I forgot to tell you that I lost a maxima 2-3" about a week ago, but for some reason he never really seemed happy in my tank, so I did not check to see if it was a snail problem, and forgot to mention it. Have these guys always been in my tank?
<Likely came in with one of the clams.>
I have had the maxima, now dead about 3-4 months, the derasa about the same and squamosa around 2.Also when I cleaned squamy I notice a slimy layer of ??? which after doing some research sounded like what their egg masses are like. Do they only lay eggs on host?
I have never seen them on the clam after 1-2 hours of lights being off only this morning about 3 hours before lights are to come on, and two days ago my led moon light went out so now tank is in complete darkness, could this excel the problem? Meaning they did not come out of hiding because of the moon lights being on at night.
<Unlikely, there are full moons over the reefs.>
As far as the six line, I have a mc coskers <McCosker's> now are they compatible?
<Compatible with whom, or do you mean will the McCosker's Wrasse eat the snails? If so, I haven't heard any reports of this wrasse eating pyramid snails.>
and I read they may not get rid of them because of their sleeping habits at night time when the snails attack.
<The snails can/will also burrow into the sand bed near the clam and is where the wrasses will find them.>
Are clams their only food source?
<Likely so, but not 100% positive. Bob or another crew member may input here.>
Meaning in worst case if all clams die, I would just have to wait out their reproduction cycle to introduce clams again?
<If your clams are healthy now, there is no reason they should die from pyramid snails as long as you remove the snails and scrub off egg sacs as you have been doing. Eventually, you
should eradicate them completely and I would suggest getting a Six Line Wrasse to help you out.>
As far as the worms, To <too> small to take a pic, after a close look, looked like a round clear stingray no tail, instead of two eyes looked like a brown dot. One more why don't they go after my nice juicy derasa? Is the shell he is attached to help in any way?
<Possibly, depending on the clams location. Most folks that have Pyramid Snail outbreaks will temporarily place their clams on live rock once they are cleaned of the snails and eggs to prevent re-infection. Pyramid Snails do not generally leave the sand bed for higher ground other than feeding on a Tridacna.>
thank you, I will talk to you soon, have a great eveing <evening>. I am off to kill these little ba%%((e((reds.
<That's the spirit, and can I please ask you to run future queries through a spell checker? Will save me much time if I do not have to edit/correct before posting on the dailies.
Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Tridacna Clam Health/Predators 3/18/10-3/19/10
As far as the wrasse question, I mean will the two of them get along, Six Line and mc coskers
<McCosker's, and here we go again, no caps where needed, no spaces between sentences, etc.>
I hear the Six Line is not so nice.
<As long as there are plenty of security zones (live rock), and the Six Line is well fed, there should be few problems.>
Also can the snails eat the clam from underneath, or do they just hide there.
<We have been through that in the first thread. A clam's mantle is the dorsal body wall which covers the visceral mass and usually protrudes in the form of flaps, and this is the area where the snail attacks the clam.>
I promise I will have my wife help me with my questions to you as well as the spell check thingy.
<Geez, I wouldn't think you would need your wife to press the space and cap keys. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Please Help/Tridacna Clam Health/Predators 3/18/10-3/19/10-3/22/10
I am sorry, since my accident, I need help with a lot of things.
<Sorry to hear this, Craig. James (Salty Dog)>

Snail ID: Predatory/Scavenging Whelk -- 2/12/10
<Hello Mike, Lynn here this evening.>
I searched through all the snail ID posts but couldn't find anything that I thought to be an exact match. I would like an ID of this hitchhiker snail I acquired yesterday.
<It's a Whelk, family: Buccinidae Pisaniinae.>
I'm going to assume it's not a welcomed snail as I came home to find it attached to one of my Astraea snails. I quickly separated them and quarantined the hitchhiker.
Here is a picture.
<From what I can see, your little snail looks very much like a predatory Whelk known as Gemophos tinctus, aka the Tinted or Painted Cantharus. Information can also be found on the 'net/elsewhere under several obsolete names, including Pollia tincta and Cantharus tinctus. These snails prey mostly on fellow Gastropods and Bivalves, but also scavenge and can get up to about 1.25' in length. You did the right thing in getting that little guy out of there! For more information/photos for comparison, please see the following links:
http://www.gastropods.com/8/Shell_3228.shtml >
I would be glad to send more photos if needed for proper ID.
<Thanks. If what you have doesn't seem to be Gemophos tinctus, and you'd like to pursue an ID, please send along a photo (or several) showing the other side of the snail, as well as location of origin (if known). If the snail hitchhiked on rock, etc., from around Florida or the Gulf of Mexico, chances are good that it's G. tinctus. It's a very common species. I've gotten at least several with every live rock order I've placed from Florida. Here's a photo of the last one I received: http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/gallery/viewpic.php?pic_id=391 .
All in all, they're beautiful little snails, but unfortunately not so great in a mixed reef system.>
Thank you!
<You're very welcome!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Snail ID? - Good Picture for Archive? 1/17/10
Thought this would be a good picture for the snail identification section. I wasn't sure what it was myself... I looked through the Marine Snail ID section, but saw no picture like it. It was a pretty striking pattern - appears to be a hitchhiker from within the Zoanthids. It is about ½" to ¾" across.
Any ideas on what type it is?
<Mmm, yes. Appears to be a Heliacus species... I'd be reading re. Bob Fenner>
Jon Hoover

Re: Snail ID? - Good Picture for Archive? 1/17/10
Hmmm... Upon review, it does have the cone shaped operculum which is apparently a distinguishing characteristic of the Heliacus sp. It's an interesting looking snail, but I like my Zoanthids more than I like it.
<Welcome Jon. BobF>

Dog whelks/Control 10/7/09
<Hi Linda>
Is there a way to get rid of clam killing Dog whelks in my 185 gallon reef tank?
<Can you not remove by hand and dispose of or find homes for?>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Dog whelks/Control 10/7/09
They are predators, they eat snails, tubeworms and clams by liquefying them and sucking them out, why would anyone want them?
<I'm well aware of that, Linda, was my first thought, physical removal, and what you do with them after that is your call.>
They only come out in the dark and it is a tall 185 full of rock reef tank....I've been picking out the ones I can reach or see for over a year....
<"Over a year" is leading me to believe these snails/whelks are both predator/scavenger gastropods, unless you've been feeding them a steady diet of clams, snails, etc., they should have starved to death if they were strictly specialized feeders of snails, mussels, etc.>
I can't even reach the bottom of my tank...I'm small.
<I've also asked Lynn Z, our in-house gastropod expert for her input. See below.
Lynn, I did not send a reply yet, but my best suggestion, without using copper, would be to remove all possible food sources from the tank and starve them to death and letting a crew of hermit crabs clean up.>
<<That would have been my thought too'¦ if you can't remove the offending snail eater, then remove the food source and starve them out. When they get hungry enough, they'll start wandering about looking for food and at that time, grab them! I wouldn't want to treat the whole tank with something like copper just to get rid of a few snail eaters. >>
<Much in agreement with you, Lynn.>
<<Also, we don't even know what else is in her tank. To me, the obvious answer is what you already said, physical removal.
You know what I'd do since she can't reach them? I'd recommend getting a pair of aqua tongs and removing them physically. It's the easiest, least invasive way to go. If they're only out at night, wait until the lights are off for a bit, then go hunting with a flashlight and pick the little suckers out. I'm just wondering if those snails are really what she thinks? I mean, if they've been in there for over a year, has she been keeping them stocked with snails to eat? >>
<Was my thought also, Lynn.>
<<They may easily be scavengers as well as predators, which if that's the case, she might be able to lure them out onto the sand where it would be easier to pick them up. I'd wait until after the lights are off then put a couple of pieces of shrimp, fish, etc., in an open area of sand and see what happens. As for grabbing them once they come out, here are the two tongs I use. I especially like the smaller pair. I wouldn't trust them for heavy stuff, but depending on the size of the snails she needs to pick up, one of these should do.
http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/28inchaquatongsbycoralife.aspx >>
<Thank you for your input, Lynn. Much appreciated as always. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Dog whelks/Control 10/8/09
First, I want to thank you <and Lynn> for all your time and thought you've put into this!
<You're welcome Linda.>
I have researched them quite a lot and can verify they are dog whelks. I must have had them for years before I finally realized....always wondered why I kept having snails die and why I couldn't keep clams. I don't see tiny ones any more so I am making a huge dent in the population. They are easier to grab when they reach about 1/2 inch. They do seem to scavenge, as I have found little ones in my sump also, but give them a clam and they are happy as one! First, I tried to lure them with grocery store clams. They were too clever for me, they'd wait a few days till I was tired of watching for them and then......
<Nothing worse than a sneaky whelk.>
My tank is full of about 200lbs of live rock, invertebrates, and corals, so copper is not an option.
<And one I would not recommend.>
I agree baiting them is the answer....I was thinking of putting the bait in a jar for them to crawl into then retrieve the jar before they crawl out but I think it probably needs to be another grocery store clam in a shell or other shrimps, etc will be feasting.
<Yes, may beat them to the punch.>
Too bad there is no predator for them, but that could open a whole new can of worms.
<I'm sure there are, likely gulls, crabs, other whelks.>
Thanks again for all your thoughts and help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Snail Deaths/Gastropod Predators? 9/29/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hi Victoria>
I have been reading the site for about two years and have asked a few questions myself. I can't thank you enough.
<You're welcome.>
Here's the story. I upgraded my pump to an Eheim 1265 three weeks ago.
Thank you, Salty Dog for the advice. I am happy with the increased flow.
At the time of the pump switch out, I discovered a rusty steel clamp on my old pump that shed a lot of rust into the sump return section as I removed it, and cussed. I replaced all the water from this part of the sump and thought every thing would be fine.
<Ah, water is like air, if an odor is in one room, will soon get to others.>
(The short version of that story is that my husband was being helpful with an aquarium emergency, and replaced my blown return lines while I was at work. Bless his heart.) I also added 5 Nerite snails that day. Since that time, 4 of 5 turbo snails have died. They became inactive, and one by one I am finding the empty shells (I have assumed the hermits cleaned the shells out). The Nerites have disappeared, and discovered a dead limpet in the refugium also. At the first sign of problems with the snails I checked my water parameters, found nothing out of whack. Remembering the rusty clamp, I placed Polyfilter in the sump and replaced the carbon/Phosban. I have read everything I could find on your site regarding snails, and still I'm just not sure. I must also add that one of the snails I added sure does look a lot like a snail that Bob identified as a predator. But to me a lot of snails look a lot alike.
<Yes, can be difficult at times to correctly ID.>
Tank info as follows: 2 years old, 90 gallon with corner overflow, 125 lbs. live rock, two inch sand bed, 240w PC lights, 30 gallon three section sump with refugium in center, on reverse photoperiod, miracle mud, and Chaeto, T 78, SG 1.025, phos 0, nitrate 0, KH 9, pH 8.0 I use the API reef master test kit. Livestock: one A. xanthurus, two A. ocellaris, three C. viridis, two BTA, toadstool corals, mushrooms, green polyps, Ricordeas. Thriving pod population in tank and fuge. My main question is could the snails have suffered from the rust, while everything else looks no different, or is something else going on. The tank is definitely suffering the loss of snails, as the algae has grown notably.
<Is a good chance that snail you mentioned may very well be a predator of gastropods. A picture of it would help us identify it for you. If something were amiss with your water quality causing snail deaths, other
invertebrates would be at risk also, and you report no problems in that regard. This leads me to believe that you may have a predator in your tank. I would move this "predator" snail into the refugium, replace the
dead snails, and see if the problem continues.>
Thank you for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Follow-up: Re Snail Removed From Main Tank, add to Nassariid f' - 10/7/09
Dear WWM Crew and Lynn,
<<Hi Victoria, Lynn here with a follow-up.>>
I have a some more information for Lynn.
<Will pass on to her.>
<<Got it, thanks!>>
Snails have continued to die. After removing the killer snail, I placed 5 new snails in the tank, and only one lived. The next day I witnessed Nassarius come out of the sand like zombies to eat the snails added.
<Eating the live snails, or were they dead?>
<<Yep, I'm wondering the same thing. By the way, what kind of Nassarius snails do you have? Are they the small Nassarius vibex (up to ~1/2' in length), or do you have one of the larger varieties, for example what's called a 'Super Tongan' Nassarius (up to ~1')? Also, what kind of snails did you add? >>
Mind you I have not seen this happen before, with the previous deaths, and actually have not seen these Nassarius snails in 6 months.
<They do like burrowing in the sand.>
<<Yes they do!>>
These new snails were sent home
<<I'm guessing from a LFS?>>
...in a dry bag, not carefully acclimated. I was very surprised at the dry bag.
<<Hmmm, not great but if whatever type of snail you bought has an operculum (and the snails were tightly closed), not exposed to any huge temperature swings (getting left in a hot car, for instance), and it was a short trip home, then that shouldn't have been a death sentence.>>
I have never had snails sent home like this,
<<I've heard of it, but never gotten them that way either. It's definitely not the way I'd personally want to see them packed.>>
...and just floated the bag a while, added some water, set them in the tank and hoped for the best. Few days later I bought two turbo snails from LFS, carefully acclimated them.
<<Okay. Was there a significant difference in the specific gravity/salinity of the water from the LFS and yours?>>
I observed them to be active during acclimation and when introduced to the tank. Days later found one laying on side, closed up.
<<Do you have enough food to sustain Turbos? They're big eaters and need a good amount to survive. You can always supplement with Nori/seaweed sheets attached to either a veggie clip or rubber-banded to a rock. If your water parameters were all in the green, it's possible that the snails succumbed to too much combined stress. That is, stress/issues related to handling/conditions/transit/possible lack of food, along with an additional acclimation into your system.>>
The other shell, cleaned out.
<<Sounds like scavengers got to it. There are a host of possibilities: hermits, Nassarius snails, bristleworms, etc.. All could have descended on the dead/dying snail during the night.>>
The shells are found all over, near where I saw them inactive.
<<Gotcha, and you've not mentioned any clicking sounds so I think we can rule out a smashing mantis.>>
I do have hermits, maybe 6 tiny things, 3 slightly bigger than tiny.
<<Tiny or not, these guys are effective scavengers and sometimes snail killers. This is especially true if they're hungry or need a larger shell and don't have any available. I've also seen them appear to gang-up on snails. I don't think it's necessarily a pack mentality as much as it's a fight for food.>>
None in the newly dead snail's shells.
<<Gotcha, so we can rule out hermit looking for larger mobile home!>>
(My original snail deaths were 4 turbo snails in the tank for 2 years)
<<May have run out of readily available food?>>
At this time I placed two of the remaining snails in the refugium as an experiment. I am hoping to discover water quality issue vs.. predator. Perhaps these snails are too far gone.
<<It's possible, as mentioned above.>>
I will just have to wait and see. I may go get a new snail soon and place it in the fuge also. Any advice would be appreciated.
<I think you are on the right track with the experiment. Time will tell here, and do keep us informed of your findings.>
<<Yes, please do! I'm inclined to think that what's going on here is either the new snails you've gotten were already compromised when you brought them home, or else it's environmental (or both). I'd be curious to know what your water parameters are. Also, just out of curiosity, do you dose for magnesium? Also, how are the other tank inhabitants doing? Is there anything out of the ordinary going on?>>
Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it.
<You're welcome, and will forward this to Lynn who has helped so much in this matter. James (Salty Dog)>
<<Shoot James, you've already done all the heavy lifting! All I'm doing is the sweeping up!>>
<<Take care, LynnZ>>

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