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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Pet
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Experience:  2003 Graduate
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I have snail (and fish) questions. There are no Aquatic Vets

Customer Question

Hi, I have snail (and fish) questions. There are no Aquatic Vets in the list of choices here so I'm hoping for maybe some references or perhaps a Vet who does it all. ATMOSPHERE: _________ 22 gallons TALL heated 78 degrees tropical GH: 0 KH: 40 PH : 6.5
NO2: 0 NO3: 0 HOB Filter with charcoal sock, filter wading, bio ceramic rings LIVE PLANTS: __________ Amazon Sword Anubias Nana Permanent Residents: ___________ 4 Nerite Snails 2 Mystery Snails 1 Trumpet Snail 3 Male Guppies 14 Neon Tetras I just bought a
cuttlebone to support the strength of my snail's shells. I understand the "bone" minerals will dissolve slowly into water ( the tank's atmosphere) over time and become a natural, adequate source of calcium for the Snails... But what of the Gups and Tets /
Are they going to be okay with that? Should I break off a small bit of bone and leave it for weeks and months? Should I submerge the whole thing and use it as an application to the water for only hours and days? Should I be scraping powdery layers off and
adding it in with feedings? Thanks to anyone here who can answer there questions.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 1 year ago.

​Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with aquatics and invertebrates.

First, are there problems with the snails? Do they seem to have issues with shell or integument?

If they will eat vegetation, one of the best sources of bioavailable calcium are fresh, clean, dark green leafy vegetables. You can rig up a safe plastic feeder to hold the leaves and remove it after several hours. The animals will learn when feeding time is and you will be able to control any waste or excess material without damaging the chemical balance in the water. The fish may also feed on these greens.

Adding anything to a balanced tank has risks. You can change the hardness with cuttlefish/bone in the water and these sources are not readily bioavailable anyway. fresh leaves can be removed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** *****(some relative history)
I have a Cold Water 55 tank of 3 small goldfish who enjoy a myriad of fresh vegetables, blood worms, and flakes. I hang the veggies by a suction clip and that works great, but I've been leery of feeding the snails this way - with these foods - because I keep reading how sensitive Neon Tetras are; I feel like if I even look at the Tetras crossed-eyed, they may all go into tiny comas. (lol)(regarding feedings and poo removal)
I feed everyone their consumable measures twice a day. I do a quick precision vacuuming of both tanks every other day. The bottoms are sparsely covered in natural, medium sized stones so I can keep a good eye on how much debris builds up and where.So far, with having added the Cuttlebone, the water labs haven't shown a shift in the Tropical Tank... then again, I've been doing 10% water changes every other day due to weird snail activity and spot vacuuming - plus the cuttlebone's only been in there only 4 - 5 days now, held down by a resident rock.
Back to the Mystery Snails.
We lost one the other night. He'd been very active and even more so this past week, running around all parts of the tank - sometimes eating, sometimes not. However, the night before he died, he climbed to the top of the tank and went out clinging onto a limb of floating plants. I came back later to find him floating upside down near the spot he was clinging to. I removed him and put him a separate little bowl of the tank water and waited hours for him to retract, or come out or do anything. I smelled nothing strange, and the bit of snail flesh that protruded seemed normal. Touching his door got no reaction. My husband concluded the snail had passed and I had no evidence that he didn't.
His shell DID changed since bringing him home. It was bright and in tact with no visible damage. By his time of death, the shell appeared to be thin and shaled around the edged - like brittle layers of fingernail.
(that's what led me to get natural calcium in the water)
As for his lack of movement, I understand these snails "go dormant" but I thought that was only once put into much colder water for a season.THE OTHER MYSTERY SNAIL
has the same fragile appearance developing, but he's been acting strange since day one with laying on his back in the same spot for days, finding a mid level spot on the wall and returning to the bottom upside down. I continue to "right" him but I come back and he's upside down again - though never floating. Today one of the Nerites snuggled up next to him for a few hours then backed away but not very far. The rest of the Nerites look vibrant, stay active and seemingly have no issues. One Nerite has even taken a good long sit upon the Cuttlebone. Plenty of algae and flakes for everyone.On a side note, I pay very close attention to the snails as they seem to be the first to react to any slight shift in water parameters.
They all head north above the waterline and stay there until things change. The Tropical Tank has been stable for quite a while so the "northern snail" behavior is currently a thing of the past .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr. Pat. This keeps appearing in my mail box without an answer attached. I don't know how to view your second answer or rate you without doing so.