snails are dying off

Discussion of animal decoration for your planted aquarium (fish, shrimp, snails, etc)

snails are dying off

Postby Jared » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:48 pm

I've had snails in my tank (I'm not really sure what kind) and they've kinda helped to keep things clean (no damage), but I got some ADA Amazonia substrate (and three new plants), and all of a sudden, their shells are turning white, and my snails are dying off like crazy.

I don't mind them, as I've said they were doing good, but they're croaking off. When I pick the empty shells out, they are fragile and partly dissolved.

Does anyone know if that's the new soil, some disease, or some parasite?

I always rinse off my plants, but it seems not well enough...

This is the best pictures I can get with my camera.
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Dead Snail
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good snail
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Plants are growing nicely
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Re: snails are dying off

Postby CherylR » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:45 am

My first thought was, "I wish my snails would die off." My second thought was calcium deficiency.

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Re: snails are dying off

Postby Jared » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:40 pm

they never seem to do any damage, and they help keep the tank clean (it is a bit annoying that there's alot of them) but as I've said, if they're not doing damage, I don't mind.

I'm just wondering what's killing them off... Nobody here has had any experience with something like this?
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Re: snails are dying off

Postby CherylR » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:04 am

Not enough calcium in the water will make your snail shells brittle like that.
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Re: snails are dying off

Postby Byron » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:34 am

If you have snail eating fish such as some loaches you could find the empty shells like this too. But as Cheryl said, lack of calcium is the most likely cause. What is the GH of your water?

I have near-zero GH in my tap water, and add sufficient hard minerals just for the plants. Malaysian Livebearing Snails will manage very well in soft water, and my acute bladder snails seem to just manage, though not in large numbers.

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Re: snails are dying off

Postby Jared » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:31 pm

None of this happened, until I got my substrate.

Our water here is liquid rock.

I don't have any snail eating fish, except for my S. Petracola (I understand they might/can eat snails), but he's been in the tank for years.

The only change I made is the power sand, and the amazonia soil. Nothing else. Maybe it softened the water some??
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Re: snails are dying off

Postby jtitus3 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:27 pm

I have some red rams horn, regular rams horn (looks like the pic you posted) malaysian trumpet and gilled snails in my 55 planted tank. I let them populate as they see fit and they do a great job of keeping stuff clean. I do however run into what you have pictured here. My estimation of what is happening in your tank is timing. Very often snails will all hatch out at the same time (egg layers) they will have a life cycle roughly equal to each other and there will be a big die off every now and then (never timed it). The addition of the substrates you mentioned seem to be purely coincidental. I know you said your water is like liquid rock but I think it wise to test your GH of your source water and aquarium water to get a specific idea of what you are dealing with, GH will tell you magnesium and calcium hardness - if it is low it would be a good idea to test specifically for calcium. A lack of calcium can make snails and lots of other invertebretes prone to other problems and can stop their reproductive cycle but rarely is it the cause of death. The shells are brittle bc they are decomposing and white bc of the same reason. Let us know what happens
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Re: snails are dying off

Postby jtitus3 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:35 pm

So I did a little more research and here is what I found:

the snail you have looks to be either Helisoma sp., Drepanotrema sp. or Biompholaria sp. In any case they are what is classified as a pulmonate snail. Pulmonate snails reproduce once and live on avg 1 yr (higher water temps = shorter life). They are often hermaphrodites but can copulate with other snails as well. They are suseptable to trematodes acting as a host to what will become a flatworm. The trematodes can do all sorts of nasty things to the snails that can result in death. These snails mostly feed on bacteria but can eat algae, and dead leaves. Only in a pinch will they consume live plant material. They require no less than 3mg/L of CaCO3 but up over 25 mg/L is very helpfull. Loaches are not the only molluscivores out there, many sunfish eat snails especially pumpkinseeds (lepomis gibbosus) and many fish will eat their eggs thus reducing your population over time. (Field Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, Thorp & Rodgers)

This may be a bit much for some rams horn snails but I thought it might ease your mind that your substrate probably was not the killer.
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