Bekah's Snail Trails
I first became fascinated with rabbit snails about a year ago, when i found my first one at a local pet and garden center. She was sitting in a group of ghost shrimp, just doing her thing. Funny yellow face, long brown shell, I just had to have her, not even knowing a single thing about rabbit snails. I brought her home and I put her in a 3 gallon kritter keeper with a betta, who proceeded to nibble at her antennae and then forget about her. After that they coexisted pretty peacefully. I did some research, and learned they were amazing little critters from Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. They reproduced sexually, laid one egg at a time. Perfect for someone who didn't want dozens of snails. I didn't expect to have any babies at all, since I only had the one snail. One day I found a tiny baby roaming around the kritter keeper. Then I found out that snails can retain the genetic material. Sure enough, i continued to find more and more baby rabbit snails, after i put my adult female in my 29 gallon tank.
That was in March of 2012. Sadly i lost my original female around a week ago. I had a few babies from her left, but I wanted more. My LPS never seemed to have gotten any in since that one group i found there.
Last weekend i decided "to heck with it" and bought a group of rabbit snails on ebay that included 3 yellow rabbit snails and 3 white spot rabbit snails. They arrived yesterday! Before work, I did a water change on the 29 gallon tank. I was at work when they were delivered, so as soon as i came home i started to acclimate them. When i opened the bag there were 3 yellows, 4 adult white spots, a baby white spot, and a random (but appreciated) nerite snail. They were in the tank by 9pm.
Today I counted (including the first baby) five white spot babies. Now, since rabbit snails usually only have one baby at a time, I'm assuming the four adult white spots are female, but occasionally they can have a couple babies, so I'm not sure. I don't know how to sex them, which is why i ordered the groups (for breeding hopefully).
The yellows haven't had any babies that I've seen, though they are smaller than the female that I recently lost. They could be too young to reproduce. I haven't read anything specific about breeding age, but i believe that it takes a year or two before they're old enough to breed.
I'm going to try and measure the group, but i believe the largest is around 3 inches, an the smallest (not including the babies) are around an inch and a half. Babies are around a centimeter long. My baby from my original female has taken around a year to reach 1 inch in length.
I'll continue to update this log with specifics, water params, feedings, and dates i spot new babies :)
Oh, and pictures too...when I get some that aren't blurry!!
I can't wait to read about your saga with these adorable little guys!! We demand pictures!! :p
I thought I'd mention again the tank mates with these rabbit snails. There are two mated angelfish, 8 bronze cories, a bristlenose pleco, hundreds of Malaysian Trumpet snails, dozens of ramshorns, and then all the rabbit snails. The fish require different water parameters from the snails. I would not recommend keeping them together, and as soon as I can, I plan on a Sulawesi tank (though that might not happen for some time). For now I keep cuttlebone in the tank, provide vegetables (that the pleco and cories also partake in eating) and am experimenting with different supplements and foods. Yesterday i made an attempt at a supplement that contained calcium pills, powdered cuttlebone, algae wafer, fish flakes, and honey. It seemed messy, dissolving even though i'd frozen it, but it was gone in a few hours. I did not see who ate it, so it could have been fish too.
Last night Izzy (thekoimaiden) linked me This article, which had a little bit of info about rabbit snails. One tidbit was how to sex them!!! "The snails are sex specific, females having a grooved channel down one side of the their shell and along their foot in order to deliver singular young, which are covered in a protein sac that dissolves at birth." (from the article). You wouldn't believe how excited I am about that information- in fact I noticed said channel on my snails. I've tried to get a better look at my group, and though most of them are being hidey-meanie faces (very scientific i know) I believe i have at least one male white spot, one female white spot, and at least two female yellows.
So as promised, i've got a couple of pictures!
These first pics are one of the baby snails that have grown up in my tank. She (i believe she's female) is almost a year old.
Here is a shot of the difference in the snail shells. The snail on the right is one of the yellows I received in this order, and the one on the left is a white spot from this same order. Notice the different textures on the shells (as best you can- i apologize, these are all phone pictures!)
the yellow female (and all the other yellow babies from my original female) has a very smooth shell. I believe this is due to my soft, acidic water. I try to supplement what I can, though I hope I can devote a proper tank to these snails soon.
the shell of a yellow from this order; probably reared in a harder water tank.
TODAY i tested the water in my 29 gallon.
High range pH: less than 7.4
NitrIte: more than 0ppm but less than .25ppm
This seemed very strange. In the past I've tested my water and my pH had been around 7.4 and high range around 7.6. I did a large, 15 gallon water change, rinsed my filter, then re-tested around an hour later.
High Range pH: less than 7.4
Something about my tap must have changed recently. I even remember writing down that pH was 7.4 and HR pH was 7.6, and so called it 7.5 in my mind. I know snails do better in higher pH Would you guys try to up your pH or just leave it be? I add cuttlebone and occasionally other supplements to help my snails keep their shells in shape.
Also, I went ahead and measured the snails closest to the glass of the tank. The white spot i believe is male (and just called male 1 in my mind) is about 2 inches long. One white spot whom i believe is female (female 1) is about 1 3/4 inches long. There are two more white spots, and one is definitely larger than male 1. I also measured the white spot babies, and they range in size from .5cm to 1cm.
Also, an interesting note from what I've observed of my snails in the last year: It seems the young snails and the male snails are more active than adult females, especially in the day or two after the adult female gives birth/lays her egg.
YAY!!! They're soo pretty!! ^-^
I would actually say increase the pH and hardness in the tank. Any clue whether or not the snails are wild-caught? If they are I would certainly increase the hardness. Throw in a bag of crushed coral (CaribSea Florida crushed coral is what I like and use) and see how it goes. The raise in pH won't be that large (probably up to like 7.8) nor will the raise in GH or KH (it will only be a few degrees). The cories and angels should be able to take it rather easily, and it will help the snails.
Another option would be convert one of the 5 gal tanks into a snail tank and put the two bettas in (opaque) breeder boxes in the 29 gal?
no idea if they're wild caught. i'll check teh ebay listing again.
i'll look at that coral. do i just toss it in the filter?
Well you need some kind of bag to put it in. Filter media bags should work, and they should be at pet stores, too. Start with a small amount (1/4 of a cup or so) and test to see just how high the pH, GH, and KH go up. If there is room you can toss it in the filter you can to get the most water movement over it, but you can also just hang it in a corner (but it's not as attractive that way).
Could you email/ebay message the guy who sent the snails to you? Ask him if they are wild-caught?
I will look for that stuff then. and a water hardness test kit (which I've been meaning to track down for a year almost now- think there's one at home depot) and i think the ten pound bag of coral woild be sufficient lol. do you replace it often?
Mini update: last night, fed a few tiny wafers by hikari and fish flakes as per usual. only one rabbit snail hasn't moved much since yesterday. I'm going to check it later, but i do know some hang out in one spot for a day or two at times .
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I've had my bags in there for months now and have never had to replace them. The stuff lasts a good long while. Shame it doesn't come in anything but 10lb bags.
good to know!
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