Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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fish_4_all 04-26-2007 11:21 PM

Mystery Snail Erosion
Well this one is a classic example of what not to buy when you look for a snail. I got this one 4 days ago and it didn't make it through today.

I wanted to show this to help others recognize what to look for when buying a snail. This is not a snail you want to buy, not in this condition anyway.
This erosion is the worst I have seen. The side of the shell is gone and the area where the door would close is so gone it could never seal completely.
This one I didn't see in the LFS. The end of the spiral is so eroded that the shell is almost transparent and there is a huge hole in it.

I hate to say it but don't try to rescue them. All the research I have done says they are too far gone when they reach this point. I tried to save them, even did special feedings but once the shell has degraded this far they are beyond saving. Hopefully this will help at least one person keep from making the same mistake I have made twice now. I am not mad at the LFS because this takes a long time to happen and the stock is new enough that it is not the LFS fault. The breeders take this poor of care of these creatures and gives LFS a bad rap. It is unfortunate that my LFS doesn't know better, but they will tomorrow.

If you have a snail in this condition even the slightest thing wrong with the water, trace amounts of copper that would normally be safe, any salt at all or anything wrong with the water any snail in this condition is a gonner.

Make sure to hand inspect any snail you are going to buy. Look at the shell through the light to make sure it isn't translucent. Check that the snail can completely close the door to the shell and it looks like it seals. Any serious divots in the shell or other erosion is a sign of a snail not taken care of and not a good purchase.

Lupin 04-26-2007 11:42 PM

A very useful and interesting thread. Hope to hear more information on this.:)

Feel free to share your experiences and photos related to this subject. You can post here as the thread will be designed for open discussions and will not be locked.:)

Trishfish 04-27-2007 06:06 PM

Little chips of the shell around the operculum are ok. These will fill in with new growth and aren't a problem at all. Snails can reinforce some severe erosion to protect their soft bodies provided they have enough calcium. Your pictures show snails that must have been kept in soft, acid water for quite some time. Damage like this takes a long time to show up. I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

Now I can't get the name Blupin out of my head. Arghh! Lupin + Blue

Trishfish 04-28-2007 11:31 PM

I forgot to mention that the fissure pictured is caused by injury, not bad water. The problem is that with ideal water conditions, it would have healed. Very sad.

FishFan 07-08-2007 03:18 PM

I buy the occasional snail for my 30 gallon freshwater goldfish tank and have noticed that after several mos. (approx.. 6-8 mos.) their shells start to deteriorate and become a little brittle (they also have scratches and streaks on them almost like cracks). Am I not putting something in the water that they need? I have never added salt or copper to this tank. Is this something that is just to be expected in the natural life cycle of a mystery snail? Are they short lived creatures?

fish_4_all 07-09-2007 12:04 PM

The nsails need some calcium and or a pH above 7.0. Otherwise they will suffer from shell deterioration. Almost every snail I have bought from my LFS had the erosions like the ones above just somewhat to a lesser extent. Within 3-4 weeks of adding loads of calcium and keeping the pH right aroun 7.6 the snails have healed and even laid eggs once.

So to answer your question, no. Snails should live much longer than they have for you and with the addition of calcium, which is good for the fish anyway and a higher pH you should get them to survive for 4-6 years.

FishFan 07-09-2007 03:18 PM

Thanks Fish 4 All. What type of calcium should be added and in what form? Powdered? Oyster shells?

Any info is appreciated.

fish_4_all 07-09-2007 05:47 PM

Well I add crushed coral to all of my tanks and I also add calcium citrate to my snail tank every other day or so. Since I started doing so I haven't seen any shell erosion. I think the best way to "measure" what you need is to keep your GH and KH above 5 degrees or 80ppm.

Trishfish 07-11-2007 08:20 PM


you should get them to survive for 4-6 years.
Mystery snails under the best conditions only live 2-3 years. The higher the temp in the tank, the "faster" they will live.

I would also shoot for a pH of at least 7.4.

fish_4_all 07-12-2007 12:41 PM

Trishfish is the one to listen to here, she has taught me most of what I know about them and has helped me help the ones I got in poor shape to actually thrive. But I had no idea about them being so short lived. I figured they lived longer.

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