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Falina 11-17-2007 08:55 AM

Pond snails dying, worried for mystery snails.
I have an 8g tank with some fry, 2 mystery snails and an outrageous amount of pond snails and MTSs. Lately the pond snails have been dying off. They float about fully stretched out of their shells 2 or 3 at a time, then die, then more start doing it. F4A told me a while back that coming out of their shell as much as possible in mystery snails can often mean poisoning, so even though it wasn't the mysteries I tested the water:

ammonia - 0
nitrite - 0
nitrate - 40
ph - 8(ish)
temperature - 22

The tank has been running for approx 6 months.

As there are no plants in this tank I find that nitrates are much higher than in my planted tanks but this has never been a problem before. I do 25-30% water changed every 3-4 days because the filter is quite weak due to the fry.

Since this has been happening with the pond snails I have been doing 10-20% water changes every 2 days and nitrates have went down but they haven't stopped dying.

There have been no medications added other than melafix.

I'm worried that something is going to start going wrong with the mysteries since the pond snails have started all dying off.

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this? Like I mentioned I suspect some sort of poisoning but I can't think what from. I can't think of anything else that has been put/could have got in the tank but if anyone has seen this before I'll rack my brain to think if there's any possibility "x" could have gotten in. On the other hand, as much as I'm not much of a fan of meds, should I maybe use soemthing to kill off any potential "nasties" that could have gotten into the tank that won't harm either the fry or the mysteries?

fish_4_all 11-19-2007 08:57 AM

Well the poisoning issue was only for the Mystery snails.

To be honest it sounds like the pond snails are starving. If the numbers you are refering to are in the hundreds then it could be normal for them tostart dying off from starvation. The mystery snails should be fine because they are fed veggies, right? Ehich the pond snails and MTS won't eat for the most part until it starts to decay.

I would go through the tank and remove as many of the other snails as possible just to thin the population out as much as possible. The fry need the food and won't search the gravel for it so overfeeding is almost impossible not to in a fry tank. Just remove them and the shells of the dead ones if there is anything left in the shell to prevent any ammonia swings.

My ramshorn pond snails did the same thing when the population started to get in the 100's in my mystery snail tank. My mysteries always ate all the food and the ramshorns didn't seem to fair very well

Falina 11-19-2007 09:34 AM

Thanks! It was a complete mystery to me.

They're not in the hundreds but there are an awful lot of them and since it's only a small tank

The mysteries get vegetables most days and I also find that they eat some of the leftovers from the frys food as well and they do seem to be doing well. They are active and their shells look nice and solid. I remove uneaten vegetables after a while before they start to decay but often I find it is all eaten anyway so there is no need to remove anything. Starvation seems likely then. The mysteries must be beating the pond snails to any leftover flakes or shrimp etc. I was just worried that there was something in the tank that was causing the snails to die, and that the mysteries might be next. I feel kinda bad for the pond snails. They are a pest but it never occured to me that they would be starving to death.

I had just left them before because they didn't seem to be doing any harm but I'll take your advice and remove a good number of them to prevent this from happening. I always remove any dead snails.

To remove them should I lure them onto anything, to get a mass of them at once or just take them out one at a time? I want to leave some of the MTS to dig up the gravel a bit as I'm so cautious doing gravel vacs while the fry are so small and I can't see them very well to make sure I'm not mashing them so I only do very gentle ones at the moment.

Very soon I am going to move the fry to a 15g for them to grow out as it wil become overcrowded in the 8g soon as they grow. When I do this would I be as well to empty the tank altogether to get rid of all the pond snails and MTSs? Obviously I will keep the filter running in some of the tank water so I don't need to recycle the tank and just keep the 2 mysteries in a bucket for a few hours while I empty and refill it?

Thanks. :)

fish_4_all 11-19-2007 10:20 AM

I would just remove them one at a time even though it is a pain to do so.

I wouldn't worry about doing a complete tear down when you move the fry, just do a really good gravel vac to get the water clean.

One thing I did forget, do you know what your GH and KH are? They need to be up especially the GH. At least 10 dGH or 169 ppm for the mysteries to thrive. The ponds and MTS don't care but the mysteries could if the GH drops because of the high populations of ponds and MTS.

Falina 11-19-2007 11:20 AM

I don't test for kh and gh, only ph. The reason I hadn't is that the mysteries have been thriving for a while now since I increased the ph to approx 8 by adding crushed coral and my student finances don't go very far. I have added calcium for their shells as well in the form of tablets like was suggested to me in a post a while back.

Since you have mentioned that I will buy a test for them. If I find they are too low, what should I add to bring it up again? More crushed coral?

Thanks again.

fish_4_all 11-19-2007 11:26 AM

More tablets of calcium would be the best way. Maybe some Megnesium Sulfate (Epson Salts) which can be useful.

It sounds like you have a pretty good envornment for them already so I wouldn't change anything yet. The crushed coral will help a lot and the added calcium makes sure they have plenty. Good shell health is the best sign but it is always better to be safe than sorry. According to the infromation I have been given and found, shell erosion can happen extremely fast and can become severe in less than 2 weeks.

Falina 11-19-2007 12:20 PM

I'll definitely start tesing then.

I'm still learning with the snails but both you and Trishfish have been very helpful since I've got them, so I'd like to think that, because of that, they do have a good environment like you say.

Thanks again. :)

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