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Thread: Mystery Snail suicide

  1. #1
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    Mystery Snail suicide

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    Folks,
    this is about as bizarre as anything I've ever seen. In my future killie raising tank, I've had some java moss and plants going for about a month. I've also had one albino mystery snail to promote infusoria and micro-organism. Each week about 20% of the water is changed. The snail has been fed with FD tubifex worms (almost daily).

    Additives to the water changes had included Tetra Aquasafe, small amount of aquarium salt (about 1 teaspoon per 2 gallons), and lately (last 2 weeks) a small amout (1/4 teaspoon or less) of epsom salts. And a capfull of Flourish plant food. Everything was doing fine, plants were thriving, and snail seemed to be doing well. The only filtration was from a sponge filter. Water is slightly alkaline, moderately soft

    Having run out of Tetra Aquasafe, my last water change was with Amquel instead to remove chorine and chloramines, and I added about a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, to buffer the PH and provide calcium for the plants. One day after this water change, the snail was above the water line literally coming out of its shell. Of course it died before I could do anything about it.

    Is Amquel toxic to snails or is the baking soda ? or was there an overload of chemicals ? any thoughts or alternate causes ?

    I was planning to use this tank to raise Nothos 3 weeks and older. Should I do a complete water change to re-establish this tank ?

    thanks, Wes

  2. #2
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    If I recall correctly Amquel has formaldehyde in it. This is very toxic towards invertebrates. However, a rapid change in pH may of irritated the snail's soft body and driven it from the water. The higher salt content may also of played a part.

    I would put 1 Notho in to test the water after doing another water change and letting the tank sit for a few days rather than add any more chemicals.

    Can't be of any more help... sorry.

  3. #3
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    Wes, the last time I saw snails abandoning their shells was when I dosed some medication into my tank. I can't quite recall the name of the medication but I think it's Camofuran. I got it from a fish import/exporter. The medication isn't sold in fish shops because it's supposed to be a controlled drug or something.

    Loh K L

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys,
    I will look over the ingredients of my additives carefully. In the mean time, I think I'll do a huge water change, and cut back on a lot of the junk that I've been using, and remove some of the plants that may need more nutrient rich conditions.

    I'm still a good 3 weeks away from wetting my first batch of nothos (guntheri), and I want everything ready well in advance. Better I have this disaster now before any fish are in it rather than after I have a batch of fry or juveniles swimming around.

    Snails look a whole lot nicer in their shells than out of it !

    regards, Wes

  5. #5
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    Some idle thoughts:

    True mystery snails are trapdoor snails and pretty immune to ordinary toxins in the water. They just slam the door shut until the burning stuff goes away.

    Baking soda contains no calcium, but does give the sodium a big bounce. Too much sodium without a balance of potassium is often lethal to plants and/or animals. All living things need four essential electrolytes plus trace minerals. The four are Ca, Mg, Na and K. Cell transport suffers when they are way out of balance.

    You give us a lot of junk you added, but it is meaningless without a copy of your initial tap-water analysis. What does your tap water already contain and how much?

    Amquel kills smaller invertebrates, but I have never seen it have an adverse affect on snails, fish or plants.

    If you plan to hatch Nothos, harden your soft water with Seachem's "Equilibrium" which the Nothos will like. It also then lets you add salt, safely, to prevent outbreaks of Velvet disease.

    I have learned (the hard way) to never, ever add salt or sodium (as in baking soda) to really soft water. Without enough of the other electrolytes, it can really screw up cell metabolism sometimes.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

  6. #6
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    thanks, Wright,

    The initial tap water is very soft (1 or 1ppm) slightly alkaline 7.2 to 7.4

    I think it may have been the baking soda also, as that was the newest ingredient. I will check the Amquel ingredients also, but may return to Tetra AquaSafe just in case.

    Wes

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    All of the effective chloramine treatments are, I believe, based on formaldehyde-like compounds. It does no good to switch if that's a problem. Most will not reveal their ingredients.

    Baking soda and salt would both be lethal in water as low tds as you list. Basically it is dead and not capable of sustaining life very well. I suggest you add some "Equilibrium" to get it up to at least 70-80 ppm of tds. Your plants and fish will love you!

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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    Wes,
    Not sure if this is related but the only time my ramhorn snails really die off is during deworming treatment with flubendazole.

    At other times, they don't seem to like low pH between 5~6 and will stay at the surface. Shells are not decalcified (turned chalky white) even with low pH since I drop in a small block of 'plaster of Paris' when necessary.

    The 'normal' ramhorns that I breed and raise, for fry tanks, are brown but I bought these 'reds' yesterday. [I think they look cool!]
    Other pics here.
    I'm back & keeping 'em fingers wet,
    Ronnie Lee

  9. #9
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    Link to a page I found regarding the red ramshorn snail:

    http://mermaiden.net/Betta/snails.php

    Apparently their scientific name is Planorbis corneus. What we have here as in the brown or the regular ramshorn is another species altogether.
    Fish.. Simply Irresistable
    Dawkinsia assimilis, Heros efasciatus - Looking for Pelvicachromis taeniatus
    -back to old school fish-

  10. #10
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    Well it turns out, my water condition readings were all wrong. The hardness test kit I used was very old (it does not even have a KH test as no one was interest in KH back in the 70's or 80's, as much as 15 to 20 years old. The hardness is much higher. (I guess the test solution got a lot more concentrated over time)

    The KH in my tap water is 5 (or 89 ppm) and GH is 9 (or 161 ppm)

    my tanks range from 6 to 8 KH and from 8 to 15 GH, the difference being how often each tank gets a water change.

    I have one well planted tank that has GH lower than the tap water. Iguess the plants are absorbing the nutrients. This is where the java ferns really started to rot.

    Anyhow, should I still use some Equilibrium with the tap water ?

    My java ferns in the tank with GH 15 and KH 7 are fairly stable, the ferns in the other tanks are falling apart.

    thanks, Wes

  11. #11
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    Sound much better, Wes. Your tanks sound pretty normal.

    In any case, you don't need "Equilibrium" or "RO Right" for your water, and the extra sodium was unlikely to kill your snail. Look for another cause.

    The tank with lower GH can be due to several causes. Anachris (or a few other kinds of plants) may be directly using the Ca, or peat or other water-softening agent may be doing a bit of ion exchange.

    Wright
    01 760 872-3995
    805 Valley West Circle
    Bishop, CA 93514 USA

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