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Old 09-17-2012, 04:38 PM   #1 
colorxmexravyne
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Mystery Snail Shell.

Hi all! I have a really quick question.



You see where the shell is solid and sort of jagged? And then afterwards it's just sort of...brownish? Is this growth or erosion? My tank's PH is somewhere around 7.6/7.4, and the PH of the water here is 7.4. The last time i added cuttlebone, it shot up to like 8.8 so i'm sort of wary about putting it in there again but if i have to, i will.

Right now, my snail eats TetraVeggie algae wafers as his staple and occasionally I'll offer him some blanched spinach or fish flakes. I don't know anything about GH and KH if it's even relevant because I currently have no way of testing it.

Thanks!

Last edited by colorxmexravyne; 09-17-2012 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:41 PM   #2 
maycausedeath
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I'm not a snail expert so hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but the darker part looks like new growth to me!
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #3 
colorxmexravyne
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Originally Posted by maycausedeath View Post
I'm not a snail expert so hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but the darker part looks like new growth to me!
That's what I'm hoping it is and that it'll turn white later on. Thanks for your input!
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:13 AM   #4 
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casually bumping this ~
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:31 AM   #5 
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it would seem that everyone else is in the same boat as me. i've been trying to monitor my snail's shell to see if it's getting better/worse, but i can't really tell at this point.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:14 PM   #6 
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So, it's been about a month and I'm still not really sure what's going on with my snail's shell. However, after doing a little comparison, I think it's safe to assume that either there's something wrong with what I'm (not?) feeding him, or my water params.



The picture on the right is from about a day or two after I got my snail back in July. The one of the left is from the opening post, taken on September 17th




I took these pictures about fifteen minutes ago. It looks to me like my snail's shell is thinning/eroding. I'm not really sure what to do about it, either. My water params are all in check (0/0/5, pH of 7.8, 5 gal filtered, heated tank shared with 1 male betta) and I've had cuttlebone in the tank for the past month. I've offered my snail both spinach and cucumbers in the past, but he's not really crazy over either of them and prefers fish flakes. I feel stuck, honestly. What else can I do?

edit: I just found this picture from THE day that I got my snail. It's bad quality because it was taken with my phone, but you can sort of see the condition of his shell the day I got him if you look close enough.


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Old 11-08-2012, 01:17 AM   #7 
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That happened to my snail's shell too. If your PH is 7.8 then I am going to say its some kind of calcium deffiency. I had cuttlebone as well but the shell kept eroding to the point where the fleshy parts were no long able to fully fit inside the shell.
Detoriation of shell and operculum
  • shell detoriation: superficial wormholes; deep holes, loss of shell top
    To have a good understanding about the causes of shell detoriation, one needs to know some basic shell anatomy [sread more about shell anatomy here]. The most important thing to remember is that the rigidity of the shell is provided by a strong, calcified inside, with a protective protein layer at the outside. It's the latter that prevents the chemical detoriation of the calcium at the inside. Once the protective outer layer is damaged, the calcium layer is exposed to the water. This shouldn't be a big problem, as long as the water is rich in calcium and is not acid, but once the pH of the water drops and the water becomes acid (pH below 7), the calciums starts to dissolve. As long as this process advances at a slow speed, the snails is often able to enforce the calcium layer, although only at the inside. The ouside of the shell is dead material, and cannot be repaired by the snail itself, so once damaged, it will stay that way. The oldest parts of the shell (the shell top) and those places that are often hot when a snail fall on the bottom are also the places that are most vulnerable as the protective outer layer is often damaged at those parts. Problems arise once the shell is detoriated that much that holes are formed, exposing the soft tissues below. In case of large holes, the snail can get problems with keeping the mantle cavity open, with lung collapse and other problems as result. Nevertheless, smaller holes an pose a problem as well, especially in a crowded tank, as other snails and fish won't hesitate to eat the exposed tissues. Luckely, snails do have some kind of repair system: they simply calcify the exposed tissues to protect them.

    Severely damaged shell (Marisa cornuarietis). Slow progressed shell erosion. Not that the exposed tissues is already calcified.
    Pomacea diffusa So what to do once a snail has gaping holes and or a detoriated shell surface?
    First of all, check the water quality: is the pH at 7 or more? (keep it between 7-8). How about the water hardness? (keep the kH and GH high).
    A good way to regulate the water quality is to add a source of calcium in the form of crushed egg shells, specialized preparated, crushed sea-shells, marble or something similar. Once you are sure that the water is well enough to halt further detoriation, one has to decide if the shell should be repaired or not. If the snail is active, one can assume that the snail does not suffer from the damage. In such case a repair should be rather considerd a protective measurement to prevent other snails from attacking the exposed tissues. If however, there are no possible tissue eaters like fish and snails around, or if the holes are that small that the tissue stays out or reach, one can choose to leave the situation like it is. The snail will calcify the vulnerable tissues anyway as reaction to the exposition to water.

    An 2.5 years old Pomacea diffusa with eroded shell. Repaired shell: shell pieces glued over the holes (Pomacea canaliculata). If however, a large amount of shell is absent or if there is a real treat for the snail to become eaten alive, once can choose to repair the holes by glueing pieces of snail shell, eggs shells or even pieces of plastic over them. The best glue for this is medical superglue, although common household superglue will do as well, but is toxic until it's dried. In such case (household glue) one needs to make absolutely sure that the glue does not come in contact with the snail tissues. Pits and detoriated surfaces can be repaired by covering them with strong nail polish (make sure to use water resistant polish), epoxy resin or even better super glue. The latter dries quickly and even hardens more when in contact with water. More info about shell repair can be found on Pam's website. She has carried out several experiments with shell repair and has a good practical guide available.
  • Operculum detoriation: holes, loss of operculum
    While the shell mainly consist of calcium, the operculum is build out of proteins, although the species from the genus Pila also have calcium deposits at the body side of the operculum. The operculum is much less vulnerable to detoriations, but if a snail is not well fed, it can occur, however, that the operculum is thin and even get's holes in it. In such case, there is not much that can be done besides taking good care of the snail. Also keep in mind that the operculum is not essential for an apple snail to survive in a common aquarium with no snail eating fish around. Beside the shape and the smoothness of the operculum, the attachement of the operculum to the back of the foot is a good indication of the well being (or not) of the snail. In normal situations the snail's tissues completely cover the inside/body side of the operculum. If the snail is not in optimal condition, this tissue is retracted and only the center of the opreculum is covered by snail tissue. In such cases one needs to check the water quality and make sure everything is allright. Old snails can show such tissue retraction as well, while it's not necessairly a real problem with them. After all, one can compare this with the retraction of gums/tissues around humans teeth if not taken weel care of.Occasionally, it does happen that the whole operculum is lost. This is not a life treatening for the snail itself, but it often indicates a real serious health problem in the snail, so be sure to check the water quality and be sure the snail isn't dead.


http://www.applesnail.net/

My water had a low PH due to the mopani wood, so I added a bunch of corals I had from a trip to the Caribbean and sea shells. Even then, it only tested at a 7.2
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:20 AM   #8 
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Thanks Tikibirds. I've read that article numerous times before and I understand why the shell deteriorates due to erosion; I'd just like to figure out how to make it stop. If it's a calcium deficiency and cuttlebone's not handling it, what other kinds of foods can I start feeding my snail (besides spinach & cucumbers because he's not a fan). I'll try the eggshells thing, though.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:56 PM   #9 
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honestly I'd have to say that looks like new growth to me.

You have a gorgeous blue, I was so sad when mine passed away. I would suggest adding in a calcium supplement occasionally. Caltrate is a popular one suggested... by other apple snail enthusiasts. Good food also helps. Dark leafy greens, blanched veggies, algae wafers, all great food. I blanch two slices of zucchini and all that's left after 12 hours is the skin, after another 12 that's gone too.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:23 PM   #10 
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Originally Posted by Silverfang View Post
honestly I'd have to say that looks like new growth to me.

You have a gorgeous blue, I was so sad when mine passed away. I would suggest adding in a calcium supplement occasionally. Caltrate is a popular one suggested... by other apple snail enthusiasts. Good food also helps. Dark leafy greens, blanched veggies, algae wafers, all great food. I blanch two slices of zucchini and all that's left after 12 hours is the skin, after another 12 that's gone too.
I honestly thought he was supposed have a white shell, which is why I've been so concerned. I thought the shell was getting so thin that you could see his body through the shell now. But, if it is new growth, then how long does it take for the shell to turn white/blue? Because it's been looking like this since September. Thanks for the response by the way!
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