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Old 12-07-2010, 04:41 PM   #1 
Malvolti
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Location: Mississauga, Canada
Hitch Hiker Snail Care

So I recently brought home a couple plants for Howl's tank as well as a couple ghost shrimp. I though he might try eating them but after a few days he hasn't yet. He chases them but never nips or bites at them, and they often return the favor by chasing him (My tank has turned into an episode of Benny Hill).

Anyways, I quarantined the plants and shrimp for a couple days then acclimated them to the tank. I added the plants and shrimp a few days before adding Howl, he was waiting in a smaller tank. Despite all of this I found a snail climbing the glass yesterday. He is the only snail I can find in the tank which is only 3 gallons. My Betta did try to eat him once but wasn't able to. Now he just ignores the snail and the snail is good at not being noticed.

I personally believe that we should care for all animals that find their way into our lives, regardless of how they get there. Unless they become a pest and threaten the well being of your other pets. I've decided to let him remain in the tank.

My problem is I've never kept snails so I don't know the fist thing about what he needs. He's only about 1cm long. My tank has a Java fern, a marimo and is filtered if that makes a difference.

1) What kind of diet does the snail need? How often?
2) I know he needs calcium but how much? How do I deliver it?
3) Will any of his needs threaten my fish and shrimp?
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:00 PM   #2 
Adastra
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You will likely see more and more snails, since there was likely an egg clutch (or quite a few egg clutches) on the plants when you purchased them. They don't really need any special care--I give my nerite snails some spinach every now and then to supplement their diets but their shells are much more substantial than little pond snails. :) They should be fine algae and plant matter.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:07 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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I like common snails and the snails and shrimp have a job in my heavy planted tanks, no special care or food needed and too much food can cause a population explosion with the snails...The snails and shrimp are part of my little ecosystem in a glass box....

Your tap water should contain enough of the needed mineral for the shells, careful not to overfeed but a small amount of Betta food will be enjoyed by both the shrimp and snails 1-2 times a week and the plants will like the fish food too....its a great plant food btw.....

The shrimp will shred the decaying plant matter so it decays faster as well as feed off some algae and other micro-nutrients...but not much and the snail love to graze off the plant leaves and walls of the tank eating algae and micro-nutrients too-.........common snails don't eat plants but often get accused because they are seen on plant leaves- all they are doing is grazing....most snail are harmless to healthy plants
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:28 PM   #4 
Malvolti
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Alright, thanks.

I still haven't determined a species for the snail, he's too small for me to make out any details but from my research he looks most like an apple snail. I do hope he gets bigger than 1 cm though.

I haven't considered what I'll do if (when?) more snails show up. I've searched my plants and I don't see more eggs but it doesn't mean there aren't more. I've read that you should only keep 1 mature apple snail per 2.5 gallons so I can really only afford to have the one in my tank.

I'm considering getting algae tablets as a supplement for the shrimp/snail, my tank doesn't really grow algae and my betta gobbles up anything that he can, even if it's on the bottom so it can be hard to make sure there is a pellet or 2 for them. Is this a good idea, even if I only add one every week or 2 for diet variation?

Last edited by Malvolti; 12-07-2010 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:05 PM   #5 
shinybetta
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It probably isn't an apple snail. I hear they lay there eggs above water.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:18 PM   #6 
Oldfishlady
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The snail is most likely a common species-if and when you do get an over population you can trap them and then you must either destroy them by smashing or freezing-I like to smash and feed a couple to my fish-Bettas love snail meat
You DO NOT want to release them into the native habitat-most places/states it is illegal and most important you can destroy the native ecosystem...... as cruel as it sound they must be destroyed

You will have more algae and micro-critter/nutrients in your tank than you think especially with live plants and anything alive in a container of water in general...it is normal and natural and a sign of healthy water...you don't want a sterile environment for living creatures like fish, snail, shrimp, plants-however, due to being a closed system it needs our help....water changes.......

Be careful adding too much food for the shrimp and snails-they don't eat that much anyway and you have more food in the tank for them than you think as the tank matures...also-once the Betta finds the algae wafer he may gorge himself and bloat. If you do add algae wafer I would break them into 4 pieces and drop 1/4 in the tank after lights out 1 time a week.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:21 PM   #7 
Malvolti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinybetta View Post
It probably isn't an apple snail. I hear they lay there eggs above water.
I read that too, but I don't think he's a newborn. I noticed him less than an hour after the plants were introduced to the tank so I think he may have been on one already hatched. He was also a centimeter long which as far as I know is slightly larger than a baby. He does also tend to leave the water and spend time around the water level.

I'm open to other suggestions of species though. Either way I doubt I'll know more until he gets bigger so I can get a better look at him.

Edit: Thanks OFL, you always have great advice. I know there are microscopic things in the tank and the shrimp seem to be feasting on them. I didn't know if it would be enough for 2 shrimp and a snail. I see your point about the tablets, I'll see if I can find a way to get them vegetation without the Betta getting it. If not I'll drop the idea.

I know not to release species into the wild. I like the thought of feeding them to my betta, it makes it more of a circle of life thing than genocide. SInce my plants are in my Betta tank and my boy will eat anything anywhere I have a feeling he'll beat me to the punch.

Last edited by Malvolti; 12-07-2010 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:35 AM   #8 
heythatsme
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If you do get more snails than you really want, you could also get an assassin snail. He would handle a 3 gallon tank pretty quickly, though you might have to take it back once the snails were gone, as I don't imagine a 3 gallon could sustain a snail colony large enough to feed an assassin snail for more than a few months.
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Old 12-11-2010, 12:27 AM   #9 
Malvolti
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Well, it's been a while and I still only have the one. If I still have one.

It's hard to tell, he's so small he can disappears for days and I never know if he's alive or eaten. I usually find him clinging to something when I'm trying to clean the tank. Although it tells me he's a good hider so I doubt he'll get eaten any time soon.
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