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Yesterday I brought home an apple (mystery? people seem to use them interchangeably) snail for my male betta's 5 gallon tank. Upon its introduction to the tank and a few times in the hours after, my betta would swim up and nip at the snail's antennae. He's never flared at the snail, the biting seems more like he's mistaking the antennae for food than being territorial. This morning I went to see how they were doing, and the snail was missing half of one of his eyestalks from some attack in the night, but otherwise fine and still moving about. It now hunkers down in its shell every time my fish gets close.
My main questions: Do people think it's okay to leave the snail in there when it's getting nipped now and then? Is it possible for the snail to die of stress? And does anyone have experience with a betta bothering a new snail at first but eventually leaving it alone?
 

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Mystery and apple snails are different snails. :p

Remove the snail. Trust me. I had an apple snail and a female Betta of mine pestered him to death - doing the same thing yours is doing. And my girl did NOT leave him alone... He literally died from stress and probably some injuries.
 

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As Sena said, mystery snails and apple snails are different snails.

You should remove the snail, because the betta will pester it to death. I had a betta paired with an apple snail once, and everything went horribly wrong. The snail died as soon as I removed it from the tank.

I'm guessing that with certain bettas, apple snails are not okay.
 

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Mine have never done well with any fleshy snails... If you want a little tank cleaner, Nerite Snails are better at it, and pretty much fully armored.
 

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ZooNoo, is your betta new to that tank? We intro'd a mystery snail to a couple of our bettas when they just moved into their 29 gallon. It did NOT go well. We removed the snail and kept him separate for a few weeks, and then put him back into the tank to try again. One checked him out, and then proceeded to ignore him. Got another mystery snail for the next section, and sure enough, that one was ignored too. Betta #3 has a ramshorn that he ignores. So, if the betta is new to his tank, that could be part of the problem. Or he could just not like snails.
 

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My male ripped off both antennae within ten minutes of being in the tank with my mystery snail. I'm sure it would have died if I hadn't removed it and put it in a different tank.
 

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I think your betta is too aggressive with the snail. My boy would hover over it and occasionally nip at my apple snail when I first got it, but after three days he couldn't care less about the snail. You should expect some victimization at first, but it should stop after a week. After all you are putting a foreigner into his territory.
 

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Gah, these stories are horrible...those poor snails!! I can't imagine someone coming along and biting my eyes off...ugh. :(

Maybe it's because my guys live in divided 20g's (two boys per tank), but I've never had these problems with snails...Maybe it's because my guys have learned to deal with neighbors? They also don't flare much...
I did have one female who, when she first encountered a very large mystery, tried to bite his shell a couple of times before she decided that having her mouth bumped into a hard shell was not something she enjoyed, but since then everyone has been totally fine. Never had the boys bother the snails at all...

Ugh, those poor snails! :(
 

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I think nerites are better suited for living with a betta. Aside from being smaller and having a smaller bioload, nerites are far better protected by their shell, and they don't have the big antenna to be nipped at.
 

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Yeah get a Nerite snail. Apple snails shells have more openings for a betta to get at. Nerites are smaller and hard for the bettas to attack them. I have two bettas that used to nip at my snails until they finely got board of them and left them alone. My other two boys are good and leave them alone.
 

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If they are pond snails: Nope i wont worry if he attacks them. Find one, crush it, and it is a treat for them
 

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One of my bettas used to attack the snail relentlessly, he would actually lay down on the bottom to get his head up into the shell to keep pecking him. My other betta never was bothered, he'd swim in circles around the snail, but never bugged him. Some fish are just jerks I guess! Anyway, I rehomed the snail so he didn't get murdered in my tank.
 
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