5 Gallon Tank Extra mystery snail and other q's

Hi, all. I'm new to all this and am unsure about a few things. I ordered 2 mystery snails for my new 5-gallon tank (a golden and a magenta), but received 3. They're great and I love them all, but had planned to add a betta (monitoring closely) and some shrimp after a few weeks. Now I'm concerned about overstocking this little tank. Should I find another home for the extra? If so, any tips on the best way to do that?

Also, they're eating patterns seem odd to me. The littlest one (magenta) just cruises around the top of the tank about an inch below the water line all day. She will occasionally come down to snack on veggies or hang out on driftwood, but then goes back to making laps. She will eat freeze-dried brine shrimp and bloodworms if I can get them to stick to the sides. The two goldens are bigger and seem only to eat veggies. They will move around the tank a bit, but will only go up on the walls at night when the lights are dimmed. Mostly they hide and eat lettuce. None of them will touch the sinking pellets. If they needed/wanted the protein, they'd go get it, I think?

I've had them about a week. I remove uneaten veggies after a day or two. My water is a bit on the soft side and a little low on pH even with a cuttlebone in, so I'll be adding some crushed coral. Other parameters are okay, though ammonia started showing up two days ago and I did 50% water changes that day and yesterday. Will check again tonight and change again if still present. I thought I had cycled, but maybe I goofed it. I have java fern and Marimo moss balls and will be adding some anacharis once it's quarantined (if it survives--it does not look good rn). I built a slate structure when I did the first water change, but they don't seem to like it. I checked all the edges and none seemed too sharp, but I'm not a snail, so maybe they feel differently.

Thank you for reading my novel. I appreciate any advice or tips.
 
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To decide if your stocking is good bioload wise I have a tip. *After you go a whole water change interval without an ammonia reading*: Measure the total amount of nitrate created between your expected water change intervals, also measure any pH drop between your expected water change intervals. Do this test starting a week after adding the crushed coral, the coral will keep your pH up better than soft water and the test will be fair that way.

If you would be comfortable doubling the amount of nitrate you produce in that interval and pH doesn't drop, increase stocking. Also remember your mystery snails will grow to ~golf ball size so depending on their current age they may make more, or allot more waste by then. I think my largest...
You likely did cycle it but the added snails may have shaken things up a bit. Sometimes tanks go through mini-cycles when you increase the stock. I know snails in general are pretty big ammonia-producers so it's probably just that your cycle had adjusted for a single betta and wasn't quite strong enough to hold against the snails. That's alright though, it should sort itself out in time. You'll want to continue to check ammonia though of course.

Personally I would want to get a second tank to move at least one of the snails into. I would consider 3 mysteries and a betta in a 5 gallon to be overstocked but still relatively safe so long as water changes are kept up.

As for the behaviour, what youve described seems pretty consistent with my own experience with snails. Snails can't see the way that you and I can and instead just see light and shadow. Because of this most snails generally will be more active when there's less light, as bright light can be a little intense. The little one being more active could be partially to do with the newer environment, it's younger age, and/or something in the water. Because the other snails and the betta are not reacting I'm assuming it's not the latter.

In general everything seems pretty good as far as I can tell from your post but it's great that you were concerned enough to write it. Your new friends are in good hands.
 
Thanks so much for the kindness and reassurance.

I don't actually have the betta yet, but since I did it fishless, maybe the snails were still too much for it? I'm planning to wait a couple of weeks before getting the betta, so I'll try to find a new home for one of the goldens in the meanwhile. I also watched one of them come out and munch on a pellet this morning, so I feel better about that, too.

Thanks again!
 
To decide if your stocking is good bioload wise I have a tip. *After you go a whole water change interval without an ammonia reading*: Measure the total amount of nitrate created between your expected water change intervals, also measure any pH drop between your expected water change intervals. Do this test starting a week after adding the crushed coral, the coral will keep your pH up better than soft water and the test will be fair that way.

If you would be comfortable doubling the amount of nitrate you produce in that interval and pH doesn't drop, increase stocking. Also remember your mystery snails will grow to ~golf ball size so depending on their current age they may make more, or allot more waste by then. I think my largest mysteries, if target fed, make about the same waste as my larger Betta.

Remember to take your starting reading right after a water change, and your ending reading right before the next one. Example: started with 10ppm nitrate after water change, one week later before water change had 30ppm, total increase of 20ppm. I let my tanks make 20-40 every 2 weeks but I usually change due to kH usage (causes pH drop), so far so good, others with super stocked tanks might make more.
 
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