Help Feeding And Treating Freshwater Snails

Barbara Manning
  • #1
I have a 10 gal tank with two exotic goldfish. Recently I purchased 5 snails (about the size of an acorn) to help keep the tank algae free. When I got them home, I realized that they have some major shell damage. The only thing I can think of is that they were so hungry they started eating each other's shells. Once they separated, I could see the damage. See the attached photo of one of them, out of the water. This is actually an improvement from when I got them, at least now there's a clear kind of covering over the hole in the shell.

They devoured all algae in the tank in about two days, so now I'd like to create something that will help them heal. I can't get algae wafers where I live so I have to make my own. I'm thinking of starting with then adding raw spinach or collard greens, fish flakes, a bit of raw white potato and a whole raw egg (shell and all). I'll blend all this together, add some food grade gelatin or agar, then either dehydrate it or bake it. If I have some calcium pills, I'll crush that and add it too.

Is steamed veg better than raw? Will they eat fish food? Should I use Agar, which is a vegetable gelatin, instead of Knox gelatin (made from animal pieces and parts) Aren't snails vegetarians, or will they eat anything that's ah, waaay past it's prime?

Any help is appreciated.

Oops! Used the wrong button to post the photo of the damaged shell.

Well, that didn't work. I steamed spinach and carrots, added a whole raw egg and the shell, used some Green Vibrance as above. Blended it until it was finely chopped and baked it until dry. The goldfish loved it, but the snails won't eat it. And, it makes the water very cloudy. I had to change the water anyway, so it wasn't a hardship. But I have to find something to feed the snails so they're shells will heal. I'm pretty sure that many of you would say to throw them away -- it's not worth it. But to me, it is. The water's there, the fish are there, the snails are alive. I'd like to give them the food necessary to heal.
Any ideas?
  • #2
I am not entirely sure on what to feed the snails, but I do know that some feed snails cuttlebone. Cuttlebone provides a good source of calcium, so I think this will also help with the snail with healing. I keep snails myself, but I am not entirely too educated on them. What kind do you have? I just wanted to make a quick point about your stocking. A 10 gallon is not a home for a goldfish. Since you said exotic, I could assume they are fancy goldfish. Fancies require 20 gallons for one fish and +10 for every other goldie you add. So a 30 gallon would be more like it (personally I would go with a 40).
Barbara Manning
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Yikes! I just started with them. I got them from the ah, "Aqua Men" at Mizumoto Park,
. These are the guys whose job it is to care for and breed several species of goldfish. Once a year they cull their stock and sell it to the public at a ridiculously low price. I got these two goldfish for $5, total -- about 10% of the retail value. I think this link will open to my Google Drive where all the fish photos and videos are. It's not a lot, and you can see the shell damage to the snails. If it doesn't work, let me know and I'll figure out how to get photos to you.

I already had a 10 gal (36 liter) tank, and I asked the guys about it. They thought that two fish in a tank that size would be ok. They did advise that 3 would be too many. But they're breeders. They have about 20 4' x 6' shallow tanks outdoors, each with one breed in them. I don't think they're crowded, but I have no basis on which to judge. The fish are moved indoors in the coldest months. It was a bit of a stilted conversation since my Japanese is limited and I certainly do not yet have the vocabulary to speak fluently about fish conditions.

Anyway, thanks for your advice. I'm thinking I'll buy a cuttlebone intended for birds and put it in the tank. I'll probably have to anchor it to the bottom, yeah?
  • #4
Yeah I would assume you have to anchor down the bone. But maybe not, if you have to I would think just putting a heavy rock on top would help. Maybe you could try to also promote algae growth by leaving the tank lights on a bit longer or something of the sort. That' an amazing price! I have to request access from my own account to see the pictures, so I'll hold back on doing that. I really don't know why they said the fish in 10 would be fine. Perhaps if they are young alright I see that happening, but full grown fancies can reach 9 inches and goldies are massive waste producers. 10 gallon can't handle that.
Barbara Manning
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I don't have lights on the tank. It's just a small tank. Maybe you can see the fish in the tank in the uploaded files.

I just added an eggshell (without the internal membrane) to the tank. The snails are attacking it. Well, as much as snails attack. They've taken about 10 minutes to decide there's something delicious in the water, and now they are honing in on the parts nearest to them. I didn't boil it -- just cooked an egg for me and washed the shell, using my fingernail to remove the membrane. They seem to be diggin' it.


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  • #6
That's awesome! I'm glad they enjoy the shell. That will also help with calcium.

Also those goldfish are beauties. They are tiny right now so the 10 is fine, but they will grow and if you don't want them to be stunted a recommend a larger tank Either way, that tank looks so nice. And more lighting would help algae growth, but if you have it in the sun (which I see you kind of do) or in front of a window it helps. But as time goes on I think you may see more algae growth.
Barbara Manning
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks. It's about 5 feet away from the patio door, which has a frosted glass in it. I think I'll mosey over to Mizumoto Park and see if I can't snag some algae for the snails. Not quite sure how to wash it, but I'll figure it out. I was reading in one of these forums about someone else to got algae from a local pond and used it in the aquarium. I'll have to find the thread to see how it was treated before adding it to the tank.
  • #8
Didn't even think of algae from an outside source. That sounds like a good idea but make sure you really really research how to clean it. Don't need any unwanted hitchhikers. Best of luck
  • #9
Anyway, thanks for your advice. I'm thinking I'll buy a cuttlebone intended for birds and put it in the tank. I'll probably have to anchor it to the bottom, yeah?[/QUOTE]

The cuttlebone floats for a while and eventually sinks, but I just sort of shove it into the rocks at the bottom of the tank to keep it down so they can get to it right away

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