I just watched the Betta snip off Nerite's antenna

  1. m

    maramarrie Member Member

    We have had Zipper the zebra nerite snail for 5 weeks. Our 5gal tank was set up in March and is cycled. Betta and 3 shrimp have been in the tank since late March/April. Zipper is, from what I can tell, a healthy snail. He (we will just assume "he" for now, as I've seen no eggs) had all appendages when we purchased him. He has spent the better part of 5 weeks under a rock, literally. Every now and then he will come out at night and cruise the glass, but the poor kids almost never get to see him because he only comes out after bedtime, spends a couple hours out, and by daybreak he's hidden again. This week I hadn't seen him much at all, but this evening he came out before the tank lights even turned off. The kids got to watch his mouth move as he cleaned the walls. I noticed one of his antennas was VERY short, perhaps only 1/6 of it's original super long length. The other was about 2/3 of its original length and bent. While we were watching him, the betta came by. I didn't notice him touch the snail, but I thought the kids bumped the tank because the snail shrunk down into his shell (on the glass). A few minutes later he got to moving again and the betta came right up and chomped off the rest of the 2/3 antenna. Now both antennas are the same, about 1/6 the original length.

    What does he use these antennas for, and will he be ok without them?

    Any suggestions for what to do next, if anything?

  2. el337

    el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I'm guessing he uses the antennae to detect food and navigate around the tank. I don't know if they grow back but I think it would be best to move him to another tank if you have one or rehome him since your betta obviously likes to pick on him.

  3. Bithimala

    Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    They should grow back, they do for mystery snails, and I think nerites function the same way along those lines. Definitely used for navigation, not sure about food detection. I agree with moving him to another tank if you have one available. That way you'll probably get to see him out and about more since he will feel safer coming out without a betta around to attack him.

    I will say, while most of my nerites are active during the day, I do have one who only likes to come out when it's dark, so I can't guarantee you'll see more of him, but it's definitely more likely.
  4. OP

    maramarrie Member Member

    Is it problematic (or does it make me a bad fish-keeper) if I want to rehome the betta instead? The kids were so ready to remove the betta from the tank which I don't currently have a setup for (and we don't really have a place to put a second aquarium). The betta started out as a pretty low-maintenance pet, but for the last 6-7 weeks he's been self-mutilating, nipping his fins. To promote healing I've been doing 50% water changes 3 time a week. He had started healing relatively well (maybe 60% healed), and then a couple weeks ago he chopped off more than half of his beautiful superdelta tail and more from his fins in one afternoon. I thought we had fixed things: lowered light in the tank, PLENTY of clean water, added floating plants, etc. He continues to tear himself up and I continue the water changes every other day. It's gotten so frustrating that now we just want a shrimp & snail tank. I just hope that after all this effort he doesn't end up with fin rot or other disease problems. I do propose this mostly in jest, but I've gotten so tired of getting nothing but problems from our betta in the last several weeks.
  5. Bithimala

    Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Invert tanks are awesome imo!
  6. el337

    el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Well, I can certainly understand your frustration and I don't think you're a bad fish keeper for wanting to rehome him.

    I don't have experience with Bettas but hopefully others can advise what you might be able to do to help him stop the fin nipping. If you do decide to rehome him, a nice shrimp/snail setup would be great as well!
  7. ashleyb

    ashleyb Member Member

    I don't know if this will help you or not, but I've been keeping bettas for ten years now and I've had three tail nippers.

    The first fin nipper, Colby, was a double half moon with extremely fluffy fins. The culprit of his nipping (after MUCH experimentation) was due to the filter flow. It was causing too strong of a current, and I had read somewhere that sometimes bettas with long fins would trim their own fins to have better control over their swimming. I have no idea if that's true or not but out of desperation I replaced his HOB with a sponge filter. The fin nipping stopped immediately and a month later he was good as the day I bought him. It could have been a coincidence, it could have not been. But it's for this reason alone that I stick to sponge filters only for my betta tanks, aside from them not being very strong swimmers. I think the flow of the filter was stressing him out and some bettas are certainly more sensitive to this than others. What kind of filter are you using?

    My second encounter with fin nipping was with a veiltail named Luna. He began the nipping about four months after I got him and it came out of the blue. I tried keeping the water VERY clean and that didn't work. He would go inside his cave and do it so I removed the cave and replaced it with a hideaway that I could look into and keep an eye on him with. I moved his tank to a room with more activity (from the bedroom to the living room), added some silk plants, but the big things that distracted him was the addition of different colored ping pong balls that I switched out and a hanging mirror in the tank. I would also move his ornaments around with every water change and switch them out every so often. He was a high maintenance fish, but the nipping did stop. And if I noticed he started again, I would have to take more measures to keep him busy. I even placed comic book pages next to the tank while I went to work, be seemed to really like staring at them.

    The third nipper, Dalton, nipped from the day I got him until the day he died three years later. NOTHING I did stopped him from doing it. The only comfort I took was that as a certain point he would chomp them down to a certain length and wouldn't physically be able to chomp anymore. He was still healthy, he just wasn't a very pretty guy, but he had plenty of personality. Sometimes I think this disposition could be genetic. Absolutely nothing worked with him.

    Sorry for the long reply.. As far as the snail goes, I would definitely move it to another tank. Even if it's just a 3 gallon. Or I would keep a divider in the tank and separate the two. I hope this helps. Good luck!