Mystery Snail Deterioration On Old Shell Growth

Kenzie Corson

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Hi everyone,

I've been a lurker on here for the last few months after having fully cycled my mystery snail tank, and both of our little buddies have settled in great! Unfortunately however, Mr. Gary has been having some shell deterioration on his old shell growth (picture below for reference) and I'm not quite sure why.

The tank is fully cycled and we have eggshells in a media bag in the filter and two pieces of cuttlebone in the tank to give them more calcium. They live on a diet of kale, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, algae pellets on occasion. I have an API MAster test kit to test pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, but do not yet have a kit to test gH and kH. Is it possible that a problem with gH or kH could be causing the deterioration? Both of the snails have almost doubled since we brought them home in mid-February, and their new shell growth is looking great, but I'm very concerned about the old shell growth.

One last possibility I've considered is the algae on their shells could be causing the deterioration, as the other snail (Leonard) has turned from brown and gold stripes to a light blue colour where the algae has come off.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Tank specs.
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 20
pH- 7.6
gH & kH- unknown (will be buying the API Master kit with tests for these asap)

 

Snailwhisperer

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I read that acidic water can cause shell deterioration. Also, lack of calcium can cause week shells. Finally, I read that once a shell is damaged there is no way to repair it. So, working on the water quality will help new growth.
 

Bithimala

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If the deterioration is new, it would be a concern. However, if the deterioration was just something he came with on the older part of the shell, then it is what it is. It may be that he had algae on there hiding it when you got him, or is it actually getting worse than it was initially?
 

Pringlethesnail

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I wouldn't bother with gh and kh testing. The problem is diet you put that all they eat is veggies and an occasional algae wafer. They are omnivores and their diet should be 75% or more meat. In the wild they eat dead things they find on the bottom of the river. You need to get sinking pellets with meat in it (fish, krill, crab, spirulina, shrimp). They can have a veggie or algae wafer 1-2x a week but 5-6 days a week they need to be eating meat. I would use calcium powder to help make sure it doesn't get worse.
 
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Kenzie Corson

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Their shells were deteriorating a bit when we got them but Gary's shell seems to have gotten somewhat worse over the last little while, but Bithimala your point about the deterioration possible being hidden in part by algae is also a possibility.

Pringlethesnail, I'll try to get some sinking meat pellets ASAP, but I have read in a few places that feeding them meat can lead to them fighting with and/or hurting one another, is this true?

Thank you everyone for your help!
 

TexasDomer

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Feeding them omnivorous/carnivorous diets should not cause them to fight or hurt each other.
 
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Kenzie Corson

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Thank you TexasDomer! I had seen some controversy around feeding them anything with meat in it, so I wanted to be more cautious. I'll be heading to my lfs this afternoon to pick up some shrimp pellets and blood worms for them.
 

Bithimala

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Kenzie Corson said:
Pringlethesnail, I'll try to get some sinking meat pellets ASAP, but I have read in a few places that feeding them meat can lead to them fighting with and/or hurting one another, is this true?
In my experience, not at all.
 

Pringlethesnail

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I’ve never heard that. They’re very peaceful and their diet is mostly meat in the wild. I actually don’t feed the babies any algae wafers or sinking veggies until they’re 3-4 months old, the meat is better for their shell health.
 

Goldie&Yami

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Kenzie Corson, I would take any advice that Pringlethesnail has to offer. A few days back I was very close to losing my snail babies and she gave all kinds of amazing and helpful advice which I followed to the letter and it's like night and day. My snails are doing better than they have since the day I got them and they are so much happier now! This lady knows her stuff and she is extremely sweet! Also if you have any tropical flake food your snails will LOVE it and it has ALOT of what they need in the one flake. I also founs that it's a lot easier to make sure they are eating/getting enough when I fed them in the same spot every time. On a big rock, or in a sunk dish they can climb in(make sure it is clean no chemicals), or just a a corner of the tank where the substrate is clear all the way to the bottom of the tank.
Happy Snailing!!
 

Snailwhisperer

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I agree with LovingMyFish about Pringlethesnail giving excellent advice.

I loved the idea feeding on a dish. Will that work ok with rabbit snails too? I know they like digging in substrate.

I got calcium powder (wasn't sure what to do with it). I cushed an algae tablet, mixed it in, added water (too much), added two more algae tablets and left them to soak up water. Result was algae tablet coated in calcium. I dropped in a teaspoons worth there was a snail rampage. The mollies also pecked at it. They ran from all over and ate it up. This morning the tank was a little cloudy. Any thoughts on if this was a good idea or bad idea?
 

Goldie&Yami

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Snailwhisperer said:
I agree with LovingMyFish about Pringlethesnail giving excellent advice.

I loved the idea feeding on a dish. Will that work ok with rabbit snails too? I know they like digging in substrate.
I believe for any type or snail that needs a diet of more than just left overs that a sunk dish is a good idea because then it tells you if they are getting enough or not enough. So you know to add more or less next time. For any snail that loves to scavenge for their food they won't stop doing that. They will just be much happier to have a set feeding time and place for their other type of diet supplementing. I think it depends on the snail and their feeding habits tho. Like my Nerites don't really care to be fed at all they just like to clean algae from my tank or eat whatever they find. So when I feed my mystery snails I make sure to leave a few flakes off randomly(but still kinda close to the dish so I can easily find it and remove it a few hrs later if no one has gotten to it). And sometimes I notice that they will come after my mystery snails and eat whatever little bit they left behind. So from my short experience with them they like to eat what they can scavenge for.
 

Pringlethesnail

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You put the powder in the water! I do about a level tbs per 10 gallons. It does make the water very cloudy for a few hours. Algae wafers “dirty” the water very quickly once they start falling apart and soaking them before hand sped this up. It’s the algae wafer broken down in the water that you’re seeing. I would do a large water change to get that out 50-75% because when the food breaks up into the water it really irritates the snails body/foot. Breaking up the algae wafer into little pieces before throwing it in is good if you have many snails because they will trample each other trying to all eat the same piece of food. You can give them as much as they can eat as long as they eat in within 2 hours because then it starts to get in the water. They won’t overeat, if they’re full they will leave it.

I have my sand in sort of a “pit” in the front center of my tank. I dig out a low spot and fix it every water change. I feed the snails there and on the few inches of higher sand around it and they actually go there when they’re hungry now. They’ll wave their antennas a little extra looking for it. That way, I can literally look to see if someone’s hungry. They don’t stay there long but I see them pass through checking for food and I feed them then. Usually if an adult snail is looking for food, and I feed them ALL the snails come running for food. So sometimes one snail signals to me that they’re all hungry. When there’s only one snail I put one piece of food and then if more come running I put more food. This works fine for my rabbit snails. Another huge benefit to this is that when the food is all mushy it will fall into the low spot and get caught there. The filter pushes it there and then can’t push it back out. Rabbit snails will eat with the mystery snails but actually should have a main diet of algae and veggies as opposed to mysterys who should have a main diet of meats. However, my two rabbits don’t eat every day even if I put algae wafers in with the meaty food (because they snack on tank algae and I have a ton). So what I do is two days a week I feed algae wafers to the whole tank. The rabbits will come and sit on the edge of the low spot when they want food. Yesterday when I fed meaty food my rabbit Blobby came and sat on the edge of the low spot and I dropped a piece of algae wafer down to her.

With rabbits I would make sure the dish was sunk in the substrate, almost level. They would physically have no problem getting in a bowl, but they can’t smell for food like mysterys can so it has to be obvious, maybe once they learn that’s where the food is you can raise the dish. I’ve seen a lot of people use the plates that terra cotta pots sit on. Like the orange standard pots. Anything painted is automatically risky because of chemicals. I would be more likely to trust a painted reptile dish than something intended for people. The reptile section usually has a ton of shallow dishes. I used to use a reptile dish for a short time, but I prefer my little low spot in the sand.

Sorry guys I know that was a lot of words
 
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Kenzie Corson

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Thanks all for the great advice everyone! I think the idea of getting a feeding dish is brilliant! I'm going to try to find something suitable this afternoon as I'll be out getting stuff for our new 20 gallon. Will be sure not to get anything painted as per your advice Pringlethesnail, definitely don't want any extra chemicals in the tank!

P.S. My boys are LITERALLY doing backflips for bloodworms! I feel so bad for having not given them to them before. Leonard will climb to the top of the tank and lean off the glass so he can reach for the worms that are closer to the middle of the tank.
 

Snailwhisperer

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I can't wait for my blood worms to arrive.

I also really appreciate the idea of a feeding pit. I wanted to ask how people clean up the uneaten food. I have been using a vac, is there an easier way?

Thanks
 

Pringlethesnail

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It’s like a science trying to give the snails all they can eat without having leftovers. I usually don’t have leftover food anymore but when I did I would vacuum it
 
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