need advice about adding a snail

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Phloxface

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I've seen some really nice black mystery snails at my Petsmart and I would like to buy one tomorrow for Phlox's tank. They have various sizes from very small to quite large (about half the size of a ping pong ball). I'd love to get one of the bigger ones but was wondering if it's better to get a smaller one, or does it matter?  Also, since my tank is fairly new it doesn't really have any algae in it yet. What should I feed the snail for now? I've seen some kind of algae pellets at the store. Would these be good for the snail?
 

0morrokh

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I think it would be best to add a bigger snail. A bigger one would be less likely to get bullied by the Betta.
Snails don't eat that much algae. just feed a variety of sinking foods. I think they will eat pretty much anything--flakes, pellets, algae wafers, vegetables. Just feed a variety of things.
 

JP

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They love algae wafers. They love fruits and vegetables, too. Here are some links to discussions on the best apple snail website out there regarding general care and the different foods they can and should be fed:




Interesting reading beyond those two threads as well. If you're interested in these neat creatures you should check it out. :)

I would definitely keep a close eye on the betta and snail if/when you add one. These snails always seem to attract rough attention from certain fish, including bettas.
 

chickadee

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My bettas love their snails!!! They started out the size of big marbles and are now the size of ping-pong balls. Get the big ones if you have the choice. They are so beautiful. If you can, check the water you are using for hardness. (GH) and that will give you an idea of whether you need to give them some food for crustaceans. I give my snails Hikari Crab Cuisine which is food for shellfish. It gives the shells lots of calcium to make them strong. My water is fairly hard but the snails snatch up the pellets just the same. They are made with shrimp so the bettas will occasionally go after them after they get soaked up.

Enjoy the snail if you get one and don't be too surprised to see them grow fast. My first one scared me to death at first, I thought he was swelling up and all he was doing was growing out of the shell and putting on a new addition to the shell to give himself more room. He is big and gorgeous now!

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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I got the snail today and he's beautiful!!! He's quite large... quite a bit bigger than Phlox. Phlox didn't try to bite him at all. At first he ignored him and then he just swam around him looking at him and the snail looked back at Phlox. ;D

I always thought a snail wasn't much more than a rock that moved a little once in a while. Boy was I wrong! I put the snail on the gravel in the center of the tank when I took him out of the bag. A minute or two later I looked back at him to see if he had done anything and he was on the other side of the tank crawling up Phlox's Greek Temple. When he reached the top he reached out what I can only describe as an "arm" and touched the bubbles coming up from the airstone behind the temple. He was so fascinated with the bubbles he crawled around to the other side and extended his "arm" closer to touch the bubbles again. He's now sitting between the pillars watching Phlox play in the bubbles. It's the cutest thing! Seems Phlox isn't the only one who loves to take bubble showers! Phlox seems to have found a buddy who shares his obsession with the airstone and the Greek Temple (Phlox's favorite place to play). I just love this funny little creature! Who'd have thought... a snail.

I took a picture of the snail with Phlox zooming by in the background and another of the snail reaching out it's arm to touch the bubbles. ;D
 

chickadee

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The "arm" is the snail's breathing syphon. It will reach above the surface of the water with it when it needs to breathe and you will see it doing what you will swear is having a seizure of some kind, but that is the snail breathing. They are able to stay underwater for very long periods of time without breathing but when they need to they simply extend this tube above the surface and suck the air in and then go about their business. They are indeed incredible to watch. Wait until he starts to extend his eye buds and antennae!! It is a truly beautiful sight.

Be sure to keep your tank covered as they will take a walk on the wild side if they can get to the surface and go over the top. Mine got out of a container I was using for a quarantine tank and got a good 20 feet away before I noticed. Unfortunately my floors are wood and treated with an oil based product to make them shine and it eventually cost him his life. Now I am down to one but I do intend to get a couple more before the winter comes on.

What a beautiful picture and so unique! You will want to enter it in the contest.

Rose
 
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Phloxface

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Thanks for the link JP!  Good info on snails.

Rose: sorry to hear about your little escapee.   

I have seen my snail extend his eyes and antennae. Pretty cool! I've decided to name him Zilla (short for SnailZilla because he looks like a giant monster attacking on top of those pillars) It took Phlox about 2 hours to figure out that this was a living creature. After that he wouldn't leave Zilla alone. Phlox has not shown any aggression towards him but being a baby fishie he does love to play and Zilla must find this annoying at times.  When Zilla is gliding across the gravel floor Phlox shadows him, swimming next to him and wiggling excitedly. He wants to race Zilla and guide him to go where he wants. Phlox rubs against him like a cat would and sometimes lies on the floor directly facing Zilla almost nose to nose staring at him. At one point Zilla was gliding up the side of the tank and Phlox was racing up and down beside him and I guess got impatient with Zilla's lack of speed. Phlox gave him a nip on the behind and knocked poor Zilla right off the glass. Zilla retreats to the back of the tank, behind the Temple to sleep and get away from Phlox once in a while. I put a slice of zucchini in there for Zilla to munch on. I scored it a bit with a knife to soften it. Seems Phlox likes zucchini as well and he's been chowing down on it like a lion with fresh meat! I assume it's okay for him to eat this isn't it?

I think Phlox needs some faster swimming playmates in there so he doesn't always drive the same occupant crazy.  I am thinking about getting a couple of African Dwarf Frogs. They are so cute! My Petsmart carries them but are out of stock at the moment. I want to wait until I add lots of live plants and a rock cave to Phlox's tank so the frogs have hiding places if he tires them out too much. 

Lava is getting a Gold Mystery snail as soon as Petsmart gets some bigger ones. The ones they had were tiny and I'd rather give him one that is bigger than he is. Lava is a lot more lively and playful now that he has his heater and filter. He's behaving a lot more like Phlox. Water heated to 80 degrees makes such a HUGE difference in a Bettas personality! I wanted to get the same filter as Phlox has (Aqua Clear) so I wouldn't have to buy different refills all the time but they were out of stock and didn't know when it would be in so I bought the Bio Wheel. I've heard it was a good one. Lava loves the moving water and like Phlox, loves playing and wiggling under the filter's outlet.

Next purchase for both the boys...  florescent lighted hoods and lots of live plants. 
 

chickadee

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Just one word of advice and it is a funny thing since your boys are still babies and love to play with the snail "puppies". Alexander is about their age (just a bit older) but he was just that way when he first got introduced to his snail and he would "ride" him. It was cute until the day that Angel (the snail) started to climb the glass and Alex just rode along right up above the water line and then he got caught and couldn't swim off of him. It was lucky that I just happened to glance over because his fins were wrapped on the shell and he was caught out of the water. Now bettas can breathe air but I still don't think they can survive out of the water so it had me concerned but it seems it taught him a lesson as he never took any more "rides". But betta babies will do some really cute but very stupid things sometimes.

Marty can see into Alexander's tank and surprisingly they do not flare at each other. I do not think Alex has noticed Marty and Marty is just curious because I do not think he can believe some of the stupid things this youngster is doing. I just wish I had a video of the naughty little Marty to play back for him because he pulled some real bonehead stunts on his own when he was younger. Now that he is the old man of the bunch, (he is 10 months old only) he tries to act wise. I got a note from Petco today telling Noel Happy Birthday and I felt like crying because Noel has been gone for a couple of months already and I still miss him.

It sounds like the boys are going to have lovely homes. Real plants are the ticket if you feel you want them. My bettas just love their plants. They sleep on them, under them, over them and in them. Their favorites are the tall ones to sleep in so they do not have to swim to the surface that far at night, but during the day they nap under the leaves of the sword plants to hide from the lights.

I am glad that Zilla (love the name) likes the zucchini and yes, it is fine for the little Phlox to eat it. It will serve the same function as the peas. They just need to have some form of plant or greens to keep their digestive systems cleaned out. You are so lucky that Phlox is willing to eat other foods for you. He sounds like he will be easy to feed. Maybe you could try a small piece with your other little one when he gets his snail and if he will eat the zucchini then you may not have to do anything about peas unless you want to have the interaction with them. The general rule for vegetables for bettas (and fruits) is that if we can eat it it is safe for them. They have likes and dislikes - mine will eat apple and grape but NEVER banana or pear or tomato or zucchini. They also love peas, green beans (canned), and carrot (shredded very fine) If you put a piece of green bean (canned) in the tank, your snail will eat it but don't do it often as it is high in salt. We had some home canned ones and we can without salt so I can do it more often. Just be sure if something has a peeling (other than zucchini and carrot) that it is peeled (like the apple, pea, grape).

Rose
 

colleengirl

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There's so much great information here and the Phlox/Zilla episodes were fun to read.

Love the pictures!
 

poefox

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What an interesting set of stories about snails and bettas. I'm afraid that all Rusty does with my mystery snail is to swim up and watch him on occasion thoughtfully. But that is how Rusty interacts with his environment when it isn't supposedly threatening his food supply--he peers at it with a thoughtful aristocratic air and then swims off to do something else. He is the same about his reflection when it is not too viviv, with the occasional bubble in the water and with the blue stones that are in his favourite open spot in the tank.
 

chickadee

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Oh but your Rusty is so unique! He has such an aristocratic personality, Yes, I do like that word to describe him. He deigns to accept us humans and the other inhabitants of his tank by his will. You are so fortunate to have such a strong willed little man, he will make your life so interesting. I would love to have one of my little folks have such a strong, betta personality. He is a true betta in EVERY sense of the word and never had his spirit broken by any of the treatment he received.

I will never forget the way the two of you met and how he won you over. It made my heart glad as I was so afraid you would never own another betta and this betta will forever hold a special place in my heart for being special to you. It takes a very special betta to help someone who has no intention of having one to decide they must own them. Rusty is VERY special.

Bettas can be problematic because they become a part of us and it is so easy to make them into a part of our lives. For those who own only one and lose it, it is nearly impossible to imagine any other coming into your life and being special, but they can be as we have found out and in their own way they truly wrap their fins around our hearts and refuse to let go. Darth Pisces was special in his way and you will never forget him and neither shall I but Rusty has found his own nitche and will continue to remind you that he IS RUSTY and loves you on HIS terms. But he does love you or he would never pay attention to you when you "point your finger at him" . Such a funny, lovely, unique, challenging and totally loveable Betta.

Rose
 
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