I have two problems, in two different tanks.

First, Aenara has been spitting out all her food for the past 3 days. She seems hungry at first and comes to the top but chews and spits everything I give her.  She refuses to eat her pea. She just watches it drop down and won't chase it. She seems healthy and active otherwise. She just won't eat. I'm thinking of simply letting her go hungry for two days and then trying again. If she is constipated (I don't think she is though) then her system can get a rest and if she's just being a problem child and being picky then she should be hungry by then and more willing to try.  If anyone has any other ideas I could use them...

Second, there is something funky going on with Phlox's water. His Nitrate levels have been high (35-40 range) and in spite of several large water changes in the past week I can't get it down. It goes down to under 25 right after water change but goes right back up again shortly thereafter. All other levels are 0. All my other tanks have Nitrate below 15. I used Prime to condition the new water to help take the Nitrate down but it won't stay down. Phlox seems okay but his snail seems to be dying.  The snail has been at the top of the tank right at the water line for the past 4 days. He hasn't eaten because I can't throw an algae wafer down for him unless he goes to the bottom.  This morning I thought he was dead. He (the snail) was floating at the top. He was hanging out of his shell. I touched his antenae gently with a stick and he didn't even flinch. A few minutes later I found him sticking to the glass again slowly moving but he looks really sick. He's huge (golf ball size) and could possibly be dying of old age but I wonder if he's more sensitive to the Nitrates than Phlox?
Phlox is going to be heartbroken if his snail dies. Moving Noelle into the tank will help but I don't want to put her in until I figure out how to stabilize his Nitrates.  Any ideas?


I'm not sure about your nitrate levels. I use Aqua Plus which seems to work fine for me. Maybe you need to do some serious gravel vacuuming or something.

As for Aenara...let her fast for a day or so. Rusty now and then has been like that and I have found that if I just let him go hungry for a day or two he'll eagerly eat after that.


I did a deep gravel vac in Phlox's tank on the weekend and changed 60% of his water and then 2 days later another 40% water change. Levels keep going up shortly after the water change.  ???


I'm really not sure. Maybe you should move this to the general or beginner's forum and maybe someone a bit more knowledgeable will be able to help. I've no experience with this at all.

LZ Floyd

Just did a search: snails, nitrates.  This little ditty came up: Snails and slugs are sensitive to the nitrate ion. The slime on their body reduces the nitrate ion to the toxic nitrite, which kills them. ...

If true, I wonder if you could transport Zilla to another home until the nitrate problem is solved.



Your snail is dying if it is floating. You will have to move it quickly and then I cannot gaurantee it will live. Mine died that way too as we have such a horrible nitrate problem here. Ours is however natural and I do not know what is the cause of yours.

The only thing that I have found to keep ours at a reasonable and even level on a consistent basis is a lot of real plants. But I think your tanks are planted with real plants, aren't they.

The only other cause for the nitrates that I may suggest is the snail itself. It does produce a lot of waste, and you do not have snails in the other tanks. You would be surprised at the amount of nitrogenous waste a snail can produce in even one day and the levels in the water will raise quickly. I was doing 50% water changes like 3 times a week when I had my snails and now that they are gone I am back to 50% one time a week.

As far as the little one goes, I totally agree with poe. She is not hungry if she will not eat. The only thing you can do if you are concerned and do not know if she is constipated is isolate her in one of the critter keepers as long as it is heated for a couple of days with no gravel and check to make sure she is having "poops". But I really think the idea of fasting her for a couple of days is the best one. If she will not eat then, that is the time to take more drastic measures. It sounds like she is telling you she wants different food. Misty did that when she was ready for Big Betta Food (bloodworms). If you have them, you could try one on her. It is doubtful if she would eat another type of pellet, but you may even try that. If she quits eating the baby food, do not despair. They like it now and then for a change even now. Alex likes a meal of it once in a while and so did the girls so you will be able to use it.

I do hope everything works out okay. I am sorry about your snail and hope he makes it. They are so beautiful and I especially loved yours he has such beautiful markings. I will feel so bad for Lava if something happens to him.

Please let us know how things are going.


LZ Floyd

Just curious about how things are going with the Bettas and snail.



The snail is still hanging in there. A few times I thought he was gone and then a few minutes later I find him sticking to the glass again. He is really not looking well and still won't go to the bottom so I can feed him. Hopefully he is eating whatever algae he can find on the glass and plants. Don't know how long he'll be with us but so far he's still fighting. As soon as I get the girl's tank set up I will have some extra tanks. I'll transfer him to a hospital tank and change his water every day and see if that helps.
I've been doing regular water changes in Phlox's tank but it doesn't bring the Nitrate down for long. Phlox seems fine and the levels are high but still in the "safe" range for him.

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