Zebra Nerite Snails Failure to thrive

Skydognyc
Member
My Betts (“Coco”) died after a tough struggle to save him (with help from my new friends here).
I had moved him from a toxic high ammonia tank where he lived with 2 Nirite snails.

In the aftermath - I took down my (less then a week old) 10 gal tank and cleaned everything with dilute bleach. I sterilized the live plants and am holding them in treated water that I change daily.

Prior to medicating the main tank, I moved the Zebra Nirite Snail to a new 1 gallon temp set up with a small filter, light and thermometer. I then found the other snail moving around in a bucket containing the equipment from the original sick tank (I thought he must have gotten out and was lost but I found him stuck to lid of the other tank) - and added him into the new 1 gal temp tank.

I know this tank is too small for these 2 snails but I wanted to get cycling the 10 gal before I add them in.

I treated the snail tank water for chlorine and added API QUICK START.
The temperature of the was steady at 74F without a heater.

I used a dip stick test and the water contained zero parts of all parameters (no ammonia, no nitrites or nitrates, ph 6.8-7.0 (too low for them?).

There is of course no visible algae so I added a slice of blanched cucumber and an algae wafer.

Both snails moved around the tank and I saw one near the tab but didn’t see them get near the cucumber which I removed after about 6 hours.

The next day they both came down to the bottom of the tank and moved around less.

I have continued to check the water (it had a higher ammonia level and the ph was around 8 on the 3rd day)... I have been changing 1/4 to 1/2 the water adding back treated tap water .

The filter became clogged (draining over the top rather than thru the medium so I removed it and rinsed well w tank water to remove the debri clogging it . I also rinsed the plant and decoration with out thinking about it realizing I may have removed any algae that might be growing.

This afternoon I noticed they both haven’t moved at all and one was on his back. I righted the upside down one and added a small heater into the tank thinking that 73-74 F might be getting too cold.

The upside down one was half open and I thought he was dead so I moved him to a small container with tank water planning to bury him next to Coco... but after a few hours checking on him periodically.... I noticed his little antenni were poking out and he was a little more out of his shell.

An hour later he was stuck to side of container so I placed him back into the (now 78F ) warmed tank along w a piece of kale that I jabbed with a fork to added to the bottom of the small tank.

He began to move around and has moved closer to but not on the kale leaf.

However - the other snail is now still in the same spot he’s been all day but... he’s sticking out of his shell in an awkward pose. I’ll keep a close eye on him but he might be dead.

What can I do better for these guys?

They don’t seem to be eating and I haven’t seen them chow down ever since I first removed them from the toxic and algae covered original tank.

How long can they go without eating much?

What is best for me to feed them and how to keep it on the bottom?

What is the ideal temp for them and should I keep it heated or not (I know they can live in lower temps and pref 70-80F but should I leave it at room temp of 73 or heat to 78?

Should I hurry up and start to cycle the 10 gal (stressed out from trying to save c so enjoying gathering my tools and decor and preparing for/ researching and deciding about new bottom substrate, filter, lighting, timer, theme,
and where to buy fish before starting it back up) so that I can add them in ASAP (should I do a “snails-in” cycle or wait til it’s cycled to get them out of the small tank?).

Any advice appreciated.

Sky-d
 
Kribensis27
Member
Is the new tank cycled? Nerites can be sensitive to water quality.
 
Ioana Sundius
Member
If you have friends with an existing fishtank, you may want to consider relocating them in a cycled tank for now. It sounds like the tank they are in is also freshly setup and not cycled? Establishing a cycle, especially in a small tank starting bare takes a few weeks to a month, and they will not last. Better to loan or rehome them for now, recreate your fishtank without any creatures in it and slowly add stock while watching for spikes. There is a ton of information on this, including on this forum.

I have a soft spot for zebra nerite snails Hope they will recover!
 
richiep
Member
I dont understand why you closed a tank that was less than a week old, it probably hadn't properly started to cycle that tank shouldn't have had onything in it, to wash a tank in a dilution of beech is asking for trouble for a long time to.come, only the slightest of beech left in there will kill anything, the slowing up of your snails after putting them back in is probably proof of this you need to re home them until you have a fully cycled working tank which can take up to 7 weeks to go through this process, as for the tank you bleached personally id throw it id have no confidence in putting inverts in it,
 
Ioana Sundius
Member
Not to harp on this.. we have all had our first experiences with big mistakes... In my town, Petco has a community tank with water creatures surrendered by members of the community. Other pet stores will take community critters as well. Usually baby guppies from home breeders and the occasional molly or pleco that outgrew his tank. They would take your nerite and try to give them a better environment for now. There is nothing you can do to hasten the cycle and keep them alive, unfortunately. Snails are more sensitive than many fish. When you hear about fish-in cycle, people are prepared to lose some fish in the process. It sounds like you have observed these guys up close and it's not a risk you want to take on.
 
AggressiveAquatics
Member
In my experience I always though snails were really hardy. But now that I’m reading your guys posts about how their sensitive I think I have mutant snails or something lol. I had my nerites in my 29 gallon when it was cycling at around 3ppm ammonia and they all seemed fine and eating. Maybe I just got the immortal ones.

DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend doing this but I was poorly informed by the LFS that snails are really hardy and can survive high ammonia.
 
  • Thread Starter
Skydognyc
Member
Ok Ok I know.... I started out with this whole thing by rescueing Coco the Beta from a very sick tank that was in the hands of a total rookie that really liked the fish but didn't know anything about it...he did things like turning off the pump for long hours during the day as he (correctly) thought it was knocking the fish around. He also kept the light on almost all the time (so he could see what was going on with the fish) and this resulted in terrible algae over growth which further complicated things but also gave the 3 (only 2 survived) snails that were happily cruzing around munching on all the algae.

But when I brought everyone home - and also not knowing much but reading and consulting here as much as I could/can.... I wrongly bought and set up an entirely new tank - eager to get them out of that off the chart ammonia and stagnant looking slim containing sick tank.... so I introduced them to a new, uncycled tank. I did dechlorinate the water and added "Quick Start", I added several live plants and I was monitoring levels using 6-in-one strips but things went down hill after an initial improvement and I attempted to treat the beta (who was having trouble breathing as you can imagine between probable toxic burns to his gills and lungs as well as decreased immunity from all the stress....

That is why I removed the snails from tank number 2 to begin with.... I didn't want to put them through the medicaiton and initial salt therapy I was trying to help the beta with... in retrospect... I over did it (I hear you seasoned fish keepers rolling your eyes)... when I saw the fish staying near the water coming out of the pump, I should have realized (I know some of you told me this but I wasn't ready to understand what you meant exactly...) ... that he was having trouble moving the oxygen through his damaged lungs and I should have thought about adding O2 maybe by adding a bubble source to get the oxygen to the lower parts of the tank and help him more easily get air...

...but another mistake I made was trying to baffle the outflow of the pump because I could see that it was tattering his fins by him constantly living in the current... I also should have given it more time before going crazy medicating him. My thought was if I could take care of any possible bacteria or fungal infection right off the bat, then he could proceed with healing without the added stress of infection - I was way wrong and I probably killed him by stressing him and .... not giving him enough time to take in O2 and heal...

But... to explain why I took down that new tank...all of this is a long way of explaining that I took it down to clean it in order to eliminate the medications I had added (especially since the fungal meds turned everything yellow and stained the white substrate). Besides, I knew I would be starting by cycling this now empty tank and I wanted to do it from scratch to try to do it right.... and make as healthy a start as I can for the next beta that I am hopefully better prepared to give a good life to!

But... in the mean time... I'm totally out of my league with these snails in this tiny 1 gal temporary tank.

I don't know ANYONE that keeps fish (except a friend of a friend who just set up a jelly fish tank (I didn't even know you could do that).... but I will for sure call PETCO and PETSMART tomorrow to see if they are able/willing to take the snails and give them a healthier environment...except that right now... I can't even tell if they are alive.

The tank got a little too warm after I added the tiny heater that was supposed to stay at 78F but prob goes over because the tank is so small (and I was leaving the light on a bit to try to encourage algea to grow and give them something to eat....).....

But since I am having to feed them (even though I haven't actually seen them eat or try to eat since the first day when one of them was on the cucumber I added that day)... it is adding to the difficulty keeping that tank from wide variations in the ph as well as the issue with the temperature and... its been developing this hazy brownish water that I think might have had something to do with the live plant I added in to try to help clean up the water.

So now I have them in a cup... they definately aren't moving. One is sort of holding on to the bottom but the other has been tightly closed for 24 hours now and I haven't see him move at all... he's probably dead.

I feel really bad for them and hope that its not too late for them to benefit from a petstore tank if they will be willing to let them in.

If anyone has any other thoughts about what to do here.
I've had some big emergency's at work and another day is done without me setting up the 10 gal, but I'm going to add the substrate and water tonight and get that settling down and figure out which method to use to get the cycle going . I was going to dechlorinate and add "quick start" then see where the parameters are. I thought I'd either add fish food and watch the levels.

Besides using food - this there a faster preferred method? Any chance the quick start (or I also have Bio-Spira) can speed up the cycle (I've read others say their tanks were cycled and ready in like 3 days after using starter...?)?

Also - I was given an "ECO BIO STONE" which says it helps keep bacteria levels hihg and does things like help decompose organic waste and remove odors... do people place these in their tank to help?

Also RICHIEP - I think you said to just 'throw out the tank' because I cleaned it in dilute bleach??
I clean many things in bleach (especially lately w covid)... but I am fairly precise with my dilution (typically 1 to 9 to create a 10% solution) and I am over cautious about rinsing... rinsed thourouly at least 5 times (over about 5 mins) and I then soaked the tank and the things that were in it in dechlorinated water before doing a final rinse and dry...then left in the sun to dry the rest of the way.

I'm pretty confident its safe although I will rinse it all down again before setting it up... but I was wondering if you feel this strongly only about bleach ? and if so..what do you use to decontaminate or even just clean your equipment ? I have cleaned some of the items from the original sick tank using diluted vinegar soaks and fresh then dechlorinated water and I did use the small thermometer that was in that tank in the snail tank... but again, I'm confident in my vigalence about rinsing it after the vinegar. Do you feel as strongly about this as you do about bleach? Just asking cause I really want to learn the safest (as well as fastest and most economical) ways to tend to the tank.

sd
 
  • Thread Starter
Skydognyc
Member
Update... (even if just to keep myself clear)...
One snail definately dead...I said "oh they say just smell it you'll know...but what if I don't? sniff...omg this is a dead snail!!!"

The other has been a question mark. So I did a 1/4 water change and added some beneficial bacteria...then took the heater out as the small steady at 78F heater was making the tank 81 or 82F...too hot for this sickly guy. I turned of the heater and tank has been stead at 78F all day. I turned off the light (took out the random live plant that seemed to be mushy (melting?)... so thought the unlighted tank might be helpful for him...

Then I placed him on a big peice of Kale. When I checked him an hour later he was a little way up the kale and now I"m pretty sure hes moved because he's near the top of the kale now lonly he hasn't moved at all since reaching that peak.

Did he decide to nap?
Is he not moving around because he's sick? or because there isn't any algea growing in this tank? or ??

The ph is a little high at 8.0 and the KH and GH are at the high end of "good" range on the dip stick.

I noticed what looked like a little hole in his shell, but upon closer exam I see its a tiny crack.

I'm sure he isn't getting proper nutrients as he hasn't shown interest in the "Algea Pellets" (I've been placing 1/4 of a tab near him periodically throughout the day and removing them when they are mush and he is not showing interest. I hope hes eating the kale and that give him a little calcium...I am waiting for my test kit to arrive as well as a cuttle bone and a seperate test for calcium so I can keep track.

I can't wait for the 10 gal to be ready to add him in if he survives... my estimate is that he was originally purchased about 6 months ago and its possible that he's around a year old....I'm hoping he recovers and starts to enjoy his life a little more.... and I'm hoping for more activity so that I can be clear that he is alive and not continueing to be on the brink...its really stressful to be so unstable with my pets...I'm going to give up if I can't figure out how to stablize these tanks...its not at all fun to have to constantly be testing and adjusting. not fun at all. Trying to stay positive.

skydog.
 
Kribensis27
Member
I’d add back the melting plant. Those are great sources of biofilm for nerites.
 
Fisch
Member
Skydognyc said:
Update... (even if just to keep myself clear)...
One snail definately dead...I said "oh they say just smell it you'll know...but what if I don't? sniff...omg this is a dead snail!!!"

The other has been a question mark. So I did a 1/4 water change and added some beneficial bacteria...then took the heater out as the small steady at 78F heater was making the tank 81 or 82F...too hot for this sickly guy. I turned of the heater and tank has been stead at 78F all day. I turned off the light (took out the random live plant that seemed to be mushy (melting?)... so thought the unlighted tank might be helpful for him...

Then I placed him on a big peice of Kale. When I checked him an hour later he was a little way up the kale and now I"m pretty sure hes moved because he's near the top of the kale now lonly he hasn't moved at all since reaching that peak.

Did he decide to nap?
Is he not moving around because he's sick? or because there isn't any algea growing in this tank? or ??

The ph is a little high at 8.0 and the KH and GH are at the high end of "good" range on the dip stick.

I noticed what looked like a little hole in his shell, but upon closer exam I see its a tiny crack.

I'm sure he isn't getting proper nutrients as he hasn't shown interest in the "Algea Pellets" (I've been placing 1/4 of a tab near him periodically throughout the day and removing them when they are mush and he is not showing interest. I hope hes eating the kale and that give him a little calcium...I am waiting for my test kit to arrive as well as a cuttle bone and a seperate test for calcium so I can keep track.

I can't wait for the 10 gal to be ready to add him in if he survives... my estimate is that he was originally purchased about 6 months ago and its possible that he's around a year old....I'm hoping he recovers and starts to enjoy his life a little more.... and I'm hoping for more activity so that I can be clear that he is alive and not continueing to be on the brink...its really stressful to be so unstable with my pets...I'm going to give up if I can't figure out how to stablize these tanks...its not at all fun to have to constantly be testing and adjusting. not fun at all. Trying to stay positive.

skydog.
Sorry to hear that you are going through a lot of stress right now, it seems it never ends.
I am not sure where you live, can you put an ad into the classifieds? I have seen some some postings where people try to find temporary homes for their tanks and fish during hardship.
Hope it won't be too late, but it gives you the time you need to get the tank started.
 
Kribensis27
Member
Fisch said:
Sorry to hear that you are going through a lot of stress right now, it seems it never ends.
I am not sure where you live, can you put an ad into the classifieds? I have seen some some postings where people try to find temporary homes for their tanks and fish during hardship.
Hope it won't be too late, but it gives you the time you need to get the tank started.
What are classifieds?
 
Fisch
Member
Kribensis27 said:
What are classifieds?
Sorry, in former time they were ads in the newspaper. Now there is craigslist in the US, local ebay, or here in Salt Lake it is KSL.
 
  • Thread Starter
Skydognyc
Member
This Zebra Nirite Snail is still hanging on.
I added back the "melting" plant but it continued to melt and lose leaves and it was making the water slimy and murky... the ph was going higher than it already is (seems to come out of tap around 8.0 and goes to around 7.8 after sitting for a day). I did add back some dwarf grass of some kind and the ph seems more steady.
I also added a "cuttle bone" and placed the snail on it - in the morning he had moved to the side of the tank (first time off the bottom in a couple week) and there are clearly lines of him eating or licking the bone.

I also have added kale, blanched spinach, slice of cucumber and daily algea tab ... not all at the same time but alternating and I place him on or near the food to try to get him interested... no obvious signs of him eating and he mostly sits very still all day but today he moved up the side and is parked near the filter outlet.

He is not the cruzing around snail he was when he was in the sick tank with the sick betta and other snail (all of which have died since I rescued them)... but I'm not sure how to further help him and how to best feed him since this tank is showing no signs of algea visably and the 10 gal is now set up and I'm beginning to cycle it.

Also the snail had an eroded area along the margin of his shell where I am seeing a peek of his soft body. It has a small white area that is not always visable (if it was external I would say it looks like fungus) and sometimes his body appears pink or reddish where its a little visable.

I added a fractional dose of "flourish" that I bought for the new plants in the cycling tank with the thought that it would add a small amt of calcium (but I'm aware it also has a minor amt of copper however I have read here that it doens't seem to be enough to bother snails at the small amt in there and I didn't even put 1/4 of the dose into this really small 1 gal hospital tank.

If anyone has any thing to add about : what to feed and how to help his shell I would appreciate it.

Do you guys think he's suffering? Sick? Painful? and.... if we determine that he is..... now what? if his quality of life doesn't pick up.... and his shell deteriorates more so that his body is too exposed.... what do people do at that point? When my beta was super sick I read about euthanasia and was preparing to do this if his breathing didn't improve (sadly he died)....but I don't see anything about how to help a snail peacfully pass on so maybe that's not a thing?

eager to hear from someone with experience in this snail issue.

Thanks. skydog
 

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