Snails Dying Immediately After Entering Tank?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-26-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question Snails Dying Immediately After Entering Tank??

Hi guys!

I'm having a huge amount of trouble keeping snails and after searching and searching this and other forums, I'm still really stumped as to what's going wrong!

I've tried multiple nerite snails (one by one) and now also an apple snail, and even though they're lively in the bag coming home, once they go into my tank, they struggle and die almost immediately, only moving a very short distance from where they're dropped in, if at all, with long periods of just sitting, before they die within a day or two. The snails were acclimated by floating for an hour to equalize temperature and having the water in their bag nearly drained and replaced by small amounts of tank water (maybe 20%) every 10 mins for that acclimation hour. This last time I tried the snails, I was worried that past ones hadn't been able to find enough food, so I bought algae wafers and literally placed the snails face down on the wafers when they first went into the tank so that they could get food even if they weren't yet comfortable exploring, but the pattern repeated unchanged. When I first set the tank up, some small "pest" snails hitchhiked in on a plant and did amazingly well (laying eggs and multiplying like crazy for 1-2 months until they died off, presumably from eating all the algae). It was after this, when the algae started to come back, that I tried purchasing snails and have had such poor luck. The plants and fish (one betta) in the tank are doing just fine. The betta was interested in the snails, but I didn't specifically see him attacking them or harassing them too much (and could a betta even harm a grape-sized nerite or apple snail?)

Tank details are as follows:

10 gallon
Set up approx. 4 months ago
Dirted and planted (Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix topped with gravel but have had the same issues with another tank with Fluval Stratum + gravel cap)
Temperature: 80F
Supplements/Chemicals: Seachem Prime and Flourish Comprehensive, sometimes Flourish Potassium as needed for hygro polysperma (all state on package that they're invert safe)
Lighting: 18" 6500K LED fixture, 850 lm and 70 PAR @ 12 in - 10 hour photo period w/ 2 hour break in the middle
Flora: Ludwigia repens, hygro polysperma, hygro difformis, bacopa caroliniana, Helanthium tenellum
Fauna: One betta fish

Test Results (kit expires 04/2023, so should be valid):
Ph: 6.7-6.8
Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM

Any idea what could be happening? At this point, I don't feel comfortable buying another snail, as their untimely demises seem quite clearly linked to my tank, but I have relatively high lighting and will need algae control again soon, so I'm at a loss.

Any feedback is immensely appreciated - thanks in advance and for reading!

We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice.
- Mamoru Oshii
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 07:29 PM
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Any chance you've ever treated your tanks with Fenbendazole or a product to get rid of planaria?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-27-2020, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
Any chance you've ever treated your tanks with Fenbendazole or a product to get rid of planaria?
Thanks for your reply! But no, no dewormers or any other medication or additive has ever been used in the tank other than the Prime and Flourish (and this tank was bought brand new before I set it up, so likely no chance of residue from anything in the past?)

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 05:20 AM
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Does this happen in all your tanks or just that one? I can't keep snails or any inverts alive in my tap water because it sporadically leaches copper and heavy metals into it from the old pipes. If its tank specific have you added any new plants since the time the other snails did ok? I had a new plant once kill all my shrimp from what may have been pesticide residue. If you acclimated them correctly then all I can think of is something very invert toxic if they die that fast yet the fish are fine.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-28-2020, 04:44 PM
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I've had snails go from living the life from the LFS and the bag to completely stopping dead in their tracks in the tank. I let them sit there for days and all of a sudden they disappear and reappear on the other side of the tank. I originally thought they were dead but they really weren't. Have you given them a few days to see if they move at all? From what I've read, they're known to not be active for a few days and then they come out of the wood works.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-29-2020, 02:47 PM
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One thing that strikes me is the acclimation process: don't drain the water they're already in before adding your own. Instead, add small amounts of yours to theirs over an hour or so, until the water is almost completely diluted to your tank values, to avoid a pH or KH shock. Drip acclimation is even better.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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So sorry everyone! I stopped getting notifications of new comments for some reason and assumed there weren't any. Thank you so so much for your thoughts.

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Originally Posted by Rainer View Post
One thing that strikes me is the acclimation process: don't drain the water they're already in before adding your own. Instead, add small amounts of yours to theirs over an hour or so, until the water is almost completely diluted to your tank values, to avoid a pH or KH shock. Drip acclimation is even better.
Thank you! I don't think I described this very well (their water isn't drained completely, just some is let out of the very full bag to make room for the tank water that will be added). I did drip acclimate one, and others have been acclimated by adding an amount of tank water equivalent to maybe 5% of the pet store water that they are in every 5-10 mins until approx 75% of water volume is new tank water. I might try it again with an extremely slow drip, but the acclimations haven't been very rushed.

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Originally Posted by WillR1496 View Post
I've had snails go from living the life from the LFS and the bag to completely stopping dead in their tracks in the tank. I let them sit there for days and all of a sudden they disappear and reappear on the other side of the tank. I originally thought they were dead but they really weren't. Have you given them a few days to see if they move at all? From what I've read, they're known to not be active for a few days and then they come out of the wood works.
Really good point, when I was able to keep them, I had snails do this to me too! But it's unfortunately not the case now - they are definitely dead (foot hanging out of shell, no recoil response when touched, bad smell). To be sure, when removing two, I put them into a bucket of dechlorinated water with a heater to give them one last shot (so that if they didn't have their lazarus moment, they wouldn't further foul the aquarium water), but they never moved and were definitely decaying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Namine9 View Post
Does this happen in all your tanks or just that one? I can't keep snails or any inverts alive in my tap water because it sporadically leaches copper and heavy metals into it from the old pipes. If its tank specific have you added any new plants since the time the other snails did ok? I had a new plant once kill all my shrimp from what may have been pesticide residue. If you acclimated them correctly then all I can think of is something very invert toxic if they die that fast yet the fish are fine.
I only have the one tank right now, so I unfortunately can't compare to anything. I had read about the old-leeching-pipes possibility too? So I bought a copper test kit and have been testing the water at each change, but all readings are full zero, though perhaps there could be some trace amount that's not picked up, or some other heavy metal. I had added one or two new plants... I'll have to try to think if the issues could have started then! Some unknown and very invert-toxic substance is all I can think of as well at this point - very frustrating since I can't seem to pinpoint it to stop it. I might have to just tear the whole tank down and see if all new plants/gravel/etc does the trick.

We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice.
- Mamoru Oshii
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 12:24 AM
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If you’re convinced that this isn’t an acclimation issue, then that may leave only the tap water (water softener involved?) or something being added to the tank water via dosing or the substrate. BTW: your plants aren’t going to do well with zero nitrates. For that matter, I don’t see any GH or KH test results. pH 6.7 indicates some acid involvement without CO2 injection, probably from the substrate. Can you test for these (cheap API kit will do it)?

Before changing your current setup, I would try the following as a test to try to rule out acclimation issues. Snails are fairly hardy, so you don’t need an established tank. Try to use a container that can hold about a gallon of distilled water. You will have to re-mineralize this water. The easiest way is with something like Seachem’s Equilibrium and also add ~1/16 teaspoon of baking soda. Put food in, such as fish food, cauliflower or blanched spinach - maybe some of each. Bring the temp to 75-80 and, ideally, some aeration would be beneficial. Keep your eye on ammonia levels during this test.

You may want to start with some cheap snails and, if successful, move up to the snails you want. If they live, move one of the desirable snails to your tank and watch.
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