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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I knew olive nerites sometimes had barnacles on them, so I wasn't surprised to see a few in my order of 40 from azgardens. I figured it's because they are harvested from brackish water where barnacles can live.

Today, 3 days after getting them, I just took a closer look at one of my olives. It's the largest and has two barnacles. Both of them are alive! You can see the little feeder arm reaching out about once a second.

Are barnacles expected to survive in fresh water like this? Can they reproduce? I think they are pretty cool and would like to keep them alive. Maybe I should add a bit of salt, but I don't want to hurt anything else in the tank (plants, fish, shrimp, other snails).
 

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It's been awhile since I heard about barnacles on Olives, since they're usually collected from freshwater these days. I can faintly remember someone keeping them alive for at least a few months in freshwater.. but that was years ago.

Keep us updated.
 

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That is so cool. I love watching barnacles feed with their little waving feet; it's hypnotic.

I don't think they'll last too long in fresh water. A few weeks, maybe. Though they're partially protected by their shell, eventually they will be surrounded entirely by fresh water, which will mess with their body chemistry. They might not be able to feed well, either.

Can't really reproduce unless they have a neighboring barnacle with which to exchange sperm. Takes two barnacles to tango (they don't usually self). Sounds like yours are next door to each other, but fresh water will probably inhibit breeding. Fun fact: barnacles have the longest male reproductive organ relative to body size of any animal.

Can you get any pictures of video of them in action?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't think they'll last too long in fresh water. A few weeks, maybe. Though they're partially protected by their shell, eventually they will be surrounded entirely by fresh water, which will mess with their body chemistry. They might not be able to feed well, either.
Any idea how brackish the water needs to be?

Can't really reproduce unless they have a neighboring barnacle with which to exchange sperm. Takes two barnacles to tango (they don't usually self). Sounds like yours are next door to each other, but fresh water will probably inhibit breeding. Fun fact: barnacles have the longest male reproductive organ relative to body size of any animal.
:red_mouth Based on what I saw in the video, they are close enough!

Can you get any pictures of video of them in action?
I tried some stills. They are in an old plastic hex tank that is very scratched so it's hard to see anything. As for video, I'd rather not. I'm just not very proficient at getting clips from the camera the the web, and don't care to spend the time.
 

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I wrote about occurrences of barnacles in freshwater here. This sort of thing isn't unheard of with olive nerites (and, elsewhere in the world, has involved crayfish and water beetles).

It's difficult to be conclusive without knowing the species of barnacle in question, but I would say that a salinity of 3-5 ppt (reached using marine salt mix) ought to be better than full freshwater (and certainly tolerable for the nerite). Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wrote about occurrences of barnacles in freshwater here. This sort of thing isn't unheard of with olive nerites (and, elsewhere in the world, has involved crayfish and water beetles).

It's difficult to be conclusive without knowing the species of barnacle in question, but I would say that a salinity of 3-5 ppt (reached using marine salt mix) ought to be better than full freshwater (and certainly tolerable for the nerite). Best of luck!
Thanks. That was an interesting read. The two barnacles have slowed down a lot in just the past couple of hours. One is inactive, and one seems to only move every 10 seconds or so. I found another nerite with one live barnacle, although the only sign of life is slight contraction every now and then.

I have a few small low light tanks setup, one of which I could make slightly brackish. They all have various plants, inverts, and fish, so I need to pick from a list that will survive light brackish water.

For plants, I've heard anubias, java fern, and many crypts do well. Seems in general brackish tolerant plants are low light plants. I also have java moss, a very slow growing melon sword, and also just added some micro swords. Note sure how tolerant they are of brackish water.

For inverts, I have MTS and gold snails. I'm not sure what level of brackish water they tolerate. I also have ghost/glass shrimp, amanos, and RCS they I need to check on.

For fish, I can easily get a tank with no fish or just mollies, which I know tolerate very brackish water. I also just got a couple clown plecos. I seem to recall that plecos don't like salt.
 

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No clue about how brackish the water needs to be. That's a parameter that would depend on the species of barnacle, I think. I'd go with Veneer's suggestion; hopefully it will perk your barnacles back up.

If I recall correctly, Amanos breed best in brackish water, so you might be able to keep some Amanos in the nerite tank. Beyond that, I'm afraid I don't know.

Hehe, yeah, I know how hard it can be to get good macro shots in a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If I recall correctly, Amanos breed best in brackish water, so you might be able to keep some Amanos in the nerite tank. Beyond that, I'm afraid I don't know.
I was thinking the same thing. I once had a berried amano that I moved to the tank I plan on making brackish for the barnacles. The next day it was gone. It was a fairly empty 5g hex, so I know it wasn't hiding. It was not in the filter either. I guess it jumped shipped for some reason. I'll need a better hood.

I'm not sure if amanos need brackish to breed, or just for the larva to develop. I know mine had no problem getting berried in fresh water. I recall reading that just the larva need brackish, and I believe quite brackish, like 1.010 to 1.015.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's pretty cool.

I imagine that it could be difficult to keep them alive for very long because it might be difficult to keep enough suspended food for them in most aquarium setups.
Which is interesting in that I just read nerites are sensitive to water quality and require well filtered water, at least when compared to other snails. So how does one keep water clear enough for the nerites and "dirty" enough for barnacles? Clearly there is a some middle ground. Otherwise they would not co-exist as they do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I started a brackish tank just over two days ago. Actually it's just a 5g bucket that I just finished using as a quarantine tank. I've added about 1 tbs of marine salt twice a day, so it's up around 1.002 or 1.003 now. I'm just using one of those cheap floating things to measure specific gravity, but I figure that's good enough for $3 worth of snails.

The two barnacles on the one snail are now very active, sweeping their feeder arm a few times a second. The lone barnacle on the other snail is starting to show some activity, although all I'm seeing him do is occasionally sweep his feeder arm weakly and slowly, but that's is an improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've had the barnacles for two weeks now, with them in brackish water (~1.004) for the last 11 days. The two on the one snail both appear to be alive, although one doesn't seem to be that active. The 3rd barnacle on the 2nd snail, which originally was dormant, has been the most active the past 10 days. Most of the time when I look in the tank he is taking about 2-3 sweeps a second, while the other two are often dormant or just taking a sweep every second or so.

I'm going to keep increasing the salinity up to somewhere between 1.010 and 1.015. I have a pregnant amano now, so if I can manage to catch her babies I'll put them in the tank with the barnacles.
 
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