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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Staring at my snails I wonder:

Do snails always spiral in the same direction?

If someone had an off-spiraled snail, would it be worth more than 25 for 5$?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I thought that, but isn't the coriolis effect a myth anyway? I personally watched the water in my bathtub spiral down counter clockwise and then change its mind and spin down clockwise a minute after. and then, do you really think that ecuadorian snails are possibly bi-spiralled?
 

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When you look at the bottom - the foot - of a snail with the pointed tip of the shell facing up, if the foot is to the right of the rest of the shell then it is a dextral shell, and to the left it is a sinistral shell. (Funny note, the word sinister and left handedness are closely related. It is a popular belief that the left hand is evil, which is why many superstitious and/or religious people used to train their babies to use their right hand if they started showing left handed tendencies early in life). The way a snail's shell grows has to do with a species. For instance, most apple snails are dextral except for the ones in the genus Lanistes. Occasionally you do find the oddball snail though. They may actually be valuable to the right snail geek...

Ahh, found the link. Here ya go: Shell
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very interesting Jen. So if I DO find a snail that goes the other way, I should be wary of evil plots afoot? :red_mouth I just find these little guys to be oddly fascinating, and I keep procrastinating about getting some kind of large snail to watch - I'm sure they'd sell me one if I asked at the lfs, they've got some dang big mts, pond-ish looking snails and stuff.
 

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the spiral may be influenced by the Coriolis effect.

Coriolis effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I thought that, but isn't the coriolis effect a myth anyway? I personally watched the water in my bathtub spiral down counter clockwise and then change its mind and spin down clockwise a minute after. and then, do you really think that ecuadorian snails are possibly bi-spiralled?
I think he is making is a joke. I hope it's a joke. It must be a joke.
 

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Mangala, snails are so cool! What's even more fun than watching them is breeding them for colors. I'm playing with ramshorn snails and have been able to get about 4 distinct colors out of them. My favorites are the ones that come out the color of traffic cones! You should definitely see about snagging some of those MTS or pond snails from the LFS just to watch them (I doubt they'd charge you much, if at all). They are fascinating.

And if you do find an oddball dextral or sinistral snail, I'll buy 'em from you! It'd be neat to see if that is genetic, and how many of the babies would come out with the oddly sworlled shell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jen, I can't even imagine... you must have a million trillion little jars to breed them for color! I know you don't crush them heartlessly like many do... you must spend forever digging them out of your tanks! hehhee... I just know a lot of my ramshorns are turning calcium-white lately. its' very strange. :)
 

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I have little baggies that I use to transfer them around - the colors I have are brown, light brown (like a tan/sand color), light orange (pastel), and traffic cone orange. I have 4 tanks that have good snail populations, and I try to keep each with a unique color. It is by no means a perfect system, but I do start noticing more of the same color after awhile when I separate them out. I'd love to get a whole bunch of traffic cone snails, but I've been lax on my overfeeding :)

As for the calcium white, do you also see rough spots or pits on their shell? My guess is that your pH is at 7 or below, it'll eat away at their shells. Adding calcium-based weekend feeders actually help, or even buffering up your water (though most plants prefer the soft acidic water making it more of a hassle than it's worth). I have it easy because Indiana has liquid rock on tap and snails love it. :)
 

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I use a handfull of crushed coral in my Filters to buffer up the water for my snails and shrimp. I've used this method for years and for the most part the snails seem to be doing well (the water in Victoria is really acidic right out of the tap so I need to do something to keep 'em healthy)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hm, I know a place I can go get some tiny bits of coral for free! (it's called the beach, frackin' awesome living in seattle, seriously) Been meaning to head down there for some slate for my angels anyway...

The shells DO look a little bit rough... so that's probably the problem.

also, is it common for my MTS to die off or completely dissappear if I switch to a sand substrate? the last MTS I saw was just a shell... :( the ramshorns are taking over my tank. I"m almost thinking they're killing the pondsnails!!! It's ok, though, ramshorns happen to be my favorite shape of snail...
 

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Considering that MTS mostly live down in the gravel, you most likely threw them all out when you scooped up your gravel! Sounds like you need a restart!

The pondsnails are a pretty good indication of the amount of food in your tank. If you put in more sinking pellets or algae waffers (or best of all, rain-'s shrimpy biscuits) then you'll see a population explosion. Blanched or frozen/thawed veggies like carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and romaine are all greatly appreciated by the snails too. You do have to blanch them or freeze them though, it helps break down the plant matter and makes them easier to eat.
 

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hm, I know a place I can go get some tiny bits of coral for free! (it's called the beach, frackin' awesome living in seattle, seriously) Been meaning to head down there for some slate for my angels anyway...

The shells DO look a little bit rough... so that's probably the problem.

also, is it common for my MTS to die off or completely dissappear if I switch to a sand substrate? the last MTS I saw was just a shell... :( the ramshorns are taking over my tank. I"m almost thinking they're killing the pondsnails!!! It's ok, though, ramshorns happen to be my favorite shape of snail...
I wouldn't put anything from the beach in Seattle into your tanks.. I live on Vancouver island just a couple hours away from you and the waters here are not exactly pristine. Sewage is dumped into the waters just offshore here, and the industrial poulutants are pretty high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hmmm... I've actually got quite a bit from the beach in my tanks and they've been sitting there for quite the while... so far no unexplained deaths and water parameters are what they should be... 'course I boil the heck out of everything and soak in salt water to leach stuff off... And I totally painstakingly sifted through all my gravel to find as many MTS as possible (pulled out about 20 good sized ones and innumerable little ones) It took forever. they just seem to have dissappeared! :( oh well...
 

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The coriolis effect has nothing to do with the way a snail shell spirals, and nothing to do with the way the water in your tub or toilet drains, but it certainly isn't a myth. The water in your toilet goes around the direction it does because the new water from the flush is injected into the bowl at an angle, giving all the water some angular momentum in that direction. The water in the tub is spinning slowly from the faucet being a bit off center, or your movements in the tub, your house being a little uneven, etc, which is what gets the direction of the spin started when it's going down the drain. The coriolis force comes from the rotation of the earth, which spins on its axis once a day, and is a very small force. It's present in your toilet, in the bath tub, and even on the snails, but it's a very very small force compared to other factors. Try getting on a merry go round and having someone spin you very fast while you're off center a bit - then you'll feel a more powerful coriolis-type force.

For anyone interested, I'd suggest reading the wikipedia article linked earlier. I'm a physicist, so the stuff makes sense to me.

I'd like to see some pictures of these traffic cone orange snails, they sound pretty cool. I might even want to get some, if they are for sale and there was a way to ship them without dying (the air is frigid here!).
 

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Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist writing for a popular audience) has some very intriguing things to say about the evolution of snail spirals. See (if memory serves) his book "The Blind Watchmaker."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Snails aren't blind! heh heh...

Anyway, that's what I was saying about the coreolus effect being a myth - it's not what makes the toilet flush in a certain direction and I'm sure I was the one causing the bathtub water to drain in two different directions. I just kept thinking the snails being curled in all the same direction made them easier to stack, I guess, and it always seemed so odd to me. One of these days, I want to invest in some bright red ramshorns and put them in my brand new (probably not) snailless tank. Maybe I'll breed them and sell them on here to the one or two interested buyers (or trade with Jen for bright orange ones!) They're just so... neat! Like little berries and jems... pieces of scenery that rearrange themselves. :)
 

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The direction a snail's shell spirals is due to the effect of of single gene. It is a maternal effect gene, so the genotype of the mother affects the phenotype of the offspring.

Happy snail breeding, everyone!
 

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Hummm... Jen, I have some pretty orange-red ones, that are just a bit more red than traffic cones.

Do you have any super-dark-brown-almost-black ones? I have a few wandering around, but don't really want them to breed with my orange-red ones. Maybe I should start seperating mine by color, too.

I like snails the most since you can get some really good close-up pictures of them...

 
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