stingythingy45

Why do my snails die?

43 posts in this topic

Hello everyone

I'm a real newbie,just set up a 20 gal. long that I had kicking around for years from my freshwater days.Actually the tank has been set up now for close to 2 months.I cycled using a cocktail shrimp and watched it finish after two weeks with my trusty test kit.At first this was just a,"Hey lets see if I can keep some saltwater fish alive".Now after close to $500 into the system i'm rather hooked.lol

Anyway,i recently just went through a diatom explosion.Now I believe i'm into a green hair algae kind of thing.My question is why do all my astrea snails die after about a week?I take the time to add water from the tank to the bag slowly before putting them in the main tank.I know(have read) that snails need a while to adjust.Before they die that get really lathargic and hardly move.

 

20 gallon long(65 watt Current USA lights and CPR Bakpak 2 skimmer)

0 am.

0 nitrite

20 nitrate

ph 8.4

SG. 1.024

400 calcium

78 temp.

 

Fish and Inverts

 

1 blue devil Damsal

1 yellow tail Damsal

3 blue legged crabs

1 zebra crab

1 scarlet crab

 

 

I had my water parameters checked from the LFS and they matched my test.

Even though I use a hydrometer the SG matched on a refractor.

Is it possible for diatom death to poison snails?

Any help would be great.

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i know you say you have other inverts but maybe the water you use for topoff has some copper in it? have you had that tested? maybe the snails are just more sensitive to copper than your crabs and theyre kicking the bucket because of low levels being present. Also check your temperature fluctuation (i.e. write it down before your lights go on and write it down when your lights have been on all day) and if there is more than 2 degrees fluctuation this might be a problem as well.

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Thanks....

So far i've been using tap water that is town water supply.

I know that's not such a good idea but figured I would save a little $$$ that way.

I'll also watch the temp. to see if that changes at different times of the day and night.

I didn't realize that such a small change would effect snails so much.

Also I do need to get a copper test kit.I have a hard time locating test kits here.

I'll probably have to purchase one online.

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The tap water is adding phosphates to your water and most likely the main source of your algae. I've seen Hermits kill snails.

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Tap water wont save you money, instead it will most likley increase costs even more because of its contaminants.

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The brown diatom algae is just about gone.

Right now I have green hair algae growing on the live rock.

I've read that sometimes this happens even with ro/di water after a

cycle completes.I've never seen a crab attack a snail or noticed any

damage to them(plenty of spare shells)lol.It's like their energizer battery wears out.I've had 2 Mexican turbo snails in there also and they lasted about 2 weeks.I lost a peppermint shrimp in there last week.He lasted about 3 weeks also,went through a moult and everything.Noticed one day he was a little white colored.Next morning found him dead mid-moult.I often wonder(and I know this is a big topic here).lol

But he was fine before skimming,could I have skimmed out any remaining iodine that was available for moulting?I do water changes every week of at least 3 gallons.

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Alex,

 

You are definetly right there.

I figured that maybe with some additives in the tapwater that claims to treat copper and clorine would be acceptable.After all I live in a Mayberry type town anyway.

A typical traffic jam always involves at least one cow.lol

But,i'm learning and I know I have a long way to go.

Just don't want to have a long list of victims on the way.

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yea you almost always get brown diatoms and green hair algae when starting a new tank, it will die off eventually for the most part. My phosphates spike pretty high every couple months so i run my roommates phosban reactor on it for 48 hours and they go down again. If you have an old house, sometimes the pipes are copper and you get trace amounts of copper in your water, you should invest in an r/o unit definitely.

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I agree you're probably getting a little something extra in your tap water that you didn't plan on, so monitor your water a little closer and you'll probably find the problem.

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Short Cycle

I would start with your two week cycle? Unless you had some awesome cured LR, you probably didn't completely cycle. If you are only having diatoms at the end of two months, that sounds more like the tail end of a cycle. Snails should go in at about the time you notice the diatom bloom. My experience with cycling always yeilds a false end around 2 weeks but then doesn't actually complete for just over a month. Diatom blooms tend to be at the tail end, then a little green hair algae, but with water changes and the gradual addition of a cleaning crew it stabalizes.

 

High Nitrates

Nitrates at 20 is also high for inverts. Should be like 6 or less. 0 is best.

 

Copper Contamination

You also mention that the tank has been around for a while and used for fresh water? If you ever used a copper based medication in that tank, no amount of cleaning will get all of the copper out of the silicone in the edges. That could account for your shrimp and snails. Fish tend to be more tolerant. Sometimes I think that Damsels can live in battery acid.

 

Use of Tap Water

Tap water is a huge problem for inverts. Some people get away with it but it leads to algea blooms, starting off with high nitrates from the time of a water change, and lots of phosphates. You can get Ro/DI for about a dollar a gallon from most grocery or walmart stores. everyone in your tank will look better.

 

Salinity / Ph Shock

You may also want to find out what the PH and SG is for the place where you are buying your snails. I had a lot of snails die recently after I drip aquamated them. I then tested some of the water they came in and my own. I was at 1.026 and the store was at around 1.022. thats a huge difference that many snails couldn't tolerate even after a half hour drip.

 

Snails Just die

Also depending on the amount of snails you buy., I always lose about 1/4 of them, so if I buy 8 I count on losing 2 or 3 from the start.

 

Hope my $.02 helps.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks everyone,

 

I'll switch to ro water(until I can afford a unit) and pick up a copper test kit.

Btw...yes my house is quite old and has copper pipes.

I would imagine copper would have eventually killed off the crabs as well.

If I do find copper in the water will it dissipate after a while with water changes?

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You can have undetectable amounts of copper in your water that will still kill off snails, especially if it is slowly leaching out of the silicone. Small pockets can be trapped and as the snail rasps its teeth across it .... If it is just in your tap water then yes, if you mix your salt with RO water and do a few large water changes over a couple of weeks you can eliminate it unless it has soaked into your sand and LR, but it is certainly worth a try over starting all over again.

 

Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

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Will do FreakShow...

 

One thing that I've noticed is that the nitrates never seem to drop below 20 ppm.Even after a good size water change.Now i'm guessing that nitrate is entering through the tapwater also.No wonder my wife's hair is blue..j/k.

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seachem sells a product called cuprizorb. you can put it in a media bag and let it sit in your sump in conjunction with the water changes to get rid of the copper.

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[

One thing that I've noticed is that the nitrates never seem to drop below 20 ppm.Even after a good size water change.Now i'm guessing that nitrate is entering through the tapwater also.No wonder my wife's hair is blue..j/k.

You got good info from freakshow. As far as nitrates, it is the last part of the cycle. nitrites turns into nitrates. And unless you have a deep sand bed you are not going to get the nitrates down on its own. Water changes help. You really do not have to get it to zero, 10 is fine. I put as small ball of chaeto in my tank and it really brought the nitrates down. Your problem with snails is hard to figure. Hermits will kill them but if you notice they stop moving around then you know they are getting sick.

Also you have a lot in your tank in a short time. Keep in mind that completing a cycle simply means you bacteria converted all ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. But it does not mean you have enough bacteria to handle a bunch of fish. It takes time for a tank to mature. You are best off if you add slowly so that the bacteria has a chance to grow to handle the increased load of ammonia produced by the fish. You are lucky not to have lost any fish.

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I did a 6 gallon water change yesterday with the infamous RO Walmart water.

I made sure that the PH,temp and SG matched the tank.

I'll do another the same size this weekend.

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That should do the trick... you have a lot more patients than I do. I get really frustrated with situations like the one you are encountering.

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I just wanted to comment because when I started I had the EXACT problem. Most people said the same thing, that it was probably copper, but I had no problem keeping shrimp or hermits. Also the narsarrius snails seemed un affected. Only cerith, Astra and Mexican turbo would get letharic and eventually die. (The only other invert that seemed affected were brittle stars). I had the copper tested to be sure but no trace. It still remains a mystery to me and is why I STILL don't have snails even though I want and need them. I'm probably going to try again now that I have an RO unit and the tank is far more mature, however, just so you know you aren't alone and there may be no simple solution.

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Thanks guys,

I found that after starting a marine tank, one of the most important thing is patience.But I must admit,it is very hard not to impulse buy.Besides,I get a thrill just sitting there watching the crabs and Damsels cruise around the tank.I don't plan on putting anything in there til after the next water change.Maybe another peppermint or a cleaner or perhaps a few snails.I've already noticed a difference,the green algae seems to be turning a yellow lime color.This must be appealing to the Damsel,she's really making a snack out of it.Also the wife found another fan worm on the live rock last night.It may be just me,but things already look better in there.I'll try to keep everyone informed on this thread.I know that I'ved learned a ton just reading other's questions.Yes........I was a lurker for a while. ;)

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Are you getting all your critters from the same place? I'm thinking it's the source of the critters, not the source of the water. To me it seems unusual that so many would die like that (one or two is normal).

 

I also think that tanks go thru many cycles, not just one that lasts a month at the beginning. I think the length of the initial cycle can vary for a lot of reasons, and maybe yours just didn't cycle long enough.

 

Tap water is an easy scapegoat because for so long the "poisonmongers" have told us it's bad. I've used tap water every place I've lived with no problems.

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All the critters are from different places.

First two turbo snails died.

Two black turbo snails from a different place.

Then 5 astrea snails from a different place from the other two.

I'm kind of hooked now,I visited every LFS in a 50 mile radius. :P

One by one they started moving really slow(for snails).Then they wouldn't move at all but still appeared to be alive,then dead.I even examined them and removed one from the shell.All appeared normal,just died with their doors partially open.I really believe it's something in the water.A very small amount of copper or some other undectable substance that seems to poison snails.

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I wonder if perhaps one of your fish was treated at the LFS with a copper-based medication?

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Don't know.

All I know is the crabs are doing fine.

Swapping shells and climbing all over the tank.

I also have 3 red fan worms and 2 white(hitch hikers).

I plan on doing another water change tonight.

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I'd look into a copper test kit, and maybe some cupisorb (i think that's the stuff for copper)

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Yeah,

I found it in my Marine Depot catalog.

I didn't see it at (Petco) yesterday,or a test kit either.

So now I'll be off to a few LFS to look and possibly Petsmart.

I've already done a big water change and plan to do another later tonight.

So i'm not sure if there will be traces left.I suppose I could check my tap water right out of the fawcett.

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