Can't keep snails alive

Reefkeeping, Coral, Fish and Invertebrates.

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caymanada
Amoeba
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: West Mobile

Can't keep snails alive

Post by caymanada » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:05 pm

I setup my tank last November, and I can NOT keep Astraea/Nassarius/Turbo snails alive! I recently bought 8 Astraea snails and was very cautious with the acclimation, but within a couple of weeks all were lost! I have FOWLR, except for a couple of small anemones (mostly aiptasia), a fire shrimp, and a couple of hermit crabs. My meager inventory of fish consists of a yellow headed goby, a Fiji damsel, a royal grama, and a pajama cardinal. Interesting enough, I have two Bumble Bee snails that I have had for about 4 months, and they are still going strong. Problem is, they aren't enough to keep the algae under control, especially on the glass. My parameters all seem to be in check. Salinity = 1.025, PH = 8.0, ammonia = 0.0, alkalinity = 150 ppm, nitrate = 0, nitrite = 0, and temperature stays between 76 and 78F. I only use RO/DI water. Any ideas?

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Amphiprion
Astrea snail
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Re: Can't keep snails alive

Post by Amphiprion » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:19 pm

Keep in mind a lot of these snails are in very rough shape before they ever make it to your tank. Heck, most of the time, they are doing poorly by the time they arrive at retailers because of how wholesalers handle (abuse) them. Parameters are fine and certainly acceptable to snails. FWIW, the bumblebee snails, while nice in the aesthetic sense, do not eat algae; they are actually predatory on small invertebrates, like worms, etc. My recommendation, if you haven't tried it already, is to use a different supplier. You also want to start off with small numbers. I would start off with one per 10-20 gallons for at least a month or so and then very, very slowly add one or two at a time, giving plenty of time in between. The urge to add huge numbers of them will ensure they starve and die every time. Assuming they are in reasonable shape to begin with, this method will ensure a high survival rate for herbivorous snails.

Lastly, one thing to look for is to make sure that there isn't anything preying on them. It isn't uncommon to have certain crabs, mantis shrimps, worms, etc. whittling the population down one-by-one. Something that is worth checking for, for sure.
Andrew

40 breeder seagrass patch reef

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caymanada
Amoeba
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: West Mobile

Re: Can't keep snails alive

Post by caymanada » Thu May 10, 2012 10:22 pm

How about my pH and Alkalinity. I just retested and my pH is barely 8.0 and my Alkalinity is more like 125 ppm. Should I do something to raise these a little? Since the previous post I have tried some more turbos...did fine for about a week or two and then they all wilted away...just fell off the rock/glass. I may try Astreas again.

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Amphiprion
Astrea snail
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Re: Can't keep snails alive

Post by Amphiprion » Thu May 10, 2012 10:43 pm

While your alkalinity is still barely acceptable, it wouldn't hurt to raise it a bit, which can be done with some washing soda (done by literally baking a bit of baking soda in the oven for a while). Use this calculator to find out how much you need: http://reef.diesyst.com/flashcalc/flashcalc.html . I recommend this method because your pH seems hover below 8.2. However, I wouldn't recommend trying to chase a particular pH, as you'll find that it is nearly impossible and the potential harms that can be done in the process far outweigh the benefits. At what time did you test your pH? Morning, midday, evening? That will make a big difference, as pH is naturally lower in the morning after the lights have been off for hours. Carbon dioxide is the primary culprit in this case, as it isn't being consumed by photosynthesis like in the daylight hours. One potential suggestion if the pH does get too low (say below 7.8 during the night/before lights are on) is to use a refugium on a reverse photoperiod--with the light on while the main display light is off--to consume CO2 at night. That should help at least some. Other options include CO2 scrubbers, which use a chemical medium to adsorb CO2, kalkwasser/limewater, which has a naturally high pH, or to vent an air intake (like on a skimmer) to an outside air source. Out of all of these, I prefer the refugium, as it is the safer option, is a long term "fix," and potentially has more benefits than the other options.
Andrew

40 breeder seagrass patch reef

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