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  • Help! My snails aren't happy

    I have a poor 12g aquarium that I mismanaged in many ways, but so far I'm proud to say I never killed a critter. Except snails. Which is too bad because I like them.

    To the point: I put them into the tank and

    1. Initially they look happy and run around munching. They pile up on my corys' food.

    2. Then after a while their shell starts to deteriorate slightly, and they're less active.

    3. Then their shell looks in bad shape and they try to burrow. They stay still for days on end, moving very infrequently. Sometimes they don't even burrow but just stay still on one side.

    4. Then I just see an empty shell

    I am talking about Ramshorn snails. In the same tank I have Physa snails, a big Tylomelania and a few nerites that don't seem sick (I've had them for several months). With Ramshorns the same thing happened with 2 batches of snails. In parallel I put snails from those same batches in another aquarium and they don't get sick, but Tylomelania's shell also shows some deterioration.

    Below are pictures of a snail in stage 3. Please ignore the algae, the tank has been a CO2 experiment the last weeks (the snail problems pre-date the experiment).

    I have water testing equipment (a Hach DR/890 and other stuff) and I'm not afraid to use it - but I'm a noob - so I would appreciate some guidance on what to test for.






    And here's the Tylomelania:

    Nothing is simple.

  • #2
    Got Calcium?

    Hi Florin,

    Since I have been wrong about everything else, let me give you some bad advice...

    Looks like Calcium, but around here, never a Calcium problem has been seen.

    The other problem I have observed is that water quality that is too good can harm snails...

    Bye now,
    Biollante
    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
    • When in doubt "don't."

    Comment


    • #3
      Calcium

      Thanks for the reply Biollante.

      Here's my water company's water report:
      Code:
      Smell				Acceptable
      Taste				Acceptable
      Color				1 degree
      Turbidity			0.518 NTU
      pH				7.22
      Conductivity			300 µS/cm
      Free residual Cl		0.41 mg/l
      Ammonium			0.01 mg/l
      Nitrites			0.011 mg/l
      Nitrates			3.1 mg/l
      Iron				79 µg/l
      Oxidizability			1.56 mgO2/l
      Total hardness			6.94 deg
      Aluminum			29 µg/l
      They publish total hardness but not Ca vs Mg.

      I am adding every week to my tank 1/4 tsp Barr's GH Booster from aquariumfertilizer.com, which allegedly is composed of one part magnesium sulfate, 3 parts calcium sulfate and 3 parts potassium sulfate.
      Nothing is simple.

      Comment


      • #4
        Time For Smart Folk

        Hi Florin,

        It seems like enough Calcium, I will have to leave you to the smart folk…



        The conductance of 300 µScm seems high for drinking water.


        The snails usually do better in water that is less than pristine, I am probably missing something.


        Biollante

        The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

        Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
        • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
        • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
        • When in doubt "don't."

        Comment


        • #5
          Ah, and I forgot to mention, I recently bought an ORP meter and the water is typically between 205-215 mV.
          Nothing is simple.

          Comment


          • #6
            Rather Low...

            Hi Florin,

            That is rather low ORP values, though on the low end, green water and such that should favor snails if anything.

            The snails I culture, primarily as food for other critters, I keep the water in the 280-mV, plus a bit range.


            It is a good range for culturing biofilm.


            Perhaps try setting the tap water for water change aside, aerating and running an activated charcoal filter for a couple of days.

            I should have asked, what is the ORP out of the tap?


            Biollante

            The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

            Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
            • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
            • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
            • When in doubt "don't."

            Comment


            • #7
              Cannot Believe I Missed That...

              Hi Florin,

              Oops… I overlooked that “Oxidizability--1.56 mgO2/l” thing, this must be regenerated or reused water.:gw



              Do you know the pH, tap and tank?


              Do you have Potassium permanganate?

              The “aerating and running an activated charcoal filter for a couple of days” thing I said earlier sounds like a good idea.



              If this is drinking water, I think I would definitely run it through a charcoal filter prior to human or pet consumption.


              Biollante

              The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

              Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
              • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
              • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
              • When in doubt "don't."

              Comment


              • #8
                Never trust anything you read on the internet

                Hi Biollante,

                I suspect that the water report is not entirely accurate. Bucharest has a maze of new, old and very old plumbing and maybe that's why, but I went ahead and tested my tap water and here's what I found:
                pH = 7.63
                TDS = 169.5
                ORP = 555.3
                DO = 8.66 (relevant? maybe not, but my DO sensor pairs with the ORP sensor so I measured it anyway )

                I also tested my aquarium water (right before my weekly 50% water change):
                pH = 6.60
                TDS = 327.0
                ORP = 326.3
                DO = 7.78

                That ORP is pretty far from what I saw in the previous weeks. Either I screwed up the measurement or something happened. Before each measurement I am checking my pH and ORP meters against standard solutions but who knows.

                I also tested my hardness with a LaMotte kit:
                Total: 166 ppm = 9.3 deg
                Calcium: 148 ppm = 8.3 deg

                In the spirit of full disclosure I must add that I dose:
                1/32 tsp Plantprod Chelated Micronutrient Mix 3x/week (I also add 1/32 tsp Iron Chelate 13% once or twice a week)
                1/8 tsp KNO3 & 1/32 tsp KH2PO4 3x/week
                1/4 tsp Barr's GH Booster after the weekly water change
                10ml Seachem Excel daily
                and I inject ~45 ppm CO2.

                Thanks a lot for your help!

                Florin

                PS What is oxidizability and what is its relevance? Google couldn't find quickly a good reference.
                Nothing is simple.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Biollante View Post
                  Do you have Potassium permanganate?

                  The “aerating and running an activated charcoal filter for a couple of days” thing I said earlier sounds like a good idea.
                  I ordered Potassium permanganate and I am awaiting instructions

                  The aquarium is aerated nonstop (see DO value above).

                  I am considering buying an activated carbon filter for the water change. In the meanwhile I can run some activated carbon in one of the trays of my Eheim 2073, if you think it's useful.
                  Last edited by Florin Ilia; 10-30-2011, 05:05 PM.
                  Nothing is simple.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Metals?

                    Hi Florin,

                    I am glad you have better readings than that report.


                    The numbers you report are quite good, I do not see any problems as far as your snails are concerned. The only thing I see is that the water quality may be a bit on the high side for snails, but nothing that would account for your situation.



                    I am beginning to think this may be a toxin, probably a metal, best bets would be Copper (of course), lead or Cadmium.



                    I think activated charcoal is a good idea, as a place to begin.



                    Are you using a dechlorinator?


                    Oxidizability is a measure of dissolved organic compounds in water, I will have to look up the definition, it is a measure the Russians came up with to define the quality of reclaimed water. I think it is defined by the amount of Potassium permanganate required to oxidize the residual organic compound, again I will have to check, it has been a while since I lived in a place that used such a system.

                    More later…

                    Biollante

                    The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

                    Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
                    • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
                    • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
                    • When in doubt "don't."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Biollante View Post
                      I am beginning to think this may be a toxin, probably a metal, best bets would be Copper (of course), lead or Cadmium.



                      I think activated charcoal is a good idea, as a place to begin.



                      Are you using a dechlorinator?
                      Okay, I am going right now to replace one of the 3 filter trays with activated charcoal.

                      I am using Kordon AmQuel+ and Novaqua+. I am dosing (typically, OVERdosing) both in the water before I add it to the tank.
                      Nothing is simple.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Florin Ilia View Post
                        I am going right now to replace one of the 3 filter trays with activated charcoal.
                        Done. My Eheim's middle tray is filled with activated charcoal. For a second I thought of throwing in a bag of Purigen - I changed my mind because you didn't recommend it, but would that have worked as well?

                        Anyway, I'll report any changes that I see.

                        Thanks Biollante.
                        Nothing is simple.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Activated Charcoal, Purigen or ChemPure, All Good

                          Hi Florin,

                          Yes, Purigen would be fine as well, usually I write activated charcoal, Purigen or ChemPure, I know there are some similar products out there.


                          The AmQuel Plus and NovAqua Plus water conditioners seem fine and I would continue dosing them.

                          I am thinking a toxin, probably metal, so you will need to isolate the source. The tap water would be my bet. It should not be too difficult to rule the tap water in or out.

                          With your HACH DR/890, can you test for Copper? I prefer the 8143 Porphyrin method. I cannot recall off hand other metals you may be able to test for, what they are is not as important as the source. {if you not have the reagents or Nitric acid do not worry about it, just curious.}

                          Biollante

                          Last edited by Biollante; 10-30-2011, 10:28 PM. Reason: Wierd look, strange spacing
                          The first sign we don't know what we are doing is an obsession with numbers. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

                          Disclaimer: I am not trying to make you mad, it is just what I am, an evil plant monster, 'nuf said.
                          • I believe the information I am giving is sound, I am not a veterinarian, professional chemist or particularly bright and certainly not a "Guru.".
                          • I assume you are of legal age, competent and it is legal for you to acquire, possess and use any materials or perform any action in your in your jurisdiction.
                          • When in doubt "don't."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I can test for everything that's a nutrient, except Boron. So that includes Copper (method 8506, Bicinchoninate), Iron of course, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel and Zinc.

                            In practice I don't test much for these, except Iron. At one test in July I had
                            Cu = 0.02 ppm
                            Mn = 0.3 ppm
                            Mo = 0.1 ppm
                            At another test in September I had
                            Cu = 0.05 ppm
                            and that's it.

                            I will of course test more aggressively for a while until we get to the bottom of this problem. I can get the reagents that I'm missing. I just have to warn you that I'm by no means lab trained or a chemistry expert, so never trust 100% everything I say
                            Nothing is simple.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The DR/890 doesn't seem to have any methods for Lead or Cadmium...
                              Nothing is simple.

                              Comment

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