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Old 12-08-2003, 10:43 AM   #1
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Another Case of Snails Dying

I have a 90 gallon Reef setup with lots of live rock. I have steadily noticed that my snails don't seem to live very long. Also, some of them seem to become sluggish and I think they are dead, but when I pick them up they still show signs of life. I need them to keep up with the hair algae. I occasionally find them on their back and I put them upright and they seem to be OK, albeit slower than normal, but this seems weird. Also, I occasionally find an empty shell when I turn the light on in the morning. I have fished out a couple of obviously dead ones over the last 6 months. Based on a thread a few days ago I am ordering a copper test kit along with the polyfilters and SeaChem Cuprisorb. I figure I will hit it hard before I lose anything else. My question is where might the bad actor have come from. The only strange thing that I know I have done was to use a medicine called Kick Ich when my fish got Ich about 6 months ago. Could this be the problem? (I was given the tank by a friend, so that could be the source as well.)

Thanks in advance for any advice.

awillemd1
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Old 12-08-2003, 12:28 PM   #2
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Definately check with your friend to see if copper was ever used in the tank. The polyfilter should definately help if there is copper in the tank as well as most other pollutants. Did the copper test yield anything or do you have the test yet?

Also check for predatory snails. I recently found two in my tank after not having added any rock for years. You never know....

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Old 12-08-2003, 01:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I don't have the test kit yet. I ordered it this morning from marinedepot.com along with the polyfilter. I am going to check my lfs this afternoon to see if they have any kits. Do you have a copper testkit you would recommend or have experience with? I ordered one from Salifert since I have had good results with their kits. Also, do you know if Kick Ich could have been the source of the copper or the poison?

Thanks again.

awillemd1
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awillemd1
Do you have a copper testkit you would recommend or have experience with? I ordered one from Salifert since I have had good results with their kits.
I have personally never needed one and on the rare occassion I suspect something, I get the LFS to test it. As far as what to recommend, I would actually suggest Seachem's as it tests all forms of copper. I am unsure if the Salifert kit is the same but I would assume so.

Quote:
Also, do you know if Kick Ich could have been the source of the copper or the poison?
To my knowledge, RubyReef's Kick Ich does not contain any form of copper. If you think that it may be part of the problem, the polyfilter will definately remove it. The product is claimed to biodegrade naturally after 5 days but you never know.

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Old 12-09-2003, 09:34 AM   #5
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Thank you Steve-s for your reply!

OK, so if it is copper it didn't come from the Kick Ich as you indicated. I went to Ruby Reef's website and confirmed what you said about there not being any copper in their product.

I went home for lunch yesterday and found two of my snails appearing to be in bad shape. One of them was one that I had already found upside down a few days earlier and uprighted. The other one hadn't moved much in a couple of days. I moved them into my qt tank thinking that this might get them away from whatever was causing the problem and allow them to recover. This morning the one that I had uprighted was clearly dead. He had a little sliver in the shape of a half moon about 3 mm at the deepest point taken out of him. The other one was cruising around appearing to be doing great. Could something be attacking them? I counted 3 large snails last night that appear to be very healthy still.

I have three types of hermit crabs in my tank along with a lobster (unknown type) and two crabs (unknown type).

I don't have a protein skimmer yet, but I am working on getting one repaired (D&D marine 'The Beast') so hopefully I will have one in operation in a couple of weeks. Could there be a large buildup of dissolved organics that are causing health problems?

Thanks again in advance for any thoughts.

awillemd1
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Old 12-09-2003, 11:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awillemd1
I have three types of hermit crabs in my tank along with a lobster (unknown type) and two crabs (unknown type).
Any one of these could easily be the problem. Identifyiung them is going to be important in trying to figure out the problem. If you cannot get pics of them, it's best to set traps for them so they can be looked at more closely. You might even find something you didn't know you had.

Make sure you still test for the copper and run the polyfilter though, just to be sure...

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Old 12-09-2003, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
I have three types of hermit crabs in my tank along with a lobster (unknown type) and two crabs (unknown type).
I am not sure if this will help or not but posted a forum last week about a hermit that I have that for sure killed 2 large turbo snails. He went after them almost immediately after putting them into the tank. He now switches back and forth from shell to shell. Do you know what type of hermit you have? Not sure if that is the right track but you may watch them to see if they are moving into the snails shells.
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Old 12-10-2003, 12:05 AM   #8
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Thank you both for your replies.

I am working on getting pictures and will hopefully be able to post them soon. Also, I will have the water tested for copper in a day or so and I still plan to use the polyfilter.

As for the types of hermit crabs I have, I have 3 or 4 Scarlet Hermit Crabs, 3 or 4 Blueleg Hermit Crabs, and several Dwarf Red Tip Hermits.

Thanks again.

awillemd1
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Old 12-10-2003, 03:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
As for the types of hermit crabs I have, I have 3 or 4 Scarlet Hermit Crabs, 3 or 4 Blueleg Hermit Crabs, and several Dwarf Red Tip Hermits.
I found this information that may help

The Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crab has a red face and legs. Both claws are of equal size, and members of this genus are sometimes called "Equal-handed Hermit Crabs". This tiny crab lives in abandoned snail shells, or it may attack and eat the snail, then use the shell for its home.

Good luck
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Old 12-11-2003, 12:44 AM   #10
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Thank you for your reply. I am definitely not seeing any of the Hermit Crabs exchanging shells. Most of them are really tiny compared to these really big snails and the two that are about half the size of the snails have very distinct white shells that haven't changed since I got them.

I found another one dead today and this one didn't seem to have any body damage at all. He was sluggish for several days and today I checked him after he hadn't moved for 24 hours and he was definitely dead.

Could poor acclimation lead to a very slow death?

This is very frustrating.

I should be able to check for copper tomorrow as I found a lfs that claims they can check for it.

awillemd1
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