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Old 05-29-2004, 01:21 PM   #1
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Three snails dead..what are typical causes? Crabs!?

I have several snails in my tank, most seem to be OK but occasionally I'll find an empty snail shell. The snails dying seem to be the smaller ones. I had two nassarius snails die about two weeks ago (one might have died when originally acclimated, or wasn't even alive after receipt of shipment), and one cerith snail recently.

I have two blue leg hermit crabs, and two hitchhiker crabs (one IDs as a porcelain, the other is very small with tiny pinchers), plus an emerald crab that I added per advice of lfs. I may have more crabs that I don' know of...I have already removed 4 with a simple trap that I setup over the past three weeks. ..but even since then we had a snail fatality.

I'm thinking the snails are becoming dinner for one of these crabs that I know about, but was wondering what else might cause this. I did a quick search and read somewhere about voltage in the water... someone said if the snails gather at the top of the aquarium you might have this problem. Some of my snails definitely do that, but not all. Seems like the astreas do that more than the others.

Is there a "top ten" list of reasons snails die, in order of likelihood? Would you think the crabs are the culprit, or should I check for other things? I also don't have any fish yet, and actually the snails have done a great job of controlling algae that was growing everywhere that is now pretty much gone...could the snails be dying?
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:25 PM   #2
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I doubt it is your reef hermits killing your snails, but anything is possible. Your snails be dying due to other causes and your crabs just cleaning them up. Nice to see them doing their job, huh? Could be that your snails have cleaned up all of the algea and are they are simply starving to death. How many do you have left, how big is the tank and is there any visible algea? HTH...Lando
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:25 PM   #3
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Yes it's great that the hermit crabs are "cleaning up"! There is not much visible algae on the tank walls anymore. There was once a ton of it, but the snails have been doing their job too.

It is ia 37g tank, we have 3 very large mexican turbo snails, I believe about 5 ceriths, 6 astrea snails and now 1 nerite snail. I have also noticed very little "baby snails", look to be ceriths because of the shape of the shell but I'm not sure - these are very, very tiny, all white, about 1 cm in length. I also know that we got 2-3 snails as hitchhikers on the lr that survived. One is very peculiar because the fleshy part is red, not the usual pale white or whatever color that the other snails have.

So if they are indeed running out of algae, what can I put in the tank to help them survive? When I add two fish soon (very small clown fish) will the fish produce more waste that they will eat?
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Old 05-30-2004, 03:14 PM   #4
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luckycat, I have also recently had some snail death problems. I had a large mexican turbo snail and an atlantic turbo snail both die within a month of getting them (actually, the mexican turbo died after about a week). I checked the voltage in the water and that was not the problem - and my snails also like to gather at the top of the aquarium. The crabs had not been picking on them either, however they did do a nice cleanup job.

Try putting some dried seaweed in your tank for them to graze on - my nassarius snails love it!
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Old 05-30-2004, 06:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, I'll try adding some seaweed...maybe starvation is doing the damage!
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