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Old 08-21-2005, 08:53 PM   #1
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R.I.P. Sabertooth :(

Yeah, my black mystery snail (Sabertooth) died yesterday. What's even worse is that I've only had him for three days!

When I got him at the store he seemed perfectly healthy, slithering up the aquarium wall. But when I put him in my tank after slowly adjusting him to his new environment, he climbed the wall closest to the filter and got caught up in a small whirlpool created by the current. He stayed halfway inside his shell bobbing around for a couple of hours and I tried to submerge him and get him to latch onto a plant or a piece of driftwood, but he would always rise back up to the top. Later on, he came completely out of his shell (well not COMPLETELY, but you know what I mean) briefly for air, sending up his siphon and then retreating back inside his shell, still floating around. That is the most activity I had seen out of him until he died a couple of days later.

I know that mystery snails have both lungs and gills, so it is quite possible that he was just full of air, which would explain the floating and his refusal to sink. What I don't understand is why he kept on floating for two days straight and eventually died. All of my other fish are doing fine and I haven't had any other deaths since setting up the tank, so do snails have special requirements or what?

Maybe snails just aren't my thing, so are there any other algae-eating critters that would fit a 20-gallon tank? I've considered plecos but since they can grow to be six inches long, it would be awfully cruel to keep one in such cramped conditions.

EDIT: The tank is still cycling btw and the fish are all doing fine even though the ammonia level is rather high (no nitrites or nitrates yet). Are snails especially sensitive to high levels of ammonia in there water, moreso than fish even?

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Old 08-22-2005, 11:23 AM   #2
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You can get a couple ottos to eat some algae. Also a farlowella will do the job. They are really cool, and look like sticks. Mine is currently 7.5 inchs long in a ten gallon (he was 3 when I bought him and I'm still waiting to get a bigger tank) but there are no problems with space (he just clings to the wall). I also have a clown pleco. They only get 3 inchs long. I like mine. I have a flying fox. They are good at keeping algae off plants. That's all the algae eating fish I have.

For snails I have japanese trapdoor snails. They are black and don't multiply like MTS or pond snails. These are livebearers and their population will stabilize after a burst (nothing to worry about). Only get max 2 inchs (not like mystery/apple snails that get the size of a baseball and have huge amounts of waste).

Good luck with your tank.

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Old 08-22-2005, 11:10 PM   #3
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Sorry about your loss, I don't know if snails are more sensitive to ammonia levels. Do lots of small water changes to keep the ammonia from poisioning your fish. And welcome to AA!
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:22 AM   #4
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Sorry about your snail. It is good that you cared for him so much.

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Old 08-23-2005, 01:43 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear about your snail. My apple snail died mysteriously a while back after living in my tank for a few months. I never figured it out.

Otos will eat diatom algae, but are known for being delicate and will not survive a cycle. Farlowellas are great fish, but are delicate as well and also need an established tank. Mine chews holes in my plants, just a warning in case that is a concern for you. Clown plecos stay very small, so they may be a good option for you. They don't always eat algae, though, and they need driftwood so they can rasp. I wouldn't add any other fish or snails or anything until your tank is cycled. It will just slow the process down and cause more stress for your fish.

BTW it is my opinion that a 7.5 inch farlowella would not be very happy in a 10 inch wide tank.
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