My Mystery Snails Shell is Cracked ( Huge hole )!!

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Aug 19, 2022
I was looking around my tank yesterday and I couldn’t seem to find him. I assumed he may be hinting underneath some of the decorations I had in their tank, so I didn’t think much about it until today. I still couldn’t find him so I go super worried. I started looking around on the floor and there he was. He was wedged between the stand and the wall. I have no idea how he got there. I have about a 10 gallon tank with gravel in it, so it was too heavy for me to move. I asked my brother and I think that’s when his snail got cracked. I’ve been crying because I think I killed him. He was laying half way out his shell when I first saw him, but when the crack happened he retreated all the way back making the rest of him come out through the crack/hole. I really need help.


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Okay, first things first. A small crack, they will fix by themselves. A big bad one, like a hole, will need your help. The following is what I've done on a mystery shell and it worked. On the other hand, we must be prepared for the snail to not make it through the trauma of damage.

You can fix the shell by supergluing an eggshell piece over the crack, so get an egg and superglue. Wash your hands. Dry off the snail, push it gently back in her shell.

Break off a small piece of eggshell with membrane attached (that's the thin transparent skin lining the shell). Put a small bit of glue on the edges of the eggshell chip. You want to be sure that NO glue touches the snail itself - only the snail's shell. Press the chip with glue gently down over the hole. The eggshell piece may crack. You can glue another, tinier piece over that. The object is to make a barrier so the snail isn't coming out any more.

Let dry for about 15 minutes and put the snail back in its tank. It's probably in shock and may take some time to recover and start moving. Putting down some food after an hour may stimulate movement.

Again, sometimes they don't survive the trauma.

Attached is a wonderful video of a woman with a calm voice doing this procedure. She uses a file for the snail shell edges, but I don't: I just don't feel right using a file that close to their sensitive skin. Your choice what you feel comfortable with.

I hope this video plays - if not, for some reason (the attachment is really long), pose your question online ("how to repair cracked mystery snail shell") and she should come up pretty fast, as she's soothing and does a good job. Her video is about 9 minutes long.

Good luck and let us know how your mystery makes out.
Should I wait until I know for certain he’s alive to do the eggshell glue ?
Alright, I just did it. I don’t think I did a great job but I did the best I could :( they only had the push to glue pens and I had to cut it and then try to pry it open to get the glue out
As long as the glue didn't touch snail's skin, and the glue holds, you should be fine. Hopefully it's a type that dries quickly, like 15 minutes, so he can be placed back in the tank water fairly soon.

That's another consideration - although they do like to go above the water line and take breaks, being out of water all night or day until you discovered him could be a factor in survival. Do you have a lid on the tank? Or did he climb out through one of the air holes in the lid? If he survives, or if he doesn't and you have other snails, or if you plan on getting more, this is one of those sad lessons about why to have a lid and block the holes with screen. I've been there too.
Yeah, the only hole is for the filter and a little
Spot to drop food I believe this is the tank I have Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit with LED Lighting 10 what do you recommend covering this up with ?
Screen, like plain nylon door screen, is what's often used. But I'm not seeing a hole where a snail could escape. The space in back is for the filter and looks like it fits with no surrounding gaps. The little front hinged flap closes securely. So how did the snail get out? Was the lid left off or the flap left open? Some snails never even try to leave, while others are escape artists and need every avenue blocked.
I legitimately have no clue. I have an older brother that I have a inkling tried to mess with it. I have never seen my snails even remotely sit on the lid. My snail has been looking like it’s dead, but sometimes he’ll move his antenna’s and there’s still some resistance on his trap door. I have him in a mason jar right now because I’m too nervous to put him into my tank. I have some bottom feeders that love to sit on my snails shells lol. They wouldn’t ever harm them tho. I would send you a
Picture of what he looks like but idk how I can
Sounds like he's working on surviving. If you haven't fed him, a bit of food would keep up his strength and encourage him to come round.

You sent excellent pictures originally, so whatever you did that time...but, no pics necessary.

Btw, being closed up and not moving for awhile may be part of the healing process. It can be hard to tell what's going on in there. Sorry to be morbid, but do you know the signs of a dead snail? Usually they hang out like a muscle has released (it has) and they begin to smell very bad. There's no mistaking what's going on. But they can also close up tight, roll on their back, and never move again. I've had a few who did that, and a month later when they were nudged during a deep clean the foot released and what came out was grey, non-smelly dust. Time will tell. One thing you can count on is the obvious: if there's movement, there's life.

Your reportage is good, please let us know how he does in the next 24 hrs.
I just checked in him again. He seems terrible and there’s no more resistance there. He whole body basically came out. I’m pretty sure he’s gone. Thank you for everything
Hey man. Just wanted to say for snails when their shell starts to crack a little bit of a calcium tablet from the pet store will put it back on track within a few days. However for your situation you re glued it but I would suggest to add calcium to ensure the growth of the shell
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