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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Snail Erosion

Made an unsettling discovery today after being concerned for a while that my remaining and only trapdoor snail had not been very active in the last few days.

This happened to the first one i added. He would spend hours in the night and have periods of high activity, carrying out an excellent job of clearing up waste in the tank.

Over a few days he just seemed to pull up, shrink into his shell and pass away.

Sadly the trend appears to have continued with the second snail i added.

I came to the tank today and found him resting against the glass, and noticed something quite nasty.

The whole point of his shell has suffered massive erosion.

2012-10-18 12.24.21

And the very end you can see it a hole has formed.

He has spent most of the time hidden away deep in the back corner of the tank within all the plant life, and only recently come back to the front enabling me to get a much better look.

No sign of life, receded completely back into the shell.

2012-10-18 12.24.45

A bit of an examination shows the damage to the shell tip.

2012-10-18 12.29.51

I “knocked” on the trapdoor but there was very little response. I think it is still alive but on its last legs.

I feel kind of bummed out about this… some may argue “its just a snail”. Well this is true its not some super rare specimen that cost a fortune. But as an aquarist you are responsible for providing an adequate environment.

I have done some reading tonight and come to a two part conclusion.

  1. The pH is too acidic for this type of snail life. My test kit only measures down to a certain range of around 7.5 and i have always been convinced its lower than what the kit tells me. Research quite rightly states that a high acidic content will erode the calcium based shell of the trapdoor snail.

    I do not dose CO2 gas in this aquarium at the moment, but i do use Flourish Excel. I am wondering if some of that breaks down to carbonic acid in the long run?
  2. I artificially soften the water to Zero TDS and rebuffer. Other reading suggests these snails cannot consume the required elements and build strong shells in soft water. Despite me using Equilibrium to buffer the water GH back up. I am aiming to cater for the plants and not given the snail a thought.

Lesson learned the hard way i suppose. Obviously i wont be putting these guys in again.

I am also concerned about the 2 remaining small snails that live in the filter at the moment. I will keep a very close eye on their wellbeing from now on.

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