PDA

View Full Version : Deciphering snail deaths?


mikelaubach
11/14/2007, 10:05 AM
The problem: I've had a few snails die over the past week. Astrea and margarita snails. The starfish is consuming the margarita this morning, the astrea's have died over the past week. All of the astrea seem to not have a complete hold with their entire foot when they are on the glass. I've picked up a few upside down on the substrate and put them onto the rock or glass, and they continue. Three astrea and one margarita in a week. No issues with the nassarius snails.

Tank: a 29 gallon tank with 10 gallon sump. Tank is 2 1/2 months old. Copepods and amphipods abound, corraline is growing on the glass, powerheads, and HOB overflow), "tube worms" have taken up on the rear glass as well. Sump has a fuge int eh middle with two pieces of "live base rock" and a big clump of chaeto. I use RO/DI water only and Instant Ocean salt.

Light: two 55W PC 50/50 bulbs. I have the 175W MH and reflector and am building at least a temp housing to "make it fit" so I can get it on for the SPS's health.

In habitants: 3 pieces of pulsing xenia, a few small SPS frags, a frogspawn (4 head) frag, a zoa rock, and a zoa frag disk. The Xenia is growing like a weed, the zoa rock has twice the number of polyps as two months ago, and the few SPS have growth that can be seen via photos of then and now. 3 nassarius snails that are fine. 3? astrea left, and 1 margarita left. 9-10 blue-leg hermit crabs that have been trading shells, and two have taken up shells from dead astrea snails. 2 peppermint shrimp to eradicate a small aptasia issue (that appear to have also really ****ed of the frogspawn as it's not been out in 3 days now, dispite having been moved to the sump under a reverse daylight 75W 6500K bulb and near the water surface.

Params from yesterday tests are:

pH 8.2-8.3
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Phos 0
Cal 400 (finally! it took a while with 2-part B-Ionic)
Alk 12.5
Temp 80.1 (right now, according to the pinpoint in the sump)
78 (right now, according to the suction cup mounted therm in the main display)
Salinity 1.025

I haven't gotten an Mg test kit yet. Only one I found locally was a $75 unit that was just outrageous. I guess it's to the web for that.


The SPS all have their polyps out, the xenia looks happy, the zoas are open, but the snails seem to be dying off. Any thoughts?

--MIKE--

Amoore311
11/14/2007, 10:12 AM
FWIW I never had success with Astrea snails. I got a bunch in a cleaner pack and they all died off. My margaritas, cerith, and nassarius are all doing fine.

landlord
11/14/2007, 10:15 AM
perhaps the hermits are killing them for newer homes. or copper perhaps, but with what you have said that could be a stretch.

mikelaubach
11/14/2007, 10:33 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11180899#post11180899 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by landlord
perhaps the hermits are killing them for newer homes. or copper perhaps, but with what you have said that could be a stretch.

Although I do not have a copper test kit, no copper has ever come near the tank.

I think the hermits are just being scavengers as they do not seem to be going after the live ones just the dead ones. One margarita (a mentally challenged one) thought he was really a dog and crawled out and onto the floor a few weeks ago. I tossed him back in and the nassarius went nuts! They were fighting each other to get in there to get the meat. But again, he was already dead. I have not seen any signs of predation. It's unfortunate, as I could solve that problem.

Amoore311, thanks for the data point.

landlord
11/14/2007, 10:40 AM
perhaps throwing the dead snail back in the tank triggered some sort of biological weapon to the others. LOL. I make an organic pesticide for my "tomato" plants out of cayenne pepper, grasshoppers, and tomato worms mixed in a blender. Works like a charm.

In all seriousness, if the deaths keep happening I would start to worry more, but sometimes snails just die.

mikelaubach
11/14/2007, 10:54 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11181030#post11181030 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by landlord
perhaps throwing the dead snail back in the tank triggered some sort of biological weapon to the others. LOL.

Nah, that was at the end of Sept. :D

luke33
11/14/2007, 11:05 AM
Oh.....the nassarius snails went at it huh. What do your nassarius snails look like? Could be the snail that looks like them that are meat eaters. Also the hermits pry are killing them as they always do. Copper pry isn't a cause adn I wouldn't waste the money on a copper test kit as there are corals and other snails doing fine. If you have some large bristleworms they may be destroying them at night as i've had this occur. Also the astrea snails, if they fall on there back adn you don't notice it, there going to die as they can't right themselves. There good at cleaning the glass but a major pita imo.

renogaw
11/14/2007, 11:39 AM
double post

renogaw
11/14/2007, 11:39 AM
how many did you have in your tank?

i just lost one of my first mexican turbos (it's being quite the feast for my hermits/nass snails) and i think its due to the fact that i have almost no algae for the snails to eat.

zotzer
11/14/2007, 11:58 AM
A mexican turbo won't live long in those temperatures. They are a cooler water snail, and are good for maybe 4-6 mos at temps above 76 degrees or so.

The astreas probably fell over and couldn't right themselves. Try trochus snails instead.

If your other snails are alive, I'd attribute the deaths to the above two factors as opposed to any negative tank conditions.

Tracy

caseyjones
11/14/2007, 12:03 PM
I have had great success with my Astrea's for the most part. I have noticed that when my bluelegs out grow their shell they find an Astrea and kill it and hijack its shell. I have maybe 6 blue legs walking around in Astrea shells. Where did you get them from, it might be something that is happening during collection or at the LFS before you get them. If the feet get damaged the won't stick to the glass like you are saying and they will probably get an infection like a clam when it's foot is damaged. Astrea's are tough snails, when wholesalers bring them in they usually come 500 to a bag with NO water, they are shipped dry.

amcarrig
11/14/2007, 12:07 PM
Does the tank have a grounding probe in it?

mikelaubach
11/14/2007, 12:47 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11181657#post11181657 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by amcarrig
Does the tank have a grounding probe in it?

Negative. But just for fun, I hit the water with a meter. I am showing 1.4 vac between the water and the outlet strip's ground lug. A grounding probe can't hurt, but that is not much stray voltage either.

ctreefer
11/14/2007, 01:30 PM
I had a bunch of snails die when I raised my Mg up to curb bryopsis, but my guess is if you aren't adding it that its not a factor.

Could be like others have said that some snails will die.

sunfish11
11/14/2007, 01:44 PM
Snails tend to adjust their populations based on available food. If there was a major problem killing them (in the water) they would all drop at once. I had this happen once in a small tank like yours when I put a liittle too much chemi-clean in the tank. I wouldn't worry to much about having a few die. It is hard to know just how many your tank will support.

Just FYI I have 4 Mexican turbos I have kept for nearly 3 years. One is nearly the size of a baseball. Temperature in that tank is kept from 79-83 degrees.

renogaw
11/15/2007, 06:51 AM
my mexican's live fine in 80 deg water as well. not sure why one died, but i'm more prone to think its lack of algae than anything else.

i agree about the astreas not righting themselves. my hermits won't touch their shells, i even bought some shells that ended up being astreas and they just sit there unoccupied.

the turbos that won't live in our higher temp water are the orange turbos, not mexicans.

craiglanda
11/15/2007, 08:15 AM
The only thing i can think of that hasnt been mentioned is that you said you were using the 2 part bionic calcium/alk buffer and was having trouble getting the calcium up to par. Did you dose a lot of calcium in a short time? maybe shocked them? and do you add iodine at all?

mikelaubach
11/15/2007, 09:22 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11187641#post11187641 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by craiglanda
The only thing i can think of that hasnt been mentioned is that you said you were using the 2 part bionic calcium/alk buffer and was having trouble getting the calcium up to par. Did you dose a lot of calcium in a short time? maybe shocked them? and do you add iodine at all?

I did have a hard time getting the Calcium up to 400 in the tank. The instructions say not to go above 1ml per gallon of water, and since the reef calculator was saying I needed some crazy number of ounces (like 2 1/2) I split it up across a few days. The snails seem to have died after that, but within 2-3 days after that. I had been hovering around 360-370 and alk at 8-9.

I have the reef chemistry book on order from Amazon, and that should be here soon, but I would not have linked increasing calcium and alkalinity to having an effect on the snails.

Thanks for the point of view. :rollface:

InsaneClownFish
11/16/2007, 05:24 AM
It could be the hermits, but I doubt its blue legs. I've never had much luck with Astreas. IMHO you're much better off with the slightly larger Trochus snails that are much hardier and can right themselves if they fall. Astreas can't right themselves, so they may die from that alone. Also, in my experience they are more susceptible to temp and salinity swings.

If you have a DSB I would check them for pyramid snails. These can migrate in on one and multiply quickly. They literally suck the blood of snails.

Margaritas are a cold water species...or I should say come from much cooler waters. That's your answer right there..;)