What could cause a lot on snail deaths but not fish death?

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biofish

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So… yeah. My snails are dying at a questionable pace but my fish are fine and I’m really scratching my head about it.

I did a 50% water change, before I realized my tap had a nitrate spike, didn’t help the tap also had another hardness raise, and it killed one of my fish, but it really started a chain with my snails. I’ve dealt with it- shoving pothos in the filters and softening pillows, and the nitrates are back to zero across the board and hardness is okay and the fish are perky and healthy.

The only other change I made with the tank was putting a few small bits of cuttlebone, but I barely put a fourth of one in, for the baby mystery snails that hatched (who finally look like snails now. They’re only a few millimeters but they look like snails)

But a few of my large mystery snails and nerite snails were just dying. Two of the mystery snails I found on their back, so I don’t know if they just fell and the fish started eating them but unless the fish did that for the nerite snails (who can typically flip themselves back over pretty fast) I don’t know what else it could be. The primary tank it’s happening in is my 55g which I set up last July so almost a year now, and most of my snails are from then too. And lord knows they have plenty of food- the tank has hair algae out the wazoo, and I frequently drop sinking pellets/excess flakes for my pleco and Cory’s.

The deaths have started to plateau, but it hit hard.

Do y’all have any ideas?
 
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FishLady18

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Not really, but I don’t think snails live much longer than a year. Maybe their time was near and it didn’t take much. My cure all for everything unknown are daily water changes and added oxygenation with another air stone.
 
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biofish

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That…. Would track actually.

I didn’t know their lifespans were that short.

Most of my nerites I’ve had for between 1-2 years already, bought in bulk around the same time.

If it’s from old age then I suddenly feel a lot better that it might not be an eff up on my part that caused it.
 

Sgooosh

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i think inverts are generally just more sensitive to water conditions than fish are.
all my snails lived different ages...
nerite 1 lived more than a year, #2 lived 2 years, #3 lived 3 years and is still living! shes a really big snail
 

GaryE

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I just did a google dive. Mystery snails in captivity can live 1-3 years, with anything past a year unlikely. Nerites here have wrecked tanks forever - they are long lived. I had one laying eggs all over the glass for 3 years, and living a couple of years beyond that. But they all live long - I really didn't like mine and that added years to its life.
 

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I just did a google dive. Mystery snails in captivity can live 1-3 years, with anything past a year unlikely. Nerites here have wrecked tanks forever - they are long lived. I had one laying eggs all over the glass for 3 years, and living a couple of years beyond that. But they all live long - I really didn't like mine and that added years to its life.
perhaps they like to be neglected???
I have not fed mine once, it eats the naturally growing bio film and diatoms.
It stopped laying eggs after a year though
 
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biofish

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Yours stopped laying eggs? 😦

My nerites who I’ve had for two years never stopped….

So basically is sounds like, either my early batches of snails either reached their old age or they were older and couldn’t take the water change.

I have a quite a bit of snails. Like. I try to get 1 per 5 gallons of water at least, more if I think I need it so that means I had at least 25 adults, but probably(definitely)more. My Japanese trap door snails dropped a load and haven’t had any deaths. And my baby mystery snails, I have at least 20 of them. So I have another generation to replace who o lost but dang. It was like a snail apocalypse. And nerites always feel like the most efficient out of all of them.
 

vio88

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I think aquarium salt kills snails but not fish.
 

StevenF

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Question how many snails and howbig is the tank? Any Algae? IF you don't have much algae the snails might have been malnourished for some time and are now dying due to starvation.
 
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Question how many snails and howbig is the tank? Any Algae? IF you don't have much algae the snails might have been malnourished for some time and are now dying due to starvation.
It is definitely not due to starvation, believe me. The only reason I haven’t attacked the tank with a scraper is because I don’t wanna hurt the baby snails who are usually tangled up in the hair algae.
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My 55 gallon tank is the ones with the deaths, it had 5 mystery snails, and I’m honestly not sure how many nerites. I juggle my snails around on occasion of one tank was a particularly bad algae breakout. It’s safe to assume there were at least 10 in there before the deaths. And it was this tank that had hatched baby mystery snails.

So the current totals, I believe, are 3 adult mystery snails, 20 or so baby mystery snails (who are no bigger than a few millimeters), and I think 5 for nerites but they’re the hardest to count.
 

Akeath

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I'm actually thinking the softening pillows might have had something to do with it. Snails need hardness in the water to keep their shells healthy. 8 dGH or higher would be best. Their shells can erode or become damaged to the point it affects the whole snail if the water is very soft. Although this is more likely to be a long term issue than a short term one. If you got the Pothos from a just a standard greenhouse that may also have something to do with it - terrestrial snails can be considered pests that people spray plants to keep away or kill snails for. And what kills terrestrial snails may also negatively affect aquatic snails.
You might want to test your tap water for copper, too. It can come from copper pipes. Copper is lethal to snails and invertebrates but won't affect fish, so that's one of the things I would check if you've had trouble just with the invertebrates in your tank but not the fish.
When a snail flips over and doesn't flip back up by himself, that's a sign they're in pretty bad health. I doubt the fish would have started eating a snail that's just flipped over, though. It probably died first. As far as lifespans, Nerites should live 5 years. That's how long I've had mine for before they pass away, as well as the typical lifespan I've found in my research of them. Mystery Snails are much shorter lived. 1 to 1 1/2 years is average. The oldest Mystery Snail I've ever had was 2 years old, but he was born in my tank and survived longer than any of his siblings by quite a bit. I'm assuming normally I wouldn't have purchased him till he was older, so he only reached 2 because I could include his entire life in that.

For algae removal, I've found it's all about the tools you use. For the hair algae, I've found it effective (and a little fun) to use chopsticks to remove it. Put the chopstick in and then twist the hair algae around the chopstick like you would spaghetti on a fork and that'll remove a lot of hair algae easily. Most algae eaters either have a hard time eating or just don't like the taste of hair algae, so removing some yourself can go a long way to make the levels more manageable so your algae eaters can do the rest. Also, while Nerites are efficient algae eaters Mystery Snails will only nibble algae without making a real dent in it. So don't count the Mystery Snails as part of your algae crew. Assuming you have a glass tank, a razor blade algae scraper will remove algae from walls with practically no effort from you. Seachem makes a nice metal algae scraper, and I wish I'd discovered that years ago.
 
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biofish

biofish

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I'm actually thinking the softening pillows might have had something to do with it. Snails need hardness in the water to keep their shells healthy. 8 dGH or higher would be best. Their shells can erode or become damaged to the point it affects the whole snail if the water is very soft. Although this is more likely to be a long term issue than a short term one. If you got the Pothos from a just a standard greenhouse that may also have something to do with it - terrestrial snails can be considered pests that people spray plants to keep away or kill snails for. And what kills terrestrial snails may also negatively affect aquatic snails.
You might want to test your tap water for copper, too. It can come from copper pipes. Copper is lethal to snails and invertebrates but won't affect fish, so that's one of the things I would check if you've had trouble just with the invertebrates in your tank but not the fish.
When a snail flips over and doesn't flip back up by himself, that's a sign they're in pretty bad health. I doubt the fish would have started eating a snail that's just flipped over, though. It probably died first. As far as lifespans, Nerites should live 5 years. That's how long I've had mine for before they pass away, as well as the typical lifespan I've found in my research of them. Mystery Snails are much shorter lived. 1 to 1 1/2 years is average. The oldest Mystery Snail I've ever had was 2 years old, but he was born in my tank and survived longer than any of his siblings by quite a bit. I'm assuming normally I wouldn't have purchased him till he was older, so he only reached 2 because I could include his entire life in that.

For algae removal, I've found it's all about the tools you use. For the hair algae, I've found it effective (and a little fun) to use chopsticks to remove it. Put the chopstick in and then twist the hair algae around the chopstick like you would spaghetti on a fork and that'll remove a lot of hair algae easily. Most algae eaters either have a hard time eating or just don't like the taste of hair algae, so removing some yourself can go a long way to make the levels more manageable so your algae eaters can do the rest. Also, while Nerites are efficient algae eaters Mystery Snails will only nibble algae without making a real dent in it. So don't count the Mystery Snails as part of your algae crew. Assuming you have a glass tank, a razor blade algae scraper will remove algae from walls with practically no effort from you. Seachem makes a nice metal algae scraper, and I wish I'd discovered that years ago.
You have some very good points there… I’ve been using the pillows for a better part of the year. It’s the only reliable way I’ve had to soften the water since LA switched its tap source to an aquifer. RO systems are wasteful, the solar sill I tried couldn’t produce enough water for my tanks. And buying RO water from my LFS was too expensive for the amount I’d need. I have approximately 130 gallons total in aquariums. It’s slightly less than a dollar per gallon at the cheapest price I found but that’s still $60 per change if I do 50%’of all the water. About $25 if I do more frequent 20% changes. So. The salt from the pillows COULD be the issue—- it’s long term at this point.

And all the rain California is getting is what caused the spike in nitrates, hence why I got the pothos. I got it from Home Depot- so it definitely probably had some sort of treatment in it. Before I put it in the tank though I spent a couple hours fine combing the roots to get all the dirt and white things out, before letting it soak for awhile and then scrubbing some more. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t murder it from root shock.

And I don’t currently have a way to test for copper but I’ll definitely look into it

And as soon as the baby mystery snails are big enough to not worry about accidentally crushing them, I am going kamikaze on the hair algae. And yeah. I got mystery snails only to realize they aren’t very useful but very pretty 😂😂. The hair algae only became a problem with the spike in nitrates in the tap. And I know at least some of my nerite snails like it- whenever I’ve had a small outbreak rearranging my snails into the outbreak tank has always fixed it. Haven’t had an outbreak this big in forever

Edit: I accidentally hit post before I finished typing lol
 
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StevenF

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I missed the statement about softening pillows. These remove nutrients plants and animals need. Whiteout these plant growth would be significantly slowed or can even stop. When that happens Algae does very well. Also lack of some nutrients in the water can harm and eventually kill fhsh and snails

As to copper I make my own fertilizer for my small RO water tank. I have used unto to 0.02ppm of Copper sulfate in this tank with no noticalable affect on the reporduuction of nails and shrimp. 0.02 ppm is about twenty times the level many people state as hazardous for shrimp,.0.001ppm. There are no test kits available to measure copper at these levels. Additionally plant need about 0.004ppm of copper to grow. Also shrimp have copper based blood. Humans have iron based blood. I would assume snails also have copper based blood but I don't know for sure. So if the pillows removed all the copper in the water it might kill the snails..

you would be better off pre filtering the water with pillows or or using RO water mixed with some tap to get the optimal gh for your animals. But keep in mind california utilities often switch for soft surface water to hard we'll water or hard Colorado river water. So your tap water GH can easily switch from soft to hard and back 2 times a year. Depending on rain fall. I wouldn't buy RO water. buy a RO filter instead. This 3 stage filter should work will for you at a cost of $70.

Also in my experience pond and Nerite snails don't consume much if any hair algae.
 

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