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Leeches...

The wild-caught, imported specimens of Tylos may be harboring leeches. I figure the domestically born offspring will still have the likelihood of harboring leeches also, due to the fact that they will receive them from the mother in passing. I have a number of purchased-young Tylos that displayed the presence of leeches after I had them a few months. A brown "tentacle" waving around from the groove beside the head, or traveling under the edge of the shell. I would expect this presence in offspring to be normal until the leeches have been removed from a population and succeeding generations raised without the potential of infestation.

How to eliminate these parasites was another question, and the site most often referenced was a German site, from a good English site, the posts beginning in 2009. The recommendation made was to give the snails a 5 minute salt bath in a solution of 1 tsp salt in 10 ounces water. A number of the posters mentioned it made their snails secrete excess slime. Stressful for the snails, it seems.

I opted for a milder treatment. I use 1/2 tsp salt in 1 cup tank water and let them stay submerged for 10 minutes. This irritates the leeches enough to leave the host, but not upset the snails so drastically. With the number of snails I treat at one time, everyone ended up being submerged in the solution for ~20 minutes. My first go at it resulted in 5 leeches killed.

I waited until I thought I saw more leeches poking out, 2 months later, and gave them another bath. This time I only got 3.

I have seen no more.

I'm following MsJinkzd, and she mentions in an article that the leeches are also probably deep within the shell case where a salt bath most likely won't dislodged them, so I'm just hoping I make life a little easier for the snails by removing what I can.

At least, it makes ME feel a bit better....

...And Health Issues

One of my Orange Posos somehow managed to have an antenna injured and shortened. I have no idea how such an injury occured within their environment, but it did.

The first thing I noticed was that the snail was depressed and withdrawn, literally. The large shell laid around unmoving for many days, with the operculum (trapdoor) shut, but not tight. I could still see the orange flesh of the snail within. So periodically I would give it a very gently probe with a slender wire, and the flesh would retract and close the door evenmore. Ok, it was still alive, so I left it alone. If it died, I would know.

At least 3 weeks later I noticed that the shell would be in different positions after the night, maybe it was getting shoved around by the others. After a few more days I noticed that one of the antenna was now spending time out, with the occasional eyeball poking out too. Very encouraging. After another week or so of this, the snail was now feeling courageous enough to poke the head out more, and that is when I could see the shortened, very pale antenna stalk.

Since my observations began, the snail has begun slowly crawling around the tank again, sometimes disappearing at length under the Marimo balls, and then later to come out and lay around. The head is more apparent as it lightly eats, and it is extremely protective of the injured antenna, but it appears to be regenerating, as it is longer than when first observed.

An additional aside, as the snail was depressed and relatively inactive, the shell edge around the opening was deteriorating a bit, had begun to thin and become a bit ragged, so obviously they maintain their shells with their mouths in addition to normal growth. Undoubtedly you all have seen yours laying around and appearing to be chewing or grooming their shells at the edge. The necessary shell maintenance, obviously. :)

Since I first wrote this (Aug-04-16), I have been in contact with at least 2 other keepers where their snails lost an antenna, and in the second case, both antenna and eyes were lost on one snail. As we kept in touch and observed, both antenna were growing back and the eyes are regenerating! Excellent news!!

A member of the Facebook group has documented an adult orange poso losing its operculum (trap door), and then the growth of a replacement. This is very good news! I have also found a lost operculum recently, but not found a dead snail.

Rust and other Metals

In some circumstances rust can cause issues with snails and other invertebrates, but not affect the fish. So it's good to be mindful of any metal that could be in the tank, and remove it should there be issues noticed, or especially before there are issues. Galvanized metal definitely will poison fish. Iron needs to be at high levels before it causes damage to fish and invertebrates. However, a little iron is necessary if you have a planted tank, as the plants need it for their health. Copper is a big no-no, and if you are making your own Snail Jello for food and supplementing with a calcium tablet, read the ingredients to make sure there isn't additional copper. Even a low dose could prove toxic. I made up some Repashy's with some added calcium tablets, but then I read that each tablet (I added a big bunch because they disslved so readily in water) contained 5 mg Zinc and .5 mg Copper. I tossed the batch, shoulda read before I made the mixture.

Shell Repair

Accidents happen, shipping damage, other snails chewing on the shell, drops and cracks. I caught this info for doing a repair on a rabbit snail's shell:

I wrapped his soft half in a moist paper towel to keep him wet and still and dried the area to be expoxied. While I was doing that I put an egg shell in the microwave to use for a patch. Then I molded the marine epoxy putty over the tip of his shell covering the patch and the other holes that had not broken through. I'm hoping it will act as a buffer from further damage. The shell now needs to dry for 30 min! I have him up side down in an old fashioned cup for boiled eggs with 1/4 inch of water in the bottem. I'm afraid he is not very warm. I think I will put the cup in a warm tray of water. http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/snails/136416-help-injured-rabbit-snail.html

Another very good site for snail shell repair is here: http://www.petsnails.co.uk/problems/broken-shell.html#start This is a process that probably can be adapted to our rabbit snails should the need arise.

In a quick pinch to protect an area of corrosion or wear or chewing, I have used finger nail polish and covered the damaged area well, while holding the snail so its head is in a little pot of water. Once the polish has dried (I use rapid drying polish), I return the snail to the tank and there is no harm to the snail, the water, nor the tankmates.

© 2013 - 2016  ~  RabbitSnails

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Many Thanks to Emre Ozen for the use of his leech videos!!

 Housing, Feeding, and Friends

Shell repair images © Sarah Elmassian

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