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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in September I set up a Walstad tank in my classroom. It's a 20 gallon, and the plants were all so small back then and barely filled up the tank. I had some plants die-off too.

I ordered a trio of mystery snails who arrived in the mail with some calcium deformities on their shells. They wouldn't accept the animals back, and I didn't want to send them back because I thought at that time I could fix the problem, but I was able to get a refund. I have since found a much better mystery snail seller and plan to buy from them in the future. Unfortunately one of the three snails died a couple weeks ago. This one had the worst shell deformities too.

My boss at my job has been harassing me about the aquarium. FYI, the water in the cup in the photos below is directly from the tank and I haven't changed it yet, just to give a sense of how clear and clean that water is. I tested it today and ammonia was ZERO. I mean, it should be zero since there's only one fish in there and the snails barely make a blip on the ammonia radar, lol. The water also smells kinda like pond water, but without that algae scent mixed in. But yeah, my boss all of a sudden hates the aquarium and has been trying to bully me into taking the entire tank home. I cannot have a large aquarium set up right now, and just on the basis of NO I won't bring the entire setup home, just to redo the entire cycle and Walstad method over again, just to pack it up and move it to my new apartment mid-January, to then redo it yet again. That's just royally stupid and irresponsible toward the animals.

I was afraid my boss might do something to the snails, or steal them (she oogles at them a lot and has demanded in the past I give her baby snails, but seems to have zero interest in the betta), so the snails came home this evening.

And here they are!

Tableware Water Drinkware Liquid Barware

Drinkware Water Ingredient Fluid Serveware

Drinkware Liquid Water Fluid Barware


The black mystery snail is named Ophelia (my mom named her) and the light brown one is named Reginald (I chose that name). The ramshorn snail is named Winston, also named by my mom. My students never chose names for these ones, interestingly. One of the older preschool kids from another classroom would call the blue one Stiffy. Yes, Stiffy. That's not as bad as the only name suggestion I got for the betta, which was "Stitchy-wuggies". HE ended up being named Queen cause of the castle in his tank, and we originally thought he was a female cause his fins were so short.

And here's a photo of the tank in my classroom:

Plant Botany Pet supply Terrestrial plant Organism


I'm definitely bringing home more red root floaters in the future when I set up my 15x15 cube Walstad tank next year. My plan at the end of the school year is to break down this tank and restart it with my students. The substrate isn't deep enough for starters (yet it's thriving which amazes me), and I want to rearrange the hardscape a bit and the plants too.

Anyway, the snails are NOT going to stay in that plastic cup. I ordered an 8"x8"x8" cylinder vase, 5 different plants, plus a few hardscape details, and the subtrate of course (aquasoil and sand), plus a very small, basic LED UV light, and this week am making their aquarium as the items arrive. I've never worked on such a small scale before and wanted to try it out.

I'll be updating throughout the week on their progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for sharing all that with us. You really can grow attached to the snails. Looking good.
Pfft on your boss, needs a chill pill. ;)
Cheers
GG
Thanks for reading :) It's super easy to get attached to the snails, especially with the personalities they have.

My boss is a jerk.

In other news...

I FOUND WINSTON'S FRIEND! The other ramshorn snail didn't get eaten, they were just extremely good at hiding. They were tucked under the big piece of driftwood, so I immediately scooped them out and plopped them in a container to come home with me too. This one is smaller than Winston, and I've named them Diana. Get it? Like Winston Churchill and Princess Diana.

My other pets have the most unusual names and silly names. Such as two of my turtles are named Hurricane and Typhoon, and one of my cats is named Spike. But these snails get these high class names, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Everything for their new house arrived today! So I set up their new house this evening a few hours ago.

I boiled the driftwood a couple times for several minutes first. It was FULL of tannins.

I'm still new to aquascaping but I like this scape a lot. I think it would be best on a pedestal that you could view from multiple angles, rather than straight on, because it's a cylinder. The driftwood ended up being larger than I thought it would be, but instead of buying another piece or scrapping this one, I just made it work. I think it's fine, all things considered.

I absolutely love epiphytes, and those are two anubias plants that are superglued to the driftwood (I used cyanoarcylate glue). One of the anubias plants came as two, which was a pretty awesome surprise. The other plants are a banana lily (a bulb), java fern, and a brown crypt wendtii. The crypt wendtii came as several small plants. I can't wait to see them grow, change color and kinda take over, lol. I can't wait for the banana lily to get bigger, too.

My favorite angle of the aquarium:
Ingredient Plant Liquid Fluid Drink


Surface:
Plant Liquid Food Fluid Ingredient


I really love how this area looks like a foresty hideaway:
Plant Leaf Water Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant


The other side of the tank:
Plant Organism Aquatic plant Water Underwater


Diana hiding under the anubias nana petitie:
Liquid Water Automotive lighting Fluid Terrestrial plant


Winston hanging out:
Food Liquid Ingredient Fluid Recipe


In typical fashion, Diana went into hiding within minutes of me putting them in the tank. Diana has always been a hider. Winston stuck themselves right into a red root floater and has been bobbing along since. Ophelia (black mystery snail) stuck themselves right to the tank wall in no time flat. Reginald climbed around on the driftwood; that snail really likes to climb driftwood a lot, they did the same thing in the tank in my classroom.

Their personalities crack me up!

I'm very curious if any of them will attempt to escape. I don't think the mystery snails will try escaping, since the water is an inch below the rim, and the ramshorns have never been particularly adventurous in that way so maybe not, but ya never know. we shall see.

I also ordered a gold mystery snail because I really wanted to have a trio again, and a gold snail. I think the gold snail will pair really well with the brown one. Could be interesting to have a bright yellow snail with stripes, if that's even how their coloring works when they breed. I haven't decided on what the gold one's name should be... any suggestions?
 

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That look SO cool!! Nice one :D
This is my first go at snails so I don't know but I have heard they will climb out and adventure. :oops:
I have my tank sealed up tight.
Thanks for sharing with us, so very cool.
I don't know why gold made me think of Madonna but it did. hehe
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That look SO cool!! Nice one :D
This is my first go at snails so I don't know but I have heard they will climb out and adventure. :oops:
I have my tank sealed up tight.
Thanks for sharing with us, so very cool.
I don't know why gold made me think of Madonna but it did. hehe
Thank you! I'm so happy to share :)

Nerite snails most definitely like to go on adventures, never to return. So yeah, sealing that tank up is the right thing to do. That's why, despite how beautiful they are, I won't get nerites. Mystery snails are more conscious of not venturing out of water due to it not being healthy for them to do that. What was recommended to me was to have the water level one inch below the rim. I've been checking them constantly and they are staying in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ordered a gold mystery snail a few days ago, and they arrived yesterday afternoon. Madeline seems to be settling in nicely. They've been climbing on everything, and especially like hanging out in the "underpass". I have the driftwood propped up by some rocks so there's a gap between it and the substrate, so the ramshorn snails and Madeline can pass under it (Ophelia and Reginald are too big, lol).

Took this photo a few minutes after I put Madeline in. Madeline was pretty shy initially. Ophelia had been up on the glass right at the water's surface, and dropped down beside Madeline then crawled pass her. I don't know if that was an intentional greeting or not, but it was very cute.
Plant Terrestrial plant Houseplant Food Recipe


Then Madeline munched on the algae wafers for a little while, follow by sticking to the wall. I got up a couple times in the night and decided to check on them both times I got up. Madeline stayed in that spot most of the night, but eventually moved to the opposite end of the tank. Madeline has also been hanging out in that area more than any other area it seems.
Flower Plant Terrestrial plant Houseplant Petal
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What a pretty shell and Madeline is a great name.
Adventures in a snaily world. So cool
Haven't I seen them in a Lavender color as well?
Thanks! Madeline is super pretty :) I went with a different snail breeder this time and I'm glad I did.

Yes, mystery snails come in many colors, lavender (purple/violet), magenta, brown, black, blue, and ivory, in addition to the gold. I think there's a green variety as well, but I have only heard about it.

When I set up my 15"x15" cube tank next year, I'm getting purple and ivory mystery snails, along with blue ramshorns, black devil spike and pagoda.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In other news I had the UV light on too much and the crypt plant started to melt so I clipped a bunch of leaves earlier and shut off the UV light. I'm gonna try the light for just a few hours a day and see what that does. I completely forgot that crypts are a low-light plant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Unfortunately, Reginald died. The other snails appear to be fine, quite active and are eating. For some reason Reginald wasn't. I put her in a separate container with food, but she didn't touch any of it. She smelled absolutely foul when I checked her a couple hours ago, and was shrunk inside her shell. So unfortunate.

After week one, the crypt plants melts and the roots started to die too. Then the anubias plants both went bad. The java fern is fine, the banana lily is fine. The red root floaters crapped out, probably due to a lack of nutrients. I ordered a buce green plant, and the roots are fine but the leaves melted. I haven't had the light on for more than a two to three hours during the day. I tried a blue light for a while, but the red root floaters kept giving up. I tried adding in a little bit of API leaf zone liquid fertilizer to give the floaters an extra boost, but nope, that didn't help either. There are a few random leaves that grew healthy with healthy roots that are in their now. I know that the floaters and the duckweed will repopulate super quick, but I had grown those floaters in my classroom's tank for 4 months straight. They were beginning to turn a nice, bright red. For them to die off so suddenly makes me furious after all that work my and my students put into cultivating them.

I put the snails in their temporary transport cup a few days ago, and removed EVERYTHING from the tank, substrate included. It's a inch of sand, no aquasoil this time. I think I originally put too much aquasoil in. It's only epiphytes in there now, so the aquasoil was no longer needed (it also smelled disgusting when I removed it). I washed all the rocks, the driftwood, and rescaped the tank. The water is starting to clear up, though the tank has a funk smell. I think the smell is on the glass, around the rim, and not in the water. When I change water, the water doesn't smell. Surprising, given how the floaters died in there and how Reginald passed away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So sorry about Reginald. :confused: I am far from a plant expert so I'll let more knowledgeable folks help with your plants. Three hours of light seems low but I am not sure.
Thank you.

Red root floaters need higher light levels for longer, which the tank was getting. Since rescaping the tank I had the light on less, because the higher light levels were bothering the other plants. So it could be a lack of light that caused the issue too. I have the lamp tilted up really high, and the epiphytes stopped having issues the second I did that. The floaters however all died. I think I just cannot have red root floaters in this tiny tank. The duckweed will likely be fine. I'd prefer a different floating plant, but, it's easy to remove so no big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We moved to a new apartment. The air quality in my old apartment was really bad and we discovered a mold problem we didn't know we had until right before moving day. This is why the snail tank wasn't doing well.

Set up the tank on the half wall between our living room and kitchen in the new apartment. Within a day the tank is crystal clear, doesn't smell, and the snails aren't constantly going to the surface with their siphons. Hurray!

In other news, I saved a few healthy red root floaters. The snails ate most of the duckweed!
 

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We moved to a new apartment. The air quality in my old apartment was really bad and we discovered a mold problem we didn't know we had until right before moving day. This is why the snail tank wasn't doing well.

Set up the tank on the half wall between our living room and kitchen in the new apartment. Within a day the tank is crystal clear, doesn't smell, and the snails aren't constantly going to the surface with their siphons. Hurray!

In other news, I saved a few healthy red root floaters. The snails ate most of the duckweed!
Woot. Good to hear and better for you too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Update: That small aquarium was still having problems. I think it was just too small for the number of snails in it. I have my larger planted aquarium set up in my room, so I put the snails in it.

I don't have photos at the moments but it's a 15"x15" cube tank. The substrate and hardscape are done. I saved the java fern from their small tank, and there's also the salvinia and dwarf water lettuce I got in there. My lobelia cardinalis plant arrived today too so I planted it in there.

The snails are loving it. Ophelia went right up the wall, which is his fave thing to do. Madeline ate all the white hair algae that had started to grow on one of the spider wood pieces. Winston is, as usual, swinging around on the floating plants after exploring EVERYTHING, and Diana is hiding under the lobelia plant. I will never get over the personalities of these snails.

After all the plants arrive, I'm gonna order the other snails, the betta, and the catfish. I decided on a cappuccino spike snail, pagoda snail, ivory mystery snail and chestnut mystery snail. I'm getting a banjo catfish (Bunocephalus coracoideus), because I've always wanted one and it'll blend beautifully with the colors in the tank. I'm excited about the catfish's diet too. (I won't be getting a catfish because my mother mentioned to me that they eat snails, and I looked it up and sure enough, they do. So nope to that!) I actually am excited about diet planning for them all, because after having my turtles for so long, putting together a varied and balanced diet is so much fun. I found a "snello" recipe that I can't wait to try out.
 

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. I will never get over the personalities of these snails.

After all the plants arrive, I'm gonna order the other snails, the betta, and the catfish. I decided on a cappuccino spike snail, pagoda snail, ivory mystery snail and chestnut mystery snail. I actually am excited about diet planning for them all, because after having my turtles for so long, putting together a varied and balanced diet is so much fun. I found a "snello" recipe that I can't wait to try out.
Their personalities are a trip. Sounds like quite the party you'll have going on there. Super cool! I'm considering another Nerite for my tank. Snails rule
 
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