Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poor Gary

Oh no! Got a snail last night for the fish tank, to help with a little algae issue that is growing. (Pun intended)

Unfortunately no one at the pet store mentioned not to put it in a tank with aquarium salt, which I have in my tank for the ghost shrimp.

So this morning I found my poor beautiful "Gary" dead.  How do I know it was the salt that killed him?  I found him shell up IN the salt cup!

As soon as I saw him in there, I thought: Hey, doesn't salt kill slugs?  Aren't snails basically slugs with houses? D'oh!!

I'm sad. I spent 45 minutes picking out just the perfect snail.  And the kids were so excited about him. And then I mercilessly killed him.  Poor guy never had a chance. :(

Update: So, because I wasn't 100% sure he was dead (he was still black and shiny in the shell, not discolored and dry) I put him in a plastic cup with water from the tank.  I wanted to a. observe him to confirm he was dead and b. return him for a refund if he was.  But when we were leaving for school/work I saw him crawling around!!  So, he's not dead!  But is he dying?  Hmm... I have done some preliminary googling for "mystery snail" and "aquarium salt" and I have found conflicting opinions.  Some say it will kill them for sure.  Some say that they can tolerate a high level of salinity in the water.  I need to find out for sure, so I can know how to proceed.  (If he is still alive when I get home from work)

Any experienced aquarium aficionados...please feel free to offer some advice.


  1. Oh Gary. I'm pretty certain there are snails who live in the ocean, therefore tolerating the salt pretty well. I hope Gary is a species of snail who thrive in salt water.

  2. Thanks Sarah. Saltwater snails can definitely handle salt, but this is a freshwater tank. I was advised to use the salt because "even freshwater has some salt in it" and it's supposed to help ward away diseases and algae build up. After a little more research, I've decided that I'm going to take my salt cup out of the tank for now. It seems that my small tank with my small population of fish will probably be fine with less salt, in fact I read a few things that the salt might not be so great for my cory catfish. So tonight when I get home, I'm going to take the salt cup out and test the water. Then maybe do a water change (again!) if necessary. Then put Gary back in (if he is still alive). And only use the salt sparingly in the future. Fingers crossed it works!

  3. Thanks for asking, Sarah. He is okay so far. I took the salt out, and put him back in. I still plan on doing a water change today or tomorrow (to help reduce the salinity). I wanted to wait a few days just to make sure the current water got exposed to all the good/helpful bacteria. Plus, water changes are kind of stressful on the fish/creatures, so I didn't want to do another one right away.