The horrors of hatching...(or What do I do now?)

All about getting more snails...
Only registered user can post here.

Moderator: Board moderators

The horrors of hatching...(or What do I do now?)

Postby pbgroupie on Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:35 pm

I was contacted by one of our members who observed that sometimes we are not always clear in our advice to "newbies" who are trying to hatch snail clutches. I remember my own excitement when the first clutches were laid and I waited and waited for them to hatch. Suddenly there were 50-200 babies in the tanks that I needed to care for. Then came more clutches, and even more clutches and I became overwhelmed.

I started buying more tanks and filters, and moving snails around so they wouldn't become overcrowded. Since I couldn't keep them all, I quickly had to find homes for them. I was lucky enough to use the buy/sell/trade section here and post on AquaBid, but the clutches and hatchlings kept coming. There were weekly and bi-weekly water changes, overloaded filters, feeding the snails better than my family, and they consumed a lot of my time and attention to give them the best care and best shells possible.

Sounds familiar to most of you, huh? :roll: :yes: So what I thought we'd do here in this thread is share some of our experiences as a "head's up" to people exploring the wonderful world of snailing for the first time. Not that I'm trying to scare anyone off, but I think we should offer a reality check of the responsibilities of hatching too many snails. So I'll start with some advice that I hope is helpful, and I hope my forum family members will also chime in with good advice.

1. Do you have enough room?
Yes, it's wonderful to know that the conditions in your tank have spurred your young lovers into mating and laying. Yet when you consider that most clutches contain up to 200 young hatchlings that will eventually demand a minimum of 2 gallons of tank space each, can you afford to hatch the whole clutch?

2. Do you have the proper foods?
Contrary to what the LFS may tell you, only the young hatchlings eat algae and that's only until they are large enough to travel to another food source. So you'll have to come up with some proper foods (covered elsewhere in this forum) and that will cost you a bit. Not bad when it's only a few snails, but much harder when it's dozens and dozens of snails.

3. Do you have enough filtration?
Snails eat a lot and poop a lot. Experience has shown that you need to at least double the filtration on your tank. Otherwise you will be doing many, many water changes to keep the tank within normal limits.

4. Do you have a home for your snails?
After they've gotten to be pea-sized they are ready to be shipped or traded to the LFS. Do you have these contacts in place already? Do you know how to properly ship snails? (There is great info on this other places in the forum). And more importantly now...do you have a permit to ship them?

If you've answered no to any of the above, then maybe you better reconsider hatching the whole clutch. You can break off a piece of the clutch and try to hatch a smaller, and more manageable, amount of snails. The extra clutches can be disposed of in a responsible manner (not outside near ponds and water sources). This way you can still share in the excitement of raising snails, without some of the mishaps of having too many. Hope this helps,

Suz
pbgroupie
Advanced moderator snail
Advanced moderator snail
 
Posts: 4370
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:43 pm
Location: Maryland, USA

Postby plecoperson on Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:33 pm

Very good sticky. I for one didn't realize that so many of the babies would hatch and survive. I figgered there was a fairly high mortality rate, as there is with most creatures that produce zillions of offspring. This should be very helpful to future snailers, especially with the need now for permits to ship them.
User avatar
plecoperson
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 220
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 12:28 am
Location: Evanston, Illinois

Postby Melody on Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:35 am

Excellent idea! I would add that if you are already in over your head, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are many ways to get things back under control and I'm betting that there's a whoooooooole lot more of us who have been there than will admit it 8) . Here's some things you can do - not sayin' how I know this stuff either :wasntme: .

- Separate the males & females immediately.

- Post ad's for the existing clutches here, on Aquabid, eBay, through your local fish club, etc, but do it quick - you may only have 2 weeks. There's usually a few of us who can easily accomodate and move them when the time comes so it shouldn't be a problem, but of course, counting on that wouldn't be wise unless you have a back-up plan.

- OR destroy the clutches.

If you already have hatchlings and can't grow them out properly:

- Have a hatchling sale via the same routes as above.

- Find temporary accomodations such as Rubbermaid tubs.

PLEASE never release snails into the wild. It can devestate in many ways and its illegal (I think its illegal everywhere, but someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Note to Members: I know its sometimes frustrating and the story gets old, but its important that we don't become unapproachable to members in these situations. If we do that, they won't ask for help for fear of ridicule and embarassment and we won't be helping any snails that way. Try to cushion the blow and be understanding. Chances are we aren't talking to someone who intended to be cruel, etc. They're just enthusiastic snailers like the rest of us. We have no idea of what lengths they'll go to in order to handle the situation after all, such as buying new tanks or whatever.

Been there, done that, Snails ate the t-shirt :wink: .

P.S. - Maybe we should have a clutch rescue registry of people who will take them for the cost of shipping, like me in Canada, and there's several in the US and probably the UK too. Not sure how the logistics of that would work, but it seems like a brilliant idea at 3:34 AM :lol: .
User avatar
Melody
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Postby SnailMomma on Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:59 am

Melody wrote:Been there, done that, Snails ate the t-shirt :wink: .

P.S. - Maybe we should have a clutch rescue registry of people who will take them for the cost of shipping, like me in Canada, and there's several in the US and probably the UK too. Not sure how the logistics of that would work, but it seems like a brilliant idea at 3:34 AM :lol: .


Everything sounds brilliant at this hour! ;-)
But excellent points. I know they recently drained a man made pond near me, and Cana eggs were everywhere. How? I also know a few years ago a LFS was selling Canas, although they have been illegal in California for awhile. I can imagine the "release them in the wild" when it became overwhelming was just too much. This is not good! I think I have gotten to the point where I could take care of eggs in a humane way and not have to kill myself trying to care for more snails than I can.
User avatar
SnailMomma
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 4:34 am
Location: Land Of The Redwoods

Postby Melody on Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:49 pm

I think I have gotten to the point where I could take care of eggs in a humane way and not have to kill myself trying to care for more snails than I can.


While I don't keep Canas... or I only keep their Salton cousins anyway, I can see how one could be quickly overwhelmed with them. Its harder for me to move the plant-eaters too, but I don't know if its like that for everyone. I hadn't thought to differentiate between the species in my suggestions, but that does bring up a good point - most Brig's will go for the shipping, but some of the others might be more difficult to move and some being illegal will make it that much harder. I'll leave that for those more experienced at trying to find homes for them.

I'm tempted to gather up everyone's Marisas in the US now that the powers that be are making things difficult. That's one plant eater that I really like for some reason, especially the really big ones. :D
}}=`:> Melody <:'={{
All Natural Pet Care
User avatar
Melody
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Postby Imzadi on Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:51 am

One thing that us newbies would like to know. If it comes to humanely destroying the eggs, how can that be done, what is the most humane way?
Cast your eyes to the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
User avatar
Imzadi
Member snail
Member snail
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:07 am
Location: Maryland, USA

Postby badflash on Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:29 pm

Just put them in the freezer for a day or so. This is the kindest method for most snails and fish too.
User avatar
badflash
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 1988
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:46 am
Location: Wappingers Falls NY

Postby Melody on Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:43 pm

The kindest method for tropical creatures is a severed head using the proper equipment (I know, I know), vet drugs or with tropical fish, an alcohol solution (very quick, no struggle). Freezing is a commonly recommended method though, so I can see why so many think its the best way. There is science behind it making it feasible, its just the wrong science for tropicals.

NEVER try the alka seltzer method that you occasionally hear about. 'Go to sleep' my behind - I tried it once and that fish thrashed around for so long I poured vodka in to end its agony. I'll never forget it - poor thing. Poured me a vodka after the ordeal too.

If you freeze the eggs as early in the development as possible, there is no pain involved. Don't throw them out in case they stay moist enough to continue developing. You can also feed them to your fish - nature's way.

Its a very good question. :)
}}=`:> Melody <:'={{
All Natural Pet Care
User avatar
Melody
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Postby badflash on Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:28 am

I don't agree that freezing is painfull for them, but then, how could we know? Chopping their heads off? How could that not be painfull? How could you do it?

What i've observed is when I cool snails down they go to sleep. Freezing them at that point would not wake them up & cause them pain. Reports of humans freezing to death, or nearly so, and almost univerally peacefull. It is the surviving part that is brutal. Humans are tropical. I think reduced sensitivity to pain by cold is pretty universal.

As to freezing eggs, how is disposal by freezing any more cruel than any other? By alcohol do you mean ethanol so they become dead drunk? That might be a good way. Other alcohols would not be so peaceful.

With eggs, just sinking them in water will do the trick in a few hours, but some may think that is mean too.

This is a pretty tough subject. You may be killing for the right reasons, but it sure doesn't make it easy. Still, the time comes for all of us where we have to do it. If you can't deal with that fact, you really shouldn't have them in the first place.
User avatar
badflash
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 1988
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:46 am
Location: Wappingers Falls NY

Postby Imzadi on Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:12 am

Thank you for all the advice. I am still thinking this over and crossing my fingers that I can find someone to take the clutch so it doesn't come to that.
Cast your eyes to the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
User avatar
Imzadi
Member snail
Member snail
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:07 am
Location: Maryland, USA

Postby Melody on Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:44 am

The methods of euthanization have been studied quite extensively. My information comes from a biologist and I've seen it echoed almost exclusively in the more advanced, modern literature. I used to recommend freezing too, if it makes you feel any better.

I didn't say anything about freezing eggs being wrong. I also specified fish for the alcohol. Decapitation requires the proper equipment, as stated. In all cases, sedation with clove oil is the ultimate kindness, but I don't know the effects of clove oil on snails.

Anyways, those are the methods available and the freezing method has been dismissed as not the ideal over the past several years. Quicker is always better. Some experts I agree with, others I don't, but one should be educated in the science behind the theory before a decision is made. There are a number of good articles about it out there. These are the first that my Google finger found:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-mos ... a-fish.htm

This one includes the author's opinion, as well as ratings of the methods. It explains why freezing tropicals is not kind far better than I could:

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/faustus/ni ... anasia.htm

Although I'm sure that hobbyists who have used freezing over the years thought they were doing the right thing, it is not the best way to euthanize a tropical creature. I'll leave it at that so as not to take the topic too far into left field.

Good luck with your decision Zadi, I'm sure its a difficult one for you.
User avatar
Melody
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Postby dorn27 on Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:01 pm

As aweful as it is... if I'm over run with clutches and not sure its a clutch color that is desired and will be shipped off quickly... I smash and flush. Its fast and easy. I just pull of the fresh clutch (which smash easily that new anyway), and anything undamaged from my reckless removal gets smushed between toliet paper. Then I flush, incase any eggs were not smushed.

I never thought to freeze them first and then flush that may be my new method.

Also, I have problems with the idea that freezing a cold blooded fish is an acceptable method of disposal for them, but not for tropicals, its the exact oposite. Cold blooded fish can survive in water as cold as 32F... until it is frozen solid and they run out of breathable water and their physical tissues and organs begin to freeze! Freezing is not acceptable for cold water fish for this reason.

I do not freeze tropicals unless they are on the verge of death already. Instead I disolve several asprin in a small amount of tank water and add the fish. Once they are pain free (and nearly gone anyways), they are either frozen or as graphic as it sounds... dumped into boiling water. The boiling water is much faster than freezing taking literally less than a second, and pain free thanks to the asprin overdose. I don't have the guts to cut off a head, but this is truely the best and fastest method because it severes the spine and the fish dies instantly.
dorn27
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 5:10 pm

Postby Melody on Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:34 am

I agree that its not best for cold water fish/creatures either. My point was that is where the belief comes from - their metabolism shuts down and they go to sleep. In that respect, they would be in a dormant state for the final moments and get there naturally. However, as the site I referred to mentions, the natural process would take a lot longer if we were to act based on that theory. That alone dismisses the idea for them too, in my opinion. I hadn't even considered that part before actually.

For tropicals, there is no gentle or swift part that makes freezing humane. Its a slow, painful death no matter how you look at it. I think we favour it more because we don't have to see it. I would plunge it into ice water before I'd slowly freeze something to death. If you look at the info part of the site, there's a chart that shows how long snails have lasted at extreme temps - it can be a long time by dying standards.

The head chopping thing is highly recommended with caution - you need the proper instruments - as in something extremely sharp and thin, a rock hard surface, and guts of steal. I could only recommend that with sedation though, since it would be tortured through the preparation and could easily move at the wrong time. Granted, I recommend sedation for any method. I can't imagine how it would work with snails.

Speaking of smashing, one very quick way to do a snail in is to sedate, put it in a bag and run over it - kills instantly. Yes, its gross, and I think that plays a big part in many people's choices - its the thought of something more than the effectiveness.

Anyways, we do what we do because our heart is in the right place and we're really assuming a lot of the 'pain-free' parts in various methods. I just wanted to reiterate that rather than going with whatever method that I or anyone else suggests, there should be lots of study into the science behind it. Much of this stuff is just passed from person to person and was never really good advice to begin with.

And I just remembered that I wasn't going to comment further...lol...but its typed so you're getting one more. Shutting up now! :lol: No REALLY!
User avatar
Melody
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 516
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:40 am
Location: BC, Canada

Postby SnailerD on Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:48 pm

When I have extra egg clutches, my remedy is to mash them in a kleenex and flush. I don't let them develop, then do it - I usually take the clutch off as soon as I notice it, so the babies wouldn't be developed yet. It's never easy and I always feel bad, but I can't keep them all. Usually, I do save a small piece of them and hatch some new ones from every few clutches. Even that gets overwhelming sometimes. Unless someone comes up with The Pill for snails, then one will usually have more clutches than they can handle. Sad, but true. Just a downside to rearing/owning/enjoying snails. :(
Last edited by SnailerD on Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SnailerD
Veteran snail
Veteran snail
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2003 8:25 am
Location: Nowheresville

Postby uthayonia on Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:10 pm

Since most of us have more than one tank, the pill is put males in one tank and females in another.
uthayonia
Parent snail
Parent snail
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 4:05 am
Location: Ohio

Next

Return to Snail reproduction / eggs / mating

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests