How to fix shell damage on larger snails

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Apples&Endlers

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Feb 7, 2009
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Sometimes no matter how well we care for our snails they get hurt :( Usually from falling from up top and hitting the gravel or decorations in the bottom of the tank.

I raise Pomacea Bridgesii aka Mystery aka Apple snails. I have had to do some major patch jobs on a few and wanted to share with others how I accomplished it with pictures.

Some of the larger snails like Apple/Mystery snails that you get attached to sometimes really do a number on their shells. It is devastating to loose a snail to an injury but all may not be lost so don't despair some can be patched and go on living till the end of their natural lives.

I thought some might be interested in ways to fix their shell. As long as the damage doesn't include the body of the snail bulging out of the shell it is usually fixable. Sometimes things like dents on the body or small chips or even large chips at the opening where the snail comes out can and should be left alone.

But other times you will have a spiral snapped off or a hole in the shell without the body bulging out but you can almost see the snails flesh exposed but if left it will continue to get bigger and will eventually kill the snail if left so it needs to be fixed.

A very effective way to patch the shell is to use a fast drying Marine Epoxy. You want to get the fast drying kind since the shorter the time the snail is out of the water the better. The brand I got has a set up time of 15 minutes with total dry time of 1 hour. I went to my local hardware store and bought the kind that looks like play dough in a tube green outside with white inside you simply blend it all together until it is solid white and gently put in on the bad spot. It was really cheap less than $5.00 and there is enough there to do many snails.

Here are pictures of the product:



You can also use bathroom caulking if you can find one without the mildew killer in it that will pollute your whole tank and that doesn't take very long to dry. I was unable to find anything that dried in under 24 hours here but you might find it where you live. I prefer the kind I got for ease of use and and the fact it wont leak into the shell and come into contact with the body of the snail since that can poison and kill the snail.

Since my snails are able to breath and live out of the water for a long time I took a container and put a thin layer of water on the bottom so the snail wouldn't be as stressed and get dried out. If your snail is one that cannot breath air then you can just put enough water to cover the foot of the snail but keep the patched area in the dry.

This is one of my DSP (Dark Stripped Purple) females that somehow managed to knock her entire spiral off not just the tip but all the way to the main part of the shell. I figured she would die even if I patched her because it was just so bad a injury. But I decided to give it a try and see since it could not be left like that.

I patched her up and here she is.
apples1.jpg
She lays eggs about once a week so that is a great sign that she is healthy and happy.

I had another DSP female who had very minor damage on her main shell from falling or scrubbing it some way but at the time I didn't have the epoxy but even if I had the injury wasn't really large enough to fix with it. Some one told me you can actually use eggshell to patch a small injury so I took clear finger nail polish and a piece of eggshell and stuck it on there.

I wasn't sure it would stay but it has been about 2 months now and it is still there protecting the bad spot. She is also laying eggs and growing well. You can also use nail polish to paint the shell itself if there is pitting or very minor damage to protect it from getting worse.

Here she is
apples2.jpg

This is a picture of some snails with slight pitting on the spiral this isn't damage from injury but from PH fluctuations. 99% of all snails will have some degree of this pitting even in the best water. PH for these snails should be in the 7.2-7.8 range to high or to low can cause the pitting to worsen.
apples3.jpg
This is the kind of thing nail polish is good for.

This is one of my males he is so chubby that he cant fit his whole body into his shell to hide :) You can see he has mating damage on the edge of his shell on the left side. If you look closely under the damaged shell in the first picture you can see a orange spot that is the tip of his penis. This male isn't at all shy like most of my other snails and it is very clear he is a male. :)

This kind of damage cannot and should not be fixed because that area is what grows and anything you tried to do would make things worse. Since there is no snail attached to that area it wont hurt the snail though if it looks sharp it can cut them so you should watch for that and break off any sharp edges that are hurting the snail being very careful of course.

Here he is
apples4.jpg

I hope that no one ever has to fix a snail shell but if you do I hope this information will be helpful to you. Please feel free to ask any questions if I wasn't clear enough.

apples1.jpg apples2.jpg apples3.jpg apples4.jpg
 
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bitbot

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Nov 10, 2008
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Thank you, I am a new owner of a couple of Bridgesii, so this was of great interest to me.

They have grown a lot since I got them, and they do free-fall quite often, sometimes hitting rocks with an audible 'crack'.

I hope I don't have to actually fix a snail shell - I would be worried about messing it up, but thanks for the tutorial. The pictures are a little small to see clearly, but the text is great.
 

Apples&Endlers

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Feb 7, 2009
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I usually keep the pictures at 300 pixels because it takes a really long time for those with dial up to open them.

I can post larger pictures if you need me to.

On my laptop they are pretty big.

ETA: I was going to go back and increase the picture size but ran out of time and cant edit now :mad2: You all really need to give a bit longer to do edits geez. I can understand the need to have a limit on edit time but those of us with dial up cannot navigate that fast and something like fixing a picture takes a lot of time to do.
 
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Kashta

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Jun 24, 2008
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This is great information for us. Thank you for posting the details and the photos.

I have two questions about using the marine epoxy. I remember reading a repair thread over at applesnail.net where the person lined the exposed area first.. using that very thin membrane we find right against an eggshell. Then.. covered the area using marine epoxy. Is that lining necessary to be in place between the snail inside and the epoxy repair? Also.. I've seen this epoxy for sale in many places. What's the shelf life for it? If something happens and I need this, I know where to get it. I just don't want to buy it and have it dry up or pass an expiration date since we don't need to do this very often.
 

Apples&Endlers

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I didnt try to use the membrane myself didnt think of it at the time actually. The snails where fine without it even the one that was hurt so badly loosing the whole spiral.

Well I bought mine about 6 months ago and keep it sealed in its little tube. It dosnt have a exp. date anywhere on it.

I do know that unless the green is blended with the white it stays soft. I just dont know how long before it goes bad. It is very inexpensive though so if it does go bad it isnt a huge loss.

I like it better than the more fluid epoxy because if you have a deep wound it dosnt seep in there and touch the snails body which would kill the snail.
 
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excuzzzeme

Stroke Survivor '05
I know nothing about snails but my thought is that almost anything could be used as a liner to prevent contact. Perhaps like some saran-wrap or perhaps wax paper. I would think by the time the wax paper disintegrated it would have been long enough for the repair to set up and harden?
 

Kashta

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Good. I was happy to find out this use for it too, when this green/white epoxy came out. Very handy stuff.

I know nothing about snails but my thought is that almost anything could be used as a liner to prevent contact. Perhaps like some saran-wrap or perhaps wax paper. I would think by the time the wax paper disintegrated it would have been long enough for the repair to set up and harden?
We'll have to see what Jinx and Lupin have to say about the suggestions... I wouldn't think it's a good idea to put some other foreign material in there as a liner and bond it shut permanently.
 

Apples&Endlers

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Well you would have to get it to where the epoxy could touch the shell around the edges or the barrier or it wouldnt stick on the shell. It would be a bit time consuming getting all the edges right and you have to get it done before the epoxy sets which dosnt take very long at all.

This epoxy I use will dry even under water bit I let it set up first because I dont want any possible chemical contamination in the tank with it still soft once it is hard then that would minimize the chemicals released.
 

Reframer

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When you use nail polish, does it have to be a certain kind? Can I, say, use purple nail polish to match a purple snail?
 

Lupin

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When you use nail polish, does it have to be a certain kind? Can I, say, use purple nail polish to match a purple snail?
The color doesn't really matter. Just keep it out of reach of the snail's flesh.
 
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