A Trip into Snail Breeding - Nerites & Rabbits
Over the last couple of weeks, I had made the decision to attempt breeding something. The decision was pretty easy for me. I love Rabbit Snails - they're ridiculously interesting (both behavior-wise and physically). The way they lunk their shells around like a hunchback, while throwing themselves off of obstacles to get around the tank is pretty humorous and entertaining. They're also visually stunning. They have vivid colors, a snout/trunk like an elephant and large, cone-like shells. Very cool looking creatures, if you ask me.
The problem with Rabbit snails is that they're not readily available in pet stores or online via breeders. I've found a few places, but they're often sold out or they're out of season, and I've only found a couple breeders on Aquabid.
With all of these factors coming into play, I decided that breeding Rabbit snails would be a somewhat logical decision, while being challenging/fun at the same time. The plan is to sell the majority of the stock on Aquabid, while keeping a couple for myself, in my other tanks. My 10gal is large enough for one, in addition to everything else in there, so breeding them will allow me to replace the one that I have, when it eventually dies - which is hopefully not for a while.
My other logical decision was to breed Nerite snails (still deciding on which species of Nerite to breed, though). They're some of the best algae eaters in the hobby, and while they'll gobble up all of the algae you want them to, they'll leave your plants alone. Win-win. In addition to being quite useful, they're also quite beautiful and hardy. Their shells have interesting designs and are pretty hard, as well. It's difficult for Nerites to be crushed (when you're not meaning to), they're relatively easy to take care of, and so they're safe in most aquarium settings.
The interesting part of breeding Nerites is providing them the necessary environment. They breed in brackish water, but can live in freshwater.
Nerites are highly sought after, and while there are many people breeding/selling them online, there's still plenty to go around. Therefore, I'm going to attempt selling the majority of mine, as well, while keeping them for tank maintenance. ;]
If this little project goes well, who knows... maybe I'll get into Assassin snails, shrimp or crayfish. Interesting creatures that aren't always readily available in pet stores, though with some searching, they can be found online. Anyway, here's hoping things go well.
Let's get started...
First, we need some required items:
1 x Tank stand capable of holding two 10gal tanks filled with water
2 x 10gal tanks
2 x sponge filters (trying two different kinds)
2 x heaters
2 x thermometers
1 x hydrometer
1 x box of aquarium salt
2 x 15lb bags of crushed coral/shells
2 x glass covers to keep moisture in
2 x light fixtures
50 x large shipping bags
50 x small shipping bags
1lb of small rubber bands
I've already assembled the tank stand and added a black background to the 10gal tanks. I'm still awaiting the heaters, but I was able to get a couple of 50w Jagers for a decent price - $16/ea.
I decided that since these will only be snail tanks, I'll be using 10gal sponge filters. I wanted to try two different styles, so I have one that sits on the floor, while the other one sticks to the wall via suction cups.
Usually, the most expensive thing about putting these tanks together, is purchasing an adequate light fixture. However, since these are, again, snail tanks, I'm probably just going to go the cheap/easy route and purchase a couple of clamp on fixtures with a 25w+ 6500k bulb. Should run about $15 each, instead of $40 each.
This will obviously be a low-light/low-tech setting, but I'm still considering some very low-standard plants if only to keep the algae growing. Algae will be the staple diet for my Nerites, so I have some algae chips that I can feed them on a regular basis. The Rabbit snails, while enjoying a good bit of algae here and there, loves veggies and food pellets. I feed my rabbit snail about 3 pellets a day with a slice of cucumber 1-2x a week. I plan on feeding the rabbits mostly veggies when I get them started. I've never seen the Nerite snails eat veggies or pellets, so it's likely that they're strictly algae eaters. I'll have to do more research on them to be sure, though.
The next step to this project, after having accumulated everything I need, is fitting it all into these empty tanks:
My basement is becoming a small aquarium... Now I have 4 tanks on the back wall - now dubbed "The Fish Wall". I'm surprised that my wife is so forgiving of me, because the thought of having more animals, while another baby is on the way, is ludicrous (to her). I need my hobbies, though... so this one popped up just in time for me to ditch an older one. haha
Here's how I've decided to situate the new breeder tanks:
In order: 10gal Betta/Otto tank -> 2 x 10gal snail breeding tanks -> 75gal community tank
I guess I was bitten by the MTS bug, huh? And to think I still want a 20gal long puffer tank and a nano shrimp tank. ;]