Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aquarium Surprises : Snails and Crustacean Curly-Tails

I have two Bumblebee snails (Clithon corona, more commonly called "Horned nerite" snails; ours were named "Stripe" and "Buzz" by my son) in my aquarium, which are a delight to look for. They are pretty exclusively algae eaters, so very welcome also.

Over the last while, I've managed to acquire 3 more snails, which must have come with the aquatic plants I purchased. One of them is a very small dark pointy spiral shelled one, I think it will be difficult to identify him.
Planorbis aquatic snail
The other two are much more distinctive, and seem to be Planorbis (Ramshorn) snails. Both are a purplish brown, with dark-spotted brown shells. Mine are too small to make a decent photo, so I instead show this one (see right), which is borrowed from a Spanish-language aquarium forum. (Si usted entiende espaƱol, usted puede querer visitar este Web site.)

All 3 have been transferred to the secondary aquarium in the kitchen, which is holding my two remaining neon tetras, until I am sure about their plant-eating capabilities. So far, they have spent all their time, from what I can see, on the glass, or the gravel, and have shown no interest in eating the plants. So they seem to be happy eating algae. Which is good, since tonight I found the two Planorbis together at the edge of the tank, doing some interesting maneuvers. Hmmm, I may have more snails on the way at some point...

Early this evening, when I was cleaning the main aquarium, and rinsing/squeezing out the sponge in my filter, I noticed some movement in the bottom of the wastewater bucket. It looked like a small fly, not much larger than a mosquito, running along the bottom. Seemed strange, but I continued with the cleaning. A few minutes later, I could still see this creature running around the bucket, so I knew it couldn't be a fly! I netted it, and put it into a smaller container to take a look. I was surprised to see what looked like a small shrimp or some sort of crustacean. Greyish, almost colourless. The tail was tucked under, and it was zipping around quite quickly. I added this also to our secondary aquarium. If it's something I'll want to keep, it will have much more chance surviving with the neon tetras than with those hungry goldfish!

Tonight, I took out a flashlight, and tried to look for this little creature. Sadly, I could find no sign of him. So either he's crawled up into the filter, or I was just unlucky in my searching. Now I wish I had kept him aside longer, to get a better look, and if possible, identify him a bit better. But it is a pretty neat thought, that I managed to acquire something this interesting, and quite unintentionally. I hope it survives for a while, at least until I can get a better look.


Garden Lily said...

They are too small for a photo, but when I cleaned the secondary aquarium yesterday, I found two clutches of about 1 dozen small white eggs each, on the back of the filter. I'm guessing ramhorn snail eggs. No sign of that little shrimp. I hope he's still in there somewhere.

Anna said...

I hope he is too! Your adventure in the aquarium world is fascinating. I just popped over to see how you were doing.

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