Mystery Snail Egg Cocoon Progress! (Pomacea bridgesii)
Believe it or not, I used to not care much for snails. I thought they were disgusting, boring wastes of space. Boy, was I ever wrong! A couple months ago, I got 10 (6 blue, 2 Ivory, and 2 Golden) Mystery Snails from PetSmart. I was interested in breeding them, but I've noticed there's not nearly as much information online as there is for other types of aquatic life. So, I've decided to chart my progress here for others who, like me, love to KNOW!
My snails were about the diameter of a dime when I first got them. From what I've read, the average lifespan varies based on their metabolic rate...and their metabolic rate varies based on the temperature of the water they're in. They grow faster at higher temperatures, however, this shortens their life span. Generally, I wouldn't be interested in cutting their lives short, but in the interest of faster growth and learning to breed, I cranked my heater up to about 82 degrees. I'd read that too high in the 80's could be fatal, so I brought this temperature up very slowly, about 2 degrees every few days, until I found them at their most active.
I've been feeding them lettuce, carrot slices (be careful! These will cloud the water and you'll have an outbreak of copepods. See my "Pests" section for more information on this, or look through the forums)commercial guinea pig food, and commercial fish food. They've grown quite a bit, now almost the size of golf balls.
I dropped the water level about 3 inches for a couple of weeks. Nothing. I drop the water level to 6 inches. Nothing. I left the water level at 6 inches (I was concerned if I dropped it any more that my heater would break) and I added a cuttlebone to the water. (like you'd put in a bird cage. High in calcium, which is great for their shells...but DO NOT use a mineral block as these contain SALT!!!!) A few days later, I started getting very strict with my photo periods. Lights went off between 10 and 11pm, and on again between 7 and 8am. Very soon after, I had EGGS!
Check out the progress through these photos! I'll continually update as things progress.
May 24th, 2010- About 7am, while checking on the 1st Mystery Snail Egg Cocoon, I found one of my Blue snails laying a 2nd cocoon.
Mystery Snail Egg Cocoon #2 May 24th, 2010. This cocoon is almost twice the size of the first one (found May 10th, 2010) See how much lighter it is in comparison to the older cocoon #1?
Kind of hard to see, but Mystery Snail Egg Cocoon #1 is on the left, the heater is in the middle, then there's an airline tube, and the cocoon #2 on the right.
Cocoon #3 May 26th, 2010. First Day. Cocoon laid on the FRONT of the tank instead of the BACK of the tank (Near the heater) like the previous two cocoons.
Cocoon #3 June 7th, 2010. Day 13. Hatching is happening in this picture. It only took 13 days for this cocoon, unlike the almost month of cocoon # 1.
Babies! June 6th, 2010
I counted about 215 during a water change when the adult snail in the picture let go of the glass and ended up stuck to the 1/4 inch siphon hose. I lost count in the process of "un-sticking" the snail. He's fine.
Mystery Snail Cocoon #1. June 7th, 2010. Back View
Cocoon #1, broken piece and a few babies after a half hour in a cup with a few drops of dechlorinated water. They're already perking up from being all dried up and trapped!
Snail Babies from Cocoon #1, June 7th, 2010.
They've been in the cup with the water for over an hour now. They're so cute! I put them into the main baby-tank shortly after this picture was taken.
Cocoon # 3 June 6th, 2010. Day 12. View through the glass.
Cocoon # 3 June 7th, 2010. Day 13, Hatching in progress. View from through the glass.
June 1st, 2010. 2am
Cocoons # 4 & 5.
TWO of my Blue Mystery Snails are laying egg cocoons simultaneously, even popping out the eggs at the same time.