Some northern Europe saltwater snails (and perhaps a slug)

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Some northern Europe saltwater snails (and perhaps a slug)

Postby Blötdjur on Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:33 pm

Here is my tiny saltwater tank of a little more than 10 liters (about a little more than 2.5 gallons it seems), I know it's tiny but I got very little (and mainly slow moving :-)) life in it. It is very simple, air bubbles and light (I need to get a better light) are the only pieces technology used.
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Here are some snail shells that I found on the swedish west coast.
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(The latin names here are links.) First we have flat periwinkle (there are two species available here, Littorina fabalis and Littorina obtusata, these appear to be Littorina obtusata), then netted dog whelk (Hinia nitida) and last the common periwinkle (Littorina littorea).

It seems I got all of them live too (although I don't know which of the two species of flat periwinkle that I got).

The flat periwinkle (not absolutely sure about the small ones) is a lot on macro algae, one eats micro algae on the macro algae and one eats the macro algae.
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The netted dog whelk (not absolutely sure, because they are so small) can bury in the sand and is a very speedy snail once it moves. I don't know if it exists around Iceland or if it's able to bore holes like the dog whelk which is not netted.
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The common periwinkle is very lazy:
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This might be a sea slug, I saw it first today. It got two big growths above the "tail" and two big tentacles in the front, and also a smaller pair of tentacles in the front. It might be a baby sea hare :-) If anybody know what it is, please tell me.
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Hopefully we'll see what the small ones grow up to. And hopefully my flat periwinkles can breed when the small grow up :-)
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Postby jonfr on Sun Aug 05, 2007 1:56 pm

Your salt water tank looks good, even if it is really small. :D
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Postby Donya on Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:00 pm

That looks like a nice setup! How long has it been running?

Sea slugs are pretty hard to identify when they're that small. If it's a sea hare it will be ok but may outgrow the tank. From the pictures it looks to me like it might be a baby Aplysia species, but it's tough to rull out other true nudibranch species.
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Postby Pollux on Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:35 pm

that's so cool! i thought it was supposed to be hard keeping a marine tank going when it was little?
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Postby Donya on Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:34 pm

i thought it was supposed to be hard keeping a marine tank going when it was little?


It can be, especially as a first marine tank. The main points of difficulty are in the knowledge needed to set one up, and then dealing with temperature fluctuations and lighting/equipment causing heat buildup.
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Postby Blötdjur on Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:38 pm

Thank you all!

Donya, it's only been running for 9 days.

I think there is only one species of sea hare on the swedish west coast where I collected the material, Aplysia punctata.

Pollux, perhaps Donya should answer that question, this is my first saltwater tank :-) However, since my biggest animals by quite a bit, the common periwinkles, are few (4) and very lazy, they don't produce much waste. Also it's easy to see if all are alive. They can also tolerate a lot...

If it's a sea hare, it and the netted dog whelks growing up in this tank seem a bit worrying...

Since the netted dog whelk eats for example carrion, I will have to be careful when they need to be feeded in this small tank...

I have also seen one of these worms with two rows of spikes, which is kind of worrying, even though it's very small (maybe not even 15 mm. and thin). It's been making a lot of holes in the sand and appears to be glueing things together. I kind of like it, but maybe I should remove it?
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Postby Blötdjur on Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:40 pm

Well, already done :-)
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Postby Donya on Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:20 am

Hmm...what are the water parameters currently? I'm wondering if the sluggesh behavior could be because it's not fully cycled if it was just recently set up. I'm not very familiar with Periwinkles. Are any of the rocks that you have from the collection site? (if so, they'll provide filtration, otherwise the biological filtration might not be established)

have also seen one of these worms with two rows of spikes, which is kind of worrying, even though it's very small (maybe not even 15 mm. and thin). It's been making a lot of holes in the sand and appears to be glueing things together. I kind of like it, but maybe I should remove it?


That would probably be a bristleworm, which is harmless in the type of tank you've got. The few predatory species that exist are only a concern for corals.
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Postby Blötdjur on Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:38 am

The behaviour is really nothing to worry about, I have observed them (I'm talking about the common periwinkle now) in nature and I really can't tell these ones' behaviour apart :-) They sit still a long time (above or below waterline) and then they take a slow round :-)

They can be found in masses on some rocky coastlines, and when looking at them often just a few seem to be moving... (if any :-))

Three of the rocks are from the collection site (but one of them was picked pretty high up and had two kinds of thin green macro algae on it and not much more). The big white rock I think you call limestone in English.

Hm, I think it's something like this (link), called ragworm. (If you click "More facts", there are two more pages.) It's pretty similar from what I've seen and does the same U-shaped holes. It looks similar though to bristleworms and the "fireworms" which you suspected ate your baby turbo snails and bit you (sorry!) (in this thread). If those things aren't worrying, then what is? :-)
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Postby jonfr on Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:14 am

I think you should get a pump. I overpump my tank with a 200 liter pump in a 96 liter tank.
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Postby Donya on Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:48 am

Ah ok, if there's a rock that had macro algae growing on it at the time of collection, then I'm sure all is fine :) the limestone should colonize nicely in the tank. I've colonized raw limestone in two of my tanks and it's done well as a biological filter.

jonfr is right about the pump--it would definitely help the filtration stay strong and probably help colonize the limestone faster. The only risk would be heat buildup, which usually isn't an issue except in such small tanks. Something external like a HOTB might be best since they don't have the heat problem (since the motor casing isn't in direct contact with the water).

The ragwoom looks very similar to the species grouped together as bristleworms. It's not a type I'm very familiar with, but I would guess

If those things aren't worrying, then what is?


Well...if they get big, then they're worrying LOL. Most marine worms stay small though. The two large worms I have are a relatively rare occurance. When feeding the whelk, you might have to anchor the food down somehow so the worm doesn't pull it away under a rock where the snail can't reach it. I've even had to anchor down the algae suppliments for my snails to keep the worms from dragging it off under rocks.

The best way to feed meat to things like the whelk would be to time it with water changes. If the whelk is fed some meat a few hours before a 25% water change is done, it might work. You'll definitely need to keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels for the first feeding or two to see how the tank responds.
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Postby Blötdjur on Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:51 pm

OK Donya, well I thought they might be bristleworms all of them, but since you said they were harmless in my type of tank I didn't really get it together :-)

It says on one of the pages about the rag worm though: "The ragworm is a pronounced predator of small creatures. On the beaches it consumes large quantities of, for example mud shrimps (Corophium volutator). Its ability to filter out large quantities of aquatic microorganisms is of great importance in relation to the total amount of food it consumes." Even though small snails and slugs aren't exactly mud shrimps...

(About the rocks: The one i described in detail is the one with the cleanest surface, the other two have lots of stuff on them, including macro algae.)
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Postby Blötdjur on Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:19 pm

jonfr and Donya, I'm sure a pump is good, but I think I'd actually rather cut down on the animals instead since I like to keep it simple. I'm impressed by having just a tiny kind of saltwater animal :-) Only problem is I don't live by the saltwater sea...

I know that there is a great possibility of a problem if the animals I have are allowed to grow up like this :-) When I talked about feeding the netted dog whelks, this is something that I rather not have to do in this tank... But thanks for the tips!

There is quite some bubbeling going on, even though I like to increase it even more, so the water is moving (addition: I mean that it's already moving...). (Also, if I got a lot of air, perhaps it'll help to cool :-))

By no way am I ruling out a pump though...
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Postby Donya on Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:16 am

I think you might manage feeding the whelk in the tank without problems; marine tanks, even small ones, have a lot of capacity to handle waste from things like food. I feed my large bristleworms small pieces of popcorn shrimp about once a week in my 1 gallon bowl, and have never observed any problems with ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/etc. since I started timing the feedings around when I change small amounts of the water. Having colonized rock in the tank adds an ammonia sink that compensates for the periodic extra waste.

The air circulation in the water definitely does help cool the water. The only downside is that it also increases evaporation. Of course, an HOTB would cause this problem too, so either way it will require frequent top-offs with distilled or RO water (I have to do that daily in my tanks).
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Postby Blötdjur on Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:31 am

OK, I have also noticed things kind of melt away quickly in this tank :-)

BTW, the sea slug looks like it has grown and has started to look less like a sea hare...
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I was pretty happy to find this one :-)
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