Imagine if someone picked you up from your home country and immediately tossed you into another state without any warning. I bet you’d be so stressed that you would automatically start getting ill. Now, that’s the same case with snails. If you move your snails to a new environment without giving them time to adjust, you put their health and their life at risk. Now, how long should you acclimate your snails?

You need to acclimate your new snails for about 30 minutes. As for fresh water snails, you need to acclimate them for at least 8 hours. You should acclimate your snails slowly to reduce their chances of shock and death. Keep in mind, water temperature and PH levels might still take longer to reach the equilibrium.

In this article, I discuss the methods you can use to acclimate your snails, what will happen to your snails if you transfer them snails into a brand-new tank, and how to carry your snails without hurting them.

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Why You Should Acclimate Your Snails?

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Montana State University recently conducted research with the sole purpose of cementing the specific temperatures that snails need to survive. It turned out that, in fact, snails do have an ideal kind of environment in which they must be placed to survive. When you introduce snails to a new environment with proper acclimation, it can lead to positive outcomes such as;

1) Increased Immune System

Firstly, sudden changes may stress the immune system of snails, making them more susceptible to diseases and infections. These creatures are so delicate that abrupt shifts can leave them vulnerable.
You have to be so careful about sudden external changes in the environment, such as temperature, humidity, or substrate variations as this can also significantly stress the immune system of your pet snails and trigger a stress response. As a new snail keeper, I am sure you do not want to compromise their ability to ward off potential infections or diseases( Source). So, is there a way you can avoid this? Absolutely, you should gradually acclimate your snails to adjust to new conditions, reduce their stress levels and support a robust immune response for and more resilient gastropod. You know what they say, happy snail…..happy owner!

2) Avoids Malnourishment

Acclimating your snails is essential to avoid malnourishment. Truth is , malnourishment negatively impacts the growth, reproduction, and overall health of all animals including snails (Source) . Acclimation gives them time to familiarize themselves with the new surroundings, encouraging consistent healthy feeding patterns and ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients. Moreover, this gradual transition also aids in maintaining their nutritional balance.

3) Increases Egg Production

An unacclimated environment can result in a reduction in egg production of your pet snails. Just like humans, snails require stable and familiar surroundings to feel comfortable enough to reproduce. Drastic changes may disrupt their reproductive cycle, leading to a decline in egg-laying. This not only affects the snail population but also hinders the breeding success.

In essence, acclimating snails is a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. As a responsible snail keeper, you should prioritize acclimation to create a stable and nurturing environment that allows these creatures to thrive. This is how you ;

How to Properly Acclimate Your Snails? : Essential Steps to Follow

It is vital that you acclimate your snails once you purchase them or pick them up from your garden in order to give them time to adjust and ensure they thrive in their new environment. This is how you can acclimate your snails like a pro;

1)Drip Acclimation Method

If you’re marine life-savvy like I am, chances are that you have already heard of the shrimp acclimation process. Now, this is the exact same process.

Step 1: Carefully pick your snails and place them in a clean and safe container. Once all the snails are safe in the cup, gradually pour clean water into the container where you have your snails. The main idea is to slowly introduce the snails into the new water conditions. If you’re afraid of pouring too much water all at once and harming your pet snail, you can use a syringe to drip the water on the snail instead of using the cup directly. Once you are done, wait for about 30 minutes.

Step 2: After 30 minutes have passed, slowly pick the snails from the containers carefully, each at a time, and place them into their new home. But, ensure you don’t mix the cup water with their fresh water to avoid contamination. By the way, snails do feel pain( I have a whole article on this), check it out if you do not want to cause your snails pain when moving them.

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2) Floating Process Method

If you are purchasing the attractive Horned Nerite Snails or the unique Zebra Nerite Snails, chances are the seller will hand them to you in a plastic bag full of water. Usually, these are the common snails kept as pets since they can breathe underwater. 

Step 1: The first step is to ensure the plastic bag you bought your new pet in doesn’t leak any water. But In case it leaks, you will need to transfer it to a new plastic bag altogether. 

Step 2: Gently place the plastic bag with the snails to float into the new water tank. Leave the bag floating around for about 30 minutes. As you do this, you must be noticing that your new pet snails are hiding in their shells all through. Yes? Well, it’s normal for them to hide away when introduced to a new environment, so there’s no need to worry. Soon, they will be moving all over your tank. 

In this step, ensure the plastic bag is tightly sealed to ensure the water in the bag doesn’t leak and contaminate the new water. It’s also vital that your snails aren’t tossed around too much, as excessive movement can make the snails stressed. 

Step 3: Once 30 minutes are over, open the plastic bag and pour ¼ of the water. You can also use a marked cup to help you approximate the amount. 

Very important: In each process, ensure you do not mix the water from the plastic bag with that in the water tank. It is likely that your snails have shed ammonia or that the water is carrying pathogens, which could harm other aquatic animals you have in the tank. 

Step 4:  Now, replace the ¼ of the water you just poured out with the water from the tank. Seal the bag and wait for about an hour. After 1 hour, repeat the same process. You see what we’re doing here, right? The idea is to gradually provide the snails with time to adjust to the new water before ultimately transferring them to their new home. 

Step 5: Now, this is where you transfer the snails to their new home.  Untie the plastic bag and carefully carry the snails, each at a time, into the water tank. You can use your fingers to move the snails if you are worried you’ll squash them if you use your entire hand. After transferring all the snails, dispose of the plastic bag and the water in the plastic bag. 

Congratulations; you have successfully acclimated your snail:  Chances are the snails are still getting used to their new tank. So they are probably still hiding in their little shells. And guess what? They will continue hiding for a few more days up to a week. But after the week is over, they will start moving around. Rather, should start moving around.

Please note: if yours are Turban or Cowries snails, you’ll want to position them upright. Usually, these kinds of snails have a difficult time flipping over when they’re stressed, so you might have to assist them in turning over to ensure they stay alive. Yes. It’s that serious. 

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Can You Put a Snail in a New Tank Right Away?

I know you are excited about hosting new pet snails. But if you add a mature stranger snail into a new tank, you risk the lives of both the snail and the aquatic animals in the tank. First, the tank might not have the needed algae and bacteria for the snails to survive. Secondly, the snails might carry harmful pathogens that could harm the other animals. Therefore, it is wise to give the tank a few weeks to develop before bringing in your snails. 

How Do You Move a Snail Without Killing It?

Each person has their way of handling their pets. But most people use their fingers to carry the snails. Yet, my personal favourite is using a wet popsicle stick. Place a wet popsicle stick underneath its head and wiggle it underneath the snail’s body. This gives them a signal to crawl on the stick, which helps you move the snail around. 

Final Thoughts

Although snails are particularly resistant animals, it doesn’t mean that they can survive in all environments. So, you need to acclimate your snails before moving them into their new tank. You can use the floating method or the dripping method to acclimate your snail. Thank you for reading !

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