Apple Snails and Discus Tanks

Andi in Muenchen asked about potential health problems with apple snails 
living in discus tanks (soft water and acidic pH).  My experience is that 
the snail will survive but the shell will suffer.  In my 125g (500l) discus 
tank, 6.8 pH, 86F (33C ? I forget correct conversion factor), a mystery 
snail did a great job of eating algae.  The snail grew but the shell's new 
growth was so thin it was almost transparent.

Because discus are sensitive to parasites and such, it is not a good idea 
to "rotate" snails from a local pet store to prevent shell deterioration. 
 Any diseases at the store could be carried to the discus on the water 
contained on and in the snail.  Also, getting snails from the wild is 
dangerous for both the fish and humans according to the book, "Apple Snails 
in the Aquarium" published by TFH.  There are several parasitic organisms 
that use snails as an intermediary host.  BUT, snails bred in captivity 
will not carry these specific parasites.

To get around all these potential problems and concerns, I'm changing a 20g 
plant propagation tank to include apple snails and hopefully get them to 
breed.  That way lime can be added occasionally for the snail's benefit, 
they will be "clean" of parasites and acclimatized to the water conditions. 
 After reading and corresponding with a few people who have apple snails, I 
believe this setup will work.  Even though snails aren't cute and have 
personalities like the discus, I still want to provide the best possible 
environment for them.  Captive animals should be kept happy, when possible, 
and maybe they'll even breed.  That way I can try out the recipes in the 
back of the TFH book!

Rochelle Williams
williaro at ftmcphsn-emh1_army.mil
Just kidding - I'm a vegetarian <VBG>!