Feed snails if necessary
Check water levels and fill as needed
Check for freshly laid egg sacks
Check for contamination
Check air flow from aerator
Check water temperature (should be warmer than ambient)
Check for happy snails
Update the database
Current Snail Colony
Daily Snail Maintenance
Note: When maintaining genetically distinct strains, it is important to switch gloves in between tanks to prevent contamination. Each species of snail has their own labeled materials for maintenance and cleaning, which can ONLY be used for that species of snail.
- Check the tanks to ensure lettuce from the last feeding has been consumed. If lettuce remains, there are two options:
- Skip that day’s feeding
- Remove the old lettuce (without removing any snails) and provide fresh lettuce
- Get a pre-packaged bag of lettuce from the freezer in room P-525.
- Break off one large leaf of lettuce per tank (may need more depending on density of the tank). If there is lettuce left over, put lettuce leftovers and put back in bag and in freezer. If the bag is empty, wash it out in the sink and hang to dry. These bags can be re-used.
- Shake in a pinch of fish food.
Note: All of our lettuce is grown on-site. Coordinate lettuce acquisition with Clara Sallmann of the UWEC Greenhouse.
- Inspect the the foam pieces floating on top of the tank. If you notice a high density of egg bundles you may want to add another piece of cut styrofoam. If a majority of egg sacs have hatched off of the styrofoam piece, you can remove and discard. This doesn't need to be done often (~ once per month). If using a snail nursery, move full foam pieces with eggs to the smaller tank and replace with new pieces.
- Top off water levels using pre-made artificial pond water.
- Check to ensure the 55 gallon storage tank has sufficient water (>50% full). If not, make new pond water using stock solutions and tap water.
Cleaning Tanks (Every 4-6 Months)
- Fill the transportable tank half way with pond water. Use a fish net to get the snails out of the dirty tank (this doesn't get all the snails) and transfer them to the small holding tank.
- Scoop the remaining live snails with your gloved hand and add to the holding tank. Remove old pieces of lettuce. Inspect the old pieces of lettuce for snails. If snails are on the lettuce remove and add to the small holding tank.
- Get two 5 gallon buckets (you will need two buckets as one bucket is not enough to hold all the old water from the tank). Put them on the floor next to the tanks that you are emptying. Disconnect the hoses from the grey air pump and the aerators in the tank. Rinse the hoses in the sink using tap water. Wash the lid that covers the top of the tank. Use tap water and a brush scrub the lid clean. Remove foam pieces.
- Use the syphon apparatus to remove water from the tank.
Optional: Inspect the styrofoam pieces, if they are heavily contaminated with mites, do not transfer to the new tank. If the mite contamination is low, cut away egg sacs with no mites, and put those in the holding tank and discard the rest of the foam pieces.
- Curl up the hose and submerge the whole syphon in the fish tank water. Put your thumb over the hose end after the syphon fills with water.
- Leave the syphon end in the tank but take the hose end, and guide the hose into the 5 gallon buckets. Release thumb, and let drain into the buckets. Empty until 1" remaining.
- Pick the remaining living snails out of the tank, and transfer to the holding tank. Discard dead snails into a plastic junk container and any remaining pieces of old lettuce. Empty the two 5 gallon buckets, containing old water, down the sink drain.
Note: If water is not draining, re-insert the syphon by putting your thumb over the tubing end and allow the syphon to fill with water. Try draining the water into the bucket again.
Note: Do not dump the water and snails from the holding tank into the new tank. This will minimize risk of mite contamination.