It’s Time To Try Something Else

After some serious thought, I’m going to make a drastic change regarding my snails. It all boils down to this: the recommendations for proper snail care from pet snail owners and from heliculturists contradicts itself in serious ways.

Normally, this would make sense: if you’re raising cows, for example, what you do will be very different if they are pets versus cattle for meat. However, when it comes to snails, their needs are (mostly) the same. You want them to thrive, be healthy, parasite free, and fat (since stuff like laying eggs makes them lose lots of weight, and healthy, happy snails will lay eggs.)

But some of the contradictions have serious implications. Take, for example, everyone in pet snail forums suggesting coconut coir as bedding, a piece of advice I’ve followed religiously. This makes no sense if you look at the soil needs of snails according to the vast majority of heliculturists.

Coconut coir is inert, it has no nutrients, it’s not real soil. Real soil is made up of mineral particles, organic materials, air, water and and yes, living organisms, all things snails need (and this varies depending on where a snail is from, and what species it is.) Of course, the living organisms part is also the risk, but without real soil, snails die.

Moreover, snails need to eat soil, this is a hugely important part of their life. Both scientists who study snails and people who make a living out of heliculture place great importance on cleanliness. The soil must be clean. You cannot have poopy soil, the snails eat this, and at the end of the day while they may seek to do this naturally at times, soil high in feces is scientifically confirmed to contribute to higher snail mortality! Why no one points this out, I cannot understand.

So clearly coconut coir, while unlikely to have pests, is not a good snail substrate. But a soil that is just right for them is not easy to find. You can look for organic potting soil but still you must look carefully at the ingredients and composition, you may need to amend it with something else, and pests are a likely problem.

My snails are dying. Slowly, but they all are, it’s that simple, and they shouldn’t be. I feed all the right things. I use the so-called “proper” substrate and try to only replace part of the soil when I clean to avoid making it “too sterile”. I watch humidity levels like a hawk. It’s not working. And if I can’t figure out a way for my snails to thrive I will not get more snails after they die. It’s terribly unfair to them.

After a ton of soil research I decided on a particular organic potting soil that is very rich in natural nutrients. To this I plan to add some amount of lab-grade natural chalk. Perhaps, I’ll mix it with a bit of coconut coir too. I’m terrified about bringing in mites again, but I’m not sure I have an alternative when my snails are so obviously unhappy. If they still die, at least I need to feel like I tried.

Worst case, if I get mites now I know that the solution is to absolutely inundate the tanks with hypoaspis, and it’ll be fine… hopefully… anyway, they’re dying, so I have to try a drastic change. I’ll do it with just one of my tanks and see what happens.

End Of The New Year Weekend

Actually, this is from yesterday morning, and I’ll probably get yelled at for posting it, but he has posted similar photos of me to Facebook in the past, so it’s fair game… right? ๐Ÿ˜… I always find them like this in the mornings… they are truly inseparable. ๐Ÿฅฐ

I’m back to my packed lunches and really enjoying them, though I need to start figuring out more variety. Also, between my Evatchi and other things, I got back into reading The Shinji Ikari Raising Project.

I’m reading more random things after cancelling my NYT subscription, which is good; I have a lot to catch up on. A bad experience with them left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that I don’t even want to get into it… but anyway at least I’m reading more.

The other day I got Kotoko a new pillow for her box by my chair. So far, both her and Rosie have been enjoying it a lot:

I know I’ve been fairly quiet since the new year –I kinda hit the ground running and over the past 48 hours got a MASSIVE amount of commission progress, like, really unusual kind of massive. Like “I think I might, MIGHT clear my queue this month” which if you know the state of my queue at any given time, is a lot. Best of all nothing is overdue right now. I’m back to being in control of it!

I haven’t wanted to lose momentum so I haven’t done anything else, I didn’t even take the tree or anything down yet. All I did was put my blog back to normal, and also in between art continued to transfer hundreds of posts from Instagram.

I’ve gotten to a point where I’m transferring posts involving people no longer in my life, and times I don’t necessarily want to look back on, so I’m redacting names when possible in those posts. However, the events, photos, etc I’m still including them. I want this blog to be a very complete diary of my life. I won’t redact anything unless I really feel I must.

In fact, once I’m done with IG, I may repost some old blogs and journals I saved here as well. Slowly reviewing all of this is helping me get closure in regards to so many things, and as I look back I find myself regretting less and less and being glad for the decisions I took along the way.

Today I’m going to go to Home Depot to get some pots and soil for my own planting purposes. Other than that, I’ll work on more commissions and do my chores… all decor I’ll take down tomorrow. I hope you had a relaxing New Year’s weekend!