Emergency: Snail Invasion

26 days ago
Transcript
Speaker A:

Welcome to the Aquarium, Guys podcast. All right, guys, doing a quick episode here. A bit of an emergency that I'd like to paint out that no one else is talking about. So I'm your host, Rob Zolson.

Speaker B:

I'm Jim Colby.

Speaker C:

And I'm Adam El Nashar.

Speaker A:

And I got Oliver from Oliver's aquatic Garden on YouTube that happened to join us for another episode that either you have heard or will hear in the future. Spoiler alert, Oliver. Thank you. Awesome.

Speaker D:

Oh, I'm glad to be here.

Speaker A:

Just jumping into it, Jimmy. We have had quite a few of our listeners over many months commit suicide. That was heavy.

Speaker B:

I'm just.

Speaker A:

No. They share questions and they go to questions. They go to our discord. They go to aquariumguyspodcast.com by the website. They find the link to discord, and that is our community. You'll find it in our show notes as well in every episode. And they come here and they gather and share information. They ask a question to the hive mind. And our audience help each other. Now, if they see need help identifying a fish, if they want to know how to set up an aquarium for beginner questions, if they want to know something more advanced, they have access to literally thousands of people in our aquarium community and ask things. And whether I'm answering, whether other people are answering it, they're going to get help. I'm not an expert in everything. Those people aren't an expert in everything. But I guarantee you there's going to be someone that is an expert in it. And we've able to help a lot of different people. Now, in doing this, I get to see a lot of different trends and a lot of things going on. I'm a little bit of in touch with what's going on out there.

Speaker B:

You are a touchy feely guy.

Speaker A:

I'm a touchy feely guy. And in doing so, I have seen an uptick in some people seeing these cool, new, nifty snails, redacted snails. Oh, no, don't spoil it now. Editor. Cut that out.

Speaker B:

What kind of snails? Rod.

Speaker A:

What kind of snails? Rod. So these cool snails that keep popping up, I'm going to give a shout out to one of the users that I've been picking on that's been a long term listener.

Speaker B:

Did you say users?

Speaker A:

Yeah, like heroin. His username is.

Speaker B:

Oh, okay.

Speaker A:

He's in the greater Australia, greater Alaska area. Wow.

Speaker B:

You're not even close.

Speaker A:

Not even close. Australia, Alaska, other side of the planet. And he posted some pictures of what he can think of. And I thought of as malaysian trumpet snails. They popped up all over his tank, but they seem a little smaller. And they're blonde. That was the goofy part.

Speaker B:

I like blonde.

Speaker A:

So he took a bunch of pictures, and he said that they're healthy, happy. They've been cleaning up his tank.

Speaker B:

That's one thing I'm concerned about. Is my snail happy?

Speaker A:

Is my snail happy? Who knew? Happy, healthy and wise. And he showed me pictures, and I'm like, you know, I don't know snails. Thinking to myself, I don't know snails that really change color. Like, you can see different, all different types of rainbow color of guppies, for instance. Fish have different morphs of colors all the time.

Speaker B:

What about the chameleon snails?

Speaker A:

Snails. Some do, for instance, like ramshorns, maybe some mystery snails. But a lot of snails, they don't have a lot of color changes in the same species. If there's a different color, it's most of the time a different species. But regardless, they look so similar ish to mts. I'm like, bro, maybe you have the next designer version. Death squad of the malaysian trump snail. I don't know. You should try them out, see what's going on. I don't know. Just keep posting pictures. Let me know how the grow is going. So he kept them in his tank. He kept them going. He watched them to see if they grew bigger. They didn't grow bigger. They're a little smaller than a trumpet snail. And then I started seeing other people have them here and there throughout the months. Then I started seeing a couple forum posts in different places pop up with these things. And I started doing a bunch more research over the months and finding out that this is not a normal species that I'm used to. This is a New Zealand mud snail. And after doing a research, I am a bit horrified. So finding out a bit more about them, they're an invasive species. And seeing more and more about them, I figured we need to talk and notify aquarists of what's coming out in the hobby. Kind of like the zebra mussels that appeared in moss balls. We were telling everybody to squeeze your balls. That was a big message of ours. We're a big, proactive people of invasive species on the Aquarium Guys podcast, so squeezing our balls is very important to us. But in all seriousness, I did try to reach out to specialists. So I try to do my homework. I try to find different types of specialists. So I reached out to people with actual phds on the matter that actually wrote articles to the public and I got emails back from these people saying I'm not an expert on these things. Go find a real expert. I would love to help you.

Speaker B:

That's such a nice way of them telling you to f off.

Speaker A:

Yeah, I'm not an expert in this. I'd love to help you. I can help you in other species, but this is not something that I'm an expert in. I just wrote stuff that we have some information on, but I am by no means someone that could talk as an elite on this subject.

Speaker B:

So what did you find out?

Speaker A:

So if no one else I can find as a subject at least readily available. If you know of someone that is a New Zealand mud snail expert, please reach out to the aquariumguyspodcast@gmail.com please. I am not an expert, but I will try to be for the sake of educating the public of what's happening right now. So over the many months that I have been trying to research these with different information and help from people like Pax and other users and finding the posts online, I have been a bit disappointed in finding the grave information on the New Zealand snail. So to share with the public, I will give the wrap sheet on these guys.

Speaker B:

The wrap sheet?

Speaker A:

Yes, the wrap sheet.

Speaker B:

You said New Zealand.

Speaker A:

This is from New Zealand. Now, there's multiple data points from many different sources, and this is very hard to find because there's not a ton known about these, and most of it comes from different Department of Natural Resources forums. So they're not really coming from a super deep aquarium background on top of them for hitchhiking from our hobby. They're coming from a wildlife hobby, so, first discovered as an invasive species in Idaho in 1987. So they've been around naturally a while. They are very small creatures and hitchhike on different plants, but how they hitchhike due to their size, they are asexual, yet self cloning. So each individual species are born pregnant.

Speaker B:

What?

Speaker A:

They are born pregnant, and after they give birth to their original birth, they can breed again with a partner. So they're asexual, they're born pregnant and clone, and they procreate. Live. No eggs whatsoever. So right there spells an entirely new recipe for a disaster snail that can procreate without having to worry about it. Their births are very, very tiny, close to grains of sand, and they are vivacious when they do breed. Now, yes, they asexual and they can breed and they come pre pregnant, but males are still encouraged to breed in their natural habitat. In New Zealand, they have about 5% male cycles outside of New Zealand, they're more exclusively female than they are in their actual New Zealand territory. Now, let me go through my list here. You'll have to forgive me. Here we go. They are transported hitchhiking, not only on different substances like your boat and whatever they stick to, but they hitchhike in your shoe because they're so small, they can actually hitchhike on your shoelaces. So DNRs are DNR.

Speaker B:

And the tread of your shoe.

Speaker A:

On the tread of your shoe and the shoelaces and the creases. So DNR having problems with people fly fishing and walking to another body of water, transporting the specimens from one body of water to the other without any gear, boats or other aquatic equipment, just.

Speaker B:

Walking alone, just stuck on your shoe somewhere.

Speaker A:

Stuck on your shoe. So if you really think about it, anything mesh is going to hold them for quite a long time.

Speaker B:

So, like your underwear? Yeah. Swimming shoes, for example.

Speaker A:

Yeah. Don't let snails in your underwear. That's a good rule of thumb.

Speaker D:

Hey, Ron, I got a story on these.

Speaker B:

Perfect.

Speaker A:

Parking lot, just for a moment. I'm going to finish this piece and I'll have you read your story here in just a second. So they hitchhike your shoe. They don't have a trap door, but they do have their foot, for lack of a better term, so they do close. And when they close, they have been tracked to survive out of water for potentially a couple of weeks. Now, outside, if they don't close their shell, they should die within 48 hours. DNRs commonly state that as long as you dry your equipment and your shoes for 48 hours, you should be safe. But if there are scenarios where these snails can survive outside of that measurement, if you will, for a much longer time.

Speaker B:

So a lot like other aquatic species that are invasive, if you keep them out of the water for a good amount of time, then they should die. But that's not always the case, right.

Speaker A:

They feed on almost exclusively detritus and algae. There's been lab tests trying to introduce any type of algae to them and there hasn't been really any algae introduced to them that they have not consumed, nor any version of detritus commonly found in natural waterways that they haven't consumed either. They have three sets of chromosomes, so they are very hearty and insceptible to normal diseases that other snail species would be normally prone to. They are capable of living 45 meters deep and not just surviving short term. They are capable of living long term, like surviving 45 meters deep.

Speaker B:

So that's like 100 and 2150ft.

Speaker A:

That's insane.

Speaker B:

That's long.

Speaker C:

These are worse than malaysian trumpet snails.

Speaker A:

They can live in water temperatures 98 degrees. And to give you perspective, I don't know of a single body of water on the planet without a spring or a volcanic geyser that can naturally reach a 98 deg temperature without direct death valley circumstances. So in most bodies of water, they're going to be able to live through the temperatures. They do freeze and die out in a freezing environment. So if it reaches 32 degrees fahrenheit, zero celsius, they have had lab results where they've taken thousands of these snails and not a single snail has survived in lab results, which is a good thing. But there has been in the tetons in Yellowstone. Just to give you an example of how species survived through this particular example, in the tetons in Yellowstone, which right now through our arctic blast in January.

Speaker B:

Are you talking tetons?

Speaker A:

Tetons. Tetons.

Speaker C:

Tetons.

Speaker A:

Thank you. See, I can't pronounce shit. Tetons. Tetons.

Speaker B:

At Lake titty cocka.

Speaker A:

At Lake titty cocka. In the tetons, tetons. And Yellowstone, which right now, mind you.

Speaker B:

I love you, man.

Speaker A:

We're in January.

Speaker B:

Yes.

Speaker A:

Right. Yes, middle of January.

Speaker B:

Yes.

Speaker A:

It's over 30 below there right now. There is guppies, sword tails, convict cichlids and other bread and butter species living there right now because they have found springs and been introduced into a lake and stream where there's open springs where they're able to hibernate for the winter.

Speaker B:

So they can go down there and survive enough because the water is warm near the spring. So they just find the warm water.

Speaker A:

They have been able to hibernate due to the open springs in these environments. And that's a tropical fish species that's been able to survive there for years and colonize, reproduce and maintain numbers in that area. Now, giving a snail, which can survive up to freezing, given any body of water with a spring, should be able to do the same.

Speaker B:

Yeah. Here in Minnesota, half our lakes all have springs over. Yeah. If they can get there fast enough before it gets too cold, then they should be able to survive.

Speaker A:

So they've done. Just give you an idea. Okay. These are hardy sons of bitches. They're prolific. What does infection rates look like? So we're not going to go tropical areas like California, Florida, stuff like that. Let's go into subarctic arctic area like winter up here. Right? So we'll say Michigan. So they did test areas where it's not as aggressive as places like California where these snails have been infected. They've tested an area where 1 m² has 90,000 specimens. I don't know if that kind of wraps.

Speaker B:

So an area that's three foot by.

Speaker A:

Three foot, basically 1 m² has 90,000 foot specimens.

Speaker B:

So you're talking like 9 sqft approximately.

Speaker A:

That's a serious infection rate. So it's detrimental where it absolutely wipes out the base of the circle of life in a natural waterway, takes out the algae and then everything falls and really gets a hard hit down from the microbe level. So not a lot of fun, a lot of doom and gloom. I know we have giggling on this podcast.

Speaker B:

You're array of sunshine, dude.

Speaker A:

So people say, well, what can we do about it? Well, the DNRs have tests, how can we stop the transport between, especially with our shoes, other products, how can we stop the transport? So they went and purchased basically every chemical that we can purchase over the counter that some common person can have on them and purchase. And the only chemical that they can find that kills snails on contact is formula 409.

Speaker B:

You're talking like the cleaner, the formula.

Speaker A:

409, the 409 in the bottle that you would use for like a bathroom cleanser. Wow, that tells you how weak they are.

Speaker C:

Because I don't think that kills malaysian trumpet snails.

Speaker A:

The other happy side, I'm going to try it now. Other happy side is that these do not have the hard shell that the malaysian trumpet snails. These are a softer shell. They're a much softer shell. You can actually squish them with your fingers. Now I'm going to pause here before continuing, going over my research because I got a feeling that Oliver's got a lot to bring to the table. Okay.

Speaker D:

So I'd always wondered what these type of snails were, but I've done a video of me collecting in central Texas, just collecting native species of fish, plants, the works. And I had come across these snails and how I know these snails, I mean, they're the exact thing. I looked them up over here, their cells are very weak, they're very crushable. To give you reference, the way that they probably conducted that survey of, what was it, 3 m² for 90,000?

Speaker A:

No, 1 m² or 90,000 was a recently infected area in Michigan because they get wiped out in the winter.

Speaker D:

Oh yeah, in central Texas they probably stay alive.

Speaker A:

But I mean, yeah, in tropical areas it's much, much worse.

Speaker D:

Yeah. I put my hand into the sand and I would reach in, I would grab it. Shake it off a little bit. I'd have a handful of these things and it really was kind of disturbing.

Speaker A:

Yeah, it's more snail than sand in some areas. I don't know how it is for you in Texas, but California is the worst infected state in the United States. So going off of more details, these are definitely smaller creatures. They're a little bit smaller than a traditional mts. They come in two different colorations. They come in the more blonde variety and they go all the way down to a chocolate brown. They have a swirl shell that always, when you look at the opening of the shell face to you, it always opens on the right hand side. That's how you can try to identify them. They do close using their foot. They don't have a trap door. And what was the other detail I had listed here? Hold on. DNR also did more research, watching natives, known native species eat the snails. And the snails, when digested by any known native species, not digested when attempted to eat the native species, went through the system, could not be absorbed because they could not digest through the weak shell and were simply passed through shit out alive. Some species, a smaller species, even did intestinal damage to the fish.

Speaker B:

And that's because they're so small.

Speaker A:

That's just because it's a hard substance that didn't digest in their digestive tract for a small fish, because again, they're a small snail that passed through, that didn't break down in their gut.

Speaker B:

So is there any natural predators? Not natural, but like clown loaches. Say you get them in your aquarium, come in from a plant, will clown loaches take care of these things?

Speaker A:

I have been trying to do research and contacting people that have had these. A lot of the people found out they had them bleached out the tanks. Thank goodness. That's probably the best practice. Some people try to use different puffers with mixed results.

Speaker B:

I think you should use a 409 in your tank.

Speaker A:

One guy said his puffer kind of eats them. One guy said that he introduced it to his puffer. He just literally had to introduce his puffer to the tank. His puffer went crazy, started eating them one by one and then spit them out and refused to eat the snails going forward.

Speaker B:

So they probably have.

Speaker C:

That would mean that they're somehow toxic.

Speaker D:

If pufferfish won't eat them.

Speaker A:

They say they're not toxic, but maybe distasteful, don't know, maybe it's a bacteria.

Speaker C:

There's got to be something because I've seen pufferfish they will literally rip things apart and eat them.

Speaker A:

Maybe the New Zealand jerk isn't their flavor brother. I don't know.

Speaker B:

Maybe it's too spicy.

Speaker A:

Again, this is where we would really trumpet snails. This is where we really like to have a guy with three phds come on and say, hey, I'm an invasive species expert. Here's a couple of things that you can do and say, but this is the research that I've just buried myself in to try to find.

Speaker C:

So my theory, I shouldn't be on that podcast.

Speaker B:

I think we should buy 100,000 clown loaches at $3 apiece and just release them in the wild. Yeah, down in Texas. See what happens.

Speaker A:

That'll really take care of it, if you know what I'm saying. No.

Speaker B:

Why not? It's warm enough.

Speaker D:

We better get no.

Speaker A:

Thank you for saying no.

Speaker B:

And then when the clown loaches get out of hand, we'll introduce some lion fish to eat the clown loaches. Freshwater.

Speaker A:

The freshwater variety. Because being venomous is now out of this, all this doom and gloom. Is there anything that is good news? So like I said, California is probably the worst infection rates that they have. And California natural resources, because they like to spend like crazy, have really done a lot of research. And in their natural habitat, people go, well, how are they handling it in New Zealand? Well, New Zealand has. I'm going to butcher the word I.

Speaker B:

Don'T give a shit attitude.

Speaker A:

I'm going to butcher that word. So I'm going to. Was it trematode?

Speaker B:

I think you're right.

Speaker A:

Eleven trematode, they're a type of parasitic flatworm.

Speaker B:

What?

Speaker A:

We do not need that shit. Okay. Anyways, that's a flatworm. They have eleven different species of parasitic flatworms, trematodes that immediately sterilize the infected snails upon contact. You know what?

Speaker C:

I'm wondering if this is like something that builds with the other thing, because that's probably why they reproduce so fast. Because the trematodes sterilize them.

Speaker A:

Correct. That is the only thing that keeps the population under control in New Zealand is the natural presence of these eleven parasitic flatworms. And they apparently are rumored to be looking into or trying. I'm trying to find the details, but it's a bit foggy introducing some of these trinitodes in California. But the problem is it's a cycle. According to the small details I can find, the rumors are, and I'm not some sort of specialist here, I'm paraphrasing from my vague understanding, is that these flatworms are a part of their own cycle, apparently. Flatworm bites attacks snail. Snail gets eaten by bird. Bird shits out flatworms, flatworms bite snail. And so the cycle goes. So they need ducks, apparently, to complete this cycle.

Speaker B:

Oh, God, Rob, you know what? You're not a specialist, but you're special, I'll tell you that much.

Speaker A:

Right? So they're trying to get waterfowl to complete this whole parasite cycle to control snails. That would also introduce flatworms into our.

Speaker B:

My head hurts. Stop this. Okay?

Speaker C:

This is like the idiots in the DNR that went and they bought mongooses to attack the rats that were attacking the sugar cane population. And then the mongooses hunt at night and the rats are. This is the same problem. DNR. Learn from your mistakes.

Speaker B:

That's why you need one of those elephant dung beetles out there.

Speaker A:

All right?

Speaker B:

Rolling shit around.

Speaker A:

Well, just to wrap this up, right, I don't tell this to you because I need you as an aquarius to be some sort of snail expert, but I tell you this to be concerned because you need to know what species are out there and how this thing transports. These are live. They're the size of sand grains. You're not going to find them. You're not going to be able to easily dip them out of plants, so they're going to appear. And if you're owning a pet store, you got to keep your eyes peeled for them. If you see them in a tank, you have to eradicate them out of a tank. You have to be responsible. You cannot just sit there and go, well, I'll throw a loach in there. Well, I'll throw assassin snails. Well, I'll throw a puffer. You can't do that. You have to be responsible. You have to clean out the tank. You have to make sure that you responsibly take all the contents out, fully dry them, and you should consider chemically treating with known substances such as like 409 in a tank, clean it out and let it air out. You should not let the species reproduce because let's pretend that you had a malaysian trumpet snail, right? Malaysian trumpet snails certainly are born small, but not small enough where they're going to, and vivacious enough where if it goes down a drain, you're going to worry that the city sewer is going to go through its process and go out to a natural river waterway and take over the river. This species is a real possibility that for some miracle reason, could do that. Be responsible. Don't keep them as a pet don't keep them around and do water change and risk the biscuit. Don't let them get on your clothes, shoes, pets, and get to a natural waterway. Stop it. And don't let aquariums be the reason and give federal people excuses to ban more of our content, more of our species, more of our hobby because of these terrible snails.

Speaker B:

I'm going to go out right now and buy some stock and dow chemical for 409. That is my find. Natural advice to you is take all the money you got and roll it into 409.

Speaker A:

The Aquarium guys podcast is not a financial advisor and does not intend to provide any financial advice. The thoughts and opinions of individuals on the podcast do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Aquarium Guys podcast. Here's the worst part of this, right as I'm doing the research, not only can I is it really difficult for me to find some experts that are willing to talk, but when you search this besides DNR efforts, which are good, DNR really does put out. Like in Minnesota, if we have an invasive species product like eurasian mill foil, zebra mussels, you name it, we put real effort in. We drain and dry our boats. We put out a campaign. We have DNR specialists, we have volunteers. We put in the back labor and pain to do our best that we can to stop invasive species. So DNR have put out the efforts, but they are the only people talking about this. The only real thing I can find in the first five pages of a Google result for New Zealand trumpet snails is a old forum post of how someone recommends to keep a New Zealand mud snail in an aquarium.

Speaker B:

How to keep them? Yes, that's good news.

Speaker A:

So educate. Even if this isn't the cup of tea, share the information with your buddy. I'm going to reach out to some of my friends, see if I can go on other YouTube places. We already talked about this in a fish club. I'm happy speaking. If I have to be the horrible single person to talk about the subject, let me the person that dies in the hill. Until we find an actual person that's an expert, I'm afraid of these things. And it's not that we can't handle it. We just need to educate better than we are.

Speaker B:

Do you feel the Russians are behind this?

Speaker A:

No, the Ukrainians were behind the.

Speaker B:

Really?

Speaker A:

The moss balls?

Speaker B:

I don't know. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

Speaker A:

That was found out.

Speaker B:

Nothing would surprise me at this point.

Speaker A:

That was found out. All right, well, dude, Ukrainians are so.

Speaker C:

Corrupt it wouldn't surprise me at all. They sell their grandmas for nickel.

Speaker B:

Oh, my God. Here we go.

Speaker A:

All right. Well, on that note, Oliver, you got any additions since these are in your know, brother, help us out.

Speaker D:

Like, for these? Oh, that reminds me. I had been collecting at that same spot prior, and I found one of these in my hair. And I found one of these in my mouth.

Speaker A:

Oh, my God, Oliver. Come on. Happy, happy thought. Really? Okay.

Speaker D:

They don't taste good. That's one thing.

Speaker B:

Well, see, there we go. The pea puffer doesn't like it. Neither does he.

Speaker D:

They don't make for good escargot.

Speaker A:

So, do you think they're small enough to crawl? Don't you say urethra. Peepee hole. Do you think they crawl?

Speaker B:

I'm just asking. I mean, are you not concerned about this? If I go swimming in Texas, I'm going to wear a condom and I'm going to wear a butt plug, because I want to be safe.

Speaker A:

I mean, that's just a good word of advice. Anytime you go to Austin. You know what I'm saying?

Speaker B:

Work butt plug.

Speaker A:

Yeah. I'm just kidding.

Speaker B:

It's like a roadblock.

Speaker A:

I'm sorry, Austin. That was a low blow. I love Franklin's barbecue. Don't kill me.

Speaker C:

I don't think you're getting any.

Speaker A:

Well, Oliver, thank you for joining on the second one. Quick. Appreciate you. Oliver's. Oliver's garden. Wait, Oliver's aquatics.com. Sorry?

Speaker B:

In the show notes, Oliver's octopus garden.

Speaker A:

Promo code, mud snail. If you want an invasive species sent with. I was kidding. I'm kidding. I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

Speaker D:

Tomorrow morning, we wake up, my site's taken down all this. Y'all can't hear from me.

Speaker B:

There's a black van out in front of your house.

Speaker A:

I'm kidding. Russia.

Speaker C:

Get used to that. You'll make friends. My guys, Josh and Frank. I say hi to him every day.

Speaker A:

Well, there is one thing that I do want to note is when you're listening to this, I know you guys don't normally look at the album artwork. I am going to have a picture of this snail replacing our album artwork for this cover. So if you don't even want to google it and you want to be lazy, look at the album cover. That's going to be the snail. It doesn't show how we're trying to educate you assholes. Nothing will.

Speaker B:

Wow. We love you guys.

Speaker A:

Kisses. Yeah, kisses. Be good. Adam, got anything else?

Speaker C:

No, I can't beat that.

Speaker A:

Until the next emergency.

Speaker B:

Until the next emergency. Keep your butt plugged.

Speaker A:

And condoms close.

Speaker B:

There you go.

Speaker A:

Thanks guys for listening to the podcast. Please go to your favorite place where podcasts are found, whether it be Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, wherever they can be found. Like subscribe and make sure you get push notifications directly to your phone so you don't miss great content like this. Normally, this is the point at the end of the episode that we would have some great out of context clips. However, with this being such a psalm and serious episode, there weren't very many clips to use. Instead, here's a wet fart. Goodbye.

Episode Notes

Minnesota DNR

Michigan Invasive Species

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Idaho Fish and Game

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