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Reflections 2018 w16

Have you ever spent twenty minutes scrubbing a snail with a toothbrush?

One feels the need to firstly explain that the snail is of the aquarium variety, and secondly I thought I threw him/her out with the water change. So there was a guilt aspect to it as well.

This snail has been through a lot really, I got the horned variety to try and stop it from being a snack for the goldfish that lived in the tank, as so many others had been before. It kind of worked, it got pulled off the glass every now and then, but that was about it, an inconvenience for the snail I’m sure, but the horns seemed to put the fish off – until next time.

I wanted the snails as window cleaners and ornament caretakers of sorts, and this they did very well.

The fish got to large for the tank so had to be moved to a new home, which meant a fresh start to the aquarium. Firstly the water was largely changed and the gravel removed to allow a layer of substrate to go down first for plant growth, this is where the mishap happened.

The snail was on the front of the glass and I was scooping from the side, the bag I was filling with the wet gravel folded outwards and spilt all over the carpet, then I went into panic mode, desperately trying to hold onto the bag – finish emptying the tank – and mop up the wet gravel. I did this and proceeded to clean the glass using the remaining water then squeezing it out into a tub inside the tank. When the tub was full it went out of the window – over the lawn.

In goes the substrate, in goes the gravel, in goes the ornaments, followed by half a tank of water. One then proceeded to plant the new vegetation, I have to admit  it will be nice to be able to have living plants in the tank again, the last tenant pulled them up for fun. The water got topped up and I ask the snail what it thinks of its refurb. That is when I notice that it is not there. Outside I go, with a torch, and spend half an hour looking for it before giving up. The snail killed, not by the fish, but by me having a carless moment.

I ‘stirred’ the gravel as much as I could, trying to ‘feel’ it, whilst not uprooting the plants, and when nothing was felt I thought there was little chance unless he surfaced the next morning. That was three weeks ago.

I told my son that I think the snail might of gone with the fish to a new home, which is plausible if it survived. On Sunday morning I took my son down to Pets at Home to buy two shrimp to place into the now very ’empty’ tank. After dinner we released the shrimp he asked if that was the snail in the corner, it was hard to tell as instead of being yellow with black stripes it was a great /black colour, but the horns gave it away. I could not tell if it was dead and the water stirring had disturbed it or it was alive.

We played a little while then checked on our new tenants, the snail now half way up the glass. He must have been hiding in the gravel I said. Two weeks it took that snail to get free from the gravelly grave.

Each time I looked into the tank it was accompanied by shame. So one got the snail out and as gently as one could possibly be – brushed the algae away with an old toothbrush, before placing it back into the tank, once again yellow and black.

So…Have you ever spent twenty minutes scrubbing a snail with a toothbrush?

I have.


ps. the shrimp got out of the tank last night, quite common it seems, I found one quite dried out in the middle of the room.

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