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Old 03-25-2019, 07:18 AM
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Default All Snails Must Die

Hey All,

So I recently acquired a ton of new plants, some generously gifted by a fellow hobbyist, a few from the local garden center, and a couple that I collected. I've been treating any acquisitions that are going into my vivarium with dilute bleach, but I also have a quarantine/grow out tank where I keep some untreated plants I am not confident could handle the bleach treatment.

Anyway, I noticed I now have snails in my grow out. I think my vivariums should be fine, since I treated those new additions, but the plants I was planning to put into my main vivarium are now stranded in the grow-out for the time being. I'm also fairly concerned about the potential for cross contamination, as I am growing a number of jewel orchids in my main vivarium, and they're supposed to be particularly susceptible to snail attacks. I took a picture of one of the little beasties here, they're not the garden snails I am used to:

Any suggestions on how to rid myself of these guys? Is this a CO2 bombing scenario? Does anyone with snail experience know how many treatments I need to completely wipe them out (as in, are eggs immune to CO2 or other treatments?)

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Old 03-25-2019, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

I'm currently going through this same thing. I think the most efficient way of dealing with it is to just bleach dip the plants before moving them into your other terrariums. But if you are set on nuking the grow out it's going to require multiple co2 bombs. I have a few sensitive plants that wouldn't survive bleaching and I've bombed them two days in a row. After the first day, I still found a few snails. Not sure about after the second bombing, but I will probably do another round just to be sure. Eggs are resistant so you'll have to do another couple rounds in a week or two to get the next generation.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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I'm currently going through this same thing. I think the most efficient way of dealing with it is to just bleach dip the plants before moving them into your other terrariums. But if you are set on nuking the grow out it's going to require multiple co2 bombs. I have a few sensitive plants that wouldn't survive bleaching and I've bombed them two days in a row. After the first day, I still found a few snails. Not sure about after the second bombing, but I will probably do another round just to be sure. Eggs are resistant so you'll have to do another couple rounds in a week or two to get the next generation.
My main issue is that I have three small mounted orchids on a piece of driftwood. I'm not sure if the orchids could handle bleach, and even if they can, I'll have to completely unmount them, and probably bake the wood. Which is maybe still the safest bet.

I suppose this is the point of the quarantine tank, but it's still annoying. Did you use dry ice or a more complicated delivery method?
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

This is a shot in the dark, but researching the possibility of a soak in some sort of soluble copper might be worth your time. Copper is really hard on aquatic snails.

I have a small viv I'm in the process of tearing down. Either slugs or snails are in there, and multiple CO2 bombings killed the neoregelias but not much else, since plants are still being eaten. Maybe when I tear it down I'll figure out what's in there.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:51 PM
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As long as you’re not bleaching something ephemeral like a Lepanthes calodictyon, you should be fine using bleach on orchids.

If you can, avoid introducing those Zonitoides arboreus as much as you are. If you’re opposed to using a molluscide, I’d advise cleaning whatever very well by stripping media.

Even the snail bait isn’t going to eliminate them. Part of the ipm advice is maintaining thresholds. Which is what going to happen essentially if you’re using a pesticide, maintaining an acceptable threshold.

Clean throughly is the best advice I have. Maybe put a couple feeding stations of some snail bait in there to lower population levels too.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

Greetings,

I have these snails in my viv and, although no snails are harmless, these guys are not a significant problem in my experience. I have not seen their populations explode (for whatever reason) but they are definitely present. I do not see damage to young fern fronds and other delicate growth as I did when I had slugs. They will rarely nibble on flower petals but that is the only damage I have seen from them - and that was only for the most delicate petals (Lepanthes telepogoniflora).

As for CO2 bombs, I used a series of them to eliminate my slug population but the snails survived (I'm not sure if their shells offer some protection). Since CO2 bombs can harm plants, I would think twice about using to try and fix your snail problem. A thorough cleaning of your grow out tank (replace the substrate) and hand-inspection + washing of any plants you want to keep might be just as effective.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:22 PM
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Connor,
I just use dry ice and hot water.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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Originally Posted by DPfarr View Post
As long as you’re not bleaching something ephemeral like a Lepanthes calodictyon, you should be fine using bleach on orchids.
That's good to know, thanks for the info and snail ID. I'll read a little bit about them. I have only seen two in the quarantine tank, but I'd imagine there are probably more and those two probably laid eggs everywhere. I'll probably just bleach the plants I want to use in my vivarium and separate them out and then keep the others going as is and disinfect cuttings as I need them.

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I have these snails in my viv and, although no snails are harmless, these guys are not a significant problem in my experience... As for CO2 bombs, I used a series of them to eliminate my slug population but the snails survived.
That's good news at least. Like I said, my main concern is my jewel orchids, which are in another location entirely. Sounds like breaking down my new orchid mount and bleaching the plants/baking the wood is probably the way to go. Perhaps it's for the best, these will be the first orchids I truly mounted and I think I can do better if I re-do it.

---

Man, I've been keeping planted vivariums since I was about twelve, but it wasn't until this November I started experimenting with 10+ plant species in a single enclosure. And it wasn't until a couple months ago that I started experimenting with more fickle plant species. It's really an exercise in whack-a-mole. I can add new plant species, but that jeopardizes existing specimens by introducing competition and potential pests. I may need to accept that my vivarium is about at capacity. I'm at ~40 different plant species in a ~100gallon enclosure. I think I'll clean up the additional specimens that I have and get them situated and then let everything grow in and cross my fingers that my favorites don't get killed off.

From a more positive perspective.. It's interesting seeing fauna spring out of nowhere, even if they annoy me. And if they kill off my favorite plants.. Well it's an excuse to try something new! The chameleon doesn't care as long as his Schefflera remain intact.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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Originally Posted by connorology View Post
Any suggestions on how to rid myself of these guys? Is this a CO2 bombing scenario? Does anyone with snail experience know how many treatments I need to completely wipe them out (as in, are eggs immune to CO2 or other treatments?)

Thanks,
I have the same issue and it seems that they're going to be permanent residents. How you manage them is a different story. I put a bit of fly media on a small dish and usually trap 2-3 each time. I've also noticed that they get stuck with double-sided tape.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

These little guys love romaine lettuce. Throw a piece in the viv and you'll have a bunch crawling on it in no time, allowing for easy removal. Rinse and repeat for a week or so and you'll knock the population down. You'll never get them all, but it will keep damage to a minimum. I only keep simple, hardy plants so I don't mind a little munching here and there. In small numbers, I've actually come to accept them as part of the viv, just like the springs and isos.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:49 AM
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You'll never get them all
Challenge accepted.

Well, I'm mostly kidding, I'm going to jinx myself. Right now they are in the quarantine tank, so what I'll do is just sort of use up the plants I have growing out and bleach them before they go into my vivariums. It'll be an issue with a couple of plants I don't think I can bleach though (I have some Selaginella and a California native fern I don't think can handle the bleach).
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

Oh, for the sake of anyone searching this topic in the future: The snail I have appears to be the orchid snail (Zonitoides arboreus). It is a native species in North America, and a pest of commercial orchid growers in Hawaii (where the majority of research appears to be from). According to the USDA, these snails can self fertilize, and will lay 1-2 eggs per week. The eggs will hatch in around two weeks.

In terms of control - if you have to break down a vivarium - eggs that are allowed to dry for a week will not hatch even if re-hydrated. So allowing hardscape elements that are too large to bake or too porous to bleach to completely dry for a week would appear to be an effective eradication technique according to the USDA article cited above.

All-in-all it's pretty good news... they don't reproduce particularly quickly, and as kimcmich and dmb5245 noted, they apparently don't cause a ton of damage in vivariums. As a speculative aside, I wonder if isopods or other microfauna attack snail eggs. At only 1-2 eggs per week per snail, it does seem like even minor predation could prevent the numbers from ever exploding. At this time, I removed two snails from my quarantine tank and have not seen any more, though I will continue to treat plants from that tank as infested.

Thanks to everyone who replied, and fingers crossed that the critters didn't get into the vivarium that houses my jewel orchids.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:34 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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As a speculative aside, I wonder if isopods or other microfauna attack snail eggs.
There have been posts suggesting giant orange isopods will go after other invert eggs. I don't know if that's a practical solution or even true, but hey - it's an excuse to buy new isos!
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:23 PM
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There have been posts suggesting giant orange isopods will go after other invert eggs. I don't know if that's a practical solution or even true, but hey - it's an excuse to buy new isos!
Hah, I'll keep it in mind. I can't bring myself to buy isopods though. They're not even necessarily cost prohibitive, but I can't shake the feeling I'm dropping between $10-30 for something I find accidentally when rooting around in my backyard. I'm still using the "roly poly" (Armadillidiidae) variety that I've had in culture for about four years now (all descended from ten or so individuals that I did find in my yard).

I was given some dwarf whites too, so those are probably still in the vivarium, though I don't ever see them.

Maybe if/when I get some jewel orchid cuttings going someone will trade me for some isopods. I could stomach a trade.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:03 PM
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While it may seem problematic to spend actual cash on isopods that are ubiquitous, the fact is they are a great investment. Temperate isos are not as adapted as tropical ones to the vivarium world, and you aren't going to find a giant orange iso in your backyard. If you take your pricey initial isopod culture and establish a mother culture before dumping, you will have an endless supply. Isopods are truly a one-time expense that will pay for themselves in their utility and tradability down the road. And if you prorate the purchase by the thousands you will get in the years to come- they end up at a fraction of a penny each. And it is plausible that they (GOI) will eat snail eggs, albeit probably not all of them.
Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I work for, an isopod merchant or corporation.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:21 PM
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While it may seem problematic to spend actual cash on isopods that are ubiquitous, the fact is they are a great investment. Temperate isos are not as adapted as tropical ones to the vivarium world, and you aren't going to find a giant orange iso in your backyard. If you take your pricey initial isopod culture and establish a mother culture before dumping, you will have an endless supply. Isopods are truly a one-time expense that will pay for themselves in their utility and tradability down the road. And if you prorate the purchase by the thousands you will get in the years to come- they end up at a fraction of a penny each. And it is plausible that they (GOI) will eat snail eggs, albeit probably not all of them.
Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I work for, an isopod merchant or corporation.
That's all true, but I think my feelings on the matter can be better summed up as this: no other insect/feeder costs the same per unit as isopods, despite what I imagine are similar/lessened labor requirements to grow them. Maybe there's a reason for that I don't understand, maybe it's just so niche that's kind of how the market turned out. My local reptile show was charging around $1 per dwarf white. That's nuts. You could get a million fruit flies from a dozen flies too, but you wouldn't pay $1 per fruit fly. You'd get a functional culture set up to go.

I will concede that if you really want giant orange isopods, you will not find them in the wild. I'm not really that enamored with colored isopods though (unless we figure out that they have a unique ability to eat other pest species, then I'm on board). In my experience, the temperate isopods seem to do well in my enclosures, though most of the vivaria I have kept are for reptiles and not frogs, and are thus kept less humid.
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:25 PM
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I had a snail infestation in my A. bassleri viv. Sluggo pellets scattered in the tank once a week for six weeks took care of it. You have to treat for that long or the young will hatch and just repopulate. Cheap, easy, and harmless to anything but the snails. Make sure to use regular sluggo if you are bioactive. Sluggo Plus has an additive specifically to kill isopods.

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Old 03-28-2019, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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Challenge accepted.

Well, I'm mostly kidding, I'm going to jinx myself. Right now they are in the quarantine tank, so what I'll do is just sort of use up the plants I have growing out and bleach them before they go into my vivariums. It'll be an issue with a couple of plants I don't think I can bleach though (I have some Selaginella and a California native fern I don't think can handle the bleach).
Bleach can be hard on plants.

I had that same issue. Building and using a CO2 generator is the best / easiest way to deal with these kind of pest. I wrote an article about building and using it. It is a whole lot safer than Dry Ice / Hot water and is very effective with a few treatments. Probably will need to bomb it few times over a period of time to deal with egg hatching. Make sure no frogs are in the tank.

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Old 03-28-2019, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by kimcmich View Post
Greetings,

I have these snails in my viv and, although no snails are harmless, these guys are not a significant problem in my experience. I have not seen their populations explode (for whatever reason) but they are definitely present. I do not see damage to young fern fronds and other delicate growth as I did when I had slugs. They will rarely nibble on flower petals but that is the only damage I have seen from them - and that was only for the most delicate petals (Lepanthes telepogoniflora).

As for CO2 bombs, I used a series of them to eliminate my slug population but the snails survived (I'm not sure if their shells offer some protection). Since CO2 bombs can harm plants, I would think twice about using to try and fix your snail problem. A thorough cleaning of your grow out tank (replace the substrate) and hand-inspection + washing of any plants you want to keep might be just as effective.
Actually CO2 is not the problem. Dry Ice, which is over -100 degrees, and it can freeze / damage plants very easily, that is the problem. Plants actually love CO2. CO2 is used in photosynthesis to create the sugars needed to create energy plants need to grow.

The reason a single "Bombing" doesn't always work is because slug / snail eggs are much more tolerant to and can survive show term exposure to CO2. Getting to know the life cycle of the pest you are trying to get rid of is important to actually being able to deal with the pest.

Most other methods will not totally eradicate the slugs / snails. Most froggers don't recommend using products like sluggo in an enclosed tank situation.

Hand checking is not a fool proof method of keeping these pests out of a tank. It is highly recommended to treat all plants before they are put into a tank.

Slugs and snails, while the may not be totally devastating to a tank, they do eat plants and frog eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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Old 03-28-2019, 01:45 PM
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Most froggers may not recomend sluggo, but biologists do. It won't hurt anything but the snails and slugs. It's just iron phosphate.
CO2 will also kill off micro fauna, which may not be an issue in this tank as it's just plants right now anyway.
Hand picking, or using the lettuce/cucumber method is a bit tedious, but will work eventually.
I would have no problems with any of these methods.
Just pick the one that best fits the situation.

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Old 03-28-2019, 02:19 PM
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Actually CO2 is not the problem. Dry Ice, which is over -100 degrees, and it can freeze / damage plants very easily, that is the problem. Plants actually love CO2. CO2 is used in photosynthesis to create the sugars needed to create energy plants need to grow.

.
The problems I had with serious plant damage was caused by pressurized CO2, not dry ice. There was no temperature change during treatments. Likely the damage was caused by the CO2 radically dropping the pH of any water present on (or in?) the plants. CO2 reacts with water to form carbonic acid ( CO2 + H2O --> H2CO3). With no carbonate in RO water/condensate to buffer, the pH will drop.

While plants do use and need CO2, it simply does not follow that they will benefit from a 100% CO2 atmosphere.
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Old 03-28-2019, 04:47 PM
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@Connor,

Isopods are slow to reproduce - that explains alot of the pricing issue since raising a culture to the point where it can support division takes about a year (for larger isos, the dwarfs are faster but still much, much slower than insects like flies or roaches).

Isopods are terrestrial crustaceans and, like many other crustaceans, can only mate when they shed their exoskeleton. Insects have evolved the ability to mate independently of molting so they can, in principle, mate and lay eggs constantly.

In addition, female isopods retain their eggs and continue to care for them and their hatchling young - further slowing their reproductive cycle relative to most insects (or even mammals: field mice can reproduce faster than isopods!).

As you've learned yourself, there's no reason not to try your friendly local isopod species if you live in a mild climate. And if you vacation in more tropical locales, you can consider collecting some isos as souvenirs. I collected a reddish dwarf variety in Hawaii that has become the dominant iso in my leaf litter - out-competing both dwarf whites and dwarf greys.
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:33 PM
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Most froggers may not recomend sluggo, but biologists do. It won't hurt anything but the snails and slugs. It's just iron phosphate.

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Jilsao,
I've wondered about using sluggo. It would certainly be convenient. You've used it yourself in a terrarium and not seen any negative consequences?
There's an article on sluggo being deemed organic and it states that it's harmless to birds and fish. But... they also say that no research has been done on amphibians; the effects are "presumed to be minimal" though.
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Old 03-28-2019, 06:41 PM
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I think I will avoid the sluggo for now. I'm not sufficiently well versed in the mechanism to feel comfortable using it in an enclosed space with animals, though to kill off snails in a quarantine tank it might be reasonable. Do you know if it contains a chelating agent in addition to the iron phosphate?

I have some paintball equipment, perhaps I'll fill up one of my old 20oz CO2 tanks and go to town. Or at least build a separate chamber to flood with CO2 on the plants that I can't bleach.

Currently I am relying on a beer trap. I haven't seen any more snails, so it's conceivably possible I only had two hitchhikers (I did wash and manually inspect plants before moving them into quarantine), but that might be optimistic.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

The original sluggo, NOT sluggo plus, is just iron phosphate. I've used it extensively in closed vivs with Ameerega, Phylobates, and Dendrobates species.
No ill effects to plants, microfauna, or amphibians.
If it makes you nervous, by all means, don't use it. They're your projects. Do what you're comfortable with.
I just wanted to put out there that it is safe.
I checked with the biology departments at two different universities, UMSL, and Washington University in St. Louis. One of which has some of my Leucs in a research project. Both said they have used it, and that it is safe. I've used it myself since then anytime I've had slug or snail problems. No issues at all.

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Old 03-29-2019, 06:42 AM
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The original sluggo, NOT sluggo plus, is just iron phosphate. I've used it extensively in closed vivs with Ameerega, Phylobates, and Dendrobates species.
No ill effects to plants, microfauna, or amphibians.
If it makes you nervous, by all means, don't use it. They're your projects. Do what you're comfortable with.
I just wanted to put out there that it is safe.
I checked with the biology departments at two different universities, UMSL, and Washington University in St. Louis. One of which has some of my Leucs in a research project. Both said they have used it, and that it is safe. I've used it myself since then anytime I've had slug or snail problems. No issues at all.
That's all good info, thanks. I'll keep it in mind for when I'm trying to disinfect the plants that can't handle a bleach dip.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:33 PM
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There's an article on sluggo being deemed organic and it states that it's harmless to birds and fish. But... they also say that no research has been done on amphibians; the effects are "presumed to be minimal" though.
Cobra venom is organic. So is cyanide. So is botulinum toxin. I could go on...

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the term "organic" that means "safe" in ANY WAY whatsoever. Despite the fact that our society basically seems to think the two terms are synonyms.

That said, I've used sluggo in vivaria for years with no ill effects.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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Originally Posted by npaull View Post
Cobra venom is organic. So is cyanide. So is botulinum toxin. I could go on...

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the term "organic" that means "safe" in ANY WAY whatsoever. Despite the fact that our society basically seems to think the two terms are synonyms.

That said, I've used sluggo in vivaria for years with no ill effects.
My update on this thread is that I have used sluggo in my grow-out enclosure, and at this time appear to have killed off any remaining snails. I am still hesitant to use it in my main vivarium, because it houses my chameleon and I don't want a stray dubia to eat some sluggo and in turn be eaten by my chameleon. Presumably the effects on a chameleon would be minimal/nonexistent, but I don't one of my animals to end up as a case study in a veterinary path journal.

If I find some evidence that snails have made it into my chameleon viv, he may be getting put into a holding enclosure for a bit, and I will use sluggo on the viv. For now though, the problem appears to be solved.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: All Snails Must Die

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Originally Posted by npaull View Post
Cobra venom is organic. So is cyanide. So is botulinum toxin. I could go on...

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the term "organic" that means "safe" in ANY WAY whatsoever. Despite the fact that our society basically seems to think the two terms are synonyms.
I'm well aware of the definition of organic... was just summating the article.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:06 PM
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Yeah no worries, wasn't meant to be a shout at you. For some reason the "organic=safe" fallacy really gets me going!
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