Snails for pals, temporarily

It’s been cold and rainy in San Jose for the past week. During a brief dry phase, our family went searching for snails or any interesting critters that crawl out on damp days.

I realized that I’ve been looking in the wrong spots for snails this whole time. I looked down when I had to look around me. I presumed they were swimming in muddy puddles or crawling on the sidewalk. Guess I’ve been watching too much kid-animation stuff. What the heck was I thinking?! Of course these snails’ instinctual reaction would be to stay inconspicuous.

Chris found little communities of snails on tree trunks. Perfect place for camouflage. Kids and I got wide at this discovery while he looked skeptical of the whole thing. I returned the look hoping he’d read my mind: We’ve got a great science study here. You can’t say ‘no’ to that!

Chilling out on tree trunk

He reluctantly helped but couldn’t help himself from airing his skeptical comment, “How long will these guys last.”

Update: These two snails have been comfortably adjusting to their new habitat with fresh veggies and fruits each night. We are on day 3. On day 5, we’ll release them in the mulch.

Coming home with us

And tonight, we got a little surprise from our catfish. The fun part was seeing a sudden appearance of eggs after she made quick wiggling movements on the side of the aquarium. Kids went wild distracting the bigger fish from dining on fresh eggs: we lost a few but most have been moved to a small bowl.

Here we go again with the life cycle lesson. This happened in early January but the eggs never hatched. That weekend we visited a friend’s house where they had newborn guppies. OMG, we couldn’t believe how small and cute little fish are. (I can’t find pictures of those baby guppies on my phone.)

I’m glad we saved the “first bites” pellets for newborn fish. Hoping this time will be a more productive experience.

January surprise: Close-up view of eggs. These eggs, ultimately, did not hatch.
New fish eggs
In homemade habitat

Fish or snail eggs? Maybe new additions to our tank.

Kids are freaking out! We’ve had our 10-gallon fish tank for about an year and no fish or snails have laid eggs. Yet the kids have always been hopeful that we will get a larger tank once the fish babies come. The drama of our fish tank go way back starting with tadpoles metamorphosed to African clawed frogs. Long story short: Rocket and Ribbit are buried outside our garage.

Once we saw a super tiny snail stuck on the aquarium glass, but it soon disappeared. Probably got eaten up by the bigger fish (not for sure but I have a hunch it’s the Betta). Since I’m a novice aquarium keeper, I had no expectation of our fish population growing.

I’ve been doing the bare minimum for our aquarium: cleaning every 2 weeks and feeding the fish crew every other night.

However, when I glanced over at the tank tonight, I discovered a cluster of little white balls attached to the leaf of our live plants. I quickly called the kids over to check them out. Omg. There was clapping, happy screaming, and loud talk of how to transfer the babies to safety into the spare tank.

Which will hatch? Fish or snails? It’s a mystery for now. If conditions are right, we’ll have an answer in in 3-5 days (that’s what I found by googling). I hope some will survive or the kids will shed tears again and beg me to get them new pets. Ahhhhhhh, no!

If they all survive, we may need to give some away. This subject was just brought up with Chris, and it was a big ‘No’ from both kids. Here we go on a new live science adventure.

The following are the stages of fish development from egg to fish:

  1. larvae
  2. fry
  3. fingerling
  4. fish