As more people keep terrestrial snails (land snails) as pets and aquatic snails (water snails) in their aquariums to help keep their tanks clean, we have noticed a steady increase in the number of people reaching out with questions about how they should be caring for their pet snails.
One thing that you have to factor in be it a terrestrial snail or an aquatic snail is the shell of the snail and the higher than average dietary calcium requirements that snails have.
There really are a wide range of different things that you are able to use as the primary calcium source for your snail’s diet but more recently, we have noticed people specifically asking about using tums for snails.
What Are Tums?
Tums is the brand name for a range of antacid medications that contain calcium carbonate as the active ingredient.
These are tablets that are taken by mouth to relieve heartburn, indigestion, or an upset stomach caused by overeating or consuming fatty/greasy foods.
Due to being so cheap and easy to find in most stores, more and more people who keep snails have been looking to use Tums as a source of calcium for their snails to help improve the shells of their snails.
Why Do Snails Need Calcium?
As we briefly mentioned above, the snail’s shell is made almost entirely out of calcium carbonate.
A healthy diet that is rich in calcium will help to ensure that your snail’s shell remains strong and does not succumb to any type of deformities.
If a snail does not have enough calcium in its diet, it will start to absorb the calcium from its own shell which will make the shell thinner and more brittle.
This can eventually lead to the snail’s shell breaking which is a very serious injury for a snail as it is almost impossible for them to repair their shells.
Can You Use Tums As A Source Of Calcium For Snails?
You can use Tums as a source of calcium for snails but you do have to be careful with the specific Tums product that you use with the regular Tums calcium tablets being the best option.
Some people who keep terrestrial snails also use the flavored Tums products with minimal issues with their snails too while still being able to quickly, easily, and cheaply get calcium into their snail’s diet.
You simply place the Tums tablet near your snail and then let it pick at it as it wishes throughout the day but in our opinion, actual vegetables that are high in calcium are better options due to the additional vitamins and minerals they offer your snail.
Here are some high calcium vegetables you are able to use with your snails:-
- Turnip Greens.
- Mustard Greens.
- Collard Greens.
- Beet Greens.
Most terrestrial snails really enjoy all six of those high calcium veggies in their diet anyway. Adding even a small amount of one of these can offer large benefits for a terrestrial snail that is deficient in calcium.
Should You Use Tums For Aquatic Snails?
When it comes to using Tums for aquatic snails you have to be a little more careful as you have to factor in the potential chances to your tanks water parameters due to the ingredients in the Tums.
Please note, Tums are designed for use with Humans, not snails and especially not aquatic snails.
This means that some of the ingredients in Tums can cause problems with your water parameters and even the calcium itself is able to affect the hardness of your water and tweak your pH.
This is why we don’t actually recommend that you use Tums for aquatic snails even though some people do.
We have a dedicated article online going over dietary calcium sources for aquatic snails that may be helpful if you do want to top up the calcium in the diets of your aquatic snails.
Alternatives To Tums For Snails!
The best alternative calcium source for snails to Tums has to be the high calcium vegetables that we listed earlier in the article. This is specific to terrestrial snails and they should usually be avoided for aquatic snails but when it comes to a healthy, cheap, high calcium food source for snails, they are definitely the best option.
When it comes to alternative calcium supplements for snails, you can use cuttlebone for snails or you can make your own calcium blocks, both work great and both are very popular with people who keep snails.
Are Tums Essential For Healthy Shell Growth In Snails?
Tums are not essential for healthy snail shell growth and as we have covered above, our recommendation for land-based snails will always be some high calcium vegetables over any alternative calcium source.
When it comes to aquatic snails in your aquarium, we would usually recommend cuttlebone as it really is a great option that is quick, easy, and cheap.