Can I put dead coral in a freshwater tank?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
OrangeAugust
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Can I put dead coral in a freshwater tank?


A friend of mine gave me a piece of (dead) coral for my fish tank... I'm not sure how I'm going to add that to my scape without it looking out of place in a freshwater tank, but that's another topic. My question here is that I've read that it can raise the ph levels and hardness of the water to dangerous levels for certain fish... but for other fish it would be ok. I don't have this tank set up yet but I'm planning on having a sorority of female bettas, neon tetras, glow light tetras, zebra danios, some kind of rasbora, an angelfish, nerite and malaysian trumpet snails, and julii cories and/or otocinclus catfish. It's a 55 gallon tank. Would the coral change the water chemistry to dangerous levels for any of these fish and snails? Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:46 PM   #2
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Hardness would be ok with snails, but most of the fish you mentioned like more acidic pH and would not dwell well in a higher pH tank. I would advise against adding the dead coral. I've known people with african cichlids to use dead coral, but they prefer harder water and higher pH.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:48 PM   #3
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Coral is basically the same stuff that makes up limestone: calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

So it will raise the hardness and pH of your tank. This would be great for rift lake cichlids, but it sounds like most of your fish are softwater types. I don't know that it would make any water conditions dangerous, just probably not ideal.

Snails should be fine- they tend to do well in almost any conditions, except sometimes overly soft/acidic water can weaken/erode their shells.

Also, what's your tapwater/tankwater like? If your water is already fairly hard, the coral probably won't affect it much.

If you want to use it, but don't want it to affect water parameters, you could try coating it in a thin layer of epoxy, but that could be a bit of work for something like coral.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:58 AM   #4
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I use it. But my coral is really really old like dead for 10+ years. And it's been used in multiple freshwater tanks so it's kind of acclimated. I don't think you should have any problems, if you're really worried try soaking it for a month or so.
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:12 AM   #5
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Make sure the coral was meant for the aquarium. Some pieces are strictly decorative and are cured with formaldehyde.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:08 AM   #6
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If should be safe. I can't imagine it breaking down quickly at all. Not enough to notice a difference. If you want to incorporate it...it's very porous. You could cover it in moss
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