Fake Coral with Shrimp?
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:04 AM   #1
rdmustang1
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Fake Coral with Shrimp?


I'm trying to decide on how to hardscape my 12 long that I'm hoping to set up next weekend. I was at the LFS today and they had what I believe is fake branch coral.

This isn't my tank but the coral looks like this:


Is this safe to use with shrimp? I'm guessing it would raise the GH, KH, and pH which isn't good for most shrimp. Am I right?

If it doesn't mess with chemistry, would it be too shark for shrimp?
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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Fake coral that is made from resin would not affect the water. Now, dead corals will definitely affect the water because it consist of calcium carbonate.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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I think it looks really good.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
Fake coral that is made from resin would not affect the water. Now, dead corals will definitely affect the water because it consist of calcium carbonate.
How do I tell the difference between fake and dead coral? I'm heading back to the store tomorrow to look at it again.

Thanks!
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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I imagine that's dead coral, if it were fake and made from resin, I would expect it to be colored to look like live coral.

Coral is usually aragonite, which should give more reliable results on the vinegar test. Also, just scratching it with something should give some indication on whether it's mineral or resin.

And coral will shoot your pH and hardness up quite a bit.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdmustang1 View Post
How do I tell the difference between fake and dead coral? I'm heading back to the store tomorrow to look at it again.

Thanks!
Fake coral like the ones they use in the show Tanked, will have a rubbery feel to it. Dead corals will feel really hard like hard cement. Just ask the he LFS if it's fake or not. You definitely dont want the dead coral as it will raise your PH to 8 or higher.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:17 AM   #7
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I went back to the store and it looks like it's real coral. I figure I'll run a test to see exactly what it will do to my water. I'll post the results here in case anyone is curious.

I boiled the coral for 10 minutes and then rinsed well. The coral is in the 10 gallon sump that I'll be using on my shrimp tank. I have a 320gph pump circulating the water.

I bought a small piece approximately 6"x4"x4".

My starting parameters:
pH: 8.2
GH: 3
KH:15

I'll test every few days and see where it's at. I probably can't use it but I'm curious as everyone says it raises pH, GH and KH but nobody know how much other than "lots."
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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The coral skeleton will maintain a higher ph and will raise your KH, GH and PH, it may take a little slower compare to using crushed coral. If you're shrimps require lower water values, then you shouldn't use the dead corals.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
The coral skeleton will maintain a higher ph and will raise your KH, GH and PH, it may take a little slower compare to using crushed coral. If you're shrimps require lower water values, then you shouldn't use the dead corals.
My questions is how much and how fast. If it raises it by 5 over 3 months then with regular water changes the shrimp shouldn't notice any change. If it's by 10 over a week then it's out of the question. I still can't find anyone with actual values. I'm planning on this not working but find it interesting to run this little experiment.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:51 AM   #10
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So, a small update.

The tank was running low on water so I topped it off (about 2 gallons) with dechlorinated water from the tap which reads as follows:

pH: 8.2
GH: 0
KH: 22

I just retested the tank and the results show a KH increase but it could be related to the water top off.

With 52 hours since the last test, here are the updated values:

pH: 8.2 (was 8.2)
GH: 3 (was 3)
KH: 17 (was 15)

I believe the water change was large enough to account for the KH raise but it's impossible to tell. I'll keep testing and keep an eye on it.
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:39 PM   #11
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It also depends on how much of that dead corals you have. The more it sits in the water, the more it dissolves. I suppose if you do enough water change, it'll keep it in check.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
It also depends on how much of that dead corals you have. The more it sits in the water, the more it dissolves. I suppose if you do enough water change, it'll keep it in check.
I typically do a 50% weekly change on smaller tanks and 30% change on larger tanks. I am planning on adding more coral and am aware that the amount of coral will affect paramaters faster. I'm planning on putting about 4x the amount I'm testing into the tank so whatever water changes I see I'm planning on multiplying times 4. I'm really hoping that after a week there is 0 change so that even x4 the change should still be minimal.


Another update: 48 more hours since my last test and no budge on the tests:

pH: 8.2
GH: 3
KH: 17
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:45 PM   #13
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Calcium carbonated continually dissolves overtime and may not show up in just a matter of days or weeks. One of the reasons dead corals/crushed corals are used in tanks that requires high ph, because it keeps it there. When it starts dissolving at a faster rate, you may not be able to catch up to it. It's very important to start with the correct environment for the spieces you want to keep without having to adjust it. Sometimes it's hard enough to keep them healthy even with the right environment, so I will not add anything that can compromise that, that's just me. It is your tank and your the only one that knows first hand.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HUNTER View Post
Calcium carbonated continually dissolves overtime and may not show up in just a matter of days or weeks. One of the reasons dead corals/crushed corals are used in tanks that requires high ph, because it keeps it there. When it starts dissolving at a faster rate, you may not be able to catch up to it. It's very important to start with the correct environment for the spieces you want to keep without having to adjust it. Sometimes it's hard enough to keep them healthy even with the right environment, so I will not add anything that can compromise that, that's just me. It is your tank and your the only one that knows first hand.
What would cause the coral to start dissolving faster? I'm not trying to be a jerk but that doesn't make sense to me. If it really speeds up then GH and pH level in reef tanks would skyrocket after a while since many tanks pack it in. In contrast to reef tanks, I'm thinking of putting a relatively small amount in. Most reefers also use crushed coral in their filter. The crushed coral has a much higher surface area than a solid piece and a filter has a much higher flow rate than just sitting in the tank. I've read that large amounts (many pounds) of crushed coral raises GH up to 7 degrees. Half that would be perfectly acceptable because my tap has a GH of 0. If you add the non-crushed, the low flow and the lower volume I feel that there is a good chance I can safely add some to the tank.

This is all just speculation, but I like challenging unsubstantiated 'rules' of fishkeeping. I'm not disputing that dead coral will increase GH and pH but I am questioning how much. Everyone thinks it's a bad idea but there is almost no real data online that backs up the concerns. Of course, I'll admit that on cases like these I'm wrong more than I'm right but I am right a surprising number of times.
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:46 PM   #15
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All anyone can do is give an advice based on experience and research studies, I'm basing mine on both. Everyone has their own and different ways of approach, but not necessarily a failure or success. If you're convince your plan will work, why not, it could be an interesting and helpful study, if it's different from obvious.
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