RO water and Snails - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2020, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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RO water and Snails

Hello to everyone!

I need your advise please. I started to use RO water in my Walstad hightech tank with a filter, CO2 and Chirilos Doctor Sterilizer. Since my tap water is quite hard (gH more than 21 and TDS is 600ppm) I decided to use RO water. I was adding Seachem Equlibrium to remineralise the water. However after some time I noticed that my snails are dying - their shells were full of holes, they were probably dissolving. I checked my water parameters and the only issue was low kH (2 or 3). I added some Baking Soda, to increase it to 6. My current GH is 7. My current water parameters are pH 7, kH 6, GH 7, CO2 15mg, 60 liters shallow tank. Could you please advise if these water parameters are ok for Ramshorns and Physellas and their shells will not keep dissolving anymore? Also could you give me a recipe how to prepare RO water for the planted Walstad tank with CO2 injection? I found my plants to grow better with CO2. I have a few hours of direct sunlight in my tank. Should I use baking soda to increase my kH? If I should not use RO water can I just use my current very hard tap water? My tap water parameters are the following https://imgur.com/zZC7UKd

Thank you in advance.

My tank image: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YJD...pNlTgnqls/view
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2020, 01:21 PM
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Snail shell problems are more of a Gh issue. Not a kh issue. There are species that do prefer more of a saltwater environment but Ramshorn's are the more forgiving species.

I think your testing might possibly be off/wrong. Are your measurements with co2 on? Ideally you should test Gh/Kh without co2 injection. That and test your kit against a known solution. Should be easy since you have RO.

Either way you should he looking at increasing your Gh. Not your Kh. I do think you are wasting the benefits of using RO water in a planted tank by remineralizing to anything above a 2 but you can keep the Kh at whatever level you feel comfortable with.

Don't know your fertilizer dosing but consider looking into making your own Gh from dry Ca & Mg. Equilibrium does have a lot of K in it. If you dose EI dosing, which it doesn't sound like you do, that extra K may become an issue.

Fyi, I run all of my tanks with RO. Kh of 1, Gh 7. My co2 injected tank has a degassed pH 7.1-7.2. With co2 on, pH 6.0 sometimes dipping to 5.8. Ramshorn's breed, in my low tech tanks too, with no shell issues whatsoever.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2020, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Paul for you response. I just did my recent test and this is a result: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vh0...ew?usp=sharing
I dont know why CO2 is that low, I have 1 bubble per second and its being injected using the filter atomizer. I will keep it like this for some time and we will see how my snails grow.

Regarding the recipe for my RO water after some testing I found out that in order to get KH 6, GH 7, PH 7 I need to 10l of RO water add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 and half teaspoom of Seachem Equilibrium. This raises KH from 0 to 6, GH from 0 to 7. I also have added a few rocks which I believe can mineralize my water a bit.

As a fertilizer I use Osmocote and EasyLife Profito. But its true I was adding a lot of K recently, because some time ago I had K deficiency, on some leaves there were holes.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2020, 02:59 PM
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You can't measure co2 levels accurately using pH and kh. Too many variables. And 1 bps seems low to me but bps isn't really a good indicator by itself. It would help to know you degassed pH vs your full co2 pH. That's not without it's issues but can help get to a better number.

What are those results from? Before adding to tank or after?

I also wonder if your osmocote is, or was, leaching into water column? Helping to cause issues with snail shell errosion? Just a thought and in no way scientific, lol. :-) But fertilizers do bring pH down, sometimes be quite a bit of the conditions are right.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-31-2020, 04:33 PM
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As pH drops below 7, the shells will dissolve at an increasing rate. I’ve found that my Ramshorns are fine at around pH 6.5, with sufficient food. A calcium-rich food source can offset this. Your tank may not be supplying enough food.

Feed them with a calcium-rich food, once a week is fine. They get most of the calcium, for their shells, from feeding. There may not be enough periphyton, excess food, detritus, etc. for them. The problem becomes trying to prevent the fish from eating the food. So, what I do is to use a snail trap, which is nothing more than a feeder, of this type: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. For food, I use this: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1, but any similar food that is high in calcium would work. Some people use blanched vegetables such as spinach, but I've found these to make a mess and are hard to control.

Also, has anything been introduced that contains a surge in copper (water pipes or medicine)?

As far as re-conditioning RO water goes, the Equilibrium is a good, simple, choice unless you want to get more involved in mixing the components yourself. It does not address KH, though, and KH and CO2 are the only way to adjust pH. As CO2 increases, pH drops. To raise pH from a fixed CO2 level, you must raise KH. First, set your CO2 target and, as @pauld738 mentioned, try using the 1-point pH drop method, but be careful to ensure that the dKH reading is the same in the tank as it is in the sample water. When doing this it also helps to increase the accuracy of your dKH and pH readings. For dKH (assuming an API-type test), use 25ml tank water and divide the results by 5. For pH, a pen is much better than a reagent kit.
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Last edited by Deanna; 09-01-2020 at 12:27 AM. Reason: Fix links
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-01-2020, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post

As far as re-conditioning RO water goes, the Equilibrium is a good, simple, choice unless you want to get more involved in mixing the components yourself.
Good point! I didn't mean to imply that Equilibrium was not a good option. I think it works great, especially if you are not pushing the boundaries with your fertilization routine. :-)

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