should I switch from CaCl2 to crushed coral? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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should I switch from CaCl2 to crushed coral?

My tap water comes with less than one degree of hardness with both KH and GH, has a pH of 6.5 and a TDS of 15. Yes, I do feel lucky. While I have a handle on remineralizing when it comes to shrimp, snails are another story.

With my main tank I have been raising the pH, KH and GH as well as adding Calcium Chloride for years. I have never had problems with my Ramshorns or MTS. Last year I purchased some Mystery Snails and their shells eroded and they died.

Recently I tried again from someone local, this time making sure my pH was at 7.5 and that they had a diet high in Ca. The snails I received had beautiful shells and when I tested their water he only had their pH at 5 and had a fairly low KH and GH. But he did mention he added crushed coral. Even so, I couldnít believe their nice shells with these stats, but I felt a bit more confident this time. I tested to make sure my pH stayed the same with lights on and off (pressurized CO2), which it did.

Well they are eroding again and I am at a loss. I can only imagine that somehow the water is still low in Ca. The only test kits I can find are labeled for saltwater. Iím sick of taking pains to raise all these levels when it seems to have really worked with someone who didnít. Iím sick of adding a bunch of Calcium Chloride in every week and would love to just add crushed coral to the filter.

I know this is a long backstory, but I wanted to see if anyone has any ideas as to what else could be wrong. All this to ask: Shall I assume there will be no change with the plants if I stop the weekly CaCl2 and add crushed coral to the filter instead? Do I need to change my Mg dosing? How much crushed coral per gallon should I add and does it matter whether the tank is heavily planted or not? I wouldnít mind adding some to the filters of other tanks, but they have varying amts of plants.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 03:06 AM
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Why not use both? I use CaCl2 and MgSO4 to bring up the GH of my tapwater to 9 dGH and I have a small amount of crushed coral to bring up the KH above 2 dKH. How high do you raise your GH and KH?

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 03:06 AM
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I personally just use Kent liquid calcium for corals for my snails, however I know some people just put a piece of cuttle bone (like for birds) in the water for the snails.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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The day I added them I tested both of our water, as I mentioned.
His:
pH: 5
GH: 4
KH: 1

Mine:
pH: 7.5
GH: 8
KH: 4

From everything I tell it should be fine. If the lower numbers have worked with him I would rather not fight my water. My numbers seem better, so I am lost here.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 04:52 AM
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Maybe it's their diet? The original owner probably fed them foods that are high in calcium. Try feeding them some blanched veggies like kale and some food grade calcium tablets.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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That is what is weird as well. I have been feeding them "snail jello" cubes made with spinach baby food, calcium supplement and gelatine. Argh!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 10:21 PM
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Avoid! I did an experiment on one of my high tech tanks with CO2. With less than 1/3 cup it was nasty. The fish and shrimp are way happier without.

You can read more on my closely monitored experiment.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=669345
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2014, 10:42 PM
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Hi Skelly,

Northwest water can certainly be challenge; I too add MgSO4 and CaCl2 to my planted tanks. Although I don't keep snails now when I did I found that adding limestone seemed to help keep them healthy. I suspect that the problem is not a lack of calcium, but carbonate. I found this for starters:
Quote:
Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for skeletons and shells

Roy_________
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2014, 12:16 AM
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I'm somewhat skeptical that the snails diet would prevent their shells from eroding. The outside of the shell isn't 'alive', the material that makes the shell is secreted by the mantle on the snail, and only 'builds' on the inside and at the lip of the opening.

Aside from that, I think the KH (carbonate hardness) would probably be more important then the Ca, but I have no idea why there is less erosion in a tank with lower everything.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Josiah. I had been reading that before I posted. The crushed coral was the one thing he did add, so I thought maybe that was why they were doing better at his place. But he definitely didn't have a high tech tank going.

Thanks for the suggestion Roy. Is there amt per gallon that you found effective, or is just putting in a large stone or throwing in a handful of gravel fine? I don't hear about adding limestone so much, so I'm not sure if there is a science to it or not.
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