Need some help replenishing the water, but with what?! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Need some help replenishing the water, but with what?!

Not sure where to put this as it could of gone in substrate or ferts. Basically I am having issues with my snails and thus I feel its effecting my plants to some degree too.

A little background. Tank is 9 months old, using Safe-T-Sorb as substrate. I have had issues with MTS and rams horn snails since the beginning. The rams horn snail shells go white in the centre and keep getting worse, spreading further and further out. My MTS have a similar issue where the tip of the shell is eroding away, white, and stumpy.

At the beginning, the tank ph was dropping significantly compared to the tap. I have read this is due to the substrate absorbing the carbonates, plus I have a lot of driftwood in there too. Tap ph has always stayed around 7.4-7.6, i have done many many tests. Tank ph at the beginning was going as low as 6.4-6.6. The tank ph has been that way for a long time and only more recently is it back to matching the tap.

As of this morning I did 8 tests, 4 on tap and 4 on tank and compared. All of them were identical, if there was a difference it was too small to even notice. With that said my snails are still not looking good.

Another bit of info. A few months ago I had a complete or what I though was a complete wipeout of almost 90% of the snails (estimating, maybe not that much). Mostly MTS was all dead on the surface of the substrate. Every single shell was pretty much eroded. All the shells are still in the tank just breaking down fairly quickly.

I should also mention that I still see a bit of curling in my plant leaves, but this could just be normal. Its not with all plants, mostly some crypts and anubias. Some val nana too.

So on to my question; I am sure I need to add something to my water to help my snails and possible help my plants but I am not sure what to add. My main concern is for my fish and then plants and finally snails. Is there something I can do? I would think because ph is now stable with tap that maybe the safe-t-sorb isn't having the same effect on the water it once was. Yet my snail shells are still the same. Maybe not as bad as before but still a problem as they are not perfectly healthy as I would like.

Let me know what you guys think I should do, if anything at all. I just don't want to mess anything up or have to be adding some rediculous amount of stuff to resolve this.

Thanks in advanced

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 01:38 PM
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Im really shooting in the dark here, but I think Mg and Ca are major shell constituents. Maybe that's missing. My water is soft and I added a small bag of crushed coral in the canister of the filter. My snails are ok.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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I would imagine with a ph of 7.4-7.6 which is what I have now I would think calcium should be fine. I also feed spinach and zucchini. Not really adding up.

If it is a calcium problem my plants would need some too right? Is crushed coral the best way to do this? Or should I be dosing some form of calcium weekly?

Which test kit if used to check how much calcium is in the water? I have Nutrafin Carbonate and General Hardness Test, what should my number be?

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:07 PM
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I have that test kit too. Do you have the booklet? It gives ranges.


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:16 PM
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One of the "losers" when water gets to a Ph in the 6.4 range is the inability to assimilate calcium. If you examine the shells really close, you should see some pitting. Guessing a little here too, but I think the damage was done when your Ph was in the 6's. To be quite honest, I really don't know what the optimum calcium levels would be for FW and has me a little curious. I don't think SW calcium test kits (easy to find) are calibrated to read at the low levels in FW. I've read of some folks using cuttle bones and blocks of calcium carbonate to help offset the low PH effect on available calcium.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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So more info

Tap vs tank kh and gh values (drops)
tank gh = 6 drops / kh = 7drops
tap gh = 7 drops / kh = 8 drops

Hopefully this can help. I don't have a good understanding of what these values actually mean.

Even with my params as they are now I am still seeing problems with new baby snails which means its still ongoing. Like I said most of my snails died months ago and this is sort a a new batch of them appeared.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:27 PM
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I think there is Calcium in trace element ferts. Also in Seachem Equilibrium, but it may raise your pH, I'm not sure.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:28 PM
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For GH, you multiply the results by 20 to get the mg/L (ppm) as CaCO3.
So your tank is 120 and tap water 140. That would be "moderately hard"

For KH, multiply by 10. That puts you in the 20-80 mg/L range according to instruction. That's normally associated to low pH.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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So what would be my best course of action?

Is it safe to assume that with snails suffering from lack of calcium as it appear that my plants would be suffering from lack of calcium too?

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 03:31 PM
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I'm having the same symptoms with my Malaysian Trumpet Snails - I have a lot for my 10 gallon tank. Had a mass dieout a while back too. So I'm interested in how to add the calcium too. I will look into it. Oh, my plants are doing ok, a few problems, but I'm starting ferts which might help the situation.

Equilibrium has 8.06% Calcium, 2.41% Magnesium, and it sounds like it doesn't affect the KH. Comprehensive has 0.14% Calcium (not including the water, I'm assuming) so is not suitable for increasing the calcium. I believe CSM+B has around the same level of Calcium, which should be the right amount for plants. Maybe not snails, though. We should check with some shrimp people.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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Last edited by Django; 12-18-2014 at 03:52 PM. Reason: more info
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 04:29 PM
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If you have plants that prefer hard water they may be affected. Softwater plants generally don't care whether water is hard or soft.


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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I hear adding a cuttlebone is good. The snails will graze on it.

Just wondering if its going to effect the water much.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 05:21 PM
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I fed my fish a while ago. I have 2 corys so I feed sinking pellets too. I just saw a crowd of MTSs mobbing a half-pellet on every possible surface. Maybe they're very hungry.

MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 05:44 PM
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I knew I remembered a "Snail" website!

http://applesnail.net/

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 07:01 PM
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I'd put my money on it being your acidic pH as was mentioned above. ALL of my MTS shells are eroded on the ends, but they survive and grow rather large and reproduce. Ramshorns have no chance, they die out pretty quick. In my tank, the co2 for sure causes this, but if you're water is a consistent 6.4 that's acidic. They just can't properly take in the calcium and the shell erodes. At least this is what I was told when I asked the same question about having a snail die out.
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