Inverts and the importance of KH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Inverts and the importance of KH

I understand how pH and GH affect snails, for instance, or at least think I do, but how does KH and how important is it? Can snails be acclimated to dKH outside their recommended range or would it be better to raise the tank's dKH slowly? E.g. adding snails with a recommended range of 5-10 to a 3 dKH tank.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 03:49 AM
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KH helps to control pH... the higher the KH, the more stable, and potentially higher, the pH will be.

Of course, pH is controlled by more than just KH.... CO2, tannins, humic acids, oxygen, fulvic acids, etc can all play a role in pH.


I would hazard to guess that if all other parameters are fine, the snail is likely to do okay in lower KH water. Take my word with a grain of salt though! I don't have any fancy snails! Just your average pest snails.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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@Zoidburg, is there any essential relationship between GH and KH, i.e. is increasing the dKH from three to five without altering the 6 dGH straightforward? I can't recall seeing anyone posting here with those numbers so close together.

I assume increasing by no more than 1 dKH per day, preferably 0.5 dKH, is necessary to avoid osmotic shock to the current inhabitants.

FWIW, I have a small amount of driftwood in the tank, plus I age the remineralized DI water with an alder cone and either an oak or beech leaf* for several days prior to WCs, so I imagine pH should be buffered against increasing signficantly.

* After a few weeks of use, the old leaf is added to the aquarium as supplemental food; not sure how much pH-lowering capability is left at that point though.

I'd hoped the 5 dKH plus snails ordered by mistake would adapt to the 3 dKH in my tank but, even with drip acclimation, they didn't.

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Last edited by Rainer; 01-18-2020 at 04:11 PM. Reason: FWIW...
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 04:28 PM
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Yes and no to a correlation between GH and KH. GH is general hardness... aka your calcium and magnesium. KH is bi-carbonates and carbonates. There is a calcium carbonate that can raise both GH and KH. Or, you can raise them independently of each other.

You can have any of the following combinations:

5 GH / 0 KH

3 GH / 3 KH

19 GH / 10 KH

8 GH / 12 KH


It really all boils down to what minerals and bi/carbonates are in the water. *USUALLY* KH is lower than GH, however in homes with water softeners, it's possible to have higher KH with lower GH.


So perhaps my next questions would be.... do you have any other snails in the tank? (besides "pest snails") Has the tank been treated with copper or fenbendazole within the past year? (or past 6-8 months at least?)
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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@Zoidburg, yes, the tank has fifteen or so nerites of several species, including the new arrivals, and a mystery snail for comic effect, as well as two species of shrimp, with OEBT coming soon.

One question is how the OEBT would react to 5 dKH water.

The tank hasn't been treated with any chemicals.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-18-2020, 08:11 PM
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Snails like Mystery snails and Nerites need harder water containing calcium for proper shell growth. if the water is to acidic they suffer from shell erosion;

7–9 dGH
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 04:01 AM
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I would imagine the shrimp are likely to do fine as they are tigers and are hardier than crystals, tibees and others. There are people who raise them in "Neo" parameters all the time.
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