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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My pH (6.4) is too acidic for snail shells long term. I'm considering a liquid or dry powder calcium supplement. It seems like a more reliable, quick way to keep the level consistent. Rather than adding cuttlebone (1" piece directly to the tank) or crushed coral (bagged in the filter). I hear they are a slow release and over time have to replace it. I need to be careful about how it affects kH too.

Any advice on best products or methods?

It's my 1st 10 gallon low-tech planted tank (set up 6 weeks ago).
pH 6.4
GH 7-8 drops (125-143 ppm)
KH 6-7 drops (107-125 ppm)
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite:0
Nitrate:30 ppm (From dead plant matter. I'm working on lowering this.)

Dosing ferts:
1/16 t. KNO3 1x/week
1/64 t. KH2PO4 1x/week
1 t. Equilibrium 1x/week (when doing 25% wc)
No CO2 (because it will melt the vallisnerias).
 

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First, do you have any specific problems with your snails ? What snails are we talking about ? Your GH/KH seem good to me for snails.

Second pH does not really tell you what is in the water, it is important to understand what it acutally measures. For the longest time, pH has been used as a proxy value for all sorts of important variables. Now we understand that other parameters are more important, such as carbonates and Ca in snail growth. Thus, I would not add anything to 'correct' the pH to a value found on the internet. Those values have a wide margin for error. For example if it says pH 7, I would guess for most snails would be ok between pH 5.5-8.5. The GH of 7 indicates that you already have plenty of Ca in water (assuming a normal water source and not one where all GH is Mg).

Third, CO2 will not harm Vallisneria, it is already in the water. Seachem Excel is reported to have some damaging effects. That being said your snails are also happier if the concentration of CO2 is less :D

And to answer the question of dry powder calcium source : CaSO4 is the safest , CaCl2 is easier to disolve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, do you have any specific problems with your snails ? What snails are we talking about ? Your GH/KH seem good to me for snails.

Second pH does not really tell you what is in the water, it is important to understand what it acutally measures. For the longest time, pH has been used as a proxy value for all sorts of important variables. Now we understand that other parameters are more important, such as carbonates and Ca in snail growth. Thus, I would not add anything to 'correct' the pH to a value found on the internet. Those values have a wide margin for error. For example if it says pH 7, I would guess for most snails would be ok between pH 5.5-8.5. The GH of 7 indicates that you already have plenty of Ca in water (assuming a normal water source and not one where all GH is Mg).

Third, CO2 will not harm Vallisneria, it is already in the water. Seachem Excel is reported to have some damaging effects. That being said your snails are also happier if the concentration of CO2 is less :D

And to answer the question of dry powder calcium source : CaSO4 is the safest , CaCl2 is easier to disolve.
I haven't added any inhabitants yet. I'm going to add my betta, ghost shrimp, and mystery snail once the GH, KH, and pH are safe. From what you said it sounds like it is.


I'm upgrading them from a 5 gal to planted 10 gal. The water parameters are very different between the 2 tanks and this makes me nervous.

In short:
The 5 gal has inert substrate, 2 anubias, and moss
pH 8.0
Indian Almond leave tannins

The 10 gal is planted with a nutrient rich substrate.
pH 6.4
No Indian Almond leave tannins

I have heard bettas need to "wean" off Indian Almond leaf tannins very gradually. I don't know what "gradually" means. A week, day, hours? Anyway, getting off subject.

The Seachem Equilibrium I add has more Calcium (8.06%) than Magnesium (2.41%). I'm unsure about the dosage though. 1/8 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon?
 

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Don't add anything, with your 7-8 dGH you should have more than enough Ca and Mg in your water already.

BTW, many bettas will kill and eat both shrimp and snails, even big snails. :wink2:

Bump: Forgot to add: bladder snails are living happily in the canister filter of my tank with 1 dGH, 0.5 dKH without any damage to their shell. I don't know the pH of my water because test doesn't measure anything below 6.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't add anything, with your 7-8 dGH you should have more than enough Ca and Mg in your water already.

BTW, many bettas will kill and eat both shrimp and snails, even big snails. :wink2:
Awesome! glad to know the levels are good!

My betta is not as aggressive as some are. They all live together in the 5 gal now. I was watchful when I added them initially. He seemed pretty curious about the snail and never attacked it. My ghost shrimp had babies so I added moss for them to hide. I call them the Casper family. :) Being transparent the betta doesn't notice them much.
 
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