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Planted Tanker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone know what is causing my ramshorn shells to be in such poor condition?

Tap water has 50 ppm of Ca so Im not adding any. This is from the water report, and also confirmed by PortalmasterRY's Hanna test (or whatever he uses)

Tap water has 4 ppm Mg, I add another 5 ppm via Epsom salt with water changes.

PH ~7.6 fully de-gassed, ~7.3 just before CO2 kicks on, in the lower 6.2's at peak CO2

KH 5.5

Fire red's are active and thriving.

Is it the high CO2, something else? TIA

2,862 Posts
Look into "Ocean Acidification" (you can add in "calcium carbonate" in the search as well).

Here's a decent article Ocean Acidification | Smithsonian Ocean Portal

It does refer to sea water, but the same acidification principle can take place in freshwater as well, even with co2 injection. Pretty much co2 as we know, chemically reacts with the water, creating carbonic acid, which ends up increasing the amount of Hydrogen ions and lowering pH. Snails use calcium ions to bond with carbonate to create their shells (calcium carbonate), however those hydrogen ions (H+) have a stronger attraction bond with carbonate (creates bicarbonate), and with the increase of H+ they take away/use up the carbonate that the snails need to build/maintain their shells, ultimately leading to deteriorating snail shell health and possibly killing it.

Even if you may have enough Ca, Mg, and KH, the co2 chemical reactions with the water can keep the snails from obtaining the necessary carbonates they need for their shell health.

I have first hand seen ramshorn snails look similar to your picture in pH of less than 6, 0 KH, and with GH reading at 3 dGH (but the ions may have been used up), and with no co2 dosing, though no algae growing on it. It's a hard and slow recovery process for them, so if you want to save it, it should be placed in more suitable water sooner rather than later.

I'm no expert though, and if that's the only snail with the shell issue in the same tank, and with the shrimp looking great, maybe it's just a snail with a health condition (only for that individual) or some type of uncommon shell disease.


5,934 Posts
I feed my snails to help this. They didn't look that bad, but more than half of their
shells were lighter colored indicating low calcium. So I got Hakari Crab Cuisine
which is the only food that I could find that states on the package that it has extra
calcium added to it. About every other day I put some in there and after a couple of hrs
the snails are all over it. Seems to lower the amount of white on their shells some.
I would rather give them some calcium which they eat instead of trying to do
something about how much is in the water. I see them eating the food so at least
I know they are getting some/more than what they naturally eat.
Actually I have three or four different types of small pellet type food which I include
in this feeding. I use a 1 tsp measuring spoon that I dip full of water from the tank
and I add a 1/32 tsp of each of the types of food which I have except for the Crab
food and that I use two 1/32 tsp of it. After being sure all of the food is soaked so
it will sink I put it in a corner with the current off till it completely sinks.
Then the current goes back on.
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