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Shell attrition

jellybean

Member
Joined
15 Jul 2023
Messages
31
Location
Louisiana, US
Hi all, first post here. I have a planted tank with a once large ramshorn snail colony that is now dwindling. Shells are turning white. Kh is 3 and Gh is 8. No co2 injection. I’ve read through posts here and am trying to figure out my best plan of action. Glasgarten baby shrimp food? Cuttlebone? Anything else I can try? Thanks for your help.
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Welcome to the forum!

Surprised you are seeing shell attrition in those water parameters and without CO2 injection.

Do you know the pH of the water - it should be well over 7. Are you using RO water or tap water? If the former are you remineralising with some calcium? If the latter do you know the levels of calcium in your water (from water report)?

You can try adding calcium rich foods - blanched nettle and spinach are good options - but it won't help the shell that has already grown, and will only be used for new growth. You could also dose the water column with some additional calcium (calcium chloride is a good option) if it is low in Ca.
 
Thanks for the reply. I haven’t checked the ph in ages so my test kit is old. I checked this morning and it is around 7.0 (API kit.). I can get a new kit if I need to.

I use RO that is remineralized with a Salty Shrimp clone that I got from another forum. It has 145 grams of CaSO4 and 92 grams of MgSO4 plus 27 grams of K2SO4. I use that to get to a Gh of 8. I use baking soda to get the Kh of 3. I recently purchased potassium carbonate and GLA GH booster but haven’t used them yet. I have neocaridina shrimp that are reproducing and molting ok.

I add one large kale leaf (from our backyard organic garden) each week.

Thanks so much for trying to help me figure this out.
 
I use baking soda to get the Kh of 3. I recently purchased potassium carbonate

Stop using the baking soda, that will add too much salt to your water. If you have the Potassium Carbonate, just that instead.

That being said though, there is no real reason to be adding any at all.

I use RO that is remineralized with a Salty Shrimp clone that I got from another forum. It has 145 grams of CaSO4 and 92 grams of MgSO4 plus 27 grams of K2SO4.

How much of that mixture do you add, and to what volume of water change water?
 
I thought I needed a kh of 3 for the shrimp. I’d love to quit using it if I don’t need to.

I will get those numbers to you when I get back home this afternoon.
 
I thought I needed a kh of 3 for the shrimp. I’d love to quit using it if I don’t need to.

I will get those numbers to you when I get back home this afternoon.

No, most shrimp breeders use RO, and maintain a KH of less than 1, usually zero. Shrimp just need calcium, so its a decent amount of GH they need.
 
It's somehow weird.
In most of my tanks, the water is very soft, conductivity often well below 50 µS/cm. And acidic at that. My ramshorns seem ok with that.
Dwindling numbers should mean lack of food generally, which is not a bad thing.
 
I use a large Brute trash can for mixing my water so I don’t have totally accurate numbers for you. But when I mix a small batch of water for something, I use 3/4 tsp per 4 gallons of water. And I change roughly 30-35% of the water per week.

I just don’t understand what’s happening to the shells. I’d like to keep a good colony going and I don’t want the snails to suffer because of my mistakes.
 
I use a large Brute trash can for mixing my water so I don’t have totally accurate numbers for you. But when I mix a small batch of water for something, I use 3/4 tsp per 4 gallons of water. And I change roughly 30-35% of the water per week.

I just don’t understand what’s happening to the shells. I’d like to keep a good colony going and I don’t want the snails to suffer because of my mistakes.

Well 3/4 teaspoon of this mixture:

145 grams of CaSO4 and 92 grams of MgSO4 plus 27 grams of K2SO4

in 4 US Gal (approx 15 litres) Should yield about 7-8dGH (if I've done my calculation correctly) with around 38-40ppm Ca which should be plenty. The fact the you are also adding a carbonate source which will raise the pH and leave the water alkaline, leaves me a bit baffled on the snail shells to be honest.

Similar to @_Maq_ above, I see no shell attrition in my low TDS tanks, I only seem to see it in my CO2 injected tanks, and even then only in those push 30ppm.
 
Hi all,
Shells are turning white. Kh is 3 and Gh is 8. No co2 injection. I’ve read through posts here and am trying to figure out my best plan of action. Glasgarten baby shrimp food? Cuttlebone? Anything else I can try?
It is definitely shell attrition. It just means that, at times, the pH is dropping below pH 7 . Have a look at <"Nerite Snails in high tech">.

<"Diet is important">, but snails can only <"build shell at the mantle">, and they can't protect the older shell whorls.

cheers Darrel
 
It just means that, at times, the pH is dropping below pH 7 .

But by what means though Darrel?

I have Ramshorns in carbonate free water that is constantly below pH 7 and they don't get any shell attrition.

I assume there must be a particular type of acid in @jellybean 's tank that is causing this that isn't being released in mine or @_Maq_ 's tanks, and it must be strong enough to generate an acidic pH despite sufficient carbonates to maintain 3dKH.

I've personally over ever seen that with the carbonic acid from CO2 injection.
 
Hi all,
But by what means though Darrel?
Yes, something is wrong in the measurements somewhere. The "somewhere" is the problem.
I have Ramshorns in carbonate free water that is constantly below pH 7 and they don't get any shell attrition.
They should, so either the pH is above pH 7, or they haven't been in the tank long enough for shell attrition to show. Ramshorn snails are more tolerant of softer (less alkaline) water <"than many other snails"> and I assume this is because they evolved in heavily vegetated, still water.

That is the great thing about <"biotic indices">. Fundamentally the <"snail shells can't lie"> and if the snails show shell attrition? Then the pH has definitely been below pH7. If it hadn't been? No attrition.

It really is as simple as that.
If you have hard water, that is <"fully saturated with calcium carbonate (CaCO3)"> (as Ca++ and 2HCO3- ions), it will be about 17 dGH & 17 dKH and if you have limestone rocks (even really soft ones like chalk) then they <"won't dissolve for all of eternity">, because the water is already fully saturated with Ca++ and 2HCO3- ions.

These are <"Neothauma shells in Lake Tanganyika">.

shell-dweller-3-jpg-jpg.144324

cheers Darrel
 
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if the snails show shell attrition? Then the pH has definitely been below pH7. If it hadn't? No attrition.

It really is as simple as that.
In the carbonate system, pH = 7 is no milestone. It's roughly in the middle of the range where soluble carbon bicarbonate dominates.

I think that snail shells never consist of plain calcium carbonate. They're not white, as a rule. It seems there's some protective layer on the surface, and this layer sometimes gets damaged for reasons I'm not sure about. Once the layer is damaged, we can see the white inner parts, which dissolve relatively easily. That is what we can see on the pic in the original post.

I do agree that ramshorns likely prefer slightly basic water yet I maintain I can keep them healthy and breeding in fairly acidic water (pH around 5.5) as well. I have observed in very soft waters that their shells are sometimes like made of brown tinted glass - perhaps the protective layer and barely anything more. Yet they live, breed, and their shells - very thin a brittle - remain undamaged until I try to hold them between my fingers.
 
Lots to think about here. I used tap water until about a year ago. They changed our water source and it now has a Kh of 16, Gh of 0, and TDS of 800. We can’t get a water report from the company so not sure what the rest of the parameters are but that’s when I switched to RO.

The RO has a starting TDS of 15 or so. I add the baking soda and Gh mix and end up with a Kh of 3, Gh of 8, and TDS around 180. I add Prime just in case and aerate it with a pump overnight.

This is one of my tanks. Ignore the juncus and vals that are there temporarily. Filtered by an Oase Biomaster 250 and a 600. Inert pool filter sand. Driftwood and a few pieces of dragon stone. Anything else I can add to help figure this out?
 

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now has a Kh of 16, Gh of 0

I'm not sure how that's possible - that would mean your tap water contains just carbonates, and no calcium or magnesium? I don't believe that's possible from a natural water source. Does your water come from a desalination plant of something like that?
 
I add the baking soda
Don't.
The data you've provided are weird, like @Wookii said. Very unusual. But theoretically possible.
One thing that I considered as a possible source of trouble is sodium. Sodium can replace calcium in calcium carbonate, upon certain conditions. Anyway, sodium is not very common in our tanks. Maybe, somehow, this is the cause of your snails' troubles.
 
I agree it’s weird. And it sounds like I’m making it up! But I’ve tested over and over and that’s what it shows every time. The water company says that they “dug wells” for the source and that they “soften” it. It feels slimy to the touch and tastes like baking soda has been added to it. Needless to say, we don’t drink it.

I am mixing water today and can add the potassium carbonate instead of the baking soda.

Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help.
 
Hi all,
I'm not sure how that's possible - that would mean your tap water contains just carbonates, and no calcium or magnesium? I don't believe that's possible from a natural water source. Does your water come from a desalination plant of something like that?
They changed our water source and it now has a Kh of 16, Gh of 0, and TDS of 800. We can’t get a water report from the company so not sure what the rest of the parameters are but that’s when I switched to RO.
Agreed something very strange there. The high TDS could be from salt water infiltration into the aquifer <"https://edition.cnn.com/2022/11/03/...nes-parish-drinking-water-advisory/index.html">, but after that ..........
I add the baking soda and Gh mix and end up with a Kh of 3, Gh of 8, and TDS around 180
Stop using the baking soda, that will add too much salt to your water. If you have the Potassium Carbonate, just that instead.
Like the others have said you need to stop the "Baking Soda" (sodium bicarbonate (NHCO3)) addition. It is fine for <"Rift Lake Cichlid tanks">, but not for planted tanks.
I add the baking soda and Gh mix and end up with a Kh of 3, Gh of 8, and TDS around 180
It has 145 grams of CaSO4 and 92 grams of MgSO4 plus 27 grams of K2SO4. I use that to get to a Gh of 8
Do you measure this, or do you use the equations to work it out? <"James' Planted Tank - Re-mineralising RO Water">? I only ask because calcium sulphate dihydrate (CaSO4.2H2O) isn't very soluble in water (~2.5g / litre).

cheers Darrel
 
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I am mixing water today and can add the potassium carbonate instead of the baking soda.
Much better. But better still, powdered calcium carbonate. It's "insoluble" and will make the water cloudy, for some hours. But fear not, it's harmless and it will dissolve.
 
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