Seashells and Ph - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-20-2010, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Seashells and Ph

Do seashells from the beach affect Ph? My fiance wants to put a couple shells from the beach in our 5g fish tank. If I clean them well, can maybe 2 go in the tank or will it change the Ph of the water?
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-20-2010, 10:31 PM
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I'd boil them good for one.
I used various FL collected shells before in set ups, never had a problem. If they fuzz when you drip vinegar on them, that means they'd give off a lot calcium which would harden your water and so with up your pH; otherwise not; like I said mine never did but I also had them in larger tanks then a 5g.

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post #3 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 05:10 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I'll try that. Do I do the vinegar test in the boiling water or test it in regular temp water first and if they don't fizz then boil them to be safe?
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:33 AM
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No before you boil them, just lay them on a plate or in the sink or something, drip some vinegar on it, see if it fuzzes. If it does not fuzz, you're save; then just boil them to be sure there's nothing on there you'd carry into the tank and done

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post #5 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Natalie. You're always such a big help
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 12:43 PM
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You're very welcome; I'm glad if I can be helpful sometimes

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post #7 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 01:53 PM
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On this issue I cannot agree with my friend Natalie.

Shells are calcium, period. That is what snail shells, clam shells, all shells are made of (along with other things of course). And any calcareous item will over time dissolve in water. Snails do not fare well in my soft water simply because there is not sufficient calcium for their shells (a natural means of control).

If you have very soft acidic water, the shells may be useful to add some calcium, but in acidic water I would be careful of the extent to which they will do this. This is why people put crushed coral, dolomite, lava rock, etc. in their filters, to add some alkalinity. In water which is already above pH 7 and moderately hard, I would not add any calcareous object; the last thing you want with plants and such fish is more alkalinity/hardness.

I do not recommend putting shells in a freshwater aquarium. The boiling might handle the salt issue, but not the calcium.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 02:11 PM
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That's why I told her to test if its not going to "fuzz" on her then its so minimal that what its gonna give off into the tank combined with weekly w/c won't even amend the parameters in a measurable way; I used cleaned ones before and since my test kit only measures in steps of 1-2-3 degrees, I hadn't detected changes

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post #9 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
That's why I told her to test if its not going to "fuzz" on her then its so minimal that what its gonna give off into the tank combined with weekly w/c won't even amend the parameters in a measurable way; I used cleaned ones before and since my test kit only measures in steps of 1-2-3 degrees, I hadn't detected changes
The "fizz" test does not always work. Vinegar is no where near a strong enough acid to detect calcium unless it is very high, which is why I have elsewhere not recommend it for testing rocks and gravel. After all, vinegar is edible, so while it is an acid it is not a strong one or it would burn our mouths and throat. The acid regeant in a nitrate test apparently works better, not sure but I think it is Regeant #2--it's the one that is an acid anyway.

Test kits are not scientifically miniscule accurate; and many on here have written about different kits producing different results with the same water for this and that. For instance, my API KH and GH kits test zero for my tap water, but I am told there is some calcium and carbonate in the water, usually said to be between 1 and 2 degrees, yet I can't detect it.

I don't know what Lisa's water may be in hardness, but if it is anything otther than very soft I would not risk adding any calcareous substance to it. But that's just my opinion.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well I'd rather be safe than sorry. I told him no sea shells in the new tank. He'll survive
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