Substrate to shift pH up?
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Substrate to shift pH up?

This is a discussion on Substrate to shift pH up? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have some MTS and the shells are showing serious signs of erosion from my water (pH=6.6). The tank is currently bare-bottom with some ...

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Substrate to shift pH up?
Old 05-18-2011, 05:12 PM   #1
 
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Substrate to shift pH up?

I have some MTS and the shells are showing serious signs of erosion from my water (pH=6.6). The tank is currently bare-bottom with some live plants floating around. My water has very low buffering capacity and out-of-the-tap it's about 6.9. Is there a reliable way to shift the pH up so it won't bounce around (like what can happen with pH "up/down" chemicals)? Any substrate recommendations? Crushed coral perhaps?
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:15 PM   #2
 
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I use crushed dolomite. It's sold at farming supply stores, and super cheap..

All you need is about a tbsp per 10 gallons. Add it slowly... It shouldn't cause a huge fast shift, but play it safe and add it slow.

It might cloud your water for a couple hours, but its no biggie. Plus you can add it to the tank easily rather than changing gravel and having to re-cycle.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
 
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Thanks, if you want some slightly less-than perfect MTS still, let me know! (they originally came from Kimmie and have not been in a tank with fish yet)
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:34 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
I use crushed dolomite. It's sold at farming supply stores, and super cheap..

All you need is about a tbsp per 10 gallons. Add it slowly... It shouldn't cause a huge fast shift, but play it safe and add it slow.

It might cloud your water for a couple hours, but its no biggie. Plus you can add it to the tank easily rather than changing gravel and having to re-cycle.
Should not need to re-cycle a tank after changing substrate so long as the filter and bacteria there are not compromised.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:52 AM   #5
 
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This is unnecessary. First, if there are fish in this aquarium, they should determine the water parameters, not snails. Second, Malaysian livebearing snails will do fine in any water, including very soft and acidic. Mine number in the hundreds and my water has <1 dGH, no KH, and pH varies from 5 to 6.4 depending upon the tank.

These snails burrow through the substrate; that may be the problem, they have no "home" in a bare-bottom tank. You also have no substrate for all the essential bacteria to deal with organics.

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Old 05-19-2011, 10:40 AM   #6
 
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Update - I identified one issue, my ammonia level was up significantly (tank is cycling). Minimal nitrite, no nitrates. Could that be contributing to the shell deterioration?
I'll pick up something for the tank substrate. That will give me a place to stick my plant trimmings! Right now, it's only plants and snails since it's my quarantine tank. It's cycling because I bleached everything in the tank a while back and am starting it again from scratch. The bleach is long gone or the snails would not have lasted

Filter is a hydro-sponge driven by air pump.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:20 AM   #7
 
if your worried about this, just toss some unpolished/unpainted sea shells. it should help boost. b/c crushed corals will be hard to get out if you are in need of lowering the pH again. so id go with shells. but like byron says this is unnecessary
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Old 05-21-2011, 08:02 PM   #8
 
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Like Byron Said, its likely the substrate. MTS NEED some kind of substrate to thrive.
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #9
 
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Holes in sponge filter from snails?

Thanks for the comments, I added some black sand today. Looks much better. I dislike a bare-bottom tank aesthetically anyway. If I end up wanting to shift the pH for any reason, I may just add small portions of the African cichlid substrate, or the dolomite, to the sand. At this point, I'm not planning on messing with the pH however.

Next issue - anyone ever have MTS bore holes in a sponge filter? My snails are making my sponge filter look like Swiss cheese! I have baby and adult MTS burrowing their way through the filter media. Very odd. Again, could have been a side effect of no substrate, I suppose.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:50 AM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKRST View Post
Thanks for the comments, I added some black sand today. Looks much better. I dislike a bare-bottom tank aesthetically anyway. If I end up wanting to shift the pH for any reason, I may just add small portions of the African cichlid substrate, or the dolomite, to the sand. At this point, I'm not planning on messing with the pH however.

Next issue - anyone ever have MTS bore holes in a sponge filter? My snails are making my sponge filter look like Swiss cheese! I have baby and adult MTS burrowing their way through the filter media. Very odd. Again, could have been a side effect of no substrate, I suppose.
I know you're not contemplating raising pH now, but I do want to pick up on the issue for the benefit of those reading. I would not recommend adding substances to the substrate for this, but rather add them to the filter or some other controlled method. Mixing anything in the substrate means you cannot remove it if that is necessary, and as one who has used dolomite for this purpose in the past I can tell you that it takes a bit of experimenting to find the amount. I got one of those mesh filter bags and put a couple tablespoons of dolomite in that and placed it in the top chamber of a canister filter. This worked very well. As you mention sponge filters, obviously this won't work, but in that case just hang the bag in front of the water flow from the sponge filter. It would take very little. Dolomite is the best natural substance for this purpose as it adds calcium and magnesium.

On the sponge holes, I have never witnessed this and I have hundreds of snails in my tanks. A sponge is naturally porous, it may be they are simply following the channels. Or they may have been looking for that refuge they would normally find in the substrate.

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