Why are my snails' shells dissolving?
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Why are my snails' shells dissolving?

This is a discussion on Why are my snails' shells dissolving? within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Greetings! This is my first post here. Good ol' Google. Anyhow, I have a 55g tropical tank that is mostly a wide variety of ...

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Why are my snails' shells dissolving?
Old 07-10-2009, 03:52 AM   #1
 
Why are my snails' shells dissolving?

Greetings! This is my first post here. Good ol' Google.
Anyhow, I have a 55g tropical tank that is mostly a wide variety of catfish. I set it up January of this year and although it took a while to cycle, everything is running very smoothly now.
It is properly cycled with all good water test results. I have water sprite and wysteria in it along with lots of fake plants to act as hiding places. I am using the normal retail gravel found in any LFS.
I use my city tap water with Aquasafe and other necessary additives. I do add aquarium salt after reading that it does benefit even freshwater fish. I add it according to the directions. All my fish are fine and I rarely have any die. Plus I heard that apple/mystery snails will tolerate salt added correctly.
But I have/had two snails since week 1 and since they've been in my tank their shells have steadily dissolved to where you can almost see through the shell and near the opening it has completely eroded.
One snail ended up either dying or was pulled out of its shell by the fish. The other snail is hanging on, but looks terrible.
Now here's the thing. City tap water should be soft, but my test results indicate that its very hard. Is that the salt doing that?
If my water is so hard, why are my shells dissolving?
I also have a dozen ghost shrimp that seem fine, but they molt so I don't know if its the same.
Someone please help.
I can provide as much information as necessary.
Thanks!
-Nick.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:18 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to Fishforum.com.

Firstly, I would like to advise you to stop adding aquarium salt. That is not necessary and despite your efforts, you cannot prevent any possible health issues from coming their way. Salt does not do anything and you risk creating pathogens that are resistant to salt thus making them more difficult to eradicate once this happens.

Secondly, what test kit do you use? What exactly were the results? Get API liquid test kit to have a more accurate set of results. The shell erosion contradicts your test kit result that the water is soft. Your water must be very acidic and lacks calcium hence the erosions. pH should be no less than 7.4. Test for KH and GH as well.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:52 AM   #3
 
Thanks for replying. I do have a couple fish that the petsmart (yeah, I know) info card states "requires salt."

So all the hype re: salt keeping fish healthy and glossy and blah blah blah is nonsense?

I use the strip test kits found at walmart (again, yeah I know). They're color based, but I can read colors. :)

I use a pH balancer that keeps it at 7.0. The hardness is all the way to the right indicating "very hard."

Amm, nitrite and nitrate are all zero or "very low."

Thanks. I'll buy the expensive kit if necessary.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:58 AM   #4
 
Oh, also, the test kit does not indicate "very soft." Contrary it states "very hard," but it *should* be soft as it's city water. So I dunno!
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:27 AM   #5
 
I agree stop the salt, they said my fish needed salt and I didnt even try it not once because if you actually look at the origins of most freshwater fish, their homeland has no salt in it, so ya its nonsense... I have had other tanks with no salt, and my newest 20 gallon tank (since about May) didnt use salt, and all my fish are super happy... on top of that my female was so healthy that she gave birth to about 18 healthy babies :)
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:32 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theleetbeagle View Post
Thanks for replying. I do have a couple fish that the petsmart (yeah, I know) info card states "requires salt."
That should be debunked. They were trying to add up the bill of their consumers unnecessarily.

Quote:
So all the hype re: salt keeping fish healthy and glossy and blah blah blah is nonsense?
I prefer to use salt for ich cases only. Even if it does neutralize the toxicity of high levels of nitrite, water changes are a much better option than adding salt.

Quote:
I use the strip test kits found at walmart (again, yeah I know). They're color based, but I can read colors. :)
Switch to API liquid. The test strips evidently were misleading because if your water is hard, your snails should not have suffered shell erosion at all.

Quote:
I use a pH balancer that keeps it at 7.0. The hardness is all the way to the right indicating "very hard."
Avoid the pH balancer and other chemicals used to adjust the pH. Stick to Kent's liquid calcium which is calcium chloride that increases the KH. For pH, you need calcium carbonate. Limestone, aragonite, crushed corals, crushed seashells and marble chips can help solve your pH and hardness issues. Eggshells and cuttlefish bones also work. So do Tums and Caltrate.

Quote:
Amm, nitrite and nitrate are all zero or "very low."
Again, test strips are misleading. True that ammonia and nitrite should be zero at all times but nitrate should not be that way unless the tank is heavily planted or whole water volume replaced entirely on a daily basis which would be a tedious process to anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theleetbeagle View Post
Oh, also, the test kit does not indicate "very soft." Contrary it states "very hard," but it *should* be soft as it's city water. So I dunno!
This may help you understand better what KH and GH do in the chemistry.
Water Hardness in the aquarium
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #7
 
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I will go with the crushed coral or limestone route.

Questions, can too much crushed coral or limestone be added? Also, is this a magical fix that pushedsthe pH right to 7.0 or will too much take it one way and not enough take it another?

I say limestone, because I have a driveway full of it. Can I just drop a few pepples in? Is crushed coral better?

Thanks!
-Nick.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:51 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theleetbeagle View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I will go with the crushed coral or limestone route.

Questions, can too much crushed coral or limestone be added? Also, is this a magical fix that pushedsthe pH right to 7.0 or will too much take it one way and not enough take it another?

I say limestone, because I have a driveway full of it. Can I just drop a few pepples in? Is crushed coral better?

Thanks!
-Nick.
Both will work just fine. It can push pH to as much as 8.0 but I would not worry about it as it rarely is an issue. My pH is 8.0 and my loaches and plecos are doing fine.
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