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paxt0n 05-11-2010 11:01 PM

Snails and pH levels

I have had a mystery snail for a couple months and just got three apple snails. The mystery snail hasn't been looking too good, lately. His shell looks very dry and pitted in the "swirly" part. The remainder doesn't look quite as bad. He has also been excreting some white, gooey stuff. Anyone know what this is? Within the past couple of days, he seems to not be able to (or not want to) fully expand out of his shell. The portion that would normally be against the glass or on the substrate seems to be "stuck" folded in half, and he only opens up about 1/4 of the way.

Since my tank has cycled, I have mainly just tested the Nitrate, but I recently checked the pH and it has dropped to about 6.4. My tap water is about 7.4, and the aquarium was the same during and after cycling. I'm not sure why it has dropped, but this isn't good for the snails, right?

I have a male betta, two minnows, a cherry barb and a chinese algae eater. I had three minnows for the longest time, but one of them died recently. I also had three cherry barbs, but there is only one left now. I only have a 10g tank, but thought I was keeping a good eye on the water. I just checked all levels last night: Ammonia & Nitrite are 0, Nitrate 5-10, pH ~6.5. I've never tested for anything else (hardness, GH? KH?). Where do you find these tests?

I do water changes as soon as the nitrate starts climbing, but I'm confused about what caused the pH to drop. I have four live fern plants and five sticks of bamboo with the roots in the water. I did add a rock from the fish store. I'm not sure what kind it is, but it was really bubbly after I put it in (if that tells you anything).

Anyway, what are some non-chemical ways to raise my pH? Any other suggestions?

I should also mention that I have been battling green algae, but seem to have it under control via a combination of scrubbing it off and the snails/algae eater taking care of it


iamntbatman 05-12-2010 06:14 AM

Well, pH falls naturally in an aquarium. Various chemicals (notably CO2 that your fish "exhale") will make water acidic and if your water wasn't very hard to begin with this effect could be even more pronounced. You can buy test kits for GH and KH but I wouldn't waste the money. Basically, your GH and KH should be pretty stable coming out of your tap so you can get these numbers from your local water board.

If your pH is consistently below 7.0, pitting is going to happen. I would try to gently raise your pH (and KH while you're at it). A good way to do this is to use crushed coral or dolomite in a filter media bag placed in your filter. You can also supplement your snails' diets with something like Caltrate pills (it's just calcium and starch, so they'll eat the starch and get some calcium in the process).

paxt0n 05-12-2010 09:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the info!

I am still worried about the mystery snail. He has been staying in one spot, closed up most of the time. I just took him out of the aquarium and put him in a small dish, with some aquarium water and an algae wafer. He has opened up some, and is trying to eat the algae wafer. I just noticed that his "walking surface" (I don't know what it is called), which seems to be stuck folded in half, may be injured.

He is also still secreting some white substance that suspends itself in the water. Any idea what this is?

I've attached a picture.

Let me know what you think.



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