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Old 20-04-2003, 06:12 AM
Allen Smith
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Default Malaysian Trumpet Snails - Keeping them alive? and other Related Ideas

I think there is a clue in these values. The 55 has a rather low pH, at 6.6.
And it might be even lower, unless you're using a low-range pH test kit. The
colors tend to get hard to distinguish at the edges of the range.

The 55g has a rather low pH, but I think that's due to the
accumulation of nitrates and organic wastes. After a fresh water
change it's back up to 6.8 pH usually. The massive amounts of water
changes to I have to do (2x weekly) are just to keep it around a
reading of 20 on the nitrate test kit. The reading was a little fuzzy
on the pH, but it was more closer to 6.6 than 6.8, I would have to
purchase a lower range test kit for a better measurement, but I
already have the Red Sea low range test kit, don't know what else
would work for testing ranges lower than 6.6. I'm not even a
gluttonous feeder in that tank, that oscar right now is in the process
of starving itself as it refers to only eat frozen silversides and
frozen krill - and I won't give that to him unless he is looking very
very skinny, he just refuses the pellets now that he so relished when
he was younger, very bratty if you ask me. He's been starving for well
over a month now, but is looking in great health - still is quite
responsive, still acts like a pig and begs, but won't eat any pellets.
I know this is getting further and further off-topic, but I've treated
him with fragly for 10 days and have been treating him with garlic (as
discu keepers do) for 6 days, and will end on day 7. (The garlic makes
him more interested in the food, but even then he doesn't go for the
pellets, other fish in the 72 go crazy when they get garlic and are on
a feeding frenzy - I expressed great doubt in this product, but based
on my obseverations it definately stimulates them to eat, whether or
not it performs as a herbal verifumage isn't provem to me and I don't
see how it can unles I can a sick experiment fish an I don't want to
sacrifice that fish to test that claim out). Back on top, even which
such a low usage of food the nitrates are darn near impossible to
control even with that regimine of water changes, I may have to
increase it even more to 2x weekly, drainly 50% filling and then
draining 50% each water change.

A KH of 1 isn't shockingly low. However, it's possible that your KH is lower
than 1. Most test kits can't really tell you if your 1 is closer to one or
closer to zero. The fact that two of your tanks have a KH of 1, but one has a
pH of 6.8 and one has a pH of 6.6 suggests that your test results aren't that
accurate (probably because you're at the edge of their range).

I believe the test results are accurate as the 55g and 20g both have
neutral substrate that does not influence the water chemistry, nor any
decorations or rocks. The 72 has 1 piece of driftwood (doesn't lower
the pH anymore, but it did for a while), and the substrate is Onyx
Sand which raises the gH and kH, I just didn't realize how much it was
raising it by.

In particular, from your KH readings, I suspect your 55 g tank is has half a
degree of KH or less, since the pH is only 6.6. (Unless you're injecting CO2.)
That may simply be too low for the snails to thrive. (Fish, OTOH, may do
fine. In fact, some fish, like neons and discus, prefer soft, acid water.)

No I'm not injecting CO2 in that tank. It is unplanted, neutral
gravel, 1 piece of medium sized driftwood and a few plastic plants.
Perhaps I'll start adding some sodium bicarbonate to the 55 to
increase the kH to increase those readings. What is a suggested
starting dose to slowly increase the kH at each water change? I change
the water 2x weekly btw.

That doesn't explain what's going on in the 72 g tank, though. I

assume you're
injecting CO2 in that one. But the KH is fine, and the pH should be okay for
snails. It may be the loaches to blame in that tank. That might explain why
the ramshorn lasted longer. The MTS are nocturnal, like the loaches, and thus
more vulnerable, since the loaches can only get at them when come out of their

Yes, I was previsouly injecting CO2 continiously night and day. Right
now the CO2 is in hiatius as I'm awaiting more parts (a reactor &
check valve) before I set it up again. Plants have been doing alright
- not the greatest but they are hanging in there, it's been about 3
weeks now. Algae problems are there, but not terrible with those ottos
and baby SAEs in there, they sure work hard; not like those adult SAEs
that just sit on the bottom all day lounging (anyone want an adult
SAE, he's huge an fat, looks cute, that's about it).
It's hard for me to blame the loaches because: 1) I like them so much,
2) I don't want to. It's not possible for me to remove them from the
tank at this time, I don't have nay other tank that is safe for them.
If I put them in the 20g the snail population will die off, and the
55g they would just be expensive snacks for the oscar. So I guess I
deal with no MTS there (not matter how much it is recommended to have
them in a planted tank). I was surprised that people think it is the
kuhli loaches, I make sure I feed them excessively just in case it is
them - feed them twice to three times a day with carnivore pellets or
shrimp pellets - almost as much as an 8" sailfin pleco gets and that's
only 6 kuhli loaches. I suppose the loaches are happy as they do breed
(in the filter of all things) and the population has been steadily
increasing over the 3 years). You'd think with all that available food
they wouldn't go after MTS, but I suppose I'm wrong.

On the topic of snails that will survive in the 72. What is
recommended to add there for added interest that will not devoure or
at least not have a tendancy to eat all my plants. I see a lot of
interest in red ramshorn snails (in the plant community), are those
worth a shot and seeing if they will survive in there, or will the
loaches too eventually get to them? Any other snail out there that is
plant friendly that I can add to the tank, not just for cleaning, but
for decorative purposes. The tank is getting old and before I convert
it to a cichlid tank sometime in the future I want to get the most use
out of it.

I love apple snails, but those are out of the question, and I'm not
sure if the oscar would take nicely to a large one - probablby be a
hard and untasty snack, but a snack nonetheless.

Snail ideas? Mystery snails, etc. all eat plants as far as I know, so
those are out too and I never really liked them. Pond snails are out
for the same reason.

Thanks for the help,
Allen Smith

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Old 20-04-2003, 06:12 AM
Allen Smith
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Default Malaysian Trumpet Snails - Keeping them alive? and other Related Ideas

I'm sure that's true, but the cause doesn't matter. Snails don't like pHs that
low, regardless of the cause.

I will try to encourage my girlfriend to add a little sodium
bicarbonate (each water change - and it's her tank, not mine), to
raise the kH to proper levels of at least 3. If I can convince her it
is a good idea I will add some oyster shells (first I have to obtain
them as I don't have any, but nonetheless) to also help with the

If that's the case, then I'd say the low pH is definitely due to too much
decaying organic matter in the tank. The biological process that creates
nitrate eats up the KH in the tank, and causes the pH to drop. It might help
to vacuum the gravel thoroughly.

I would tend to agree. During water changes the gravel is vacuumed
throughly and the filters rinshed/changed throughly (there is an Eheim
2080 and an Emperor 400) running on the tank.

With most KH test kits, you count the drops you add to a vial of water until it
turns color, and the number of drops = degrees. If you put in one drop and it
turns, the charts tell you that's 1 degree. But realistically, you can't tell
if your actual KH is 0, 1/2, or 1. All those KHs will result in a test that
turns color after one drop.

I used the Tetra kH test kit which allows you to use 10ml instead of
5ml if you want. So I know it is accurate at least down to 1/2 a
degree, other than that I don't have any other measure of accuracy in
that test. I suppose If necessary I can try using 20ml and seeing if I
can find a more accurate measurement that way, but using 10ml and
using the drops seemed fairly accurate compared to only using 5ml and
each drop equaling 1 degree.

pH and KH have a predictable relationship (shown on the pH-KH charts used to
detemine CO2 levels). There's one here on Chuck's page:

In a non-injected tank, the CO2 levels are 3-4 ppm. Knowing this, you can use
the chart and your pH values to figure out your "real" KH. With a pH of 6.6,
the KH is 0.5 or less. With a pH of 6.8, the KH is likely between 0.5 and 1.

The fact that your substrate is neutral has nothing to do with it. As you
yourself note, natural biological processes can lower your pH and KH. In fact,
it's normal for the pH and KH of a tank to drop over time, until you replenish
the KH with a water change.

Perhaps I'll start adding some sodium bicarbonate to the 55 to
increase the kH to increase those readings. What is a suggested
starting dose to slowly increase the kH at each water change?

If you add CaMgCO3 as discussed in the "oyster shells" thread, that will raise
your KH. The best way might be to mix it with water and add a measured amount
each day. The KH jumps up anyway with each water change, so adding it only
after a water change doesn't really make sense. That's when it isn't needed.

So, you suggested oyster shells rather than sodium bicarbonate? Maybe
I'm getting my terms fixed up - it happens often. I thought you could
add baking soda to raise the kH, am I just remember things wrong? I
know that you can add egg shells, oyster shells, etc. to raise the kH
and I may take that approach if I'm remembering wrong about sodium

You can measure your KH to get an idea of how much you're adding. If the KH
doesn't budge for a week, then you can up the dosage. If it starts rising too
fast, lower it.

Yeah, if I modify those tanks, it will be something I'll start to have
to definately measure each week or more to make sure the levels are

Are those readings you posted without CO2 injection, then? If so, something's
wrong. With a KH of 4, your pH should be 7.4-7.6, not 6.9.

Yes, those readings are w/o C02 injection. The pH test kit is the Red
Sea low range one recommended by Tom Barr. I don't know what would
explain the disparity in the pH readings of what it says it is and
what it should be according to that chart. I vacuum the surface of the
sand througholy making sure I get all the organic waste. There is a
filter attachement to the end of the intake of the Eheim 2026 that I
rinse every week that gets rid of a lot of organic waste. I just
recently cleaned the filter 2 weeks ago. So... I don't know where the
problem lies with this discrepency in pH. Any ideas?

You love apple snails but never liked mystery snails? Apple snails and mystery
snails are the same thing. Those are both common names for largish snails from
the Ampullariidae family.

I probably just didn't know the difference. I worked in a petstore
(unnamed at this time) and all I remember is that the mystery snails
had a penchant for eating anything organic which is why I don't like
them now. That page will better inform me as to which snails are good
for plants and which snails aren't. Sorry for harboring past

I've always liked those very large apple snails that grow the size of
a tennis ball or so, but I've heard they are notorous for eating plant
matter. I will do futher research on Pomacea bridgesii and see if
their looks and eating habits coincide well with what I am looking for
- they aren't quite the size I was wishing for, but a litte variety
and extra help in the tank is appreciated. Thanks for the helpful page
on snails, it will come in handy.

I dislike invertebrates (they cost a great deal of money to purchase
here, the amano ones at least), but perhaps in the future I will look
into a pair or trio or even a group of wood shrim (still expensive,
but I like their look much more).

The further this discussion goes, the odder my tanks seem. I suppose
it's good I'm learning something, but it is sometimes crushing to know
that somewhere along the line things aren't quite where they should
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Old 20-04-2003, 06:12 AM
Victor M. Martinez
Posts: n/a
Default Malaysian Trumpet Snails - Keeping them alive? and other Related Ideas

LeighMo wrote:
about CaMgCO3. The kind sold as a human health supplement. I assumed you were

It's been a long time since I dealt with inorganic (or organic for that matter)
chemistry, but I believe the above molecule does not exist. The carbonate
ion (CO3) has a charge of -2, while both the Ca and Mg ions have a charge of
+2. So, CaC03 and MgCO3 are both real molecules, but CaMgCO3 is not.
Or is it a mixture of both salts?

Victor M. Martinez | The University of Texas at Austin
| Department of Chemical Engineering | Austin, TX 78712
If we knew what we were doing it would not be called research, would it?
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