Raising calcium levels

  • #1
my freshwater 20 galleon tank has guppies and 4 mystery snail in it. the snails shells are starting to decompose and have little holes on them. I checked the ph and it was quite low so ive raised it back up again but they still have holes and they are all lieing on the bottom half curled up and haven't moved for days. what can I add to the tank to make them get better again? how long will it tank until the holes go away and they start moveing again ?
  • #2
What is "low" for the pH? Can you have the KH/GH tested? And how did you raise the pH value (and to what exactly)?

Sorry about the questions... just making it easier to find out what is going on.

Also, welcome!
  • #3
Good morning,

Yes, your pH should remain above 7.0 so that snail shell erosion does not come into play.

Feeding your snails raw zucchinI will add calcium into your snail diet. Slice it round about 2" thick, weight it down and drop it in the tank. If you feed at night, remove any uneaten portions the next morning. If you feed in the day time, I would suggest you remove it after 6 to 8 hours.

Adding egg shells into a mesh filter media bag or Never Seen Soap, new nylon hose, will add calcium into your tank. Use 2 or 3 and then replace them once they dissolve.

More info below:


If you'll do a Search Fish Lore for Snail Shell Erosion, you'll find more information there as well.

  • Thread Starter
  • #4
the ph was about 6.3 so I raised it and now its about 7.2. I don't know wat kh/gh.. are this is only my first tank ever so I'm new to it all

thanks ill try put some zucchinI in, how long will it take until their shells heal and they start moveing again?
  • #5
Good morning,

I would pull each snail out and check it to make sure they are still alive. Gently touch the foot of the snail and see if it contracts. If the snail smells bad, then it is more than likely deceased.

The shells may heal or they may not. I wouldn't count on it on though to be honest.

How did you raise your pH? If you are using chemicals to alter your levels then I would stop using them. They are unstable and can lead to a pH crash resulting in fish loss. Sudden changes in pH can be fatal to your fish. Below is a link on pH that you may find helpful:

Best wishes for your snails!

  • #6
Welcome to the forum.

Before attempting to alter pH you need to test the GH and KH levels. Otherwise we will not be able to determine what should change.

How often do you do water changes? Gravel vacs?

Also, you need to test pH of your source water. Set some out in a bucket and aerate it. Test every 24 hours until the results are unchanged.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
the tank is only a few weeks old so the ph is constantly changeing, I usually don't add anything to it as it is still cycling but if the ph drops very low ( 6 ) I put in a powder chemical that raises it back up, ive only done that a few times though, I change about 10% of the water every 2 days and I do a 50% water change every 3 weeks. I noticed the snails shells being damaged so I checked the ph and it was very low (6.2) so I raised it but how do I fix the snails shells ? will it fix on its own or wil they eventually die?
  • #8
Hi, welcome to Fishlore
Do you have a test kit that tests for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate? I note in your profile that you answered "No" to knowledge of the Nitrogen Cycle.

My first guess is, that the tank is still cycling, which will cause your pH to fluctuate.

If you could complete your aquarium info, with as much detail as possible, we will be able to better advise a solution.

Are you using a water conditioner? If so, which one?

Here's some reading to help get you up to speed:

If you have friends with fish: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...-cycling-with-established-filter-media.66727/

NOTE: You may see a product called Tetra Safe Start mentioned on Fishlore. Unfortunately this product is not available to us here in Aus, and I am yet to find a reliable equivalent.

Also, you mentioned a chemical powder to increase pH - do you know what it was? I'm guessing pH UP - these products will typically cause more trouble than they are worth.

As for your specific problem about snails - if your tank is still cycling, it is possible that ammonia has caused them to suffer. Inverts (snails/shrimp) generally do not stand up well to a cycle.

Hope that helps in someway.
  • #9
kh is carbonate hardness or the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water gh is general hardness and is a measure of total dissolved solids in your water what else besides the snails do you have.

And first thing I would do is test your tap water to see how hard or soft it is or if you are using ro water stop use spring water or tap water treated to remove what you don't want. The Ph of your water is dropping due to a lack of buffer to keep it up it sounds like you might have drift wood or something as a constant source to lower Ph if this is the case I would say crushed coral sand might be a good investment for you.
  • #10
The Ph of your water is dropping due to a lack of buffer to keep it up it sounds like you might have drift wood or something as a constant source to lower Ph

Good point. If New South is anything like Melbourne water (0-1dKH, 2dGH), then it would be wise to consider some form of hardness buffering. This can be achieved with crushed coral as a good natural source of KH.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
okay guys well ill read stuff about it I guess, I haven't really done anything to the tank I just put water plants fishies and snails in... haha tho I testes the ph and made it good. and I put in this tablet thing yesterday I dunno wat it is but the guy at the fish store said to and its makeing my snails better.. something about a calcium tablet that dissolves I dunnoo.. hehe thanks guyss
  • #12
Keep in mind tablets like that are meant as a temporary measure. They will adjust it for about 24 hours then you will need another and another. Will be much easier to fix it for the long term one of the easiest would be crushed coral as a substrate or a cuttle bone in the filter or some calcium rich rock like limestone or seashells. Or find a diffrent source for your water for weekly changes. I use tap water from my job to do my tank at home from most my tests the only difference is work water has slightly lower Ph 7.2 vs 7.4 at home both get treated for chlorine and both generally sit for over 24 hours. And both test with kh and gh over 300 ppm which is the max my test strips go apI 5 in one strips 11.50 at Walmart for 25 they hit every test you want except ammonia seem close to accurate on nitrate and nitrite tests with a slightly high Ph result.

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