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Old 03-17-2014, 06:00 AM   #1
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Adding puka shells to my cichlid sand.

I have a 60 gallon long african cichlid tank. I purchased a 15 lb bag of caribsea puka shells to add to the cichlid sand that's already in my established tank. My question is how much can I add at a time to cover my present substrate? I read somewhere that I need to mix it in with current substrate gently. I also was told not to add too much to soon but over several days. To err on the side of caution, I rinsed 2 cups of it thoroughly until the color went from milky to nearly clear. I then added that to the left side of my aquarium by mixing it gently with cichlid sand that was already in tank. I hope not to need one week just for a 15 pound bag.

Thanks in advance everyone
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Old 03-17-2014, 03:36 PM   #2
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If you are already using cichlid sand, then adding the puka shells should make much difference to your pH. I would start by adding a sparse covering of shells over your sandbed and then gently work the shells down into the sandbed, trying not to disturb the sandbed too much.

Just out of curiousity, why are you mixing the shells with the sand?
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:23 PM   #3
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Mixing Puka shells with African Cichlid sand

Thanks Wy Renegade,

I'm mixing the Puka Shells with the current cichlid sand for two reasons. Firstly, I had a problem with my PH always being low lately. Secondly, I wanted a new look along with reading that crushed coral and puka shells with aragonite buffers the ph and keeps it at 8.2 which is what I need. Also, I just learned from googling that wood can decrease ph. I have a problem with high nitrate as well and read that high nitrate also can decrease ph. I was doing monthly water changes for 12 cichlids, 2 catfish, and 1 small rubberlip plecostemus. I'm going to switch to 25% water changes every three weeks. I read where some people do it weekly and some bi weekly. I see you're very knowledgeable on many subjects regarding cichlids. What do you suggest on how often on the water changes?
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:29 PM   #4
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Adding Puka Shells to my cichlid sand.

Hello Wy Renegade,

I forgot to mention the fact that I decided to remove the wood tree trunk that I purchased from Petsmart from my tank. I'll add that the cichlids and catfish love it though and hang out here a lot. I'm also going to risk adding 3 live plants to my tank as well. Valisneria, Anubias, and Java Fern. I know cichlids eat plants but these have a 50 50 chance.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco Duke View Post
Thanks Wy Renegade,

I'm mixing the Puka Shells with the current cichlid sand for two reasons. Firstly, I had a problem with my PH always being low lately. Secondly, I wanted a new look along with reading that crushed coral and puka shells with aragonite buffers the ph and keeps it at 8.2 which is what I need. Also, I just learned from googling that wood can decrease ph. I have a problem with high nitrate as well and read that high nitrate also can decrease ph. I was doing monthly water changes for 12 cichlids, 2 catfish, and 1 small rubberlip plecostemus. I'm going to switch to 25% water changes every three weeks. I read where some people do it weekly and some bi weekly. I see you're very knowledgeable on many subjects regarding cichlids. What do you suggest on how often on the water changes?
I doubt that you will find the combo of aragonite and puka shells to be any more effective at buffering pH, than the sand is by itself, but you may. Wood will decrease pH, but unless you have a very large amount, not typically by a significant amount. High nitrates is an indication that you need to be increasing the number of water changes - your bacteria population can keep converting the ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates, but you have nothing eliminating the accumulating nitrates except your water changes. I do and highly recommend weekly water changes on a cichlid tank. They produce lots of waste and those nitrates need to be eliminated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco Duke View Post
Hello Wy Renegade,

I forgot to mention the fact that I decided to remove the wood tree trunk that I purchased from Petsmart from my tank. I'll add that the cichlids and catfish love it though and hang out here a lot. I'm also going to risk adding 3 live plants to my tank as well. Valisneria, Anubias, and Java Fern. I know cichlids eat plants but these have a 50 50 chance.
You have to balance the advantages of the wood with the disadvantages. Of those, if you are working with rift lake cichlids, especially mbuna, I give a zero percent chance - they are grazers after all. If you have other types of Africans, such as Riverian, peacocks, or haps, then you have a much better chance.
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