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Old 01-11-2006, 11:02 AM   #1
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Alk low - how to raise, and can this cause snail deaths?

I purchased a RedSea Ph/Alk test kit...I have had some issues with snails dying and a lot of unwanted hair algae, and thought for the heck of it I would check Alk. I check ammonia (0), nitrates/nitrites (both 0), salinity (1.022) regularly but I don't have any other test kits.

First, the Alk test is pretty granular - Low/Med/High - but my alk is definately "low", at the bottom of the spectrum.

PH has been pretty solid for me at 8.2. At some point it seemed to drop when I tested it at 11 pm to around 7 something, but it was a one day event seemingly. Ph 8.2 was also tested with the RedSea test.

First, can low alk cause snail deaths (after about 1-3 weeks of acclimination in a tank - and btw I do about 2 hr acclimation cycles). All of my fish have been prospering, but crabs (emerald) that I had for about a year also died in this new tank, as well as some porcelein crabs that I had (all seem to be gone).
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Old 01-11-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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I’ve found Nassarius snails and crabs to be very hardy once properly acclimated (as you do) but most have a fairly short life span of a year or a little longer so it’s not that unusual to loose some after a couple of months to a year depending on how old they were when you got them.

Ph will change over the course of day and drop at night and when you check it will be off by as much as .5+ depending on the time you check it. I try to check mine at the same time preferably in the afternoon.

I’m also not a huge fan of Red Sea tests, although I do have them and others they seem to be off more than other tests IMO. I’d get the lfs to test also to compare results or get the Salifert KH-Alkalinity Test Kit. For raising alk I’d use Kent Superbuffer

Snails and crabs can be adversely affected by wild ph, temp, & alk/sg changes but assuming you are only doing a 10%-20% pwc these parameters shouldn't change that much.

Sound’s like you are doing everything right and the slightly lower alk level shouldn’t affect them with proper acclimation although they do seem to thrive on a higher level. Just increase your alk slowly and you shouldn’t have any problems.

With the hair algae issue have you checked your po4 levels and do you use ro\di water?
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Old 01-11-2006, 02:49 PM   #3
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Thanks tecwzrd, yeah the algae is sort of another topic, so i'd rather not go there, just wasn't sure if it might be related to low alk. I had about 8-9 mexican turbo snails added a few weeks ago they lived for only a few days; all of my other snails (mix of nassarius, etc.) all goners too (about 20). Two snails are still alive (mexican turbo).

I do water changes weekly (about 20%). I'll get a better test kit and check it out.
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Old 01-11-2006, 03:00 PM   #4
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I’ve had no luck with turbo snails but just about all my Nassarius snails are doing well. From what I’ve read a really good 4+ hour drip acclimation process is your best bet for snails. From what I understand they assimilate the ph/sg changes slower than fish. Since I’ve done that I’ve had a little better luck. My first batch of 3 snails which I acclimated for 1 hour only lasted a couple of days. Read about the longer acclimation and bought 6 more from the same lfs and so far it’s been over 4 months with no deaths.

But heck, I heard of others that just “throw them in” and have them last forever

Just curious by why do you do 20% weekly? Have you tried 10% long term. Have you seen no3/po4 problems?
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Old 01-11-2006, 10:54 PM   #5
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Yes I'm doing 20% now weekly (sometimes up to 25%) because I was measuring 0.05 mg/L po4 - so I have been on a quest to lower that, but my water source has this measurement of po4 (and I use RO, but not DI, that is my next investment). So the algae issue turns into another huge discussion that I didn't want to get into here, was trying to just figure out if I need to do anything about alkalinity.
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