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Old 09-04-2010, 03:31 PM   #1
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Question Calcium in Freshwater?

I got a mystery snail today and they don't sell any calcium at our store so how do i supply my snail with calcium? I would prefer a liquid that you just pour in the tank every once in a while rather than tums or human meds. And i cant spend like 50 dollars on a calcium skimmer so i just want like a 10 dollar bottle of stuff you pour in specifically for freshwater aquariums. Also will calcium have any negative effects on my albino cory catfish or female veiltale betta? Also will it affect ph or my cycle?
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:10 PM   #2
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A couple thoughts:

  • If your tap water is relatively hard, and if you keep up doing your frequent water changes, then it is likely that your one snail will get the calcium he needs from your water.
  • You could feed him every few days with a food that is calcium-enriched. One excellent example is the premium veggie sticks with calcium made by Ken's Fish. It's the last item on this page. All of my inverts (including my snails) go absolutely nuts for this stuff. I just ordered some about two weeks ago, the package was in the mail in less than 24 hours after I paid for it. It will cost you about $10 shipped, and if you give your little fella 1 veggie stick every 2-3 days, then even the smallest size package will probably last you two years or longer. (If you do order, be sure you order the veggie sticks with calcium, which is at the very bottom of that page, not just the regular veggie sticks which are listed earlier on the page.)
  • Another option, similar to the one above, is to periodically feed your snail some blanched, fresh spinach. Spinach is a vegetable very high in calcium. Basically you take a spinach leaf, put it in a small bowl of water, microwave it for a minute or so, let it cool, and then put it on the substrate of your tank. Let you snail much on it for a few hours, then take whatever he doesn't eat out of the tank (so it's not sitting in there forever, as it could foul the water if you leave it in there for days.)

Calcium content (in the water or whatever) will not impact the fish in your tank, nor your general water parameters unless you somehow found a liquid calcium source and overdosed by a ton. That being said, frequent water changes plus calcium-enriched foods are a much better, "more natural" option for getting your snail the calcium he needs.

P.S. -- If you DO end up ordering from Ken's Fish, then you might consider getting a specialty flake food for your betta as well. Bettas are natural carnivores, so you might consider something like the Brine Shrimp Flake or the Earthworm Flake. You wouldn't use this every day, but you would use it once every 2-3 days as a supplement to your regular betta food. And even if you don't end up ordering from Ken, then check your local fish store and see if they sell any kind of a brine shrimp flake (most pet stores do). Your betta will love it, I guarantee.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:32 PM   #3
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I get cuttle bone for birds, crush up just a little bit and sprinkle it into my tanks. It's perfectly safe for other fish and plants.
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Old 09-04-2010, 05:47 PM   #4
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By hardness are you referring to KH or GH? For instance I have high GH and extremely low KH... I know that KH is carbonate hardness, but I also know that Calcium Carbonate is the primary compound... so is the calcium reflected in KH or GH figures?
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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GH, or general hardness, is a combination of Calcium plus Magnesium ions. But it would be very rare to have a water supply high in magnesium but low in calcium; usually the opposite is true, and calcium makes up a much greater percentage of the hardness in GH. So effectively, if you have high GH you can safely assume you have a pretty high level of calcium.

KH is carbonate hardness. It may have some accidental relationship to calcium (and often does) but there is no guarantee in that at all. So KH, of itself, is not of any particular value in determining the calcium content of the water. GH is a much better test of that.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:32 PM   #6
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Right, that's why if GH is high enough we trust that it will nurture our plants without knowing the specific numbers. But I think my GH 14 water will do just fine for my snails, thanks for the reply
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