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Snails in "blackwater biotope" tanks?

Discussion in 'South American Tank Mates' started by mrjbacon, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. mrjbacon

    mrjbacon Member

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    Pest snails are typically viewed as unwelcome, but I can imagine other snails being beneficial for one reason or another. However, most of the environments we tend to create are very soft and usually very acidic, which aren't the best for snails in general for obvious reasons.

    I keep some grungy tanks since the biofilm is beneficial to my fry, but I still have a ton of algae. I'd like to toss a few nerite snails in each of the tanks, but I don't want to create a situation where the snails fade and foul my tank. Do any of you keep any snails such as MTS, nerite, apple/mystery, or assassin snails in your apisto tanks? How many for tank size and parameters? How do they do in your tanks?
  2. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Hi,

    I´ve kept one Nerite snail in a 15 gallon blackwater tank. No problems whatsoever
  3. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I've found that Red Ramshorn Snails are the snail that will survive longest in very soft water.

    I've not tried Nerites, but there are a few threads about them (in tanks with CO2) on <"UKAPS">.

    cheers Darrel
  4. mrjbacon

    mrjbacon Member

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    Interesting Darrel, nice thread you linked. Having read through it, makes me wonder if one or two would do alright as long as my pH doesn't live south of around 5.5, and I can provide enough Ca++ for the snails' shell production.

    How exactly does this phenomena differ in an acidic tank primarily due to dissolved tannins and humic substances vs a tank that drops in pH due to CO2 injection? Is there any or is it negligible? Unless I misunderstood some of the concepts, your linked thread seems to implicate a persistent acid-stressed environment free of Ca++ ions as being detrimental to all of its inhabitants (not just snails) and my fish seem to be doing just fine.
  5. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    There is a lot of good information on UKAPS, some of which is relevant to Apistogramma keepers. I only post on Apistogramma forums, UKAPS and PlanetCatfish, they are all forums where you get a reasonably informed level of debate and fairly strong moderation.
    A calcium source definitely helps with shell formation, but the major issue is the rate of degradation of the older shell whorls. I don't have any large Ramshorn snails, and all the larger, living specimens have paper thin, white shells away from the mantle. If I put them in harder water they would survive longer, but they would always have thin, white shells, they cant repair the old shell behind the mantle.
    The only real difference with the CO2 injection is that the pH rises again when you turn the CO2 off. In the CO2 case the acid (H+ donor) is the extra proportion of CO2 that goes into solution as carbonic acid (H2CO3). The pH of carbonate buffered water is ~pH8, because there was 300 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere (bicarbonate HCO3- is the conjugate base) . If you have an artificial 30ppm of CO2 dissolved in your tank water that causes about a one unit of pH drop (pH is log10 scale).

    Once the pH is below pH7, by any means, (meaning that you have more acids (H+ ion donors) than bases (H+ ion acceptors)) those bases will start going into solution until a 1:1 ratio of donors and acceptors (pH7) is reached.

    Which compounds go into solution is dependent upon their solubility. The organic aragonite form of CaCO3 is fairly soluble in weak acids and shell degradation will start to occur.
    My personal view is that if fish have evolved in a very calcium poor environment, they are absolutely fine at trace levels of calcium, and I don't really see any need to harden the water at all.

    A good diet is much more important to the fish in terms of the nutrients (including calcium) that they require.

    cheers Darrel