View Full Version : water parameters for shellies

01-03-2010, 04:21 AM
I know a few of you have some variety of shell dwelling cichlids. I'm fairly certain that I want to turn my 29g in to a shellie community. But I have a question about water params. I think my pH at 8.0 is good, but I'm concerned that my water might not be hard enough for them. (never thought I'd say that LOL) GH is 8 and KH is about the same. Always thought my water was harder than that. Is this going to be a problem with a shellie community?

01-03-2010, 05:29 AM
You can use crushed coral sand for substrate, that should help increase the pH and hardness. Plenty of shells, and some holey rock if you like it, will also help increase hardness. I don't do anything to mine besides that, but I have liquid rock for tap water. As long as the tap water in the store has about the same hardness and pH you should be fine.

01-03-2010, 07:48 AM
I suspect your general hardness (aka total dissolved solids) is quite high enough to keep the shellies happy. Crushed coral won't increase the pH if it's already around 8.0, the max it will buffer to is 7.6. However, since your carbonate hardness is also 8 your pH should be stable enough as long as you keep up regular water changes. If you do need to buffer your water chemistry aragonite will maintain it higher than coral. Alternatively, good old baking soda works quite well to raise the KH too. It won't raise the pH any higher than 8 regardless of how much you add, but will raise the KH.

01-03-2010, 10:06 AM
My sand came with crushed coral in it, I do add a bit of pH up to keep the pH at 8.1 - 8.2 range. I think you should be looking for consistency in the long term for ph and hardness rather than trying to get to a certain value.

01-03-2010, 01:50 PM
If you are looking to get your parameters close to the natural environment for these fish, the Limestone is the way to go. The East African Rift valley is loaded with Limestone, and that is what makes the water in the lakes so hard with such a high pH. The water of lake Tanganyika is actually closer to a pH of 9.0 and this is due to the a fore mentioned limestone. Not only will the limestone provide great water parameters, it will provide natural decor for the fish you are keeping.

01-03-2010, 05:10 PM
This (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+9805+21412&pcatid=21412) is the sand I was thinking about getting in the sunset gold color and then was debating about adding some crushed coral or placing crushed coral in the filter. I like the deeper gold color. Have also been eyballing some Texas holey rock (limestone) to add a bit of height to the tank. So those steps, along with the shells should keep my pH and hardness right where I want it then. Right???

Starting to make my needs list up and getting excited. :19: