Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is it safe to use real ocean sea shells in a fresh water aquarium with goldfish?

If so, do I need to boil them before placing in aquarium?

Is it safe to use real ocean sea shells in a fresh water aquarium with goldfish?
Sea shells shouldn't be used for decorating freshwater aquariums because the freshwater will cause the seashells to break down and the mineral, calcium carbonate, that they are composed of will be dissolved by the aquarium water. This will cause the water to become "harder", %26amp; some freshwater fish might been sensitive to high levels of this mineral. If you choose to add seashells to freshwater, you will need to regularly test the GH (general hardness) levels. General hardness (GH) refers to the dissolved concentration of magnesium and calcium ions. When fish are said to prefer ``soft'' or ``hard'' water, it is GH (not KH) that is being referred to. Beginning aquarists are advised NOT to tamper with these parameters unless absolutely necessary. The seashells can be releasing calcium carbonate into the water even if they do not look like they are breaking down or dissolving.
Reply:Yep, it's safe, and treatment depends on where you got them.

If you got them from a fish store, I would give them a quick rinse and plop them in. If you got them from the beach, then definitely boil them, soak them in vinegar, and rinse thoroughly before adding to the tank.

If you go them from a craft shop, make sure they are safe for tanks and don't have any dyes or scents on them. If they are safe and all natural, rinse them in hot water and they will be fine.
Reply:Boiling could damage the shells! Just give them a quick wash and pop them in;
Reply:Also, many of the shells you get at stores have been treated with a non-porous coating that is waterproof, so will not cause a pH change. The only exception to be careful of are conch-like shells that some of the treatment may not be able to reach.

I like to soak my new items in a bleach solution overnight, then treat it, then soak it again in non-bleach water. Most of the bleach is evaporated off anyway in an open container.
Reply:You would definitely need to clean them thouroughly first, or you could buy some from a pet store.
Reply:venice girl is right

the only time it can work is with hardwater cichlids who appreciate a PH of around 8. not many fish like it that hard though. and i'm pretty sure a goldfish wouldn't appreciate it!
Reply:I would boil them first to kill off any bacteria, but there are just fine to use.
Reply:I don't see any problem with it if you clean them well enough. There is no harm in it from what i can tell.
Reply:Uh-oh, you might be getting confused at the conflicting advise here.

It's true, shells will slowly break down and add the calcium carbonate yada yada yada.

BUT, this is a slow process, and a couple of shells for decorative purposes is no problem at all - your water changes will counterbalance any of the slow changes to the water. Just test the PH every now and then if you're worried.

Boiling them is always a good idea, but only a couple of minutes - anything you want to kill on the shell won't last beyond the first minute, and the more you boil it, the more it will disintegrate the shells. That said, I would also forgo the boiling process if the shells are store-bought.
Reply:yes you can use them. If it makes you feel better, then go ahead and boil them
Reply:It should be ok aslong as you boil them in water for about 15-30 minutes to kill any bacteria and life that is on or in them. Adsing a little bleach into the water will help kill anything in the shells. Just make sure that you rinse the shells really well with clean water until you are sure the bleach has been removed before putting them into the tank. Also if you aren't sure that the bleach is removed from the shells don'y put them into the tank or you could kill the fish in the tank.
Reply:I agree with Venice girl in the above answer. Do NOT use seashells in fresh water aquariums. Read Venice Girls answer if you wan to know the details but I can tell you from experience. My Mom a teacher had a freshwater tank in her class and all was well for awhile then one day we just noticed the fish struggling to breath. Luckily there was a guy in her class who worked at a fish store and knew exactly what was going on. We took the shells out and changed most of the water and they were fine but if we hadn't noticed the fish in distress right then they probably would have dies in a few hours. Do NOT use seashells.
Reply:What Venice Girl said, but --

when I had a tank, I put one small (real ocean) clamshell in the tank for decoration. Before I put it in the aquarium, I rinsed it off, and soaked it separately in fresh water for a couple of days, and rinsed it off again.


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