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Cations that commonly bind to carbonate ions include metal cations such as calcium (Ca²⁺), magnesium (Mg²⁺), iron (Fe²⁺, Fe³⁺), and others. These cations form insoluble carbonate salts, such as calcium carbonate (CaCO₃), magnesium carbonate (MgCO₃), and iron(II) carbonate (FeCO₃). The specific cation that binds to carbonate depends on factors such as pH, concentration, and the presence of other ions in the solution.

@Seisage this ^^^ above is what I mean! I know you two understand this, but even given weeks to study every word above, I'd still never be able to wrap my brain around any of it. I'm always happy and impressed when I see smart people talk about a subject I can barely comprehend!

May I ask what you guys think of this shrimp product, pretty please?

It says under "main ingredients" (which always makes me suspicious about what other ingredients aren't included as main..?)

Main Ingredients:

β1-3 and 1-6 Glucans, Vitamin B group

A wonderfully kind soul sent me some when I was having a shrimp colony crisis years ago, and it did seem to help. But it's likely my shrimp had been poisoned by some plants I'd added to the tank that turned out must have been sprayed with pesticide/anti-snail chemical before being allowed to be imported into UK, so while I did use this product, I also set up an entirely brand new tank and moved as many as I could catch there at the same time. And still was losing a lot for a few more days/weeks, I was just lucky the remainder of the colony bounced back. But would be nice to know if the Beta g was useful! :)
@Seisage this ^^^ above is what I mean! I know you two understand this, but even given weeks to study every word above, I'd still never be able to wrap my brain around any of it. I'm always happy and impressed when I see smart people talk about a subject I can barely comprehend!
I have to say, I've lost a lot of my chemistry skills since uni haha. I did well in my introductory chemistry courses, but haven't kept in practice, so to speak. Like you, I'm much stronger in biology. That said, carbonate chemistry is really interesting! And it's also relevant to my field since it's the basis of ocean acidification, so I'm inclined to know more about it anyway. Dissolved CO2 in the ocean reacts with the water to create carbonic acid (H2CO3), which breaks down into bicarbonate ions (HCO3-) and free hydrogen ions (H+). Creatures with hard shells like molluscs and corals rely on carbonate ions (CO3^-2) and free calcium ions to make their shells, but with more CO2 in the water, bicarb is preferentially made and there are fewer free carbonate ions for the animals to use. The carbonic acid itself also dissolves calcium carbonate (CaCO3) which is what the shells are made of.

So anyway, yeah, gwand is right. There are plenty of metals that bond with carbonate ions. What's important for hard-shelled creatures (molluscs, corals) is the presence of free calcium ions and free carbonate ions. They can't do much with the neutral carbonate salts. These animals construct their shells by making specifically shaped CaCO3 crystals, or at least assembling them in their own unique way, which is why they have to make the CaCO3 themselves instead of just taking it as is from the water.

The interesting thing about shrimps and other crustaceans is that their shells are NOT made of CaCO3! They're primarily made of chitin, a polysaccharide, which is an organic molecule. All arthropods use it for their exoskeletons and it's actually the same thing fungi use to make their fruiting bodies (mushrooms). Anyway, that means that the ONLY important things for shrimp are free calcium and magnesium ions, which they use as hardening agents for their exoskeletons (but not to construct them). They have no need for carbonate ions, and they also can't use the neutral carbonate salts. They could still make a shell without the calcium and magnesium, but it'd be too soft or brittle to protect them, which is why they die.
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i am going to feed more Broccholi and Zucchini which have calcium.
@Fishmanic my GH is lower than yours and I've had a thriving colony since 2013. However, the first ones I bought all died, some with that white ring, some which showed no signs of it. The last shrimp was a berried female and she died straight after the eggs hatched. Those babies survived and were the start of my shrimp colony.

Someone on another forum said there is a shrimp specific bacterium and while there's no cure for it, using beta G would help boost their immune system. Knowing no better, I bought some on eBay (a pack with the image of a shrimp on the front) but after a few weeks there was still no sign of it (money refunded by seller). By this time, the babies had hatched from the last shrimp and the shrimplets were thriving. I did buy a second pack which came quickly and I used some but I haven't used it for years.
I have no idea whether or not the betaG would have saved any of the adult shrimp if it had arrived in time but the babies were without it for a while after hatching - and they successfully moulted within a week of hatching and before the second pack arrived.

Edit to add - the beta G I got is still on eBay here, this is the pack
i am going to feed more Broccholi and Zucchini which have calcium.
I was watching the Super Bowl while trying to answer your question. So my answer came in pieces. Here is a more coherent response.
A high carbonate hardness (KH) level does not necessarily mean that calcium levels will be high. While both carbonate hardness and calcium levels can influence water quality in aquariums, they are not directly correlated.

High KH indicates a greater concentration of carbonate and bicarbonate ions in the water, which can contribute to a stable pH environment by buffering against pH fluctuations. However, the concentration of calcium ions (Ca^2+) in the water is determined separately from KH and can vary independently. If you want to know the calcium level in your aquarium water, you have to measure calcium directly, there is no surrogate measure.

Calcium levels in aquarium water can be influenced by factors such as the type of substrate, rocks, or additives used in the aquarium, as well as calcium supplementation through water changes or specialized additives. Therefore, while high KH may provide a stable pH environment, it does not guarantee high calcium levels in the water.
I tested for kh once years ago and I think it was very low as I recall.
my ph is generally stable at 7.6
When I first started keeping fish I did small water changes maybe once a month. There was no broadband back then, only expensive dial-up, and the only resources I had were old books in the library which said water changes were bad and should be done only once every few months - and not to do a water change for a least a week before going on holiday as that would mean all the fish killed by the water change would have died before leaving.

One day I tested the pH and discovered it had dropped, a lot. By this time we had broadband and a forum I posted on suggested it was because I had low KH. A KH tester proved they were right. But instead of adding remineralisation salts as suggested, I started doing weekly water changes, admittedly only 25% but weekly. I haven't had a pH drop since then.

I now do 50% weekly :)
Does adding a bit of cuttlebone to the water column help? Chemistry confuses me...lol

@Seisage @gwand
Hmm... From what I can tell, cuttlebone works similarly to crushed coral and shells (it's all made of the same substance), but it seems to dissolve a lot slower, especially if you leave it whole. As long as your pH is under like 7.5, it'll dissolve and release calcium and carbonate ions.

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