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MTS and very soft water

seangee

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I have finally completed the transition to a completely softwater tank and have
dGH: 0
dKH: < 2
pH: ~6.3

None of these readings are to be trusted because everything is at the bottom end of the scale :).
What will happen to my MTS? I have read that in soft / acidic water their shells will disintegrate and they will die. Will this happen over time or will they simply be wiped out really quickly, or will they just breed less as conditions are not ideal (for them).

And is it safe to assume if their numbers do decline the system will "find another way" of dealing with the mulm. I have 18 ravenous corys and a bristlenose in there, so uneaten food does not happen. WIll the bacteria simply increase to fill the gap left or do I need to do something else?

Or am I just over thinking things? :whistle:
 

AbbeysDad

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Snails do need calcium for their "shell health" so I think soft acidic water is a double threat. Since corys are quite the bottom feeders, I'm guessing there isn't much, if any, food left over. Since there are many tanks with few, if any, snails I'm thinking you'll be fine,..so see what happens.
 

Byron

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Ironically, Malaysian Livebearing Snails will thrive in very soft to very hard water. They will survive being frozen solid in a bucket of gravel left outside in winter that freezes. I doubt they will survive boiling, but they have a reputation for hardiness. Most other snails will have difficulty the softer the water is, and may not even be able to survive to reproduce, but not MLS. My water is zero GH and KH, with a pH below 5 in some tanks, and I have (or had) hundreds of these snails.

Now, having said that, something quite unusual has occurred in my tanks. The pond snails, which were struggling, began increasing, and simultaneously the MLS began disappearing. I doubt I have a couple dozen MLS now, but the ponds are going great guns. I probably should initiate a thread on this and get feedback from others, but will mention it here for the moment.
 
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seangee

seangee

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I can vouch for their hardiness. I put a small group into a new tank and (due to delayed delivery of plants) did a fishless cycle. They survived that no problem even though my hand slipped on the initial dosage.

I have noticed a fair number of very small shells on the substrate. That's not conclusive because the sids are able to snack on the very small ones. I also think my sand is not quite as pristine in the mornings as usual, mostly evidence that there is nothing wrong with the bristlenose's appetite :). It was only at the weekend that I dropped the dGH to 0 (at least nothing measurable) but it has been below 2 for a couple of months. Only significant difference is that the tank has been running 4-5C warmer than usual for the last month so everyone's metabolism is probably up from normal.
 
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seangee

seangee

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How did you achieve your water softness ? Reverse osmosis ?
Yes. My water supply has a double whammy. It is incredibly hard and contains 50ppm nitrates. I tired all sorts of filtration systems but these tended to be time consuming and expensive. So for the last year or so I have been buying RO water and mixing it with my filtered tap water to get softer water. I finally got fed up with lugging 100 litres of water from the LFS every week and then still having to mix it with filtered water so I bought my own RO unit.

Now everything gets RO water. The other tank which has fish with a requirement for harder water gets re-mineralised, and I don't spend hours filtering and mixing water.
 
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Back in the fold

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That's the best way. Your own unit. Then you can monitor TDS and know when to change your membrane. Most stores tend to run their membrane to death.
 

Moony42

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I suggest ramshorns are the way to go
 
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seangee

seangee

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As I mentioned its not a particular concern. I did stay up last night to watch after lights out in both of my tanks. In this tank the numbers have definitely reduced significantly and after 10 minutes in the dark there were only a handful out and about (left the room light on in the next room so I could see what was going on).

By contrast the other tank, which has maintained a steady 6dGH was teeming with them after 10 minutes of darkness. In fairness this tank has no predators, and the sids have been even more active than usual in the warmer weather.
 

AbbeysDad

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I suggest ramshorns are the way to go
The beauty of Malaysian Trumpet Snails is that they burrow in the sand/gravel to clean-up waste, leaving behind excellent plant fertilizer.
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To clarify my earlier post, although not soft, my water is not hard either (in many ways I'm lucky in this regard). I have MTS in a couple of tanks with sand substrates. I have many (perhaps hundreds) of small snails, but rarely see any larger ones. I think that although they are VERY prolific, the water chemistry may not provide sufficient calcium to allow full maturity (especially with so many snails competing for nutrients). Hmm...one has to wonder if hundreds of snails reduce the calcium enough to soften the water? But I'm just thinking out loud here.
 
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seangee

seangee

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Well I can confirm that (as usual) @Byron is correct. Since my original post the number of MTS visible at night has increased exponentially. Its way to early for the removal of the loaches to have had any impact and I doubt the MTS are smart enough to recognise the predators have gone.

June and July were very hot and they do multiply faster in hot weather - I have recently completed a culling exercise in the nano and may be doing the same for the community. The only other difference may be oxygenation levels. When it was so hot I put a couple of air stones in the tank. These have now been removed as both of my air pumps have been re-deployed to the new tank
 
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seangee

seangee

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Ha Ha, sucked in. You have a snail plague :)
Ha ha - still can't see them when the lights are on and I'm back to a spotless substrate in the mornings, if that's a plague I'll take it :-
 
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