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Shrimps and metals

snailaquarium

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Hello again,

I have decided to be decorative with the idea of taking metal wires and making a wire tree, then adding to it some moss so it looks like a tree in an aquarium. I am aware shrimps don't like copper, can anyone advise is it poisonous to put copper metal in their tank or is it only like digestible copper that is added to certain fertilisers and fish medications that are bad for them?

Also are there any other metals they or snails don't appreciate? I am not using copper wire but just wondered if it was poisonous or not. Thanks in advance,
 

Colin_T

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All copper is poisonous to invertebrates and that includes copper rods, copper ore, rocks with copper in, copper coins, sheets of copper plate, etc.

Metals are not suited for aquariums unless it is stainless steel. They end up poisoning the fish over time and after 6 months or so, the fish start dying from liver failure.
 

Colin_T

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galvanised wire releases zinc into the water and that will kill fish pretty quickly.
 

Colin_T

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plants are usually fine, snails will suffer from heavy metal poisoning and close their trap door if the water is bad.
 
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snailaquarium

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Blast! I have bought 50 metres to make ornaments out it but its now looking like a mistake, I guess for that project it should be plants only. I'm curious though, what if it had weekly water changes, at 90% for a snail aquarium, would they survive do you think?
 

Colin_T

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If you do a huge water change each week it should reduce the chance of them dying. But low levels can still leach into the water and cause long term health issues. If you have spare snails then go for it.

If you wash the galvanised wire with vinegar and let it soak in vinegar for a few hours, then rinse it well under tap water, it will help remove some of the zinc residue and make it safer. The other way to remove the excess is to leave it out in the sun and rain for 6 months and the weather helps remove the residue.

Can you return the wire and buy stainless steel wire instead?
 
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snailaquarium

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No already used the wire buts it's cheap stuff so no problem, but I didn't see any stainless steel wire on sale?
 

Colin_T

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Some hardware stores carry stainless steel wire and others have to order it in because it's not a big seller.

Another option is iron wire, if you can find it. It will rust and release iron into the water, but if you have live plants in the tank and give them lots of light, they will use the iron to grow. You will still have to do big water changes and it would probably be best to monitor the iron levels with an Iron Test Kit. As long as the iron level doesn't go above 1mg/l, you can have fish, shrimp and snails.
 
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snailaquarium

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Thanks for the detailed responses Colin, you are a good asset to me and the forum, I wonder are there any aquarium life species that would be OK in a planted aquarium with metal trees? Worms OK?
 

Colin_T

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Worms and virtually anything that lives in water will be sensitive to copper and other metals.

Perhaps make up a stand and put the wire ornaments on that and use the aquarium for fish. :)
 
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