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Old 12-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #1 
wildmagic713's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Question Can I use seashells?

We took a number of trips all over the place- Connecticut is a standard every summer, and we've been to Florida and Maine. As a result, I've collected many seashells. I have a number of HUGE clam shells (well, not HUGE, but around 5 inches wide at the widest point), a few medium sized ones, and a few scallop shells that are pretty large (Around 3-4 inches wide).

I was wondering, if I soak them in hot water and then rinse them really well, could I use them in my fish tank? I was thinking about getting some non-toxic hot glue and gluing a sea castle for Mister Fishy that's made out of seashells because we have so many. Other reason I want to do this is it sticks with the natural theme of my tank, something I want to do.

I would only use the smaller clam shells and the smaller scallop shells, and I may use some little shells as well to build him something to hide in.

So, is it okay to use them if I soak them really well, and if it is, what do you recommend doing to get them clean enough to use in the tank?
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:03 PM   #2 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Mississauga, Canada
Shells can be controvertial. My opinion is they are fine as long as they are well cleaned before hand and you monitor the tank for sins of trouble.

The contoversy is the fact that some shells can leach things into the water like salt or calcium. They can change the pH and hardness of the water as well as other things but as long as you check the water frequently incase one is causing problems.

Also if your fish starts acting odd take them out, one may be a problem.

A lot of people use shells without problems so as long as you keep an eye out for trouble you should be fine.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:15 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
I'd suggest boiling them. I boil Hot water isn't hot enought o actually kill anything on the shells. Boiling or baking is the best way to sterilize anything.

I think putting a few shells in and keeping up with water changes should be fine. As far as I know, the effect they have on the water is slow and long lasting, which is why people use them to buffer the water.

Should be fine if you're checking the water parameters and doing your regular maintenance. Just keep an eye on any changes in the water.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:18 PM   #4 
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I had a few in my tank, I just didn't like to scrub them so i took them out. Otherwise, as long as they're sterile, you should be fine, IMO.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #5 
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I don't think so. Unless you're dedicated and will check every day or every other day, I would say no. If it's a saltwater aquarium, then yes but for freshwater, it's better to not do it. I hear that they leak stuff into the aquarium and raise the pH levels. But, my friend has them in his freshwater tank with no problem.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #6 
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I used them before, just boil them for a bit and let cool. Do that a few times over to help get any salt out.
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