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Old 04-18-2011, 08:19 PM   #1 
BulletproofDove
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Question "Sea shells" instead of gravel?

Can I use sea shells purchased from a store instead of using gravel? Flat, smooth ones, with no sharp edges, of course. This may be a silly question but I think it'd look nice with the tank I am designing in my mind. :)
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:28 PM   #2 
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They would increase the pH, which isnt a good thing if you already have a high pH. I guess if you really want to you could, just make sure to acclimate him well to the new pH water. I wouldnt do it though, mixing freshwater with saltwater deco just seems silly IMO :P
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:31 PM   #3 
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Okay.......
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:51 PM   #4 
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I guess just rinse them well first, take your betta out of the tank, put the shells in, and add some of the new tank water into the container for a little while. :)
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:00 PM   #5 
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I wouldn't put seashells in a freshwater aquarium. They change the water's ph as they dissolve over time and some have sharp edges that might hurt your fish's fins.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:56 PM   #6 
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Katelynn~ Sounds like it wouldn't work, even though I think it's quite a creative idea and would look pretty. It would be more consistent in a salt water or reef tank, I agree. But you're 'thinking outside of the box' and that's a good thing! Were you thinking about a beach-y theme?
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:10 AM   #7 
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One or two, carefully placed as ornaments, are fine. Say a nice one per five gallons.

Most gravels also leach carbonate into the water, they just do so more slowly than shells and crushed coral. BUT keep in mind that if you're using artificial driftwood in the tank, shells are a good way to counteract the softening and pH drop that driftwood causes. (Natural driftwood doesn't pull as much carbonate out of the water as the artificial acid produced driftwood)

Do observe for sharp edges, Betta are thinking fish who will often try to hook themselves to the bottom to sleep. I can't keep small plants down in my girls' tank because of it. Remember to examine any ornament you use for this issue.

For about a year I used my first male's disco ball bowl as an ornamental bowl in his tank to deal with the flow from the filter. I could simply siphon out from the little bowl since he spent all his resting time in it.
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