The Saga Continues

By: Kevin | July 6, 2011
I spoke too soon. Basically as soon as I posted the last blog more things hit the fan! Here I’m patting myself on the back about my plumbing job that I did in a hurry. Turns out my plumbing did more harm than good.

Dead Snails
            Little did I know the metal tub drain from Ace Hardware was a definite no-no! I had been told that snails were a good idea for a sort of ‘cleanup crew’ for tanks. In my freshwater tank days I would throw a Plecostomus in the tank and they would be my ‘cleanup crew’. If you don’t know what a Plecostomus is you’ll have to check this out.
Very prehistoric looking and, in my experience, can live through anything. Anyway, I began to notice none of my snails seemed to move much. Then after a day it was apparent they were dead. I had also picked up some hermit crabs that seemed to handle the conditions a little better and lasted a bit longer. But unfortunately, I lost all my invertebrates!!! *tear*

Snail Grave yard. Live rock's looking good though, huh
            I consulted the Internet and my friends over at GIRS and was informed that snails and other invertebrates have a low tolerance for copper (CU). Many fish medications have copper in them as the fish have a much higher tolerance to it. If my fish were to get sick, also known as ich, a copper solution would be the treatment. This was all news to me. I have had my African Cichlid fish get ich before and I had treated copper solution however it never had negative effects on my ‘cleanup crew’.

Tank Acne.
            Since I knew my saltwater tank has never been treated with copper solution it just had to my wonderful plumbing and copper right??? I needed to know for sure so I ran over to Pet’s Playhouse and grabbed myself a copper test. I ripped the test open thinking this was for sure going to identify the problem. I was a little dumb founded to find the test at a solid zero. I proceeded to test all the other water parameters and everything checked out fine. I was persuaded to just go ahead and change the plumbing because it is likely some sort of metallic that is causing this problem.
After a run to my local Menards I had all the PVC a dude could ask for. I’m quite shocked at how cheap PVC tubing is! Now my plumbing is up to ‘code’ with no metal! And sadly, my tank has broken out with algae since I haven’t had my ‘cleanup crew’. This ordeal has pushed back my progress by a few weeks. Soon I will take a run to the pet store and pick up another snail and crab. (Just one at first to make sure they live.) Right now my tank floor looks like the graveyard from the movie “The Lion King”, bones and shells everywhere. The bright side, my fish didn’t die from the copper.

            So peeps what have we learned today? DON’T USE METAL IN YOUR SALTWATER AQUARIUM PLUMBING!!!!