How much copper is too much?

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fishmamma

Active Member
#1
I keep losing snails and everyone seems to think it may be copper in my water. I used well water for intial set up and have been using RO water for all top offs and changes since intial tank fill. What level of copper is toxic to snails? My crabs are fine.
Also if it is copper that is the culprit am I forever unable to add more inverts or will the remaining copper in the live rock dissipate with time?
None of my books really cover this topic. They only say to test for copper if you have corals.
:help:
 

teen

Active Member
#2
well first u must test ur tank for copper so u should buy a test kit. there should be no signs of copper in ur tank.if the crabs are still live, and the snails are dying it might not be copper, and it might be somthing else that are killing the snails.
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#4
I will pick up a copper test kit next time I am at LFS- So if there is copper in my water it should be killing hermits and emerald crabs too? And ANY copper even trace is toxic?
 

snipe

Active Member
#5
I agree with beth. Any amount of copper is deadly to inverts of any kind. No matter if its 0.00001 or 10000.0 . You should have no copper in your tank what so ever.
 
M

murph1455

Guest
#7
i think slight traces of copper affect snails more than crabs due to the snails siredt contact with skin to water.... they absord nutrients very easily so even if u have a very trace amount it might be enuf to kill your snails and not your crabs i had trace amounts of copper in my system for months after a treatment in my tank ... didnt realize i should had a treatment tank .... my LR stored the copper for months .... i ended up throwin out a bunch of the LR since it died from the exposure to the copper anyways...
thats my opinion :)
 
E

exile415

Guest
#8
Eeeek ! Copper will kill all inverts. snails,crabs,liverock,corals and shrimps etc.
 
#9
If the crabs are hungry not getting enough vegies they will kill snails. hermits also will kill the snails to get a new home. I had a green brittle star that was a snail killer. every time i put snails in the tank he would rip them off the glass with such force he would rip thier foot off and kill them before you could get to it and save it, he was a very nice specimen but when he got 16 inches across and started hunting sleeping fish and killing them I finally took him to the lfs for a trade.
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#10
Thanks everybody- I am not sure if copper is the culprit but is the most reasonable explanation at this point. The snails are dying- definatly not being eaten or attacked. My crabs pay them no attention, they are too busy grazing. I am just angry because I asked LFS if I should test my well water for copper intinally and they said not necessary. Wouldn't be an issue. They did suggest I use RO water after my inital tank fill which I am doing- but it may be too little too late.

This may sound like a stupid question, but how would I know if my live rock was 'dead' from copper exposure?
Hopefully I can track down a copper test kit today. They are not always in stock at my local LFS's.
 

snipe

Active Member
#11
The coralline algea on the rock will turn white as for the bacteria I have no clue unless you can see things that small lol.
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#12
Both LFS's closed on Modays.....the suspense is killing me! I still have coraline algae though, in fact possibly a small increase on some of the rocks......... :confused:
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#13
I went to LFS and explained that all my snails have died, water parameters normal. He asked what my salinity was (1.024), and if I was using a refractometer- which I am. I told him I was going to buy the copper test kit (they carry the Salifert) and he told me not to. He said that kit wouldn't pick up copper if I had any in my water since it would be such a small amount. So I am going to bring him a sample of water for him to check and see what he comes up with. Anyone have the salifert kit? Does it only measure larger quantities?
 
T

tizzo

Guest
#15
Your snails are dying but your crabs are fine??
Let's rewind here... If you had copper, you'd have no hermits.
Let's try to find out why your snails are dying...
Which kinda snails are you buying?
What is your nitrate and nitrite levels?
How long has your tank been established?
How are you acclimating these snails when you buy them?
What is the temp of your tank? Is it pretty consistant?
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#16
My clean up crew (2nd batch) consisted of 3 snail species, 5 of each- I know some were astrea and some were the ones that so in the sand and sift. (original batch were 10 astrea- I assumed they died because I added them too soon even though h20 parameters were good, still have original hermits).
OK- I acclimated them for over an hour slowly adding my tank water and ran a heater in the bucket to bring water to same temp as tank. I also tested their water from LFS and SG and pH were an exact match, 1.024 on a refractometer. Ammonia and nitrites zero, nitrates have been under 10 units (lowest read on card)....ummm pH is 8.2, temp 79-81 degrees (higher with daylights on).
I brought in a water sample today and they confirmed the above readings. (At one point I did have a very slight increase in ammonia due to unreachable dead snails, again, well under .025 reading but this has gone back to zero). They suggested it may be metals in my well water, or chemicals leached from farms etc..... they said it is not common to have a problem but that it can happen. So I have a filter to put in the tank to try and trap possible metals and will do a large water change with RO water, give it some time and try adding one or two snails to see how it goes. 30% or more of the well water has already been removed through RO water changes over the last few weeks.
I guess this should be a warning to all those using tap- I was told by another LFS and read in my book that well water should be OK to start with since it hasn't been treated with chlorine etc........I hope I can clear this mistake up with time.
Tizzo any thoughts/suggestions??
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#17
I should add that LFS guy said people just assume it is copper in water that causes problems but more often than not it is aluminum or some other metal. Thought that was interesting.
 

mudplayerx

Active Member
#19
Hmm, I've never heard of aluminum in the water. I think the way we get copper in the water is from piping... so dunno if there would be much copper from wellwater. I'd be more worried about lime or sulpher.
I agree thoough, the snails AND the hermits would be dying together if it was from copper.
 

fishmamma

Active Member
#20
I do have really hard water, but I have been using it with buffer s in my fresh water tanks for years so I figured algae would be my worst problem.
The tank has been stocked with rock for 5 weeks and I have had a diatom bloom.
I am going to put in my filter sponge today.
 
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