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Thread: Shells in the shower?

  1. #1
    MCA
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    Honmei MCA's Avatar
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    Shells in the shower?

    Am planning to restack my shower trays this spring. Considering putting in some oyster shells.

    Did anyone with soft water and showers put any shell or other carbonate source into their showers? If so, are you happy with that decision?

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    Tategoi hewhoisatpeace's Avatar
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    I have very soft water. No detectable gh or kh at all. I use oyster shell, and have been very happy with it, but do not use it in showers right now. If I werer set up like you, with (I think) bead filters and showers, I would certainly use them there.

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    MCA
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    I got 40 pounds of crushed coral. I will put it in the showers on top of the BH media.

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    Tategoi hewhoisatpeace's Avatar
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    Should work very well for you.

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    Tosai
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    Great idea, I am building three small showers for growout/QT tanks and will add the crushed coral to them.

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    Oyagoi kntry's Avatar
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    Michael, what's going to stop the crushed coral from being washed down through the showers?

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    MCA
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    The BH media that covers the holes in each of the trays.

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    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    Initially I was thinking oyster shells would be ok, but I would have reservations about the crushed coral. They definately have a different dissolve rate. It is possible that the shower force of the water will pulverize the coral quickly. I think with oyster shell you have a slow and steady dissolve rate where the coral would dissolve more quickly and maybe be more erratic with the rise and fall of the pH. I think the oyster shell will provide more temper. The other factor is how much force the coral is under. I think most of us are using shell in a sand/gravel set-up where the shell is submerged and water is simply passing through it, not being pounded by crashing water. I was thinking maybe put the crushed coral in a sack...like an orange or onion bag, that way you can relocate it and find the sweet spot...Just thinkin aloud...

  9. #9
    Tategoi powerman's Avatar
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    I put lithaqua in my showers.. I also had bacteria house media.. lithaqua looks alot like the crushed coral.. it is a calcified halimedia algae.. same idea though... what I did did not work out well for me.. I put a matala blue on the bottom of the bottom tray.. and put six inches or so of lithaqua over it.. and then put my shower back together with the bacteria house media in the other trays.. all was fine for a week or two and then the water started building up in the bottom tray, not being able to pass quickly enough through the media.. the tray overflowed and I had a little pond emergency... lost about 18 inches of water in the pond... and the pumps were sucking air... needless to say I went back to my previous shower configuration...
    I now use crushed coral and lithaqua in a pair of up-flow sand and gravel filters.. they can easily be flushed to waste with a spa blower.. I get a little kh peace of mind using these as my source water is almost devoid of kh ( one to two drops gdh).. I run a constant trickle of source water and with these two filters my kh runs about three drops
    If I was going to use something in a shower for kh, I'd use whole oyster shell...

  10. #10
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    I do love Lithaqua, but it does have the drawback of needing to be contained due to its size, which can lead to clogging. In a bead or backflushable "upflow" filter like Powerman describes it is a much better fit.

    Oyster Shells (whole, not crushed) in a shower are great in my opinion.

    I know I'm a bit of a lone ranger on this, but I like Oyster Shells in a shower for pretty simple reasons.

    Obviously, they are going to yield a good surface for water shearing with virtually zero potential for clogging. I know they don't have the surface area of a BH or other porous media, but they bring something to the table the others don't in exchange.

    Instantaneous kh stabilization.

    ALL biological activity produces acidic wastes. If that biological activity takes place on an inert substrate like Bioballs, BH, or other ceramic media alone the water is going to be more acidic than it was before. If that biological activity takes place on a Carbonate substrate like Oyster Shell it will cause an immediate chemical reaction with the shell and neutralize the acids instantly. That is why Oyster Shells are used for "stability" rather than a "quick fix" for low pH like Baking Soda.

    The misconception is that water "erodes" or "dissolves" the shells just because of the movement. That effect is virtually nil. It is the chemical reaction with acid gases (CO2) and aqueous acids (Carbonic/Carbolic Acid) that react with the shells which produce the ion exchange response, thereby causing the shell surface to slowly erode (by acid etching) over time.

    If we could have the best of all worlds there would be a porous shell with the surface area of BH or Cermedia that could maximize the benefits of both, but since we don't have that option I'd go for a mixture of whole shells and the inert media of your choice.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

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