How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium

01/06/2023 - hoàng anh - 2 Comment

The reason is that one of the main components of the shrimp shell is calcium carbonate (from 30 to 50 %). In snails, it is even more crucial, about 95-98% of snails shell’s dry weight is calcium carbonate (CaCO3) as well.

As we can see, shrimp, crayfish, crabs, and snails depend on calcium. Actually, calcium is so vital for them that, according to different studies, they can sense calcium concentration in their environment and prefer to live in a high-calcium environment. 

Importance of Calcium for Shrimp, Crayfish, and Crabs

Shrimp, crayfish, and crabs have external skeletons (exoskeletons or shells) that limit the extent of their growth. The only way for them to grow is to molt. The process of shedding their old shell is called molting.

Due to the fact that shrimp molt pretty often (from every few days for baby shrimp to once per month for adult shrimp), they require a lot of minerals to reconstruct new exoskeletons. Therefore, our job is to provide all the necessary minerals for them to make and reinforce their shells.

Importance of Calcium for Snails

Because snails are soft-bodied animals, many of them have invented a complex strategy for maintaining their soft tissues, for protecting themselves against predation, and support for internal organs. This strategy relies on the elaboration of an external calcified rigid structure, the shell.

In snails, the demand for calcium is even higher than for shrimp. Their external shell is almost completely made of calcium carbonate (about 95-98%, the remaining 2% mass are compounds of Fe, Mg, Mn, Al, Na, K). Mostly because snails’ shells can have several calcified layers (generally two to five).


Calcium Supplements for Shrimp and Snail Tanks

If you do not want your shrimp to have molting problems. If you see that your snails are starting to get eroded shells, cracks, holes, or lose their color (turn whitish). The most likely cause is not enough calcium in the water. As I have just said, we need to provide our shrimp and snails with two sources of calcium:

  • From water (water mineralization).
  • From food.

In Conclusion

Calcium plays a vital role in the overall development of the shell, optimum growth and survival of the shrimp, crayfish, crab, and snails.

Depending on the tank set up, we can use different ways of providing calcium for the shrimp and snail tanks. For example, if you are using RO water in the tank. I would not use any additional mineral sources besides remineralizes, special, and natural food sources. If you are using Tap water in the tank, I would use only additional mineral sources (Cuttlebone bones, Wonder shells, Tams, etc.), special and natural food sources.

In any case, do not forget to test your water parameters at least every week. If you notice that they are consistently too high or rising, remove additional mineral sources.

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