Snails require a diet rich in calcium for appropriate shell development. While they can typically obtain sufficient calcium from their standard meals, there are instances where it becomes necessary to bolster this intake with the addition of eggshells, a food source snails find particularly appealing. But what is the best method for preparing eggshells for snails?
The best eggshells for snails come from birds, gastropods, and amphibians, which provide ample calcium when ground to a powder. Ensure cleanliness before grinding and store the powder in a cool, dry location to prevent moisture absorption. However, avoid overuse as this can unbalance the tank’s pH.
In this article, I will explore the benefits of eggshells for snails, followed by a comprehensive guide on how to prepare them. Continue reading for valuable insights.
Are Eggshells Good for Snails?
Eggshells are good for snails because they provide a cost-effective method for adding calcium to your snail tank. They are calcium-rich, commonly found in most homes, and primarily composed of the following:
- Calcium carbonate
- Various proteins
- Other organic compounds
Calcium carbonate, naturally prevalent in corals, seashells, and limestone, is the most abundant type of calcium in nature. While snails can derive adequate calcium from these sources, they aren’t as conveniently accessible as eggshells.
Consequently, you shouldn’t have to bear extra costs for calcium supplementation. However, eggshells must be prepared before introducing them into snail tanks due to their sharp edges, which could harm snails. Therefore, some effort is required to render your eggshells tank-ready.
How to Prepare Eggshells for Snails
Follow these steps to transform eggshells into a calcium source for your snails:
- Collect Eggshells: Start by gathering eggshells. I advise aquarists to save their eggshells after using the whites and yolks. A bin or a simple container would work well for this purpose. Approximately 10 eggshells should suffice for pets in a medium-sized, 30-gallon (115-liter) tank.
- Clean the Eggshells: Washing eggshells removes potential pathogens or parasites that could harm your snails. Due to residual fats and proteins, eggshells can attract bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including Salmonella, which is known to inhabit eggs. Cleaning prevents these harmful pathogens from contaminating your tank.
- Washing Procedure: To clean the shells, add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of warm water and scrub them thoroughly.
- Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the shells multiple times to eliminate dish soap traces.
- Dry the Eggshells: Spread them on a tray and allow them to dry completely. Dried eggshells are easier to grind.
- Grind the Eggshells: Place them in a coffee grinder and grind until they achieve a powdery consistency. Your eggshells are now ready for use.
- Store Correctly: Keep the eggshell powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture absorption.
- Administration (How to feed eggshells to snails): The ground powder dissolves easily in water. Simply take a handful and drop it into the tank. Wait a week before adding another portion.
Enhance your calcium with magnesium and potassium for proper shell and tissue growth. Add a pinch of potassium hydroxide (potash) and magnesium hydroxide to your coffee grinder while grinding the eggshells. The result is fortified eggshell powder that meets your snails’ mineral needs.Helpful Tip
While chicken eggshells are commonly used, shells from any bird, gastropod, or amphibian are also suitable as they all contain high amounts of calcium carbonate.
What Alternatives Are There?
|Estes Gravel Products AES51510 Este Crushed Coral for Aquarium, 15-Pound||Check Price|
|Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium 250gram||Check Price|
If sourcing and preparing eggshells seem burdensome, there are simpler alternatives available.
These specially formulated calcium tablets, pellets, or solutions readily infuse calcium into tanks. Most are also enhanced with other essential minerals to promote shell and bone development in snails and fish.
I recommend Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium powder for snail tanks (Link to Amazon). Composed of concentrated ionic calcium and traces of magnesium, it supports shell development and immune function. The powder can be added directly to the tank, allowing your pets to conveniently absorb calcium when drinking water.
Cuttlefish bone, the soft, brittle skeleton of fish, is also calcium-rich. When crumbled or crushed, it readily dissolves in water, providing sufficient calcium for your tank-dwelling pets.
The primary drawbacks of cuttlebone include its limited availability and the fact that some pets may not be attracted to it, likely due to its distinct odor.
Some aquarists utilize crushed or ground coral as a calcium supplement in their tanks. This can be added directly to the tank’s bottom or introduced via the filtration system. A weekly handful is usually sufficient.
I recommend Este’s Crushed Coral for Aquarium (link to Amazon). This blend is specially formulated for various tank pets and marine habitats. It’s fortified with specific minerals and vitamins without artificial additives or colors.
The main drawback of crushed coral is its high calcium concentration. If added in large amounts, it could disrupt the tank’s pH and hardness, so it should never be used excessively.
Substantial amounts of calcium are crucial for the health and development of your snails. Regarding the best eggshell for snails, these supplements carry a high concentration of calcium carbonate. Once processed into powder, they swiftly release calcium into the water.
It’s crucial to note that any type of eggshell is safe as long as it’s well-cleaned. However, it’s essential to avoid adding an excessive amount of eggshell powder to the tank to prevent undesirable shifts in pH and hardness levels.