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I've noticed that some members here refer to "wonder shells," and I was curious about how and why people use them. Are they OK to use alongside liquid fertilizers, and at what pH do they usually settle the water? Or would using GoldBuffer or baking soda so the same job. 

 

Just looking to improve my water qualities and nutrients as much as possible while I wait out a fishless cycle. 

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:hmm Never heard of them . . . I'll have to check it out.

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They boost your GH only.  Do you know your GH?  :idont

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They boost your GH only.  Do you know your GH?   :idont

 

I don't know it, but my water is quite hard (New Jersey) and I haven't had problems with pH crashes (unless I was mid-cycle). 

 

Seems like there's no need then! I wasn't sure what the description on the website really meant ("vital minerals" etc.). 

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GH doesn't have anything to do with pH crashes.  That's KH.  But if your water is hard, you don't need the wonder shells.  :D  Your hard water provides all the "vital minerals" your fish need. 

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Wonder shells are fantastic. I use them in all my tanks, and they're extremely beneficial to reducing osmotic stress in my aquariums, especially my softer tanks. I really like that they don't adjust pH! They are the *only* tank additive I use.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Sounds interesting, it looks like the pond sized one would be the size for my 55g?

 

The large says its for 10-20g....

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I use the extra large/jumbo size in my tanks, except for my ten gallon qt and beta tank, where I use one at a time of the small size.

Anecdotally I have noted much lower stress and better disease resistance since I started adding them into my tanks. It's the only factor I changed in my husbandry. And they're such cheap insurance for healthy animals. It makes sense knowing about fish osmoregulation and their closed environments in aquaria :)

Edited by Arctic Mama

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OK, im convinced.

Im getting one.

Thanks!

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I use the extra large/jumbo size in my tanks, except for my ten gallon qt and beta tank, where I use one at a time of the small size.

Anecdotally I have noted much lower stress and better disease resistance since I started adding them into my tanks. It's the only factor I changed in my husbandry. And they're such cheap insurance for healthy animals. It makes sense knowing about fish osmoregulation and their closed environments in aquaria :)

What is your tap GH? :idont

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Did you guys see the Medicated ones??

 

http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/MedicatedWonderShell.html

 

wondershelldisplay2.jpg



Regular American Aquarium Wonder Shell (no medication)- Mineral Block;
OVERVIEW

Useful for Important Mineralization/Electrolytes, Calcium Carbonate, Water Hardness Control, & more.

Please scroll about 2/3 for information about "Medicated Wonder Shells"
OR to the bottom of the page to purchase.


• Contains Calcium Carbonate/CaCO3+ cations (a VERY important element for proper Osmotic Function in fish as well as Redox Balance, which the latest research shows may be more important to fish health than parameters such as exact pH!); ALL minor, and trace elements in the exact ratio (with the exception of calcium) as found in the ocean, including magnesium sulfate. A few other elements found include: Chloride, Sodium, Sulfate, Potassium, Bicarbonate, Bromide, Borate, Strontium, Fluoride.

Calcium and magnesium have been proven to help fish (and humans) during stress and to help prevent disease due to acid buildup in the body. These elements (along with Sodium Chloride/salt) are important for the prevention (& even treatment) of Columnaris and Saprolegnia/Fish Fungus)
These positive mineral ions (supplied by Wonder Shells) play a part in adhesion of Columnaris by reducing surface potential and repulsive forces

Providing a regular source of calcium and other important mineral electrolytes can aid in prevention and treatment of Livebearers/Molly Disease whose general cause is the lack of these important elements.

• Wonder Shells add Necessary Minerals/Electrolytes (very important whether your source is this product or another method).

They perform this by adding a constant supply of positive calcium and other positive mineral ions that are depleted during Redox Balancing, despite GH tests which cannot discern the ion charge and may show high GH when in reality, these cations are depleted. (see also this article Aquarium Chemistry; GH, Depletion of Positive Ions)
Please note that as to Redox and osmoregulation benefits, these benefits are less noticeable to detect, however controlled tests in the 1990s bear this out.

For maintaining a higher pH or KH Wonder Shells should be combined with baking soda or better; Sea Chem Buffers (or similar).
Please note that Wonder Shells do NOT generally raise KH or pH (despite some incorrect claims by Weco and other websites that have not used these AAP Wonder Shells properly), they more aid in maintenance of these parameters by neutralizing harmful acids that result from organic decomposition.

• Aids in Chlorine removal & helps keep aquarium clear

• Excellent for use with Goldfish, Livebearers, Cichlids, and more.

• These mineral blocks can help cure scoliosis in fish such as Guppys or even Bettas when lack of minerals is the cause.

• Regular Wonder Shells can also aid in prevention and even treat HITH by virtue of the necessary minerals found within these products.

• Each shell oxygenates, aerates and aids in neutralizing harmful acids resulting from normal bio processes; this makes the small Wonder Shell an Excellent Choice for Betta Bowls (especially when combined with Pillow Moss, Peat, Indian Almond Leaf Extracts, or Driftwood pieces).

• Also useful in Amazon River environment aquariums such as Discus and Ram Cichlids as well as Bettas for addition of positive mineral ions based on the proven fact of the need for calcium and other minerals for osmoregulation and Redox Balance!
An excellent balance to peat, Pillow Moss (Frog Moss), driftwood, etc.
The use of Wonder Shells to balance softeners is similar to the concept as popular products such as Atison’s Spa, except with the added benefit of CONSTANT mineral replenishment and when used with Pillow Moss or similar providing more of these ongoing benefits.

Concerns raising GH with Discus, Angels, planted tanks, etc, is at times over-rated, as this does not take into consideration the fact that essential positive mineral ions can be depleted while the GH still might test “high” (see: Depletion of Positive Ions.
For use with soft water fish or sensitive soft water plants, often a 1/4 dose of Wonder Shells solves this problem along with the more easily measured dosing of SeaChem Replenish at the time of a water change IF RO water is used (for example; a 1/2 medium Wonder Shell for a 60 gallon tank equals 1/4 dose)

The bottom line for use with soft water biotope fish use, is that it is not the raising of GH and mineral content that is important, rather a continuous flow of mineral Cations that would still be found in most native water, even if very diluted! So even adding small fragments of Wonder Shells on a regularly basis is all that is needed to maintain these mineral Cations. Our many years of professional use and testing confirm this as what is most important and where this product is truly beneficial.

• The Wonder Shell Mineral Block dissolves approximately as trace elements are depleted in an aquarium. Larger aquariums or those low in trace elements will dissolve Wonder Shells at a higher rate until stable. Calcium (which is the carrier for the other elements) will not exceed safe levels as aquariums will precipitate out excess. GH readings will reflect this however the GH will only show the overall hardness, not the balance of trace elements so higher readings (over 200 ppm) are only reflecting excess calcium.

• IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that if your aquarium is low in electrolytes, the quick release of positive mineral ions can be stressful to many SE Asia and Amazon River fish such as Bettas as well as many shrimp (such as Crystal Red Shrimp). If not used before, it is strongly advised to start with a 1/4 dose and then work up to a 1/2 dose or more.
Example; a 1/4 Medium Wonder Shell or 1-2 small WS for a 10 gallon aquarium.
The sudden introduction of Wonder Shells in a low positive mineral ion aquarium is comparable to changing water in a tank with high nitrates or especially too low pH; the fish/invertebrates will need to be adjusted to the improved water quality or pH shock would follow from the water change!!
The FACTS are these fish (& invertebrates) still all need positive mineral ions regardless of the environment that they are originally from, this is a Fact of animal physiology!

• Extremely useful in planted aquariums at maintaining hardness (and I mean general hardness, not KH as studies in photosynthesis prove) to counter act peak daytime photosynthesis.
Wonder Shells are also useful for other minerals required by plants.
Please see this article for more: Aquarium Plants; Information and care. Generally as in Amazon River/SE Asia aquariums, 1/4 to 1/2 Wonder Shell doses work best.

• Can be used in marine aquariums, although better methods of adding essential minerals are available for reef aquariums in particular (such as with many SeaChem products).
However Wonder Shells are Excellent for use in RO water storage to aid in re-mineralization of RO water prior to top off for evaporation or mixing in Reef or other saltwater aquariums.
As well for fish only or FOWLR marine tanks they still can be useful for EVERYDAY mineral maintenance.

• Provides crabs, snails and turtles with an easily available source of calcium for healthy shell growth.

NOT a cure all for poor water management, but a useful tool in proper aquarium maintenance. This is an excellent product, but the name is misleading, as Wonder Shells do not perform “wonders”, it is just a useful however not essential product with more than 30 years of aquarist use to back it up.
QUITE BLUNTLY THIS PRODUCT OR SIMILAR MINERAL CATION REPLENISHERS ARE TOOLS FOR A HEALTHY AQUARIUM THAT MOST FRESHWATER AQUARISTS SHOULD NOT BE WITHOUT (if in doubt, ask some members at Everything Aquatic or see the article: The importance of Calcium/Minerals in ALL Aquariums)

NOT the same ingredients as Plaster of Paris as some have stated, the Wonder Shell is vastly superior! See this article for more: Plaster of Paris In Aquariums

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
• Please follow the directions and use suggestions WE PROVIDE, as the packaging provided to us & then re-packaged still dates back to the 1970s are partly incorrect.
These instructions are based on decades of experience as well as the unique ingredients we add.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

USE;
The Wonder Shells should be placed of low water flow (current) for best results, NOT in filters.
They will dissolve approximately as needed for minerals/electrolytes and should be replaced when about ¼ original size.

For aquariums set up for fish that come from bodies of water that tend to be more soft (these fish still need positive mineral electrolytes for osmoregulation and Redox Balance); The basic principle is to have at least some Wonder Shell piece, fragment, etc., present, no matter how small just to be able to provide constant mineral Cations THAT ARE PRESENT EVEN IN THE MOST SOFT OF NATURAL BODIES OF WATER!
As a starting point, we recommend a 1/4 “dose” (recommended AAP Wonder Shells per tank size), or even just fragments added as they dissolve as noted earlier on this web page.
The regular Wonder Shells (not Medicated) can also be broken for economy. Using a flat head screw driver placed in the middle of the shell, then hit with a hammer allows for easy splitting

For soft water aquariums, the use of SeaChem Replenish for adding essential minerals when RO water is used, then the use of 1/4 the normal dose of Wonder Shells or fragments to aid in the constant supply of essential mineral cations is suggested. Regular American Aquarium Products Wonder Shells

Please Click on the pictures below to enlarge for a better view
wondershelldisplaytn.jpg *Small (set of three) for fish bowls- $1.89
Special - $1.59

*Medium for 10-40 Gallon (35- 150 L) Aquariums- $2.29
Special - $1.99
For a 10 gallon, we suggest breaking in 1/2 with a flathead screwdriver & hammer

*Large for 45-60 Gallon (170- 225 L) Aquariums- $2.99
Special - $2.59


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wondershelllargetn2.jpgwondershellmediumtn.jpgwondershellsmalltn.jpg


wondershelllargemedicatedtn.jpgwondershellmediummedicatedtn.jpgwondershellsmallmedicatedtn.jpg

Medicated American Aquarium Wonder ShellsA useful aquarium treatment/disease prevention to have on hand for any aquarist!
An aquarium disease treatment with over 25 years of satisfied customers in both our pet store and professional aquarium maintenance route, now available on the internet!
NOT A CURE ALL or a replacement for antibiotic treatment for bacterial infections.
For serious Ich infestations, we recommend SeaChem ParaGuard followed by these Medicated Wonder Shells for prevention/follow up treatment

Active ingredients: Malachite Green, Acriflavin, Copper Sulfate, Methylene Blue
(Can also be used for fungus in aquatic turtles)

For a Medicated Wonder Shell with only buffered Malachite Green, consider our Marine Version further down this web page which are safe for use with even delicate plants and most shrimp, but are also less effective than the Standard Medicated version and do not treat Velvet or Fungus.

MEDICATED WONDER SHELLS:
*Small; set of 3 - $3.89

1-3 gal bowl (use 2-3 for a 5 gallon or 4-5 for a 10 gallon aquarium)
*Medium -$3.99
15 -40 gal tank
*Large - $4.79
45-60 gal. tank (use 1 Lg. & 1 Med. for an 80 gallon aquarium)

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I've found the medicated shells useful when separating eggs out to raise fry, you can leave it in for a short time to treat for ich and fungus.

 

Wonder Shells are pretty old school. They don't say what is in them, and you can't talk to a human about them.  I've switched to Fresh Trace as I feel it gives me more control on exactly what I'm adding. But I haven't had a bad experience with them. 

Edited by mysterygirl

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Yes, the medicated ones would be my go to if I was managing large systems like Carl is. Since I'm just messing with own tanks and healthy stock I haven't needed them, but it's essentially trace minerals plus general cure :D

Fantailfan, I haven't tested my tap water lately, but it was moderately sort last I checked. When I go upstairs next I'll try to remember to grab my GH test kit :)

ETA - finally got around to retesting my general hardness, we are at right around 6 degrees or 100-105ppms, and my pH sits right around 7.0-7.2. Not ideal for goldfish, but extremely stable. I never see pH crashes or extremely soft water. But my taps aren't hard enough that we get any lime or calcium buildup on our tubs or taps.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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Just tested my high bioload Amazon tank again. Even there the pH is sitting stable at 7.2. My water chemistry doesn't budge without significant effort, and this includes inert substrate, plant mater, and driftwood.its interesting my water could be so stable without significant hardness and other quite mineralized taps could still be volatile. That element of water chemistry has always confused me somewhat.

Edited by Arctic Mama

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I did a water change and add in the wonder shell. I bought the giant size. From what I understand they only dissolve as they are needed so size shouldn't be to big of a factor.

I'll let you guys know if I see anything of significance.

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Jasmine, about the only thing I noticed was a longer term a sense of disease and general hardiness. Less fin issues, more breeding behavior, more stress tolerance without succumbing to diseases. It was the subtle a sense of minor issues in my tanks more than anything immense and notable :)

The giant size is what I use in any tank bigger than twenty gallons. Just make sure it is in the lowest flow area :)

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I'm not sure if it's the wonder shell but my elderly fishes seem slightly more cheery and active.

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