Re: eggshells and bicarbonate uptake

>From: Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM

>I've been soaking several egg shells in a jar of water for a couple weeks
>to remove soluble proteins per Paul K's suggestion, however, there is a
>distinct "bad egg" smell when I open the jar and replace the water. Is this
>cause for concern? Before I put the egg shells in the jar, I washed them
>using my finger and running water to remove the albumen while it was still
>soft. A white membrane is found on the inside of the egg shell. Is it
>important to discard this? It doesn't seem to dissolve. I hope to clean
>these egg shells and turn them to powder in my blender and add them to
>new substrates as I set them up. Is it preferable to compost the egg shell
>powder aerobically first with soil?

I would soak them in an plastic dishpan or bucket overnight, change the
water completely, and then let them soak another 12 to 24 hours.  Then
drain, rinse, and dry.  The membrane-like protein does not have to be
removed.  It is very resistant to decay in water and would be no threat to
cause cloudy water.  You can grind them up in the blender (in water), and
then soak with one or two water changes.  That would also get rid of most
of the membrane protein, because it would be mostly separated from the
shell pieces, and could be poured off.

Somebody needs to do some trials with plants in soil with egg shells and
without.  Christel Kasselmann in Aquarienpflanzen says, (if I am
translating her correctly) that most aquarium plants like neutral to
somewhat acidic soil and only a few can tolerate alkaline soils.  However,
I don't think that some egg shell pieces will raise the pH very much.

>From: crom at cris_com (Brian T. Forsythe)

>Could anyone give a list of common plants that use bicarbonate, and
>those that don't?  Or does such a list exist somewhere on the net?

It is mostly plants that have been adapted to aquatic life for a long time
and have thin leaves and stems, and can live in still waters.  A partial
list would be Elodea, Eigeria, Najas, Vallisneria, Ceratophyllum, Hydrilla,
some Myriophyllum, and Potomageton.  They can get the pH all the way up to
a little over 10 by taking up bicarbonate and spitting out hydroxide.  By
the way, most of the hair algae and green water algae also can do this.

The ones that don't have thicker leaves, usually can grow emersed without
looking a whole lot different, and are often found in moving water with a
good CO2 supply.  Included would be Hygrophila, the Cryptocorynes, Anubias,
Ceratopteris, Aponogetons, Bacopa, Ludwigia, etc.  The great majority of
aquarium plants fall in this category. They can get the pH up near 9 by
taking up free CO2 from the water, but they don't get enough CO2 to grow
very well unless the pH is a lot lower.

I am not sure where to put the sword plants, Echinodorus.  I have a red
horemanii (now uruguayensis) that does precipitiate calcium on its leaves
in good light.  This is the only sword I have seen that does this, but my
experience with swords is limited.  In the same tank I have a green,
narrow-leaved uruguayensis that does not precipitate calcium.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
In Mississippi, where it is fix'n to rain