New planted shrimp tank substrate recommendations - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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New planted shrimp tank substrate recommendations

I have my new 3 x 2 x 2 tank arriving in around a week and as usual have been spending hours on end looking up and researching every option possible in terms of substrate, hardscape and inhabitants. Then getting carried away with plans and lists of all the things I'll need / want regardless of wether it's in my budget or if I can ever get it in Australia. So basically the usual.

All I know for certain is it will be a mid tech planted tank, housing shrimp (at this stage I'm thinking of moving up from cherry shrimp to something a little prettier, possibly chameleon shrimp) and I am going to be the most scrupulous tank owner ever when it comes to pond snails as all my other tanks have them and I'd just love for once to be able to look at one of my tanks and not see those little buggers crawling everywhere. Plant wise I'm thinking crypts (as after 10 years of keeping aquariums I've recently discovered they're not sp hard to keep and I don't kill them instantly as much info online suggests I would) obviously some moss (probably java) and probably hc (which to my surprise has been doing ok in a low tech tank without issue) maybe some Val for height. I will probably experiment and add to the soft scape over the space of a few months as I'm hoping I might have better luck with certain plants than in my low tech tanks. Plus let the tank establish for a few months before any decent stock is added.

i was mainly hoping to get some advice on substrate, as I read AS Amazonia is the go to substrates for shrimp which like a lower ph. However I hear it can be a problem for larger tanks when it comes to cloudy water and it turning to mush. In all my previous and current planted tanks I use pool filter sand, supplemented with root tabs, excel and a fert regiment. This has never caused any issues for me, but I'd like to go a bit more advanced this time as well as switching to a dinosaur dung / pee / spit combo. Plus a darker substrate will help to really bring out the color of my shrimps.

I've looked into a dirt substrate but I tend to move things around a little from time to time and the thought of constantly trying to avoid uncapping the dirt deters me.

I'd rather not spend hundreds on substrate but I know it's at the core of a flourishing aquarium to have good substrate. I want to take advantage of the fact it's a new setup and get it right from the start rather than having to tear it down later. So if anyone has any thoughts on what has worked for them I'd love some input!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 06:49 PM
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I have a 29 all shrimp tank and a 55 mixed with fish and shrimp both with Amazonia. I had no problem with cloudiness at all. I put one of the bags on top of the substrate when filling to prevent and mixing. The problem that I did have, which was expected, was the high levels of ammonia, I believe. I had to do daily 100% changes for a week to level it out. I put plants in right away to help counteract this. The Amazonia was superb for the plants but after about 2 years or so it turns to mush if you disturb it at all such as planting, etc. I just use a chopstick now to insert plant roots and cover them up. So, it does have its ups and downs.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 07:16 PM
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I use Fluval Shrimp Substrate, and while it is good in that it doesn't cloud (when used properly. Read the bag for sure), it has its cons. It doesn't buffer as well as other enhanced substrates and it's on the light side (light as in weight). Otherwise, the granules look great, the plants I have grow well, and the water stays pretty clear. I have not had problems with cloudiness yet. The reason I got it was actually through this forum as an RAOK and it works with my tap water, which doesn't require much buffering to start with.

Just my 2 cents on it, I would stray away from FSS unless you are getting it for free like I did haha
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 07:41 PM
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IIRC, Up Aqua Aqua Soil and Shrimp Soil is more affordable and more popular in Australia.

You might look into it to see how it compares in terms of price when compared with ADA AquaSoil.

In the US the Up Aqua substrate is more expensive than the ADA substrate so most of us don't see the point in buying it but if the Up Aqua substrate was less expensive it would become a much more appealing option.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Been madly researching all the soils you mentioned and it looks like up aqua soil is a good option, and the availability, color, and price seals the deal. Now to figure everything else out.

Won't be able to order for a week or so yet, so still open to more opinions.
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