Sooo I kinda.. splurged and took the dive into buying shrimp, 35 cherry/rili mix from what the seller said. Currently they are in my 10g with new plants that arrived the same day as them (plants will be going into 7g cube). The 10g is suppose to become a quarantine/hospital tank for for obvious reasons it can't be their perm home (was original home for other fish before transfer.. no meds ever used luckily). The other tanks fully up and running atm aren't good candidates though.. they have (or will have) fish that will eat the shrimp.
water params (in holding tank)
temp 75F (still trying to lower slowly to 72)
ammonia & nitrite 0
nitrate 10-20 (api test chart used same color for both =,=)
I know gh/kh are freakin high, but from reading/asking around cherry seem to do ok with this range... hope that's true. Since I still need to get things to set up a shrimp tank, funds are limited, so I can't do ro/di etc etc water.
I'm considering setting up my 2x 2g picos (bubble bowl and cookie jar) for the shrimp, grab a sponge filter for each and stuff them full of plants/rock/wood....
I was thinking of trying moss madness for the 2g cookie jar with wood and grassy theme with rocks for the 2g bubble bowl (blyxa and micro sword). Rocks are "rosy quarts" collected locally which have not had an effect on gh/kh, but again no idea about tds yet.
2g jar and bowl would be unheated, from testing water temps in vase near where I would put them temp is roughly 65F (only minor temp fluxes depending on heater, ac, or open windows(not near tanks but in other parts of house).
Onto the questions:
~I hear tds meters are a must, is this true even for the more 'hardy' cherries? If so whats a reliable and reasonably priced one?
~I've read Seachem Prime raises tds, but no mention of how much. Is this an issue? If so what's a good chemical de-chlorinator alternative (i don't trust my city water to be safe after a day+ of airstone running)?
~If I stuff the sponge filters in a pre-cycled (in use) tanks, is there an average time needed for them to be properly seeded with BB to keep a tank cycled on its own (just sponge)?
~I've read that its best to let a tank cycle and 'age' for 4-6 months before adding shrimp but
I've seen several threads of people doing dsm and putting shrimp in at flooding or just slapping everything in at once (shrimp too). Is there some extra step(s) to ensure the shrimp have enough food to live on while the tank ages without risking fouling the water? Just feed daily and remove food after __hours+ small water change?
~How the hell do you do water changes and not suck up/pour out shrimp by accident (i didn't realize how tiny
they are until I got them)?? Is it best to add new water back to tank in a drip acclimation style (airline hose and valve set for a __ drips a second) rather than pouring in to reduce stress from possible param fluxes (from many months of periodic testing everything is stable from tap for me but
tds is unknown)?
~I currently have Hikari algae wafers, some fish flake food, and fresh vegies (zuchini, spinach etc). Are there other shrimp foods I should look into getting for cherry/rili shrimp (not over priced fancy stuff, but something with good supplements they might need)?
~I want to dose some ferts in the tank these shrimp are in for the plants, and have read mixed info about doing so. I have Seachem:Excel, Flourish, Pottasium, and Phosphorous. I've seen several swear up and down that anything with copper (Flourish) will kill shrimp (but no "i added and they died" write up). I've also read owners saying they've dosed frequently (not over dosed) and have no issues. I'd like to hear first hand experiences
with using Seachem Flourish (or other Seachem ferts) with shrimp, did yours die or live?
Just for fun here's some blurru photos of them (cell pics so sorry for quality, buggers do not want to hold still!!)