Captivate's 5.5g BTOE tank
I finally got around to redoing this tank. I took about five minutes on the first time, with only anubias and java ferns poorly placed in. Even I didn't didn't want to take a picture of it. One of the anubias must have thought the end was near, because it was sending up flowers. The tigers didn't fare very well in the tank. I didn't lose any, but they would keep berrying and dropping, despite whatever I tried.
SO! I redid a few things. My sister kept forgetting to get me a Christmas gift, so she took me out to my LFS and told me to pick something out that I wanted that didn't cost too much. I chose a 2kg bag of Fluval Shrimp Stratum substrate, since I was hearing good stuff on it. It would probably grow plants better than the 1/4" of black sand I had in there before.
I have to wait until tomorrow to put the shrimp back in their tank. The water is only 58 degrees! Burr!! The water I'm using now is being sent through my Brita filter, which changes the parameters to what I want them to be.
So here's the specs:
Light: 10w CFL (subject to possible upgrade), placed horizontally
Filter: Tom Rapids Mini Canister (yes, and I love it)
CO2: Half dose of Excel (I <3 medical syringes)
Ferts: Ultra light doses of dry ferts weekly (or more, depending on the plants)
-Ludwigia repens "narrow"
-Java Fern "narrow leaf"
-Anubias barteri "nana petite"
-Orange Eye Blue Tiger Shrimp
-Ramshorns and MTS
Trying out the new substrate. Why not?
A petite that's seen better days
Yay, biofilm. I figure it'd show up, it's a weekly occurrence in the 29g.
I hope the tigers like this set up better than their last one. I need to figure out how to use what I have on hand, because running to the store for RO water is going to be about impossible in another 4-6 weeks when baby gets here.
Nice, l have the same substrate in my 30-c let me except it doesn't have any planted plants in the subtrate it's all attached to driftwood. let me know how it turns out for plant growth. Once that blyxa establishes it'll look real nice.
The tigers have been released!
Leopard Ramshorn.I have a cute little pink one in there somewhere too!
I have two extremely dark females in there as well, but they said they were too tired from the move for pictures today. I'll if I can coax them out tomorrow for a couple pictures.
Right now, they are moving around, picking about and exploring things. The wood is familiar, but most of the plants are new, and they are checking things out from the safety of the shadows.
I'm hoping they will come around and start breeding better for me in this set up. I've had them since July '10, and I did get some babies out of them, but then lost them right before we moved. Ever since they've just been berrying and dropping. I'm starting to wonder if the 68-70 degrees they've been chilling at just wasn't warm enough for the eggs to develop all the way before the female had to molt. I only had babies when the temp was 72-74.
Berried BTOE :)
I just noticed today that one of my lovely ladies is berried! As of right now I have no real hopes on them actually hatching, because they have been berrying and dropping for a while now.
BUT, there are a few major differences between this set up and the last:
1. The water chemistry is different. The last time it ended up around 6 gH and 1 kH. This time, it's 4 gH and 0 kH.
2. The substrate buffers the pH. I haven't actually tested the pH from my tap, but other local sources report it at 7.4. With a kH of 0, I can't imagine the pH being very high...
3. The temp is higher. It was staying about 70 degrees where the tank was before. Now, the tank is consistently at 75. So maybe the higher temps will encourage egg development.
Also, I changed the food on them. To benefit the snails in such soft water, they've been given Ken's sticks (alternating veggie and spirulina) every other day. And I noticed the shrimp seem to really like the box elder bugs that are awakening and committing suicide in my tanks. So... I think they are getting plenty of protein.
They look pretty happy! Their condition is a definite improvement over the last set up.
The plants look pretty decent, as well, but I haven't been dosing anything in the tank. Thinking about setting up a little DIY co2 system, because I'm still shaky using Excel with shrimp that have failed to reproduce in months. I will use a small amount of yeast, just to benefit the plants a little. The light isn't too crazy, so I don't think it will take much to make the plants happy. I need to start dosing ferts, probably once a week.
Berried already? That is great. That means you'll have a ton of babies to share with the rest of us. Speaking of babies, are you getting excited about the approaching birth?
Ah, somewhere between excited and nervous... I've been having some pretty serious issues with my hips this time. My pelvis completely separated at the pubic joint, which has made life... fun. There isn't anything that can be done about it, just one of those things I have to deal with until the baby is born. But other than that, everything is ok and technically she can come any day now. We're down to the waiting game, and I'm still desperately trying to get my apartment in order for the new addition. I'm pretty nervous about how this will shake up my little world, how my daughter will react to her sister, and how we're going to make this work. Just because everything looks just fine on paper doesn't mean that it will work out in real life. We'll do whatever it takes to make it work, but facing a substantial life-altering event is still nerve wracking.
I hope the tigers will hatch. She's still fully berried today, and she's packing quite a few eggs. Before I moved, I had babies, but due to some neglect from the move, they died :(
I would take pictures, but their tank is now under my ten gallon, and it's just too hard to get down that low and get back up again.
Eh, berried mama lost most of her eggs.
My guess is it has something to do with the water. I'll be using RO from now on, reconstituted with Fluval's shrimp mineral thingy and a little Epsom salt. The directions on the package are a total FAIL, but after some experimentation I managed to figure it out.
So, the first berried female is still clinging on to a few of her eggs, and two more females are now berried. A very dark female who has an average amount of eggs, and the lavender colored female whose packing so many she can't even walk right. She has to lift her abdomen up and walk with this weird waddle. I told her I feel her pain :hihi:
At this point, I'm still not sure if I should be hopeful or not. They are berrying, and doing a good job of that, but they never seem to hang on to their eggs. I guess at this point I've done what I can. I think their tank is pretty, and they are very pretty, so I'm not going to get rid of them. If they produce, they produce. If not, oh well. I have more important things to worry about right now. As long as their water is clean, they are fed, and they look happy, that's all I care about.
That stinks about the first shrimp loosing the berries, but maybe the second one will have some shrimplets soon. My yellow shrimp dropped their eggs a few times and then there were tons of them. I say you'll have so many babies soon you'll get tired of changing those little diapers. :wink:
Well, all the BTOEs dropped their eggs, as usual. But, I just figured out something today that makes the picture more clear.
Our water is softened.
Yup, didn't know that. After being in this apartment since late September, I have wandered in and out of the community laundry room, which has the massive water heater, on a weekly basis and never bothered to look at it. Today, in my boredom as I waited for the washer to finish, decided to look at said heater. Turns out it's also an industrial water softener.
That answers A LOT of questions. About everything. Why my corys couldn't take it here, why my plants look like crap, and why my BTOEs and CRS won't keep their berries.
So, I'm actually starting to use RO water again. I've talked about it for months, but now I'm actually doing it. I got some Fluval Mineral supplement crap that fails with instructions. So I got out my trusty not-calibrated gH test, a gallon of RO, and a bucket and went to town. Turns out 5ml of that stuff increases the gH of one gallon of water by 13 degrees. I added 7.5ml of that stuff (that only says it has calcium in it), and 1/4tsp of Epsom salt, which ended with a gH of about 30 degrees. So now, my weekly water changes will be with one gallon of straight RO plus two cups of this "concentrate" mix. This gives me an approximate 4-1 Ca to Mg ratio, with my parameters leveling out to about 3.75 dgH and still 0 kH. It'll take a while for this water to really have an effect, but it gives the shrimp ample time to get used to the new parameters.
That is too funny! I am glad you found out the reason, though. Pretty soon, you'll be littered with babies. Speaking of which, how is your baby doing?
OMG. Gotta love it when something like that hits you :) Turns out you are an awesome keeper with bad water. Hopefully now your OEBTs will start kicking out some babies!!! Can we see a pic of the other little one? The human one?
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