Thanks for the replies.
Well now I am not as paranoid after hearing that they can tolerate nitrates at 40ppm.
How many days should I space w/c's out in an attempt to knock down nitrates? If it's too often won't that cause molting issues that could possibly kill them? I've only kept shrimp for 4 months so far. So I am still learning.
I like the look of floating plants so I'll have to look into them. Not familiar with duckweed, I'm about to check that out now.
Besides the high nitrates the hardness in my tank is low. It only takes one drop for the color to change when I do GH/KH tests. I would like to add crushed coral to the tank and to the 1 gallon plastic pitcher that I use to age the water. How much crushed coral should I start with for this? I was thinking maybe adding 1 tablespoon per week till it gets to where I want it.