substrates and how they work?
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:01 AM   #1
pandamonium
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substrates and how they work?


Hey everyone,

I wanted to start experimenting with non-gravel substrates for a shrimp tank I am going to be setting up soon. I have two tanks now, one with some blasting sand and the other with 1mm diameter smooth gravel. Both of them I put Osmocote plus underneath for ferts.

I was reading about Aquasoil, Eco-complete, Akadama, and Fluval Stratum. I am confused to this idea of CEC. I think it means cation exchange capacity. I took a class on this topic this past semester and I have an idea but when applying it to substrates I get a bit lost.

Is it basically saying that Eco complete is inert, just like rock is but can hold a lot of nutrients? And then if I want to use it, I should have a layer of ferts in it somewhere?

Right now I am leaning toward Stratum because I did read many good reviews about it's buffering and such, no leeching. Akadama I read will disintegrate.

Any help would be appreciated on either how CEC works or which substrate would be best for shrimp. A note is that I live outside San Francisco so the water here is pretty good for plants and shrimp as well I believe.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:08 AM   #2
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You are correct in your understanding of the concept of CEC. As far as adding a layer of ferts underneath, that can be dangerous depending on how much and of what type ferts you add. There is no way to regulate how fast those ferts will be released into the water column and you run the risk of killing all your shrimps or any other fauna you may have in the tank.

There have been people that talk about "pre-loading" their high CEC substrates. I believe this is done by soaking them in a fert solution for a certain amount of time in order for them to absorb the ferts. I can't tell you more about this as I've never done it myself. Try a search on that topic.

Hopefully you'll get some more responses here and you can get your tanks on the way to where you want them. Good luck.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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Hmm I see. I was thinking of Osmocote Plus which is slow release. on the package it says 6 months for terrestrial plants and other aquarists have said 2-3 months for aquatic use. That would be safe I presume. I have seen other people layer their floors with it and it works well.

Thanks for setting me in the right direction I think from how you word it, CEC substrates are like inorganic sponges.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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Large amounts of Osmocote Plus = not a good idea in shrimp tanks. Only in small amounts and used sparingly. Depending upon the shrimp you keep and your experience in maintaining water parameters, you could end up burning your critters up with nitrates and such.

As soon as it hits water, it starts to release. A layer of it probably a bad idea.

What's your substrate budget and what kind of shrimp do you want to keep?
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:52 PM   #5
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Ok thats good that I haven't set it up yet. I use it in small amounts in my other 2 tanks, just a few pellets (like 10 or so) near each bushel of plants.

I am new to shrimping but not to fish keeping fortunately. I was thinking about keeping painted fire reds, which essentially I read were just selectively bred cherry shrimp. I wanted to keep maybe a blue, yellow, or orange colored shrimp with them, though not sure which species would keep them from interbreeding. The PFRs are Neocaridina species if I read the planet invert article right so I cannot have any other neos in the tank. So suggestions would be nice as to colors and species

Substrate, I want to keep it as cheap as I can. I was looking at ecocomplete and I have Aqua forest near me so I can get the aquasoil without shipping if needed. So substrate budget for this tank I would say no more than 50-75 total would be nice.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:08 AM   #6
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PFRs are "Cherry" Shrimp, yes. As are Blue Velvets, Yellows and Orange/Pumpkin (there are non-Neo Orange Shrimp, though). All are Neo species and will interbreed.

Everybody gets all fancy with their colors these days but I'm still a big fan of PFRs. You could do a really cool tank of PFRs, Amano Shrimp and maybe Tigers once you got the hang of things.

If you want to keep things cheap and don't want to keep sensitive shrimp like Crystal Reds? You can use just about anything. I'm a big fan of Pool Filter Sand, black blasting grit, Safe T Sorb and such. All are cheap and available all over the country.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:12 AM   #7
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I like the PFRs cuz they are really vibrant and stand out well against darker substrates. I looked at Turface and it seems like a good alternative but I spent the afternoon looking at 12 gallon long journals and a lot of people go with Aquasoil. I think I looked at yours too and you went with Azoo, which my roommate used. I want to be able to grow carpeting plants (e belem, or something grasslike and quick). Should I go with Azoo? I'd like to be able to keep CRS one day if possible, or at least have the option to keep slightly more demanding shrimps

And what are the non-Neo orange shrimp called? I'd like to have color
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #8
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Tangerine Tigers are one variety. There are a couple others. Definitely wouldn't recommend any of them for a shrimp beginning.

If you're new to shrimp, it's important to remember that it can be difficult to find a parameter sweet spot where both Neos and Crystals can both thrive. It's really best to go with one or the other.

If your budget allows it, ADA Aquasoil is great. You'll need to cycle your tank for a month at minimum (which is good for shrimp, anyway, as it develops lots of goodies in the tank to help them do well). It'll lower your pH and buffer water, which is great for Crystals.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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I was gonna do that but a really generous person on this forum donated 4 bags of Fluval Shrimp Stratum to me so I will be using that. I have heard good things about it for Neos and other not so high grade shrimps which I don't mind.

How important are the shrimp mineral boosters and all those supplements?
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:45 AM   #10
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You can view my 120 Gal tank on the tank journal, there's been a horde of PFR's in there for over year, even with all the stuff I do to the tank.

They are pretty much bullet proof.
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