"Compromises in 5g" - a shrimp scape
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:07 AM   #1
Rainer
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"Compromises in 5g" - a shrimp scape


This will be a hardscape focused tank for shrimp intended as an exercise in minimalism and self control. I have a tendency in my other tanks to try doing too much so this will be a nice change in philosophy. Please don't be shy with comments, critiques, or suggestions.

The tank is a 5g crescent, which may offer unique challenges, and the water parameters are on the hard side - pH 7.6, dGH 8.3 - so my options are limited to neos, babaulti, and perhaps hardy tigers, plus snails or microcrabs.

Lighting is a Finnex 26w perched 12" above the PFS substrate. I don't want to use CO2, or even Excel, so a thin layer of floating plants may be necessary.

Below are pics of the planned layout while still dry, with a ruler and pen for scale.

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For plants, I'm thinking of mini-pellia for rock accents and a plain of mini-fissidens, notocyphus, or possibly peacock moss in the area between the three rocks, depending on the parameters that notocyphus can tolerate. The outer ring of the tank would be bare.

How to create such a plain requires further thought. The outlines of SS squares are too symmetrical and too flat. Perhaps small loose stones held together by a hair net?

As you can see, the rocks are not that tall. Floating plants with long roots - Amazon Frogbit or Dwarf Water Lettuce - would add a vertical component and bring the shrimp into the upper level of the water column.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:38 AM   #2
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One criticism is that the arrangement of the rocks is too regular and seems forced. I see the point but that's how partially exposed outcroppings usually are.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:49 AM   #3
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I think those rocks are really neat, and will make a nice scape. I'd get some kind of moss to grow over their surfaces in clumps. Fissisens would look really nice. You could also get some kind of groundcover, glossostigma is very easy and would grow well in that sand. I see that you were considering frogbit, but I might go with something like broad leafed water sprite. As for shrimp selection, tigers would look really good in there, and maybe some green neos. Looks good so far!
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:07 AM   #4
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The notocyphus IME doesn't make a wonderful carpet. I'd go with a MP or xmas carpet and fissidens accents if I were you. Try dry starting the MP on cinder gravel. I'd go with a loofa or hairnet on cinders for the mosses. Those stones look like A LOT like coral. I'd be wary of using those with shrimp. I personally would replace them, but if you are sure that they are inert (test test test!), arrange them so they don't point in all one direction.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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The stones are collected locally. Some were immediately reactive; most weren't. The ones you see passed the first test but I will monitor water parameters before adding anything but neos.

Thanks for the warning about notocyphus and also the tip on cinder gravel. That could work well, especially with the blend-n-spray technique, to create interesting shapes.

This project is named Compromises, one of which relates to the choices of flora. Here are some of the nano plants I considered and the reasons they didn't work:

HC - wanted but needs CO2 and high lighting
DHG belem - wrong look
HG - same
Microsword - same
Rose moss - failed to thrive in an earlier incarnation of this tank
Riccia - supposedly a major pain
Glosso - needs high light and CO2 to stay low per APC
UG - CO2, would have been ideal
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Old 09-15-2012, 02:01 AM   #6
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Thanks to both of you for the responses and suggestions so far.

The idea of a low-growing cover like MP and higher accents gets better the more I consider it, both for greater vertical variation and because anything over 0.5" starts drowning out the smaller rocks.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:20 AM   #7
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I've been researching other options and decided to go with mini fissidens as the main cover and stay with mini pellia for accents and perhaps one area of notocyphus as a contrast.

The cinder gravel idea is a good one. I'm looking for something lower contrast than red lava as it tends to darken whatever covers it. I picked up a sample of paver base to test for reactivity. If it passes, it would be a good fit as it's grey and of varying small sizes, which would hopefully give the mini fissidens a textured look.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:25 AM   #8
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Wow, it's been a full month since the last post. During that time I tested the rocks for TDS changes; they were mildly reactive - 30 ppm after 7 days in distilled water. They hadn't been boiled, only rinsed, so it's possible something else was dissolving. The plants were on their way, so no more time for testing until flooding. At worst it will be a neo-only tank.

Also I acquired some non-reactive gravel from Caribsea to serve as the base for mini-mosses.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:35 AM   #9
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The DSM has started. On one end I created a small mound of pebbles for the fissidens geppi. Geppi grows too slowly for the chopping technique to work so I placed the individual fronds carefully and misted with water from my EI tank.

Next I chopped up some fissidens fontanus, added a little milk for extra nutrients, and covered the background.

I'll add the other mosses as they arrive. I had some extra fontanus so I added a rock from another scape temporarily. No point wasting it.

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This is with a 26w cfl and a small desk lamp. No algae issues with the DSM so might as well throw the lights and nutrients at it.

The plan is to flood in late November.

Sorry for the crappy pic - the forum doesn't support my phone's full resolution.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:42 AM   #10
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nice work with the scape
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:06 PM   #11
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"Algae isn't an issue in a DSM tank" - FALSE.

BGA can be an issue, I read after starting this one, and sure enough it is. It's not really visible unless a rock is removed, allowing access to the lower substrate, as you can see below.

Looking at the far left of the picture though, you can see regular green algae on the sand and the toothlike rock.

Lessons:
- leave a spot below grade where you can drain excess water. A rock is ideal for this.
- spritzing enough to keep plants moist on bare rock adds a surprising amount of water to the tank.

I foresee a Maracyn treatment once flooded to kill the BGA. Hopefully the shrimp will deal with the remaining green algae.

The first batch of MP - long strip on the bottom center - has turned dark brown and may have died. The second batch is mixed in but still okay.

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Old 11-11-2012, 03:55 PM   #12
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It's false that UG eats baby shrimp, FYI.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:27 PM   #13
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True, I should have updated that. The need for CO2 supplementation would still have ruled it out in this case though.

Gorgeous plant.
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