Hmm, you may want to get up to 3dH if you can from my research. I am ordering a pH pen no more messing with API pH tests. I suppose the API liquid pH tests work better for saltwater since the pH is on the high scale. I agree test strips seem easier for testing pH but that's all I would use them for.
Amano shrimp have finally left the filter corner, they live in the cave now and come out in the evening to graze and have become less shy now...my Betta does not bother them at all anymore he is bored with them.
Pond snails reproduce in fresh water don't they? I never want those in my tank haha
I'm glad to hear the shrimp behavior changed to something you wanted- I must have missed that tidbit. I still love your tank and the betta that charmed you.
Snails are fortunately easy to get rid of if you want. Popular ways are picking them out (to kill or give to someone with a pea puffer), squishing them on the glass to feed the fish and teach the fish that they are food, or getting an assassin snail. They're fantastic cleaners. My fish in the 46g must have figured out that they can eat the small pond snails because I haven't seen any in a long time. The ramshorns are doing well in that tank though I haven't seen any young ones lately (I think the fish are eating the babies of those too).
I've stopped testing much, to be honest. Sometimes I do. Most of the time I just look at my plants now to see how things are going. Every few weeks, since I'm relatively knew at aquatic gardening, I make sure levels of whatever aren't climbing by doing real testing. Of course, I'm sure if I were troubleshooting a problem then I would be testing like mad!
GH and KH levels seem to be a subject for debate in shrimp-keeping. Who knows how many other parameters factor in to an individual's success other than KH and GH? The reason I'm not worried and willing to try with my current water is because of information like this TPT member quite succinctly put: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9024785-post6.html
I've seen info ranging from "neos aren't picky about GH or KH" all the way to "GH should be 8-10dH for cherries". My understanding is too low GH will cause molting problems- which I don't have judging by the molted shells I've seen. It's possible my test is older than I think it is. I know it isn't actually perfectly 0dH- how likely would a commercial test be that accurate (or the reading of it)?
Of course, if my females berry and do not hatch the eggs or something else happens, I can re-evaluate and adapt. At present though, all seems in order.
Long ago, as a professional landscaper for many years, I learned that you can't go by what it says on the tag. You have to follow what the plant is telling you. In my years of working at an animal shelter and through all my years of fish-keeping, this has proven true for animals as well. So while it's intelligent to gather information from other sources, the conclusive source should be the plant/animal itself. For now, I'm waiting to see if the shrimp tell me something needs to change- because so far they're just being happy and healthy.