I only want the best for them...
"Best" for the shrimp is not necessarily "best" for the plants, so important to be clear about where your priorities lie. Of course you can have a great planted shrimp tank, but shrimp may not well do as well as they potentially could do in a high tech planted tank with demanding plants, high ferts, CO2 and use of Excel.
Lower tech is generally best for shrimp, typically:
- no CO2
- less demanding plants such as ferns and mosses
- lower ferts / "cleaner" water
- less frequent and smaller water changes (weekly 50% w/c not good for shrimp, think more like 10% bi-weekly)
- no Excel
Others will have no doubt had great success with shrimp breeding rampantly in super high tech planted tanks, so sure this is possible. But most people generally agree that low tech tanks are best for shrimp, if the shrimp are indeed your priority.
Specifically with regards to Excel, most people agree it is "shrimp safe" if you follow the recommended dosing. By "safe" we mean that it is very unlikely to kill shrimp outright. Whether continued daily dosing is harmless to shrimp is unclear; how can you tell if they are not quite thriving as well as they could without it? The conclusion I came to after reading the many threads here on the subject is that:
- Excel is good as algaecide, not really as a source of CO2 in the same way that 'proper' CO2 injection is
- Occasional dosing at the full (high) day 1 rate as per Seachem instructions is fine for shrimp and useful for controlling algae
- Better to avoid dosing regularly as far as possible
- Daily dosing probably not good for shrimp (may not kill them, but probably not best)
- Few would recommend Excel use in a shrimp tank unless you really really need to (better options such as H2O2)
Hope this helps, James