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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
Blue Ridge Reef
snails are your friend
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Blue Ridge's shrimp rack

This is going to be a long progression and I probably won't be sourcing much livestock until near year's end. But even though shrimp are a long way off and I had wanted to set this up in my home, I'm pretty excited about it.

As many of you know, I opened a local fish store in 2007 but was forced to switch focus to dog and cat supplies in 2013 since that's what was keeping the store open. And then I was left with over 100 empty used aquariums. I've sold off quite a few over the years, but still have 4 racks of 8 20 gallon long tanks. I've decided to set a few of these up in my back room and start some breeding projects for shrimp. If all goes well, I may expand this from the current 4 tanks to also filling the 4 above them. If that goes well, I have 3 more racks of 8 20 longs (for a total of 32 20 gallon tanks) but that's getting waaay ahead of myself. For now, here are the 4 tanks I'm starting with on the bottom row. Ignore the top row, they had crested geckos in them once upon a time and are empty except for plastic plants and caves:

I filled two of the tanks in April, just putting in a thin layer of Flourite for substrate and Aqua Clear 50 filters. A single bulb T8 light illuminates them for now, will need to upgrade that in short order when I add some plants. Added ammonia daily for a while, then just started throwing food pellets in there when I think to. Getting some brown and green algae going in these two. Never would have thought I'd be happy to see film algae.

The other two I got cleaned out today; they'll be set up for Caridina. These all had saltwater in them previously and even though I cleaned them when I broke them down, there was quite a bit of purple coraline algae still on the glass. 2 hours of elbow grease, a razor blade, and multiple vinegar rinses and it's almost all gone. I'm guessing the rest will eventually dissolve in the soft acidic RO water. I will be using active soil, but haven't settled on a brand yet. I've only ever tried ADA and Dennerle, which seem identical to me.

I will be using air driven sponge filters for all of these, though may leave the Aqua Clears on the neo tanks. The two empty tanks on the left have 2 54 watt T5 HO bulbs suspended about 12-14" over the top. This was fine to illuminate fish for sale, but a lot of light intensity is lost at that distance -plus the glass tops have seen their better days. I'm thinking I might be better off putting LEDs over all four of these.

I have ordered sponge filters and a large air pump which should arrive Friday. So if the store isn't too busy, will get the other two at least filled and circulating by the weekend. Still unsure on using the glass tops. They are older, scratched, lime stained and block more light than I would like. But I've found more than my share of shrimp on the floor so either the tanks will stay 2" from filled or I will have to use something as a cover.

Stocking plans for the two that are filled will be the best blue Neos I can find and the best red Neos I can find, trade names be darned. The two on the left I am leaning black King Kong Caridina and red galaxy or similar. I'm going around and around in my head about testing these tanks out with shrimp I currently own. In my past tanks I've always done that, but as sure as the sun shines I will miss some when I go to remove them. That's not too bad when it's a CRS in a michling tank, but another matter when it's a CRS in a BKK tank and might breed with them. I've also considered breeder nets to put any tester shrimp in. The two tanks that are currently filled are only some plants and a water change away from being ready. Well, and a light that will actually grow plants that aren't single-celled.

Thanks for looking and happy to hear any thoughts or ideas!

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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