Hello, I plan to use this thread to document my little shrimp tank that will go in my office. It is going to be a 1 gallon terrarium style, planted, with maybe 5-10 RCS. Tech will include LED lighting and possibly a motorized stirrer to add just a little water movement. I'm not clear if this belongs more in the nano tank section or low tech section since it is both.
We are building a more typical filtered 7 gallon shrimp tank for home, but since this little one will be at work, it is important it is small, unobtrusive, and fairly low maintenance. It can't look like a normal rectangular framed aquarium.
I bought a 1 gallon glass terrarium:
I then used EcoComplete for the substrate, filling slightly higher than the tapered bottom section of the terrarium, which gives maybe 1.5-2" of depth. I added API root tabs, broken into quarters, in accordance with the instructions.
Then it was time for hardscape. I found a perfect piece of malasian driftwood at the LFS. Only cost $3.
After hardscape, I wanted to get it planted. I selected two primary plants. An anubias nana will be the large "centerpiece" plant. I added s. repens in a few small clumps to eventually grow into mid-sized bushes. I am still deciding on a carpeting plant, but am leaning towards monte carlo. I would prefer dwarf baby tears, but it looks like it will be too demanding for this setup. I also plan to use duckweed or frogbit at the surface to be my fast growers and hopefully remove a good portion of nitrates. Leaning towards duckweed due to its short roots.
I learned it is difficult to photograph a rounded aquarium due to the magnification effect. I think the magnification will be nice for the shrimp, but it makes the hardscape look worse and highlights any problems with the plants. Water is still a bit cloudy.
Decided to add two small nerite snails to kick off cycling. Using Seachem Prime, Tetra Safestart+, and waterchanges to make sure I don't kill the snails, but they are pretty hardy.
Now the major part is to sit and wait for cycling as I design a custom lid. The lid will contain all of the technology in this tank. The primary features will be:
- LED lighting, aiming for about 5-6 watts. The lights will be mounted on the underside of the lid so they are about 1" from the surface of the water.
- Floating plant containment to keep the duckweed from shadowing the other plants too much, and to make it easy to remove extra growth. Thinking of using a thin clear acrylic barrier for this purpose.
- Water change access. Water changes are not great at the office, so I want to make this as simple as possible without worrying about getting water or condensation all over the desk and carpet. I plan to use a modified spray bottle or baster to remove water, and a simple water bottle (pre-dosed with Excel and Prime) to add water back, through a hole about 1" in diameter. This way I can have almost no water-mess and can do the water change over lunch.
- Water movement. I am currently investigating making a custom stirrer using a low rpm DC motor hooked to an impeller, to operate as a sort of mild wave pump. If that plan doesn't work how I want, I will probably use an air stone, mounting the pump to the lid and placing the stone behind the hardscape in the cave back there, so that the bubbles will be mostly hidden. Thoughts on benefits to an air pump vs. impeller? I think the impeller will do better for flow, but the bubbler may do better to oxygenate.
- The whole system will run on one power supply and be connected to a standard timer so I can set proper photoperiods.
- A lid. To help keep in the limited heat introduced by the lighting, and help reduce evaporation. Our humidity is frequently in the 20s and 30s, so evaporation would happen faster than I would like.
This lid sounds complicated, and it sort-of is. I will be designing it in CAD and using our laser-cutter and CNC to manufacture it. The whole thing will be made of acrylic and bamboo to help keep a neutral look that is also pretty waterproof. The lid should only need to be removed for major maintenance since trimming can be done through the hole for duckweed.
Eventually, I plan to get high grade RCS or mid-grade CRS so there is a lot of red in the tank to contrast with the plants. I read very contradictory information about how many shrimp are appropriate in a 1-gallon but 5-10 seems to be a common consensus. Leaning more towards RCS for ease of care.
While I grew up around aquariums, this will be my first attempt at such a setup. Any opinions or advice is much appreciated. Will duckweed be worth the hassle? How many shrimp do you recommend? Do you think a low speed impeller or an air stone would be more effective?