This project began when my dad began building his 75 gallon community tank. He and I have been in and out of the aquarium hobby, but never really focused on planted tanks. My trips to the LFS got me interested in building a nano shrimp tank. We already care for praying mantises, isopods (roly-polys), cockroaches, and cockroaches so inverts are familiar to us. Shrimp are very similar to isopods since they focus on the selective breeding of small animals rather than caring for individual animals as pets. Shrimp have the benefit of being more decorative and easier to observe. Here is one of our giant canyon isopods and one of our mantises.
So I started by getting myself a 7 gallon Imagitarium tank with an integrated filter November 2018. We set it up with some mopani, eco complete, plants, about 10 blue velvet shrimp, about 10 PRL CRS shrimp, and two small nerites. We soon ran into problems with pests from the plants from our LFS despite rinsing well. First was pond snails. We eradicated them by carefully watching the tank and snail hunting for about 10 minutes each day. We were successful. A few weeks later, more pests. This time it was two types of detritus worms, plenaria, and hydra. We took the same course of action, but due to the tiny size of these pests we only could keep them at bay. We decided to add some micro fish to combat the pests, understanding that some shrimplets may become food. We added 6 celestial pearl danios. They made short work of all of the pests. All was well and the shrimp began breeding. I was dosing some excel a few times per week, no CO2.
Fast forward to Christmas 2018. I received a Kessil A80 to help replace the poor light that came with the Imagitarium tank. It made things look instantly better. Within 3 weeks we began seeing blackbeard algae. Our shrimp and snails were eating most of the green spot and hair algae, but the blackbeard algae continued to establish. I got more serious about dosing excel. Now, 3 weeks later, the tank looks bad. Not the nice green you would like, but lots of brown and grey covering the plants. We had bacopa in the back, some microsword carpet establishing, one large s. repens, and many small ones (not a carpet).
I struggled for a week doing increased doses of excel and reducing the light. I believe there were 3 main issues. First, leaving the Kessil at 100% power for a 9 hour daily photoperiod. Second, dosing excel only in the evening. Third, a consistent 0 reading for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. These may be obvious to most of you, but were definitely not obvious to me at the time.
So the new course of action is to start fresh. We hope to keep all of the shrimp and fish and some of the plants that can be saved. Now I am using a Dennerle 10g cube. Substrate will be eco-complete. It will be filtered with a Fluval C2 HOB. Our plants will primarily be bacopa, s. repens, java moss, and some carpeting plant (haven't yet decided maybe monte carlo or dwarf baby tears). The micro-sword looked nice like a lawn, but is too tall for this sort of tank IMO. Shrimp will now number 30-40 since we have some berried and obtained a few more PRL CRS. We will have 2-3 small nerites and 6 celestial pearl danio. We will be injecting pressurized CO2. The tank will be unheated, and usually remains about 69-72 degrees. Light will still be the Kessil, but more at 50% brightness to start until we can be sure we aren't having algae problems. For ferts, I will be dosing Potassium and Nitrogen per the Seachem instructions as well as Flourish Comp. Hopefully these changes result in a more attractive tank with better plant health and fewer algae problems.
Here is the tank and the cabinet we got for it.
Any advice appreciated, the supplies all come today and tomorrow so we will be setting it up through this week.