zmartin's unfiltered shrimpbowl - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2020, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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zmartin's unfiltered shrimpbowl

What a newby error. With working from home for COVID-19 I established an unfiltered planted bowl on my desk. Shows how long this caper has been going - I was able to research, purchase, establish and cycle while working from home. I established the bowl with ADA Amazonia and the standard 10 doses of Seachem Stability I tested it at week 4 to find no ammonia or nitrite. So I added 3 Bloody Mary (or so my LFS says) shrimp to the bowl. I was puzzled when I found 2 of them up amongst the frogbit (not happy but alive); third was grazing unfazed. Retested again and as expected ammonia was zero, nitrite was zero BUT nitrate was approximately 80 ppm. Damn. What did I do wrong when I tested on the weekend? Poor shrimp.

I have cycled with ADA Amazonia before and I know it releases ammonia and that I should expect high nitrate levels (once cycled) so I should have followed up on my doubts when I got a low nitrate reading on the weekend. Just thought the water changes and frog bit was doing its thing. Anyway - I had a tub of water for the tank sitting prepared - so I did three quick water changes to bring the Nitrate levels down. Fingers crossed.

I have a two other planted aquariums - a four foot (CO2 driven) and a fluval flex but this is my first time playing with no filter.

The bowl
• Glass Fish Bowl is 25 centimetres high with a diameter of 30 centimeters. I counted 9 litres on first fill.
• ADA Amazonia with GH reconstituted RO water
• A cut down piece of driftwood from an old tank (and was surprised to see it leaching tannins)
• 9 watt LED - which when tested with the empty bowl (not sure how much water affects) the PAR was between 30-40. The light is on a three hour siesta. I did buy a 12 watt grow bulb which would give a lot more light but it's too big and heavy for my desk light; it'll have to wait.
• Unfiltered, no heater.

The plants:
Substrate
• Micranthemum Monte Carlo
• Eleocharis "Belem"

Stems
• Rotala rotundifolia
• Rotala nanjanshen

Driftwood
• Anubia
• SP Bucephalandra
• Java and Flame Moss

Other:
• Frogbit
• Bloody Mary Shrimp (3)
• 2 Malaysian Trumpet Snails and some other hitchhiker snail varieties

The planted plants seem to be growing well. While the Rotala was submersed grown it must have been in a high energy system and has been transitioning into this low tech bowl; smaller and greener leaves.

The Anuba and Bucephalandra on the other hand are not happy and have developed serious deficiencies. 4 weeks with nothing but ammonia / nitrates from the Amazonia and some traces hasn't been enough and I have started dosing PPS Pro (Low light) with some additional phosphate. Given the Nitrate scare I probably should remix to remove Nitrate for a while.

Well that's it the first post in a tank journal. I have been an avid reader of other journals and thought I should try and give something back to the forum. That said I'm not expecting or promising much. Cheers.
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Last edited by zmartin; 05-12-2020 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Fixed errors that crept in when I cut and paste the post from onenote to the forum.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-12-2020, 07:34 PM
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I've been wanting to attempt the same thing and just got my bowl a couple days ago but have yet to set it up; would love to see how yours progresses
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimpbowl update

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Originally Posted by waterblossom View Post
I've been wanting to attempt the same thing and just got my bowl a couple days ago but have yet to set it up; would love to see how yours progresses
Thanks waterblossom a bit of incentive to follow through on updating this journal. Stating the obvious but a planted bowl is certainly different to a tank. You can't plant all the way to the edge as the substrate gets to shallow due to the curvature of the bowl.

By way of update

Probably no surprises but I lost the two shrimp that were struggling with the high nitrate levels early in the week. I have hundreds of shrimp (mostly wild types) in the main tank but of course I put my best bloody marys in the bowl; so a bit annoyed that I lost them.

The third shrimp seems healthy, moving and grazing well. I don't know much about biology but pretty sure this breeding project isn't going to go far with one shrimp in the bowl. Will wait another week of two to fix. Retested everything and all was exactly where I expected (unlike 4 days ago) and close to the change water. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5. ADA Amazonia is doing it's thing with ph of 6.5 and zero phosphate (I am dosing the tank to 1ppm each water change).

I have never posted a photo here before so do please let me know if you cant see it.

[IMG]Aquarium Photos, on Flickr[/IMG]

As you can hopefully see the ephiphytes have struggled a bit - I didn't provide any additional ferts for the first week or two and the plants also had the indignity of a week in a bucket while I got organised. So the anubias and bucephalandras have melted but I am pleased to report that there is new growth on them all.

Last edited by zmartin; 05-16-2020 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Posts merged; photo not showing
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 06:25 PM
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Wow, that looks amazing! I love your scape

Good point about the curvature of the bowl for planting. Will have to consider that as I set mine up as well. Sorry to hear about your 2 best shrimp though :/ good luck to the third! would love to know in your next update how often you do water changes!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 12:43 AM
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Looks nice. Me like!!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 01:44 AM
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I love bowl journals. I started a "Walstad" one for my betta. No filter but he has to have a heater. I've been trying to get plants to grow thick enough that you can't see the heater. LOL

Can't wait to see how yours progresses.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimpbowl update

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterblossom View Post
Wow, that looks amazing! I love your scape

Good point about the curvature of the bowl for planting. Will have to consider that as I set mine up as well. Sorry to hear about your 2 best shrimp though :/ good luck to the third! would love to know in your next update how often you do water changes!
Hi waterblossom - I'm not sure I can answer the water change question. The planted bowl is supposed to be my low light easy "aquarium" and I am hoping to 'progress' to irregular changes based on TDS. But like all new tanks it's currently living a life of it's own. Having used ADA Amazonia I followed the water change cycle: every day for a week, every second day for the second week and then twice a week. I have a small outbreak of hair algae so think I need to keep the twice a week changes for now.

General Update.
Unfortunately, I lost the last shrimp. Not sure if it was from the same cause as the others. Probably even though it didn't seem affected at the time and was active throughout. Anyway, everything you read on this site is about being patient and at 4 weeks I thought I was; obviously not.

So time to reset. I contacted a "local' drivable-distance online vendor. They said "I'll have to organise these for you? Later this week." and never came back to me. So I'm glad I didn't just click and purchase. I am thinking of getting some fire reds instead; I think I can source those.

So I am using the opportunity with nothing but snails (to be a bit more patient) and to treat the bowl daily with the water change dose of Seachem Excel. Hopefully that'll knock the hair algae back a bit.

I'll have to keep working on my ferts - was dosing Nitrates to 5ppm at water change and the bowl bottomed out this week with no measurable nitrates (which is ironic after the massive levels a couple of weeks back). I'm betting that's not good for my little algae outbreak. So much for easy - I'll either have to dose more or start a mid week dose.

Bump:
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2020, 08:44 PM
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Thank you for your answer! I was hoping to be able to achieve something similar with my bowl as well, making it the easier "aquarium" but now that you are explaining all the things going on with your bowl, it's giving me flashbacks to all the journeys I had to go through to get my first tank well established..yikes

Sorry to hear about your last shrimp, hopefully the ones that go in next will have a better chance as your bowl gets more settled. Thanks for sharing your timeline though, it's very helpful to know how its going!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-26-2020, 12:39 AM
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Love the detailed write up. Thinking about starting on myself now
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2020, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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I have shrimp (again)

Well it's been almost 2 months (11th April) since I flooded the bowl and 5 days (4th June) since Take II on the shrimp. I'm pleased to say that the shrimp have been doing very well this time.

The vendor I was trying to buy off never followed through - so I'm glad I contacted them before clicking and purchasing online. While I was waiting I found an alternative source on a community website. These were 1/2 the price of the retailers and more generous; I purchased 10 and lost count of how many went into the bowl, somewhere around 13 (maybe more). With the exception of 1 or 2 they were all juvenile so will have to wait to grow them out. It was supposed to be overnight courier (same city and all) but with the ongoing COVID-19 impacts the shrimp spent an additional night out but they all arrived OK.

Originally I was only going to put 6 in the bowl (1 Male / 5 female) but the shrimp were so small I couldn't sex them and I thought they would be at risk of being eaten in the other tanks. I'll cull on quality and gender rebalancing when they get a bit bigger. Also received a bonus piece of Christmas Moss with the shrimp which is cool; a brighter green and more compact than the Java moss I have in the bowl.

With the shrimp on my COVID Isolation workdesk the greatest challenge is going to be NOT feeding the shrimp every day. I'm thinking three times weekly (M,W,F) - alternating some barley straw pellets, zucchini and a shrimp food for a bit of protein. I can put some in while working and remove anything left when packing up for the day.

Changes:

  • Excel - the daily excel dose worked a treat with the hair algae but have stopped on adding the shrimp. There is still some type of algae on the tip of driftwood (in the photo). The shrimp have been loving this and there has been one or two there most of the time. We'll see who wins algae or shrimp.
  • Water change - in the name of stability I have reduced the volume to just 2 litres a week. I know it hasn't been long since algae problems and the need to dose Seachem Excel but hoping the shrimp will keep things in better balance.
  • Ferts - still dosing to 5ppm nitrogen but it's a different challenge than my other tanks dosing so close to zero and ensuring that it doesn't bottom out. Dosing 2 ppm mid week and then dosing back after testing with the weekly water change. A little bit onerous to do the testing so frequently but hopefully the bowl will get a rhythm and I can run with it.

Thanks all for the comments and likes
@Discusluv - appreciate the comment. I love your threads, you have so much going on!
@doubleatraining - does your walsted bowl have a journal? I'll have a read.
@Squids - you do know you have to start a bowl now the thought has escaped! Look forward to following.

Hope you like the photo! Will get some macro shots (as best I can with a bowl) when the 'shrimplets' grow out a bit.

Bloody Mary Shrimp by ZMartin, on Flickr
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Last edited by zmartin; 06-09-2020 at 01:52 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-09-2020, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zmartin View Post
Well it's been almost 2 months (11th April) since I flooded the bowl and 5 days (4th June) since Take II on the shrimp. I'm pleased to say that the shrimp have been doing very well this time.

The vendor I was trying to buy off never followed through - so I'm glad I contacted them before clicking and purchasing online. While I was waiting I found an alternative source on a community website. These were 1/2 the price of the retailers and more generous; I purchased 10 and lost count of how many went into the bowl, somewhere around 13 (maybe more). With the exception of 1 or 2 they were all juvenile so will have to wait to grow them out. It was supposed to be overnight courier (same city and all) but with the ongoing COVID-19 impacts the shrimp spent an additional night out but they all arrived OK.

Originally I was only going to put 6 in the bowl (1 Male / 5 female) but the shrimp were so small I couldn't sex them and I thought they would be at risk of being eaten in the other tanks. I'll cull on quality and gender rebalancing when they get a bit bigger. Also received a bonus piece of Christmas Moss with the shrimp which is cool; a brighter green and more compact than the Java moss I have in the bowl.

With the shrimp on my COVID Isolation workdesk the greatest challenge is going to be NOT feeding the shrimp every day. I'm thinking three times weekly (M,W,F) - alternating some barley straw pellets, zucchini and a shrimp food for a bit of protein. I can put some in while working and remove anything left when packing up for the day.

Changes:

  • Excel - the daily excel dose worked a treat with the hair algae but have stopped on adding the shrimp. There is still some type of algae on the tip of driftwood (in the photo). The shrimp have been loving this and there has been one or two there most of the time. We'll see who wins algae or shrimp.
  • Water change - in the name of stability I have reduced the volume to just 2 litres a week. I know it hasn't been long since algae problems and the need to dose Seachem Excel but hoping the shrimp will keep things in better balance.
  • Ferts - still dosing to 5ppm nitrogen but it's a different challenge than my other tanks dosing so close to zero and ensuring that it doesn't bottom out. Dosing 2 ppm mid week and then dosing back after testing with the weekly water change. A little bit onerous to do the testing so frequently but hopefully the bowl will get a rhythm and I can run with it.

Thanks all for the comments and likes
@Discusluv - appreciate the comment. I love your threads, you have so much going on!
@doubleatraining - does your walsted bowl have a journal? I'll have a read.
@Squids - you do know you have to start a bowl now the thought has escaped! Look forward to following.

Hope you like the photo! Will get some macro shots (as best I can with a bowl) when the 'shrimplets' grow out a bit.

Bloody Mary Shrimp by ZMartin, on Flickr
Such a great shot of your shrimp.

I have lost the war on string algae and, fortunately, my shrimp could care less.

I pull out a bit weekly and remind myself that a pretty tank isnt everything.



But, I really do think that they are drawn to the algae that gets to be a clump. They really do congregate there and appear to be feasting away. I wonder if this is because it provides a perfect site for the growth of microorganisms ( food). I mean, moss may do the same thing, but my moss always succumbs to hair algae.

So, for me, hair algae is the new moss- lol!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-10-2020, 01:01 AM
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That looks amazing zmartin! So glad to hear things are going well. The red shrimp are such a great contrast with all the green
Just out of curiosity, do you have any other critters living in your bowl? I found my bowl in the process of cycling is basically a copepod farm..
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2020, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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So, for me, hair algae is the new moss- lol!
Thank's Discusluv - this made me laugh. So now I have four types of moss in the 9 litre bowl. Java, Flame, Christmas and "Hair"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterblossom View Post
That looks amazing zmartin! So glad to hear things are going well. The red shrimp are such a great contrast with all the green
Just out of curiosity, do you have any other critters living in your bowl? I found my bowl in the process of cycling is basically a copepod farm..
Thank goodness for critters, the bowl would have been most boring for almost 2 months with out them. I had a few, what I think are, Nematodes and three types of snails. Which is why I thought the bowl was good to go at around the four week mark.

The Nematodes seem to have vanished - as there is no filter I am using a turkey baster with the water changes to get some organics off the substrate and out of the bowl. Amazing though, how much was accumulating without a filter, no bottom dwelling fish and acclimating plants. It won't be so effective now that I've moved to weekly instead of bi-weekly, 2 litres instead of 5 and the carpets have filled in somewhat.

The pond snails seem to have gone (I don't like them so may have given them a helping hand) and what I think are tiny Ramshorn snails. They have a flat spiralled shell (planispiralled according to google). The funny thing with the "Ramshorns" is they are all hanging upside down eating the water surface scum. It won't be too hard to reduce their numbers with a scoop of a fishnet.

Waterblossom how is your bowl going? It sounds like you are only a week or so behind me.
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Last edited by zmartin; 06-11-2020 at 02:18 PM. Reason: spelling; duplicate post
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2020, 08:27 PM
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Thanks for asking about my bowl zmartin! I don't want to hijack your journal so I'll just be quick and say that it's been about 3 weeks since I set mine up with a portion of substrate from an established tank + one java fern from the established tank as well! I think that definitely gave my cycle a boost and I believe I'm nearing the end (dosing to 1ppm ammonia)

I added some additional plants that I bought online, all seem to be staying alive so far except for dwarf hairgrass which came emersed and is basically slowly wasting away. My lighting may be too weak at only 3 watts; I try to reach 10-12 hrs daily.

But like you I have many critters in my bowl! The copepods, which I believe were from my main tank which has some cyclops in there but my chili rasbora keep them in check. But now in the bowl with no predators, there are probably hundreds. I put a couple MTS in the bowl as well. I have a type of nematode on the glass that I've never seen in my main tank so I'm assuming they may have arrived with the plants (?) And I found a tiny limpet that hitchhiked on some plants too! Never had a limpet before so that was an interesting one to try and identify edit: well I just took another closer look in my bowl and found a new critter that I hadnt noticed before! I can't quite identify it for sure, but I think it might be some type of ostracod .. it's tiny and has some black/clear coloration, a little triangular in shape and zooms around quite fast. Found them among some decaying plant matter.

Are you doing anything to remove the surface scum? I also am seeing a film build up quickly and I am concerned that it could be affecting the gas exchange.
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Last edited by waterblossom; 06-11-2020 at 09:08 PM. Reason: added new critter
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