That's looking good! Looking forward to seeing it with some shrimp in. Your threads prompted me to sign up as I'm after a spot of advice (hard to find) I reckon you'd be able to help with, if you'd be so kind. And also because it'd be nice to talk to someone else with the EBI when I get mine.
Firstly, idiot question probably, when it comes to conditioning water is everything you need in the kit? I've had tropical aquariums in the past (some time ago) and from what I recall they required more than the one/two bottles you appear to get with the EBI package. I have slightly hard water too so I'm a touch concerned with that.
I also read over your last thread and saw you had a bad experience with the filter, is an external filter a good idea or would a sponge filter or sponge filter + air pump deal suffice, do you think?
Thanks in advance, hope it's all going well with the shrimp
Hey Mark thanks for the kind words.
The EBI comes with a tap water conditioner called Shrimp Safe to remove chlorine and what not. The bottle is small but you don't need to use much because its only an 8 gallon tank.
It also comes with a mineral supplement and this is their advertising blurb:
"Liquid freshwater aquarium conditioner adds beneficial minerals Create aquarium water conditions suitable for ornamental shrimps Mineral supplement increases GH (general hardness) of aquarium water Maintain ideal GH (general hardness) levels necessary for freshwater ornamental shrimp. Fluval Shrimp Mineral Supplement provides beneficial minerals to optimize aquarium conditions for shrimp. Liquid electrolyte-based solution contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium with a 3 to 1 calcium/magnesium ratio. Establish water chemistry similar to natural conditions from which many freshwater Caridina shrimps originate. Ideal for maintaining GH levels without impacting carbonate hardness levels. 4 oz bottle with a measuring cap for easy dosing in 5 ml increments
Now the big question is what type of shrimp were you planning on keeping in your EBI? Since your tap water is hard you would need to probably use RO/ROI water to keep crystal shrimp or tiger shrimp. This is when you would probably want to use the mineral supplement that comes with the kit.
But Neocaridina types; cherry red, pearl blue, snowball, yellow etc will probably do fine in your hard water and you wouldn't really need to use the mineral supplement that comes in your kit.
The fluval stratum substrate that comes with the kit does help lower the PH. Water from my RO filter has a PH of 7.2, the water in my EBI has a PH of 6.4.
I am successfully (so far) keeping crystal shrimp in the EBI and they have produced a lot of babies since Jan. when I put them in there. When they were in my regular tap water they only produced maybe 12 babies in a year.
In my first EBI I did end up with a sponge filter on the tank but it doesn't keep the water crystal clear. So I am testing out the zoo-med canister filter to see if I want to buy a second one for my first EBI tank. I really do like super clear water. Depending on how many shrimp are in the tank a sponge filter would probably work fine. The population in my tank is close to 80-90 now and I don't feel that the sponge is enough. (It could just be "me").
The internal filter that comes with the EBI works well, but I had issues with a piece of carbon getting in it and making it rattle. I also didn't like it taking up so much room inside the tank. I found that putting panty hose (a knee high cut off worked well) over the whole bottom of the filter worked really well.
I have always used canister filters on my larger tanks so the use of one on these small tanks just feels "right" to me. I like carbon filtration even if it isn't needed.
So yes the kit does come with everything you need but water and shrimp and decor. But you should also have a test kit if you don't have one so you can test your tap water and tank water so you know how to proceed.
I hope you will make a thread about your EBI when it arrives so we can watch your progress