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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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I want a shrimp bowl

So I went out and bought a glass bowl from Micheal's the other night since I would really want a shrimp bowl. The bowl would probably hold around 2 gallons of water, maybe 2.5 MAX

Is there anything I need to know? Should I get a heater? How long should I let it sit with plants before adding shrimp? What shrimp are the hardiest so they will survive at first? What kind of light (I was thinking like a 13W CFL)? I want it as low tech as possible

Any advice would be awesome. Hopefully picking up a nice small piece of driftwood this weekend for it. If I can't find one, there is always rocks I can find


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 03:27 PM
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No heater, let it sit for about 2 weeks, RCS are hardiest, and that bulb would be perfect. There yah go.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 03:30 PM
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Cherry shrimp. 13 watt CFL is fine. Try to find 6500k. If your house temp stays around 70f you should be fine with no heater. If you are using MGOPM with a sand cap and heavily planting it you could add shrimp right away with 50% water changes weekly. Most will tell you to wait a month before adding shrimp though.

Plant tanks and grow well.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I was planning on doing MGOPM, but not sure what to cap it with... I have either pool filter sand or pea gravel. Our house stays around 70 so they should be fine. It will be heavily planted as well.

Should I worry about dosing anything for the plants or will they be alright?


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 06:15 PM
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no dosing needed if you start with organic soil and then plan on keeping shrimp in it.
imo pool filter sand is better than gravel as it doesn't let much soil to pass through the layer (try to never pull up plants from the substrate or you'll start mixing soil and cap layer which may or may not lead to trouble. so don't use certain stem plants.)

as long as the house temp doesn't fall below 70F you'll be perfectly fine. the shrimp will live longer lives, but as the downside their offspring will grow slowly.

I suggest you dry start this for about a month and then fill it up, wait some more for plants to get going again and then add shrimp. the dry start fills your bowl quickly and the second wait makes sure that the emersed growth keeps on growing and keeps a safe environment for the shrimp.(ie. doesnt completely melt and slow you down.)

Also its notable that floating plants are key to shrimp bowls.




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Stupid question, but why are floating plants a key to shrimp bowls?


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 07:41 PM
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Stupid question, but why are floating plants a key to shrimp bowls?
Floating plants have huge nutrient/resource advantages (specifically access to atmosphere and the CO2 that it contains as well as more access to light).

Several of the most popular floating plants also happen to be prized for their nutrient hungry and rapid growth properties which makes them ideal 'nitrate suckers' which is why they are so important in a very small eco-system like a shrimp bowl. Not only are they key for soaking up all of the nutrients/chemicals/organics released by the Miracle Gro as the initial organic content is exposed to the tank water but they are also key long-term in 'filtering' out the nitrates that would otherwise poison and kill the shrimp in such a small water volume (without mechanical filtration).

I like floating plants like frogbit for algae control as well for two reasons. They block light from entering the tank which decreases the amount of light that the algae can use to grow and they suck up a lot of the nutrients that the algae is trying to use to grow.

In a shrimp bowl you are going to be relying on the plant mass to provide your filtration and relying on the bio-film associated with a mature planted environment to provide a secondary source of food for the shrimp. Floating plants are a great way to bridge the gap between your initial planting (when the aquascape still needs to grow in and mature) and the point where the bowl matures and becomes more naturally balanced in a chemical and biological sense (at which point you should be able to remove the floating plants if you really want to and still have enough plant mass to keep the water clean and hopefully to avoid algae outbreaks).

I would recommend any of the neocaridina species or color morphs (Red Cherry Shrimp, yellow neos, rilis, snowballs, blue pearls, etc.). In my heavily planted bowl I have trouble seeing the regular red cherry shrimp that I tossed in there (between the natural tannins in the water that I have yet to remove by doing water changes and the fact that my bowls are jungle thick with plants). I would think that something brighter like a yellow neo might be more striking visually but I have not put this to the test personally yet as I don't have any yellows.

You can have success with these Walstad style bowls in many different fashions and different styles but the easiest and safest way is to plant them heavily and just let the massive amount of nutrients and the initial boost from the decaying organics in the Miracle Gro work their magic. This initial nutrient rich environment will result in incredible growth for quite a while (more than long enough for your plants to fill in and for the bowl to mature) and I would say that no ferts are needed during this stage. None are really needed at all but at some point in the future you may decide to supplement the water column slightly with ferts.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 07:48 PM
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Stupid question, but why are floating plants a key to shrimp bowls?
Unless I had a good aesthetic reason to avoid floating plants (like a showcase Iwagumi tank for example) I would personally recommend floating plants as a key tool in any planted tank.

In a shrimp bowl they seem to be the added ingredient that really tips the scales in terms of avoiding algae outbreaks especially when you are using a soil with organic content. Walstad style bowls use soil with organic content intentionally but there are definitely pros and cons to having the organics in the soil. Floating plants seem to be a very valuable tool to use in negating the 'cons' involved with including the organics in the soil. The 'pros' include creating a more 'natural' and complex eco-system (which will hopefully result in a more balanced eco-system) as well as a fantastic plant growing environment.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 08:21 PM
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all that plus they(floating plants) can shade the intense 13W light for lower light plants and prevent algae from taking over the slower growing leaves.




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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 08:55 PM
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man thats good advice, I needed that when I started... so far, everything seems spot on being a shrimp bowl guy myself... I also agree with the RCS, they do seem to disappear easily unless the light is right... Yellows could be really interesting, too bad crystals are hard to keep, becuase the white would show well...
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 09:02 PM
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the candy cane colored shrimp do show very well in a green shrimp bowl.

female cherry shrimp also are very visible among green plants.




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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the information. I will be taking it into consideration when putting my bowl together this weekend.

Would Hornwort make a good floater for a bowl or should I go for Duckweed?


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 11:29 PM
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hornwort should be ok. it didn't work for me though, and I recommend Salvinia, frogbit, water lettuce, or duckweed.




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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 01:17 AM
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In terms of nutrient uptake the duckweed is probably the best option but it is really, really annoying. I have it my tanks but not on purpose.

I love Amazon frogbit.

Hornwort will work. It will probably end up getting tangled up with other plants so if you plan to move/remove it on a regular basis you might want to use something else. I have had tanks with a mass of frogbit, duckweed and hornwort when I was shuffling plants from tank to tank and forgot about a couple of clumps of hornwort and the shrimp seemed to like the thick mass of plants on the surface just fine but that was in tanks with HoB and surface agitation so a barrier of plant mass at the surface wasn't as much of a threat to the gas exchange process (it wasn't as likely to suffocate the shrimp as it might be in a bowl with no circulation or oxygen being added).

Shrimp seem to love the down-hanging roots of frogbit and duckweed. In my bowls the frogbit plants actually dropped roots all the way to the surface of the substrate since the frogbit was growing so well in the bowl during the initial breaking-in period.

Use what you like the look of and have access to.

I would be willing to bet that the reason my bowls were so boring (i.e. easy and stable) from the very beginning is because I had a solid mass of frogbit on the surface to out-compete the algae for resources. With the stem and rooted plants sucking up nutrients from the organic soil and the floating plants stripping the nutrients from the water column it doesn't leave much left for algae to use as fuel. During the first 4-6 weeks I actually had a single 28W 6500K compact flourescent desklamp with the bulb positioned almost directly on top of each bowl and I still didn't get algae (just a ton of evap) which really surprised me. I eventually changed over to just using one lamp for both bowls (they sit right next to each other on an end table) and even raised the light up to a normal setting simply to slow down the evap.
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