Hello! I'm new here, and also relatively new to the aquarium hobby. I've been keeping bettas for years, but in 2.5 gallon tanks with java ferns, and no filtration just 100% water changes weekly. Really low-tech stuff. I'm in college, so space is limited, and there are tank restrictions.
Anyway, I decided to dabble into the planted tank hobby and I bought myself a 2 gallon Fluval Spec. I used Fluval Shrimp Stratum for the gravel, and I set it up and let it run for a while, then I went to the LFS and bought some plants and just had at it.
This is what I ended up with. From my limited knowledge, I know I have a marimo moss ball, two anubias nana, stream bogmoss, a couple of stems of some sort of rotala, and I have no idea what the long grass-like plant is in the back.
Anyway, I set up the tank and I added a couple of White Clouds to cycle the tank. I also poured in a bottle of SafeStart. I lost a White Cloud pretty much the next day, and the other one chugged along.
Two weeks later, I used the API drop test kit and my readings were 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm Nitrites, 40 ppm Nitrates, and 6.5 ph. So I was like great! My tank is cycled. I hadn't done a water change in two weeks (spring break) so I did that, let it sit for a few days, did another test. Everything read zero, only change was ph was at 6.4. I know the substrate is lowering the ph, which is fine, because I wanted to put shrimp in the tank.
Last week, I bought four amano shrimp and added them into the tank. I had a lot of algae and they munched on it happily for a couple of days.
Then, they suddenly disappeared. All four of them began to huddle together and hide under the mossball. I did a test. Everything was fine aka 0s across the board.
Today, I did another test, and ammonia was at .25 ppm. Found that a bit worrying, and did a water change. For a while, I thought that might have been affecting them since a couple of the amanos came out and became active for about an hour. Though, shortly after that they went to go hide and huddle in a nook.
I don't want to keep fish in here, I've left the White Cloud in because... he isn't causing any trouble, and seems quite happy by his lonesome.
But either something is wrong with my water chemistry, or these shrimp are super shy... which is not something I wanted. Did I get the wrong type of shrimp? Are they like this? Are they settling in? Am I doing something wrong?
Any suggestions? Advice? Comments? It would all be appreciated. Thank you!