Keeping the good bacteria while changing the substrate. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping the good bacteria while changing the substrate.

I apologize if I put this in the wrong spot or if this question has been posted and I just missed it. I am still a newbie to shrimp keeping. We've had them for a few months now and have a had a few deaths but nothing drastic. At the time when I was setting the tank up the only subtrate I could find that was recommended by a local petstore chain was Nat Geo sand substrate. I thought the black would look pretty with the shrimp in their 20 gal. long and would compliment my male Dumbo Halfmoon blue betta Merlin. I was going to go with the some kind of soil since all of my aquariums are planted.I was told that was not a great idea because it woud be expensive. The soil breaks down quickly and you have to replace it oftn. Is that true? I have the 20g long shrimp tank with 2 mystery snails, 10 gal. betta tank with 1 male betta and 1 mystery snail and a 20g tall betta soroity tank with 5 female bettas and 2 mystery snails and a few ghost shrimp.

I wanted to find some kind of lighter color substrate that would work with my shrimp and plants but I have no clue what to use or the best way to go about changing it. I have 1 cherry shrimp that is berried and 1 orange rili that is close to releasing her eggs. There are a few baby rili shrmp in there. One is solid orange and another is clear with black/blue speckles. I dont know where they came from. Is it best to just vacuum the first couple of inches out and put down the new substrate over some of the old? I dont want to lose the good bacteria by replacing the sbstrate totally. I just hate the Nat Geo with a passion. I'm not sure but I think it messes with the PH. I have a natural sand in my females tank but that 1 bag of 15lbs cost $50 and I cant spend $100 on 2 bags. The PH is great with that substrate.

I am nervous about chaging it. Water changes cause a headache because I am so scared of sucking up a baby. Any tips, tricks or advice would be great. I aplogize that this is so long.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 05:03 PM
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Soil substrates like aquasoil and fluval shrimp stratum are expensive but worth it in my mind if you're keeping plants, but a huge pain to deal with if you're not setting up a tank from scratch with it. If the main purpose of your tank is to keep shrimp and you want the lighter color you could always use pool filter sand which is super cheap. Just throw some root tabs into the substrate to keep your root feeders happier, and it's fairly inert so you don't have to worry about chemistry changes. There should be plenty of bacteria in your filters to handle ammonia spikes, especially if your bioload is just a bunch of shrimp and a betta. There's really no good way of saving all the babies although you could use a tube to siphon them into temporary holding.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I bought a 50lb bag of pool sand. I dont think it will ever rinse clear but it will look a lot better.
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