How do substrates deal with shrimp poop? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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How do substrates deal with shrimp poop?

Hello folks,

I am setting up a very small tank with only two small plants, a marimo, and 3 shrimps. Right now it's getting "cycled". It has pool sand for now, but I might switch to a finer sand for a different color. For now, I want to avoid the buffering issues involved with more active soils.

My question is what happens when the shrimp poop into this gravel? Do I count on some kind of bacteria to eat it all up? Or am I supposed to vacuum it occasionally? In the end, I want a very "clean" and sparse looking tank that doesn't have a lot of (visible) algae growth. Maybe even use white sand. What I want to avoid is that if I ever poke into the gravel it's going to release some huge bacteria cloud or ammonia spike or whatever.

PS: if the thread title is funny, it's due to a forum bug
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 09:05 PM
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Hello folks,

I am setting up a very small tank with only two small plants, a marimo, and 3 shrimps. Right now it's getting "cycled". It has pool sand for now, but I might switch to a finer sand for a different color. For now, I want to avoid the buffering issues involved with more active soils.

My question is what happens when the shrimp poop into this gravel? Do I count on some kind of bacteria to eat it all up? Or am I supposed to vacuum it occasionally? In the end, I want a very "clean" and sparse looking tank that doesn't have a lot of (visible) algae growth. Maybe even use white sand. What I want to avoid is that if I ever poke into the gravel it's going to release some huge bacteria cloud or ammonia spike or whatever.

PS: if the thread title is funny, it's due to a forum bug
With PFS, the poop will not settle into the sand, it's too fine. The bacteria that will form in the sand will convert the ammonia from the poop, and may break it down on the surface over time, but with PFS, I would be actively vacuuming on a regular basis. This also reduces the likelihood of algae by removing waste, as algae will happily feed on whatever is being released by the shrimp poo.

As far as poking the substrate and causing a problem, there's no issue there.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2018, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a kind of substrate where the poop does fall down, doesn't require vacuuming, tends to not grow algae, and also won't release a bacterial cloud when disturbed? (Maybe too good to be true?)
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 02:03 AM
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Is there a kind of substrate where the poop does fall down, doesn't require vacuuming, tends to not grow algae, and also won't release a bacterial cloud when disturbed? (Maybe too good to be true?)
Well, anything larger grained will allow poo to settle into the crevices. This results in a mulm buildup in the substrate, this is unavoidable. I'm not certain what you mean by a bacterial cloud when disturbed. When I disturb these types of substrates, it kicks up fine particulate of mulm, not a bacterial cloud. This fine particulate can trigger algae spores.

What type of shrimp are you intending to keep? If you're considering Caridina, I'd recommend a buffering substrate. Neo's give more flexibility.

Keeping the tank clean is part of good husbandry, and for me, that includes removing detritus buildup like fish and shrimp waste on a weekly basis. I use primarily PFS and other sands because they make this detritus removal very easy.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Well I have both amano and cherry, so I have to be accommodating.

I was at an aquarium store a few weeks ago where they had a heavily planted low tech tank. The owner said he never vacuumed it and changed the water infrequently. However, it looked ok and clean, aside from some algae. I am aiming for a more sparsely planted tank, and if vacuuming is required to make it look clean, then I guess that is ok.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2018, 10:20 AM
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It's going to depend on your filtrating and hardscape too. It tends to gather in any nooks and often under the filter intake if it's not low enough/strong enough to be drawn in. Heavily planted probably means the mulm/poop is at at the back gradually decomposing into fine particles that mix with the substrate and feed the bacteria/plants. You'd probably get a cloud if you stirred the gravel but it would be a healthy tank.

It has to go somewhere, either in your filter, your syphon or your gravel. It won't vanish to break down finer.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 06:29 AM
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Even in fine sand, my CRS poop breaks down and mixes into the sand. I occasionally stir while siphoning to clean up the substrate to help with organics and any nasty bacteria that might develop. Not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it makes me feel better, lol.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 11:02 AM
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Shrimp poop just as tiny as their eyeball's.Over time,it just becomes dissolved, or partially dissolved organic matter.
Careful feedings in smaller tanks such as OP mentions, and weekly or by weekly water changes, and the matter is much ado bout nothin.
Likely to have more issues with decaying plant matter allowed to accumulate,and possibly excess food if not careful.
Tried white substrate a few times with fishes and my hat's off to those who manage to keep the sand white over extended periods.

With a few small shrimps however, and maybe feeding them once every couple three days,the sand should not get too awfully dirty from waste created by just a few small shrimp me thinks.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
Is there a kind of substrate where the poop does fall down, doesn't require vacuuming, tends to not grow algae, and also won't release a bacterial cloud when disturbed? (Maybe too good to be true?)
Sounds like you need some fossilized dragon scat.

Only issue is it does tend to buffer GH up unless you really stay on top of your water changes.

Of course it's practically impossible to get your hands on in the states due to heavy tarrifs.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 07:40 PM
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If you want extremely clean-looking light colored sand, it will take some effort. There's no magic formula to it. Plan on vacuuming debris and feces from it during your regular water changes. It will eventually become discolored from algae anyways. When this happens use a narrow hose (higher suction) to vacuum off the discolored sand. Replace with fresh clean sand as necessary.

This probably isn't what you're hoping to hear, but if you have lights that grow plants you will have to deal with some level of algae and substrate discoloration. A pristine light-colored substrate takes work. If you don't want to fight it, use a darker substrate.

The plural of 'anecdote' is 'data.'
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