Hi all, sorry if a similar question has been posted.
I have a low tech tank that is very self sufficient (inhabitants survive without a very routine cleaning schedule). This tank has mostly sand substrate. While I don't have many tank inhabitants, I find I get a LOT of mulm on the sand.
The tank has shrimp in it, and I find cleaning a challenge. I can't vacuum aggressively like with a gravel tank because the sand gets sucked away, plus I'm worried that I will suck away shrimp. I am planning on adding more shrimp and having them breed in the tank too.
I've seen suggestions to stir the sand lightly and have the mulm float and then scoop it out. That seems very tedious and difficult to get all the mulm away (my current method of cleaning). I've also seen posts saying if there's mulm on the surface of the substrate that there isn't enough water flow to keep the detritus in the water column long enough for the filter to suck it away. I'm using a sponge filter because I've heard it's better for shrimp, but sponge filters don't create much water movement.
How does one keep a shrimp tank clean? Should I change to gravel instead so mulm doesn't sit on top? When I had gravel tanks I usually vacuumed very aggressively and swirled my vacuum in the gravel, but with shrimp I'm really worried about sucking them up.
- 16 litre capacity (so very small)
- Sponge filter
- Basic LED lighting
- 4 ember tetras
- 4 cherry shrimp (plan to add more)
- Java fern
- Java moss
- Driftwood (even after 2 years it STILL leaches tannins into the water like no tomorrow - have previously soaked it in boiled water - not sure how to address this and don't really know if I should boil it again at this stage)
- Black sand sprinkled with gravel
I have attached a photo and if you look on the sand even after a tank cleaning there is a lot of mulm present.