Red Cherry Shrimp PH Question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Red Cherry Shrimp PH Question

Hello fellow aqua geeks, I have a question for those of you breeding Red Cherry Shrimp (RCS). I have not been very lucky with these; I've must have tried starting at least 3 colonies. Well, I am sure that this had a lot to do with my tank not being mature enough. For sure, my 12L was cycled with no ammonia and nitrite, but it didn't have tiny "critters" in it either, plus I was messing to much around with the water parameters. I had some about 30 chlli raspboras, dwarf cories and otos in that tank as well, probably didn't help. Anyway, 3 RCS stayed alive in that tank, and I've had them for months, but they're not breeding (could be that all of them are females).

On advice from my LFS, I set up a tank separately for the shrimp using ADA aqua soil and adding nothing to the water except prime and Seachem Mineralize (water here is very soft). A few months back, I set up a 13G bowfront tank with just foam filters, ad aqua soil, and a heater. I noticed that as I cycled the tank, PH was light yellow, which means that it was 6.0 (or lower!). The reason for that was only the aqua soil, as the local water ph is way over 7. Now, months later, my RCS in that tank are surviving, molting etc. and look happy, but they are not breeding. Two of the females were berried when I bought them, and I waited with excitement, but not shrimplet appeared and the females were no longer carrying eggs.

I am wondering if the PH is the culprit. When I change about 25% of the water (adding local tap water with Prime and Mineralize (to dGH around 7), the PH test right afterward starts getting a greenish tint to it, so I'm guessing that PH starts approaching 6.4. However a few days later, it's light yellow again, indicating a PH of 6.0 or below. I would have thought that any PH lowering property of the aqua soil would have subsided now, about 4 months after I set the tank up (did 90% water changes twice a week during cycling).

I'm reluctant to add any artificial PH buffer, or add anything chemical to the water but I would like to hear what you guys think about that. If you think I should raise PH slowly, what PH would you recommend, and what product?

Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-13-2014, 11:20 PM
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I think your substrate is removing the carbonates.
I would add potassium bicarbonate to raise the KH to at least 3 degrees. That ought to stabilize the pH on the acidic side of neutral, if that is where you want it to be. More potassium bicarbonate would raise the KH higher, and thus the pH higher.

You will have to watch it, and dose as needed to keep it where you want it.

Alternate idea:
Add coral sand, oyster shell grit or limestone sand to the filter in a nylon stocking. These materials will raise the KH and GH.
When you do a water change, add the material you are currently using, and enough potassium bicarbonate to raise the KH. Then allow the material in the filter to keep it stable between water changes.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-14-2014, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Diana, thanks for your help. I read up on KH a bit in this article:

and it pretty much looks like you nailed it. I've never had this problem in other tanks with different substrate.

The article mentions using baking soda as a buffer, would you recommend against it? I guess potassium bicarbonate would be more useful to my plants. However, I don't know where I would find potassium bicarbonate. Do you know where I could purchase some here in the East Bay?

Thanks again for taking time to reply to my post!

Edit: I did some further research, and I think I'll use something like Seachem Alkaline Buffer as I'm familiar with that line. It contains a "proprietary" salt, but I'm willing to bet that's potassium bicarbonate. I've used their Neutral Regulator and Discus buffer in my other tank, and the tanks have been doing great. So Diana, no need to respond, but I really appreciate your help, KH is most definitely the problem!

Last edited by Nightgardener; 12-14-2014 at 08:08 AM. Reason: Found additional information to solve my problem.
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