Stratum, water chemistry, and shrimp choices... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Stratum, water chemistry, and shrimp choices...

So I'm getting my Fluval Spec V iwagumi cycled. I'm a few weeks in with no animals, just plants - no mature tank bio media either, just SeaChem Stability. The tank has Fluval Shrimp stratum that was used in the previous incarnation of this tank for about a year. I tore that tank down, baked the substrate, and am reusing it. I have some play sand (I know... nobody likes it but me) and petrified wood in there. Have a fluval mini CO2 injection system and run about 1 bps, and usually turn it off at night. Fertilizing with 1 pump of NilocG ThriveS 2 x per week (recommended 1 pump per 5 gal 1-3 x per week). I've been testing here and there with API kits, and these are my levels so far

4/29
Ph 7.4
KH 4
GH 8
NH4 1
NO2 0
NO3 0
TDS 180

Small amount of algae growth - scrubbed off with toothbrush and did a 25% WC with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium.

4/30
pH 6.8-7.0
KH 4
GH 8
NH4 .5-1
NO2 .25
NO3 5
TDS 178

More minor algae growth, so I scrubbed it off and did a 25% WC again with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium

5/3
pH 6.4
KH 3
GH 8
NH4 .25
NO2 0
NO3 5
TDS 174

No algae growth since last time, and I did not do a WC.

Now for the questions.

How is my cycle looking?

Is the stratum responsible for the pH and KH droping?

I've purchased SaltyShrimp GH/KH minerals to replace the equilibrium. I was thinking I was going to do neocaridina in here... Now I have my doubts. You think I can do neos in here, or should I go with caridina since it wants to buffer down so low?

As I understand it, the stratum will stop buffering before long, and then the pH will climb too high for the caridina. When that happens will I be able to buffer it back down with alder cones, peat, almond leaves, etc, or will I be fighting a losing battle? I feel like I'd need to fight the opposite battle to keep neos in it right now.

Just trying to figure out my next move, so any feedback is appreciated. Let me know if you need more info.Thanks!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 07:56 AM
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I've got play sand (yellow color) in two tanks, but that looks more like pool filter sand (white).


Yes, the Fluval substrate is causing the pH and KH to lower - not recommended for Caridina as you keep pumping the tank with KH which causes unstable parameters. Not good for Neos either... If you exhaust the substrates ability to buffer, the tank would be best for Neos. The CO2 may or may not be an issue. (CO2 also affects pH)


You want 0 ammonia and nitrites. If the tank can convert 2ppm of ammonia into nitrates within 24 hours, you're cycle is good.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 02:11 PM
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Yeah, really only two ways you can go here. Either drain the tank and refill with remineralized r/o to keep caridinas or keep your KH up with the use of baking soda if you want neos. I try not to focus on pH so much with shrimps but I do monitor it on occasion. I keep a closer eye on KH and GH more than anything else when first setting a shrimp tank up. Fluval Stratum is fine to use for caridina species, as long as you can keep KH at 0, just like any other buffering substrate, really. There are better substrates out there that will lower pH even lower and last a bit longer too (several months on average). I've only tried controsoil and stratum so far in my TB/Pinto tanks. Only difference I see is controsoil is keeping my pH at a steady 5.6 whereas the stratum tanks are between 6.0-6.2.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 04:53 PM
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I am in a similar situation as he original poster. I also used fluval shrimp stratum and tap water. I'm slowly raising tds, gh, and kh through top offs and water changes with ro water remineralized with seachem equilibrium. Seems safer to wear out the buffering capacity and keep neocaridinia. I also have fish in my tank. Is there a better way to wear out the buffering than what I'm doing?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insaneglitchx View Post
I am in a similar situation as he original poster. I also used fluval shrimp stratum and tap water. I'm slowly raising tds, gh, and kh through top offs and water changes with ro water remineralized with seachem equilibrium. Seems safer to wear out the buffering capacity and keep neocaridinia. I also have fish in my tank. Is there a better way to wear out the buffering than what I'm doing?
Depending on the KH level of your tap water, you could simply do frequent water changes to exhaust the buffering effects. The more carbonates/bicarbonates your tap water has, the faster this substrate will exhaust itself. If your water has a KH reading of 3dKH or more, it won't take long. If you need to raise KH higher, then the use of sodium or potassium bicarbonate will do the trick.

Seachem equilibrium only helps to add minerals back into your water and won't effect KH, only GH. KH is solely responsible for exhausting these types of substrates.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insaneglitchx View Post
I am in a similar situation as he original poster. I also used fluval shrimp stratum and tap water. I'm slowly raising tds, gh, and kh through top offs and water changes with ro water remineralized with seachem equilibrium. Seems safer to wear out the buffering capacity and keep neocaridinia. I also have fish in my tank. Is there a better way to wear out the buffering than what I'm doing?
Depending on the KH level of your tap water, you could simply do frequent water changes to exhaust the buffering effects. The more carbonates/bicarbonates your tap water has, the faster this substrate will exhaust itself. If your water has a KH reading of 3dKH or more, it won't take long. If you need to raise KH higher, then the use of sodium or potassium bicarbonate will do the trick.

Seachem equilibrium only helps to add minerals back into your water and won't effect KH, only GH. KH is solely responsible for exhausting these types of substrates.

Guess I'll have to switch to salty shrimp gh/kh then. How should i add the baking soda to avoid harming my snails and fish?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 12:14 AM
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Guess I'll have to switch to salty shrimp gh/kh then. How should i add the baking soda to avoid harming my snails and fish?
I use a measuring set like these for smaller tanks (starts at 1/4 tsp and goes to 1/64 of a tsp):

https://www.amazon.com/New-Star-Food...asuring+spoons


Sodium Bicarbonate for an increase of 1 dKH

1 tsp/ 60 gallons
1/2 tsp/ 30 gallons
1/4 tsp/ 15 gallons
1/8 tsp/ 7.5 gallons
1/16 tsp/ 3.75 gallons
1/32 tsp/ 1.875 gallons
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insaneglitchx View Post
Guess I'll have to switch to salty shrimp gh/kh then. How should i add the baking soda to avoid harming my snails and fish?
I use a measuring set like these for smaller tanks (starts at 1/4 tsp and goes to 1/64 of a tsp):

https://www.amazon.com/New-Star-Food...asuring+spoons


Sodium Bicarbonate for an increase of 1 dKH

1 tsp/ 60 gallons
1/2 tsp/ 30 gallons
1/4 tsp/ 15 gallons
1/8 tsp/ 7.5 gallons
1/16 tsp/ 3.75 gallons
1/32 tsp/ 1.875 gallons

Do you just use like arm and hammer baking soda ftom the grocery store?

I have a 29 gal. How often should i dose the ~1/2 tsp, to avoid harming my fiah and snails? How big of an affect on thr pH will this have? I mean, it's adding small amounts of a base.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 01:02 PM
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Have you determined your tap water's KH? I wouldn't rush to add anything unless you tested first.

As for the arm and hammer, it should say "pure baking soda" on the label. That's ok to use.

Up to 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons is the rule of thumb many go by. With fish in the tank, you need to do it slowly. I would wait until water change day and drip the freshly treated tap/baking soda into the tank at a 1-2 drops per second rate. Never attempt to raise more than 2 dKH within 24 hours. Personally, I wouldn't raise KH more than a degree at a time with livestock in there. I've only ever attempted to exhaust this substrate once and that was during a fishless cycle. It didn't matter to me how much I added. I simply targeted 4-5 dKH and 84 degrees. My cycle was finished in 3 weeks and the substrate was pretty much spent after that. I could simply just add my tap (2-3 dKH) to maintain it there. I believe my pH was around 7.4-7.6 for a few days after I stopped adding baking soda before finally setting down to the 7.0- 7.2 range. This substrate isn't the most consistent either. The time it takes to exhaust could vary from batch to batch. I won't use it anymore for this reason.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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The Yellow sakura have both died, but otherwise the srimp have been doing phenomenal. These shots are from differnt periods over the last 2 months, before or after large trims.

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