Thoughts on CO2 limit for shrimp? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on CO2 limit for shrimp?

I've got two 45 gallon cubes I've recently rescaped (https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-makeover.html) and plant and snail life is taking off. The problem I'm encountering is getting CO2 levels where they are beneficial to plants but shrimp won't suffer. I have two batches of shrimp waiting in other tanks to move to these but I haven't been able to find a safe zone. For weeks now I have been testing it with hardy Neo culls raised in my own tap, and if I approach even a .5 pH drop they keep wiping out.

KH 2
GH 6
pH 7.3 degassed
TDS +/- 130

The solenoid is on a Milwaukee pH controller, and runs only during the lighting period. I have the smart strip set to turn a powerful air pump on for 10 minutes each hour which raises pH back to normal quickly. I felt certain that would solve this issue but no such luck. I'm now moving just a couple of juvenile cull shrimp and guppy fry to a breeder net each time I attempt to monkey around with the gas. Like clockwork within 24 hours, the shrimp are dead and the guppies are fine. Just in case this was something else, I gave the tanks 72 hours over the weekend with no CO2 and the shrimp were active and shrimping right along in the breeder net -until I eased the gas back on yesterday. I've tested peaks with a pH pen, and haven't seen it get more than .2 below my set-point.

This is especially confounding because I've kept Neo shrimp in CO2 injected tanks in the past and didn't have this issue. Those were 125 gallon with a lot more surface area and flow though. But I was way more cavalier about the whole thing back then. Just got a slow stream of bubbles going in the counter and let it do its thing, and powered off at night. And now with multiple safeguards I can't seem to get CO2 in these tanks and not be lethal. CO2 is coming from the same hardware/rental store I've gotten it from for 10+ years. Appreciate any thoughts.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 06:20 PM
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Tbh I think it really depends on the shrimp and who bred them. I've had shrimp that have done well in a 1.2-degree drop of pH and were breeding, but other shrimp that I have tried stayed relatively in the same area for most of the photoperiod until night time.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimp that are currently dying are ridiculously hardy Neocaridina shrimp bred by me. These things can live in a sump but are dying in this tank once CO2 is reaching a 15 PPM level according to the Barr chart.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 08:06 PM
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I'm surprised the juvi's are dying too. I know some Neo lines are more tolerant than others. Not saying blues are tougher than yellows or anything like that, just some handle nose bleed levels and some, well, you're experiencing it. For example: Tom Barr had some amazing Bloody Marys years ago with tons of CO2 and 50%+ weekly WCs. They bred like crazy. Have also seen Bloody Mary's crash after a +/-30%, but diligent, water change

Once I went a little too heavy on CO2 and noticed my Neos going crazy and my drop checker was yellow. I shut CO2 off, and lowered my water level so my filter agitated the heck out of the surface and everything was normal in an hour or so. As ruthless as it sounds now I just run my CO2 til the checker is green and do big water changes and go Ivan Drago on them. It's interesting how some lines are tough as nails and some are delicate to changes. When I first got into Neos, my first attempts would die if I looked at them wrong and I would read/see how bulletproof they were for others. So frustrating. I'd like to think you could "toughen them up" over time, but not sure what to do other than what you are trying.

And jeez, dying at 15ppm sucks. Any chance there can be "bad batches" of CO2? Like exposure to copper or something?

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-25-2020, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, I'm taking the Ivan Drago approach at this point for sure since I have learned that snails and guppies are completely unaffected at CO2 levels that can kill shrimp (which surprises me). I'm using the breeder net for 2 reasons. #1 so I can easily find the shrimp, dead or living and #2, so that if/when I do find a level that works out for them I won't have any stowaways breeding with the pure lines I hope to eventually add. And yeah, if these culls are dying, I don't think that fancy pure lines will stand a chance.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Yep, I'm taking the Ivan Drago approach at this point for sure since I have learned that snails and guppies are completely unaffected at CO2 levels that can kill shrimp (which surprises me). I'm using the breeder net for 2 reasons. #1 so I can easily find the shrimp, dead or living and #2, so that if/when I do find a level that works out for them I won't have any stowaways breeding with the pure lines I hope to eventually add. And yeah, if these culls are dying, I don't think that fancy pure lines will stand a chance.
I am not sure why but I have not had any issues with my Super Tigers and I am running probably 25 to 30ppm CO2. At least my 4d solution runs green. This also might be because I run my tank a little lower than 7 to start with so maybe they are more accustomed to the acidic environment. They are also always spread around the tank so I don't think the CO2 is to high that its displaced enough O2.

What temp are you running on these tanks? Now that I am thinking about it maybe that could be an issue too. I am usually around 70deg or maybe slightly less which might make a difference, dunno.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Tanks are heated to 73, just to keep things consistent. I backed CO2 down to a pH drop of 6.7 and all shrimp in the breeder net were well this morning. I'm wondering now if the levels aren't rising after the controller shuts things off. I try to keep an eye on the controller and haven't seen it go below 6.5 though -which in theory should be fine.

I have 4 other tanks for your super tigers btw, lest you were worried I was going to put them in these just yet!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-26-2020, 05:34 PM
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I have 4 other tanks for your super tigers btw, lest you were worried I was going to put them in these just yet!
Nah, I wasn't worried at all. I have seen how you take care of these little guys so I know there's nothing to worry about!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-29-2020, 01:48 AM
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The serious LFS store 100 miles from our place has a couple employees who build some really nice, nano rimless 7 to 15 gallon 'scapes tanks with Cherry Shrimp algae patrol teams with rather high rates of CO2.



Close to 3 to 6 bubbles per second! And their shrimp are active and foraging vigorously. They also have nano fish in these tanks.

They're using mini canister filters with lily glass water returns and the diffuser opposite the side of the tank so the flow carries the CO2 downward, These are all open top tanks and they run their tanks at 76 degrees. The CO2 is off at night with the lights.

I can only think that the open top with some fairly turbulent flow is keeping the redOx higher.

I kept my 20 gallon CBS tank on a 2 liter DIY CO2 with about 1 bubble per 4 seconds, I probably wasn't more than 4~8 ppm CO2. But I run covers on all of my tanks. and my Monte Carlo and Riccia would gently pearl. My shrimp didn't seem bothered by the CO2 at all. I'm debating doing really gentle CO2 injection on my 10 gallon Neo tank, a 1 liter bottle set with a thin mix of sugar yeast so it lasts a month.

All of my tanks run covers, and I don't roil the surface water all that much.

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 07:14 PM
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Mine can handles 1.0 or less on PH when Co2 is on. More than 1.0 i can see shrimps start swimming around near the top. i would check your surface agitation for CO2/O2 exchange. Recently i replaced the output stainless pipe with a lyli pipe even though i dont like glass lily pipe anymore but it produces more surface agitation due to its design.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2020, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Gas exchange is too much, honestly. Both tanks are open top, have the canister output agitating the surface, an AquaClear 70 dumping 3" in, and a giant airstone on an oversized pump that kicks on for 10 minutes each hour. When the air pump is on, the surface absolutely churns. I'm hoping to dial that all back once things settle down because I'm degassing the CO2 almost as fast as I put it in at the moment. The long term hope is to remove the AquaClears and run the air pump only at night eventually. But after my last 3 gassing incidents, I'm going to take reducing anything that puts O2 in the water in very small incremental steps.

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