caradina tank set up - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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caradina tank set up

Hi guys,


I was wondering why I need a buffered substrate? why can't i just use sand?


I have RO filter coming and salty shrimp gh+ coming as the buffer to bring the gh up.


but, why does everyone say use active substrate? what does it do that is different from just having regular sand?



Wouldn't it make more sense to not use a substrate that doesn't do anything? so you can maintain everything as is?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex35 View Post
Hi guys,


I was wondering why I need a buffered substrate? why can't i just use sand?


I have RO filter coming and salty shrimp gh+ coming as the buffer to bring the gh up.


but, why does everyone say use active substrate? what does it do that is different from just having regular sand?



Wouldn't it make more sense to not use a substrate that doesn't do anything? so you can maintain everything as is?
The reason is exactly in its name. It buffers. Your rodi water has no buffers. Adding salty shrimp gh+ only adds gh. This doesn't buffer and since you don't have kh in the water you'll get no buffering. Your pH will be all over the place. The substrate will buffer to 6 or below depending on the substrate you choose.

If you just want to use sand you'd be better off with neos and then using salty shrimp gh/kh+.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 04:02 AM
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Wouldn't it make more sense to not use a substrate that doesn't do anything? so you can maintain everything as is?
But for caridina (that prefer lower pH) you *do* want the substrate to do something - you want it to lower the pH down to somewhere in the 5.5 - 6.5 i'sh range.

In other tanks, you add KH to stabilise the pH and stop it swinging around (bad for livestock). But adding KH tends to increase pH, which is not what you want for this type of shrimp. Active substrate on the other hand (e.g. Amazonia and the like) do two things:
1) reduce the pH to typically less than 6
2) holds the pH stable at this range without the need for KH in the water

If you want sand substrate, then an alternative is to combine this with an under-gravel filter box filled with active soil and driven by an air pump or power head. This is a common setup for shrimp keepers in Asia. Inert substrate (often volcanic lava rock) on the tank bottom, and a pot of active soil in the back with an air lift to draw water through it.

Checkout this video at about 7 mins in and you'll hopefully see what I mean:


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 07:30 AM
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Great info and very useful video linked.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 07:32 AM
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It depends on the type of Caridina you want and what parameters they were potentially raised in.

If we're talking tigers, then the majority of them will be fine on sand with RO water and GH/KH minerals.

If we're talking low end crystals, potentially the same.


However, if we're talking about mischlings, tibees, high end crystals, taitibees, etc.... then yes, you want an active substrate that lowers the pH of the water and keeps it stable with the use of tannins released from the substrate. Many of these shrimp might live, but not thrive, at higher pH levels. There may be minimal to no breeding at higher pH. If there are any offspring, they might not survive to adult-hood.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 03:43 PM
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I should mention that many years ago, I had orange eye blue tigers, and in a place with very hard water, they bred like rabbits. (with regular black gravel)
I did not have other kinds of tigers, so can't talk about them.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 04:16 PM
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I can only give my own experiences but aqua soils have been a game-changer for me. I kept CRS and mischlings alive and got an odd baby when I used RO and inert substrate, but they never took off. As soon as I set my first tank up using buffering soil, they bred like Neos. KH was around 0 in both situations, but one clearly created more favorable conditions for the shrimp.

Having said that, I can't get a good colony of orange eye blue tigers going for love or money.
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Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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