Shrimp Substrate - I'm at a total loss - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 12:57 AM Thread Starter
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Mine have no problem molting at less than 1kh. I have a tank full of baby blue dream neos so I feel good that my setup works. Two days ago many of them molted at the same time and I had close to 30 little shells floating around.

I have definitely learned that there is lots of conflicting shrimp information out there. I'm constantly questioning myself, but at the same time trying to be really consistent with whatever the tank conditions are. Seems that quickly changing conditions is far worse than less than ideal conditions.

Depending on your tank size, personally I'd keep the substrate (the shrimp will be much happier with something to sift through) and I'd start doing small water changes (5-10%) with RO or DI water using a water shrimp specific conditioner. Don't quote me, but I think it's calcium that helps with the molting and that falls in to the GH category (not kh) and the shrimp substrate won't mess with that.

This is the approach I take. I target 8GH in my neo tank, less than 1KH and my PH sits around 6.8 and I'd say my shrimp are thriving. I use seachem equilibrium (which isn't shrimp specific like I recommended above) to add minerals to my RO water for sake of simplicity since I also keep a few fish tanks and don't want to be troubled with different products for mineralizing water.
With the new substrate, my GH sits at 6. It's definitely lowered some since the change from soil Before it sat around 7-8. Roboto, what's your TDS? I'm currently adding distilled water with Salty Shrimp, but in order to raise the GH and KH of the mix, it takes the TDS higher than I'd like. I can't seem to find that sweet spot, and it's moved since I started using Fluval Stratum.

Edited to add - I basically just want to do the best I can for the two guys I have in there. Do I aim for water changes/top offs that are the desired params (distilled and salty shrimp) or do I make them higher and drip-add to offset all the dropping numbers?
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post #17 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 05:01 PM
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Edited to add - I basically just want to do the best I can for the two guys I have in there. Do I aim for water changes/top offs that are the desired params (distilled and salty shrimp) or do I make them higher and drip-add to offset all the dropping numbers?
I am not a fan of chasing certain parameters with Neos. What they do best with is stability. They will live and breed at 0 dKH better than raising it to 2-3 then the soil bringing it back down over and over.
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post #18 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 05:28 PM
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With the new substrate, my GH sits at 6. It's definitely lowered some since the change from soil Before it sat around 7-8. Roboto, what's your TDS? I'm currently adding distilled water with Salty Shrimp, but in order to raise the GH and KH of the mix, it takes the TDS higher than I'd like. I can't seem to find that sweet spot, and it's moved since I started using Fluval Stratum.

Edited to add - I basically just want to do the best I can for the two guys I have in there. Do I aim for water changes/top offs that are the desired params (distilled and salty shrimp) or do I make them higher and drip-add to offset all the dropping numbers?
If you're gonna stick with Stratum, just do water changes with remineralized RO or distilled water and don't add any KH.

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post #19 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:15 PM
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With the new substrate, my GH sits at 6. It's definitely lowered some since the change from soil Before it sat around 7-8. Roboto, what's your TDS
You know, I don't measure my TDS. I'll start doing that soon, but to this point I've really had no need.
Since TDS is loosely GH + KH I'm probably only somewhere around 160. I plan to slowly start raising GH in the shrimp tank to encourage more breeding which is why I'm finally going to start taking TDS measurements.
I try to make my tanks as little effort as possible. I'm impressed with the people who have tanks who do water changes twice/year because they're so balanced and established and that's what I'm aiming for... But to get there I'll need to collect more data, hence, TDS measurements coming soon.
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post #20 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:33 PM
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You know, I don't measure my TDS. I'll start doing that soon, but to this point I've really had no need.
I don't measure it either. If I had a shrimp only tank, I probably would, but in my main tank where most of my Neos live there is so much Seiryu stone that the TDS number wouldn't mean much. If you know your KH and GH isn't the true value of TDS measurement to know how "clean" the water is.
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post #21 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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You know, I don't measure my TDS. I'll start doing that soon, but to this point I've really had no need.
Since TDS is loosely GH + KH I'm probably only somewhere around 160. I plan to slowly start raising GH in the shrimp tank to encourage more breeding which is why I'm finally going to start taking TDS measurements.
I try to make my tanks as little effort as possible. I'm impressed with the people who have tanks who do water changes twice/year because they're so balanced and established and that's what I'm aiming for... But to get there I'll need to collect more data, hence, TDS measurements coming soon.

How do you raise GH? I'm using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ in my water changes, but the stratum just eats it. Not sure how to raise it naturally.
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post #22 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:48 PM
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How do you raise GH? I'm using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ in my water changes, but the stratum just eats it. Not sure how to raise it naturally.
You want some GH/KH naturally? Get yourself some Seiryu Stone. Even with active soils this stuff takes over pretty much forever or way beyond the life of your tank. No dosing needed.
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post #23 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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I deliberately got ohko bc it was supposed to be inert but then I had to change the soil and now i'm in this mess lol. Ok - If i get seiryu stone it'll counteract the substrate enough that I'll be able to keep a colony of neos? that would be ideal. I want to enjoy the tank, not obsess over the numbers every hour.



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You want some GH/KH naturally? Get yourself some Seiryu Stone. Even with active soils this stuff takes over pretty much forever or way beyond the life of your tank. No dosing needed.
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post #24 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 07:00 PM
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How do you raise GH? I'm using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ in my water changes, but the stratum just eats it. Not sure how to raise it naturally.
I'd hypothesize that the stratum doesn't buffer/change the GH much, although I did notice that in your case (earlier post) that it lowered it from 8 to 6 so I can't say for sure.
I use seachem equilibrium which only raises the GH.

The suggestion to add a Seiryu stone above is a good one. It will create a very gentle system where kh is leached into the water slowly with the substrate interacting with it giving just a touch of kh that is regulated by the system.


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Last edited by Roboto; 11-18-2020 at 07:04 PM. Reason: Props to asteroid
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post #25 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 07:21 PM
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If aqua soils remove GH, I sure can't tell in my own tanks. That value seems to hold steady. I'm not a fan of buffering against the KH adsorption of the soil, personally. The amount of stone (or crushed coral, seashell, whatever) vs the amount of substrate, how old the substrate is/buffering capacity... there's just too much to factor in. My concern for inverts is that such a setup is unlikely to be consistent over time. Aquascapers do it all the time so it obviously doesn't just crash out the soil, but these tanks aren't typically set up with shrimp in mind either.
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post #26 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Here's my dilemma. My spouse told me yesterday that he's seen how much 'fun' I've had caring for the two shrimp and testing the water constantly, so he went ahead and bought me a batch of neos so that I might get a girl and they'll breed. While the idea is very sweet, he mistook my anxiety for enthusiasm, and now there's a dozen neos coming in the mail that I'm NOT ready for. I just want to do the most simple and straightforward way to keep them alive. Is that to get a seiryu stone? Remove the stratum and put the plants in pots? No matter how much water I drip change, my params always come out as:

KH 0
GH 6
PH 6.6

This just seems really low all around for neos. I had some many years ago and lost them to failed molts, and it was horrible. Just want to give these unintended new ones a good shot.
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post #27 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 07:27 PM
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If aqua soils remove GH, I sure can't tell in my own tanks. That value seems to hold steady. I'm not a fan of buffering against the KH adsorption of the soil, personally. The amount of stone (or crushed coral, seashell, whatever) vs the amount of substrate, how old the substrate is/buffering capacity... there's just too much to factor in. My concern for inverts is that such a setup is unlikely to be consistent over time. Aquascapers do it all the time so it obviously doesn't just crash out the soil, but these tanks aren't typically set up with shrimp in mind either.
In your neo tanks with zero KH, what is your GH and are you adding anything to achieve those levels? Are the shrimp getting enough Ca though diet, etc.


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post #28 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:02 PM
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Here's my dilemma. My spouse told me yesterday that he's seen how much 'fun' I've had caring for the two shrimp and testing the water constantly, so he went ahead and bought me a batch of neos so that I might get a girl and they'll breed. While the idea is very sweet, he mistook my anxiety for enthusiasm, and now there's a dozen neos coming in the mail that I'm NOT ready for. I just want to do the most simple and straightforward way to keep them alive. Is that to get a seiryu stone? Remove the stratum and put the plants in pots? No matter how much water I drip change, my params always come out as:

KH 0
GH 6
PH 6.6

This just seems really low all around for neos. I had some many years ago and lost them to failed molts, and it was horrible. Just want to give these unintended new ones a good shot.
Livestock usually takes a few days before they're packed up and shipped.
I'd see if they can hang to the order for a few weeks while you establish your tank in a way you're confident with.

Unfortunately there just isn't a known single best way to set up your tank for shrimp and there are several different ways and options which work for many people.
I would guess that your current setup, substrate and all, with mineralized RO water will be just fine for them, but I can see how you worry that it isn't ideal.
I keep neo's and amano's and they all do great with kh of less than 1, gh around 6 and PH around 6.8 in three different tanks so I wouldn't over think your current tank.

I might get another tank though for fun and to try a setup without the buffering substrate since I have a personal aversion to buffering substrates only for the reason that I don't like the idea of a substrate that needs to be replaced when it "runs out." But that's just me. Petco has $1/gallon sale going on so a new 10 gallon tank is just $10!
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post #29 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:14 PM
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KH 0
GH 6
PH 6.6
As mentioned I think you'll be fine with those numbers. Those are similar to my numbers when I bred neos with aquasoil. I was suggesting the Seiryu as an alternative to dosing to assure enough Calcium. So many ways to keep neos, I'm keeping them now with my KH moving from 8 to 16 between water changes, because of the Seiryu.

You should also feed something with Calcium in it. The only thing I feed are Algae Wafers and Spinach (microwaved.) once a week. I also do regular weekly water changes to keep the tank low on decomposing organics. My shrimp have gone from 5 to over 200 at the point.
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post #30 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ABrow1 View Post
Here's my dilemma. My spouse told me yesterday that he's seen how much 'fun' I've had caring for the two shrimp and testing the water constantly, so he went ahead and bought me a batch of neos so that I might get a girl and they'll breed. While the idea is very sweet, he mistook my anxiety for enthusiasm, and now there's a dozen neos coming in the mail that I'm NOT ready for. I just want to do the most simple and straightforward way to keep them alive. Is that to get a seiryu stone? Remove the stratum and put the plants in pots? No matter how much water I drip change, my params always come out as:

KH 0
GH 6
PH 6.6

This just seems really low all around for neos. I had some many years ago and lost them to failed molts, and it was horrible. Just want to give these unintended new ones a good shot.
That's right about where my own aqua soil tanks stay. I think the biggest issue is acclimating them to this if they came from harder water.

That was a thoughtful gift from your husband, but I'm with you. As someone who owns a pet store, I live by the mantra "never ever ever get anyone anything alive for a gift that they didn't specifically ask for and are set up to own." I've lost track of how many times I've seen it happen and turn out less than ideally. Hopefully he got you home bred shrimp, that's probably a bigger factor in survival than whether you have to acclimate them to 0 or 6 dKH.

If you're nervous about keeping them in acid water, perhaps there's time to start the tank over. You didn't mention the size, but if under 29 gallon or so, should be something you could do in an afternoon and a $15 bag of aquarium gravel or blasting sand or such. Just keep some water, don't clean the filter or any hardscape and you may escape a mini cycle. One thing great about acid water tanks is most of the ammonia is in the less toxic form of ammonium, though obviously you want to avoid high nitrogen levels of any kind if you can.

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In your neo tanks with zero KH, what is your GH and are you adding anything to achieve those levels? Are the shrimp getting enough Ca though diet, etc.
Around 6 GH. I remineralize water with Salty Shrimp GH only or Dennerle's version of the same. I feed mostly Jake's stuff, but keep some Quatro 2 and other packaged stuff on hand. I rarely feed fresh/blanched veggies any more, mostly due to pesticide worries. I've been freezing duckweed for months now to make my own batch one of these days but need to get through some of the stuff I've bought first. As you know, these things don't exactly fly through food.
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