Shrimp Substrate - I'm at a total loss - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:37 PM
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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.
So when you say pesticides, are you referring to even organic where they're could be certain things that can be considered a "pesticide"


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post #32 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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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.


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.

They're tank bred in the US but not in similar parameters, apparently. I have another tank I can set up, but I was told that the organic potting mix I used was increasing my KH/GH/TDS too much, and now the stratum is making it too low. I have a bunch of amazon swords and micro swords so I need some sort of plant substrate in there. Would it be okay to leave as is and just be very careful to acclimate the new ones, or should I come up with some sort of new tank setup with tap (around 4 kh and 8 gh, 200 tds) and plants in pots? Or organic soil with a stratum cap?

If I can keep the the tank as-is and they wont die molting, that would be ideal. I just don't know the best way to go forward to give them the best shot.
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post #33 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 11:28 PM
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So when you say pesticides, are you referring to even organic where they're could be certain things that can be considered a "pesticide"
Yes. Pesticides are still used in organic produce, they're simply "organic" pesticides and in some cases more has to be used to be effective. Whether conventional or organically grown, most vegetables have to be treated to keep insects from eating them. I'm likely overly paranoid about these matters but anything that can kill a weevil or cabbage moth can kill shrimp in much smaller quantities. I'm not even sure I've had it happen, but I'm trying to eliminate every variable and now that winter is coming there's nothing left from my own garden to feed them. It's really tough to connect the dots in this hobby most of the time. I'm sure I could go back to blanching veggies and odds are great my shrimp would never miss a beat, but something went wrong with OEBTs, and my super tigers haven't done as well as last time I had a group.
I'm so hesitant to put my hands in tanks like I used to do all the time because I use hand sanitizer every time I touch money or a credit card all day at work. I'm currently putting medicine in my dog's ear. I changed the ink roll out on a price gun today and thought about what might be in that ink on my finger. So yeah, I'm almost certainly being overly cautious. But I've heard of a scented candle killing a parrot. I'm willing to go to some extremes if I can avoid screwing something up from my own carelessness. I'd never suggest that blanching veggies and feeding them to shrimp is dangerous. I just have foods on hand I trust to be safe and plan on using those from here on out unless I grew it myself. And it's not as if I'm feeding an elephant. At the rate I go through food even with 11 shrimp tanks, it's really pennies a feeding.
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They're tank bred in the US but not in similar parameters, apparently. I have another tank I can set up, but I was told that the organic potting mix I used was increasing my KH/GH/TDS too much, and now the stratum is making it too low. I have a bunch of amazon swords and micro swords so I need some sort of plant substrate in there. Would it be okay to leave as is and just be very careful to acclimate the new ones, or should I come up with some sort of new tank setup with tap (around 4 kh and 8 gh, 200 tds) and plants in pots? Or organic soil with a stratum cap?

If I can keep the the tank as-is and they wont die molting, that would be ideal. I just don't know the best way to go forward to give them the best shot.
I don't believe that KH is a factor at all in failed molts. Perhaps GH can be but it's too big of water changes most of the time. If you look into my tank journals, you'll see that I have two high tech tanks in which shrimp were getting the white ring of death pretty frequently, when I thought this issue was behind me. It's not (well, it could be a factor but not only that) lack of calcium or magnesium or phosphorus, or too much protein. In my view it's parameter changes -particularly after the shell has hardened post-molt. I went from 40ish % water changes every week to a 15% and though I have to use fewer ferts now, haven't spotted a one with it since. Same in my 125 gallon cull tanks. They have fish and for a decade I used to do 50% water changes monthly and particularly large females used to die from the white ring of death all the time. It's not my favorite thing to do, but for the last year or two I've done small weekly ones now and molting issues went away at the same time. I'm not an expert, I'm not 100% positive what I'm seeing is a result of this, but I am positive that this used to plague me and since changing gears never has since. When giving advice I tend to say that YMMV, but with this -if you have a stable tank I'd wager real American dollars that your mileage will not vary.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #34 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Update - I didn't change the water, just let the tank sit over the last two days. The PH dropped below 6, the lowest I can measure. The only change is the fluval stratum. Anyone else have it go down this low?
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post #35 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 11:16 PM
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Update - I didn't change the water, just let the tank sit over the last two days. The PH dropped below 6, the lowest I can measure. The only change is the fluval stratum. Anyone else have it go down this low?
I have a tank that I've measured at 5.5 pH and there *ARE* people who are raising Neos in quite acidic tanks. I'm not one of them... at least, not yet? I dunno... I did throw some in the tank, but I don't know what the pH is currently at. I can tell you that the KH is at 0, GH should be 6-8? I just remineralize RO water to ~130 TDS and do water changes in that.

In fact, I have one shrimp that has been living in the waste water of that tank for several months now... the new shrimp I put into the tank seem to be doing okay? But then I don't always see them... I did add a berried female, not sure if the eggs have hatched/offspring survived yet.


I would recommend either keeping the parameters *AS IS* or raising *ONLY* the GH.

Otherwise, you'll want to swap out the substrate or set up a new tank. Your tap water parameters sound good - without knowing ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pesticides, chlorine, chloramine, metals, etc. Tap can vary depending on season and where you live so it's not really a good thing to rely on.... but if you set up a new tank with inert substrate, RO water and your SS GH/KH, that'd work out fine, too!


GH is more important than KH for shrimp. Adding KH to a tank with active substrate (i.e. Fluval Stratum) causes more harm than good in many cases.... aka stress to the inhabitants.
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post #36 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. The plants were turning yellow a bit, and the PH was way too low. I made a mix of fresh water and set up a new tank. That water is currently dripping into the shrimp container to acclimate them. I'm sure I'm going to lose my whole cycle but the stratum wasn't working for me. Now I need to find an inert substrate that I can use with amazon swords (sand and root tabs?) so I can get things back on track. Frustrated that the stratum was such a bad choice.
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post #37 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 03:23 AM
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There are some "inert" plant substrates supposedly.... but I've never used anything beyond sand or active substrate so can't comment there.... have heard some root tabs can be bad for shrimp so just be careful there. Maybe look into ThriveS?
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post #38 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 03:39 PM
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What? Why did you ditch the substrate? It's fine for Neos - and for plants. They probably weren't turning yellow because your pH was too low (low because the substrate sucks the kH out of the water) - it was likely another issue. Since your tank was only six-weeks-old, plants were most likely just adjusting to their new environment.

You should read through some shrimp tank journals here on the forum. I think doing that alone would calm your nerves and eliminate any fears you have.

While I prefer to keep Neos in a tank with some kH in the water and with a substrate like sand or fine gravel, I've kept them for nearly 30 years now in all kinds of parameters. Fluval Stratum is in a few of my Neo tanks right now. Also have some in Aqua Soil tanks with extremely acidic parameters.

You can't keep shrimp thriving - or, really, any other critter - in a tank that isn't fully "cycled" and chugging along. Especially not shrimp. So be prepared for those to die, unfortunately. They may not but just be prepared. A ton of your beneficial bacteria live in the substrate.

Pro-tip: ThriveS is an overpriced mix of fertilizers that is no better than any other product. It preys on fears new shrimpkeepers have about copper. It'd be just as easy to buy a dry mix from any aquatics retailer or any other liquid option that doesn't contain a ton of copper. You could probably buy enough dry ferts to last you a year in the For Sale section here for a few bucks. Mixing isn't difficult at all.

Keep in mind that it's a myth that *any* amount of copper is toxic. Trace amounts are necessary for shrimp to live.

Root tabs will generally be fine if you don't over do it and you monitor parameters. What kind of root tabs? The stuff from Seachem? Another manufacturer? I wouldn't use Osmocote tabs if you're new but most off the shelf stuff will be fine. Best route would be to make DIY clay root tabs with your own dry ferts so they don't immediately flood the water column. I make my own by mixing iron-rich clay with dry ferts, rolling it all up into little balls and letting it dry.
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post #39 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 07:51 PM
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i have a quick question. I kept my crs in fluval stratum with ro water and bee shrimp mineral. Lately i removed the fluval stratum because it got old and i exchanged it with regular substrate that doesnt buffer. I did this because i got tired of changing the vacuuming and cleaning it was a mess. With fluval my ph was at 6.2. Obv my ph is going to be much lower sinze ro water water and bee shrimp mineral doesnt have any kh. Here comes my question, To keep my ph stable around 6.2 without buffering substrate, can i use salty shrimp gh kh and bee shrimp gh together to add about .5 kh to keep my ph stable? What do you guys think? Ive dont the math and 25ppm of gh+kh and 100ppm of Gh+ would give me .5 kh , gh 6, and tds 125. If i dont use the kh , my ph drops to under 5 and i prone to ph swing since there is no buffering substrate, do you guys think buffering substrate is all that necessary for crs to live and thrive?
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post #40 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-21-2020, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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What? Why did you ditch the substrate? It's fine for Neos - and for plants. They probably weren't turning yellow because your pH was too low (low because the substrate sucks the kH out of the water) - it was likely another issue. Since your tank was only six-weeks-old, plants were most likely just adjusting to their new environment.

You should read through some shrimp tank journals here on the forum. I think doing that alone would calm your nerves and eliminate any fears you have.

While I prefer to keep Neos in a tank with some kH in the water and with a substrate like sand or fine gravel, I've kept them for nearly 30 years now in all kinds of parameters. Fluval Stratum is in a few of my Neo tanks right now. Also have some in Aqua Soil tanks with extremely acidic parameters.

You can't keep shrimp thriving - or, really, any other critter - in a tank that isn't fully "cycled" and chugging along. Especially not shrimp. So be prepared for those to die, unfortunately. They may not but just be prepared. A ton of your beneficial bacteria live in the substrate.

Pro-tip: ThriveS is an overpriced mix of fertilizers that is no better than any other product. It preys on fears new shrimpkeepers have about copper. It'd be just as easy to buy a dry mix from any aquatics retailer or any other liquid option that doesn't contain a ton of copper. You could probably buy enough dry ferts to last you a year in the For Sale section here for a few bucks. Mixing isn't difficult at all.

Keep in mind that it's a myth that *any* amount of copper is toxic. Trace amounts are necessary for shrimp to live.

Root tabs will generally be fine if you don't over do it and you monitor parameters. What kind of root tabs? The stuff from Seachem? Another manufacturer? I wouldn't use Osmocote tabs if you're new but most off the shelf stuff will be fine. Best route would be to make DIY clay root tabs with your own dry ferts so they don't immediately flood the water column. I make my own by mixing iron-rich clay with dry ferts, rolling it all up into little balls and letting it dry.
The plants were growing extremely well - the swords and frogbit were shooting off new leaves almost every day. The frogbit was what started to yellow so much once the PH changed. I understand that lots of people are able to keep neos in acidic water with no KH, but as a beginner, I want to learn the rules before I start breaking them.

It's already a constant chemistry class, and a buffering substrate doesn't make that easier. What I'm looking for now is something that won't negatively impact my water parameters that I can also grow swords in. If that's not possible then I'll try inert with root tabs. I was going to use Seachem as that's what's readily available to me.

If anyone has any insight into what might work and keep me enjoying the tank instead of hating it, I'd really appreciate it!
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post #41 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-22-2020, 02:57 AM
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I don't see anyone here hating on your tank. Just expressing concern and offering tips.

But here's the most important thing: Stability. Don't change things. Let the tank mature. Keep your hands out of the water. Everything should happen slowly.

Beyond that, there's really nothing more important when it comes to shrimp. Just stability and patience.
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post #42 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-22-2020, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
I don't see anyone here hating on your tank. Just expressing concern and offering tips.

But here's the most important thing: Stability. Don't change things. Let the tank mature. Keep your hands out of the water. Everything should happen slowly.

Beyond that, there's really nothing more important when it comes to shrimp. Just stability and patience.
Well said

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post #43 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-22-2020, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
I don't see anyone here hating on your tank. Just expressing concern and offering tips.

But here's the most important thing: Stability. Don't change things. Let the tank mature. Keep your hands out of the water. Everything should happen slowly.

Beyond that, there's really nothing more important when it comes to shrimp. Just stability and patience.
Yep! I even break the rules in that I do 50% weekly water changes...but it's consistent and stable. The shrimp don't really seem to be bothered, the colony grows.
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