Shrimp Substrate - I'm at a total loss - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimp Substrate - I'm at a total loss

Hi,

I have a shrimp tank that's been set up for about 6 weeks. I have two neos in it. When I started, I had a dirt tank with Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix and a gravel cap. Four amazon swords, micro swords, water sprite, and lots of frogbit and duckweed. The TDS kept inching up faster than it should, and the KH and GH were too high. I had to do a distilled drip on it for days and days to get the TDS down. I was told on a forum that it was the soil that was causing the problem, and to switch it out for Fluval Stratum.

I did that day before yesterday. Now, the PH is around 6.6, and the KH is 0 and the GH is 6. No matter what I add, the KH stays at 0. This is just as bad if not worse than my other problem. I have no idea what to do. The last thing I want to do is tear it down again and change out the substrate, but why would Fluval Stratum be marketed toward keeping inverts if it takes all the KH away?

This tank has become the worst money pit, and I just want to find some sort of substrate where I can keep swords and shrimp and not have to change a gallon every day. Please help
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:28 PM
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What hardscape were you using, if any? Potting mix shouldn't raise KH and GH. If anything, it would probably have a mild acidifying effect.

I wouldn't recommend using a buffering substrate, such as Stratum, unless you're using RO water and not adding any KH when doing water changes. The fluctuations can kill a shrimp colony.


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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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I have Ohko rock, that's all. I was using a mix of tap and distilled, and sometimes just distilled and Salty Shrimp. I've gotten a lot of advice, and now I don't know what end is up. I just want to get to the point where I can test the water once a day instead of once an hour.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:40 PM
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Depends on the type of shrimp you keep. Some require buffer substrate to strip out most of the kh. For neo eg. Cherry shrimp. Itw best to use inert substrate as they require harder water most of the time.

Here's a mini video I made of my planted shrimp tank if you're interested with tips


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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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I have two cherry shrimp, that's all I'm looking to keep. Thanks for linking the video - will watch now
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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So if buffering is a bad idea, what do I do? go back to the potting mix? I just want it stable enough that i can leave it for an hour before the water params are all over the place again.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ABrow1 View Post
I have two cherry shrimp, that's all I'm looking to keep. Thanks for linking the video - will watch now
I wouldn't worry too much about the KH/GH. I've breed Cherry Shrimp in water with KH of 0 and KH of 14. You could always just add some Seachem Equilibrium to the water if your concerned.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:08 PM
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I don't think there will be any real problem with keeping your neos in 0 kh, but someone can certainly correct me.

As varanidguy pointed out above though, you'll want to make sure the water you're putting in has 0 kh otherwise you'll be adding water with some kh and the soil will work to take it down to 0 meaning your shrimp will be enduring significant changing conditions with each water change.

For my neos (and most of my tanks) I use an inert substrate (eco complete on top of flourish black sand) with RO water (plus equilibrium to add GH) and everyone does well. Tanks sit around 175tds, 6.8ph and less than 1kh.

I plan to do a different shrimp tank soon with cardinias which need a lower TDS and would benefit from a lower PH so I just plan to use less of the equilibrium product. I might use a buffering substrate, but I haven't 100% decided yet. I don't like the idea of buffering substrates as the buffering quality eventually runs out and a substrate change becomes required which is kind of an annoying prospect.


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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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I was told that I needed to keep adding water with KH to counter the effects of the substrate. Is that not true? Also - does the amount of stratum in the tank matter? I've been trying to scoop it out, but wasn't sure if it had to be removed completely to minimize the effect.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrow1 View Post
I was told that I needed to keep adding water with KH to counter the effects of the substrate. Is that not true? Also - does the amount of stratum in the tank matter? I've been trying to scoop it out, but wasn't sure if it had to be removed completely to minimize the effect.
I don't believe that's true. The amount of stratum will matter to a degree. The less there is, the sooner the buffering properties will run out.
As a few of us mentioned though, there's really no harm in keeping a near 0 kh tank.
I would imagine if you're starting out with tap water that isn't too high kh, and you keep your water changes to 10% each week you'll probably be fine with your current setup.

Are you keeping any other livestock in the tank?


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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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I have a couple pest snails, but really just the two cherries. Would like to get more cherries at some point but need to stabilize this setup first. I was told KH has to be at least 3 or they won't be able to molt. There's so much conflicting information! I've been thinking at this point, I should just pot my swords in there and keep the bottom of the tank bare so I'm not fighting the substrate.

Is it really okay to keep going with the way it is; this won't harm them?
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 11:39 PM
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When I had cherry shrimp I kept getting failed molts untill I increased my kh to 4 or 5. But that was just my experience.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-17-2020, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrow1 View Post
I have a couple pest snails, but really just the two cherries. Would like to get more cherries at some point but need to stabilize this setup first. I was told KH has to be at least 3 or they won't be able to molt. There's so much conflicting information! I've been thinking at this point, I should just pot my swords in there and keep the bottom of the tank bare so I'm not fighting the substrate.

Is it really okay to keep going with the way it is; this won't harm them?
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.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 12:04 AM
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You're correct. If you ask 10 people you'll get 10 different answers.

I find key are 1 quality source of shrimp
2 water parameters within range from thr source

And 3 stability
4 and don't over feed

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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 12:10 AM
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Also the reason is shrimp can be bred abd kept in wide ranges.
Neos can be in soft or hard or warm or cold water so they will do well. But best to check yoyr source and breeder see how they kept it.

For example orange eye blue tiger. There is a German version bred in hard higher ph water and Asian variety in soft acidic water

That probably causes confusion for everyone assuming they are the same

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