What are your experiences with colonies of neo's running in a tank with an active substrate? What were those parameters? CO2 or no CO2?
All my tanks use Amazonia substrate; pretty much the default option here in Asia (Singapore) and I've not met anyone that would think of using anything other than active substrate. (My local breeder uses either bare bottom tanks for all shrimp types, but these all have air-stone driven filter boxes at the back filled with active soil to control pH). Everyone wants to be Mr Amano Jr so the ADA approach is king!
This is my CRS tank; the latest tank I setup and now about 4 months old I guess. Amazonia substrate and this time around I have added zero KH at any point in an attempt to maximise / preserve the buffering effect and keep the pH low (I've added small amounts of KH at some point to all my other tanks, either in the form of tap water (1-2KH), chemical buffer when pH initially went super-low and stalled the cycle, or from rocks in the tank). This one has been purely RO (remineralised to 5-6GH with SS GH+) with no rocks.
CRS nano tank with Amazonia substrate
The tank is overgrown at the moment as there are CRS new born shrimplets in there so I don't want to move, remove or change anything!
Tank and water specs:
- 13 litre nano tank (10-11 litre water volume)
- internal filter at back
- no CO2
- no airstone, but sochting oxydator (slow h202 dosing)
- chiller holding temp at exactly 25C (room 28-29C)
- pH was <6.0 (bottoming out API liquid test), but has now settled at about 6.2
- 5 GH and 0 KH
- TDS aiming for 120, but typically 130-140
- zero ammonia, nitrate and phosphate, occasionally <5 nitrate measured after fert's
- Seachem daily fert's (Fluorish at 100% recommended dose, phosphorous 200%, nitrogen 250%, potassium 100%, iron 30%, trace 60%, no Excel or Advance)
- 5% weekly to biweekly water changes
- SS GH+ minerals into 0 TDS RO
- lots of Salvinia minima floating, Christmas moss bushes and trees
- Malaysian trumpet snails and 7/8 chilli rasbora
In another tank, the first I had setup: My original RCS colony had dwindled to about 5 mature adults plus one young adult rili that crept in as a baby with other shrimp. They never bread in "ideal" neo water conditions, I think because either they were all male/female (still can't sex them!) or somehow infertile. Decided to change this to Goldenback neo tank. The rili became berried as soon as I introduced the Goldenbacks!
I wanted to keep the Goldenbacks separate from the RCS / red rili, so decided to evict the RCS + rili into the CRS tank above (whilst the rili was berried). Did a long 8+ hour drop acclimation and didn't lose any shrimp despite big parameter change (TDS 250 > 130, pH 7.2 > 6.0, GH 11 > 5, KH 3 > 0).
So, finally getting to your original question:
The 5x RCS and 1x red rili neo that I transferred to my CRS tank are doing great, in fact I would say they are looking better than ever! The rili remained berried and gave birth to some nice "wild type" shrimplets.
Wild type red rili x Goldenback shrimplet born and doing great in CRS parameters
The tank, CRS and neo's are all doing great at the moment! CRS berried and shrimplets occasionally spotted, but mostly hidden in the moss. Neo baby now juvenile and getting more adventurous. Not a single shrimp death in this tank, all growing and moulting fine. Colours great, shrimp active and happy, constantly grazing (they don't really bother with any food I add, so I only really feed the fish a little). I will say that the RCS are not breeding, but then they never did in "ideal" neo parameters either so think they're all either single sex or infertile. The berried rili carried her eggs and gave birth in the CRS tank, but hasn't become re-berried (presumably because she is now away from Mr Goldenback that previously did the honours in the other tank).
Hopefully that answers all your questions @Quagulator
with honest, personal experience? I've tried to mention everything, but let me know if I've missed anything.
My current thinking (personal opinion based on recent experience):
- ignore most internet info regarding neo water parameters, mostly regurgitated and out of date
- modern neo's quite different to ancestors from few years back, much hardier and more adaptable
- ask breeder what water param's they were bred in, then use this as baseline
- shrimp lines vary around the world (Asian shrimp different to US ones, so ask locally not globally)***
- neo's can survive (maybe even thrive) in pretty much any water conditions
- tank stability and maturity most important
- diet other very important and often overlooked factor
- slow drip acclimation important when adding to tank
*** This may invalidate everything I have said above depending upon where in the world you are!
Regards, James (Brit keeping shrimp in Singapore)