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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since taking up this hobby back in January I've had a lot of trial and error, ups and downs, and general frustration. I've made progress, and learned a lot. These are my current aquariums, and I'm proud of both of them even if they're not perfect. Both are running with established filter media, but the 9 gal had a rescape on 9/22 and the 3 gal on 9/24. Following the rescapes I've been dosing daily with Prime and Stability, as well as Bio-Spira (1-2 teaspoons each daily) to try to ensure the aquariums are safe for their residents. I'm not positive on my TDS currently, I dropped the meter and now it's making a rattling sound when gently shook, so I've ordered a new one just to be safe.


Fluval Flex 9 Gallon

Parameters as of 9/26
PH: 6.4-6.6
KH: 0-1
GH: 4
TDS: 250
Ammonia: 0-.25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5.0

Parameter Goals
PH: 6.4
KH: 0-1
GH: 4-6
TDS: 120-130

Light: Finnex Stingray 2
Substrate: Fluval Stratum
Water: Distilled/RODI
Remineralizer: SaltyShrimp GH+

Plant List:
  • Varied Bucephalandra: brownie blue, purple blue, black pearl, mini coin, and one other I can't recall.
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Ludwigia Arcuata
  • Ludwigia Natans Super Red
  • Ludwigia Peruensis/Gladulosa var. Diamond
  • Rotala Indica Green
  • Mayaca Fluviatilis
  • Nymphaea Tiger Lotus
  • Hygrophila Araguaia Lythraceae
  • Dwarf Hairgrass
  • Java Moss
  • Mini Bolbitis
  • Vallisneria Spiralis
  • Anubias Barteri Nana "Long Wavy"
  • Java Fern

This aquarium currently has four OEBT and seven Amano. My TDS is reading high, I'm hopeful it'll go down with water changes. The TDS started at 100 when I did the rescape and has went up since then. I'm not sure if things like the new driftwood and rocks as well as evaporation may be the cause? Shrimp seem to be doing well, though, and I don't want to make any changes until I get a new TDS meter in case my current one is damaged.


Tetra Cube 3 Gallon

Parameters as of 9/26
PH: 7.0-7.2
KH: 0-1
GH: 6
TDS: 250
Ammonia: 0-.25
Nitrite: .25
Nitrate: 5.0

Parameter Goals
PH: 7.5
KH: 4-6
GH: 5-8
TDS: 200-250

Light: MingDak LED
Substrate: CaribSea Eco-Complete and Flourite Black Sand
Water: Distilled/RODI
Remineralizer: SaltyShrimp GH/KH+

This aquarium has three Bloody Mary shrimp in it and three Nerite snails. I believe the Prime is causing a false ammonia reading in both aquariums (it's very, very slight), but this aquarium does seem to have a small amount of nitrite. From my understanding, Prime neutralizes this? The shrimp are acting normal, scavenging and active with no signs of distress. I do want to get the KH and PH up, I'll try adding a bit more remineralizer in the next water change to see if I can boost it gently. From what I've read, crushed coral may help as well in the filter?​
 

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snails are your friend
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Crushed coral will spike KH, no question. A little dab will do ya if you decide to go that route. For what it's worth, Neos will do fine in acid conditions once they acclimate to it. I prefer to keep them below 7.0 pH and 2 dKH in any tank though for reasons of ammonia toxicity in harder water.
API's NH4 test can be tough to read on the lower end. Compare your sample to one of RO or bottled water that you know has 0 ammonia. Tanks are looking nice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Crushed coral will spike KH, no question. A little dab will do ya if you decide to go that route. For what it's worth, Neos will do fine in acid conditions once they acclimate to it. I prefer to keep them below 7.0 pH and 2 dKH in any tank though for reasons of ammonia toxicity in harder water.
API's NH4 test can be tough to read on the lower end. Compare your sample to one of RO or bottled water that you know has 0 ammonia. Tanks are looking nice!
Thank you for the info! I'm trying to keep the conditions as close to the original breeder's as possible, but since they seem to be doing well I'll try to keep it where it is currently and see how things go. At least one of them molted the other day and they've been pretty active with their scavenging. I'll try comparing to a distilled water sample too.
Thank you! I'm really happy with the 9gal especially, it's my third or fourth try at aquascaping and the first time I've been really proud of the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Tanks look really nice! Swear I saw your tanks on Facebook not too long ago. Can't remember which group it was though, feel like I've joined way too many.
Thank you! I'm in a Fluval Flex group, Buceplant's group, and a beginner aquascapist group, so maybe one of those?


A little general update: Today we're doing a water change on both aquariums. I've set up the new water to drip in slowly over the next (couple?) of hours. I've never used a drip method before, but after reading about it for acclimation and water changes it seems like a good idea. Everyone's been doing good. I think I saw some mating behavior with the blue tigers? I've struggled with visually sexing them though. The amano are easy, the size difference is huge and the shape is really distinct. I'm not sure if I've just had bad luck and most/all of my other shrimp are the same sex or not but I can't seem to find enough difference to be sure. Post water change parameters below...

Neo Parameters (w/ remineralized distilled):
TDS: 272
PH: 7.4
GH: 6
KH: 0-1

Caridina Parameter (w/ pure distilled):
TDS: 238
PH: 6.4
GH: 6
KH: 0-1

I'm not sure why the GH went up in the caridina tank, I'll retest tomorrow and see how it is. The TDS are lower than they were in both aquarium pre-water change, the distilled water had a TDS of 0, and I remineralized the neo's water to 100 TDS before adding it. I assume the TDS is at least in part because of plant matter and such, since most of the plants were going through an initial weak stage after shipping, but all seem to be healthy and doing well now. I really hope it continues to go down with water changes until I get it where it needs to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So far everyone continues to do quite well! No casualties since the rescape, seeing a lot of activity from the shrimp, as well as snails and copepods. I'm feeding very lightly still, so I can only figure their primary food source at the moment is algae and dead plant matter? My plants are doing great now, I had some initial die off from the shipping and such but everything is colored up and growing beautifully now. The lights and DIY co2 seem to be working wonders (my red plants are actually... red?) I even had the surprise of discovering some tiny tiger lotus leaves. They seemed dead in shipping but I put a little bit of the stems in and today there's two or three little red leaves.

On the downside, I've discovered some hydra in my aquarium. I've ordered food grade hydrogen peroxide to try to get rid of them. Honestly, I wouldn't mind the hydra if it weren't for the fact I've read they can kill shrimplets. Microfauna is amazing to watch. The other issue is some algae growth, but I think a big part of that is I need to cut back on the light, it's hard for me to not keep it on the entire time I'm awake. I'm out of work still because of the pandemic and spend most of my day and night next to the aquarium, so I hate turning out the lights and not being able to watch everything. I'm probably going to invest in a timer when I can.
 
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