Tank has been up and running for about 6 weeks.
10 Gallon LFS special
medium sponge filter
UG filter (covers back 33% of tank) — air driven
Temp controlled to +1/-1 @ 71.5F
Peacock Moss (thanks hedge-fund)
Echinodorus Opacus Verde
TDS - 105
pH - 6.0
GH - 4
KH - 1
Ammonia, Nitrite = 0 within 12 hours of adding .3 ml. pure ammonia (no livestock, so I dose every other day)
Nitrate = under 10ppm
I think I'm almost ready. But before I put $300 worth of shrimp that I've never cared for (but feel confident that I can) into a glass box of water, I have a few questions.
1. Is the TDS too low?
I hope not, because that's what I get from a very simple method — one full scoop of SS GH+ in a five gallon container of RO. I like simple, and hope this works. (And yes, I monitor the TDS of my RO before adding anything)
2. Is the KH too high?
Again, I hope not. I've had no problems with CRS and CBS with these parameters. But King Kongs are supposedly more fragile. KH 1 and pH 6 are easy to keep steady. KH 0 is not. And I'll be honest — I'd rather not load the tank full of wood/IAL/cones/peat and turn it yellow, which is what it takes to get my KH to zero.
3. The existing biofilm has Amazonia dust all over it.
Use a UGF without exporting to a HOB or cannister, and that will happen. Better than free floating, but will that harm the shrimp? I can't see how, my CRS love to nibble on amazonia, but I figure i had better ask rather than watch helplessly as shrimp die in front of me. FWIW the Amazonia dust seemed to have stopped blowing after the first week. Maybe it all attached itself to the sides of the tank
4. Initial bioload.
I want to run for three more weeks (while I'm out of town — no worries, the wife is fully capable) with some animal load to make 100% sure my filters are cycled, and that I have enough Salvia to keep the nitrates in check. I have 2 very tiny Ramshorns in the tank (that are coming out before they get big enough to multiply into thousands of Ramshorns). My neos are in tap water with tons of tannins, and might not like the shock of moving to soft, acidic, low TDS water. I don't want any CRS/CBS in the tank for obvious reasons. What can I put in the tank that can provide a suitable bioload, but is easy to remove or will be fine with my King Kongs and not have any risk of cross breeding? I'm not afraid to buy animals for this, then ROAK them afterwards.
Specifically Nerites. Yes or no? I know I won't have an army of king kongs, especially in a 10G, so will I need something to aid in janitorial duties? If nerites aren't the answer, and I do need a few snails, please speak up.
I may have to add some iron to keep my E. O. verde happy in such nutrient-poor water. It's as important to keep it as "happy" as the shrimp to me. I imagine dosing iron is a good way to kill off king kongs. Ideas?
I know I sound like I'm needlessly worrying. But I remember when I first started with CRS, and don't want another "learning experience" with very expensive shrimp. I've also been looking at this "empty" spot on my shrimp rack for months while I built temp controllers, sourced the perfect plants, and waited for the amazonia to cycle out. I want this done right, so I can enjoy my sexy black shiny shrimp.
Any and all help is appreciated.