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For the HOB breeder boxes like the Marinas do those need to be up and running before shrimp go into them? As in, do they need to be 'seasoned' or since they run off the tank water itself is that good enough along with some mosses or plants from the tank? For substrate I'd hate to use substrate from the tank itself and stir up a bunch of debris so as long as it's substrate that doesn't leech ammonia it should be ok right (the same substrate that's in the tank, just not straight from the tank)? Or no? Thanks in advance!
 

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And how do you do that without tossing debris everywhere and releasing toxins into the tank?
Take a fish net and scoop up some slowly off the top. I'm doing a substrate test right now and did this yesterday to get 3 sample cups. Didn't disturb anything. Keep the net low right over the substrate as soon as you scoop some up and let any debris fall back down and don't scoop and drag up right away so you're not dragging it with the net. Scoop, let settle, then lift out.
 

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I just use the syphon tube without the vacuum part. suck up what i need then allow extra water to flow out. To get any possible toxins and as a small water change at the same time.
I also turn the filter off so in case toxins get released I have a better chance at getting it out.
 

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I just set up a med. size one on my 20g just to have it and put my choco culls in it later. I'm very impressed with the design and for $9 I couldn't resist. I had the same concern but only puttin baby java ferns in it so I didn't feel the need for sub. I only used white petco gravel (rinsed and soaked in tankwater)because I wanted it bright. After a day of it running I through a shrimp in there to check it out and he didn't stay still for a second. Swimming around like crazy, I felt bad cuz there was nothing for him to eat even with 3 types of food in there he didn't stop moving. So I would think they will like it a lot better to have a "established" box or at least run it until it gets some algea growin
 
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