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I recently obtained some RCS from a local guy (he was very nice, I bought some Endler's from him as well). I added them to my 10 gallon planted tank, which has a female betta, 5 neons and a cardinal that is convinced he is a neon, and 4 little Endler's boys (they have the most rockin' colors!).

I started out with 13 cherry shrimp, mostly juveniles, but I have only spotted the 3 or 4 that were the biggest of the group. The big ones are definitely getting bigger, and I am seeing shed exoskeletons from them, but I am not seeing any from the little guys, nor am I seeing the little guys themselves. I do not think my betta is getting them, she'd be too slow to catch them. I am wondering if they are dead, and if they are, why.

The water from my tap is incredibly soft; it's almost as if it was run through a deionizer. It measures near 0 dGH and 0 dKH with the titration test and I buffer it with baking soda to raise the KH. I have a 5 gallon bucket that I age my water in and add 1/2 tbsp of sea salt per 5 gallons, Kordon Fish Protector, and Stress Coat. I dose with Seachem Flourish and Excel, and do not inject CO2.

1. Will my shrimp do better in harder water? Do they need the extra calcium, or is my soft water okay? What would you suggest I add to harden the water?

2. My pH sometimes fluctuates between 6.6-6.8, usually no more than .1 over the course of a day or two. I take daily pH readings. Is this too much fluctuation? Are there any tips to keep a more stable pH?

3. Are the things that I add to my water detrimental or beneficial? Does anyone have any comments about the use of sea salt? Kordon Fish Protector? Is the copper in fertilizers and mineral blocks harmful to shrimp?

4. I was surfing the web when I came across some mineral and "bio" additives for shrimp tanks. I was wondering if anyone had any information/opinions on products like this. Specifically things like Shirakura Mineral Powder and Micro-organism powder or mineral rocks for CRS (supposedly to help whiten their stripes) or "old sea mud". Are they just a gimmick? Will they be useful in the context of my specific aquarium? (soft water, slight pH flux, etc) Does anyone use something else?

5. What about food? There is a fair amount of food that sinks to the bottom that the fish miss (a variety of protein and vegetable based foods). I tried offering a New Life Spectrum H20 wafer to the shrimp. They never touched it. I am going to try blanched carrot this weekend.


Any other comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
April
 

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Betta + shrimp = fat betta + no shrimp

bettas will eat shrimp VERY quickly.

Out of everything you stated, this is the only issue that will be certain of killing your shrimp.

Even though bettas seem slow or clumsy, they are expert shrimp eaters. They are naturally predators of small invertebrates, and shrimp fit the bill (and taste very good at the same time).

The smaller they are, the easier they fit in the bettas mouth.
 
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