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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I've had a 55 gallon reef tank going for the last 6 years and looking to try my hand at planted tanks.

I converted a saltwater BioCube 14 using much of the equipment I already had. The tank is 3 weeks old and I'd like to know if it can house 20 Crystal Red Shrimp. No other livestock will be added.

This is probably a loaded question, but how much longer should I wait before stocking it? Do the plants need to grow larger? Do I need to get java moss or will the plants I have suffice?
  • Gear
    • BioCube 14 gallon (probably a little less than 10 gallon with all the equipment)
    • Steves LED lighting system (made for SPS coral) with 8 hour photo period
    • 90 GPS pump
    • 75 watt heater
    • Filter floss with CerMedia MarinePure Spheres
    • Auto water top-off
    • RO water remineralized with Seachem Equilibrium
    • FZone CO2 pressurized kit with solenoid (1 bps, green drop checker)
  • Substrate/Plants
    • Fluval Stratum
    • Mopani Driftwood
    • Random aquarium grass seeds from Amazon (can someone let me know what this is?)
    • Anubia Nana attached to driftwood
    • Alternanthera Lilacina Aquatic Farmer Tissue Culture
    • Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini' Aquatic Farmer Tissue Culture
    • Ludwigia Palustris Super Red Aquatic Farmer Tissue Culture
  • Parameters
    • 71-72 degrees F
    • 0 ammonia
    • 0 nitrites
    • 0 nitrates
    • 6.5 - 7 pH
    • 60 ppm GH
    • 0 - 40 ppm KH
    • 120 - 140 TDS
  • Fertilizers
    • Thrive S Shrimp Specific All in One Aquarium Fertilizer
    • Seachem Flourish
    • Seachem Iron
Any advise would be much appreciated.

Excuse the aquascaping. If I continue to enjoy this side of the hobby, I'll get a proper rimless setup.
Plant Plant community Terrestrial plant Grass Aquatic plant

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Cannot ID plants based on cotyledons alone. That being said, Hygrophila polysperma is the most common result when buying seeds advertised as MC or HC though there are other possibilities too. It is far from being a carpet plant and considering the density, there will be mass die off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cannot ID plants based on cotyledons alone. That being said, Hygrophila polysperma is the most common result when buying seeds advertised as MC or HC though there are other possibilities too. It is far from being a carpet plant and considering the density, there will be mass die off.
Thanks for the info. I looked up Hygrophila polysperma and the leaves don’t look round like the ones in my tank.


Do you think it could be anything else? I wish I researched more before purchasing seeds, but I was excited to get my tank started. I’m hoping they all don’t die.

Not sure if it helps, but I included a photo of the package.

Purple Plant Font Violet Material property
 

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Thanks for the info. I looked up Hygrophila polysperma and the leaves don’t look round like the ones in my tank.
Right. I did mention cotyledons before, those are embryonic leaves that seeds first grow. Those are the round leaves that you have right now and so many plants have cotyledons that look just like that so that's why providing IDs based on those leaves is not a good idea. Given some more time and you'll see new leaf growth start to change shape.

Hygrophila polysperma is a strong possibility because that's what the seeds advertised as MC or HC often turns out to be when given enough time to grow out. The seeds that are sold as Eleocharis can sometimes be ordinary lawn grass or even oat seeds for the large/gaint Eleocharis. These magic carpet seed scams have been around for well over a decade now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Right. I did mention cotyledons before, those are embryonic leaves that seeds first grow. Those are the round leaves that you have right now and so many plants have cotyledons that look just like that so that's why providing IDs based on those leaves is not a good idea. Given some more time and you'll see new leaf growth start to change shape.

Hygrophila polysperma is a strong possibility because that's what the seeds advertised as MC or HC often turns out to be when given enough time to grow out. The seeds that are sold as Eleocharis can sometimes be ordinary lawn grass or even oat seeds for the large/gaint Eleocharis. These magic carpet seed scams have been around for well over a decade now.
I had no idea what "cotyledons" were. I looked it up and your comment makes more sense now. Looks like I fell for a scam. New leaf growth has begun to form, so I'll post photos once they do. I'm a bit disappointed that my first foray into planted tanks is a scam. Oh well. I've done worse with reef corals, and those were much more costly mistakes.

@Smellydeli thank you for your insight about Hygrophila polysperma. I did some more research and realized there's a very good chance that what I have. I'm going to pull all of it out. It'll give me a chance to re-aquascape. Hopefully I don't kill my other plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I spent a couple hours pulling all the hygrophila polysperma out and doing a 100% water change. Live and learn I guess. Hopefully the remaining plants didn't get stressed too much.

I'm left with nearly a blank slate. I'm contemplating getting a bonsai like this. Does anyone have suggestions on ground cover? I'd prefer not to dry start since I need to find a place for the existing plants.

Plant Flower Water Purple Petal
 

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Welcome to the fresh side!

This is probably a loaded question, but how much longer should I wait before stocking it?
How did you cycle the tank? Have you been dosing ammonia daily? Usually takes more than 3 weeks. And for shrimp, you really want to create as much of an ideal environment as possible - which usually means running the tank with daily ammonia dosing for a few extra weeks at least. The extra time also affords you time to let your plants grow in so they look more mature. I hate waiting but it's always worth it.

75 watt heater
Completely unnecessary for Caridina shrimp. They're a cool water species. I'd remove it.

I spent a couple hours pulling all the hygrophila polysperma out and doing a 100% water change. Live and learn I guess.
Live and learn, indeed. Also count your blessings that you didn't get a visit from APHIS or other agency because H. polysperma is considered an invasive species federally and is illegal to transport - even in seed form.

RO water remineralized with Seachem Equilibrium
Equilibrium is hit-or-miss in terms of consistency but it will work. If you really want to keep Caridina shrimp, you'll likely want to consider a different method of remineralization in the future. Either a shrimp-specific product or one that you mix your own. They end up being a bit 'cleaner' than Equilibrium.

Caridina shrimp also need a gH of about 5-6 and 0 kH. What you currently have, if your testing method is accurate, is a gH of 3. Are you using a liquid test kit or strips? Liquid is always going to be better/more accurate on that front.

Do I need to get java moss or will the plants I have suffice?
You'll want a lot of plants for shrimp. The more, the better, and moss is always great. Tons of varieties in the hobby these days that allow you to pick a type that suits your particular aesthetic.

Since you're doing a shrimp-only tank, have you considered adding additional driftwood or branches to take advantage of some of the vertical space in your tank? Would provide a lot more surface area for shrimp and give you more opportunity for viewing. Would look great in a tank like yours.

Something that's not mentioned in your post are the intake grates. Have you covered them with sponge or something on the back side to make sure shrimp and shrimplets can't get through? Will save you a ton of headaches if you're able to do that before shrimp eventually move in. It's never really something we have to consider on the salt side of the hobby but becomes a big deal with freshwater shrimping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Welcome to the fresh side!



How did you cycle the tank? Have you been dosing ammonia daily? Usually takes more than 3 weeks. And for shrimp, you really want to create as much of an ideal environment as possible - which usually means running the tank with daily ammonia dosing for a few extra weeks at least. The extra time also affords you time to let your plants grow in so they look more mature. I hate waiting but it's always worth it.



Completely unnecessary for Caridina shrimp. They're a cool water species. I'd remove it.



Live and learn, indeed. Also count your blessings that you didn't get a visit from APHIS or other agency because H. polysperma is considered an invasive species federally and is illegal to transport - even in seed form.



Equilibrium is hit-or-miss in terms of consistency but it will work. If you really want to keep Caridina shrimp, you'll likely want to consider a different method of remineralization in the future. Either a shrimp-specific product or one that you mix your own. They end up being a bit 'cleaner' than Equilibrium.

Caridina shrimp also need a gH of about 5-6 and 0 kH. What you currently have, if your testing method is accurate, is a gH of 3. Are you using a liquid test kit or strips? Liquid is always going to be better/more accurate on that front.



You'll want a lot of plants for shrimp. The more, the better, and moss is always great. Tons of varieties in the hobby these days that allow you to pick a type that suits your particular aesthetic.

Since you're doing a shrimp-only tank, have you considered adding additional driftwood or branches to take advantage of some of the vertical space in your tank? Would provide a lot more surface area for shrimp and give you more opportunity for viewing. Would look great in a tank like yours.

Something that's not mentioned in your post are the intake grates. Have you covered them with sponge or something on the back side to make sure shrimp and shrimplets can't get through? Will save you a ton of headaches if you're able to do that before shrimp eventually move in. It's never really something we have to consider on the salt side of the hobby but becomes a big deal with freshwater shrimping.
Thanks for the tips! I ordered a 24 x 12 x 16 inch 20 gallon Lifegard rimless (shipping was too much on ADA tanks). I’ll be starting all over and will use my bio cube as a plant quarantine.

My plan is to use ADA power sand, amazonia v2, and Colorado sand for the substrate. Carpet the bottom with dwarf hair grass (EP). Use ohko stone for the hardscape and maybe glue some mosses and buce to it. I’ll wait till plants are established before adding livestock

I have way too much expired testing solution for my saltwater tank. I have digital refractometers, Hanna colorimeters, Neptune probes galore, calc/alk/mag auto dosers, and redundancies. I don’t want to do all that again with freshwater. I’m going with simple test strips.

Regarding the seeds. Not sure how I could get in trouble if it was purchased from Amazon without my knowledge. I made sure to burn all the vegetation in my fire pit. If it’s so illegal, why don’t they crack down on Amazon sales?
 

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Regarding the seeds. Not sure how I could get in trouble if it was purchased from Amazon without my knowledge.
Wasn't trying to put blame on you because you obviously were unaware. But people get visits from law enforcement at home all the time after buying these things on Amazon and fleabay. It's been a real mess for several years.

If it’s so illegal, why don’t they crack down on Amazon sales?
They do when sellers get identified/caught. But with automation, sellers are able to start up new accounts in a matter of minutes and no one gets caught until, well, they get caught. Cyclical funtimes.

amazonia v2
This is definitely going to make cycling easier because it has a built-in ammonia source. A lot of people steer clear of ADA Aqua Soil products but I love them for that reason. There's no daily dosing of ammonia, just some water changes and getting excited for the tank.

I’m going with simple test strips.
Unfortunately, with sensitive critters like Caridina shrimp, you're going to need to know some specifics about gH and kH. There's no getting around it. Test strips won't cut it. They may be able to give you a general idea of what's going on sometimes but they're not a good idea in this case. Especially since you're new to Caridina. Liquid gH & kH kits usually lose efficacy after 12-15 months and strips usually go bad after their first exposure to any sort of humidity. It's a frustrating reality.

You're going to need to be able to get water parameters to a fixed point at, say, 5 or 6 gH. Not a range of somewhere between 3 and 8. Too much commonly goes wrong to be able to wing it. (Even with all of your reef experience.)

Shrimp also can't handle ammonia. Like at all. Not even a little bit. Caridina less so than Neocaridina, even. So being able to accurately determine whether the tank is ready to support their life is going to be next to impossible with test strips. There's always going to be uncertainty with them. At least in the beginning. So it's likely going to be a thing in your life that you weren't planning for.

Thanks for the tips! I ordered a 24 x 12 x 16 inch 20 gallon Lifegard rimless (shipping was too much on ADA tanks). I’ll be starting all over and will use my bio cube as a plant quarantine.
Oooh. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Because it's always fun to keep interesting fish and critters in plant quarantine tanks like that. Maybe it could also become a shrimp cull tank in the future. Or a tank you use to grow out tissue cultures if you ever get into them - it's a great way to get a ton of Crypts or stems for relatively cheap. And if it's not something you want to run full-time, it's obviously going to be useful as a quarantine tank and the like. All-in-ones truly are terrific on this side of the hobby because of the filter system's flexibility. I love them and wish more companies would get back into them.

I started with Lifegard tanks last year (or maybe the year before? Whenever Bulk Reef Supply bought Marine Depot. Spent reckless amounts of money on that liquidation sale.) and have loved them since day one. After 20+ years with ADA tanks and several other OEMs, I've found Lifegard to be just as nice. Especially like my tiny, little all-in-one 2gal systems for micro reefing.

If you've never had a nice rimless tank before, I think you'll really love it. If you've seen ADA or similar in-person, you'll also love it. Something about the glass thickness, in my opinion, feels more reassuring than ADA tanks for some reason. Can't quite put my finger on it.

Hope you'll consider starting a tank journal so we can all follow along. Will be great to see documentation of the Lifegard tank especially, as they're pretty new to folks on this side of the hobby. Some people have no idea there's a whole world outside of ADA and UNS. Will also be great to see another reefer bring their experience from the salt side over to the fresh, planted bit of the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@somewhatshocked I apologize for the late reply. Thank you for all the advice, it's very helpful.

Amazon dropped the ball on my Lifegard tank, so I ordered an ADA 60P. This is the gear I've ordered so far:

  • Oase Biomaster Thermo 250 (filled with Matrix and fishless cycling with a 5 gal bucket).
  • GLA mini dual stage CO2 system with 5lb tank
  • Delta lily pipe set (maybe I'll go with ADA once I break cheaper ones)
  • 2x Fluval Plant 3.0 35 watt (probably going to return these)
  • ADA power sand, Amazonia v2, & sand
  • Seiryu, Ohko, and Lava stones because I can't make up my mind.
  • Forest black driftwood
Regarding lights, I was going to go with ADA AQUASKY RGB 60, but I didn't like how there's no way to adjust intensity. So I'm looking at either Chihiros WRGB II PRO or Twinstar 600SM. Any advice on lights?

Once I get my gear, I'll start a tank journal. It's probably going to be mostly photos though since I'm not the wordy type.

My original tank turned QT is doing pretty good. It's teaching me how to balance light, CO2, and ferts.

Flower Plant Sky Purple Underwater
 

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I love love LOVE that forest of AR you've got going there!!

For lights I was at a new local LFS and they had a tank where everything just looked SO GOOD, like insanely good, all the colors way nicer than regular.... I was like how the heck does this tank look so much better than the others? And they were like oh it's the Chihiros light. Anyways I'm too cheap to buy one but apparently they're the shiz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've been letting this tank sit fishless while the plants and algae overgrew. I used peroxide to keep the hair and spot algae at bay. I finally got the algae under control after lowering my photo period, increasing ferts, and increasing CO2. That's pretty much the algae recipe I see given for most tanks.

I cut all the stem plants right in half and added 1 oto cat, 3 nerite snails, and 3 amano shrimp. Those critters went to town. Enough so, that I was concerned they'd run out of algae, so I bumped up the photo period by a couple hours.

I'd like to get CRS for this tank, but I kinda like how low maintenance it is right now. I may just leave it for my future blue dream culls.

Flower Plant Purple Petal Terrestrial plant

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