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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a couple of 20-gallon shrimp tanks that are not doing well on tap water, so I was going to try RO. Since I'm only doing about 2 gallons per week, I don't need a large unit. Any recommendations? Will I need a storage tank? How do I get the storage tank up to shrimp tank temperature? What if it's too warm? Do I remineralize in the storage tank? I was considering using a 10-gallon aquarium on top of my rack for water storage, that way I could gravity drip into the tanks. Is drip feed still necessary with RO for the shrimp? Would I need to worry about algae? Also open to any suggestions and/or recommendations.

Thanks
 

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I'm not a shrimp expert, but I'm [hopefully] sure some will chime in.

In any case, I would first ask: how is it that you know the problems are due to your tap water? In preparation for the arrival of some shrimp experts, you may want to post some info about your tank, such as:

  • How long has the tank been setup?
  • CO2 setup (if any) and, if you inject CO2 (pressurized or DIY?), what is the CO2 ppm level, how is it measured and how is it timed with your photoperiod?
  • Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
  • Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
  • What is your filter setup?
  • Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
  • Do you use a water softener on your tap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
  • How long has the tank been setup?
  • CO2 setup (if any) and, if you inject CO2 (pressurized or DIY?), what is the CO2 ppm level, how is it measured and how is it timed with your photoperiod?
  • Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
  • Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
  • What is your filter setup?
  • Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
  • Do you use a water softener on your tap?
The tank has been running for 1 1/2 years
No CO2
Test with API Kits: pH 7.6 ppm, NH3,NH4 0 ppm, NO2 0 ppm, NO3 0 ppm, GH 6 dKH, KH 2 dKH, PO4 0 ppm, TDS 211 Also test for copper 0
Sand Substrate 1 1/2 years
2 XY-2882 dual sponge filters with ceramic bio filter media
10% water change every 2 weeks, one filter cleaning each time
No water softener
They are fed Bacter AE & spirulina powder each week
Use Thrive S for plants
Nicrew ClassicLED Plus Light is on timer for 6 hours per day
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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211 TDS seems a tad high to me with 6dGh, 2dKh and 0 NO3?

I use RO with 6 dGh, 1dKh and it's at 116 TDS. My neo tank is at 195 TDs with Thrive S and it hasn't seen a water change in, sheepishly admits, 2 months now. Nitrates are usually around 10ppm but I just tested and they're at 25ppm.

Perhaps there's an error in one of the tests?

API nitrate tests are not the most accurate.

RO would definitely rule out heavy metals making things difficult.

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Are you on well or city water? I just moved to a place where there is a lot of ag and the well water here contains trace amounts of insecticides. It seems the best bet for you seems to switch to RO remineralized to get the parameters you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
………API nitrate tests are not the most accurate……
I test every 2 weeks before the water change and they’re always similar. I test 3 other tanks with the same kit, they have different steady readings consistently.
 

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I test every 2 weeks before the water change and they’re always similar. I test 3 other tanks with the same kit, they have different steady readings consistently.
Ah, probably not then. :)

If you do a search on here you will see a few posts complaining of zero readings using API test kits when nitrates are actually higher. It definitely happened to me.

But I posted mostly because TDS just struck me as being high based on your other readings. Something is off. Stating the obvious, lol.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
……If you do a search on here you will see a few posts complaining of zero readings using API test kits when nitrates are actually higher. It definitely happened to me.....But I posted mostly because TDS just struck me as being high based on your other readings……
My fish tank reads between 20-40 ppm Nitrate with the same kit. I was thinking the TDS was on the high side because of the cuttlebone in the tank. On the Shrimp Farm website, they say TDS between 150-250, so I thought I was good. Just checked my tap water TDS: 119.
 

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1. I started with an RO Buddie from Amazon, if you only have a couple of tanks and need a couple gallons every other week that would probably be enough. But eventually got something bigger once I crossed 80 total gallons of shrimp tanks lol.
2. When I make up RODI water it gets put in a trash can that’s on a furniture dolly.
3. All my tanks are in the spare bedroom, no heaters, so I just let the water sit in the room overnight and let temp adjust.
4. I’ve never had to cool water down, so I can’t help ya there, sorry.
5. I mix in the remineralizer before adding it to the tanks.
6. I have storage totes above most of my tanks and gravity feed the water for water changes. I used to have a couple 20L with Neocaridinas and one with Crystal Red shrimp and used a 250ish gph pump to add water back in and never noticed any problems. But with the “fancier” ones I chose to drip, and its not really a drip, I use RO tubing and just start a siphon and it just fills as fast as it can.

Ive only been into shrimp 3 1/2 years, so still new and learning. The first 6 months I tried keeping cherries in my tap and was just having trouble. Ended up switching to RO and have almost never had a problem since then. Whichever you decide, good luck…
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
................
3. All my tanks are in the spare bedroom, no heaters, so I just let the water sit in the room overnight and let temp adjust.
6. I have storage totes above most of my tanks and gravity feed the water for water changes. I used to have a couple 20L with Neocaridinas and one with Crystal Red shrimp and used a 250ish gph pump to add water back in and never noticed any problems. But with the “fancier” ones I chose to drip, and its not really a drip, I use RO tubing and just start a siphon and it just fills as fast as it can............
3. The only reason I put heaters in my tanks is: the room I have my tanks in is above the unheated garage, so during the winter, it can drop to around 50°F. During the summer, I actually keep the room at 72°F and use the heaters to keep the water at 75°F.
6. With the storage totes, do you actually keep water in there all the time or are they just there for transfer and emptied during every use? The reasons I was considering 10-gallon aquariums is that they're stronger than the totes and when on sale around the same price. But if I keep water stored in there, I was concerned with algae growing on the glass sides.

Any recommendations on a transfer pump?

Thanks
 

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3. The only reason I put heaters in my tanks is: the room I have my tanks in is above the unheated garage, so during the winter, it can drop to around 50°F. During the summer, I actually keep the room at 72°F and use the heaters to keep the water at 75°F.
6. With the storage totes, do you actually keep water in there all the time or are they just there for transfer and emptied during every use? The reasons I was considering 10-gallon aquariums is that they're stronger than the totes and when on sale around the same price. But if I keep water stored in there, I was concerned with algae growing on the glass sides.

Any recommendations on a transfer pump?

Thanks
3. Gotcha, well how would your RO water get warmer? Most shrimp keepers I know just do what i mentioned that i do to temp match. I chat regularly with someone who keeps his tanks in his basement and has to use heaters. He just tosses a small heater into his storage container to temp match.
4. No i usually don't keep water in there, if i do its very little. I've wondered about the algae thing too. I know one shrimp keeper who uses those black totes from Lowes, he's mentioned their cheap but also has mentioned he doesn't hafta worry about algae growth. I know a couple that use tanks for storage, ive never known them to mention algae problems. I only use tote so i could drill a hole in it for an RO tubing bulkhead. Im planning on switching up the shrimp a lil bit and thinking about using 10g/20g tanks for storage.

For water pump, honestly just got the cheapest one with a height lift that would reach the top of the tote.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
3. Gotcha, well how would your RO water get warmer? Most shrimp keepers I know just do what i mentioned that i do to temp match. I chat regularly with someone who keeps his tanks in his basement and has to use heaters. He just tosses a small heater into his storage container to temp match.
4. No i usually don't keep water in there, if i do its very little. I've wondered about the algae thing too. I know one shrimp keeper who uses those black totes from Lowes, he's mentioned their cheap but also has mentioned he doesn't hafta worry about algae growth. I know a couple that use tanks for storage, ive never known them to mention algae problems. I only use tote so i could drill a hole in it for an RO tubing bulkhead. Im planning on switching up the shrimp a lil bit and thinking about using 10g/20g tanks for storage.

For water pump, honestly just got the cheapest one with a height lift that would reach the top of the tote.
3. During the mid-day summer, my incoming water to the house can get up to 80°F.

4. My local Lowe's doesn't stock the 12-gallon black bins, but Home Depot does under their brand name and cheaper. It's made of #5 PP (Polypropylene), so it's safe for fish.
 

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3. During the mid-day summer, my incoming water to the house can get up to 80°F.

4. My local Lowe's doesn't stock the 12-gallon black bins, but Home Depot does under their brand name and cheaper. It's made of #5 PP (Polypropylene), so it's safe for fish.
3. Lol gotcha, sorry just had a "duh" moment, sigh, anyway if you keep the room at 72 you can still just let it set overnight and that should cool it down enough. I just checked some RO water I made up yesterday, its sitting at 70, room temp is about the same and last time i checked my tap the cold came out at 75/76 during the summer.
 

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if you ONLY need 2 gallons per week, consider the ZeroWater filtration system. Output from this 5 stage filtration system will provide results quite close to a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) system. For your needs, I suggest considering a ZeroWater dispenser around the 20 cup size. I had been mixing Brita filtered tap with RO water I obtained from a local Pet Supply shop for a couple years and after replacing my Brita system with the ZeroWater system, after making several measurements and comparisons, I do not measure much difference between RO and ZeroWater filtered water. In addition to mixing RO and ZeroWater together into a 2 gallon water container along w/ adding a very small amount of Seachem Prime, (1/8) tsp Seachem Equilibrium and (1/2) tsp Seachem Carbonate that is the water I use during partial water changes once per week and I get excellent results for my live planted 30 gallon aquarium with kH and gH levels that are consistent and within the ranges I wish to stay at.
 

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Would avoid ZeroWater if you're mixing up water for sensitive dwarf shrimp. While it removes heavy solids, that's about all it does and even that's not a guarantee. There's tons of variation in the carbon used in those filter inserts.

I keep the most sensitive shrimp available in the hobby and have for decades. Here's how I do it:

No heaters in any of my tanks. Water temperature always below 72, ideally in the 65-70 range (unless we're talking Cardinal/Sulawesi or marine). As long as the water you're using for water changes is within a few degrees, it won't matter because you're not changing more than 10-20 percent of the tank. My water change water is usually a degree or so cooler. Shrimp behave as if it were raining in their natural habitat.

Every week I fill up Rubbermaid Brute trash cans with RO/DI water. I keep a pump on a timer in each can so things stay a bit aerated. Nothing fancy. Runs maybe 3-4 times a day for a few minutes. I also keep a section of clear hose connected to the barb of the pump so I can easily move RO/DI water into my mixing containers when I need it. Just drop it down in the can when I'm finished. Since the cans are in my tank area, they're always about the same temperature as my tanks. At most a few degrees cooler.

I prefer using 5gal buckets for mixing shrimp water on an as-needed basis. Stick a pump in the bottom. Add RO/DI water. Dump in remineralization salts. Mix for a while before testing to make sure things are where I want them. Then add the water to the shrimp tank. Just like mixing reef salt but no refractometer. Instead, I test TDS and verify with a quick kH/gH kit - depending upon the species of the tank.

If parameters are matched, there's really no need to add water too slowly. Just don't mess up the tank and you'll be fine.

I like to watch my tanks when doing water changes because everything gets active, so I do kind of a drip situation. On smaller tanks, I really love using... wait for it... enema buckets. Like this:



The hose clamp allows for flow control and they're easy to place above a tank. They're cheap and really handy to have if you keep small tanks.

But RO/DI aside, what are your current water parameters? What's the tank like? Could you share photos? Maybe some of us shrimp nerds could help you get to the bottom of what's going on.
 
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