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Hello folks,

I am setting up a very small tank with only two small plants, a marimo, and 3 shrimps. Right now it's getting "cycled". It has pool sand for now, but I might switch to a finer sand for a different color. For now, I want to avoid the buffering issues involved with more active soils.

My question is what happens when the shrimp poop into this gravel? Do I count on some kind of bacteria to eat it all up? Or am I supposed to vacuum it occasionally? In the end, I want a very "clean" and sparse looking tank that doesn't have a lot of (visible) algae growth. Maybe even use white sand. What I want to avoid is that if I ever poke into the gravel it's going to release some huge bacteria cloud or ammonia spike or whatever.

PS: if the thread title is funny, it's due to a forum bug
With PFS, the poop will not settle into the sand, it's too fine. The bacteria that will form in the sand will convert the ammonia from the poop, and may break it down on the surface over time, but with PFS, I would be actively vacuuming on a regular basis. This also reduces the likelihood of algae by removing waste, as algae will happily feed on whatever is being released by the shrimp poo.

As far as poking the substrate and causing a problem, there's no issue there.
 

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Is there a kind of substrate where the poop does fall down, doesn't require vacuuming, tends to not grow algae, and also won't release a bacterial cloud when disturbed? (Maybe too good to be true?)
Well, anything larger grained will allow poo to settle into the crevices. This results in a mulm buildup in the substrate, this is unavoidable. I'm not certain what you mean by a bacterial cloud when disturbed. When I disturb these types of substrates, it kicks up fine particulate of mulm, not a bacterial cloud. This fine particulate can trigger algae spores.

What type of shrimp are you intending to keep? If you're considering Caridina, I'd recommend a buffering substrate. Neo's give more flexibility.

Keeping the tank clean is part of good husbandry, and for me, that includes removing detritus buildup like fish and shrimp waste on a weekly basis. I use primarily PFS and other sands because they make this detritus removal very easy.
 
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