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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,
Biofilm doesn't grow out of thin water - it must need some kind of nutrients to grow. Is it nitrates, micro-nutrients, carbohydrates, etc???
I have a new batch of baby shrimp in my "failed tank" (see here: One tank thriving, one tank failing) in which the ecology is out of whack in some way. But this time I will try it without dosing Bacter AE since some people have bad-mouthed it, plus when I used it in the past, the baby survival rate was only about a third. (obviously could be other factors too)

In the "thriving tank", the nitrates are zero, glass walls are clean and clear, yet the shrimp go around grazing on the moss.
In the "failed tank", the nitrates are also zero. glass walls often get covered with something, yet the shrimp never graze on the moss or other features, but would rather dig thru the substrate. Plus this tank had problems with algae, so I dimmed the lights a lot recently.
 

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Bad-mouthing and telling you it's unnecessary aren't the same thing. You can use it if you want but Bacter AE is simply unnecessary.

And just like being unnecessary in the food sense, it's also unnecessary to do anything special for biofilm to grow. It happens naturally. On every surface in your tank. You don't have to do anything for it to occur.

Shrimp eat what they like the most first. If there's something in the substrate they're eating? That means they prefer it over other things in the tank. If they're picking through moss, they prefer that.

The TL;DR: here is that you don't have to do anything. Just let your tank exist.
 

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i'll double down on that biofilm just needs 1 thing...time

i will say one thing that i find always helps my shrimp tanks stay thriving is throwing a bristlenose pleco in there i personally find shrimp by themselves dont produce enough waste and the food your going to feed your shrimp feeds the pleco so other then putting in more there really isnt anything extra you need to do
 

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i'll double down on that biofilm just needs 1 thing...time

i will say one thing that i find always helps my shrimp tanks stay thriving is throwing a bristlenose pleco in there i personally find shrimp by themselves dont produce enough waste and the food your going to feed your shrimp feeds the pleco so other then putting in more there really isnt anything extra you need to do
Your Pleco is probably still little, once it grows it will eat your Shrimp for lunch.
 

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I've never known plecos to consume live shrimp, but I can see no way in which they are a benefit, either. Bacter AE is a finely powdered shrimp food. My understanding is that it's made from dried biofilm at least in part, but I'm skeptical that it encourages the growth of it more than any other food/nutrient.
 

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its not science just my own personal thoughts but when you have a large shrimp population over 100 with a ton of berried females when all of those females drop there young ones at the same time it is my belief that the bacteria in the tank does not escalate at the same rate as a doubling if not more in population and there waste, but if you have a larger bristlenose in there then the spikes in population of your shrimp will not effect the balance in the tank because a pleco produces as much if not more waste on its own
 

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its not science just my own personal thoughts but when you have a large shrimp population over 100 with a ton of berried females when all of those females drop there young ones at the same time it is my belief that the bacteria in the tank does not escalate at the same rate as a doubling if not more in population and there waste, but if you have a larger bristlenose in there then the spikes in population of your shrimp will not effect the balance in the tank because a pleco produces as much if not more waste on its own
Nope. Not how this works at all. A little cursory search will disabuse you of this belief. But you're absolutely right: that's not science. It's misinformation at best and intentional disinformation at worst.

It's not as if shrimp pop out and are instantly producing the amount of waste an adult Neocaridina can produce. Shrimplets are tiiiiiiny when first hatched. Negligible bioload with even a thousand hatchlings. As they slowly grow, bacterial colonies also grow in order to keep up with their waste. And in a planted tank or tank with floating plants, any increase in waste is used up quickly.

Having a Pleco or any other fish in the tank means one thing: it's producing enough waste to keep up with its bioload - not the bioload of other creatures producing waste. There's not some magical thing that happens. Having a fish doesn't mysteriously mean your system can handle more waste than is already present in the tank.

Shrimp absolutely produce enough waste on their own to supply a bacterial colony large enough to support them. It's directly proportional to the amount of waste available for processing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since this thread is still kind of going, I may as well ask again...
TIME is only one ingredient for growing biofilm. Something does not come from nothing by just waiting around.
It must be possible to "run out" of biofilm, otherwise you'd never need to feed shrimp ever.
Probably in a well-balanced and mature tank, there is some kind of cycle that goes : shrimp poop -> bacteria -> nutrients -> biofilm grows
I sort of have a new reason for asking: In the "thriving tank" I got a batch of new young shrimp about 2 months ago. Initially they were all very active and grazing around on the moss and everything else. These last two weeks, they seem to have stopped moss grazing, and some of them seem to go into "eco mode" where they are less active or slowly pick at the substrate occasionally. They are bigger now, of course, but still not full size. But when I feed (once per 2-3 days) they suddenly come running over. So either the moss "ran out" of biofilm, or they realized that they can just wait around for the food to magically show up.

In the "failing" tank, a batch of babies hatched a month ago, and this time I purposely did NOTHING for them, i.e. no Bacter AE, no baby food, no supplements, etc except an occasional dose of fertilizer and feed the adults. It seems most of them have survived up until this time so they clearly have something to eat. But I did see one die today. Sometimes I wonder if the biofilm has the optimal composition, e.g. ratio of plant to animal matter. It surely must depend on various aspects of the tank.
 

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Yes, something can come from nothing just by waiting around. Not everything is visible to your naked eye. Bacteria are all around you. On every surface. It's the same in an aquarium. But that film in your tank is made up of all kinds of things - it's not just bacteria. Bacteria, other microorganisms, waste, you name it. You aren't going to run out of it in a shrimp tank unless you have thousands of shrimp in a tiny space. Even that is unlikely.

Shrimp are opportunistic feeders. Detrivores. They're also going to eat what they like first. If they flock to the food you add? They like that better than other options they have. They're also going to seek out things to eat within their environment if you don't add food.

You realize that baby shrimp can eat the food you feed adult shrimp, right? If you're feeding adult shrimp, you're also feeding shrimplets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Obviously the biofilm's ingredients are not visible by naked eye, whether they be bacterial, nitrates, phosphates, etc.

The baby shrimp don't make it into the feeding dish, so no, they aren't eating that food.
 

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The baby shrimp don't make it into the feeding dish, so no, they aren't eating that food.
They are, indeed, likely feeding on what you add to the tank. We just don't think of it in the same manner because we don't usually see it happening. Bits and pieces come off of food you add to the tank. Even when it doesn't look like it. Doesn't take much. They're also feeding off the waste of adult shrimp and consuming their exoskeletons when they molt.

Takes so little to feed shrimplets that for a tank of a thousand babies and a few hundred adults (let's say 40 gallons for the sake of discussion), I'd add only as much baby food as you could fit on the tip of a toothpick once per week. Even after adults consume some of it, there's still probably more than enough left over for the entire week.
 
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