I just wanted to share my humble experience and I hope to learn more and more, most I consider knowledge but there may be some belief mixed in. There is plenty of examples of shrimp keeping/breeding out there, this is just mine and doesn't negate other methods nor I pretend to present this info as "the right way to do it".
*This thread refers to my 30 gallon main tank with medium light, pressurized CO2 24/7 and lean Ferts.
**got destroyed when I was away by my housemate:icon_evil, so this is history.
r: I want to say that there is not much evidence of CO2 24/7 been better for cardinias vs timed, I do it just because some successful shrimp keepers/breeders do it, its my belief. Same with how much ferts and WC. This is my personal approach.
This tank had a LOT of surface agitation, thus very good oxygenation/atmospheric gas exchange 24/7.
It's between 65-70F
so its colder than a tropical planted tank and is PH 5.6, very acidic. I believe
colder water favors the retention of CO2/O2 and acidic PH encourages photosynthesis, therefore I can get away with injecting little CO2 in comparison with a hotter/alkaline tank with the same light. Seems like Algae is also kept easier under control in a colder tank.
anubias nana petite
Ludwigia x lacustris
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Tropica'
The family shot:
I kept CRS SS, CBS SSS, OEBTs and blue velvets. CRS and CBS were breeding, I had a bunch of babies but OEBTs and neos were not I think because of the low PH (5.5)
**(I also have a 6gallon almost non dosing, non co2 which has a different method that includes more often WC)**
Here is the intro:
Once upon a time.... when I had a "planted tropical fish tank
I was totally clueless about how I was keeping my tank lush as I was just following directions from my favorite LFS to dose and plant. Yes, I was buying liquid ferts from them. One day, the guy who always helped me left that LFS and had to deal with a new guy. He tried pushing a new set of ferts and a HO light on me, when I heard the price, I got a bit skeptical and I ended up buying the light bulbs only. Things went really wrong then, algae wrong. I came back for the ferts and I aldo got some puffers... and things got super really wrong then, mega algae bloom wrong. And then, just then I started searching for help online.
This is how I started here:
I met The Planted Tank forum and SFBAAPS!! yay! people here helped me out figure that my co2 had run out....DOH! lol!
...at the same time some gurus like Hoppy, Plantbrain, Youjettisonme, Speedie, Ralph G. and others helped me realize that I needed to know more about what in the heck was in my water and what and why I was dosing ferts. The last two got me into shrimp tho!
The adventure began.
Here is the thing:
I started by buying dry ferts and trying PPSpro (perpetual preservation system) as it was in grams and allowed me (IMO) to calculate and understand better what I was dosing... I ended up just shooting for Estimative Index (Tom's EI) recommended ppm levels and I cranked the co2 to the max, mainly after understanding the law of the minimum (It states that growth is controlled not by the total amount of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor).)
Once I got rid of all limiting factors I started to pay attn to my testings before and after every fertilization. There was an obvious pattern of consumption and build up. It was a simple subtraction. For example: I had 20ppm of NO3 to start and I had only 5 left. Therefore I assumed that if I was using 15ppm of NO3, then I should dose that only.I did the same calculation with everything else. And If I wanted to use less (have less concentration in the water column) then I needed to have less light. I shortened the photo-period and sure enough the consumption diminished, therefore I had more buildup.
I played around with this for a while, in the meantime I always had my co2 all the way up, so that wasn't the limiting factor (because is the most important) without co2 plants cant use the available nutrients, algae can. Same with ant other leftover from any other limiting factor. When I played around dosing very lean there was plenty of light and plenty of CO2, instead of getting mostly algae, I would get mostly plant deficiencies, this showed me how important is co2 in a planted tank.
Side note: Around this time I started getting very interested in only shrimp tanks, I bought an established 6 gallon with a nice Neocardinia colony from Youjettisonme that came with a lot of teachings and wise advice.:thumbsup:
This is how it ended up after all those experiments, before I decided to convert it to an only shrimp tank set up:
The main thing, IME was to keep the proportions. PMDD (poor man's daily drops) and PPSpro had it already figured out. As i had already mixed PPSpro solutions, I kept using that.
I ended up dosing to have only about 5ppm of NO3 in the water as I planned to keep High Grade Shrimp (cardinias) and they are nitrate, nitrite and ammonia sensitive (I believe what I'm told here). So I dose PPS pro daily to keep those values at the with the least CO2 possible. To reach that I did the following:
Around 04-10-12 I re-started the tank with inert substrate, planted it heavily and set the timer for 10hr light. Full Co2. Filter was already cycled for about... 8yrs (lol) and I added a new huge canister that would house more nitro bacteria. All plants were covered in biofilm as well as the back glass of the tank as scraped the other 3 (not sure if scraping the glass kills its biofilm).
This is how it looked fresh right after shrimptank set up:
I started dosing as mentioned above to have 5ppm of NO3 spread on 7 days, that means like 0.7 a day and I used this calculator to figure that (http://calc.petalphile.com/
). I dose daily because I learned and believe that sensitive shrimp prefer stable conditions and dosing daily is easier on their lil tails.
I waited until I started seen the deficiencies to start I shortening the photoperiod. This would slow down the tank metabolism and the nutrient deficiencies will improve in theory. Once it was all good (8hrs), I started lowering the co2 until I got to 1 bubble per 3 sec, and then like several months later some GSA in my spraybar, so I increased to 1bps, that stopped it.
note: BPS is not a measure that works the same in all tanks it is a very specific of a single tank arbitrary way to eyeball how much co2 is going into the tank. Also, measuring CO2 by using the PH/KH chart is also a pretty inaccurate way to adjust co2, the best way is knowing your plant/algae response
The whole figuring out this set up's right metabolism to keep my water quality stable took me about two months since i started this Planted Shrimp Tank, which is what I was gonna wait anyways before bringing in the shrimpanzes.
I knew that I wanted to keep my TDS low, under 200. I decided to change water at 170-200tds. Guess what! I never reached that. If I hadn't cleaned my canister then I would be in month #5 without a WC, and I probably will have several months ahead without the need for a WC.
The whole idea is that plants are another filter that keep the water quality very well. Therefore very few to no water changes are needed In this theory.... it would not be possible with few plants and mostly moss tho, in theory/method...
Another way to look at this is: If I start with DI water, zero TDS, and I start adding the nutrients I want to have in ppms, I would end up with about 130pmm total maximum. The tank was always under 150 TDS, I had to buy mosura TDS UP to reach 160-170TDS for my OEBTs.
How come I dont have to change water? well, water evaporates pure so I only top off with DI water wich is pure. toping off with tap adds buildup that doesnt evaporate. Calcium/magnesium doesnt evaporate and is used just a lil bit by the plants and bugs so can be considered a constant once is there. Nutrients are consumed by the plants and If i see that my TDS is marking a bit high, I skip dosing a couple of days and test again. Usually that brings it down like 5ppm. Feeding is lean with shrimp like every other day about half a pea size in food that is designed to not foul the water quality. I trim the plants once or twice a month, that takes out waste / nutrients out of the water in the form of a plant. And finally I overfilter the tank, I have two canisters running a DIY UGF and a big sponge in their intakes.
I don't know about the UGF lasting forever
. I won't last forever myself! Lol!
I may have to start over in 2-3 years because i will move out for sure and I hope that it would work that long. The substrate is akadama drl large grain (1") in the bottom 3 inches and small grain (1/4") from 1" to 3" which makes the whole thing 4" to 6"
One thing that is key in this kind of set up is to know that is not a plant farm. Plants grow slow or just get stuck and look good but there is not much happening. For example blyxa doesnt grow but roots ok and stays the same. In the other hand red cabomba for example didnt do good at all but I'm not sure if the PH was the main reason for it to fade away. PH is 5.5ish in this tank. So I recommend to buy plants that are already looking good because they may grow really slow and it will take time to fill up spaces in between. Plant tight.
There is a few things I forgot to mention, I will just point them out here:
• nutrient consumption varies a bit, I assume it's because of the plant growth/mass, some deaths or rotting stuff.
• I created a LOT of surface agitation with the spray bar, no splashing tho. I think this is critical with co2 injection 24/7.
• You can't see it in the picture but I have at least 1/3 of the surface covered by floating plants, shrimps hang out a lot there nibbling in their roots.
• I'm generous with Indian almond leaves.
• I feed them every other day alternating 13 different high end shrimp foods and fresh blanched organic zuchini/spinach.
See my surface agitation and floaters:
I recommend the following reading/links:
-(post #1) as a must for all people starting in the hobby of shrimp keeping by Youjettisonme
-Setting up a Shrimp tank and DIY UGF (like mine) by Mordalphus
-CO2: why some tanks might need more CO2 than others and why some folks gas their fish by Tom Barr
-Dosing fertilizers with Freshwater Shrimp, by Ryan wood @ Planet Inverts
: http://www.planetinverts.com/Dosing Fertilizers with Shrimp.html
Other examples of high grade cardinias in planted tanks with ferts and co2:
YU CRS CENTER (top notch Taiwanese breeders)
En español(Chile): http://www.acuaristas.cl/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=93366
My Shrimp Dealer, Speedie: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=161792&highlight=speedie+shrimp
MY Shrimp Food/suplements Dealer, H4n
MY Plant Dealers, H4n and Plantbrain
My Fertilizer Dealers, GLA
••••Appendix 1, A deeper explanation on stable TDS
"no water changes? What?"
-USING A TDS METER.
This is the most important tool, without it is a guessing game and this is like an exact Science kinda game.
I need to measure total dissolved solids every day or two when the tank is running at "idle". Without this info it's impossible to determine if the method is working or not.
One gallon of zero TDS water.
I need ~120ppm of GH (6dGh) for the inverts, and I know that to reach that we need to add GH booster. The booster is not just GH so it would probably bring the TDS to 140-150 depending on the brand.
Now I have clean water with enough GH at 150TDS. (120ppm of calcium + magnesium and other stuff)
I allow ~10-20tds(ppm) to fit all nutrients, micros and macros. (very exaggerated) .
Now i have ~ 170 TDS maximum for clean nutritious water.
I can set up a maximum tolerance of 200 TDS (which is pretty conservative) and skip/lower dosing when the TDS are above 180TDS.
A few days ago I reached 185 TDS, I've stopped dosing and now after 3 days I'm back at 180 TDS and I hope to get to 175 TDS soon.
- INERT SUBSTRATE.
While having an active substrate is tempting, at least in this case, I choose to use an inert substrate for more accuracy when measuring how much does this tank "eat".
The nutrients in an active substrate slowly deplete, making it difficult to dose always the same because this inconsistency.
-MEDIUM TO HIGH LIGHT AND CO2.
I have tried doing this with non co2 tanks and it seems to be impossible to me to handle a nutrient buildup of some sort, even when skipping ferts.
A quicker metabolism, as with more light intensity and co2 injection, allows quicker consumption of nutrients, therefore it's easier to dose accordingly to the bioload and the plant consumption.
Commercial brands are not going to disclose their mixes. Figuring out how to dose with seachem or Ada liquid fertilizers for this purpose would be very challenging.
Dry dosing is more customizable, with the help of a number of online calculators i can make my own solutions... Literally, but pps-pro or pmdd work fine as well for me.
-LEAN TO NO LIVESTOCK.
The advantage to this is the control over waste and nitrogen compounds.
I can always add more kno3 for my plant needs but the only way to dilute a buildup would be to change water thus making no sense with the method.
Inverts is the way to go to start doing this.
The whole point on using filters is to improve water quality, by over filtering a tank with this method we are just making it easier as the water won't get stagnate, there would be no scum pockets/film, better co2 distribution and very good oxygenation if a spray bar is used to move the surface.
-HEAVILY PLANTED from day one.
I don't want to give algae a chance.
More plants will be able to process more nutrients/waste and therefore better water quality. A lot of the beneficial bacteria (biofilm) is already in the plants.
NO TAP WATER!
Tap water has stuff in it, maybe good if im changing water but not in this case. Every time i top off with tap, i add TDS to the tank.
It's a must to use deionized (zero tds)
or at least RO water.
Blank canvas. Same as substrate.
••••Appendix 2, about short photoperiod
"4 hrs light? What?? 2on,3off,2on,17off??"
Been that light is the most important driving force in dictating the "metabolism" of a tank, adjusting it will dictate what method can/should be applied.
I'm convinced that same plants could be grown with less intense light with a longer photoperiod and maybe less nutrients/co2.
I have powerful lights in this tank, 2x T5HO 22" (~50PAR @ substrate level). If I have a longer photoperiod I would need more concentration of available nutrients and co2. This conflicts with what is believed
to be good for cardinias shrimp.
So, for the plants to process the available nutrients without a higher concentration of co2 I need a shorter photoperiod with this lights. If I want a longer photoperiod, I will need more co2 (or raise the fixture which would look ugly) to outcompete algae. Nutrients will be processed either way, it's just a matter of who has better conditions, plants or algae.
The general consensus is that algae issues are a consequence of lack of co2. From my point of view is caused by excess of light, therefore the need for more co2.
BBA tells me: "hey! Got to much light going on!"
As I can't (or don't want) dose more co2, I must reduce the amount of light. And as I don't want to raise the light fixture to reduce its intensity, then I must shorten the photoperiod.
I hope this is clear enough.
I think that is all I wanted to share for now, I'll keep adding.... as I said before most of it is stuff I learned and some is stuff I believe. I may be leaving things out or unclear but I will be happy to fix that. Please don't take this as a PRO guide, is just a synthesis of my journal. Just one guy with a couple of tanks experience.
Does all of this make sense? If there is assumptions I made into beliefs, I would love to learn more so please don't hesitate to teach me something new, I'm just a passionate newbie and "Ego is not your Amigo".