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Discussion Starter #1
I just got my Fluval Spec V today. I'm planning on getting substrate and plants this weekend. I need some help with substrate.
My tank interior dimension is around 17"(L) x 6.5"(W) x 10"(H).
Shrimp will be red cherry at first. May do crystal red when I'm ready for it.

Can I get by with 1" substrate and cap that with 1" of Black Diamond fine blasting abrasives? What's the minimum depth for substrate. Can I use cap? Is it going to defeat the purpose of the substrate I'm planning to use (see below). I want to use Black Diamond for the look. I don't want total substrate too deep since my tank is small and short.

Originally, I planned to use Aquasolum black humate because it's sold as substrate for planted shrimp tank and I can get it locally. It's kinda expensive. One bag only cover 1" depth. I may move all substrate to cover 2/3 of the tank and the rest cover with sand only. My design has no plant on 1/3 of the tank.

Another local options is Caribsea Flora-Max. It's cheaper but the package is bigger. $$$ saving is not that much but I'll have lots of it.

The 3rd local options is Flourite Black. I've read somewhere saying it has copper. Is it suitable for a shrimp tank?

Finally, Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum or ADA Aqua soil Amazonia online.

The most important is easy to maintain and worry free. Like no unwanted chemical leak or substrate break down after a period of time. The next is helping plant glow because I'm not going to do CO2 or dosing. Of course cost effective is good. Who doesn't want to save money. However, I don't want to save a little money and cost me dearly long term.


Thanks!
 

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Generally speaking, you either set the tank up for Neos or Caridinas. If the tank is set up for Neos, Caridinas are not likely to thrive in the tank. If you set the tank up for Caridinas, then Neos are not as likely to thrive in those parameters.


Aquasolum, Fluval Shrimp Stratum and ADA are all buffering substrates. If you choose to go this route, you would be able to keep Caridinas, however you need to use RO water with a GH+ remineralizer. (wouldn't recommend Fluval, heard it doesn't last long and turns to mush)


Caribsea Flora-Max and Flourite Black are inert gravels. This means that it would not be recommended to put Caridinas in the tank. Plus side, you can use tap water.



Some additional things to consider...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Generally speaking, you either set the tank up for Neos or Caridinas. If the tank is set up for Neos, Caridinas are not likely to thrive in the tank. If you set the tank up for Caridinas, then Neos are not as likely to thrive in those parameters.


Aquasolum, Fluval Shrimp Stratum and ADA are all buffering substrates. If you choose to go this route, you would be able to keep Caridinas, however you need to use RO water with a GH+ remineralizer. (wouldn't recommend Fluval, heard it doesn't last long and turns to mush)


Caribsea Flora-Max and Flourite Black are inert gravels. This means that it would not be recommended to put Caridinas in the tank. Plus side, you can use tap water.



Some additional things to consider...
That's great. That made my decision easier. I'll go with buffering substrates.
Good thing I have a RO unit I can switch to when I go with caridinas.

Does capping with sand defeat or reduce the effect of buffering substrate?
 

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Er... I suggest staying away from BDS Fine, use the 20/40 instead(medium). The fine grade is mostly actual brown looking sand and everytime you touch it, it kicks up an immense cloud of silt. I had to suck/scoop a whole mess of it out of a 38G to replace it with the medium which is all black. It ended up filling a hole in my driveway. Never, ever again on the fine grade.
 

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I don't have any experience capping a buffering substrate....


But if you go with a buffering substrate, you *HAVE* to use remineralized RO water, even if you keep Neos in the tank.


Neocaridina - Gravel/Sand, Tap(?)

Caridina - Buffering substrate, RO/DI water, GH+ minerals.



Do not mix and match those differences. Well, you could go with sand/gravel for Neos and used remineralized RO water, but you'd be using GH & KH minerals, so the tank still wouldn't be suitable for Caridinas.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Er... I suggest staying away from BDS Fine, use the 20/40 instead(medium). The fine grade is mostly actual brown looking sand and everytime you touch it, it kicks up an immense cloud of silt. I had to suck/scoop a whole mess of it out of a 38G to replace it with the medium which is all black. It ended up filling a hole in my driveway. Never, ever again on the fine grade.


Very good tips. Thanks


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I don't have any experience capping a buffering substrate....


But if you go with a buffering substrate, you *HAVE* to use remineralized RO water, even if you keep Neos in the tank.


Neocaridina - Gravel/Sand, Tap(?)

Caridina - Buffering substrate, RO/DI water, GH+ minerals.



Do not mix and match those differences. Well, you could go with sand/gravel for Neos and used remineralized RO water, but you'd be using GH & KH minerals, so the tank still wouldn't be suitable for Caridinas.

Wow... I thought I did plenty of research.
I've read red cherry (neo) has wider range of pH and crystal red (caridina) has narrower range but they overlap.
I thought the main reason to use buffering substrate is keeping pH in check. Why it can't be used for neo? I've read multiple place suggest using buffering substrate for neo too. I'm not questioning you. I've read few threads you participated and seems like you have great deal of shrimp knowledge. That's why I hope to find out the reason from you. Is that for perfect or good enough parameters?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The main reason I don't want to use gravel because I want better substrate for plants.


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Wow... I thought I did plenty of research.
I've read red cherry (neo) has wider range of pH and crystal red (caridina) has narrower range but they overlap.
I thought the main reason to use buffering substrate is keeping pH in check. Why it can't be used for neo? I've read multiple place suggest using buffering substrate for neo too. I'm not questioning you. I've read few threads you participated and seems like you have great deal of shrimp knowledge. That's why I hope to find out the reason from you. Is that for perfect or good enough parameters?

Yes, cherry shrimp do have a wide range of parameters. However, generally speaking, they thrive better with a KH at, minimum 2-3 with a pH of 7.0-8.0 range.

Most of the fancy Caridina/Bee shrimp do better with a KH of 0-1, max of 2, and a pH in the range of 5.8 to 6.8.


If you put Caridina into Neocaridina parameters, most often they will not reproduce. They might live, but they wont be thriving.

You put Neocaridina into Caridina parameters, and you might get *some* breeding, but they may not breed as well as the Caridinas. Neos mature faster than Caridinas do, and they produce more eggs, to my knowledge.... so if Caridinas are out-breeding Neos, that may say how 'well' they like those parameters.


I would say that Tigers are the exception. They can live in either Neo or Caridina parameters and, if set up right, will thrive in either condition! I have YKK's (TT mix) that were raised in Caridina parameters and living in the lower end of Neo parameters. I've had them since April, I have a bunch of babies in the tank that are a little over a week old, and several berried females. In the short amount of time that I've had them, they've been doing far better than the Neos I've been keeping for over a year now!



If you want to keep Neos and Caridina in the same tank, then my recommendation is to be careful who you purchase from. Do not buy imported Neos. Do not buy from anyone who's keeping Neos in Neo parameters. Do not buy adult shrimp. For the best chance of success with this tank, find someone who has been raising Neos in Caridina parameters for several generations. If you do it this way, they'll be better acclimated to what you want to keep them in, which means a higher chance of success for them to thrive. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, cherry shrimp do have a wide range of parameters. However, generally speaking, they thrive better with a KH at, minimum 2-3 with a pH of 7.0-8.0 range.

Most of the fancy Caridina/Bee shrimp do better with a KH of 0-1, max of 2, and a pH in the range of 5.8 to 6.8.


If you put Caridina into Neocaridina parameters, most often they will not reproduce. They might live, but they wont be thriving.

You put Neocaridina into Caridina parameters, and you might get *some* breeding, but they may not breed as well as the Caridinas. Neos mature faster than Caridinas do, and they produce more eggs, to my knowledge.... so if Caridinas are out-breeding Neos, that may say how 'well' they like those parameters.


I would say that Tigers are the exception. They can live in either Neo or Caridina parameters and, if set up right, will thrive in either condition! I have YKK's (TT mix) that were raised in Caridina parameters and living in the lower end of Neo parameters. I've had them since April, I have a bunch of babies in the tank that are a little over a week old, and several berried females. In the short amount of time that I've had them, they've been doing far better than the Neos I've been keeping for over a year now!



If you want to keep Neos and Caridina in the same tank, then my recommendation is to be careful who you purchase from. Do not buy imported Neos. Do not buy from anyone who's keeping Neos in Neo parameters. Do not buy adult shrimp. For the best chance of success with this tank, find someone who has been raising Neos in Caridina parameters for several generations. If you do it this way, they'll be better acclimated to what you want to keep them in, which means a higher chance of success for them to thrive. :)
Great info. Not many article I read get into the subtlety.
I doubt I will get into fancy shrimp in the near future. I'm just getting started.

Thanks a lot!
 

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A buffering substrate is used to keep the ph down . Say under 6.7 or lower . I use mr aqua it keeps my ph around 6.4 . I use ro for top offs and then remineralize for waterchanges . From my understanding using tap water will deplete the buffering ability much faster . Sorry for the grammer Im only 5
 

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Great info. Not many article I read get into the subtlety.
I doubt I will get into fancy shrimp in the near future. I'm just getting started.

Thanks a lot!
There's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to shrimp keeping as well as a lot of things that really aren't explained that well. Most people who get into shrimp keeping for the first time purchase adult shrimp, which isn't necessarily the smartest thing to do... they are already mature and have short lifespans, and they don't adapt to different water parameters as well as younger shrimp do. You might get breeding faster, but then your starting colony might not live that long... start out with younger shrimp, it'll take them longer to start breeding, but higher chance of having them for longer, thus more offspring.

I've about had it with Neos. I can't get them to thrive. Sure, they'll breed and reproduce, I'll have tons of babies, but the population doesn't grow and expand... and I've come across other people who have had about as much luck with Neos as I have... if they've even been that lucky! All that have gone on to tigers have had *great* success with them, though! I didn't go with tigers though, but a tiger mix... and starting to feel like I should just get rid of the Neos now.

I don't like very many of the Caridina colors though... which is part of the reason I haven't jumped in to keeping them.... :laugh2:


With any luck though, you'll have better success with Neos than I have! :smile2:



A buffering substrate is used to keep the ph down . Say under 6.7 or lower . I use mr aqua it keeps my ph around 6.4 . I use ro for top offs and then remineralize for waterchanges . From my understanding using tap water will deplete the buffering ability much faster . Sorry for the grammer Im only 5
That's correct. Your grammer is just fine, although I doubt you are 5 years old. (a typo I'm sure!) But yes, you are correct! :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Er... I suggest staying away from BDS Fine, use the 20/40 instead(medium). The fine grade is mostly actual brown looking sand and everytime you touch it, it kicks up an immense cloud of silt. I had to suck/scoop a whole mess of it out of a 38G to replace it with the medium which is all black. It ended up filling a hole in my driveway. Never, ever again on the fine grade.
Is this the 20/40 you are talking about?
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/black-diamond-medium-blasting-abrasives
 

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I believe that that is the one. The other stuff that was too fine, it came in a bag with red lettering. I wanna say the good stuff also had 20/40 marked on the bag somewhere.
I just went to the store. it's not 20/40. It's marked both 12/40 and 16/30 I believe. It's a bit more coarse.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Give a little update. I ended up not using any sand. Tried to planted the tank based off of my 120G design as a test run.


With limited choice of plant locally, it ended up like this.

A close up.


I'm pretty happy with it so far. Just waiting for ammonia to go down. It's been staying at 2.0 for almost a week. No BB seeding yet :( I'm hopping I'll get some next week.

Bump: Any idea why image is not showing up?
 

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You need to get the image address, not the page address. You can do this by right clicking on the image. Chrome allows you to direct copy the address, but IE and Firefox probably requires going to properties and finding it that way.


Buffering substrates that leach ammonia can cause the cycle to take longer, too.


Might help to try raising the temperature of the tank to 84-86° F.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Do you have cycled media you could borrow from a friend or another tank of yours if you have? That would greatly speed up the cycle and get you the bb you need.


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I gave a sponge and some media to my co-worker a few days ago. I'm going to pick it up next week. I hope the sponge in his tank for a few days is enough to get me a kick start.
 
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