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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!
This is my first post and I’m excited to be a part of this community. I am new to having a planted RCS only tank. My tank is one month old and cycled.

Here are my current specs:

JBJ 3G Picotope running stock filter with activated charcoal
Sponge prefilter
Seachem black fluorite substrate (like black sand)
RO water only
Plants: java fern, Anubis, anacharis, and micro sword
Floating spider driftwood
PH 6.8-7.2 range
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Temp 76-78 F
RCS: two adults and a dozen or so of one week old shrimplets
Food ; algae wafers & Shirakura Crystal Red Shrimp food

A week ago I noticed my PH being high at 7.8. An experience RCS keeper/family member said to check the rock I had in the tank to see if it was leeching. Sure enough, it failed the vinegar fizzy test. I removed the rock. Saturday, I took in a water sample to a LFS who has a variety of inverts for sale and the readings were the same there as at home. They said no new plants or RCS for a couple weeks. They said no water changes for a week until things balance out. I had been told to chance two measured cups out per day to help PH. I think I shocked the RCS because I had about 4 die. They suggested to put a piece of driftwood in and that will assist PH. They said I don’t need to cure their driftwood because it is already tank safe but will leech tannins but those will resolve. They said I would probably see a white film on the wood but that will also go away. All normal with waiting for wood to water log.

Got home, removed the activated charcoal and put the purigen pouch in (it didn’t fit well). My tank was crystal clear. Next day it was slightly tea colored. Sunday, the white film showed up. Yesterday I woke and it was foggy white with a hint of tannins, but more cloudy white. Then I noticed pests. I had these 1 cm white hairlike width wiggly guys swimming in my water. I would pull them out with my aquarium tweezers and in the sink they had a brownish coloring. Hot water down the drain. Then I noticed these teeny tiny worm like moving things on my glass. I can’t even begin to tell if they have the head of a planaria. So I got those out with the tweezers too. I have read they can be from overfeeding. I think I was overfeeding my tank and tried to get all remnants out as soon as I could. I then took the Purigen out because it is not helping the tannins at all. I put the activated charcoal back in last night and it does seem a little better today but it’s cloudy enough, I’m having a hard time finding my two living RCS.

Questions:
1)Should I worry about the cloudiness or will it resolve on its own with patience?
2)Should I do anything about the pests or will they resolve on their own since I’ve eliminated the majority of their food source?
3)Will they harm my RCS?
4)Should I change filtration systems?
5)Should I take the driftwood out and boil down or is this a waste since I’m mid-problem?
6)How often should I be feeding the RCS?

Thank you so much for all of you experienced advice!

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I can't answer everything, but I can get a few of them

1) the white cloudiness is likely just a bacterial bloom. That will clear up in about a week or less
2) These are probably detritus worms and if so they are harmless
3) If they are what I think they are, no. I'm sure that someone who knows more can answer this
4) I'd personally do a sponge filter in a shrimp tank, but there is nothing wrong with what you have. This is totally up to you
5) This is totally up to you. The white film is bacteria that is eating at organics in the wood. If you don't like it you can clean the wood and boil it. If you don't mind they are harmless and will help cycle the tank if its not fully cycled. It's totally harmless and the shrimp might even eat some of it. This is likely why the water is cloudy. The tannins you have in the water are also coming from the wood.
6) Someone else can answer this better than me but in a tank that has plants and driftwood not too often, especially since you don't have many in there. They will find a good amount in the tank on their own. Maybe a small amount of food 1-2 times a week.
 

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Thank you so much for such a quick response. I'm leaning towards being patient and just wait it all out and see what happens. The wiggly worms look white when they are swimming around but when caught, in sink they look like they have a brown hue or something. Tiny guys.

I meant to add, today's TDS is 189.

Here's the wiggly worm in my bathroom sink after getting it out of the tank with aquarium tongs. It's zoomed in a lot and actually only 1 cm or so long and the width of a hair.
 

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I second a sponge filter for a shrimp tank but the stock filter is ok, I would definitely suggest putting a foam baffle on the intake or some mesh to protect the shrimp.
 

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RO only water is void of all minerals. You need some calcium and magnesium (GH measurement) for the health of shrimp.
Your substrate looks like caribsea Tahitian moon which is a black sand grit. This is fine. If it is flourite then its a type of clay which will soften and over time release dust. Most people use this for growing plants, but usually layer gravel or sand over it to keep the dust down.
Purigen will attract organics in the water and will do nothing for the cloudiness. As long as its light colored it's ok. It it gets dark then it needs recharging. Look at seachem online for info. Accurel F will help coagulate the dust and allow a filter floss to remove it.
What is PH after removing the rock? With the wood it should be lower than 7. Beware though. RO water has no minerals in it and thus cannot buffer the PH. This can lead to high PH swings which will kill shrimp.
Let us know what's going on
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I decided to wait it all out and I am happy to report all is much better. I weighted the spider wood down with some airstones with Taiwan Moss on them. I am also in the process of cycling a modified AC30 (I shorted the intake tube because it's too long for this tank and attached a Fluval Edge pre filter on to it). I'm running both filters until the new filter is cycled (I have the AC30 on low flow). I love this new filter because it moves water much better than the stock one.

Most importantly the RCS and shrimplets seem much more active.

I tested my GH and KH tonight. GH 6, KH 5, TDS 187

Thank you all for your advice. I'm having a lot of fun with this tank. I want to learn more about plants and aquascaping. So incredibly peaceful. I wish I had a light that I could just program and it would do it's thing over 24 hours.
 

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Glad things are resolving.

Tip the new filter farther forward: When the sponge and other media start getting clogged with debris the water can flow backwards, out of the filter when it is tipped as far back as that.
You could probably put all the media from the little filter into the big one, and take down the little one. Most of the beneficial bacteria are in the media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you! I was wondering about the new filter looking that way. I will do that right away.
 
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