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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,
I have two shrimp tanks where one is doing well and one seems to be have periods of "good days" and "bad days".
The good tank:
Almost 3 years old. 2.5 Gal
UNS controsoil (brown)
input water is RO + SS GH, once every 2 weeks
food = feed 3x per week with various foods + bacter AE
Plants = one big wad of overgrown x-mas moss in the middle, 1 marimo, DHG which doesn't grow, crypts which don't grow, subwassertang, dwarf water lettuce, some other random plant I don't know the name of.
Ammonia / NO2 / NO3: I don't bother measuring because it comes out zero every time. Nitrates are so low that even the frogbit died off.
Filter: small sponge on pump inlet, and the water flows over several Fluval Biomax cylinders.
Ferts or other things added: none
Shrimps: 2 amanos and a dozen taiwan bee, all very active and grazing around.

The bad tank:
Almost 2 years old. 5 Gal
UNS controsoil (black)
input water: same
food: same
Plants: Monte carlo (grew out well), DHG (static), S. Repens (leaves grow small, algae grows on leaves, leaves turn yellow and fall off), Ludwigia Arucata (used to grow fast, but now grows slow and gets covered with some kind of fuzzy algae), used to have peacock moss, but algae grew on that too, and the shrimp never grazed on it, so I removed it
Ammonia / NO2 / NO3: usually zero except sometimes NO3 will creep up to a few ppm.
FIlter: HMF
Ferts: Sometimes I dose a small amount of Thrive S, but usually not. In the past, I occasionally dosed stuff like Dr Tims Eco balance, Seachem Pristine, Dr Tim's waste away. Recently I also tried Florin Bacter 7, but usually I don't dose anything at all.
Shrimps: Started with a few Taiwan bees, then two batches of babies after a few months. Then over the next several months all the shadow pandas except one died off due to some kind of shortened antenna syndrome. Then the shrimps stopped having babies and the original ones died off due to old age, leaving only 5 shrimps from the first round of babies. (5 blue bolts, one currently berried, and the one shadow panda that didn't die off)

This tank did very well for about the first 6 months, but then started having periods (a week or more) of "bad days" where the shrimp would just stand around quietly all day. They do seem more active at night. The last two months have been mostly "bad days" with one good week in the middle. I can't think of anything I did to trigger a good or bad period, since things are mostly routine.
One big difference between the two tanks is that the good tank has almost no algae at all and the walls are clean, whereas the bad tank seems to have a fuzz algae problem (at least recently) and has a lot of crud on the walls. About two weeks ago I tried to make the bad tank more like the good tank by throwing in a dwarf water lettuce and some x-mas moss but no obvious change so far.
 

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My guess is that your plants in your bad tank have leaves that are decaying and that nutrient release is both causing your algae problems as well as bothering your shrimp. I'd consider rescaping the tank with plants that do not require any fertilizer such as Mosses. The Monte Carlo in particular is probably a bad choice.
 

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First thing I'd do is stop using Bacter AE. Causes more harm than good most of the time. I realize it works in one tank but it's really unnecessary.

You say "usually" but test your water.

What's lighting like in the "bad" tank? If they're better at night, I'd start there. What's the water temperature? pH?

Plant decay could cause a nutrient spike but since shrimp are detrivores, they'd be likely to eat dead leaves before they rot.

Sounds like you don't need to be dosing anything in either of these tanks. So I'd stop - especially with Caridina species. And ditch the Monte Carlo, as suggested by @minorhero, because it's likely to do poorly.

Could you post photos of the tanks? That may help clue us in on something you may not realize. Could be helpful.
 

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First thing I'd do is stop using Bacter AE. Causes more harm than good most of the time. I realize it works in one tank but it's really unnecessary.

You say "usually" but test your water.

What's lighting like in the "bad" tank? If they're better at night, I'd start there. What's the water temperature? pH?

Plant decay could cause a nutrient spike but since shrimp are detrivores, they'd be likely to eat dead leaves before they rot.

Sounds like you don't need to be dosing anything in either of these tanks. So I'd stop - especially with Caridina species. And ditch the Monte Carlo, as suggested by @minorhero, because it's likely to do poorly.

Could you post photos of the tanks? That may help clue us in on something you may not realize. Could be helpful.
What issues do you have with Bacter AE?
 

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What issues do you have with Bacter AE?
Literally said why in the post you're replying to. It causes more harm than good most of the time. Feel free to use the search function here on the forum or just google around for in-depth discussions. (This isn't a snide response - search is your friend here. And there are tons of posts about it, unfortunately.)

The TL;DR: For the most part, newcomers overfeed or overdose it. To the 100th or 1,000th degree, even. Even GlasGarten's recommended dose is absurd and potentially dangerous.

It, like a lot of things in the shrimp hobby, is unnecessary.
 

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Literally said why in the post you're replying to. It causes more harm than good most of the time. Feel free to use the search function here on the forum or just google around for in-depth discussions. (This isn't a snide response - search is your friend here. And there are tons of posts about it, unfortunately.)

The TL;DR: For the most part, newcomers overfeed or overdose it. To the 100th or 1,000th degree, even. Even GlasGarten's recommended dose is absurd and potentially dangerous.

It, like a lot of things in the shrimp hobby, is unnecessary.
I was hoping for your experience with the product. I have been Googling it recently as I am trying to make up my mind about whether to continue to use the product.
 

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I was hoping for your experience with the product. I have been Googling it recently as I am trying to make up my mind about whether to continue to use the product.
My own experience with it is not a positive one, to say the least. I try not to complain about it too frequently, as I have my own (not commercial) food line. But... It's a product that isn't necessary and honestly shouldn't be sold to people who are inexperienced. None of my foods are necessary, either, but you reading this know what I mean. This product serves no real purpose in a shrimp tank.

From what I can tell, it can cause bacterial blooms so intense that oxygen is depleted from the water column very quickly. That's if everything is fine in a tank. Just from a minuscule dose - like tip of a toothpick small. A larger one that you would think is still small enough? Like the included scoop? Sometimes entire tanks get wiped out. It's completely alarming.

In other instances, I believe it causes unhelpful bacteria to grow in tanks that don't deplete oxygen quickly but those that somehow out compete the beneficial bacteria growing on surfaces and in filter media.

Those are the two things I've witnessed and see experienced most commonly among other shrimpers. There are other problems but they don't pop up as frequently as the above two. I think @Zoidburg has also seen some interesting/concerning things from lots of shrimpers, too.

The way it's shipped, stored and spread around through less reputable vendors is also of concern. It's not a product that should be allowed to get warm but it sits in scorching shipping containers for weeks on end and then in extreme environments with myriad postal services and shipping companies.So it arrives to the end user in bad shape.

Also not entirely convinced the product is the same from batch to batch.

For these reasons, I tell people they shouldn't use it. If they want to feed that company's products, that's fine. People should feed what they want. (Though, not every day as so many shrimp food pushers suggest.) But that particular product isn't necessary and almost always causes more harm than good. Half the time there's a post about unexplained shrimp deaths, Bacter AE is involved.
 

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I have rescaped a UNS 60u as a shrimp tank but not my first shrimp tank, I have been wondering if Bacter AE also helps algae growth and if you have a cycled and mature tank whether it actually adds anything? I appreciate your thoughts.
 

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I have rescaped a UNS 60u as a shrimp tank but not my first shrimp tank, I have been wondering if Bacter AE also helps algae growth and if you have a cycled and mature tank whether it actually adds anything? I appreciate your thoughts.
Since it adds nutrients to the tank, it definitely helps algae grow.

But you hit the nail on the head - there's no reason for anything like that in a mature tank. Not even in a tank that's a few months old. As long as things are stable and healthy, there's almost no reason for an additive of any sort. At least nothing additional is required, anyway. Just feed your regular, preferred foods a few times per week.
 

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I've never used Bacter AE.... but as @somewhatshocked mentioned.... that pretty much covers all the horror stories!

It's great for people that it works for! Sucks when it doesn't work.... one person said that no matter how LITTLE they used, they still had shrimp deaths! When they stopped using it, they stopped having deaths.

There are other bacteria products you could purchase that don't cause deaths like Bacter AE.
 

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My own experience with it is not a positive one, to say the least. I try not to complain about it too frequently, as I have my own (not commercial) food line. But... It's a product that isn't necessary and honestly shouldn't be sold to people who are inexperienced. None of my foods are necessary, either, but you reading this know what I mean. This product serves no real purpose in a shrimp tank.

From what I can tell, it can cause bacterial blooms so intense that oxygen is depleted from the water column very quickly. That's if everything is fine in a tank. Just from a minuscule dose - like tip of a toothpick small. A larger one that you would think is still small enough? Like the included scoop? Sometimes entire tanks get wiped out. It's completely alarming.

In other instances, I believe it causes unhelpful bacteria to grow in tanks that don't deplete oxygen quickly but those that somehow out compete the beneficial bacteria growing on surfaces and in filter media.

Those are the two things I've witnessed and see experienced most commonly among other shrimpers. There are other problems but they don't pop up as frequently as the above two. I think @Zoidburg has also seen some interesting/concerning things from lots of shrimpers, too.

The way it's shipped, stored and spread around through less reputable vendors is also of concern. It's not a product that should be allowed to get warm but it sits in scorching shipping containers for weeks on end and then in extreme environments with myriad postal services and shipping companies.So it arrives to the end user in bad shape.

Also not entirely convinced the product is the same from batch to batch.

For these reasons, I tell people they shouldn't use it. If they want to feed that company's products, that's fine. People should feed what they want. (Though, not every day as so many shrimp food pushers suggest.) But that particular product isn't necessary and almost always causes more harm than good. Half the time there's a post about unexplained shrimp deaths, Bacter AE is involved.
4 Months ago I was advised by these fine people about Bacter AE and stopped using it. I really hunted around and have gone almost exclusively to Cologne Shrimp Food, the stuff is amazing an both my Nano tanks haev an overabundance of shrimp population. I use cologne shrimp food exclusive series veggie plus, cologne shrimp food nettle, csg bee pollen once a week, and then I get the csg sample pack which has a wide variety so they can really have choice.

I was a huge glasgarten fan, do love the mineral junkie once a week, but the csg stuff, is just a better product.

I have also gone to a continous ph monitor; imagine my suprise when I watch my perfect 7 ph dip when the co2 turned on! (did not know that happened).

TDS meter is a MUST. I would also say, that adding salty shrimp (or similiar depending on your shrimp type) to RO water is the only route to go.

Once a week, or when I want them to molt, they get a couple degrees more than 74 - 76/77 overnight after a healthy protein feeding and BOOM

(4) gallon Nao

(6) Gallon ADA

The tanks run seperate Fluval 107.s. I immediately threw the carbon bag in the trash (leeches nutreints from your plants) and run just bio media.

Whenthe co2 goes off at night, the micro air bubbles go on. To me gas exchange just makes goood sense with shrimp.

Both tanks have reached "autopilot" status, but I do keep them topped off, as they are nano and the parameters can change quickly.

In 4 months, starting with just 15 shrimp, I am well over 80 adults, 100 juveniles and too many babies too count. So many I am to the point of causing mutiple tank syndrome to crop up at friends houses.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Good tank:
1030851


Bad tank:
1030852


I never had any immediate bad effects from bacter AE (I dose about half a grain of rice and leave the airstone running) but maybe I can stop for a while and see what happens.

The Monte Carlo is the fastest growing and takes up the most volume in this tank. What is wrong with it? The plant that is doing poorly is the s.repens with the leaves that fall off. You can see how runty they are in the picture after even 1.5+ years (second section from the left)
Right now the tank looks kind of sparse because I took out the peacock moss and had to trim away most of the Ludwigia due to algae coating.

Water tested out at Amm 0 NO2 0 NO3 0, as usual. Temp = 68F, pH = 6.2 night 6.6 day.
The lighting is, I dunno because I don't have a PAR meter... "Medium" on a ramp timer for about 8 hrs light a day, plus several more hours of dim indirect lighting from the rest of the room.

One other thing I should mention is that this tank seems to go thru biological "phases". During some periods, the plants seem to grow well, the Indian almond leaves break down quickly, and there's not much algae. Other times (like now) the plant growth stalls and the fine fuzz algae grows on surfaces, then maybe dies off because it turns dark green and eventually brown. (note the brown splotches on the back wall). Also the IAL seems to stop breaking down, or at least the shrimp don't want to eat it. I wouldn't call it a "mini cycle" because the Ammonia, etc always stays at zero, but seems to represent some level of biological or bacterial activity.

Regarding the algae, everything I read on the internet says to add MORE ferts.

Is there a consensus on H2O2 treatments these days for shrimp?
 

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pH dips due to CO2 injection don't really matter. That's a result of carbonic acid doing its thing. The actual kH of the water doesn't change and the osmotic pressure doesn't, so there's nothing to worry about, really, other than possibly reduced oxygen levels - which shouldn't be a problem if you're careful.

Staurogyne repens needs good substrate, good ferts, good CO2 levels. It'll grow in low tech tanks but that almost always requires Aquasoil or good root tabs. You also need some nitrate in the water for S. repens.

Looks like your lighting is way too strong for what you've got. That's half your algae problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't run CO2, that's just the natural pH fluctuation due to lighting.

I can trim back the MC, but not sure how to remove it without making a big mess. I'm not sure that it is the cause of the problem since many low tech tanks have used it successfully, plus, the MC growth has also overlapped with "good periods" in this tank. Maybe there is decay in the underlayers of this carpet?

Maybe I will just remove the s.repens for now. I occasionally see a shrimp eating a decayed leaf, but usually they float up to the surface. There aren't a lot of decayed leaves right now since there isn't much s. repens plant mass anyway.

If I'm not dosing Bacter AE and it's associated nutrients, how do I promote biofilm growth? It seems that right now, there is more inedible algae (that the shrimp don't like to eat) rather than biofilm. I usually don't see the shrimp grazing on surfaces, but rather digging in the substrate. Should I be dosing fertilizers? (the Nitrate is still zero)

I've had the lighting cut in approx half for a week now by putting a piece of paper under the light. So far, things haven't turned around yet.

Would it help to remove whatever that brown stuff is on the back walls? Maybe it is dying algae or whatever.

I also moved over some more moss from the good tank and another floating plant. Maybe they will suck up the [whatever stuff] that is making the shrimp unhappy.
 

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If the MC and S. repens are doing okay for the time being, you shouldn't feel any urgency to remove them. Just know that they're eventually going to disappear.

You don't need anything to promote biofilm growth. It grows naturally. You don't actually see biofilm.

Shrimp digging in substrate is normal behavior. They're eating detritus and picking through biofilm on all of those surfaces.

Your lighting is definitely too strong for for you tank. If a piece of paper isn't helping, then you need to use a layer or two of fiberglass window screen material between the light and the tank. Or raise the light fixture further above the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sure, I can dim the light because it is on a PWM program. But how do I tell what is the right amount in terms of intensity and hours? Is it just based on algae growth?
At this rate, I think the s. repens will die off, but the MC seems to still be growing ok.
 

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Sure, I can dim the light because it is on a PWM program. But how do I tell what is the right amount in terms of intensity and hours? Is it just based on algae growth?
Trial and error is probably the easiest way.

I'd try to aim for what you think is low/low medium. Doesn't mean it's dark or anything - my low light tanks are plenty bright.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just an update to say that the "failing" tank has partially turned around. The adult shrimp are generally active and grazing around, and there is a 1 month old batch of babies, with approx 70% survival rate, so better than before. The main things different than last time are:
Took Bacter AE out of the food rotation
dim lights even more
removed some of the dying s. repens
Some floating plants I added reproduced a lot

However, the tank still has issues with algae. There's a short uniform fuzz algae that grows on the MC and S. repens that causes the leaves to die off. The DHG blades and Ludwigia leaves also seem to get covered with some dark layer of dead (?) algae. Would adding Amano shrimp help in this case? I believe they eat algae that Taiwan Bees don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just another update to say that the new batch of baby shrimp ate off the layers of dark algae from the DHG, so maybe shrimp will eat that after all. But now some of the floating plants are dying off. Initially the dwarf water lettuce grew long roots and sprouted many sub-units, or whatever they are called. Then their roots suddenly stopped growing past 1/2" and now some of them are developing holes in leaves and sinking. I haven't dosed any ferts in a long time, so maybe some nutrient is completely zeroed out?
Maybe start dosing fertilizers again? This would only be for the sake of the plants, as the shrimp seem to be doing fine.
 
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