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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

I started trying to breed some RCS by using RO water, but they don't seem to be very happy (they look lethargic/stationary for the most part, and i lose 1 every 2-3 weeks).

What's odd is that i use RO water and remineralize with salty shrimp bee (KH+), add prime, and do a weekly water change of 20%, but my PH using API's test kit reads a solid yellow (i.e. 6.0 or below, but the kit can't go any lower). The PH of the RO water itself is 7.0.

I've added an air stone to try and bubble out CO2 to try and raise the PH to ~6.4-6.6, and just yesterday added Benibachi's Fulvic grains which claims to buffer PH to 6.0-6.6.

2 questions:
Does the buffer claim of Fulvic grains work both ways, i.e. it raises PH if the water's PH is too low, and can also lower PH if the water's PH is too high?
Any idea what I might be doing incorrectly/need to change to improve my setup?


Water parameters:
PH: 6.0 (or below)
GH: 4
KH: 0
RO water used
Temp: steady at ~75 deg
Nitrates/nitrite/ammonia: 0 ppm
20% water change weekly
Fulvic grains
Shrimp diet: Borneo wild shield, shirakura, bacter AE, mosura gravidas, blanched spinach
2-3 alder cones, 2 months old, not leeching tannins anymore

the first image shows the general tank setup, the second is shows the filter housing, with the fulvic grains on on the top chamber in a media bag, and the bottm is where i put the airstone to prevent the strong bubbling from interrupting water flow from the filter's powerhead.

thanks in advance for the help!
 

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Chemically buffers should work both ways to keep a solution at a more-or-less stable pH. You mentioned using a bubbler to get rid of CO2; are you running a CO2 setup? I think that the pH is too low and you have too large of water changes, especially with 0kH and higher pH from the water you add in.
Otherwise it may be gH or how you acclimated the shrimp. RCS don't need extremely low pH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Yukiharu, the PH is definitely too low hence i was hoping the benibachi fulvic grains would buffer the PH up to 6.0-6.5. Although i wasn't sure if the buffers only work one way. The shrimps have been in there for about 5 months now, and they've produced one round of offspring (although they haven't after that). Isn't a GH of 4 ideal? i'll space out my water changes another week, although if my water change is with 7.0 PH RO water with 0KH, i would expect the PH to swing up not down.

i dont run a co2 setup, and i took the ph reading mid day with the lights on. my guess is that co2 should be relatively low since the plants are photosynthesizing, plus i have an airstone in the filter chamber (you can see pretty aggressive bubbling in the second pic).

i forgot to add that my substrate is inert too

this is so puzzling, no idea why the PH remains so low.
 

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KH is a measure of how well your water resists changes in pH. In an aquarium this is often carbonates or bicarbonates.
You need to have a KH of at least 3 German degrees of hardness to maintain a pH in the mid 6s to about neutral.
You report 0 degrees of KH.
Add carbonates with potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

The product you list:

remineralize with salty shrimp bee (KH+)
Does not raise the KH, but does raise the GH.

GH is a measure of calcium and magnesium. These are required minerals for shrimp, fish, plants, and all forms of life. Very important.
But they do nothing about the pH.
 

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Seems you got things a bit mixed up. Most refer to a pH less than 7 (neutral) as a lower pH, while above pH 7 is higher.
Bringing a pH of 7, to pH 6, would be considered lowering pH, not raising.

Salty Shrimp has a GH+ booster (won't raise pH), and a GH+/KH+ booster (would raise KH/pH).

Just to make sure you are talking about the correct shrimp; can be easy to confuse the two abbreviations.
RCS = Red Cherry Shrimp = Neocaridina ... These actually prefer pH in the mid 7's. Though they can adapt to similar conditions as CRS.
CRS = Crystal Red Shrimp = Caridina ... These prefer more acidic pH water in the mid 6's. They normally don't adapt to RCS water conditions.

Take a look at water parameters here. Note all the water parameters as KH, GH, temperature, are important to keep the shrimp healthy. TDS is too.
Dwarf Shrimp Water Parameters ? DiscoBee

Since your pH is reading below 6, that is likely why the RCS are not doing well. The 0 dKH and only 4 dGH don't help them either. Should be PH: 6.4–7.6, KH: 2–5, GH: 6–8 for RCS.

What are your tap water parameters? Often, tap water is suitable for RCS, unless your water has extreme params. Even if the tap water has slightly less than desirable params, you can add "re"mineralizer to the tap water.
If your tap water is doable, I would just use tap water and an inert substrate (one that does not raise or lower pH).
You could use tap water and the acidic substrate (unless the substrate is buffering the water pH below 6). Just less desirable for RCS in my opinion and a waste of the acidic substrate.

Are you injecting co2? Dosing Excel/Glute?
 

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Wow, your tank looks really nice. That's a very lush carpet, especially since you don't inject CO2.

As for your shrimp...I think you might be using the wrong kind of Salty Shrimp. They make a couple of different varieties.

Salty Shrimp GH+ for bee shrimp raises GH but not KH. I am guessing this is what you are using. It is meant for soft water shriimp. RCS (red cherry shrimp) are not soft water shrimp.

You should use Salty Shrimp Shrimp Mineral GH/KH+ instead.

Or even just tap water, assuming your tapwater isn't horrible. RCS do well in neutral to moderately hard water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
apologies folks, i realize what's with all the confusion. I meant to say i'm keeping CRS in that tank - so the salty shrimp (bee) is purely a GH supplement, exactly what i need to remineralize to about 4 GH and keeping it at 0 KH for the CRS.

i do have the GH/KH+ supplement from Salty shrimp, but i use that in a separate RCS tank which is thriving really well. what is ironic with this is that my RCS tank measures at PH ~6.6, likely because of the KH+, but i dont think i should transfer the water over since the KH would likely be too high for the CRS.

My CRS tank PH is 6.0 (or less, can't tell due to it bottoming out the lower spectrum of the test kit's limit), so if i'm doing water changes with RO water that i've measured to be 7.0, i'm expecting the PH of my tank to go up eventually. my purchase of fulvic grains from benibachi was an attempt to hopefully have it buffer my water to >6.0, which doesnt seem to be working. aerating the tank with an airstone doesnt seem to be changing my PH either (or maybe my PH is way below 6.0)

to answer an earlier question, i don't use tap water as it measures about 7.4 after resting for 24 hours. i use that for the other RCS tank, but not the CRS tank. Plus i dont have an acidic/active substrate to buffer the CRS tank water down. i don't dose supplements like excel/glute - i only use Prime+borneowild's shrimp+salty shrimp GH during water changes, and alternate between snowflakes/spinach/gravidas/shirakura for food.

my tds measures at a steady 90-100. so on paper, it seems that everything checks out, save for my PH. which confuses the heck out of me because it cant be that hard to bring it up and keep it there! i'm almost tempted to put some amazonia into a media bag and chuck it into my filter, although it seems extravagant for a humble low tech fluval tank.

randym i actually did do a homemade co2 project a couple months ago, so that's about 2 months of work. after i decided to add CRS, i removed it and started a separate planted tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yea I've been trying to use that same idea by going back to the same fish store to get RO water (which reads out at a consistent PH of 7.0). I used to do distilled water from the supermarket downstairs but the PH readings were high (>7.4), so i'm in a bit of a tough spot. I think I have the right water source from the fish store since the PH is closest to where I need it to be - but something seems to be throwing it off.
 
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