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Shrimp Jungle 2.5G

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1st January 2015

I have to be honest and say I've never been hugely into fish and aquariums. I'm more of a 'furry-animal-that-you-can-take-for-walks' sort of person ha. But I've slowly been won over by a very sociable betta, beautiful little Celestial Pearl Danios and the fascinating shrimp my boyfriend has bought over the past few months. And so I have purchased my first tank - a 2.5G Fluval Spec III. It is the perfect size to fill a little space in the corner of my bedroom.



We had to make a little addition to the tank. As I plan to keep red cherry shrimp in here, the grill along the top of the dividing wall may cause a few problems. The slots are big enough for a curious shrimp to go through and sit on the top of the sponge. Although it probably wouldn't do any harm, I'm not keen on the idea of a family of shrimp living somewhere in the filter system!



I left the thought with my genius of a boyfriend, who came back with a fantastic soltuion. We cut a piece of mesh to fit behind the grill and covered with a piece of stocking material. To hold this in place we cut a piece of sponge to size and filled in the gap above the existing filter sponge. Problem solved - hopefully!





To heat the tank is a Hydor 50W heater, set to 26C. One of my favourite features of the Fluval Spec III is the dividing wall, which keeps the heater and filter system hidden from the main part of the tank.



I plan to plant the tank quite heavily, I'll add the plan in my next journal entry. There is a layer of Dennerle DeponitMix under the substrate which will provide the plants with extra nutrients. I chose to have black substrate to go with the colour of the tank, and also to help the colour of the shrimp stand out. I am incredibly happy with how this tank looks in my room!

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
2nd January 2015

The tank is all set up, I've given it a dose of ammonia and added some stress zyme to get some bacteria into the tank, giving it a kick start while it's empty. Once the plants are ready to go in I'll do a complete water change and start cycling properly before adding the shrimp.

Current levels are:
Ammonia - 0.5ppm
Nitrites - 0ppm
Nitrates - 0ppm
pH - 7.4

I want the tank to be quite heavily planted but still have some sort of structure. The Fluval Spec III light isn't fantastic, so the plants we've chosen are easy growers in low/medium light. I have a lovely Redmoor wood root ordered to help break up the 'green' of the plants and provide some hardscape. It is roughly 30cm tall so will go from the substrate to the top of the tank. Thanks to my boyfriend for the fab drawing!



1. Microsorum Pteropus Narrow

This will go at the front as it doesn't grow too high, maximum 20cm, but does get quite bushy! It will add some depth to the tank without growing too big - perfect for the small space we have.

2. Egeria Densa
I love the Egeria Densa! It has a large surface area without taking up loads of room, providing places for algae to grow and shrimp to feed. It is also a nutrient hogger and will help to battle algae growth. it can grow anywhere between 20cm - 100cm so may require a bit of pruning to keep it under control! But it will cover the grill in the top left corner of the tank,

3. Hygrophila Polysperma Rosanervig
Another tall plant to fill space at the back of the tank. The leaves of the Hygrophila Polysperma Rosanervig turn red in high light. As this will be planted right under the light, hopefully the leaves at the very top will start to change!

4. Vallisneria Asiatica
This will be planted in front of the filter nozzle, which should provide a nice effect with the spiral leaves in the water flow. It grows 40cm+ so will reach the water surface and start to lean over.

5. Lindernia Rotundifolia
Another small bushy plant to fill in space at the front of the tank. This will be planted around the small root sticking out to the right.

6. Java Moss
Java moss will be planted around the front of the tank to provide a stage and break up the substrate. Also a must have for a tank that will be home to red cherry shrimp! It will provide a good food source for young shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
7th January 2015

It's now been six days since the tank was dosed with ammonia and stress zyme. Still no sign of the plants arriving unfortunately. I am eager to get something the tank other than just water! The bacteria has clearly started to build though.







Current levels are:
Ammonia - 0.25ppm
Nitrites - 0.25ppm
Nitrates - 2.5ppm
pH - 7.6
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If the light isn't powerful enough then what's your backup plan? Change the plants or upgrade the lighting?
I'd definitely want to look into how the lighting could be upgraded rather than changing the plants! Although one of the main criteria we had when findng plants was that they are able to grow successfully in low light, the ones chosen also fit with the look I wanted for my tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
12th January 2015

Early delivery of plants this morning, finally! My Redwood root also arrived over the weekend. It's a snug fit but looks perfect! The colour is exactly what I was looking for and goes well with the jungle theme. It does float, so a nice little rock has been added to the hardscape to keep it in place.





There are a few rhizomes in the roots of the Microsorum Pteropus Narrow which have made it a little awkward for planting. If the rhizomes are covered they will start to rot under the substrate. However the roots aren't quite long enough to plant without covering the rhizomes! Unsure about what to do about that yet.

In preparation for the java moss that will be added tomorrow, we've cut a piece of mesh to fit along the front of the tank. This will provide a base for the moss to be tied onto, eventually creating a nice carpeted area for the cherry shrimp to feed from.



A full water change has been done and the tank will be dosed with ammonia once the java moss has been put in tomorrow. While the tank was empty we cut two small holes into the filter pipe to draw warmer water through the pipe and help regulate the temperature between the filter/heater compartment and the main part of the tank. Doing this has also reduced the pressure of the strong flow slightly.

The Hygrophila Polysperma Rosanervig isn't as tall as we were expecting it to be, but this may be because of the way it had been packaged. Hopefully now it's in place with a regular light source it will start to grow up towards the light. Picking up some java moss to add tomorrow, and we're still waiting on the Lindernia Rotundifolia to plant behind the rock. I love the way the tank is starting to take shape now!

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
13th January 2015

After a nice drive out to one of our favourite aquatic shops this morning, we have java moss! My fab assistant (aka my boyfriend ;)) did the tedious job of attaching clumps of moss to the mesh and a little bit of the wood root with black cotton.







I mentioned the rhizomes in the Microsorum Pteropus Narrow roots in my last journal entry. While trying to uncover them to prevent rotting each strand became completely uprooted. Not too much of a surprise given they have very little roots other than the rhizomes! We did make a discovery in it's leaves though - what look to be patches of snail eggs. This plant has been removed and I'm now on watch for sneaky inhabitants! My boyfriend is rescpaing one of his tanks and had some Lilaeopsis spare, which has been planted in it's place.







So now the planting is done I can begin a proper cycle! I dosed the tank with ammonia and took measurements of the levels a couple of hours later. Waiting on a GH/KH kit and a TDS meter to arrive too.

Current levels are:
Ammonia - 4ppm
Nitrites - 2ppm
Nitrates - 20ppm
pH - 7.6
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did you block the small hole in the plastic sump divider? If not, is the substrate level above the hole? I didn't block mine and now have a layer of substrate in the sump section.

Looks great so far!
Thanks MoreyFan! It's great to finally have something in there to look at.

The small hole at the bottom of the divider isn't blocked, but the layer of substrate doesn't reach it. Is your substrate covering it or did it get pulled through?
 

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Thanks MoreyFan! It's great to finally have something in there to look at.

The small hole at the bottom of the divider isn't blocked, but the layer of substrate doesn't reach it. Is your substrate covering it or did it get pulled through?
Gunk can pull past the hole and onto the ceramic media in your filter. It is also possible shrimp get pulled though. You could setup a screen similar to what you did on the grill (Which looks really nice). Basically when the normal path gets a bit dirty, water will be pulled through the small hole faster because it has less resistance that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
lovely start, very clean and healthy looking. your boyfriend is a good man to help you
Ah yes he is! Thank you :)

Gunk can pull past the hole and onto the ceramic media in your filter. It is also possible shrimp get pulled though. You could setup a screen similar to what you did on the grill (Which looks really nice). Basically when the normal path gets a bit dirty, water will be pulled through the small hole faster because it has less resistance that way.
While we were covering the grill we considered doing the same for the small hole. Thanks for your advice here, I think I'll look into covering this one too!



15th January 2015

Lots of parcels arrived in yesterday's post! A timer for the tank light, GH/KH test kit and a TDS meter. I think we have everything covered now!



First thing I tested was the tap water - TDS 325, GH 18, KH 8. I have to admit I'm a little surprised by the results. I had always thought that as we are able to safely drink tap water in the UK, the TDS readings would be much lower than this! I also thought that I'd have to add something to the water to increase GH to a level suitable for shrimp, but clearly this isn't the case.

Current tank levels are:
Ammonia - 4ppm
Nitrites - 5ppm
Nitrates - 40ppm
pH - 7.6

GH - 18
KH - 9
TDS - 400ppm
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
16th January 2015

After the discovery of what looked like snail eggs in one of the plants, I have found a total of six little visitors this morning. I whipped them out of the tank and they are now living in a separate container. They are still quite little so difficult to get a more detailed photo. Anyone have an ID?



I'm using the API Freshwater master test kit to take reading of the tank. The chart is a nightmare to read! After a little research in how to actually read the results properly (still not sure ha!) I've done a 50% water change to take out some of the ammonia. I have also changed my testing time to the afternoon so that I can use natural light to read the results.

Current levels are:
Ammonia - 2ppm
Nitrites - 5ppm
Nitrates - 40ppm
pH - 7.8
 

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lovely start, very clean and healthy looking. your boyfriend is a good man to help you
I (the boyfriend) don't mind helping at all :D It's a good way of dealing with MTS without getting another tank haha! After seeing the Spec I'm toying with the idea of a mini coral Spec haha... sigh :hihi:

I really wish that hygrophila polysperma rosanervig was taller though :icon_frow Seems quite bare on the back wall :S

SnapHappy!! I have news for you... Your Lindernia Rotundifolia has been despatched. Got an email just now :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
17th January 2015

Keeping a close watch on the tank while searching for hitchhiker snails. I've been taking them out of the tank and moving into a separate container while I work out what to do with them. I'm toying with the idea of making a no-tech vase for them to live in. Evicted another 3 snails since my last update.

Since cutting a couple of holes in the filter pipe, the temperature of the main tank has been keeping at a steady 26C right through the day/night. Fills me with confidence knowing the temperature will be constant for the shrimp.

The API struggle continues. I think I've mastered how to read the results, the next problem is deciding which of the very closely matched reading it actually is. I can't decide whether the nitrites are 2 or 5ppm! I diluted 1ml tank water with 4ml tap water and tested this, giving a result of 0.25ppm. I think I may have been reading the nitrites too high this last couple of days.

Current tank levels are:
Ammonia - 1ppm (halved in 24hr!)
Nitrites - ~2ppm
Nitrates - 40ppm

SnapHappy!! I have news for you... Your Lindernia Rotundifolia has been despatched. Got an email just now :D
Woohoo! Not too much going on here other than daily testing and snail-watch.
 

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The snails look like physia snails at first look. Also known as tadpole or bladder snails! They don't eat live plants, fortunately, and they don't mix up substrate by digging like trumpet snails do.
I have them, deliberately, in both my tanks because they keep algae down and I haven't had a snailpocalypse (population explosion) yet.

Once your red cherries are competing for algae with them, I don't think you'll have a problem with population growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The snails look like physia snails at first look. Also known as tadpole or bladder snails! They don't eat live plants, fortunately, and they don't mix up substrate by digging like trumpet snails do.
I have them, deliberately, in both my tanks because they keep algae down and I haven't had a snailpocalypse (population explosion) yet.

Once your red cherries are competing for algae with them, I don't think you'll have a problem with population growth.
Thanks so much for that advice! Someone else has suggested bladder snails too. They're quite cute, despite being hitchhikers, so I'm planning on making a home for them out of my tank!
 
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