I'm about to setup a new tank, and it will be specifically for soft-water shrimp. Being that I live in central Florida, and my tap water is liquid limestone, I'm thinking I should add something to my substrate. I'll be using 3M Color Quartz (t grade), which I know is inert, so I was thinking about adding a layer of peat, or laterite, underneath? Does this sound like a good idea? What can I do, short of using RO water, to prepare my tank for softer conditions?
Also, is there a difference between laterite, and peat that can be bought at Lowe's?
This will be the first time I've done anything other than dump a bunch of Eco-Complete into a tank and call it a day.
Church, I'd honestly go with reconstituted RO/DI water rather than just trying to use peat with our liquid rock water if your goal is to breed softwater shrimp. Peat can only do so much for the TDS, and IME it can be difficult to achieve water parameter stability, since you'll have to keep replacing it. If you still want to give it a go, I'd run a separate tank just for mixing it up and you'll have to continually test the bejeebers out of the water to get peat amounts just right each time in order to maintain stability.
you can buy cheap ro/di units on ebay for ~150 shipped or less. yeah for every gallon of ro, you waste 2-3 down the drain, but you could always just use it to water your lawn or use it for hard water fish. if your water is liquid rock, its probably the easiest way to get consistant low kh water. i just keep a 20g rubbermaid garbage can full of ro for use with an airstone/bag of purigen going to age it.
i use AS in all my invert tanks as well, and ro is not the do all only answer, but it makes it easy to get a constant supply of low gh/kh (cheapo units do not remove everything). plus, just personal taste, but i do not care for the tea color you get from peat.