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DIY Aquaponics CRS shrimp tank ecosystem

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am very new to the shrimp community, shrimp keeping in general(this is my first post). I stumbled upon shrimp keeping/breeding from aquaponics. I began this little adventure when I began fascinated with growing my own herbs and vegetables indoors using hydroponics. This lead me to countless of hours of research on youtube, google, forums, etc. Which eventually lead me to aquaponics, because the goal of my hydroponics was to become as self-sustaining as possible. This lead me to do a lot of research on nature, plant growth, nutrient cycle, ecosystems, eventually to Takashi Amano, "Learn from Nature, Create Nature". Thus I was on my way to creating a desktop aquaponics system that was aesthetically pleasing, functional, and cost effective. 

 

I started based on a design by a commercially available nano aquaponics system that I thought didn't look very nice, plus whats the fun in that? 

Simple concepts, fish/inverts in the tank produce waste, waste gets broken down by nitrifying bacteria, nitrates feed plants, clean water goes back into the tank. So upon doing more research I found out that dwarf shrimp produce little to no bioload, which means that I would need a **** ton of dwarf shrimp to produce enough nitrates to feed my little herb garden. Thus I decided I needed at least 1 fish, and I wanted a male Betta because they're pretty. However, knowing the nature of bettas I knew that I couldn't house my precious little dwarf shrimp and my betta together. Which lead me to do more research and i discovered a video showing you how to make a water bridge  to filter 2 tanks with 1 filter using an overhead sump. "my aquaponics grow bed is basically an overhead sump" is what I thought and i figured it could work. 

 

1 month of planning, sourcing, building, painting, daydreaming, and I was done building it and setting it up. I filled it with remineralized RO/DI water, planted my plants, added fluval cycle, and let the tank cycle until I only had <20 ppm nitrates.

Most things were bought on Amazon, Home Depot, or Local Hydroponics store

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The setup consists of:

2 x 2.5 gallon aqueon tanks

1 x Black 1/3 size 6 inch food service pan (Growbed)

1 x Hydroton hydroponic grow media

1 x 20 inch finnex stingray light

1 x hikari mini sponge filter

1 x mini aquarium air pump

1 x 3w submersible water pump w/custom tubing&protective sponge housing

1 x DIY water bridge

1 x DIY wood housing

1 x outlet timer (Optional)

Now it was time to locate my little shrimps. Most plants naturally prefer an acidic growth environment, thus I decided to go with Caridina shrimp mainly as I know they prefer softer more acidic environments. PERFECT!

 

I ended up picking up 10 neat S-SSS looking CRS from a LFS near me and 5 PRL SSS CRS from another LFS, while I was there I saw some blue dream neos and couldn't resist and ended up with 5 of them and 6 ghost shrimp. I also picked up 1 golden horned nerite and a zebra nerite (1 for each tank). 

 

Its been 2 weeks since I introduced all my new roommates into their new home and so far everyone is happy! The 6 ghost shrimp surprisingly live peacefully with my Betta.

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My betta(has no name yet:(..) doesn't bother them too much. I did however lose 3 of my blue neos right after they molted..which i guess is attributed to the huge pH difference or something else. All my CRS have been doing great!

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The herb seeds I planted in the growbed have also sprouted I have some cilantro, sweet basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and arugula in there. I am hoping that over time as the herbs grow, along with the plants in the tank itself that my water conditions can remain relatively stable. 

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