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madcrafted

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madcrafted last won the day on December 10

madcrafted had the most liked content!

About madcrafted

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    Virginia
  • Inverts You Keep
    Taiwan Bees, Pintos and Amanos

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  1. madcrafted

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    Yeah, those are definitely slow growers and will probably get by on very little, if any additional fertilizer, depending on your light levels. I can certainly understand your hesitation to dose commercial trace/micro fertilizers, especially those that contain copper. Many warnings floating around out there on the forums and web about the dangers of copper. The amounts in many of these commercial products is nowhere near toxic levels and have been proven time and time again that when used at the recommended dosage, or even EI levels, these fertilizers are safe for invertebrates. I've used both Flourish and CSM+B (at PPS pro levels) in my shrimp tanks without any ill effects. I also have some very expensive hybrid shrimp in these tanks and wouldn't dose it if I thought it would effect them in any way. However, if you don't feel safe dosing these types of ferts, you could always purchase a fertilizer like Thrive-S, which is completely void of any copper, should you decide to add some of the more demanding plants later on. . When you go to acclimate tomorrow, be sure to match GH first and foremost. I don't bother with pH readings when acclimating my shrimp... just TDS and temperature. If shrimp come shipped or from any other tank other than my own, I check GH of bag water. TDS tells me nothing here because they could use different remineralizers than I do. In these cases, I plop them in my tank after GH and temperature closely matches. Anyways, good luck on getting them into their new home and be sure to update us with pics once they settle in.
  2. madcrafted

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    While it is known that wild caridina types come from shallow streams with plenty of leaf litter, nearly undetectable nitrate levels and super soft (nearly pure) water, this doesn't work well in a closed loop tank with live plants. Keeping some nitrates, as well as other macro and micro nutrients are essential in a planted shrimp tank. I think the whole "0 across the boards" mentality probably came from breeders that focus on maximizing fry numbers. Such tanks are usually pretty bare with just a clump of moss here and there. It works in these cases but not so much in planted shrimp tanks. I'm not suggesting to run and dump a bunch of inorganic salts into your tank and aim for "EI" dosing levels, but some nutrients are needed that aren't provided by the livestock or GH products. I aim to keep nitrates below 10 ppm but a majority of my tanks rarely exceed 5 ppm, with 2-3 ppm being more typical. If the shrimp waste, excess food or whatever can't achieve these levels, I dose KNO3 or seachem nitrogen (1/3 of that is in form of urea). Many of my tanks can maintain such levels on their own with shrimp and feedings alone but phosphate and micro nutrients are always needed to keep my plants healthy. I'd be willing to guess your tank is fine for adding shrimp if it cycled for 6 weeks or so and parameters have been steady for a few days. Just acclimate them a little slower if parameters in bowl are drastically different. My cycle with sl-aqua (the sl-aqua method with heaters and magic powder/purify) ran for 32 days before I added shrimp. 0 casualties and quite happy shrimp, despite the cold winter water temperatures. I cycled 4 tanks at the same time and they all are behaving similarly after stabilizing. My pH with this soil is quite a bit higher at 6.3. I'd say a pH of 6-6.4 would be more common with this soil from what I've seen others report. Nothing wrong with it being even lower. Some taiwan bee keepers would love to have pH in lower 5's.
  3. madcrafted

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    I've used purigen in a tank from day 1 with a betta and never saw any ill effects but do remember reading something on their tech forum a few years back about holding off until after cycle, not sure why the reason. I figured it would act similarly to carbon... which ADA actually uses during their cycle to remove unwanted organics. Wouldn't hurt to rule that out by digging a little into it. I re-charged that little pouch maybe once and never used it again, so I'm by no means an authority on it. As for your pH, it's probably pretty close if probe has been properly maintained and stored. I don't think they have an issue with accuracy at lower pH range, most are 3 point calibration and 4 to 7 gets you pretty close, as long as you trust the reference solution and it hasn't expired. I wouldn't worry too much with ammonia levels, especially under .25 ppm. Ammonium is way less toxic than ammonia and you're pH isn't even close to neutral, where bad things start to happen. I would just make sure shrimp have enough natural food sources and the GH and temperature remains consistent. "Cycling" a caridina tank is more about maturing it for stability and natural food sources than it is about building a large colony of nitrogen converting bacteria like you would in a fish tank. That's why they call it "fishless cyling" when they add ammonia in higher levels to rapidly build a large enough colony of nitrospira-like bacteria to a tank before adding fish. With shrimp only tanks, the bioload is really low, so the demand for such a large colony is unwarranted and would likely die off or go dormant once shrimp are added, leaving nothing but a cloudy bloom in the end. Whether you are doing it the SL-Aqua, Vin or your own way with products that "seed" the substrate along with the use of remineralized RO water, it's not fishless cycling anymore, it's "shrimpless cycling" and should be called such. lol
  4. madcrafted

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    The only issue I can see being a potential issue with cycle is the use of purigen. I believe Seachem even recommends adding it after the cycle because it can slow it down or even stall it. pH will be all over the place until tank stabilizes. How are you measuring pH? Drop test? pH pen/monitor?
  5. madcrafted

    CRS with red eyes!

    Pure lines can bred to other pure lines and still be considered "PRL". They just can't have common CRS genes mixed in there that will throw golden bee phenotypes. So the definition would be a crystal red bee that never produces golden bee offspring or any coloration other than red and white (same goes for any other pure line PWL, PBL, etc.) In a sense, a PRL is a CRS but a CRS is not a PRL. If that makes any sense.
  6. madcrafted

    GH too high

    They are in hard water and need to be kept in water with a GH of 6-8 and a KH of 2-4. Diluting the water with pure water is the only way to do so but you will likely see more deaths, as this dilution will cause them to molt, or at least attempt to. As mentioned above, a 10% water change would be a good starting point but you'll need to do a lot more to get that GH down. Might have to do that everyday for a week or more. You shouldn't do too much at one time or you risk a massive die off from shifting parameters too quickly. So 10% is usually a safe amount. You could even do the 10% for a few days, then follow up with a larger 20% wc. Just be sure to match temperature of fresh water going in with the temp of your tank water. Going by your water parameters, you'd need to cut that tap water with about 60% R/O, distilled or rainwater to get in an acceptable range for regular maintenance water changes. For all that, you might as well start using 100% R/O water and re-mineralizing it using a shrimp specific conditioner for your GH/KH. This way you'll know exactly what is in your water. Then a TDS pen becomes very useful. Also remember to always top off evaporated water with pure water, as minerals are always left behind that could build up if topping off with re-mineralized r/o or tap water.
  7. ADA Amazonia Pros: Legendary substrate for planted tanks and for good reason, that's what is was designed for. In cases where plants rely on taking a majority of their nutrients via their roots, this substrate is the best choice. It requires very little effort on the aquarist's part other than providing sufficient light and stable CO2 levels. Cons: Expensive. Especially when trying to set up and maintain a rack full of shrimp tanks. Leeches ammonia for 8 weeks, sometimes longer. Cycling process is tedious if following the ADA way, not to mention wasteful of RO water (which should be used in a caridina tank from day 1). SL-Aqua Nature Pros: Maintains ideal parameters for bee shrimp because that is what this substrate was designed to do. Leeches very little ammonia, which is a good thing for those that don't have the patience to wait 2 1/2 to 3 months for their shrimp tank to cycle. Cost less than other substrates designed to do the same thing. "Fine" grain size is convenient for planting even the most delicate of stem plants like Rotala Indica. Also great for shallow rooted plants like HC, where there is less void between the grains that ultimately causes such plants to come un-anchored and float. Con: Carpeting plants and root feeders will need additional fertilizing sooner when compared directly to ADA Amazonia. That's the only con I can think of when comparing these two. Pretty much what Eric stated in his old post, just worded differently and coming from an objective source with no affiliation to SL-Aqua or it's partners.
  8. madcrafted

    7.5G Bee Tank

    Are you sure babies aren't slipping through a gap on around the edges of your filter or outflow nozzle, maybe even climbing over the sponge? How high is your water line and is the top of the sponge dry? I ask because I wouldn't think 30 ppi would allow babies to pass through. 15 ppi, sure but not 30. Most of my HOB pre filters are around that density and never had a problem with babies passing through. 45 ppi sponge wouldn't be a bad idea as it would scrub the water better and collect more food for shrimp but I don't think it will solve the issue of them getting stuck behind the filter or ending up and the other half of your tank if there is another entry point for them.
  9. madcrafted

    Little Shrimp Rack

    Congrats on your new found love for these amazing little creatures. Looks like a nice little home you have set up for them and are on the right track. I would advise you save the Fluval Stratum for tiger shrimps or neos once it exhausts it buffering capabilities. I am one of those that had to find out the hard way when trying to breed caridinas in that substrate. I never could get babies to survive past 3 weeks for some odd reason despite ideal parameters. The substrate had no problem maintaining a steady 5.8 pH with my remineralized RO water and the tanks were not only cycled but matured. Nitrates were under control even though babies were fed powder foods and Bacter AE. I had two tanks setup with this substrate, one with BKK/RKK and the other was housing galaxy pintos. Neither tank would produce babies that ever made it to adulthood. A fellow hobbyists did a comparison of fluval stratum, ADA Amazonia and SL-Aqua one of the FB groups I'm in (some of you may have even seen it). He dedicated a total of 6 tanks for the experiment where one tank would get the substrate spread on the floor and the other one housed stockings full of the substrate (same volume in each tank). He did this for each of the following brands I mentioned. Results were similar to what I experienced... babies would die off around the 2-3 week mark in Fluval Stratum and the other tanks with ADA/SL-Aqua produced as expected and colonies grew. Now I'm not so sure how much of this experiment was "controlled" but it was enough to make me think about it, especially aftert having felt like a failure at getting caridinas to breed. I had read about other people having trouble getting CRS to breed in this substrate too while I was raising mine. I saw them happily grazing and getting berried, so I just assumed they had something else going on with their parameters. Nope. Just a poor substrate for caridina shrimp which I confirmed after tank #2 showed the same results. RIP little babies.
  10. madcrafted

    Keeping the Sand Clean (Snails?)

    If shrimp waste is settling on top of the sand, then your sand is most likely too fine. With a coarse sand, like pool filter sand, waste should work it's way down into the sand to decompose eventually, as well as provide nutrition for your plants. With fine sand, anaerobic pockets become a worry, especially if it's over 1" deep. Regardless, what you want is Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS)... not to be confused with "multple tank syndrome". MTS will burrow into sand and feed off of debris during the daytime... which will be churning your soil in return.
  11. madcrafted

    Sponge filters

    It is closed at the bottom, just like the Fluval ones. I've had them on my HOB for months now without significant flow reduction. I say right on par with fluval but at a much lower cost per. It's a good deal if you need a half dozen or more.
  12. madcrafted

    Tank Cycling - No Nitrites?

    The spike in nitrites happen so quickly, most people miss it if not monitoring it daily (who does?). I would test your water out of the tap and see where nitrates are at, from there you can determine how much of that nitrate reading is from the actual cycling process. If you are getting readings around 10-20 ppm of nitrates and your tap water is less than 5 ppm and your not supplying a nitrogen based fertilizer, then it's safe to say ammonia is being converted properly. In the 29 gallon without livestock, are you adding ammonia or food to feed the bacteria? With pure ammonia, you can bring level to around 1 ppm and check it 24 hours later and it should be at undetectable levels once the cycle is complete.
  13. madcrafted

    Sponge filters

    So you just need a sponge pre filter, I presume? The fluval one works well but is a bit overpriced, IMO. I purchased cheaper ones on amazon because I needed quite a few. They have about the same pore density as the fluval one and last just as long. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J5Z44OE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  14. madcrafted

    Fluval Shrimp Stratum Substrate Review

    I'm guessing you are a rep for Fluval, correct? 2 posts and already promoting probably the worst substrate for keeping CRS or any other caridina species for that matter... that is if you care about fry survival rates. Adults will survive and breed but 2-3 weeks after mother releases them, they just mysteriously die in this substrate. This is from my own observations. But don't take my word for it, many others have experienced the same, dating all the way back to 2011. As for other shrimp species, like neocaridinas and amano shrimp, black diamond blasting sand works perfectly fine, no need for an active substrate in these cases. As far as plants are concerned, Fluval Stratum lacks the necessary macro nutrients for many species to flourish (how else could it not produce ammonia and provide plants with necessary nitrates?) It does seem to provide a sufficient amount of micro nutrients to sustain plants for several months but that's about it. You'll still be forced to dose micro nutrients to keep up with plant demands after these few months pass. I'm not really sure where Fluval Stratum fits into the market. There's simply better substrate choices for equal or less the cost of Fluval, and yes, they are pretty much volcanic ash based as well, just harvested from better or "richer" resources apparently. If you are indeed a rep for Fluval, I hope this post gets shared with the right people at the Fluval headquarters. lol
  15. madcrafted

    High Nitrates

    What ppi is your sponge rated? It could be sucking up the smaller bits of organic matter and settling behind the sponge. Too much feeding of powdered or "messy" foods can seep right through sponges easily. It has to settle somewhere I guess. I would assume HMF would trap a lot of organic matter due to the large surface area, which will ultimately be converted to nitrates anyways. Best you can do is keep up with water changes and maybe feed less.
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