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About aqua_che_scapes

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  • Location
    Austin, TX
  • Interests
    aquascaping planted tanks and learning how to breed shrimp for the first time.
  • Inverts You Keep
    Raccoon Tigers, Blonde Tigers, Red Rilis, Amanos

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  1. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    Thanks! Great stuff there. Super helpful. Because these are my first TB shrimp I was worried about using any fertilizers at all. There’a probably a lot in the water column already from the SL aqua soil. Maybe not. With ADA Amazonia I used in the past, for planted scapes not shrimp, I’d get algae super easy because of the large dissolved organics load the soil brings with it. Not sure Sl Aqua is the same because it is more advertised for keeping shrimps than plants. I just keep having this nightmare of dosing 1 mil or less of trace ferts and having all my shrimp dead an hour later. I am probably overreacting a bit. But when TBs cost so much I don’t want anythig to go wrong . That is good to know that some nitrates are ok. But I have fissidens mosses, coral moss and bucephalandra and they don’t really need the ferts necessary. Well i hope my ph goes up a little bit at some point but I’m totally ok with 5.3 as long as it doesn’t fluctuate again. I was trying to get a ph of 6 and a hobbyist claimed SL Aqua would be perfect for that but I’m far from 6. It was originally suppose to be for some softer water raccoon tiger shrimps but because the ph is way too low for them I decided to try TBs in this tank instead cause the parameters seems perfect for them anyways so why not.? thanks for your help! I’ll probably acclimate them into the tank tomorrow and just let it drip all day. The ph these TBs are use to right now is around 5.5 so that’s not that different. Should be ok.
  2. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    Thanks so much for such awesome feedback and insights. Yah I wasn’t sure how much ammonium at the low ph that shrimp can tolerate or what level of nitrates is safe for caridinas and taiwan bees. Some people say 0 across the board but some say some is ok. i will probably wait another month before recharging my purigen then. Just to give the tank some time. My bee shrimp I got from VIN are in a gallon size bowl with API ammo chips, oxydator and moss, plants and leaves right now since my tank had problems before they came in the mail and it was too late and there was no way I was going to put the new shrimps in the tank quite yet. Today I checked my parameters and the nitrates are finally closer to 0 and ammonium has been 0 for three days now. pH has been 5.2-5.3 for three days consistently now without dropping. Debating how much longer to wait before acclimating the shrimp over. A few more days to make sure nothing funny happens again... I like the “shrimpless cycling”. Makes perfect sense. Two of my other sand bottom tiger and neo tanks i never cycled honestly. The shrimp bioload is basically sucked up by all the plants so it’s never an issue. I think the plants do a lot for keeping shrimp alive. The low bioload of shrimp is making me love shrimp tanks. My two fish tanks have such high bioload and are a pain sometimes and have algae issues a lot more.
  3. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    I setup this tank back in July, but had issues with the previous substrate. I’ve had purigen in the filters the whole half year the tanks been running. I guess I didn’t think to quit putting it in during the cycle. The ammonia-nitrite-nitrate cycle only took about a week or two in this tank at the beginning of November so it doesn’t feel like the purigen has stalled it at all. I also haven’t added fresh purigen in months so it’s probably way past the exhausted point by now. It doesn’t remove ammonia or nitrates either I thought, just organics/debris and polishes the water to make it sparkly clear and clean. I’m not saying it hasn’t caused problems but had never considered it. I have a neo tank right next to it with purigen in it when I set it up too but the cycle in that tank was fast. I’ll definitely have to read more into the purigen. Thanks for the insight. it could simply just be that at less than 2 months old the tank isn’t quite predictable yet. I use a real ph meter with a probe not the pen type. It’s been recently calibrated at ph 4 and ph 7 just the other day. It’s never very far off but I always wonder if super acidic water gives the meter false readings. I ordered two different brands of low ph range liquid test kits to compare results.
  4. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    Side note: I am definitely not new to running nano sized aquariums. All my tanks are nanos and I am aware of the responsibility and the work required to keep one stable.
  5. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    tank is 5 gallons: SL Aqua fine soil older aged cholla wood (practically inert now) inert lava rock stainless steel mesh moss mats (x6 small ones) ceramic decor small mineral rocks Small buce plants TONS of red root floaters after I noticed the high nitrates and ammonia the other day. (I had two catappa leaves and an alder cone in the tank for about 1 day before I noticed the ammonia rise and ph plunge and so I removed them so they wouldn’t contribute anymore to it.) products: seachem prime seschem stability bacter ae (glasgarten) Beta glucan (glasgarten) Bee shrimp mineral gh+ (I did use a tiny sprinkle of baking soda to bring the ph up the other day when it dropped as low as 4.5. I didn’t want to kill my plants. I had a lot of buce plants die earlier this year from a similar ph crash in this same tank and didn’t want a repeat). Eheim 2211 Filter media: Aged seeded eheim bio ball media from an older tank seschem purigen bag tank has been running since July but I swapped the substrate mid October to SL Aqua and let it sit and cycle itself. The cycle has been completed for a few weeks now. I was able to get the ammonia down to zero for the past two days but the nitrates are still too high for my caridina shrimp at 10 ppm. The floating plants haven’t soaked it up yet after three days. (No shrimp yet but trying to get it ready for them). i also decided to raise the lily pipe above the water a ways to maybe help de-gas any co2 that the plants were giving off at night and building up (maybe contributed to the ph plunge). todays parameters: ph 5.2-5.3 (lots better) kh 0 (despite the baking soda added) gh 4 TDS 125 nitrates 10 ppm ammonia 0 ppm (lots better) nitrites 0 (haven’t had any since the tank cycled) temp is 68-70 F Low light photoperiod is 8 hours on a timer i do not dose fertilizers, excel Or co2 i plan on doing another big water change later today to hopefully help remove more of the nitrates because the floaters aren’t removing it all (why I coated the top of the tank in floaters). Not sure about leaving the floaters there long term because it’s blocking a lot of light to my moss and buce but they should be fine. Hoping after the water change the ph won’t drop again. (There is an hob on the side but it’s currently not running.)
  6. aqua_che_scapes

    SL Aqua Soil pH problems

    I forgot to mention I’ve done a lot of reading about how BB doesn’t work well and the tank cycle can be considerably disrupted in a ph between 4.5-5.0. But plenty of people breed taiwan bees in these parameters. I have had plenty of people tell me RODI and gh+ remineralizer at that low ph is fine and plenty of other people saying that’s a bad thing. It’s confused me a lot and I’ve just been trying to find what works for me. The tank seemed fine with the RODI water at ph 5.2-5.4 for so long and when the ph dropped below 5 is when I started seeing the ammonia spike this week.
  7. Long post warning about SL Aqua experience so far: I am now 1 1/2 months into my new SL Aqua soil. I have been having the WORST time with it. It cycled great at ph 5.5-6 range and eventually all the ammonia and nitrite and nitrates were zero for several weeks and I was using small drops of Dr Tims ammonia once a week to keep my cycle going. I decided to buy my first taiwan bee shrimp on Monday (just a couple cheap ones so I can learn how to keep them alive) this week to put in there and after two days into the shipping waiting time my parameters decided to go to crap and now I am waiting for my shrimp to be delivered today and the tank is no longer suitable for them. My GH/kh and TDS and temp are perfect. The ph was stable at 5.2-5.4 for a long time and now it’s sitting at 4.8 and not budging, I started getting .25-.5 ammonia readings and nitrates up to 10. One or two of my buce plants died as a result of whatever is happening. I feel like this soil is putting me through more drama. Nobody else I talk to seems to having these issues with it. I’ve talked to several people about what type of water to use. Several even said they breed shrimp at that low 4.8 ph just fine (gh+ remin and RODI, same as me) and it’s their business so they can totally rely on it too. Everyone says absolutely NO to adding kh to this tank. Plus every time I’ve used a drop of baking soda to buffer of the soil up to ph 5.5 the soil strips it out and the ph/kh drops back down overnight so what’s the point of trying that (it would cause constant major ph swings)? I bought the SL Aqua soil after several hobbyists said it was the BEST soil out there and it will perfect buffer my tank between 5.8-6.2. I’ve swapped the soil out of this tank three times since I set it up in July trying to get it ready for shrimps. I did 6-8water changes the last three days just attempting to lower the ammonia back down, i even used API ammo chips for 10 hours last night to drop it down quick (removed them already) and added enough floating plants to cover the entire top of the tank and dosed seachem prime. I’m at a point where I’m not sure what to do. Afraid I’m going to kill these shrimp already. I literally have done nothing but once a week water changes on the SL Aqua soil tank and making sure the cycle stayed healthy before this happened. Looks like my shrimp will be in a plastic tub with an air stone until I can solve the problem and hopefully they will survive. The only other option is keep dosing prime into my tank every 24 hours to neutralize the ammonia/nitrates with the new shrimp in the tank and hope the pH isn’t an issue if I drip acclimate them for 10 hours/all day long. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
  8. aqua_che_scapes

    Pre-aged/dried Ada Amazonia and Ph problems

    Oops I forgot to update this thread but I was told that letting aquasoils dry out is bad and destroys the clay granules and causes a plethora of parameter problems and muddy water, so I ended up ripping the substrate out and replacing with SL Aqua Soil a few weeks ago and so far so good! It’s in the middle of recycling the tank right now. Definitely won’t be making that mistake again. It was a huge mess and pain.
  9. I realize low ph and Ada Amazonia are a common subject on forums cause it’s how Amazonia works but I have a slightly different scenario I need help with... Earlier this year I was prepping for a rescape in one of my other aquascape fish tanks and I aged and cycled a big bag of Ada Amazonia powder type in a bucket with a filter for several months. I ended up with a bunch of leftover Amazonia from the rescape so I decided since it had finished leaching all excess ammonia in the bucket previously that I could dry the leftovers in a pan in the sun outside and re-bag it for later. So I did this. Recently I’ve been setting up a shrimp tank for my Caridina raccoon tiger shrimps that would need a good low ph (6.2-6.5) buffer substrate so I decided to use the leftover dried out aged Amazonia. In my other nano tanks the Amazonia buffers around 6.2-6.4 and I use RODI water (ph 6.4) with bee shrimp GH remineralizer (0 KH) . But in this shrimp tank the previously aged Amazonia is still dropping the ph below 6 down closer to 5.5 or lower. The tank is three months running and has been cycled, only substrate now and water and eheim canister filter. (I added the pre dried Amazonia to this tank LATER on after a mishap and algae issues I was having with spiderwood and plants and took everything out of the tank for now and added more of the pre-aged and dried Amazonia substrate a few weeks ago (bear bottom tank with Amazonia and water now). Super confusing setup story I’m sorry. 😕. Anyways, i thought after this Amazonia had been aged in a bucket and re dried after a few months it wouldn’t have this ph drop issue it’s having in my new setup. But I honestly don’t know what it’s doing or what to expect concerning the ph level. It does not leach ammonia at all which is why I liked that I had previously aged and dried it out. But the ph is definitely unstable still. My raccoon tiger shrimp have been in a small temporary tank for so many months now cause this tank I’ve been trying to setup for them has been having so many problems. I just want them to go in their tank already 😒😩. I am considering adding a few pieces of crushed coral to the tank to see if it helps the ph stay above 6 until the Amazonia quits buffering below 6. I don’t think my tiger shrimp could handle ph 5.5 and live long. Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks. My setup is a 5 gallon UNS 5N rimless tank with an eheim 2211 canister filter. I plan on adding bucephalandra, moss and cholla.
  10. aqua_che_scapes

    Ph 4.7 and fresh cut driftwood

    Ok I wasn’t sure how long the baking soda would last in the Amazonia filled tank. I’ve been monitoring it closely to make sure it doesn’t drop again. So far it’s a consistent 6.5 since I added the soda a day ago. I’d rather not have the soda in there cause I don’t want to exhaust my substrate faster but I really didn’t know what else to do. I have some struggling plants and mosses in there and it killed my one Amano shrimp I had in there. I got him out fast but he didn’t last long after that in my other tank. I use a calibrated digital ph probe meter that can read as far high or low as the ph can go so it is handy for monitoring soft water. I check the ph on my more neutral ph tanks to make sure the probe matches as close to the API test kit results as I can get. It might be .2-.5 off but it is pretty accurate enough.
  11. aqua_che_scapes

    Ph 4.7 and fresh cut driftwood

    To experiment I will be taking one of the branches of spiderwood I trimmed off and placing it in an isolated plastic container of the same water values and checking the ph on it to see if I can replicate the crash.
  12. I have been trying to stabilize a 5 gallon shrimp tank that has plants, moss, Ada Amazonia, and spiderwood for over two months. the issue that is happening that I wanted to atleast inform people about or get feedback on is this: four days ago my ph had been a consistent 6.2 for a few weeks and the water was finally clearing up from a long term bacteria bloom but I decided that all the branches sticking out of the water weren’t something I wanted in my shrimp tank. It made maintenance and scraping the glass very difficult and my plants didn’t have much room to grow and I knew suicidal shrimp would crawl out. I took the spiderwood out of the tank and used yard clippers to cut off all the vertical sticks and pieces creating many small exposed stumps which I then attached buce and mosses to. After filling the tank back up with bee shrimp gh + RODI water (with tds 150 and ph 6.4) within a day the ph dropped to 5.8 and stayed a few days which was fine with me. I did another 50% water change several days later to remove a lot of debris in the water from spiderwood fungus that was floating around the tank (using the same TDS 150 ph 6.4 RODI water) and the ph started to rapidly drop over the next few hours all the way down to 4.7 and counting! The KH is near 0 and GH is around 5-7. I grabbed baking soda ASAP and raised the tank back to ph 6.5 and it has stayed that way for 24 hours now. But my main thought was the fresh cut spiderwood was the only thing I have changed to this tank besides water changes. Before I cut the wood I realized the possibility of more white fungus which I was prepared to deal with but a total ph crash I had not predicted since spiderwood is pretty neutral and doesn’t leach much tannins. The Ada Amazonia I am using shouldn’t buffer the ph that low. I aged it in a bucket for a few months before using it in this scape. And my other shrimp tank has the same Amazonia but stays in the ph 6 range and doesn’t crash. Both tanks are treated the same, only difference was the spiderwood. I mostly just wanted to warn anybody thinking about trimming their spiderwood in their tank and maybe get some thoughts or experiences shared. I had done lots of forum searches on cutting/trimming driftwood before attempting the trim and didn’t see anything about this. I wanted to put it out there.
  13. aqua_che_scapes

    Lowering PH in Shrimp Tank failing

    Just a update on the shrimp tank. I have done several more kh 0 gh 6 RODI water changes and now the tank matches those parameters which is great . I’ve added a lot more of my ph lowering amazinia substrate to the tank but the ph is still above 7. It has gone from 7.5 down to 7.1 which is good but not low enough. I put almost a whole cup more in 24 hours ago and no changes have happened. The kh is 0 in there or close to it so this doesn’t make sense. Now I am wondering why. Maybe something in the filter like active carbon or something else is preventing the ph from dropping. I’m out of ideas. Or maybe it just takes a TON of Ada Amazonia to drop the ph. But the Tank the shrimp are in is only 2 gallons so it shouldn’t need very much to change it.
  14. aqua_che_scapes

    Spiderwood and 2 months of Cloudy Milky water

    Quick update. I did what a friend suggested and instead of removing the spiderwood entirely I just did 7 days of seachem stability doses. The tank cleared up pretty fast and there isn’t much debris except left for some normal white fungus on the driftwood and I should probably rinse out my eheim filter now. So glad the thick milky water is gone. I do not know if it will return but I hope not. Also since my driftwood emerges out of the top of the tank I am going to pull the wood from the tank just to trim off this stems. They make it harder to do maintenance and I am pretty sure it will lead to suicidal shrimp crawling out. I always get mold on emergent driftwood anyways and it looks bad and I can’t clean it off.
  15. aqua_che_scapes

    Spiderwood and 2 months of Cloudy Milky water

    I definitely will update the thread as I figure it out. It’s such a pain. I’ve heard of people not having problems with spiderwood and some people have a lot of problems with it. Maybe it is where the wood is sourced from or maybe pre-boiling the spiderwood makes it a lot worse or boiling makes it leach sugars or resins or saps that cause this. A 5 gallon shrimp tank is already a very water parameter sensitive environment for shrimps. I don’t need all the unnecessary hardscape-inflicted headaches. Someone on my Instagram mentioned they had this problem and they did frequent WC while dosing seachem stability and they said it worked really well. But I’ll probably end up taking it out.