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Scienceseuss

Water params for mixing RCS, bees, and amanos?

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I have been doing research, but want to see if I'm getting this right. I am doing a 5 gallon (fluval spec v) iwagumi style planted tank, and want to put a bunch of shrimp in it.
 
If I want to successfully keep (and maybe breed - except the amanos) cherry, bee, and amano shrimp in this one tank, what pH, KH and GH should I shoot for? Also what product should I be using to mineralize my RO water? Here's my thoughts so far:
 
pH: 6.8-7.0
 
KH: 3-4
 
GH: 5-6
 
TDS 170 -180
 
Salty shrimp bee GH+ and baking soda for KH... Or should I just use GH/KH+? Or maybe SL aqua blue wizard?
 
Should I put a couple alder cones in the filter compartment for the medicinal properties?
 
Thanks!d18635fa7c12084755374d00cb2fe9c3.jpgb31a0cc1eec680501b752c706b0fb0cc.jpg
 
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Tank looks pretty cool! I can tell you from experience that shrimp will move substrate around so you may end up having that middle portion filled with ADA.

Also, bad news: the soil you are using (probably -- you didn't mention what it was in your OP) buffers your water to low-mid pH 6. You should not add baking soda or SS GH/KH to bump up the water's pH, you will burn out your substrate's ability to buffer the water in 6 months and then your water pH will rise to mid 7. That would probably kill off most caridina in the tank.
If you want to keep neos and cards in there, your best bet is to just go full card parameters, find someone who is already raising their neos in those parameters, and get them there. Lucky for you, it seems a lot of imported neos are bred that way so it may not be too horrible finding them (although the attrition rate may still be high).

Btw, your rock is really cool. Where did you get it/what is it called?

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The soil is fluval stratum, and does buffer... but how will adding a shrimp mineral salt solution "burn outcomes that capacity?

I think I might just do amanos and neos to keep it simple.

As for the substrate moving around... whatever - shrimp will be shrimp!

The rock is petrified wood as far as I know, and all my LFS sell it (in central Cali). It has stripes of white (looks like quartz) some grey mineral, and iron pyrite (fools gold), and there are some "rust spots " here and there. It really is very attractive in my opinion. One of my LFS has a large iwagumi scape made with it... it's really beautiful. Here's some closer pictures of rock sections.04bc77a4e224438ef38d510d3820f8cc.jpgf1b3b312f1067e30dcdf6cae0b3cdb66.jpg7d178ab7984464276e74476abe1d4015.jpg

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Very cool, I've been looking to get some myself but haven't found it at reasonable prices in the Bay Area.

I'm not very familiar with the chemistry but buffering substrates somehow consume carbonates added to the water, bringing down kH and pH. Unfortunately, they can only do so to a limited capacity. They eventually run out of the ability to do this and your water stops being buffered down. That's why you should only use buffering substrates with kH 0 water (at least when keeping shrimp. Plants and fish are less sensitive).

At this point, I think you should actually just go with caridina.The Stratum is not great for neos: your pH will sit too low for them for a long time before creeping up. Better to use RO water, remineralize with gH, and put in some cards.

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Very cool, I've been looking to get some myself but haven't found it at reasonable prices in the Bay Area.

I'm not very familiar with the chemistry but buffering substrates somehow consume carbonates added to the water, bringing down kH and pH. Unfortunately, they can only do so to a limited capacity. They eventually run out of the ability to do this and your water stops being buffered down. That's why you should only use buffering substrates with kH 0 water (at least when keeping shrimp. Plants and fish are less sensitive).

At this point, I think you should actually just go with caridina.The Stratum is not great for neos: your pH will sit too low for them for a long time before creeping up. Better to use RO water, remineralize with gH, and put in some cards.
Ok, thanks

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More info, and still looking for feedback.

So I'm getting my Fluval Spec V iwagumi cycled. I'm a few weeks in with no animals, just plants - no mature tank bio media either, just SeaChem Stability. The tank has Fluval Shrimp stratum that was used in the previous incarnation of this tank for about a year. I tore that tank down, baked the substrate, and am reusing it. I have some play sand (I know... nobody likes it but me) and petrified wood in there. Have a fluval mini CO2 injection system and run about 1 bps, and usually turn it off at night. Fertilizing with 1 pump of NilocG ThriveS 2 x per week (recommended 1 pump per 5 gal 1-3 x per week). I've been testing here and there with API kits, and these are my levels so far

4/29
Ph 7.4
KH 4
GH 8
NH4 1
NO2 0
NO3 0
TDS 180

Small amount of algae growth - scrubbed off with toothbrush and did a 25% WC with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium.

4/30
pH 6.8-7.0
KH 4
GH 8
NH4 .5-1
NO2 .25
NO3 5
TDS 178

More minor algae growth, so I scrubbed it off and did a 25% WC again with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium

5/3
pH 6.4
KH 3
GH 8
NH4 .25
NO2 0
NO3 5
TDS 174

No algae growth since last time, and I did not do a WC.

Now for the questions.

How is my cycle looking?

Is the stratum responsible for the pH and KH droping?

I've purchased SaltyShrimp GH/KH minerals to replace the equilibrium. I was thinking I was going to do neocaridina in here... Now I have my doubts. You think I can do neos in here, or should I go with caridina since it wants to buffer down so low?

As I understand it, the stratum will stop buffering before long, and then the pH will climb too high for the caridina. When that happens will I be able to buffer it back down with alder cones, peat, almond leaves, etc, or will I be fighting a losing battle? I feel like I'd need to fight the opposite battle to keep neos in it right now.

Just trying to figure out my next move, so any feedback is appreciated. Let me know if you need more info.Thanks!

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I would suggest getting rid of the co2.  that can cause swings in ph.   your substrate might still be buffering.  you could put some in a seperate bucket with new water and watch to see if it drops the ph.  If it does you can swap it out with more play sand or something else that is inert.

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I would suggest getting rid of the co2.  that can cause swings in ph.   your substrate might still be buffering.  you could put some in a seperate bucket with new water and watch to see if it drops the ph.  If it does you can swap it out with more play sand or something else that is inert.

Getting rid of the CO2 won't work for the plants. As for the substrate, I'm sure it's still buffering... but for how long?

 

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Hi @Scienceseuss! I currently have a tank with both CRS and Blue Dream Neos and they're breeding and doing very well. I keep them in caridina parameters and the Blue Dreams actually filled the entire tank with babies. However, I have to admit that the process took quite a bit of time and I lost a lot of my original CRS in the process. If you're still considering doing caridina and neos together, it's possible, but I'd sway more to caridina parameters as neos seem to be able to adapt over time. 

 

As for the cycling of the tank, tbh when I cycle shrimp tanks I cycle my tanks in about a couple of days to a week at most by using snails, Fluval Cycle and old filter media. I'd say your tank would be close to being ready for shrimp. Algae growth is good news for a cycling tank and it means that your shrimp will have plenty of natural food in your tank. The longer you go with cycling the better chances you'll have of the shrimp doing well. 

 

As for the soil, the amount of buffering depends on how hard the water is. If you're using pure R/O water and remineralizing to keep the kH low, I've heard that the soil can buffer for at least a year or 2, but if you're adding, for example, tap water that's high in gH and kH the soil will lose its buffering capacity at a much quicker rate, maybe in less than a year if you're doing frequent water changes. I find that indian almond leaves, alder cones, etc. don't tend to make too much of a difference in regards to lowering the hardness or pH of a tank unless you add a lot of them. With those parameters I think you can still go with neos. In my experience, neos are very hardy and adaptable except for the orange rilis. The one thing that I have found that kills shrimp the quickest is sudden changes, whether it be in terms of water parameters or temperature; they absolutely do not like change. As long as the soil isn't changing the water parameters drastically, I think you'll be fine with keeping neos. Usually buffering soil tends to buffer water slowly over time rather than overnight. 

 

I use Salty Shrimp products as well for my tanks; gH+ for my caridinas and gH+/kH+ for my neos and it's been working well so far. If you get your shrimp from a trusted source, I think you'll have success. The thing that I feel most people struggle with when they first get into shrimp (I was guilty of this too) is that they kill them by caring for them too much. For example, when I first started with shrimp I would immediately start changing things in the tank if I saw even a single dead shrimp. These changes would in turn cause more deaths in the tank and the cycle would repeat. Even now it's tough for me to not always be checking on them every 5 minutes, but the shrimp that I leave alone the most are the ones that seem to do the best. Shrimp are honestly quite easy to keep imo and you seem to be doing your homework, researching, and taking the time to make sure the tank is cycled and the parameters are correct. I don't mean to downplay shrimp keeping, but one of the things I love about it so much is how easy they can be once you get the hang of it. The difficulties seem to arise when people get shrimp from sellers who import them and send them out right after they get them in. Since the shrimp have been bouncing around from one tank to another so quickly, they tend to be sickly and weak by the time they get to the buyer. The buyer blames themselves for not being able to keep the shrimp alive when in reality it was most likely because they went from Taiwan to the importer and to the buyer in a matter of a week or 2. The hardiest shrimp you can get are USA bred neos

 

I don't want to make my post too long, but I thought I'd share my experiences and opinions. What you could do is get an amano shrimp or 2 since they're cheaper and more readily available and introduce them to the tank and see how they do. Amanos are EXTREMELY hardy and I've heard stories of them surviving over a week in shipping after the post office lost the package, so if they don't do well in your tank it might mean there's something you need to change. Hope this helps and good luck!

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JSak - that was a well written thoughtful reply, and it really gave some assurance that I should stop worrying so much. I think I will get a couple amanos just to get the cycle finished (they are amazingly hardy little dudes), then I'll get some neos when I'm sure the cycle is finished. The neos in my old tank were tough little buggers too!If the neos do well, and the params stay in caridina levels, I'll add some of them too.

 

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7 hours ago, JSak said:

The thing that I feel most people struggle with when they first get into shrimp (I was guilty of this too) is that they kill them by caring for them too much. For example, when I first started with shrimp I would immediately start changing things in the tank if I saw even a single dead shrimp. These changes would in turn cause more deaths in the tank and the cycle would repeat. Even now it's tough for me to not always be checking on them every 5 minutes, but the shrimp that I leave alone the most are the ones that seem to do the best. Shrimp are honestly quite easy to keep imo and you seem to be doing your homework, researching, and taking the time to make sure the tank is cycled and the parameters are correct. I don't mean to downplay shrimp keeping, but one of the things I love about it so much is how easy they can be once you get the hang of it. The difficulties seem to arise when people get shrimp from sellers who import them and send them out right after they get them in. Since the shrimp have been bouncing around from one tank to another so quickly, they tend to be sickly and weak by the time they get to the buyer. The buyer blames themselves for not being able to keep the shrimp alive when in reality it was most likely because they went from Taiwan to the importer and to the buyer in a matter of a week or 2. The hardiest shrimp you can get are USA bred neos

+1

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10 hours ago, Scienceseuss said:

JSak - that was a well written thoughtful reply, and it really gave some assurance that I should stop worrying so much. I think I will get a couple amanos just to get the cycle finished (they are amazingly hardy little dudes), then I'll get some neos when I'm sure the cycle is finished. The neos in my old tank were tough little buggers too!If the neos do well, and the params stay in caridina levels, I'll add some of them too.

 

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That sounds like a good idea! Start with the hardier shrimp and work your way up to the more sensitive caridina. If you can get them from a reputable seller/breeder, I'm sure you won't have to worry too much. There may be 1 or 2 that die while acclimating to the tank. In my experience I've rarely gotten in shrimp that didn't have at least 1 or 2 die right after adding them to my tanks. Even with my neos I experienced at least a couple deaths at the beginning, but they quickly adapted after a week or 2. Good luck! Hope it all works out.

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