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Parameters for OEBT & Bloody Mary?

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This forum was recommended to me as I'm trying to sort out the parameters for my shrimp. I currently have Orange Eyed Blue Tigers, Bloody Mary Neos, and Amano. The aquarium has been running since January, with my OEBT and Bloody Mary added last month (no breeding as of yet, but they're reaching a mature size now I believe). I did research on them and tried to find a good median parameters, but there's a lot of inconsistency between sources as to what the Tigers need. I recently rescaped the aquarium and took the opportunity to replace the inert substrate with Fluval Stratum at the recommendation of one of the breeders I'd spoken to. It dropped my PH, GH, and KH more than I expected, and lower than seems suitable for the neos (based on my research.) This led me to wondering if I should change the substrate or not. The rescape was saturday and so far there's been no deaths and plenty of fresh molts.


Ideally, I'd like to have the parameters at a spot where both species can reproduce and thrive. I use ro/di or distilled water and remineralize with SaltyShrimp GH/KH+. The aquarium is planted and has driftwood and okho stone. The temperature is usually at 75 F, though I've found it may fluctuate between 72 and 78 F depending on if the ac is on in the room or not despite the heater being set to 72 F (I'm not sure if it might be better to just remove the heater or crank it down further? But I'm worried it may drop too low then?)


My previous parameters (pre-scape) were as follows:

  • PH: 7.2
  • GH: 8
  • KH: 2
  • TDS: 190

At these parameters everyone was molting and such without issue and seemed happy, and the Amano ladies were berried (I know the larvae require saltwater, but it was the first they'd bred since I added them just after the tank was cycled).


My current parameters (post-scape) are as follows:

  • PH: 6.4
  • GH: 4
  • KH: 0
  • TDS: 130

So far, no deaths and plenty of fresh molts, but the GH/KH seems like it may be too low for the neos and may cause molting issues down the line?


Any advice on the correct parameters for each type would be greatly appreciated, since sources seem to be inconsistent and I really want these little guys to thrive. If needed, I  can change out the substrate as well, I have plenty of inert substrate available. Below is my personal chart as well, which are the parameters I settled on through my research, though again I'm not sure if they're correct.



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OEBTs can be tricky because now they're being bred and raised in both neo and caridina parameters, so I think the best would be to check with the person you bought them from and get your parameters as close as you can to theirs. I'd say consistency matters more than perfect water parameters as long as the parameters are at least close or within the range of ideal. That being said, OEBTs originally were raised and bred in neo parameters and I keep RCS and OERBTs together in neo parameters (ph 7.6-7.8, gh 10, kh 4). Fluval statums a buffering substrate meaning that it will help to soften the water and lower the ph, which is more ideal for caridina, which would explain your drop in parameters. The main thing I'm worried about is the sudden change in hardness after changing to fluval stratum. That's a pretty significant drop from 8 gh and 4 kh to 4 gh and 0 kh, but I'm not sure I'd recommend changing everything back again as that'd be another sudden change in parameters and stress.


From personal experience, if your shrimp are doing well I think it's best to leave them alone and be patient. When I first started the hobby I would hear different opinions about how to breed shrimp and if my shrimp didn't have it I felt like I needed to get it because that's what people said they have to have. I ended up changing things in my tank regularly, such as using ph adjusters, changing substrates, using supplements, etc. They did okay, but compared to now I'm much more busy with graduate school and pretty much just feed daily and change water once a month and my shrimp are doing WAY better than when I was trying to change things to make it "perfect". My number 1 rule in shrimp keeping is consistency and I only intervene if absolutely necessary (more than a couple deaths in a day or 2, parasites, etc.). As an example, most people say the ideal parameters for caridina are gh 4-5 and kh 0-1 (I focus more on these parameters than ph) and that if you deviate from that you're doing it wrong. I started with 10 about 5 or 6 months ago and had to go home for a while because of the covid situation. I had a friend who's experienced with pet keeping but knew very little about shrimp. When I came back it was full of babies and juveniles and I'd guess there's close to 50 now. I decided to test all my parameters since I was gone for a while and to my surprise I got gh 8 and kh 5, and I tested it twice. I may get hate for that comment but I wouldn't recommend keeping caridina in those parameters and I'm not even sure how the kh got so high in that tank. I got really worried and thought I should do something to get the kh down but then realized the shrimp are doing very well so there's no need to do anything drastic too quickly. So now my plan is to go slower and maybe even drip my water when I do water changes since my remineralized RO water (gh 4 kh 0-1) has different parameters than the tank so that they don't experience too much of a change in a short amount of time, but I'm not planning on doing more frequent or larger water changes. 


Bottom line, imo if your shrimp are doing well and breeding I wouldn't change anything because as you've stated there are inconsistencies in info because everyone has their opinions and different things work for different people. I've heard that it's easier for shrimp to go from softer to harder water than the other way around, so I'd keep a close eye on the shrimp. As you stated the first issue you'll most likely see is with molting, so if you have successful molts that's a good sign and I wouldn't change anything. If they breed and you see berried females, that's even better, and if the eggs hatch and the babies survive then I'd say you're in the clear and your tank is good for the shrimp. If you start noticing deaths you may want to change the substrate back but I'd prepare for more deaths unfortunately. 


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