So I got myself a little 5 gallon (20L) recently (it was free!) to use for quarantine. I’m going to use it to qt some cory cats and maybe some tetras or gouramis for my community tank. The thing is, I’ve got it set up really nicely in my room and I want to have it actually stocked. I definitely don’t want a betta, but I found some super cute guppies on gumtree (Wild Thai Orchid) that I can never find locally. How many guppies do u think I could get in the tank?? The seller only has 4 pairs, so is selling in pairs but not trios, so that could have an affect on the amount. I also plan on adding shrimp, either of a neo or caridina variety, or native - like dae or chameleons.
So my questions are: how many guppies could go in the tank (assuming they breed and I keep the babies in with them for about a month each time), could I fit in anything else (with a pair or 4), like a couple of chilli rasboras or rocket killies, and will the shrimps be enough for a cleanup crew, or should I add an Otto or something?
Anyone with very large, or many tanks will probably not be interested in this, aside from curiosity maybe, as I doubt this is cheaper than buying RO water. I am writing this purely in case it may help someone else who wants an easy alternative to RO water.
I am housebound (have MS) and as such needed to find an easy alternative to RO water if I were to keep Taiwan bee shrimp successfully. I have red cherry shrimp in my 30L FISH tank (neon tetras, ember tetras, endler guppies) and they do well with virtually nil care (or attention since I mastered the TBs) other than dechlorinated tap water (which is needed for the fish anyway) so I won't go any further on that subject.
About 3-4 years ago I set up a 15L shrimp tank and tried BRITA filtered tap water, but had no real success with that and so 2 years ago closed the tank down and stored it away assuming then that that would be it, no Taiwan Bee shrimp ever....... but after 2 years of no success, at that point it was a bit of a relief anyway to just be done and out of the way. You will see from the Tap water readings below that in theory the Parameters were pretty good but from my experiences I think you need to go back to NIL (so either RO or the zerowater) and remineralise as I guess that way you know what the tests are picking up is only what the shrimp need - this is only my belief I don't really know, but ie the tap water TDS (Ph, Gh, Kh etc) was ok but what was in the Tap water to make the TDS reading what it was, if that makes sense? I have read on many sites of people trying tap water , as I did, with good parameters but it not working so that is my theory anyway! And of course domestic water supply parameters can change and if there has been any repairs in the system that will change it etc so from my experience only way to go is take it back to NIL and remineralise.......
A year ago (about a year after closing down the old shrimp tank) I came across a water filter jug from zerowater (www.zerowater.co.uk), an american product which I believe is available in Australia on Amazon, but may also be in shops out there for all I know). I thought, why not give that ago.... so I set up the old tank Oct 2017 (15L with the back part partitioned of for filter etc so probably 12L of useable aquarium) put some soil in and a few bits of Java fern and moss from the fish tank and ran it with the zerowater for a couple of months. I didn't ever get any Ammonia, Nitrite, or Nitrate reading but did see a bacteria bloom for a few days. I treated the zerowater as you would RO water, so added shrimp king mineral fluid gh+. There is a lot of info on the website about what it removes etc.
Tap water PH7, Gh 5-6, Kh 3-4, TDS 174
Zerowater Ph6, Gh 0-1, kh 0-1, TDS 000
I added 6 blue bolts about 6-8 weeks later, then some red ruby and red wine a few weeks later and 3 blue steel in March 2018. All went quite well, though there were a few deaths but that may have been me as I am NO expert, I do drip acclimatise though. April 2018 Eggs started appearing (difficult to see on TB) and by the end of that month shrimplets, woohoo!
Time for the new tank, dennerle 35L scapers which I got in May 2018 which I ran for a month with the zerowater, 2 cheap sponge only filters, heater, light, rock, wood, java fern, soil etc, and one sacrificial fish (don't worry he went in the fish tank afterwards as he survived). Then I transferred shrimps a dozen every other day(ish) etc. At this point I was obviously shutting down the small tank and although I had only bought a dozen shrimps originally, when I started removing stuff it turned out I had about 90 baby/juvenile shrimp in the tank, most were probably only days old (probably wasn't wise to transfer them at that stage really but I had too many anyway and wanted to get the old tank out of the way, as it was on the dining table). I THINK WE CAN SAFELY SAY THAT I HAVE CRACKED IT NOW, WITH THE HELP OF THE ZEROWATER FILTER JUG. So closed down the 15L end of June 2018. Daily now I see about 50 shrimps of half to full size in the new setup but haven't yet had any success with babies (though most of the shrimps may not yet be mature enough as I believe they need to be 6 months+), and with the hot spell (unusual for here when tank got to 30 degrees) and with me fine tuning the parameters, done now thankfully PH5.5-6, Gh 4.5, Kh 0-1, TDS 160 (something incidently I probably wouldn't have had to do if I had added the Gh+ from day 1 with the new tank). I will say that I NEVER had any Ammonia, Nitrate or Nitrite readings in the new tank either, but as with the small starter tank there were a couple of days of bacteria bloom. I expect babies will happen now I have stopped messing with the parameters, but there is always option B, set up the old small tank and use as a breeding tank, or C, buy more shrimps???? With the shock of how many babies there were hiding in the small tank, there could well be loads of babies in the new tank that are hiding anyway. I will give that a rethink if there haven't been any babies by xmas, though I have enough anyway at present. The only other things that may now affect babies (ie different than the smaller tank) is, the jets from the filters are a bit strong and circulate the water in the tank more, and I have rock (actually Geodes) in the tank???
I change 2L of water each week, mainly so I can squeeze the 2 sponges from the 2 filters and just clean the glass etc. I also use Fulvic acid, beta glucan and am just starting on bacter ae (hoping that may help babies). As with RO water, top up is pure zerowater and water change is zerowater with GH+ added.
Each zerowater filter does about 100L of my water (about 6-8 months worth) but there is info on the website above that shows how many it will do on different TDS basic water etc. The filters aren't cheap at £20 each (I have bought 4 for £50 so much more reasonable, and they don't have a shelf life anyway. They are of course available readily in USA in places like Walmart as it is an American product. If anyone knows where you can get them in other countries it may be a good idea to add it to this string/topic etc to help others, as mentioned before I THINK you can get them on amazon.com.au for Australia.
If anyone wants to ask any questions I will do my best to answer, but I am NO EXPERT by any measure.
Update 27 Sep 2018
I am daily seeing babies, in small numbers (all colour varieties), but from the top picture you can see there are a vast number of hiding places anyway, so there must be others. I have also seen a couple of shrimps heavy with eggs, grey, so they must be near birth...............
I will keep this updated if there is anything worth reporting, or there seems to be any problems with using the zerowater filter jug as a substitute for RO water but so far (1 year now) all has been very successful.
Update 7 Oct 2018
Probably be the last update - unless all goes wrong etc
I am seeing lots of babies of varying sizes and patterns now (20 today), so much so that I am going to have to start culling to make room for just the ones I really want to keep, and enough room/food etc for babies! I will try taking one big one out each week when I do maintenance and see how that goes!
Any questions just ask!
BIG UPDATE 24 MARCH 2020
MORRISONS SUPERMARKETS HAVE STARTED SELLING ZEROWATER HERE IN THE UK!
Hey guys, I thought I’d just make a single topic for my community tank, so I stop running around in other chats asking the same questions 😁. I’m going thru a big change in the tank at the moment, so will likely update in the morning with photos once the cloudiness is gone. Be prepared for a possibly very long message about a 10 hour process 😂.
It is probably too early to start this but as I have no idea really what I am doing I thought it a good idea to maybe get others thoughts/ideas from the beginning?
The aim is to find out if I can reduce the life of the 'buffering' of soil substrates for anyone wanting to use soil substrate with cherry shrimps which do better at higher PH than buffering substrates run, until they are exhausted, and before they get shrimps in the tank - that can't be many people I know???
I set up a betta tank mid March and the buffering with the JBL substrate stopped about 4 months later., though you may be able to knock off a month as I was only doing part (25%) water changes? Obviously no one wants to wait that long so I am just trying this experiment as I have 2L of shrimp king soil left over anyway. that I won't use!
At the moment I have put 5L dechlorinated tap water in a bucket with 1L of substrate. The tap water is PH7.5 (KH3, TDS 154) and I am planning to do 50% water changes twice a week until the PH gets back to the 7.5 at which point I can assume it is exhausted? I will then try the same experiment using PH+ to see if that will speed up the process, but I haven't ordered that just yet?
Any suggestions, am I doing it correctly, does it even make any sense?
So this should give me an idea of how long it will take to stop buffering just using tap water but doing twice weekly 50% water changes, and then whether using PH+ would speed it up notably?
This is just to get an idea, and different soil substrates will probably be different so I am not really looking for a definite answer as to the time length etc, more an idea as to whether either of these will work well for others in the future that want to keep cherry shrimp with the soil substrates. Having said that I have always kept cherry shrimp in lower than recommended PH (to start wirh) without a problem anyway?