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Tayloss

About to start my first tank....

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Tayloss

HI All,

Really new member from the UK, so please forgive me if some of the questions have been answered before! I am not new to fish keeping and have a successful freshwater (55l) & marine (170l) tank currently running. Recently I have been wanting to get more into a natural looking environment and remove all the plastic ornaments that seem to be all the rage not so long ago. I do have some Caradina Japonica shrimps living quite happily along side my fish in the fresh water tank and have invested in an RODI machine due to various issues I was having with my marine tank and phosphates!

I use a 50/50 mix of RODI/Tap water as I live in a very hard water area on the south coast, so its taken me a while to bring the tanks GH/KH to a more comfortable level for my fish.

Currently parameters:-

GH: 10
KH: 5
PH: 7.5
TDS: 257

My plan is to slowly reduce it a little further as I have a mix of nano fish (Poropanchax Normani & Microrasbora Kubotai), plus a couple of Bronze Cory's for good measure. I have seen much better longevity since softening the water and bringing the WP down to the mid-range for the fish.

So, on to where I would like to start keeping shrimps and plants.. This is a totally new area for me and wondered if you could point me in the right direction as to where to start etc.

The tank will be a converted AquaOne Marine at 35l (8 Gallons?) with the sump removed to enlarge the display area. I am happy with the RODI production and want to look into remineralisation using the SS GH/KH+, but is this enough for plants or do i have to add other ferts etc?

Sorry for some many questions/long winded first post, but am looking forward to caring for Cherry Red Shrimps and my first proper planed tank with substrate rather than Java Fern's on bog wood..

Thanks,

Chris

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jayc
27 minutes ago, Tayloss said:

SS GH/KH+

Use SS GH+ instead. Not the SS GH/KH+ (there is a difference). You don't want to raise KH for shrimp. 

Make sure you get a TDS meter, if you haven't already got one.

And no, that won't be enough for plants. All remineralising products only contain Calcium and Magnesium, as the primary minerals. So you will still need additional ferts for plants. Potassium is probably the only major fert missing. You can get away with not adding N & P. 

Having said that. I would suggest starting with low light plants, like mosses, ferns and crypts. These will survive without additional ferts. Don't go crazy with plants just yet, until you are comfortable with shrimps and their water parameter requirements. Plants can always be added later. 

 

 

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Tayloss

Hi Jayc,

Thanks for the reply and pushing me in the right direction of minerals, its a mine field for me and thought i'd understood it :-)

Will using SS GH+ be fine from pure RODI, as at the moment its a 50/50 mix with tap?

What substrate(s) do you recommend for keeping the PH correct as I have a PH pen and TDS/EC meter along with a PH liquid test from NT Labs.

Thanks Again,

Chris

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Madmerv

Hi @Tayloss. Welcome to SKFA.

Keep in mind that a perfect shrimp tank is not the best environment for plants and vise versa. A compromise is needed somewhere and the ferts needed for the plants will be changing the WP somewhat. Always look for ferts that contain a low copper element.

Good luck with the set up and show us some photos as you go.

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Zoidburg

If you are only keeping RCS (Red Cherry Shrimp - Neos), then yes, you do want the SS GH/KH minerals for RO/DI water.

You can use sand or gravel for them and it will keep the pH in at least the alkaline range. They don't need a buffering substrate, and if you get easy to care for plants, then they really only need minimal care.

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jayc
2 hours ago, Zoidburg said:

If you are only keeping RCS (Red Cherry Shrimp - Neos), then yes, you do want the SS GH/KH minerals for RO/DI water.

I was taking into consideration Tayloss' current water parameters.

If current parameters are already so high the additional KH in Salty Shrimp GH/KH + will only send it higher, which is not ideal.

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Tayloss

Thanks @Madmerv for the welcome!

Is it better to use pure RO and remineralise using the SS minerals, or combine with my very hard tap water in a 70/30 mix to get the TDS/GH/KH right?

What about the PH as its currently at 7.5 at source, but I haven't tested the RO, but am guessing the PH would be the same or does a RODI  machine bring the PH to 0 due to the removal of GH/KH?

Still learning about water chemistry even after thinking i knew all there was about freshwater fish keeping.. Seems i was only scouted the edge...

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Madmerv

Hey @Tayloss

It is really up to you on how you go about getting the water you are after. Pure RO with a set amount of SS minerals makes it easy to measure out and will be pretty exact every time. If your tap water does not change during the year, and a lot do, then using that will save you some cash and can be just as easy measuring volumes. The tap water does add some variables into the mix because you dont know the condition or composition of the pipework upstream of your house as well as not knowing what quantity of additives the 17yo apprentice has added that day/week. Generally it is pretty good in my country and you can check with the local council to get a water report.

A PH of 7.5 is fine for cherries. Anything really from the high 6's to the high 7's is ok but having it stable is the key. They dont like swings. With pure RO and SS minerals the PH will even out with the substrate and other tank hardscape having the biggest effect. Driftwood and leaves will bring it down and any stone with calcium carbonate in it will raise it up.

32 minutes ago, Tayloss said:

Still learning about water chemistry even after thinking i knew all there was about freshwater fish keeping.. Seems i was only scouted the edge...

This is a rabbit hole that goes very deep. I have read some some stuff where the authors might know what they have said but i'm sure that if i did a 4 year degree on it i would still be lost.  Lol

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jayc
2 hours ago, Tayloss said:

Is it better to use pure RO and remineralise using the SS minerals, or combine with my very hard tap water in a 70/30 mix to get the TDS/GH/KH right?

The only reason people combined RO water with tap water was because they either - didn't have remineralising minerals or doing it on the cheap.

If you are getting SS GH+, then go with 100% RO water and remineralise it to the TDS/GH that you want (or close to it).

@Madmerv touched on one reason above - ease. But I'll tell the most beneficial reason for anyone who is able to afford an RO unit ... and that is to be rid of the chemicals in tap water ! Typical tap water content includes:

  • Chlorine. Chloramine.
  • Fluorine compounds.
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Salts of: arsenic. radium. aluminium. copper. lead. mercury. cadmium. barium.
  • Hormones.
  • Nitrates.
  • Pesticides.

And that is just the more common stuff. The TDS you measure in tap water isn't just Calcium & Magnesium, it's all those other dissolved solids that is contributing to the TDS measurement.  With RO water treated with remineralising mix ... the TDS you measure is purely Calcium & Magnesium.

So why would you want to go through the trouble of filtering out all that stuff and then add a % back ?

Convinced yet?

 

 

2 hours ago, Tayloss said:

What about the PH as its currently at 7.5 at source, but I haven't tested the RO, but am guessing the PH would be the same or does a RODI  machine bring the PH to 0 due to the removal of GH/KH?

What Madmerv said is spot on. He's such a valuable resource. ?

But to answer your question directly, RO water WILL have a lower pH for the very reason you mentioned, none to low GH/KH. However, pH won't be 0, it'll be more like 6, but that depends on your tap water. Measure it yourself to get an accurate pH. 0 pH is like hydrochloric acid or Alien blood. Nothing will live in it, and the container you were collecting RO water in ... would have melted at the first drop. ?

This is where using RO and SS GH+ will raise TDS and GH, but keeps KH low to end up with 6ish pH, at the desired TDS.

And when you use SS GH/KH+, that will raise TDS, GH and KH. So you end up with a higher pH - something like 7.5 using SS GH/KH+, and the desired TDS/GH.

Of course things like leaves, wood and substrate will contribute to altering those parameters.

If you decide to use Tap water, then things like substrate, wood, peat will help lower pH as Marmerv said. It will be a slow natural reduction, which is want you want. 

Keep your water parameters as stable as possible and the shrimp will thrive. That goes for any aquatic pet.

 

 

@Zoidburg also gives great advice. And often from a different perspective. Which is the case here with his comment above. If you went with tap water, RCS are capable of surviving in the parameters you listed in the first post. But you have access to RO water, right? Well, use RO ... see my first paragraph.

And always ask for the water parameters from the person you purchase the shrimp from. I like asking before money is exchanged. If they can't tell me - no sale. Then match the water as closely as possible, at least when you first introduce them into your tank for maximum survivability. But for me, I'd like to see these parameters GH: 10, KH: 5, PH: 7.5, TDS: 257 reduced a bit even for RCS.

 

Edited by jayc

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Tayloss

Thanks @jayc / @Madmerv.. I think i'm beginning to understand how/where all this lines up!

If I use just GH+ my PH will stay around the values of the RO water (i'll test once home) but will affect the TDS and GH, but if i use GH/KH+, then this will raise the PH to 7.5 due to the buffering affects of the KH :-)

So I have a choice here then, do I make it a shrimp only tank with sand/gravel, or do I introduce some hardy plants to make them feel homely? I have seen some tanks on youtube that remind me of breading cells! Sand and a piece of wood...

If I was to use a soil substrate, that not active, are there any plants/mosses that would be happy in the parameters of Cherry's? 

I am sold on the idea of using RODI and have done since the investment, its solved so many of my issues with algae and the like, that its been worth the $£'s :-)

So, would it be easier to use the combine minerals to get a PH of 7.5 as thats kind of value i'm used to, or aim for a low range by just using GH+ and allow the substrate to buffer the PH..

Finally, is there any relationship between TDS & GH/KH as the only reference i have found relates to CO2 levels between PH & KH?

If was to aim for a TDS of 257 using the GH/KH+, would I expect the values to measure the levels of my 50/50 mix above?

Thanks,
Chris

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Zoidburg

If I use just GH+ my PH will stay around the values of the RO water (i'll test once home) but will affect the TDSand GH, but if i use GH/KH+, then this will raise the PH to 7.5 due to the buffering affects of the KH :-)

If there is no KH in the water and you use inert sand or gravel, then you're likely to get pH swings.

Cherries do *FINE* in higher pH levels. Actually, they prefer neutral or alkaline waters. (generally speaking) As per the API liquid test kits, my tanks sit around 7.5 pH.
 

So I have a choice here then, do I make it a shrimp only tank with sand/gravel, or do I introduce some hardy plants to make them feel homely? I have seen some tanks on youtube that remind me of breading cells! Sand and a piece of wood... - If I was to use a soil substrate, that not active, are there any plants/mosses that would be happy in the parameters of Cherry's? 

As mentioned by another member, you can introduce plants. Crypts, moss, ferns, swords, anubias, etc. Shrimp love plants! Gives them places to hide and feel safe.
 

So, would it be easier to use the combine minerals to get a PH of 7.5 as thats kind of value i'm used to, or aim for a low range by just using GH+ and allow the substrate to buffer the PH..

Figure out the target TDS, GH and KH that you want. Most cherries do well 6-8 GH and 3-4 KH or higher. Target those parameters, not the pH. pH will figure itself out.
 

Finally, is there any relationship between TDS & GH/KH as the only reference i have found relates to CO2levels between PH & KH?

TDS - Total Dissolved Solids
GH - General Hardness
KH - Carbonate Hardness

TDS measures everything. As jayc said, you don't know what is in your tap water, and it could be measuring all sorts of things! By going RO with GH and KH, you are measuring the calcium, magnesium and carbonates when you mix up a batch of water for the tank. That is, you know exactly what is in the water before you are putting it into the tank.

Generally speaking, I mix my soft tap with my sisters hard tap to reach desired levels, although the last water change I had to go with soft tap mixed with GH+ minerals. I use sand in the tanks that get that water.

Two tanks contain Controsoil, and will have some sort of fancier shrimp in them. These will get RO water mixed with GH+ only. The tanks are already buffering the pH down, so adding GH helps to make sure there's enough minerals in the water for the shrimp that will eventually be in there.
 

If was to aim for a TDS of 257 using the GH/KH+, would I expect the values to measure the levels of my 50/50 mix above?

No, not necessarily. It would depend on what minerals you get for the shrimp. Some things can be "dirty" (have high TDS compared to GH and KH) where-as others may run "clean" (low TDS compared to GH and KH). You could get your average GH/KH remineralizers for fish (generally run with higher TDS) or get shrimp specific ones. Powder minerals usually run higher on the TDS than liquid remineralizers do. Liquids may contain other essential nutrients and minerals that the powder doesn't contain.

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Tayloss
Quote

But to answer your question directly, RO water WILL have a lower pH for the very reason you mentioned, none to low GH/KH. However, pH won't be 0, it'll be more like 6, but that depends on your tap water. Measure it yourself to get an accurate pH. 0 pH is like hydrochloric acid or Alien blood. Nothing will live in it, and the container you were collecting RO water in ... would have melted at the first drop. 1f604.png

That was properly a really stupid statement and your reply made me LOL in front of my work mates, and then spent ages explaining about my hobby and why I wanted to keep shrimps and not eat them...! ?

Sorry @Zoidburg, I am still getting used to this forum software and completely missed your original reply!

I've ordered some SS GH/KH+ as sold on the method of remineralising and now makes perfect sense to do this in order to keep things more measureable. Thanks for the comment on not worrying about the PH but getting everything else right first.

The only thing I need to figure out is the substrate and having a look at the plants you guys have mentioned:

Quote

Crypts, moss, ferns, swords, anubias

I'm looking at running an Eden 511 external filter or a HOB filter as i want to hide as much of the equipment as possible inside the display. What about a Söchting Oxydators that every seem to have, is that worth me getting?

Thanks again for your valuable time!

Edited by Tayloss
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jayc
5 hours ago, Tayloss said:

That was properly a really stupid statement and your reply made me LOL in front of my work mates, and then spent ages explaining about my hobby and why I wanted to keep shrimps and not eat them...! 1f602.png

Glad that made you laugh.

I chuckled while writing it myself.

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jayc
10 hours ago, Tayloss said:

What about a Söchting Oxydators that every seem to have, is that worth me getting?

This accessory is really your preference. There are a number of benefits to it, but it is difficult to measure for definitive proof. However, many can attest to it being good for an aquarium - fish or shrimp.

The increased oxygen created seems to make the shrimps more active. So it benefits the shrimp.

Increased oxygen reduces certain types of algae. I have used it successfully to combat BGA.

Increased oxygen helps break down solid waste faster.

Increased oxygen is good for the beneficial bacteria, who breakdown dissolved waste.

 

This is not a critical must have item, but it's nice to have if the funds are available. It's also an extra item to add to aquarium maintenance chores. H2O2 can be a pain to locate. Price - the oxydator and H2O2 are both not the cheapest things around.

Edited by jayc

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Zoidburg
7 hours ago, Tayloss said:

I'm looking at running an Eden 511 external filter or a HOB filter as i want to hide as much of the equipment as possible inside the display. What about a Söchting Oxydators that every seem to have, is that worth me getting?

First off, look into sponge filters, preferably the type that suction to the wall of the aquarium - and with dual sponges, or the HMF (Hamburger Matten Filter) filters. Sponge filters work on an air pump, provide plenty of grazing locations for the shrimp (that is, the shrimp feed off the sponges and help to keep them cleaner for longer! ;) ), while also providing oxygen. Some of the weighted sponge types can be noisy, so it's easiest to quiet them down by modifying the sponge with an air stone. Smaller bubbles! ;)

 

If you are still set on an external filter, that's okay, too! :D You will need a pre-filter guard. You can go with a sponge or stainless steel mesh. Sponge pre-filters will get clogged up and will need to be squeezed clean every once in a while, but will provide extra filtration as well as a grazing ground for shrimp. The SS pre-filters don't get clogged up on the other hand.

 

The Oxydators is up to each individual person. I've never used them, but was considering it. Decided my shrimp were fine without one.

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Tayloss
Quote

First off, look into sponge filters, preferably the type that suction to the wall of the aquarium - and with dual sponges, or the HMF (Hamburger Matten Filter) filters. Sponge filters work on an air pump, provide plenty of grazing locations for the shrimp (that is, the shrimp feed off the sponges and help to keep them cleaner for longer! ;) ), while also providing oxygen. Some of the weighted sponge types can be noisy, so it's easiest to quiet them down by modifying the sponge with an air stone. Smaller bubbles! ;)

Wow, is that all the filtration a shrimp/plant tanks need? I have see the dual air powered filters you mentioned and thought that over filtration was the way to go (guess thats from the fish tank mentality!). So the sponges clean the water and aerates it too?

Quote

Crypts, moss, ferns, swords, anubias

I have researched some of these plants above and they all fall into the easy/medium category but they have a mention of amount of CO2 to use, do i need to consider this for them to thrive or is that more for a densely packed planted environment?

Once I have received my SS GH/KH+, do I purely look at TDS levels rather than testing the individual KH/GH/PH tests? For PH, I'd just drop the PH pen in as thats a quick check but for the others, it would have to be a liquid test?

Quote

This is not a critical must have item, but it's nice to have if the funds are available. It's also an extra item to add to aquarium maintenance chores. H2O2 can be a pain to locate. Price - the oxydator and H2O2 are both not the cheapest things around.

Thanks @jayc, I guess its something to hold out for if I feel the need for it :-)

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Zoidburg
6 hours ago, Tayloss said:

Wow, is that all the filtration a shrimp/plant tanks need? I have see the dual air powered filters you mentioned and thought that over filtration was the way to go (guess thats from the fish tank mentality!). So the sponges clean the water and aerates it too?

Yup! Shrimp do not produce much waste at all, so sponge filters work great for them!

The HMF can be used to hide extra filtration and heaters, although shrimp don't require heaters, generally speaking.

We've got HOB's and sponge filters here. Right now, two tanks are using sponge filters, three are using HOB's. The larger HOB's can sometimes create too much flow which could make it difficult for the shrimp to move around in the aquarium with ease as the water would be pushing them around.

 

6 hours ago, Tayloss said:

I have researched some of these plants above and they all fall into the easy/medium category but they have a mention of amount of CO2 to use, do i need to consider this for them to thrive or is that more for a densely packed planted environment?

They don't need CO2. They might grow better with it, but it is not necessary.

 

6 hours ago, Tayloss said:

Once I have received my SS GH/KH+, do I purely look at TDS levels rather than testing the individual KH/GH/PH tests? For PH, I'd just drop the PH pen in as thats a quick check but for the others, it would have to be a liquid test?

You can test the pH, GH and KH in the beginning, along with TDS, but once you get comfortable mixing it up to the desired levels, you really only need to mix until the desired TDS. The only really important thing is GH, KH and TDS.

The TDS is probably similar/same as using the pH pen - you just put the prongs in the water and see what it reads. It does need to be calibrated every once in a while, but that's easy if you have some TDS Calibration Solution. (lasts for up to 6 months once opened?)

The GH and KH test kits though, I'm only aware of them in either test strip form or liquid test kits. The test strips aren't very reliable, so it would be recommended to go with the liquid kits. They are easy to use! 5 drops to change the color of the liquid equals 5 dH°. Not sure what you are using now to test these?

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Tayloss

I am using an NT Labs liquid test kit that I have had great success with, so other than using the PH pen to back up the liquid one, it all works great :-)

 

The pen comes with calibration liquid and I often buy the top ups now and agin when they get low..

 

As for substrate, I'd like to go soil type this time as I've used sand before and want something a little different this time.. what do you recommend as an inert soil to keepthe PH at 7.5, I'm assuming a non active one is what I need?

 

Thanks all for being so patient with the questions and am excited to get started... have a while yet tho as need to clean the tank!

 

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Tayloss

Could someone point me in the right direction for substrate please? I'd like the soil look rather than sand, but the ones I've seen seem to be buffered?

Thanks,
Chris

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jayc

If you are after inert gravel, find out what is available at your local fish store. 

Inert gravels are rather generic, there isn't one brand that works better than another. 

Edited by jayc

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Tayloss

I've been looking at few videos on shrimp keeping and plants, so now have a good idea of what to do :-)

Will be looking at the easy to keep plants and some bogwood etc plus some sand/gravel as substrate.

I'll create a new entry once I'm ready to go :-)

Thanks everyone for your assistance.

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Tayloss

One thing i have noticed is a lot of new tanks have some powered/mineral below the substrate, is this something i need to do from initial setup?

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jayc

I use this under the substrate when I setup the new tank.

Then add a little every water change.MP120-2.jpg?1498153296

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Tayloss

Ok, is that the same as Bacter AE, i'll have a search for the as well..

A quick question regarding the water mix, if I have 2 x 20ltr buckets, do i mix the water to say a TDS of 150 or split it two ways (75 TDS)? 

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Madmerv
5 hours ago, Tayloss said:

Ok, is that the same as Bacter AE, i'll have a search for the as well..

A quick question regarding the water mix, if I have 2 x 20ltr buckets, do i mix the water to say a TDS of 150 or split it two ways (75 TDS)? 

Two buckets of water at TDS 75 when combined will still give you water of TDS 75. If you are after 150 then that is what you mix.

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