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The trials, tribulations and (hopefully) sucesses of new shrimper!


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Hello SKF readers!

To save me starting multiple threads and also so I know here to find answers I am doing a journal/question thread.

If I put this in the wrong spot JayC/mods then feel free to move it or tell me to re-make :D

Sorry.... this WILL be long probably and I appreciate any time you take to read and answer my questions!


So, on Thursday (edit: tomorrow now according to an email from AU Post) I have a package coming from The Tech Den with a Aquael Shrimp Set Smart 30 and a few other goodies.

My plans so far are:

  •          Iron sand (found posts saying shrimp when ok with it).... May need more than the 2kg I initially got...?
  •          An amazing piece of Gold Vine that I found at my local pet store
  •          The light and filter (modified) from the kit with the heater only being used in winter if needed
  •          Filtered water (RO maybe? It is a 2 canister counter top carbon and sediment drinking water filter gifted by my mum a few months ago. Unsure brand etc) with JayC’s DIY remineraliser
  •              IAL and alder cones
  •         Some ceramic hidey holes
  •         API GH/KH and Master kits
  •         TSD pen - Xiaomi Professional TDS Meter from eBay

Still need:

  •            TDS pen as I forget to check the pet store and Tech Den were out – Recommendations?
  •           Plants
  •           Shrimp – Would like blue dreams and maybe glass shrimp
  •           Fish – Big IF! I am worried about eating all the baby shrimp. Spotted rasbora since they are sooo tiny if any.

So, according to the local store the light from the kit is pretty good and I have seen quite a few good things about the filter around YT and such. I was thinking of modifying it like this with a single though: https://youtu.be/I_ckQpO8GBo

My old 16L (does not fit in spot and wary of using for fish since it housed mice) has been a bit of a dummy test on water temps and for the last week has been in a safe range. None of these have been 40+ days though so I will probably need to air-con or get a cooler for coming into next summer.... or something (nowhere near planned this part since should be cooling off by time cycled).

So... to break up some questions that relate to the ‘still need’ list:

-          I was thinking plant wise Anubias nana petite, Java fern narrow (still need to source somewhere to get... not sure local store has anything other than plain) and.... a moss...

I was hoping for something less stringy than Java moss. It is just so..... wild lol
Fissiden sp. ‘Vietnam’ and Mini Pellia are calling to me but are slow growers and needs med-high light and I think Co2... filter has a Co2 option if needed.... but NO clue what a 6w, 8000K LED translates to on a nano tank... and I guess that would depend on other planting...
Also pondering about Peacock and Phoenix? But probably similar problem....

Maybe I should just wait for if I get a bigger tank.... for anything other than Java lol *sighs*

-          Sourcing blue dream shrimp! Your trade section does not seem to get many responses lol
My local has glass shrimp (Australian... soooo Paratya australiensis?) who looked blue tinged at least, cherry red and cherry yello but no source of cherry blue.
Would appreciate sources to get from Newcastle or Sydney! Gumtree makes me hesitate though I have found people with them up on there. One seems a safer bet but maybe not as easy to get to. A second one has potential and very easy for me to get to for Newcastle (no car).

-          Now... going with plants that don’t need a planted substrate.... should I still actually go with an actual buffering/planted substrate for bacterial reasons...? Should I add hidden biomedia sock or anything like that since the bacteria won’t really colonise in a thin layer of sand, unlike a planted tank.


Starting to get into the excited but freaking out I am doing something to mess it up bad stage.

Blue dreams are more expensive than I was wanting to be learning on... but if I get red cherries that would just mean another tank later lol

Edited by Ishtarduzzie
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  • 2 weeks later...

G'day @Ishtarduzzie

I will cover a few of your questions there.

First up a two stage sediment filter is not a RO unit. It will not remove the salts and chemicals that are present in your tap water so you will still have to use dechlorinators and the PH/TDS of the water will be the same. Google Reverse osmosis units and you will see why. A remineraliser may not be needed.

Not all plants need a substrate, just the root feeders, but all plants need some fertilizer. With a thin layer of iron sand there might be enough flow of water through the sand that even root feeders could get what they need if the water column is dosed. Most shrimp keepers use a buffering sub to bring down the PH of the water to something close to what the shrimp prefer not really for the plant growing ability. Your shrimp selection, tap water/RO, plant selection will dictate what sub to go with. Going with iron sand, that is inert, will mean getting the water to the desired parameters before adding and having nothing in the tank that will affect it.

That being said buying your shrimp from a local breeder with the same water as yours can negate all the hassle as a lot of the shrimp out there have the amazing ability to adapt to the local conditions and will thrive with what you already have. 

Disclaimer: This is advice and it's free. You get what you pay for and i'm taking no responsibility if you put $200 worth of CRS in tap water because the breeder said it was ok and they turn turtle. 

I hope some of that helps.

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Thanks for the reply @Madmerv!

Beware rambling below in response and just random thoughts/notes as I reply over like two hours of distractions lol

On 2/18/2018 at 7:37 AM, Madmerv said:

Disclaimer: This is advice and it's free. You get what you pay for and i'm taking no responsibility if you put $200 worth of CRS in tap water because the breeder said it was ok and they turn turtle.

Hahahaha Don't worry, I will automatically assume I messed something up myself.... I have a 'gift' of it at times.

Also I am not going anywhere near CRS for a looonnnggg time. First I need to get blue cherries to survive.... AND thrive... which is daunting enough for this newbie 😥

On 2/18/2018 at 7:37 AM, Madmerv said:

First up a two stage sediment filter is not a RO unit. It will not remove the salts and chemicals that are present in your tap water so you will still have to use dechlorinators and the PH/TDS of the water will be the same.

Yeah, figured this was the case once the Master kit turned up and started to test things.

Using Seachem Prime to dechlorinate the water. Slightly more than recommended due water amount.

After letting the tank sit the TDS has gone up. I assume this is due to the sand or wood. Was 120-odd then 200-odd just before I did a water change. GH and KH also increased after time in the tank.... or my first results were wrong.... think it was user error since today's test was the same as the second 🤔

Was only water logging the gold vine so haven't officially started the cycle (starting today).

Glad I didn't because the filter got super clogged after a day or two of having the wood in there. After the first few days it has been running smooth... Obviously just cleaning out whatever I missed after a two day soak and scrub to remove the worst 🙄

As of this very present second after a huge 90%-odd water change to remove some debris and a good portion of the tannin it is at:

  • TDS 140
  • PH 7 (seems to go between 6.8 - 7-ish)
  • GH 5
  • KH 3

I quite like the tannin but needed to reduce what was in the tank as there was getting a lot of tea scum build up and it was just a smidge too much like more morning drink colour.

On 2/18/2018 at 7:37 AM, Madmerv said:

With a thin layer of iron sand there might be enough flow of water through the sand that even root feeders could get what they need if the water column is dosed.

*nods* I will talk to the fish just at the shop on Saturday when I am picking up my plants on if and how much ferts he thinks I will need for the plants.

I ordered in the java narrow and the anubis nana. For the life of me I forgot if we agreed on java or riccia moss.

So tempting looking at all the amazing plants... especially the purple ones.... and then remembering they need more care than I planned to give (also my favourite two were not true aquatics aka dragon flame and mauve stricta).

I am very glad that both the people at the local pet stores (with specialist fish people) have actually kept shrimp at home. Actually both stores even HAD cherries in but not great quality ones. Makes a conversation/asking advice so much easier when they know what I am going on about 😆


Anyways.... here it is so far. Plants will go in Saturday after I get them 😊

Java will be back left corner to ideally grow up behind, anubias on the wood and moss around the bottom areas. Will put the 'housing' in with the plants.


If you are still reading, thanks for making it this far!

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Thanks @WhySoCRS. I really loved that piece of wood. Had NOT planned on buying it that day and it was a smidge too big (hello hacksaw) but couldn't say walk away from it.

So.... an update that is not really an update

Ok... So now that the tank is actually cycling the wood has started to grow a fungus.

Despite knowing this is relatively normal for new woods it did freak me out a little when I noticed it today. Part of me is tempted to pull it out and scrub it off... but people say it will go away by itself 😕

Picked up an anubias nana and a very small amount of java moss from the store.

Turns out the narrow leaf java fern has been delayed... So back next week I guess!

Keeping an eye on the parameters and the TDS is going up noticeably each day. I can only assume the iron plant is leaching some minerals. Since plants use iron, I am hoping they will counter the leaching of the sand a little now they are added.... Though I do not expect this to be noticeable necessarily. At least nothing should have an iron deficiency 😜

Now to slowly watch the tests and monitor any changes.

Pushed up the ammonia levels a little because they were sitting at around 1ppm. They are sitting somewhere between 2 and 4ppm now. Maybe 3ppm? Sort of  a mid colour between the two.

Also I think I found a breeder off a Facebook auction group in Sydney that has some beautiful blue cherries. They will be about $10 each which is a LITTLE wince worthy (when I am so worried about some dying off), but seem within the mid range of prices. Now to save for them! 😁

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G'day @Ishtarduzzie

How much is your TDS going up each day? Where is it at now/before WC?

You can scrub the wood clean for the sake of looks if you want but the shrimp will take care of it when they are introduced.

3ppm of ammonia is about right to get the cycle really cranking along but drop that down a bit once you have a good reading of nitrite so you dont over populate your filter. When you put shrimp in there they only have a small bioload and the extra BB in the filter will starve and die. That might cause a swing in the tank and it is important to keep things stable when they are introduced.

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Stats so far...

I was naughty and missed two days due to utter chaos in the house.

Each ammonia test at 1ppm or less I added about 8 drops more after it.

 In other news.... Yay NO2 🤗

Edited by Ishtarduzzie
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Your tank is looking fine. A TDS rise of 20ppm in 5 days is nothing to worry about especially when it is new and you are adding ammonia, leaching new wood, new substrate, evaporation etc.

Keep adding ammonia drops every day even when the reading is 0 so the BB have that food source. Do a WC of 20% or so once a week and the hardest thing of all. Have patience.

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Thank you @Madmerv

Have a w/c planned for today anyway because of tannin starting to build up a little scum and getting a smidge too dark for my liking. I am also paranoid the plants may need some fresh water to refresh any lost minerals.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Minor update.

More water stats. We are into No3 territory! Another step closer. 

Can’t test it tonight because beating the daylight out of the bottle will wake partner.


Still waiting on needle leaf have which is proving to be a bit problematic for my local pet shop to source it seems. Spent a good portion of time staring at their dozen shrimp trying to sex them for ‘practice’.

Found a store called Scoop Wholefoods that sells bee pollen per gram so got 2tbs worth for about $1. Got a little to test.

Algae starting to build up a little on a few surfaces. Noticeably the filter suction cups in particular. Will be good when the clean up crew arrive.

PH today also tested twice orange (close to 6.4 but it was orange) for normal test. Not sure what was wrong... will wash better and do all again tomorrow followed by water change.


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Ok... nope... it looks like it has indeed dropped to 6.4. 

Water change of 60-ish% put it at 6.6 for that evenings and the next days test. Now back to 6.4..... and 8 drops of ammonia processed in 24hrs put 8 in at 11pm last night... tested this morning and it was 0.25 and no2 present. Now both at zero.

It just seems.... way too sudden to have such a drastic change in 48hrs. I also expected it to be at least two more weeks.

So... I will keep a eye on and make sure not an anomaly.

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9 hours ago, Ishtarduzzie said:

Water change of 60-ish%

Did you use dechlorinated tap water?

9 hours ago, Ishtarduzzie said:

8 drops of ammonia processed in 24hrs put 8 in at 11pm last night... tested this morning and it was 0.25 and no2 present. Now both at zero.

Looks promising. Did you seed the tank with BB?

Edited by jayc
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4 hours ago, jayc said:

Did you use dechlorinated tap water?

Yeah dosed with Prime and sitting for about a week.

4 hours ago, jayc said:

Looks promising. Did you seed the tank with BB?

No booster used no... which is why I am a bit confused. Completely from scratch... unless some hitched with the plants when added three days in.

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Please someone tell me this isn’t planaria....?

I had thought ammonia straight was a way to discourage them over food..... 😓

At least there are still no shrimp in there.... so can do something about it without harming shrimpies.

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12 hours ago, Ishtarduzzie said:

Please someone tell me this isn’t planaria....?

It is planaria unfortunately. 

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Damn.... 😭

Guess I should have got that “No Planaria” for a just-in-case that I decided against.....


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*looks unsure* They still have no eyes and are still only 1-2mm big. That video was under a macro lense....

Are they actually rhabdocoela? They don't look 'flat' when they detach from the wall/glass either.

*is very confused but getting some Planaria Zero just in case cause cheaper* No Planaria is so expensive....


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  • 1 month later...

Well.... I had ordered some Planaria Zero but Boss Aquatics never charged or sent it (ordered it a second time because I thought I had messed up the first time but it DID work the second time).... *shrugs*

So my LFS said that specific planaria killers that are shrimp safe are a grey import and they wouldn't risk carrying (interesting). They suggested a copper dose since I have nothing in there.... That seemed to not work...... So..... Then I got frustrated and found out that the residual Prime may have been countering it? URGH!

My next step was to get more frustrated and just pull everything out, scrub the best I could, replace the substrate and 'restart' the best I could.

So far so good.... If they come back I will test with some glass shrimp... if they survive a few weeks I will get the neocaradina. If they don't I will just get some dwarf rasbora or a fighting fish and re-think.

If this fails... I will probably get a bigger tank for a different location and be MUCH more careful.

First tank dramas ftw. I am trying not to let it get me down and find other positives. Learning is good, right?! lol


On whole, it looks good though I think! It should make something, be it shrimp or fish (or damn worms) happy lol

Edited by Ishtarduzzie
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      What?! Can you point me to where you saw that please?   If in doubt, Always follow the directions on the bottle.
    • beanbag
      What is the recommended dosing for oxytetracycline?  The sticky thread has a mention of " 1000mg per 40ltr ", but I don't know if that refers to total amount of powder, or active ingredient percentage. I live in USA, where oxytetracycline is not as common, but I was able to obtain a bottle of powder.  On the bottle, it says [calculated out to] 75 mg / 10 gal, which is a wayyyy lower value.  Also, the manufacturer / distributor won't tell me the fraction of the power that is active ingredient vs filler. This is for a Taiwan Bee shrimp tank with pH 5.5 and Gh 5, in case that matters for the effectiveness of oxytet in these parameters. I also have doxycycline available if that is equivalent / better. It's to treat that "short antenna disease" in one of my tanks that seems to show up once every few months. I've already dosed with Maracyn 1 (erythromycin) and 2 (minocycline) and they didn't seem to work.
    • jayc
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