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Myola

Is a substrate really required?

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Myola

So here's the thing. I've got 6 bare-bottom neo tanks that have been chugging along just fine for quite a while now. There are lots of babies and it's extremely rare to have any deaths, even when I add new shrimp.  I use remineralised rain water that has been filtered through an RO. I stopped using substrates in the tanks after I had ongoing issues with it breaking down, and to be honest, I wouldn't go back. Now I want to start some caridina tanks for tangerine tigers, CRS and blue bolts but want to know if I can get away with bare bottoms in them too. My RO filtered rain water comes out at pH 5, and when I add Salty Shrimp 'Bee shrimp' minerals to give me a GH of 5, the pH goes up to around 5.8. Do I really need the buffering affects of a substrate if my water is already within an acceptable range for caridinas? 

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sdlTBfanUK

A very good question and one I will follow with much interest as I had a similar question a year ago in that would I need to replace the substrate when it stopped buffering with my Taiwan bee tank if all the water I use has the right parameters. Unfortunately I don't know the answer in my case as my heater stuck on and killed all my shrimps off so I am starting again, though I still wonder about the same issue, though I should have at least a year before the new substrate stops buffering. 

A lot of big breeding companies that have hundreds or thousands of shrimp (cherry and bee) in each tank (big tanks admittedly) use bare tanks (for obvious conveniences) so I am guessing it will be ok! Hopefully someone who has done it may get back to this thread, but otherwise I would give it a go with a few, especially if you have a spare small tank etc and see how it goes?

If you used buffering substrate before but were using RO mineralised water of ideal PH did you have a problem once the substrate lost its buffering ability? I am/was hoping that the substrate buffering wasn't really needed if the water going into the tank is always around PH 5 or 6? 

Simon

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Myola
32 minutes ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

If you used buffering substrate before but were using RO mineralised water of ideal PH did you have a problem once the substrate lost its buffering ability?

Hi Simon,

NO, I wasn't using a buffering substrate previously in the neo tanks, it was just some white gravel that I had laying around. It had originally been in a fish tank some years ago, so it wasn't new when I put it into the neo tank. It started to break down just because of age, and my GH, and subsequently TDS, were rising out of control. JayC talked me through a rebuild with a bare floor. It has worked so well that when I set up more neo tanks I just made them bare as well. Like I said, I wouldn't go back. The little buggers are breeding like crazy, I have a very high baby survival rate and almost no deaths. Under my particular water conditions, it works great ... for neo caridinas. Now I want to do the same with caridinas, but not sure if there's more to a buffering substrate that I don't know about. Hopefully someone out there will be able to help me (and you) with the answers :)

 

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sdlTBfanUK

Thanks for replying. I know what you mean about breeding, I started off with about 10 and was soon (couple of months) over 100, and  I am sure that would have kept going up if the tank could  have supported more???

I don't see any reason that it wouldn't work with bee shrimps if it is working so well for your cherry shrimp. Obviously the parameters are different but if you are managing to keep the cherry tanks stable I don't see why the bee would be any different, although they are a lot harder to keep! Worth a try though unless someone says otherwise?

I shall certainly follow this with some interest.

Simon 

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jayc

It can be done, but I wouldn't say it is without issues. 

Without a buffering substrate the water conditions can be impacted by something very quickly. The pH will fall or rise very quickly, too quickly for Caridinas.

So ... if you can be very careful with monitoring water parameters and keeping to a strict routine in maintaining the same-ish parameters week after week, than go for it. 

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beanbag

Even though I have not done this myself, you might consider doing something like a 67/33% mix of Salty Shrimp GH and GH/KH.  That should give you a KH of 1, a bit higher pH, and more pH stability as well.

Another thing I have not tried, is putting some amount of buffering substrate in your filter media.

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Myola
On 7/23/2019 at 9:30 PM, jayc said:

Without a buffering substrate the water conditions can be impacted by something very quickly. The pH will fall or rise very quickly, too quickly for Caridinas.

Hi JayC,

Thanks for your reply. What causes pH to rise and fall? Like I said, we are on rainwater tanks here so all that's in the water is water. I'm no chemist though, so I'm sure there's plenty I don't know about the chemistry of water and keeping shrimp.

On 7/23/2019 at 9:30 PM, jayc said:

So ... if you can be very careful with monitoring water parameters and keeping to a strict routine in maintaining the same-ish parameters week after week, than go for it. 

I'm fortunate to have the time to do this and currently run my 6 cherry tanks on a pretty tight schedule with no problems. I actually like mucking around with the tanks and doing the water changes so I'm happy to give it a go. That said, I will probably set up a couple of tanks the 'traditional' way with buffering substrate, then have a cull tank without, just to see if I can do it successfully. 

 

8 hours ago, beanbag said:

Even though I have not done this myself, you might consider doing something like a 67/33% mix of Salty Shrimp GH and GH/KH.  That should give you a KH of 1, a bit higher pH, and more pH stability as well.

Another thing I have not tried, is putting some amount of buffering substrate in your filter media.

Great suggestions Beanbag! I'd like to get the pH up a little bit, so doing the mix of the 2 versions of Salty Shrimp is definitely something I'm going to try. I also love your idea of substrate in the filters. I have those Qanvee sponge filters that have a media canister that the water passes through, so I'm going to set one up with ADA instead of the Eheim media that's in there now.

Cheers for that guys!

Myola

Edited by Myola
grammar corrections

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jayc
On 7/25/2019 at 6:36 AM, Myola said:

What causes pH to rise and fall?

Oh boy, where do I start?

Anything you add into the tank can potentially cause pH to rise and fall.

Anything organic, like rocks (can cause ph to rise), wood or leaves (can cause ph to fall). Even some filter media have been known to change pH, like certain ceramic filter noodles.

 

But even if you added nothing or did anything ... the natural cycle of bacteria breaking down ammonia into nitrite and nitrates causes a reduction in hydrogen (H) atoms, and thus pH will fall. But since this cannot be helped, regular monitoring is needed and water change to bring, the pH and other parameters, back into a suitable range for Caridinas.

Don't let it scare you off however. You have already been doing a great job with the Neos. It's just an extension of that, with a slight tweak in the water parameters. 

 

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