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    • Crabby
      By Crabby
      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 😂.
      Cheerio!
    • Crabby
      By Crabby
      Hey guys, just found an add for this website showcasing a cool-lookin native algae eating shrimp.
      https://algaeeatingshrimp.com.au/products/australian-algae-eating-shrimp
      Anyone heard of these before or own any? My interest was peaked by the claim that they eat hair-type algae, as I have some on my crypts and lace fern that I cannot remove. And for a price of $4 ea, and super easy parameters, they sound pretty doable! 
      Tell me more oh great SKFians! 😁
      (or feel free to point me towards an already existing page)
      post-note: have you/do you keep these grubs? Seems like your sort of thing.
    • Linden
      By Linden
      Hello. I've written the following based on my own time scouring the internet and then personal experiences with my mud crab Gaston.      Mud crab aquarium care.    Tank setup: Minumim 4ft aquarium. A 4x2 ft much better.  Like with turtles, larger footprint is important. Not so much how tall the tank is. Seriously big crabs. Be open to having a 6ft aquarium if you plan on risking tank mates (other than glass shrimp, snails and tiny fish). Unless your in Western Australia, you'll get Scylla serrata aka Green mud crab (not named green for being green. Can be brown and blue also). They can grow up to 30cms and 2.5kgs with 20cm claws.   Have a cycled aquarium with brackish water about 1.006-1.010 SG. Heated 19-25°c. PH around 7 or higher. Harder water is important. Crushed coral can help balance out soft tap water and the use of driftwood. Breaking up some cuttlefish bone in the water column is important. Calcium for shell development. They are from estuaries. So have a great tolerance for temperature and salinity fluctuations.   Decent filtration is a must as they are exceptionally messy eaters. I recommend a sump. The crabs are very strong and can snap heaters, damage power cables and move tubing. So a sump for the hygrometer and heater helps, with the benefit of the overflows and returns being secure. Also clamps to hold parts in place. Pvc tubing can be used to protect power cables and keep equipment protected.   The lid needs to be very secure. With only small gaps and also weighted down. The crabs are strong and can easily lift glass. Some additional glass pieces on the lid to keep it down is recommended.     The crabs will want to get their mouths above the water line periodically. So don't fully fill the aquarium. About 20cm deep. Deeper depending on if you have driftwood or rock climbing areas so it can still reach above water line. Note: ensure all rocks and driftwood are very securely and purposefully positioned. Remember they are very strong and can move unsecured rocks and driftwood. Poorly placed rocks could be moved and break the tank. Using larger rocks and wood is safer than easier to move small pieces.   Sand as a substrate is best. 6cm or so deep. Mixed with some crushed coral and aesthetic gravel. They sift through sand for scraps plus it will help fill cracks between rocks n such to secure them even more.   They will eat plants. So not a great aesthetic addition.     Don't put strong lighting on the tank. The crabs like to hide. Plus they'll grow algae over their carapace under too strong and or long exposure. Glass shrimp will help keep this down.    Aquiring:  Can be bought from a fish market. Sold as live food. About $50 per kilo. A standard mud crab will be about 0.8-1.4kgs. Google how to pic a healthy mudcrab. You want to select the healthiest male you can get (not the biggest). Note. They'll all be male.  Transport in Styrofoam box or esky with a little ice. They'll wrap it in newspaper.   When home. Unpack it (keep the claw string on) then move it into a large container or tank with no water for about an hour as they 'defrost'. Remove the claw holding string as you move into their aquarium. Have a friend around to help with lid for safety reasons.    Feeding:  They are scavengers and eat a wide variety of foods. They will make a big mess when they do, so some glass shrimp, Malaysian trumpet snails and a few tiny fish are beneficial for cleaning up the shower of food particles.   My favourite foods to feed are small whole cooked tiger prawns and marinara mix from the deli. Some white fish cut into pieces then frozen. Repashy with added calcium (powdered egg shells or cuttlefish bones). Make big skeets in flat zip lock bags and freeze. Snap off a piece for feeding.     Can also feed worms, clams, scollops, crab pieces, garden snails, plant matter (like excess Elodea from another tank).  A varied diet is important. But most of all is getting plenty of calcium in their diet. The repashy +calcium or a similar diy mix with agar agar, calcium, seafood and added vegetables is gold.     It might not take to eating well initially. I recommend using long planting tweezers. Carefully. Don't want them to grab the tweezers.   You can train them onto eating by attaching a piece of meat or prawn to some cotton string. Jerk it around infront of him until he goes for it. Might take a few tries. Don't leave large pieces of uneaten food in the tank to spoil. Be very careful putting hands into the tank. They can go from slow to very fast moving in an instant.  Here's my Gaston. 

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    • sdlTBfanUK
      You are indeed correct in that I didn't see a cycle as such, I only had nitrates of 25 to start (cooked prawn) and that dropped but also as you say the PH was very low, below 6 so a proper cycle may not have happened - well spotted, I had forgotten about that. I set the tank up in June so if it isn't cycled by now though I guess it never will be? Incidentally I have only got the Ph up to 6 (recently) by putting a bit of the old rock back temporarily, and possibly that caused the tank to cycle or something??? I have thus far got 4L of RO water and hope to get more done so I can do a approx 50% water change at the weekend. You make a lot of valid points and thanks for giving me more to go on, maybe the plants aren't as green in this tank because of the different parameters and the substrate isn't as bad as it appears? The other tanks have Ph 7.5 so quite different! I like your point one and that seems to be how most people think in the modern world, but I am 100% sure it is my fault one way or other, I am old school! I am however physically restricted so it isn't anything I can do anything about! Got friends coming on sunday so if I get the water ready they can lug the buckets of water around................. I will get some rubber gloves anyway as that means I can rule that out, and give me peace of mind for the future that I won't accidentally contaminate the water by mistake? I have been using a lot of cleaning products (scrubbing floors) around xmas which makes me think I may have contaminated the tank without realising??? Simon
    • beanbag
      Just to update that I went back to my normal, very low dose of fertilizer, but the Ludwigia are still dying, from the bottom up.  The tips are green and growing, but the bottom parts are rotting away.  So far, I can only think of two possible reasons: 1) I have been feeding my shrimp less, so maybe they aren't making enough ammonia and nitrates for the plants 2) About 2 months ago, I changed the lighting so that it was a complete blackout at night and only 7 hours of medium light a day.  This did a great job of getting rid of algae that was growing on the plants, but maybe now I need more light again?
    • beanbag
      My first choice is still to blame the substrate.  The reason is that it becomes "not your fault". But secondly, I might blame the biological ecosystem.  I don't think you ever "proved" that you have a cycled tank, in the standard sense that it can remove 1ppm of ammonia per day.  And in my own experience, if you have a low pH (like under 6), it could take forever to cycle a tank.  (I wasted about 1-2 months on this)  It's possible that you have a case where you don't have much nitrifying bacteria, but rather the plants are the one consuming the ammonia.  And maybe that is ok, I dunno. Thirdly, I am not a big fan of using dead meat or fish food to cycle a tank, because not only does it create ammonia, but it also creates water pollution.  Again, the standard thing to do is a 95% water change before adding animals to get all the nitrates and pollution products out. In any case, if I were in your position, I would do the standard "it can't hurt" things of: 25% water change per week with remineralized water A low dose of Prime anyway, in case there is a very small amount of ammonia Add some nitrifying bacteria in a bottle, or keep adding some bacteria from other tanks (as long as they have a similar pH) Maybe add some probiotic bacteria like Dr Tim's Eco balance.  I have no idea if this will actually help, but it probably won't hurt.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      I won't be using the gloves for long in the tank, quick front glass clean and then the sponges so they won't be in the tank long, but I will rinse them a couple of times and dry them off before I first use them! I don't have any spare JBL soil to do that experiment, but I have used that in the other tanks and all has gone soooo much better, though there is more prep required with it but that is a small price to pay for the rewards. Shrimpking is by dennerle so I don't for a second think that can be the actual problem killing the shrimps! But the other tanks with JBL are so lush I would definitely use that in future!  Simon 
    • sdlTBfanUK
      We are having similar issues, though I have only seen 1 dead shrimp but they are disappearing! I am only giving it one more go as we are half way through winter here so at least if I go carefully and manage to keep them alive they will at least start breeding as yours are. That was when mine exploded with shrimps in the previous case and losing a few adults then doesn't matter quite so much? I tend to believe the babies are tougher because they have always lived in that environment anyway and not been as stressed as purchased shrimps. You are not alone in getting frustrated with this type of problem, at least if you can pinpoint what went wrong you can correct it? I have done pretty much exactly what I did last time so am really baffled and clutching at straws now! Simon
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