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beanbag

How to get long-term tank stability?

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beanbag

Hello folks,

I had a problem a few weeks back with over-feeding-related water pollution.  The nitrates were rising above 10ppm, the shrimp were getting inactive, but at least I had a bunch of algae growing on the rocks and glass.  Now I have taken mostly the opposite approach where I feed the shrimp sparingly and remove the food after 1-2 hours.  However, the nitrates went down to 0, the plants are starting to get yellow leaves / holes, and the algae is mostly gone.  My blue bolt shrimp, which used to gracefully swim between the leaves of the plants grazing, now digs thru the substrate like a lowly pauper.  (The amanos still seem to be able to fill their digestive tracts by grazing at the moss and walls, though).  I started dosing Nilocg ThriveS, but that seems to have mainly helped the moss and fast-growing plants grow faster, but hasn't caused any algae to grow back.

Anyway, I want to have a tank that requires minimal interventions and has a constant supply of food /algae for the shrimp so I don't have to feed as often.  How to achieve this?  More lighting?  I would also rather not have to dose fertilizers, but it looks like the shrimp aren't making much of a bioload right now.

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sdlTBfanUK

I think it is very difficult to get the balance right and it will probably take the tank time to adjust to any changes. Overfeeding is a VERY common problem, I always use a LOT less than the manufacturers recommend! I have never used any plant fertilisers and my 2 established tanks are lush and green! The reset shrimp tank looks pretty much as you are describing yours, but I am assuming it will settle down with time as I did exactly the same as I always have done (different make of soil/substrate only difference), we will have to see on that though! My new shrimps aren't interested in anything other than biofilm at the moment, I have tried spinach or shrimp lolly and they just ignore them, I guess there is plenty of biofilm in the tank as it has been running for a while and there aren't many shrimps in there at this stage either? 

Shrimp have almost no bioload, as I believe anyway? If you disturb the substrate the shrimps usually make a beeline for that area as it disturbs more biofilm for them.

Simon 

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beanbag

Thanks for the reply.  It's good to know that my situation with the yellowing plants should(?) go away with time.  BTW, once your tanks are stabilized and the plants are nice and green, what are your nitrate levels?  Mine is still zero at the moment.  But the frogbit is starting to grow long roots, and the duckweed is multiplying.  Do you think I should start removing them, because maybe they are hogging too much of the nitrate for themselves?

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sdlTBfanUK

I use strips rather than drops and the lowest reading is 10 (so it could actually be less) as the pad starts off at that colour anyway. I checked mine at the weekend and it is finally at the 10 so I am happy with that, going in the right direction at least and all other parameters are fine. I will need to spend a lot of time on this weeks maintenance to get rid if as much stringy algae as possible and I have to cut back the frogbit/water lettuce roots. I seem to have got duckweed in the tank from somewhere as well and will get rid of that at some stage as it is a nuisance and the frogbit/water lettuce is a lot easier to deal with due to its size! I would keep it under control though, and personally would try and get rid of the duckweed!

I have the frogbit/water lettuce in the betta tank and that grows much bigger, quicker and longer roots whilst the rest of the tank is lush and green so I don't think it is removing too much nitrates in that established tank, and I had nitrate readings in the newly set up shrimp tank until recently with the frogbit/water lettuce so it can't be using too much nitrates in there either I assume?

Not sure if any of this is really of any help to you though? Are the other plants growing at all, new leaves etc. I went to remove one of my grass pad things last week as it looked to be dying just to find there were actually lots of quite long  new roots , so I put it back, hopefully it will survive the trauma/disturbance, my bad?

Simon

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beanbag

I think only the frogbits and duckweeds and moss are growing, but the dwarf hair grass and crypts have yellowing leaves.

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sdlTBfanUK

I'm not sure I can be much help as I am having similar issues with my now 3 months running shrimp tank, though the plants have some buds and a few new leaves so am hoping it will settle down with time???? I am still getting a lot of stringy algae, Kh 2 drops (that must be the new SHRIMP KING substrate). I think 50% of the shrimps have survived over a month?

If you have enough time maybe you should go back to the start with details here of what you have in the tank/setup and how long it has been running etc so that others have more to go on as there isn't much here, on this thread anyway.

Simon

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Blue Ridge

Dosing ferts is tricky in shrimp tanks, but with no fish feeding and producing NH4 and PO4 it has to be done to keep plants in top shape. I use Green Leaf Aquarium's dry ferts (mentioning them since you're in America). But you can't risk running a full EI dose with sensitive shrimp, you kind of have to tailor it to their needs. I try to keep nitrate and phosphate just showing on a liquid test kit, and add potassium and trace with every water change. How much will be needed is largely determined by plant mass and lighting -however much they are growing, they are using. But long-term stability? Nothing beats an old mature tank. An aquarium can be said to be cycled in as little as 3-4 weeks when no ammonia or nitrite is showing and nitrate is. But a healthy 2, 3, 4, 10 year old tank is just such a different beast. Ever find a dead fish in a newer aquarium covered in a cottony fuzz? In an old aquarium, that same fish is decomposing into skeletal matter. There are all manner of tiny microorganisms that we can't see that do a lot of work we can't measure on a test kit. Or perhaps we could with measurements like ORP and such, but those aren't popular in the freshwater side. 

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