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Sonnycbr

New nano set up.

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Sonnycbr

Hi, I’m brand new to the shrimp keeping hobby although I’ve kept fish most of my life. I’m setting up a 30L Dennerle nano cube with a Dennerle XL corner filter. I’ve used Aqua Grow plant soil. I ran the filter in my Malawi Cichlids tank for several days before filling up the cube with water from my cichlid tank and putting the filter in. The only thing I’ve put in the cube is soil and dragon rock. Checked the water this morning and everything looks perfect apart from PH @ 7.6. We have hard water where I live. My question....eventually, is do I need to do water changes every day before I put any plants in?  It would seem a waste of time as I’m pretty sure the aqua soil should lower the PH but fresh water will keep it high. Of course, I could be totally wrong, hence the question on here. I’d really appreciate any advice as I want this right before any shrimp are introduced. 

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sdlTBfanUK

Welcome!

Before messing about too much with the parameters you need to know what the parameters of the PLANNED occupants will be? Are you planning on Cherry Shrimp or Bee shrimps. They have different parameters, cherry shrimp are more adaptable and easier to keep and the PH of 7.6 would be fine and they will likely adapt to a lower PH if the soil buffers for a while. I am at the moment doing some testing to see if there is a quick way to exhaust a soil of buffering ability but way to early to be of any help to you as it will take time! Cherry shrimp should be ok with de-chlorinated tap water, do you know the other stats of your tap water, KH, GH, TDS, and the whole thing will need cycling which you obviously know from your post!

You may find that the dragon stone will increase the PH in which case you will have a mini battle going on with the soil trying to reduce the PH and the stone trying to increase it??

I am not all that sure why you would want to do daily water changes? 

You are definitely doing the right thing by finding out BEFORE getting the shrimps and that way it is more likely to work out well!

I am assuming you are going with cherry shrimps at this point, as taiwan bees/crystal are a whole different animal and a lot more difficult but let us know if you are planning on trying them?

Simon 

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Sonnycbr

Thank you so much for that Simon. You are spot on with the occupants being cherry shrimp. I’ve been doing lots of YouTube viewing and I realise I need to get the basics right before I get over ambitious. 
I haven’t checked the parameters you mentioned but I will do and get back to you. 

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sdlTBfanUK

You may have already seen this video but it is a good basics video so in case you haven't

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pO6iJPbmdk

I have always used the soil substrate and had cherry shrimps in those tanks from the start with no problems even though the PH and KH is lower than 'IDEAL'. It is probably better to concentrate on keeping the parameters as stable as you can at the beginning, that way it will naturally get to the better parameters over a long period and slowly adjust so the shrimps will adapt as well. It will need very slow acclimating the shrimps though if the parameters are out of the ideal range, but cherry shrimps are fairly sturdy and adaptable!

You may be able to use tap water as long as it isn't WAY OFF in which case it will need to be |RO water and GH/KH+  but we can find that out when you test your tap water and go from there?

Simon

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Sonnycbr

Thank you once again Simon, I’m going to test my tap water now. I’ve just ordered a cheap meter for TDS, are they reliable? I’ll post the results. 

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Sonnycbr

Ok, this is what I have up to now from the tap:

PH 7.5

Ammonia 0

Nitrate 0

Nitrite 0

GH between 1 & 2 but it’s the first time I’ve ever tested for GH and it seems a bit hit and miss. 

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sdlTBfanUK

The PH is the same as mine but that GH doesn't look right for UK tap water???

There isn't any reason I can think of that you shouldn't set up the tank and plants etc, and start cycling it but you will need the Parameters before you can sort out water. PH, GH, KH, TDS. The TDS meter is a great one as you can usually just use that when everything is up and running and it is so easy/quick to use? 

I use ProShrimp if you don't have anywhere local for anything you need! They don't usually charge delivery for a single small item!

www.pro-shrimp.co.uk

Simon

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jayc
10 hours ago, Sonnycbr said:

do I need to do water changes every day before I put any plants in?

You have been getting some solid advise from Simon.

To answer your question above.... if you are cycling the tank, there is no need to change water in the tank daily (if there are no inhabitants) , not until the pH reaches below 6.5. If you can keep it at pH7.0 during the entire cycle process, then the bacteria will grow at an optimal rate. The time when cycling is complete, is the time you start adjusting water parameters to suit your selected shrimp. 

The cycling process will naturally reduce pH, so that is why you want to keep an eye on the readings during the process. Don't let it drop too low.

There is also no reason to NOT add your plants now. 

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Sonnycbr

Thank you Jayc, I'm ordering a few plants this evening. I'll keep a close eye on the water, especially pH and see how it goes.

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Sonnycbr

Just as an update on the cube, the plants are ordered and the water seems fine. I put a small piece of Red Moor driftwood in the tank a few days ago and when I've looked this morning it's covered in a clear slime. I've never seen this before although I don't wood in my other tanks.Any idea what this can be? I've took the wood out for now as I'm worried it might spread to the Dragon Rocks. Thanks for any advice, Sonny.

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sdlTBfanUK

Difficult to tell without seeing but it sounds about normal that stuff grows on the wood to start with while the tank is cycling and stuff (fungus like) seeps out from the new wood. It is usually not dangerous, just looks horrid but should clear with time, when the tank is fully cycled and settled, so I would put it back in the tank. If you can post a picture here it will make clarification easier?

I think some people will put the wood in a saucepan with boiling water for a few hours to reduce the tannins turning the water brown and that may help with the slime? Probably worth a try!

Simon 

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Sonnycbr
1 hour ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Difficult to tell without seeing but it sounds about normal that stuff grows on the wood to start with while the tank is cycling and stuff (fungus like) seeps out from the new wood. It is usually not dangerous, just looks horrid but should clear with time, when the tank is fully cycled and settled, so I would put it back in the tank. If you can post a picture here it will make clarification easier?

I think some people will put the wood in a saucepan with boiling water for a few hours to reduce the tannins turning the water brown and that may help with the slime? Probably worth a try!

Simon 

Cheers Simon, I've tried taking a pic to post on here but to be honest, it's hard to see the slime as it's very thin. I've put it back in the tank and I'll see how it goes. I'm expecting my plants any time now and I was worried it might spread to them but from what you've said, it shouldn't be a problem.

On another matter, my TDS meter has arrived this morning and I've tried it but can't get a reading on either of my tanks, that's the Cichlid tank that's ran for years, and the shrimp tank. The reading for both is 000, having never used one, can this be right? I'd have thought there would be some solids even in the purest of water.

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Sonnycbr
12 minutes ago, Sonnycbr said:

Cheers Simon, I've tried taking a pic to post on here but to be honest, it's hard to see the slime as it's very thin. I've put it back in the tank and I'll see how it goes. I'm expecting my plants any time now and I was worried it might spread to them but from what you've said, it shouldn't be a problem.

On another matter, my TDS meter has arrived this morning and I've tried it but can't get a reading on either of my tanks, that's the Cichlid tank that's ran for years, and the shrimp tank. The reading for both is 000, having never used one, can this be right? I'd have thought there would be some solids even in the purest of water.

Please ignore everything I said about the TDS meter. The instructions are in the smallest print that I've ever seen, or not seen, as was the case. I've had a look online and of course, I hadn't removed the cover!! The reading is 430 ppm in the nano tank, don't know if that's good or bad but I'll find out.

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sdlTBfanUK

OK, we all have to learn new things it is good you found out as I was scratching my  head?

That TDS is a bit high, even for cherry shrimps! Probably the best route will be to get RO water and add GH/KH+, that should also help exhaust the soil of buffering as it will keep it at around 7.5. You don't need to worry at this point and can keep cycling with tap water, (and that is what I would do) then do a complete water change with the RO water (mineralised) when you are ready to get the shrimps?

RO water can be purchased at a local fish store, or you can buy a fully fledged RO filter. The 3rd option is to get one of these water filter jugs, which is what I use. I get about 100L per filter but you will get less as your tap water is at least double mines TDS! It may not (or it might) be the cheapest but is by far the easiest/convenient! You use it as RO water and add GH/KH+ to get to the required TDS - the KH, GH, PH will be the right figures so won't need testing very often, you just mix it to the TDS you want and that is easily done using the new meter (with the cap removed of course)????  This is the UK website!

https://zerowater.co.uk/?variant=48184661572

Simon

Try testing the TDS of the tap water to make sure it is that high an swoosh the meter in the water well!

Edited by sdlTBfanUK

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Sonnycbr

Once again, thank you so much Simon, your advice is invaluable to me. I've actually got a water filter jug as the water is so hard up here it's hard to keep a kettle operational for very long with it "furring" up. I've found a jar of Seachem Eqilibrium in the cupboard so I'll be able to use that for the GH.I'll find out what I need for the KH and PH and let you know how I get on. Thanks again.

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sdlTBfanUK

If you test the water from the other water jugs you will almost certainly find they are not good enough for this task. I have tried many and they only remove a small part whereas zerowater does as its name states? The others like brita are fine for drinking etc but it is unlikely to work for the shrimps.

In all honesty it would just be easier to get the zerowater jug and some GH/KH+ and thats all you need as the GH/KH+ does and has everything in the one product (PH as well) and it isn't expensive so why faff about - keep it simple. I spent years trying to get it to work to  the point I gave up for a year (though I was trying bee shrimps), until I found the zerowater filter and decided to try that and it has been plain sailing since (well sort of, nothing to do with the water though)! You won't need the seachem or anything else.

Your choice obviously but keep us updated either way?

Simon

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jayc
9 hours ago, Sonnycbr said:

Red Moor driftwood in the tank a few days ago and when I've looked this morning it's covered in a clear slime.

It's normal for new driftwood to grow that fungus. It's something to do with the sugars from new wood that seep out which feeds the fungus. Some shrimps will eat this, but even if they don't eat it, the fungus will disappear after a while.

You can leave it in the tank, won't do any harm apart from the looks. If you take it out, keep it soaked in water, or it will just grow again the next time you put it in the tank.

 

7 hours ago, Sonnycbr said:

The reading is 430 ppm in the nano tank, don't know if that's good or bad but I'll find out.

That's too high for shrimps. They will have a lot of problems trying to moult and will die from trying.

What is the TDS out of the tap? 

It might be time to look for an RO system. Whether it is the Zerowater jug system that Simon uses, or a more permanent system installed in your kitchen tap. TDS of 400 is not even good for humans to drink.

Your water, however, is great for African Lake Tangangyika cichlids.

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Sonnycbr

Thanks Jayc, I've took the following readings tonight: Tap water is 280ppm TDS, water from filter jug 227, water in the tank now 370. What could be giving the high readings in the tank? All that's in is substrate and Dragon rock.

I did a 50% water change this afternoon using filtered tap water. I've ordered the Zerowater jug kit and the GH/KH + from Pro shrimp, so I'll be able to get the parameters right and keep them stable.

I've got a Juwel 190L Malawi cichlid set up that virtually runs itself.

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jayc
8 hours ago, Sonnycbr said:

Dragon rock.

This ^^^

That's the cause of TDS rising higher than what you put in.

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sdlTBfanUK

Pleased to hear that you have picked the best route for the future, though you can just continue with the dechlorinated tap water anyway until the tank is properly cycled. I suspect that your tap water parameters are always changing anyway (mine do) and the figure of 227 isn't much above mine (180ish) so you should expect to get about 100L from each filter at that rate. I guess you will need to remove the dragon stone at some stage before you do the complete water change and get the shrimps but again you don't need to worry whilst you are cycling the tank. 

In theory you could have got away with the other filter jug at 227 but the RO  water is the best route and you will need RO water (no minerals/TDS) for topping up the tank between water changes etc to stop the TDS increasing as evaporated water is pure water and leaves the minerals/TDS in the tank?

Do you know whether the nitrogen cycle is happening in the tank?

Simon

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Sonnycbr

Ok, continuing with cycling with filtered tap water for the time being but I’ve planted the tank today. I’ve also put a couple of guppys in to help the cycle. I’m also using liquid carbon and Evolution aqua plant food   2D5B827E-E922-4A77-94EB-A23FB5247FE7.thumb.jpeg.cc2081e909ca754de50d9dd68d233e78.jpeg

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sdlTBfanUK

Wow, there are a lot of pants in there, I like tanks like that as will the shrimp though it may be difficult to see them much with all those hiding places. Thanks for the pic!

The fish will help with the cycle kick start.

The plant fertilisers may not work with the shrimps but ok (and probably helpful) for now as you will be doing a full tank water change before you get the shrimps - by that time the plants should be established enough to get the goodness from the soil and the shrimp waste will be enough fertiliser?

I can't see the slime so hopefully that has vanished naturally?

Simon

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Sonnycbr

Thanks Simon, I like a lot of plants as well although I think they’ll need keeping in check. The slime vanished after a couple of decent water changes. 
I checked the water just now and everything was slightly elevated so the cycle has started, I did a 50% water change. Im looking forward to introducing the shrimps but I’m in no hurry. At least I’ve got the plants to look at now. 

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sdlTBfanUK

Thats all great news and it sounds like you are well under way!

I know it is too early to think about the shrimps but just to make sure you know BEFORE buying;

There is a £39 limit beyond which postage is included on ProShrimp so bear that in mind, may be better to order a few more shrimp and get the free postage, postage will be next day by 1pm signed for!

Simon

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Sonnycbr
2 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

 

There is a £39 limit beyond which postage is included on ProShrimp so bear that in mind, may be better to order a few more shrimp and get the free postage, postage will be next day by 1pm signed for!

Simon

There's a shop not too far away that have cherry shrimp, although I've never been to see them yet. Is it worth getting shrimp through the post? I'd have thought it would be really stressful for them. On another note, am I wasting my time with the liquid carbon and plant food while I am doing regular and large water changes? I felt as if I was throwing all the goodness down the drain.

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