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Need Advice on Inert Substrate


Ricky ng
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I want to move to a caridina scape.. I've already have a quite mature 60p aquascape with mosses and anubias low tech but i use co2 only 1 bps or lower, dragon stone, inert substrate (la plata and jbl sansibar), water changes weekly and adding 1ml of Seachem Nitrogen and 1ml of Seachem Phospate, and adding a bit of ADA Mineral a day after, ADA Green brighty K every 2 day, previously i use tap water since i want to setup taiwan bee scape i already water change 50% of RO water.. Tds still 140-150, ph 7-7.5, kh 4, GH dont know i bought a broken one, i still try hard to lower down my ph but still can not.. so far i already tried to adding blue bolt, panda shrimp one each to test everyone is surviving so far.. what should i do next to stabilize the lower ph as well? And is there any fish recommended to keep with caridina? Harlequin rasbora?

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Wow, what a great tank you have there!

Usually a soil substrate s used with Caridina shrimp as that buffers the PH to ideal for te shrimp, but clearly you aren't going to re-do the tank at this stage. Adding Indian almond leaves can help the PH a little and you can put those at the back behind the scaping so they don't affect the look. RO water will have a Lower PH (usually 6 or lower) and a KH of 0 so water changes can bring them down so, I would maybe do 20% RO (mineralised) water change a week to start off and see where that gets you in a month - add new water very gradually, a dripper is best! The dragon stone may be increasing the PH/KH but if the 20% water change works and is manageable then maybe continue with that indefinitely - obviously you aren't going to remove the stone, that would be madness in such a beautiful setup? 

If the shrimps are suriving then I wouldn't worry too much and I assume you acclimated them well. How long have the shrimp been in the tank?

With RO water you will need to add minerals which would be GH+ for the caridina shrimps. Your KH is a bit high for Caridina normally so don't use GH/KH+ as that will also affect the KH. Tap water rarely works with caridina!

As for fish, I think it would be risky with Harlequin rasbora (they grow quite big for a shrimp tank), especially if the shrimp start breeding, but chilli/mosquito/dwarf spotted fasbora should be fine as they are no bigger than an adult shrimp. I keep neon tetra and ember tetra with some red cherry shrimp but it is very densely planted so shrimps can (and do) hide a lot but I still expect the fish must get SOME baby shrimps? Even the micro rasbora may eat some new born shrimp of coarse.

The biggest pointer though is if it is working don't try to fix it, I had caridina in PH the same as yours and they were fine even though it's not perfect for them! It can cause more problems changing things than it solves as many have found out........... just do as you are doing with the water changes of 20% RO mineralised for a month,add some Indian almond leaves and maybe some alder cones, and see where your parameters have got too! If the shrimp die then it may be worth going further but I wouldn't at this stage as it seems to be going so well.

Again, wow what a tank, I am so jealous!

Simon

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Hey Simon,

Thanks a lot to stop by and for all the useful information that you gave such a blessing to have you in this forum.

I put 3 pine cone first to see how it goes lol i dont know if i can find that leaves but i think i can get the catappa leaves i think they all just the same.. my question is that since i also have purigen in my filter i believe it will absorb all the tannin so i dont know if the leaves still can reduce the ph.. what about seachem acid buffer or ADA soft water?

Well the neos want keep breeding black bee and red bee also thriving for quite some time when i usr tap water plus seachem prime.. low grade prl and tiger fancy low grade has been there for just a month maybe but bb and panda just 2 weeks.. but i will try to do your suggestion 20% RO mineralize water changes.. 

Mosquito i think is a great idea mate.. and thanks a lot again for all the information that you gave.. may GOD bless you mate..

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Catappa leaves are Indian almond leaves, as you say. Biofilm gows on the leaf surface as well which the shrimp love to eat so it is worth getting some and I imagine they are readily available!

Your tap water may be very good in your part of the world, it is probably less messed about with I imagine than most of the world. It sounds like you ae having great success so I recommend you carry on as is and don't use anything you aren't already using, especially  chemical wise at this stage. I think the 20% water change each week should slowly bring the PH/KH down to better parameters for caridina shrimp but if they have survived 2 weeks they are doing ok as they are and should be ok, just put the new water in very slowly, over many hours! Hopefully this will counter anything that may be raising the PH/KH and it may fluctuate over the week but it will be so slow it won't harm the shrimp whilst keeping those figures from raising too high!

We may need to revisit it later if shrimp start dying, but as it is doing so well don't try and change things too much or unnecessarily and the water changes should reduce the figures slowly and stop any extremes of parameters over times.

The caridina are much more difficult to keep than the neocaridina but I understand wanting to keep the caridina. The setup you have would ideally suit neocaridina better but hopefully this will work out long term for the caridina with minimal extra effort!

Simon

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    • alkemist
      I believe the rocks are banded jasper. Previously when I first set up the tank, I was worried about the rocks. I have done previous testing with them before. I don't have hydrochloric acid but I've done the vinegar and water soak test. I had a test rock in RODI for a month with no change in GH and KH. There were no reactions to vinegar. The rock was marketed for aquatic use but it doesn't always mean it's correct. Sometimes I do question it though. I previously moved some rocks higher out of the substrate to help fix the scape and there was a dividing line in the color of the rock. The portion originally above the substrate had darkened and the part that was previously buried in the substrate stayed it's original color. The only other thing that comes to mind is that maybe I have been overmixing my re-mineralized water. I could have sworn that when I originally made the mix to 180 TDS in 1 gallon of water, it was 6 GH and 4 KH. I did some mix testing yesterday and at 160 TDS, it was 6 GH and 3/4 KH. I did a 10% water change and replaced it with straight RODI water. It brought the KH down to 5/6 but GH also down to 5. I will do another 10% water change next week and probably add in mostly RODI and a little re-mineralized to keep calcium and magnesium content in the water for the shrimp.   I think the KH rise could have been part of the issue. If I recall, I saw a shrimp laying around and twitching, like I've seen in a failed molt. The higher KH had totally skipped my mind and I went straight to thinking it was a food issue due to the ton of shrimp in the tank and light supplemental feeding. Though maybe it can be a contribution to possibly shortening their lifespan.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      The copepods are only really a problem as they compete with the shrimp for food, and look unsightly, but are actually otherwise a good thing and indicate the tank is good! As mentioned by JayC, I had success using fish, they wiped out the infestation in a couple of days. Every environment will find its 'maximum occcupancy' level based on how many it can sustain, and this can be increased with additional food but thats a difficult balancing act to get right. If the filter is clearing some of the copepods, then it will almost certainly also be clearing some of the new born shrimp (hense the decline) as they are similar sizes, rarely do you see newly born shrimp as they are soooo small. I would do as JayC recommends and change the substrate, but would also add some nano fish and plants as it is quite a big tank? Most substrates have some sort of run-in period so this may mean putting the shrimps back in the old tank for now? Shrimp don't need hiding places, unless there is something that predates on them. If you want to try the fish route then sufficient plants/cover/hideouts would be recommended to maximise the survival rates of the shrimps. If you do use soil substrate with plants you don't need additional plant fertilizer as the soil and shrimp waste will cover that.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      The KH is to high for sure and should be reduced, as JayC recommends. Best way to check the rocks is to put them (individually) into a container with pure RO water (which should be zero on all reading) and test the water after a week to see if it has stayed the same parameters. Water changes, slowly added is the only route I know of to reduce the KH! Other than that, everything you are doing etc seems to be well informed! Are you convinced there really is any real problem (other than high KH) as shrimp only live 12-18 months anyway so it could just be natural life span with the high KH also contributing?
    • jayc
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    • jayc
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