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saturniidae

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Hi folks! I'm a (soon-to-be) brand-new shrimper. After tons of research, I took advantage of Petco's open-top tank sale recently and grabbed a 10gal, a 5 gal, and a 2.5gal, and set up the 10gal (45.6 liter) a few days ago with a bit of help from a local shrimp breeder who owns his own store. I'll be keeping neocaridina for now, with the intent to "graduate" to caridina at some point in the future. I'm unsure yet if I'll be ordering from one of the larger shrimp retailers online (flipaquatics or aquaticarts) or buying from my local breeder, but I'm most interested in blue dream neos. While I'm (impatiently) waiting for my tank to cycle, I thought I'd introduce myself, post a few pics and ask a few questions. I have a proper aquarium light coming, but right now I'm using a spare desk lamp lol.

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1. Substrate.
I admit, I cut costs and went with Petco-brand gravel here. Was this a bad choice? I've read lots of good things about Fluval Stratum, which my local shrimp store sells, but I also see that it lowers ph, which I read was not good for neos. I've also seen Caribsea's Eco-Complete, which I'd love to replace my gravel with in the future. I read that anything inert (or even nothing at all) was fine for neos, and I thought that if it didn't say it messes with PH it was fine, but perhaps this was a bad conclusion. I also used BacterKit Soil, which I bought from the local shop and is the same BB they use for their tanks.

2. Plants.
I should have asked in-person about the plants I picked out, but I was feeling rushed by that point lol. Can anyone identify the plants in my setup? I know the small ones are staurogyne repens; those came as labeled tissue cultures. I'm hoping the plant in the very back of my tank will make it, but it looks like it might not. I'd like to plant this setup much more heavily in the near future.

3. Parameters.
I'm using RO water and remineralizing it. The local breeder/store owner sold me BrightWell's NeoTiger GH/KH+, which I used according to the instructions, & I thought I shook the bottle well, but apparently it was still partly solidified and clogged the pump. I used it as best I could, brought the TDS of the first 5 gallons up to ~220, and GH to 8, but KH remained at zero. I brought the bottle back to the store, and the owner says solidification is a known problem with that particular Brightwell product. He gave me a new pump and told me to "shake the crap out of it", which I did for the 2nd 5 gallons, and managed to get the KH up to 2 when I finally set up my tank, which it's remained at since. PH is at 7, so I can't add more without risking the PH going higher than is safe. I'm pretty unsatisfied with Brightwell's NeoTiger though, and ordered some Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ to use for my next water changes instead. The breeder's KH is 4, so ideally (if I go with his shrimp), I'd like to boost it a little bit before I stock the tank. To do this I ordered Continuum's FloraViv KH+. I know I'm not supposed to chase numbers, and instead go for stability, so should I avoid the FloraViv completely and just use the Salty Shrimp? Can I get some advice here? My parameters and notes are here: https://i.imgur.com/qP77F4U.png I'm using pure ammonia to cycle the tank.

Thanks for letting pick all your brains! 😉

~ saturniidae

Edited by saturniidae
Forgot some stuff.
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1 hour ago, saturniidae said:

I'm unsure yet if I'll be ordering from one of the larger shrimp retailers online (flipaquatics or aquaticarts) or buying from my local breeder

Always buy a bit from different sources to keep genetic variation.

This helps keep genetic inbred issues to a minimum.

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1 hour ago, saturniidae said:

I know I'm not supposed to chase numbers, and instead go for stability, so should I avoid the FloraViv completely and just use the Salty Shrimp?

Correct, don't chase the numbers but instead keep them consistent.

However, getting the numbers right before any shrimp are added is fine and encouraged.

Numbers can, and will change if a tank is not fully cycled. So test for GH, KH, TDS and pH only after you are 100% sure the tank is cycled. This is the time to alter water parameters, before adding any shrimp.

Once the shrimp are in the tank, then small changes to the parameters are fine for the shrimp (as long as it doesn't go wildly outside of the ideal parameters). 

 

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Welcome to the forum abd hopefully all will go well. I enjoyed your intro and pictures. I like the tank as it is already so wouldn't add any more plants at this stage and the plants will grow anyway - well, if all works out that is. A nice tidy setup as you have done here will mean you will see more of tthe shrimps and you have a nice variery of 'contents' to be interesting to look at.

Any shrimp specific remineraliser should be balanced for all the parameters so  I would just stick with the one, if the balance is out as stated it was likely not mixed/dissolved properly. After some water changes (with better mixed/dissolved remineralised water) the parameters should level out more and as JayC says you can leave that to sort out after cycling anyway, as if you mix enough new water at the correct parameters and do 90-100% water change then you will be sorted instantly at that point! The powdered remineralisers do require mixing thoroughly with the water though, might using some boiling water help to dissolve it in a travel mug/bottle so you can shake it vigorously and then add it that way to the RO water??? Note, all the powder type remineralisers will require the same level of mixing.

You may well have some notable evaporation (which is purely water as per RO) with an open top tank so make sure you TOP UP with pure RO water ONLY between water changes/maintenance, and use remineralised RO water when CHANGING water etc.

I would probably get your first few (5 -10) shrimps from your local supplier and then if after a month everything is working out get some from an online supplier so you can mix the genes, as per JayC recommendation!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you both so much for all your help (and apologies for taking a while to get back to this site - had some health stuff come up but all is well now!) I got my tank light in (hygger 18W) and it looks SO much better.

It seems that my tank is nearly cycled. Ammonia drops from 4ppm to 0ppm in close to 12 hours, but I'm waiting for the 2nd set of nitrifying bacteria to catch up. Nitrites haven't yet dropped below 2ppm. Nitrates are around 80ppm.

My KH dropped to 0 a few days ago, and soon after that the PH started swinging, so I did a ~75% water change using remineralized RO a few days ago. KH and PH are back and stable, plants and algae are growing.  Everything seems good and I can't wait for those nitrites to finally drop off so that I can add shrimp! I haven't done any topping off yet, but noted - if I do, I will use pure RO water to avoid GH creep.

I'd like to add floating plants soon (especially interested in red root floaters.) Do those of you who use floating plants leave the lid on or off your tanks?

Edited by saturniidae
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2 hours ago, saturniidae said:

Do those of you who use floating plants leave the lid on or off your tanks?

It shouldn't matter. Personal preference. But I would leave the lid on to minimise evaporation and crap falling in.

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I used to have floating plants and as JayC states, best to leave the top on unless you prrefer the 'open' look, but you will get more evaporation without a top and the odd shrimp/fish etc may get out. 

I got duckweed in with the floating plants (unintenrionally) so that was a bit of a problem so haven't got back to putting new floating plants in yet! Floating plants will cut down the light to the rest of the tank so bear that in mind.

Hopefully not too long now before you are fully cycled and can get your first shrimps. Remember to drip acclimate over a few hours any shrimp you get.

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