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Cycling a new tank


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Hi please can anyone help here. 

I have a new tank I am setting up and plan to keep cherry shrimps. The tank is a Fluval Flex 57 with an upgraded light for better plant growth. 

I added Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum Aquarium Planting Substrate and then filled with RO water re-mineralised with SaltyShrimp GH/KH+ and a small pinch of fish food

I then added a few plants on the 8th August (Dwarf hair grass, Java moss, Brazilian micro sword, Rotala rotundifolia and Reni ) and went on holiday, my readings were (using API freshwater test kit) 

  • Temp = 21.6C
  • TDS = 255
  • KH = 3
  • GH = 10
  • PH = 6.6
  • Ammonia = 0.5
  • Nitrite = 0
  • Nitrate = 5

I have just returned from holiday have some very fine algae growing off of one of my plants and tested the water with the following readings 

  • Temp = 20.8C
  • TDS = 242
  • KH = 0
  • GH = 8
  • PH = 6.6
  • Ammonia = 0
  • Nitrite = 0
  • Nitrate = 5

A couple of questions

  1. Should I worry about the Algae?  remove, cut down the lights or just leave
  2. I'm confused why my KH has dropped to 0 please can anyone advise. 



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Welcome fellow UKer!

You can remove the algae if it is easy to do. Once the aquarium is fully run in and cycled the algae should stop and start to disappear with time, it is quite common to get aldae when first setting up an aquarium.

The KH will probably have dropped because of the substrate and that will continue until the substrate is exhausted. These buffering substrates are better suited to bee shrimp and non buffering are better for cherry shrimp. I haven't had a problem keeping cherry shrimp with buffering substrate though as they are more adaptable than the bee type shrimp.

There are several things you can do to speed up the KH absorbsion.

1) If you don't plan on getting shrimp for some time yet you can just keep adding KH+ like this (https://www.pro-shrimp.co.uk/water-treatment/1280-dennerle-kh-elixir-4001615016765.html)

2) Do big water changes with your GH/KH+ you already have.

It may take some time though to exhaust the substrate and the above should only be tried without shrimp.

OR you can just try accepting the setup as is and get the shrimp and do 25% water changes each week, dripping the new water in to the aquarium. The shrimp should be ok (mine always have been so far) but may not thrive from the start. Only get up to 10 at this stage, if all seems fine then you can get more later. Always drip acclimate the shrimp. The substrate will also be buffering the PH so keep an eye on that, the 6.6 you have should be ok but when the substrate exhausts its buffering ability that will also rise.

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16 hours ago, MarkF said:
  • Should I worry about the Algae?  remove, cut down the lights or just leave
  • I'm confused why my KH has dropped to 0 please can anyone advise.

How many hours is your light on for?

6 hours is probably enough especially if you say you have an upgraded light.


KH can drop, as my fellow Moderator has said, from plant substrates.

But KH can also drop as a natural process of plant utilising bicarbonates as it's carbon source. 

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