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Zebra

40L High tech Aquascape from beginning to maturity

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Zebra    137
Zebra

Hello,

Ive noticed I had some equipment laying around that needed to be put to better use, and after settling in my half a dozen or so new shrimp colonies and other tanks, I figure I'll get to scaling it. 

Ive cleaned up an old 50cm Long tank and cut a glass brace for this light to sit on, Was a standard 3ft tropical PL compact flouro light, one ballast stopped working ages back so I cut it out and halved the unit,  and the other has powered along for over a year now with a new globe.

I've Got that light 36w, my 1L Ista co2 bottle just behind it, Aquaone 650 canister filter- which I'm putting a glass skimmer on, a standard glass heater, and drop checker.- That's about it for equipment, I'm contemplating adding a sotching oxydator I bought from newbreed aquatics closing down sale.

Looking for some nice lava rock as I want to keep the kh quite low in this one, most of my other tanks have had seiryu or something else reactive, and I find plants like anubias and buce grip much better into light pourous stone like lava rock. 

I've got a fresh bag of Black earth to go in there when I do find the lava rock, till then.

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Edited by Zebra

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jayc    1,401
jayc

Subscribed.

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Zebra    137
Zebra

After googling and running around for weeks, nice proper lava rock seemed harder to find in bulk then I had expected, My sister gave me some money for my birthday today so I decided to hunt down some of the Pisces box sets.

My local pet barn had them in stock and I got 2 for $36ea. Happy birthday lol.

Said to be a truly unique form of volcanic rock, found in only one part of the world, New Zealand.

Picses natural purple lava rock 5kg box sets.

 

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Got a nice bit of proper bogwood, I thinned out from another tank, It's been kinda tricky getting the perspectives right with this size rock, I'm thinking of trying to spit them maybe if I decide to go with a different scape. 

Contemplating adding a few cm layer of red fluorite Underneath everything, but idk think it might end up mixing through the AS and on top of everything, as much as the extra minerals/ trace elements it provides would be good I'm thinking maybe Ill put a heap in the canister filter instead :) and go ahead with straight soil in the tank, In which case I'm ready for the black earth now. 

Probably going to need a better light frame down the track, or maybe cut out some light with baking paper, we'll see.

Got lots of new rare plants coming, And lots of stuff that's been waiting for a nice lava rock to call its planty little home lol.

 

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Off to bed for now I think, I'll finish it in the morning,

Till then.

Edited by Zebra
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Madmerv    130
Madmerv

DO NOT bust up that lava rock. It looks amazing.

If you have seen my tanks then you know i'm not a scapers toe nail but IMO the rock on the left needs to be turned 180deg so it kind of flows left to right and is in balance with the big rock on the right. It looks like it is leaning against the glass so this may be easier said than done. 

Love your work @Zebra.

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jayc    1,401
jayc

I think the big rock on the far left is out of place. 

Can we see the tank with it removed entirely?

And the little rock on the left moved into place where the big rock was before being removed?

That way you would have more of a triangle. 

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Zebra    137
Zebra

Thanks guys,

It's funny you say that haha that was the last rock placed and I wasn't happy at all with it either lol, I have one or 2 other pieces I can swap it with, but I've thought about sawing and cracking it in half as the sets came with only a few large rocks between 2 sets I didn't end up with much variegation in size- (hard to scape with even numbers haha)

In just scared if it not careful enough the rock will just shatter into gravel, sketchy haha

I still have it in the back of my mind I might do a white sand front and path running between that rock and the smaller one to the furthest left, but yeah might just go straight AS, not sure, glad I went to bed and didn't start adding the soil, watching the dark, Earthy tones of the AS trickle down through the negative spaces between the rock formations  as you first start to see nature take its course and the scape take its shape, Thats one of my favourite parts.

The aquasoil is going to be quite thick especially through the back. 

As far as the flow goes madmerv the plants are going to flow right to left with a main feature plant like Madagascar lace or maybe a red lotus, coming up through the wood, I've ordered a lace plant the other day and it's on the way now with some other plants and stuff, damn they are not cheap haha.

The tank itself is designed mainly as a straight up buce tank hehe, that's why I wanted some really nice lava rock.

Thinking about pellia, Christmas moss, AR mini or ludwigia super red up the driftwood. 

Going to switch out that rock and take some more pics. 

When I place rocks esp lots in close proximity I more try to imagine the negative spaces and picture the AS and how it will naturally fall between them. :)

big day ahead lol.

Edited by Zebra

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Zebra    137
Zebra

So I moved that big rock on the left around and set up the cam on a tripod to get some different ideas from the same veiw point and after changing around many times these are the 2 I'm close to happy with:

Still not sure whether to do the white sand front, I think it would give an awesome contrast to all the other colours, and I wouldnt really have to plan on having any carpet plants that way, but keeping all the AS at the back can be quite tricky, definitely worth it when done well though, and both these layouts are geared towards that style scape.

Im leaning towards this first one, I've cut a smaller piece of rock to make 7 in total and it's going  between the large rock on the left and the smallest rock.

Then to pack the back with smaller black lava rock to keep the AS falling through, I thought about making a clay from bentonite to hold everything in place and add minerals but I shouldn't need it. Still not sure whether to do the white sand at the front or just straight AS.

I might pack the back with black lava gravel and start filling it with AS see how it looks and decide from there, might need to go grab more paper towels and super glue now, I've got a ton of buce I've been propergating out to fill this :)

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The 2 rocks in the middle are too similar in size though the way I've postitioned them the perspective creates the illusion the front one is much smaller- this layout also doesn't provide as much physical barrier between the AS and white sand that will go in the front.

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5 hours ago, jayc said:

I think the big rock on the far left is out of place. 

Can we see the tank with it removed entirely?

And the little rock on the left moved into place where the big rock was before being removed?

That way you would have more of a triangle. 

I know what you mean, if I took that one out and keep the AS low everywhere except the base of the wood, it would make for a very nice straight jungle scape, Just I need as much lava rock in there for space to grow buce :) if not I probably would just go like that, it creates a nice odd number of rocks too.

Edited by Zebra

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Zebra    137
Zebra

I cut one rock down a little and added it, Boom! As soon as you see the one you want you know:

 

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(Loving this tripod)

 

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I went at the rock with a cutting wheel on the angle grinder and some safety goggles. I kept stopping and wetting the rock to lubricate, clean and cool everything while cutting, always a good idea.

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 I do have a masonary blade, but lava rock is quite soft and the standard cutting wheel is thin and left almost no waste, Just have to be careful not to let it flex.

 

IMG_3948.JPG

Edited by Zebra

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jayc    1,401
jayc

👍 starting to look much better now.

Another option to prevent the aquasoil moving is to use foam under the rocks. Push the rocks into the foam to fill the gaps under the rocks ... preventing soil from sliding under and moving through. Then fill soil/substrate as per normal.

Talking about foam ... I hope you are going to use some under the tank ... or risk cracking the tank once it is filled. No table is 100% flat. The pressure and weight of those rocks + water will eventually find the weakest spot.

Oh, and don't use regular white aquarium foam. They look uggglllllyy. 

This looks much better ... https://www.bunnings.com.au/polytuf-50-x-50cm-solid-black-foam-mats-4-pack_p4490382

 

Edited by jayc
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Zebra    137
Zebra

Cheers mate, my rule of thumb for foam is on anything 2ft and above, this tank has been setup many times on all sorts of weird tables, but your right I should have some under there, mmmm I might scrounge around and see what I've got, would be a shame for something to happen to the tank for the sake of a few bucks.

Thats what I use for my other tanks haha, I didn't know you could get solid ones, that's awesome, mine have holes like.

Foam is a good idea, just I get OCD about keeping everything natural except the tech haha

I filled the gaps under and around the main lava rock from the back with smaller peices, then went to woolies and got some clay cat litter-

100% sodium bentonite. I'm going to process this in 2 different ways to make my clay. I would have got calcium or potassium bentonite if possible but this is so cheap and readily avaliable And I'm not using it for calcium or other nuetrients (though it still has plenty of each and more) So I'm going to neutralise the sodium and chloride content, And amend it with k2so4, Fe and a little Cal bentonite rendering it potassium bentonite more or less :)

Veiw from the back:

 

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Like building a natural stone wall I tried best to select pieces of smaller rock that would fit snug into the gaps, Filling the whole way around the main hardscape with first smaller sized then larger black lava rock, which apart from restricting the clays direct contact with the water should help strengthen the structure as one whole.

Edited by Zebra
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jayc    1,401
jayc
15 hours ago, Zebra said:

Cheers mate, my rule of thumb for foam is on anything 2ft and above, this tank has been setup many times on all sorts of weird tables, but your right I should have some under there, mmmm I might scrounge around and see what I've got, would be a shame for something to happen to the tank for the sake of a few bucks.

No probs mate. Just looking out for ya.  That last pic above ... you can virtually see the gaps between the glass and the table. Better get some foam under there, just sayin.

 

15 hours ago, Zebra said:

I filled the gaps under and around the main lava rock from the back with smaller peices

I'll keep quiet and observe 😄

You know what you are doing. I'm interested to see what substrate you will go with.

Edited by jayc
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Zebra    137
Zebra

Going with Cal Aqua Labs Black earth for the soil at the back, then just white PFS for the front, would love some La planta sand or something if I could afford it lol but I think PFS is a good choice a short it's kind of off white and gives a more natural look to pure white sand, Plus for te price if it does get really dirty you can just vacuum it all out and replace it cheap and easy enough.

It's usually better to mix the clay with a small amount of water the day before when doing this, but I was trying to get large amounts of salt out and didn't mind if te clay didn't 100% dissolve as this will further help its longevity underwater, just like the layer of clay  or silt under natural river beds, and this way I'll never have to dose bentonite in this tank! Lol

 

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Rinsing it through in cold water trying to draw out as much salt as possible and wash off any fine sandy particals.

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I then strained out as much water as I could with my hands before mixing through some k2so4 and some dechlorinator (just dechlorinator- this one doesn't remove heavy metals or no4, I want to keep all the good trace elements in the clay so they can help slowly provide a constant supply to the water colomn.)

Potassium also helps neutralise salt.

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I waited an hour or so before rinsing one last time, Then added a decent amount of k2s04 and used the dechlorinator to bring it back to the right consistancy, I would have added some Gypsum (CaSo4) if I had it.

Then mixed together thoughoughly till it made a nice firm clay.

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I took the clay and started applying, working it into the more delicate parts of the layout first, With some of the more painful rocks at the back,  I picked them up and placed a dob of clay underneath before pressing them firmly into place which worked great. Most of the others I just covered as best I could, pushing the clay down deep as I could into the rocks, And other then the mess I made on the walls etc, you can't see any of the structural clay on the front.

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I over filled, Then wiped off most of the excess with my hands before giving it all a clean up with a wet sponge, once the walls were clean I went back over the clay with the damp sponge to better smooth and flatten it out, also a final chance to press it down further, And this worked out really well.

Edited by Zebra
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Zebra    137
Zebra

I covered up the plants and turned the house heater on the give the clay a chance fully expand, form up and set a little- without letting it dry.

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Now to add the substrate :)

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 I pushed the first few cups of AS firm into the clay, then Filled to about the halfway point, leaving enough room to add another layer after a nice sprinkling of mironekuton and proper cal bento.

 

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It's time to get planting-

A few more mosses on the wood.

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The front the rocks with my smallest buce varieties, then some of the sand to get an idea of height for planting etc.

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The main rock and more, only a couple left to go.

 

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Done- well all the gluing anyway, very sore back and way past my bedtime lol.

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So behind the centre of the wood Is going to be a red lotus and a C. Balansae, then I'm not sure about the back, Thinking finish it off with either Bolbitus, Green Amazon swords, or both just tangling through each other like a wild mess, Indecisive lol. 

Starting to look like one of my best scapes to date if you ask me. 

Edited by Zebra
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Zebra    137
Zebra

I Had to just cling wrap it up over night, I didn't want to start filling As since Jayc mentioned it I'm seeing huge gaps between the tank and table, I must not have noticed them when setting up this tank before- or the weight of the water just flexed the tank down against the table "shudders"  so today I need to cut some underfoam (which I hate doing and will probably try do with my sliding mitre saw as I always end up with jagged crappy cuts when I use large scissors or sheers, Haha- or put a thin guitar string in the oven till it's really hot, then use that to slide through the foam heaps straight like a cheese knife- I hate cutting foam lol)

 Lol I should have listened when you first said it before I'd finished the scape- eh it's only a small tank should be easy enough to still get te foam under.

Moral to the story? No matter how technical something gets never forget the basics. Lol

Then just gotta plant the last few background  plants, get the equipment in and running well, And make up some ferts for it :)

Edited by Zebra
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Zebra    137
Zebra

Just about done now, just a few more cups of white sand to spread around, I'm still thinking about planting some amazon swords between the bolbitus- or just cover the top of the AS with black lava rocks for the bolbitus to grow over, which should also help keep all the soil down.

The glass skimmer pipe was heaps overwhelming and probably not needed on a small tank like this so I went with a standard prefilter- this way can be a full shrimp breeding tank too haha.

I have C. Pygmeaus and C. Hasbrosus that I was trying to breed but they just came from the petshop and I'm sure they are past their fertile stages now and probably won't breed so one or both species may end up in here lol, also have some otos and different algae shrimp once it's all cycled through. 

Well here it is anyway:

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Edited by Zebra
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Zebra    137
Zebra

Just a quick description of the plants used in this setup by order of coloured circles lol:

Pink- B. Lamandau 

Blue- B. Mini Brownie Purple

Orange- B. Dark Suken

Red- B. Theia

Green- B. Mini something something lol.

Black- B. Gianmara

White- B. Lamandau Mini Red

Yellow- B. Forgoton lol

 

 

IMG_4020.JPG

Edited by Zebra
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jayc    1,401
jayc

That was quick!

The tank is flooded already.

This will be a nice Buce tank once everything starts growing.

 

1 hour ago, Zebra said:

IMG_4056.JPG

Good to see that foam there. And you used black ! Sooo much nicer. It's more ... stealth.

That chip in the glass at the corner looks a bit suss. 

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Zebra    137
Zebra

Cheers mate, Yeah I'm excited for the coming weeks of growth, still not sure whether to add a few swords at the back or not.

Yeah there's a few more around, most of the chips ere there when I got it, but it's never leaked, I probably should just bite the bullet and throw this tank out, but thought I'd give it one more run so it's just gonna live out it's last days here lol.

Its an old aquaone tank.

when it's buggered I'll replace it with a custom made square shallow tank made to fit this table (same width just deeper)

IMG_4054.JPG

Edited by Zebra

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Kingo    10
Kingo

Dude, what an awesome thread! It looks fantastic. 

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Zebra    137
Zebra

Cheers mate, Keen to see it evolve over the coming weeks :)

 

After seeing an Intense brand co2 diffuser called "Bazooka" for the first time in person running on a nice little high tech nano tank at Subscape Aquarium Melbourne, I absolutely fell In love with the unit, Beautiul shape and form, With actual pollen style Micro must emmited from the diffuser, but unfortunately as per usual the price had prevented me from getting one.

So I started sprawling through the internet and eBay looking for the same model cheaper, or just cheaper models from Asia, but after much research and many questions to sellers and suppliers, I wasn't satisfied with the look of the seal on any of the cheaper units, and when asking what the diffuser plate material was made out of (some models were different colours ranging from black to brown, some of the up Aqua ones I think were white,) they replied "Plastic" (Should be ceramic) but still none of the seals looked trustworthy enough for my liking so I just got the proper intense brand. 

Bought from USA, nano model Intense Bazooka Co2 Emitter, for around $20 on eBay. It arrived in the mail today.

Im in love.

This model may be a bit small for this tank (though it would still probably work more efficient than any other style larger diffuser anyway lol)  so I'll probably put it on my nano tank, And get a bigger Bazooka for this. The Ista diffuser I'm using works quite well and is more appropriately sized for this tank.

Will do a quick rundown of the Co2 Equipment I'm using on this setup this morning, after a pressure test over night it showed a loss of a few bars on the dial so I may have to pull it apart and re threadlock all the seals just to be safe- 

A leaking co2 system is a really bad thing and needs constant refilling, Does my head in soooo bad.

Great care should be taken to ensure all threads are sealed with either manufacturers recommended O rings, Or gas rated plumbers tape, but my personal favourite from my engineering days is the permanent thread locker (Red) You can still get these threads apart with tools if needed but the thread locker makes a very strong seal and can even be used to set a position or torque on a loose flange etc,

I usually use a thin layer of tape on the co2 cylinder outlet thread    Before putting on the regulator, Sometimes even if they havent specifically recommended it, Tape is usedul for any threads  that may need to be taken apart often. 

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Even the best make mistakes haha "Dervice"

Edited by Zebra
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Zebra    137
Zebra

I took apart the co2 system and found the problem, after fixing it I chose to go ahead with the bazooka diffuser in this tank.

Its kind of like pacific blue eyes fish or Chilli rasboras, pics really don't do justice to how small and cute they are, this diffuser is so tiny it makes the 6mm co2 line look bulky lol.

Can't see it as good in the still shot, but it's super fine pollen style, excellent efficiency. 

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IMG_4106.PNG

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Zebra    137
Zebra

Small water change, doses of ferts, gh booster And added mironekuton, more seachem stability and a tiny sprinkle of shrimp baby powder to get everything going nicely, No4 is under 2.5. The canister filter and wood was already fully cycled, And black earth doesn't release huge amounts of no4 etc on initial start up like Ada and others, it's a beautiful very clean aquasoil, my fav to use so far, so  with this one downtime was really low.

Slowly introduced 3 Red Nose after all that who seem to be loving the tank, that's all I'm putting in here for a few weeks as Im running low on stability and don't want to risk overloading it straight up.

The tank gets a few hours of direct sun in the afternoon which you just have to love :)

IMG_4109.JPG

Edited by Zebra

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jayc    1,401
jayc
4 hours ago, Zebra said:

 

IMG_4098.JPG

 

Please. 

Hide that hose and diffuser in the back. It's detracting from the scape. 😬

 

AND ... sorry I gotta say it. I've seen it too many times in other people's tanks.

What's up with the balls??! When you have a scape like this ... on the more "nature" style ... why display those balls like that? It ain't natural. That's just my rant. You can choose to ignore it of course. 👍

Edited by jayc
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Zebra    137
Zebra

Hide the diffuser? It's a genuine Bazooka, and it's mesmerising to watch haha. Nah I wear it up front with pride :) 

The pipes need to be where they are to work best, same with the diffuser, as much as I love nature I also set everything in a way to work most efficiently.

Lol fair point the balls annoy me too, but provide too many benefits to not have in, guess I'll take them out for photo ops, just need to know where they are for when they need replacement, if I put them in the back the plants will swallow them and I'll never find them again haha. Guess I could always put them in the canister filter. 

Lol I'm not finished yet dude, Still needs a few bits and pieces, I haven't even put the light on a timer yet.

Edited by Zebra

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jayc    1,401
jayc

Hahaha lol.

Staring at CO2 diffusers is the new thing.

Hide the balls in a corner then, don't display them in the middle of the scape.

Looking good otherwise.

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    • NoGi
      By NoGi
      Many aquatic keepers combine their passion for plants and shrimp in the one tank. One common question for newcomers is how to keep the shrimp safe in a planted tank that requires fertilizers. Why is this important? Well, how do you know what's safe, what's not, how it affects water parameters, what's not recommended, premixed liquid vs dry and the list goes on and on.
      One SKF Aquatics member, @Brentwillmers, found the following as a safe method for Taiwan Bee shrimp in his planted aquariums.
      Using only use R/O water with salty shrimp GH to a TDS of 80-90, the fertilizer dosing schedule is a mix of liquid and dry powders. This mix depends on availability and cost. Micro-Mix supplies a broad range of trace elements demonstrated to be necessary for proper plant health and growth.
      The following dosage of Micronutrients was found to be safe for his Taiwan Bee shrimp:
      Iron: 0.5ppm  Magnesium: 0.80ppm Zinc: 0.002ppm Manganese: 0.001ppm Boron: 0.002ppm Molybdenum: 0.003ppm Cobalt: 0.00002ppm For trace elements, Seachem Trace, Aquavitro envy or a dry powder using a product such as Plantex CSM+Boron can be used. Often people will choose to dose chelated iron separately from other trace elements, though most commercial trace mixes do include some level of chelated iron. For this reason, Aquavitro propel is preferred.
      However, with some micro-mixes be aware of the copper concentration as these can be fatal for your shrimp.
      Micro-nutrients can be used alone or in conjunction with a macro-nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Liquid Seachem Nitrogen can be used or a dry powder form via adding the compound Potassium Nitrate (KNO3). Try to keep the levels at around 10ppm in low, medium and high light aquariums. Do not exceed 20ppm!! If you do stop dosing and do a water change and test again. 
      Liquid Seachem Phosphorus or a powder form as Monopotassium Phosphate or KH2PO4 can be used in the aquarium but keep the levels low. It's best used in low, medium and high light aquariums and kept at around 0.5ppm. Always keep these levels low as possible it can be harmful to shrimp.
      Seachem Potassium or powdered potassium sulfate, or K2SO4 can be used. Keep the dose to around 10ppm in low to medium light aquarium and 20ppm with high light aquariums. Do not exceed 20ppm as it can be harmful to more sensitive shrimp.
      Dosing macro's 3 times per week and micro's 3 times a week alternating between days generally works well. You can find the perfect balance by dosing in the mornings and performing water test before lights out. On day 7 it’s important to do a water change, 50% weekly is recommended to reset water parameters. 
      Unfortunately, a 50% water change will cause TDS levels to fall quickly. One method to minimize the rate in reduction is to perform 2 lots of 30% water changes (morning and afternoon) instead of a single 50%. The PH of the new water should be as close to your aquarium PH as possible. TDS will increase again after each dose of fertilizers so keep this in mind when adding remineralization to R/O water. 
      Some methods of dosing are:
      Estimative Index (EI) Dosing Target Dosing PPS Pro Dosing EI method:
      EI dosing involves dosing each individual macro and a trace mix up to a high level throughout a week and at the end of the week, a 50% water change is performed, cutting the remaining nutrients in half, and the tank is dosed again. This is a simple way to insure you never bottom out on any nutrients. However, not a great idea for shrimp.
      Target Dosing (preferred method):
      Target dosing involves performing water tests on nitrate, potassium, phosphate and iron levels, dosing as per the target levels for your tank.
      PPS Pro Dosing:
      PPS Pro dosing involves dosing the tank with the amount of each nutrient needed during a 24-hour cycle. It requires daily dosing, but is great for keeping the tank from having excess nutrients which can cause algae issues. It does involve some math and some pretty small measurements, but is a very effective way to dose. 
      Whatever the dosing method, one key point to remember is that everything is dependent on CO2, lighting and plants. Hope you enjoyed this article and happy shrimping. 
       
      References and Content/Image Credit
      SKF Aquatics member - @Brentwillmers
       
    • Dimos
      By Dimos
      Hi everyone,
      I installed a Co2 system in my shrimp tank (you can see it on the left, although not activate at that time). Plants really grow more after I installed. However, I heard that you shouldn't leave the Co2 running when there is no light, because there is no photosynthesis happening and something toxic from the Co2 might kill the shrimp. So, I heard that you can either turn it off every night (pain, because I have to take out the tubes and turn the bottles around so that Co2 is not passing through), or add an air stone which provides oxygen and is safe when you have Co2 in the dark.
      Do you agree with that? Is it safe to leave Co2 open (though very small amount) overnight, when you have an air stone?
      Thanks,
      Dimos

    • Dimos
      By Dimos
      Hi guys,
      I got some plants for my shrimp aquarium and I noticed some tiny snails on them. I didn't pay attention but now I see they grew a lot and they are quite many. Do you think they could be a threat for the shrimp? Attached see a picture of two of them (Not sure what they are doing, the one of them is too small to mate I guess. But if they do I'm gonna have even more snails).
      Thanks,
      Dimos

    • newbreed
      By newbreed
      Our manufacturer of Mesh Moss Ledges has recently discontinued the line, so in place we are pleased to announce the arrival of their new 3D Printed Moss Ledge Range.
      Made from aquarium safe resins, your shrimp will love these as much as the originals.
      Same dimensions at 5cm x 5cm Square or 5cm diameter Round.
      They retail at $4 each. 
      Introductory offer for the next week is buy 7 get one free.
      Or....
      8 for $28.

      They have been designed for easy removal for trimming and maintenance, just twist plate and it detaches from suction cap.


      Express Post is $7.50
      http://newbreedaquatics.com.au/planted-tanks/aquascaping-tools
      Dont forget your Skf coupon code to receive a further 10% discount. 😊
       
      I know what I will be doing this week, as I have sooo much flame moss!! Enjoy!!

      View full article


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    • pmasa
      Thanks for all the tips @Baccus, the route that i am currently taking is to get a at least on blue adult then separate it with a male/female and go from there. At this stage i am still waiting for them to grow to adult and to make sure that they hold their colour through to adulthood. @revolutionhope i have a feeling that black shrimp start as blue and the colour gets deeper as they get older until the point that it almost looks black. I found when i first opened the parcel with the shrimp that the stressed state caused more of the underlying blue to come out, before darkening again. I currently have 4 tanks at my disposal for shrimp, however i would like to get into the caridinas and devote a tank to them... As an aside i have found that the 3 females (+1 reddish male) in my 60L community tank are significantly larger than those in their own tanks, i am wondering if the slightly warmer temperature and significantly more abundant food is playing a role in the size.
    • EBC
      It was Fluval Shrimp Stratum which I have learned tends to have a relatively short life span compared to other soils. Will probably just replace it all in about 6 months when I move again. Any recommendations for one that will last the longest? And one that I can actually buy in Australia? But yes, I imagine that she was just weak from the pH swings from before. The three remaining males all seem perfectly healthy for now at least. I'll give it some time to make sure there are no more deaths and then maybe find a nice female to add. I have seen varying opinions on this, but how often would you suggest doing water changes (standard, not emergency) on a small tank like mine (28L)? I was doing them pretty infrequently before (~monthly; 20%) as I was using tap water so I wanted to avoid too many. Now that I will have an RO system would ~10% weekly be better? Or something else? Thanks again.
    • KillieOrCory
      Nice. Look forward to seeing the progress. I am too impatient to start from scratch but the challenge seems worthwhile to attempt.
    • revolutionhope
      When you added soil can I ask what soil it was ? Did you pre-cycle it? Also it's worth noting that if that shrimp had been through some stress while exposed to high pH they will have weakened immune systems and so other little issues can tip them over the edge.   More than once I've discovered problems and corrected them as carefully as I could only to still watch the occasional shrimp die over the following days and weeks still despite conditions being ideal I believe.   will     PS Just as an aside - ¥others will have different opinions and prefer to do multiple smaller waterchanges but my modus operandi when I feel that a tank is "stuffed" is to do one or two huuuuuuge waterchanges - carefully allowing the new water to drip in slowly over 24-48 hours and then leave it be. The three times now that I've done this to get myself out of a bad spot I have found that although some already weak shrimp may continue to pass away over the following days even up to 2 or 3 weeks later but the healthier ones bounce back quickly and are breeding already within a few weeks.
    • EBC
      No real updates unfortunately. All water parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, KH, GH, pH) were perfect on the day she died. All I can think is that the lack of buffering capacity left in the soil resulted in pH swings that killed her.  I added more soil and the water is back to being buffered at pH 6.4. I have switched to only using RO water now (bought 20L for now but have an RO unit on the way). Hopefully the substrate will buffer a bit longer now and this won't happen again. Just a shame as there are only 3 adult male CRS left in the tank plus the shrimplets from the female that just died. Could be a while before the numbers get back up on their own so I may need to replenish them (also a bit of genetic diversity would be good). How do people usually handle switching out substrate? Especially with baby shrimps around, that sounds like a real hassle and you are bound to lose some. Is there some special technique? Thanks!
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