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TAP WATER-Taiwan Bee-UK-(zerowater)

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Anyone with very large, or many tanks will probably not be interested in this, aside from curiosity maybe, as I doubt this is cheaper than buying RO water. I am writing this purely in case it may help someone else who wants an easy alternative to RO water.

I am housebound (have MS) and as such needed to find an easy alternative to RO water if I were to keep Taiwan bee shrimp successfully. I have red cherry shrimp in my 30L FISH tank (neon tetras, ember tetras, endler guppies) and they do well with virtually nil care (or attention since I mastered the TBs) other than dechlorinated tap water (which is needed for the fish anyway) so I won't go any further on that subject.

About 3-4 years ago I set up a 15L shrimp tank and tried BRITA filtered tap water, but had no real success with that and so 2 years ago closed the tank down and stored it away assuming then that that would be it, no Taiwan Bee shrimp ever....... but after 2 years of no success, at that point it was a bit of a relief anyway to just be done and out of the way. You will see from the Tap water readings below that in theory the Parameters were pretty good but from my experiences I think you need to go back to NIL (so either RO or the zerowater) and remineralise as I guess that way you know what the tests are picking up is only what the shrimp need - this is only my belief I don't really know, but ie the tap water TDS (Ph, Gh, Kh etc) was ok but what was in the Tap water to make the TDS reading what it was, if that makes sense? I have read on many sites of people trying tap water , as I did, with good parameters but it not working so that is my theory anyway! And of course domestic water supply parameters can change and if there has been any repairs in the system that will change it etc so from my experience only way to go is take it back to NIL and remineralise.......

A year ago (about a year after closing down the old shrimp tank) I came across a water filter jug from zerowater (, an american product which I believe is available in Australia on Amazon, but may also be in shops out there for all I know). I thought, why not give that ago.... so I set up the old tank Oct 2017 (15L with the back part partitioned of for filter etc so probably 12L of useable aquarium) put some soil in and a few bits of Java fern and moss from the fish tank and ran it with the zerowater for a couple of months. I didn't ever get any Ammonia, Nitrite, or Nitrate reading but did see a bacteria bloom for a few days. I treated the zerowater as you would RO water, so added shrimp king mineral fluid gh+. There is a lot of info on the website about what it removes etc.

Tap water PH7, Gh 5-6, Kh 3-4, TDS 174

Zerowater Ph6, Gh 0-1, kh 0-1, TDS 000

I added 6 blue bolts about 6-8 weeks later, then some red ruby  and red wine a few weeks later and 3 blue steel in March 2018. All went quite well, though there were a few deaths but that may have been me as I am NO expert, I do drip acclimatise though. April 2018 Eggs started appearing (difficult to see on TB) and by the end of that month shrimplets, woohoo!

Time for the new tank, dennerle 35L scapers which I got in May 2018 which I ran for a month with the zerowater, 2 cheap sponge only filters, heater, light, rock, wood, java fern, soil etc, and one sacrificial fish (don't worry he went in the fish tank afterwards as he survived). Then I transferred shrimps a dozen every other day(ish) etc. At this point I was obviously shutting down the small tank and although I had only bought a dozen shrimps originally, when I started removing stuff it turned out I had about 90 baby/juvenile shrimp in the tank, most were probably only days old (probably wasn't wise to transfer them at that stage really but I had too many anyway and wanted to get the old tank out of the way, as it was on the dining table). I THINK WE CAN SAFELY SAY THAT I HAVE CRACKED IT NOW, WITH THE HELP OF THE ZEROWATER FILTER JUG. So closed down the 15L end of June 2018. Daily now I see about 50 shrimps of half to full size in the new setup but haven't yet had any success with babies (though most of the shrimps may not yet be mature enough as I believe they need to be 6 months+), and with the hot spell (unusual for here when tank got to 30 degrees) and with me fine tuning the parameters, done now thankfully PH5.5-6, Gh 4.5, Kh 0-1, TDS 160 (something incidently I probably wouldn't have had to do if I had added the Gh+ from day 1 with the new tank). I will say that I NEVER had any Ammonia, Nitrate or Nitrite readings in the new tank either, but as with the small starter tank there were a couple of days of bacteria bloom. I expect babies will happen now I have stopped messing with the parameters, but there is always option B, set up the old small tank and use as a breeding tank, or C, buy more shrimps???? With the shock of how many babies there were hiding in the small tank, there could well be loads of babies in the new tank that are hiding anyway. I will give that a rethink if there haven't been any babies by xmas, though I have enough anyway at present. The only other things that may now affect babies (ie different than the smaller tank) is, the jets from the filters are a bit strong and circulate the water in the tank more, and I have rock (actually Geodes) in the tank???

I change 2L of water each week, mainly so I can squeeze the 2 sponges from the 2 filters and just clean the glass etc. I also use Fulvic acid, beta glucan and am just starting on bacter ae (hoping that may help babies). As with RO water, top up is pure zerowater and water change is zerowater with GH+ added.

Each zerowater filter does about 100L of my water (about 6-8 months worth) but there is info on the website above that shows how many it will do on different TDS basic water etc. The filters aren't cheap at £20 each (I have bought 4 for £50 so much more reasonable, and they don't have a shelf life anyway. They are of course available readily in USA in places like Walmart as it is an American product. If anyone knows where you can get them in other countries it may be a good idea to add it to this string/topic etc to help others, as mentioned before I THINK you can get them on for Australia.

If anyone wants to ask any questions I will do my best to answer, but I am NO EXPERT by any measure.



DSC00024 - Edited.jpg

DSC00061 - Edited.jpg

DSC00075 - Edited.jpg

Update 27 Sep 2018

I am daily seeing babies, in small numbers (all colour varieties), but from the top picture you can see there are a vast number of hiding places anyway, so there must be others. I have also seen a couple of shrimps heavy with eggs, grey, so they must be near birth...............

I will keep this updated if there is anything worth reporting, or there seems to be any problems with using the zerowater filter jug as a substitute for RO water but so far (1 year now) all has been very successful.

Update 7 Oct 2018

Probably be the last update - unless all goes wrong etc

I am seeing lots of babies of varying sizes and patterns now (20 today), so much so that I am going to have to start culling to make room for just the ones I really want to keep, and enough room/food etc for babies! I will try taking one big one out each week when I do maintenance and see how that goes!

Any questions just ask!

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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Interesting.  Not cheap in the long run, but better than nothing.

Glad it works for you, and thanks for letting the community know about it.


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On 9/17/2018 at 10:28 PM, jayc said:

Interesting.  Not cheap in the long run, but better than nothing.

Glad it works for you, and thanks for letting the community know about it.


I do have one question regarding the water. As you see from the article, water starts at PH7 (tap) but after filtering goes down to PH6, so does that mean it will stay at around PH6 even once the soil has 'stopped' its buffering ability, as the water is PH6 when changed or topped up etc?

Not something that should be a problem any time soon (only 6 months old) but I have been wondering for a while what the long term will be. I have a spare bag of substrate if I ever need it but it would probably mean me getting friends in to do, as it is more work than I can do to empty it, transfer shrimps to another temporary tank etc etc.

The tank that the cherry shrimps are in hasn't had the soil ever changed and was set up about 5 years ago but they are so much easier and hardier.


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19 hours ago, sdlTBfan said:

so does that mean it will stay at around PH6 even once the soil has 'stopped' its buffering ability, as the water is PH6 when changed or topped up etc?

The filtered water is pH6 because the carbonates and salts that might have increased it's pH has been stripped out by the filter.

Plant substrates as you know also buffers the pH lower. It means that the substrate wont need to work so hard to keep the pH low. And the substrate will last longer. 

However, the water's pH doesn't necessarily stay at that level. Any addition of carbonates, from other sources like rocks, can alter the pH to increase.

If the substrate's buffering capabilities are exhausted, you will see pH change rapidly.

And since the water is filtered of all it's buffering capabilities, the pH can go either up or down more easily. 

Up if carbonates are added.

pH can go down naturally as well, the natural cycle of converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrates will bind hydrogen, and thus pH drops.

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Thanks for the DETAILED reply.

I guess (as I suspected) it is really a case of I will have to wait and see as this is a NEW way of doing it all, but it is early enough that I don't need to worry at this stage or start rallying people to 'reset' the tank with new substrate etc. Hopefully you are right and the soil will last longer as it isn't working very hard to buffer the water. The Cherry shrimp tank hasn't had a change in 5 years (not zerowater though) and all is well and the plants/moss still grow like Weed.........literally. I'm not sure whether the rocks (Geodes) will have any detrimental longer term affect?

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17 minutes ago, sdlTBfan said:

I'm not sure whether the rocks (Geodes) will have any detrimental longer term affect?

Don't know.

Not many people use Geodes in aquariums. 

You can try testing them for reaction to a mild acid like vinegar.

If any part of it fizzles then remove the stone.

21 minutes ago, sdlTBfan said:

a case of I will have to wait and see as this is a NEW way of doing it all, but it is early enough that I don't need to worry at this stage

Yep. Keep doing your fortnightly pH tests.

The GH+ remineralising mix is helping keep pH stable as well to an extent. So keep using that.


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This looks great! I don't want to get an RO filter as I'm rubbish at DIY and it costs €400 + to get one installed + €100 per year for services. I might give this a go

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I am still 100% happy with using this Zerowater Jug and definitely can recommend it without reserve. I am assuming you are europe based (euro sign) so you may find it in a shop or otherwise ebay/amazon have people selling them. You may be able to get them from the UK website mentioned as well. Worth getting a few filters as they have no 'use by' date and you won't know how long each lasts with your water until you use it (will also depend on the size tank etc), and they are cheaper if you buy in a batch!

The TDS will suddenly start to increase when the filter is near needing changing and then will quite quickly rise drastically, so you do need to keep testing with the TDS meter which comes with it (or another one if you already have one). With my water each filter does approx. 100 Litres and I change it at 003 TDS. There are various sizes of Jug in USA but may be limited elsewhere?

I am so pleased to hear this helps someone else, I didn't think I could be the only person facing this dilemma and that was why I wrote about it, so thanks for letting me/others know!

Basically just use the filtered water as you would RO water, that's how I use it, and been using it for about a  year now with no signs of a single problem of any type.

I just use tap water for cherry shrimps though, as they are much more adaptable to our tap water parameters anyway!


Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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I have been using the camera and thought I would post some update pictures as the original item was done about 3 months ago. I have tried to take similar photos to the originals so that a comparison can be made and everything is working well still with the zerowater jug tap water (as alternative to RO water), in fact too well as you can see from the photos (sorry about the flash in the first one).


All the water parameters have stayed steady (and good) through out and the only thing I have had to start doing is cleaning the filter sponges  twice a week due to explosion in the number of shrimps, and culling a few each week for same reason, but may need to increase that!!!!


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