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ohaple

Ohaple's Beginner Shrimp Tanks

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ohaple

Hello,

I have recently started working towards keeping shrimp. We keep other terrestrial invertebrates (isopods, mantises, and cockroaches) and thought that shrimp would pose an interesting new challenge.

With our mantises, we have focused on bioactive vivariums that include a cleanup crew, microfauna, and plants. That isn't the norm for mantises, but it is almost a necessity in the shrimp-keeping hobby from what I have seen. We intend to take the same approach, including heavily planted tanks, shrimp, snails, and possibly some mosquito rasboras if we are able to establish our shrimp well.

I have some experience with aquariums through helping my dad, who has had several freshwater and saltwater aquariums. That said, shrimp are completely new to us.

My goal is to establish two shrimp tanks, a 7 gallon and a 1 gallon. I understand that smaller is harder.

7-Gallon Tank

  1. Started with the Imagitarium 6.8g rimless tank from Petco.
  2. Modified the filter system to include more biomedia and a more powerful water pump.
  3. Using Eco-Complete for substrate since it is widely recommended for planted tanks and shrimp look better on dark substrate from what I read.
  4. Using Mopani wood as our primary hardscape. We soaked it for several days prior to adding to the tank, but it continues to leech some tannins.
  5. We are trying to stay fairly focused on plants, especially in the beginning. No CO2, but we are dosing ferts and Excel. Our plants include:
    1. Bacopa as a background plant.
    2. S. repens as a mid-ground sort of plant. I plan on letting it create bushes more than creating a carpet.
    3. Micro-sword for a foreground carpeting plant.
    4. Anubias nana for mid-ground/background.
    5. I would like to add a little dwarf water lettuce but haven't yet found a source.
    6. Our plants are notably lacking moss, which I read is preferred for shrimp. We may end up adding a little java moss but I am hoping the micro-sword will give them enough surface area to be happy.
  6. Once cycled, we will be adding shrimp. We are likely going to get blue velvets, starting with 10-15. Once the shrimp are added, the fish will be moving out.

To start out, we are working on cycling the tank. We used some stuff from an established aquarium and added Safestart+ to kickstart the bacteria. Keeping the tank at about 78F with a few Zebra Danios and two mystery snails to keep ammonia going while the bacteria gets established. We are dosing Prime and doing daily water changes to keep the temporary inhabitants happy. It was started about a week and a half ago, and while we aren't seeing ammonia dissipate like we want, it is steadily working. We don't plan to add shrimp until we have 0 Ammonia and 0 Nitrite.

Here are some photos of the process and where we are now:

First setup, keeping plants in as we get the hardscape ready

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After setting up wood and the rest of the plants

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1-Gallon Tank

  1. Started with a one gallon vivarium style container from Michael's
  2. Originally planned on it being a no-tech tank, but decided I would be happier with some water movement and filtration. I designed a custom water pump sponge filter.
  3. Used Eco-Complete for Substrate
  4. Using Malasian driftwood for hardscape.
  5. Sticking to fewer plants for this build to stay more organized.
    1. Monte carlo planted in substrate for carpet, and a monte carlo mat to cover up the filter.
    2. A little bush of s. repens.
    3. A small bit of anubias nana.
    4. Would like to add a floating plant, but havent been able to source any.
  6. Once cycled, I will be adding shrimp. Planning on 5 RCS or orange rili to start.

Cycling this tank has been much harder so far. We added some Safestart+, but have not seen any real progress yet. I am keeping two small nerite snails in here to create the ammonia, feeding them since algae hasn't established. This tank will be much more of a custom project for us. I designed and built a 1"x2"x3" large water pump sponge filter to help the water stay a little more clear and give the bacteria some flow to process the ammonia. For the lid, we are also going completely custom, designing an acrylic and wood lid with built in lighting and containment for floating plants. We have a laser cutter and CNC so it is fun to have the lid be a separate design project. My goal with the lights is to have too much light available, and the ability to dim. That way we can grow the plants but turn down to reduce algae problems as needed. This tank will eventually go on my desk at work. Since it is a pretty professional environment, it is important that this tank isn't noisy or technical looking, and is attractive for client meetings in my office. There is a rather small available footprint which is why we went with the 1-gallon, even though it will be more challenging. So far, it looks like we are getting a little nitrite, but its slow going. Doing daily water changes and dosing Prime so we don't kill off the snails.

Here is the custom filter. The sponge media goes in the acrylic cage, and water is pushed out the grated hole. It fits neatly behind the driftwood and is not visible except from directly in the back. The top is covered in a monte carlo mat to hide it better.

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Here it is set-up and slowly cycling. We are temporarily using a CFL hood for the light to keep the plants going well. It also raises the water temperature to about 75F, not very high for establishing bacteria.

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I already received some good advice from @jayc regarding how the temperature needed for Zebra Danios is lower than the recommended temperature to get bacteria growing quickly. I am hopeful that with some patience and careful monitoring, the danios will stay healthy and the bacteria will get going. I have read many articles about fish/fishless cycling and do not plan to change to fishless for this build.

Any comments or advice appreciated. We are taking it slow, but are getting excited for cycling to complete so we can start adding shrimp.

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