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What am I doing wrong?

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Hey peeps,

So I'm a newbie shrimp owner (literally like a week ago) and just looking for some information on things I'm doing wrong or not doing at all that I should be. 

I have a 30L tank that has been running for the last 2 years with on and off fish in it. The substrate in the tank is Fluval Stratum on the bottom with a fine gravel on top(I could never get the plants to say down with just the stratum as it was too light). There are 3 different tissue culture plants around the tank, that I am trying to get to spread, as well as some java moss. 

I have started with 3 RCS that I did ask for at least one of each sex but the more I have watched them the more I'm starting to feel like I have 3 females. 

Water parameters;

Am - 0
PH - 7
GH - 4
KH - 0
This is all I can test for right now. 

Okay so my problems;
My plants aren't growing. I have had the plants in the tank for the last 2 years and they have just never seemed to grow at all. The algae on the other hand spreads so fast that I can see a notable difference just from the morning to noon. It's a really annoying stringy algae too. I am half dosing a plant food that I have twice a week(it recommends once) as the guy at my local aquarium said I could do that to hopefully boost the plants up enough to take from the algae. I'm also removing the algae strands when they're big enough for me to grab with my long tweezers. 

Second problem is my water hardness. When I first added the shrimp to the tank the GH and KH were both 0 so I have slowly been adding salts to up the GH over the last week. I know the stratum can lower the water hardness but I'm not sure if it reaches a point where it stops. So question is, am I going to be constantly battling against this? 
I also have KH powder that I haven't added any of yet because I had problems in the past with it adding an out of control amount of Phosphates. Are phosphates really bad for shrimp or can they handle an amount? 

Soo... I'm going to end it here before I reach novelist level.

Let me know if you need anymore information.

Thanks in advance 😃

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16 hours ago, Onyxiss said:

My plants aren't growing.

What plants do you have? You only mentioned Java moss. 

What lights are you using? It might not be enough for the plants you have in the tank.



16 hours ago, Onyxiss said:

Second problem is my water hardness.

Is this tap water?

And what are you using to raise GH?


16 hours ago, Onyxiss said:

So question is, am I going to be constantly battling against this? 

It a constant adjustment that is required as part of your weekly water change.

GH being mainly made up of Calcium and Magnesium, fluctuates due to evaporation of water, or it's used up by Shrimps for their carapace, or the plants use some up. 

So this is where a weekly discipline of water changes is required.

Measure the tank's GH. Adjust your new water to the suitable level to bring GH up or down to the ideal levels for your type of shrimp, in this case Cherries - so GH6-8.

Especially if your new water has low GH/KH as found in RO or rain water or even Melbourne tap water. <-- these types of water need added "salts" ie Calcium Sulfate & Magnesium Sulfate.

If you invest in a TDS meter, this job of measurements can be made a lot easier. Rather than measuring GH/KH each time. You use the TDS meter to measure TDS to determine when a water change is required.


16 hours ago, Onyxiss said:

I also have KH powder that I haven't added any of yet

Don't add it. 


16 hours ago, Onyxiss said:

Are phosphates really bad for shrimp or can they handle an amount? 

Shrimps cannot handle too much phosphates, but phosphate is also one of the know causes for algae growth.

If you are experiencing algae growth, particularly hair algae, check your Nitrates too.

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