| | Re: plants & crystal red shrimps CARE?? (co2, flourish, dried/freeze food, etc...)
The reason you get different answers is there are few hard and fast rules. Every tank is different. Water supplies are different. Each bag of soil is different. Bio loads are different. Low tech tanks need to find their own balance, and this can take a bit of trial and error.
Your plants will tell you what they need. If they grow fine for a while, then start developing small round holes in the newer leaves, they probably need more potassium, for example. There are many ways to provide that extra potassium. You might add a fertilizer or feed your shrimp and/or fish heavier. Generally speaking, the nutrients your plants need will be provided by the soil and by the food you feed your critters, whether it is eaten by them or not. In a bare bottom tank, or one with just gravel, it is easy to overfeed shrimp and foul the tank. But a planted dirt tank needs food for the plants. Here again, balance is important. Too much food, and you will either foul the water or be overrun with snails and algae. Too little and your plants will suffer. I like to feed a variety of things to my shrimp tanks, most of which also contain at least a few fish. Flake and algae wafers are both good, just not too much or too often. I don't feed any of my tanks (except fry) every day. My shrimp seem to love a tiny bit of fruit now and then, a smidge of banana or strawberry, for example.
Consider your light as well. Plants grow faster with more light, requiring more nutrients and possibly CO2. At a lower light level, plants will grow more slowly, requiring fewer amounts of nutrients as well as less pruning. Again, finding a working balance for your tank is necessary, and requires some trial and error. So keep an eye on your tank, and let us know if problems develop. Then we can help you make small adjustments to bring it into balance.