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I have just set up, 3 days ago, a 5.5 gallon tank with CaribSea Flora Max substrate, najas/guppy grass, subwassertang, java moss, and a 12 inch Finnex Stingray LED light for yet to be purchased neocaridina shrimp. I have ordered some mini pellia to also add to the tank. I am soaking in separate containers some red lava rock for attaching the java moss, and mopani wood which is still leaching a lot of tannin after about a month of soaking and changing water out every few days. I have an extra sponge filter that has been in another established tank for about 4 weeks, and which I will transfer to the 5.5 gallon tank. When should I move the sponge filter over to the 5.5 gallon tank? I understand that the good bacteria will need a nitrogen source once I move the sponge filter over. What will be the best way to provide the nitrogen source? I have a master test kit and understand that I will need to test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to determine when the tank is cycled. And how long should the tank be set up to establish sufficient biofilm for the shrimp to feed on before adding them? I'm trying to determine the next steps for best success with the neocaridina shrimp, which will be new for me. I live in central Florida and maintain winter house temps to at least 68 degrees F, so I don't think I'll need a tank heater. Let me know what you think my next steps should be. I'm holding off on ordering shrimp until the tank is ready. Thank you.
 

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I would move the filter to the 5.5g and add the Fluval Bacteria in a bottle to get it going quickly. I'm not sure, but the bottled bacteria is fast acting, and along with your already seeded filter material, I would think it would days instead of weeks before you could add shrimp. It may be that your filter material already has enough bacteria going without adding any more. There are some good youtube videos online talking about the bottled stuff that may answer your concerns. I've never had a shrimp only tank, but will probably get one going soon. They look like a lot of fun. :wave:
 

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Thanks, NinjaPilot. I'll check on the "bacteria in a bottle."
Remember that the bacteria on the filter material needs to be 'fed' to keep it going. In a tank with low bioload, like shrimp, I'm not sure how well the bacteria remain active without dying due to lack of ammonias. So by adding more bacteria than the tank can support, over time it will die off, and possibly cause fouling of the tank. I'm not sure if that is accurate information, but I think it may be the case. I've heard of people feeding fish food to the tank even without fish to keep the bacteria from dying. I don't use filters on my 5g Betta tanks, and just do weekly 80%-90% water changes. So no cycling necessary, and I add fauna immediately after filling. I'm not sure if this method is good for a shrimp tanks. When I start mine, I will not be using a filter.
 
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