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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey APC, I need some advice. I am planning to bring an aquarium up to school and put it in my room. I want to set up a low tech but nice looking shrimp tank. By this I have a few things in mind but need help with advice:
- Low Growing substrate. Probably marsilia as i have some in a tank at home
- Black substrate
- Some moss, unsure what to do but I currently have java until i can get my hands on flame or something else.
- Possible small anubis or something?

So as far as the tank goes.
1)I have a 10g tank at my house with a HOB filter. 2 Compact Flourscent (sp) spiral bulbs that dont seem to be doing as well at growing as I'd hope
2)I have the chance to buy a Eclipse 12 for 25 dollars. But i dont know if it's what i think it is. Is there only one model or is there more then one? The back sticker says "Marineland Aquarium Products Eclipse PFES 12" but the problem is the light is 13 watts. So about 1WPG. Which i dont think will help my marsilia thrive like i want. Is there any light replacement?

- Black substrate... Suggestions? I've only used intert so far and i dont want something that will be a problem for my shrimp. But i want black for sure.

Any help would be great as i'm going home friday to either pick up my 10G or get the 12G eclipse...
 

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Check out 3M ColourQuartz. They have two sizes, and IMO the blackest black substrate on the market. I have thier "T" grade black in my cherry tank - it looks phenomenal and really brings out the red of the Cherrys.
 

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If you want a substrate that is pretty strong black (perhaps not quite as much as colorquartz or Tahitian Moon Sand) but also much better for growing plants, consider Flourite Black or Flourite Black Sand. Any root-feeders will do better in that than in a non-planted tank substrate like the CQ or TMS. One bag of flourite ($25-30) would be enough for a 10 gallon as long as you don't want to do any kind of huge "hills" or anything like that. Not sure of the "footprint" size of the eclipse so I can't say how much you would need for that, but I suspect it would be the same.

I'd suggest sticking with the 10 gallon. Get a sponge filter for it (by far the best filter for a shrimp tank, not only will it be safe with the tiniest of shrimplets but it will provide lots of good grazing ground for your shrimp to eat off it). If you choose to go with a hang-on-back filter, you basically need to cover the intake with a sponge or else shrimplets will get sucked in and die.

I'm not sure what the problem is with your current spiral CF bulbs. What wattage, and what color spectrum? Perhaps you have "soft white" or "indoor" bulbs--which don't output much light in the spectrum that plants need to grow. I currently have two 10 gallon tanks (one a shrimp tank) with Flourite Black Sand. Each has two GE 15W spiral CF daylight bulbs (6500K) that I picked up at Wal-Mart for a few bucks each and plants grow great. I can grow any low-light plant and quite a few medium-light plants. I currently have corkscrew val (growing like a weed), green hygro, java moss, peacock moss, dwarf saggitaria, clover (Marsilea sp.), java fern, needle leaf java fern, needle-leaf ludwigia (Ludwigia arcuata), and Rotala rotundifolia and all are growing. The ludwigia and rotala are growing green rather than red, but I expected that since both are medium-to-high light plants. The dwarf sag is sending out runners and spreading, and the marsilea is growing new leaves. I also have some flame moss and some fissidens but the color isn't good and they are growing so slowly I'm not convinced I want to keep them in there.

I tried a couple species of blyxa (B. aubertii and B. japonica) but they withered--not sure if that's because they didn't get enough light or because they prefer soft, acidic water while I have moderately hard, alkaline water.

Anyway, when it comes to lights, you need to be sure you get something in the 5500K or higher spectrum rating, which sometimes takes a little digging around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
JP - Thank you for your response, i've found it helpful. I understand what your saying as far as nutrients and root feeders. That's also a concern, i understand with a shrimp tank you cannot have a large bio mass, but some is necessary for the young to thrive. I'm thinking of ground cover only right now, because i'm the most unskilled aquascaper ever i'll try to keep things pretty simple. But i have a 55g planted that i have my choice of some plants from, mostly i'll get hopefully 50-100 nodes of marsilia quadrafolia as well as minuta.

As far as the light goes, i'm unsure the one i got, i dont think i purchased the GE one though for some reason. Seeing how i dont think i'll get the eclipse anymore I'll reinvest in some good quality GE bulbs. Maybe even a light from catfish lighting or ebay. I want to have good looking plants and such so a new fixture may be needed. I just cant decide how high light i want to go because i already have a medium/high light tank that's a hassle and it's 300 miles away.

I'm attempting to find a good place to purchase a reasonable fixture. So far mostly all i can find is a 2x 24 watt T5 fixture. But i'd also like somthing that has moonlighting as well. 24" lights are ok if the legs can be adjusted. any ideas?
 

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(snip)...
I'm attempting to find a good place to purchase a reasonable fixture. So far mostly all i can find is a 2x 24 watt T5 fixture. But i'd also like somthing that has moonlighting as well. 24" lights are ok if the legs can be adjusted. any ideas?
You're outside of my realm of experience there. My current setup with the 2x15W over a 10 gal tank is the highest light I have ever done myself. Hopefully someone else can chip in here with some ideas.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide, when you do make the decision. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will any sponge filter work like these shown here on dfs http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/pet_supplies.cfm?c=3578+3579&

Also, if i have seasoned water, and i want to transport it from RI to VT how long will it be ok for? It's a 5 hour car ride but i'd like to start with a leg up if possible. And if not how long would the filter pad make it in a bag of water or something??
 

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Will any sponge filter work like these shown here on dfs http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/pet_supplies.cfm?c=3578+3579&

Also, if i have seasoned water, and i want to transport it from RI to VT how long will it be ok for? It's a 5 hour car ride but i'd like to start with a leg up if possible. And if not how long would the filter pad make it in a bag of water or something??
I didn't see the type of sponge filter I'm using (lustar) on the F&S link, but most of them are pretty similar so I would think they are OK.

I'm not sure exactly how long the bacteria in the filter would survive, but a little extra insurance for keeping them alive during the trip would be to pick up a battery powered pump and run an airstone during the move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone. So i made the move and did the setup last night. Unfortunatly i'm impatient and wanted my aquarium and i used soil with soil master select as a cap. Another NPT for me.

I have teh following plants:
Java Moss
Salvinia minima (entire top)
Ludwigia repens
Bacopa monnieri
Marsilia minuta - almost the entire foot print. I cut up my runners into 1 or 2 node segements and planted them.
Narrow leaf java fern
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
- Unknown stem
- "octapus Plant"

I brought up a 5 gallon jug of seasoned water, and used 5 gallons of water from here (Burlington VT). The water seems to look a little cloudy, which i'm thinking may be from the gravel as i hadnt soaked it prior to inserting it. But levels are very low. I'm planning to pic up an otto or two, and shrimp in the future.

Attached is a picture, i'll try for a better more close up shot, it looks better.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just got home from the LFS and the water test results are in:
PH - 7.0 - 7.2
Ammonia - .25 - .50
Nitrate - 0
Nitrite - 0
GH - 3-4
KH - < 5

I got 4 ghost shrimp and 3 otto cats. I also did a 1.5 dose of prime to help prevent spikes. I also picke dup two more plants... I forgot the name, dwarf sagittaria subulata i believe.
 

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there are abotu 3 species of ghost shrimp. one definately requires brackish. I have had those type. they have a sort of upside down larval form. Kind of neat to watch.

If you choose to add salt, just note that Java fern, Java moss and apparently Dwarf sag seems to be okay with it. The other plants do not appreciate it that much.

Also, I have not had a ghost shrimp survive in a straight fresh tank but the resultant shrimplets from that group did survive in their brackish jar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
sunstar - Adding salt will not be possible in this tank. I have many plants that fall outside of the "ok with salt" category(i.e. marsilia, ludwiga, a few unkown stems etc.), and my future of this tank should be holding cherries or another type of shrimp. When you say that you've never had a ghost shrimp survive in fresh do you mean live? Or breed?

Is there a way to tell what type of ghost shrimp i have? And if i do set up a brackish jar, when do i go from brackish to fresh?
 

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I put the female shrimp into the brakish jar as soon as her eggs had eyes. then I added the salt water to the jar. I think it should be done more slowly than I did.

I had cherry shrimp in the jar and they managed for a few weeks until I removed them to their final home.

Its rather hard to say.

this link Ghost Srhimp specimine at Deviantart, does show one of my shrimp which used the brackish water to have its babies in. Perhaps you can compare yours with this. My other ghost shrimp had red markings on their feelers and tail. like a dot here and there.

I have about 10 baby ghosts, give or take. the adults all died off. The cherry shrimp and orange bee shrimp survived but I assume that's because the main tank lacks salt. The tank they were in when I took this pic had some salt and things were okay. not much salt, but some. Also when my baby ghosts hatched, I removed the mother. They can occasioally eat their young

I am unsure of a way to tell. I just took the chance with my baby shrimp. Perhaps someone on this site or other sites may have a better way of determining.

EDIT: This is just the temporary solution. I want to do a nano brackish tank thing and put these guys in it. I want to get a candle holder from Ikea or a vase like the one my cherry shrimp are in.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What does everyone use for water movement in the tank when using a sponge filter? I am picturing one area of good movement and other well not so good. What if i put a prefilter sponge on my tetra whisper filter and allow that to run still??
 

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What does everyone use for water movement in the tank when using a sponge filter? I am picturing one area of good movement and other well not so good. What if i put a prefilter sponge on my tetra whisper filter and allow that to run still??
That would work. The same company that makes the Hydro Sponge spongs filters also makes pre-fitted prefilters made of the same high quality sponge material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks JP! I know i'm full of questions, but I want this new tank to work out right. What size sponge filter should i get? Should i stick with a 10g or a slightly larger one? Also how large of an air pump will i need? Lastly are the ones on DFS.com bad or?

EDIT: I'm noticing that the hydro sponge filters can be used with a power head... Is this desirable or will this be too much flow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also i'm thinking, maybe i will keep a HOB with a sponge on the intake running, where can i get a good one for a Whisper 5-15?

I did a water test today:
PH: ~7.4
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: ~5
Nitrites: 0

Do you think i should do a water change or leaving approx 5ppm of nitrates is ok? I know i like it for plant growth and i believe ive read 10 is acceptable but i'm just getting a feel for when i get my cherries. The thing is, i used seasoned water, and a seasoned fitler (since switched out) and havent noticed any spikes in water tests since setting up the tank. Should i assume it'd be save to remove most salviana minima so i can keep nutrients? Or is it too early?

Also is CO2 ok for a shrimp tank or is there something else? I just feel like i'll need something to keep the plants happy as my substrate is inert and i'm kinda kicking myself in the ass for that.
 

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I have DIY co2 in my shrimp tank and I know others who use pressureised. Apparently no ill effects.

I have used fertilisers in the water and root tabs as well. I am setting up a properly brackish tank now :D
 
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