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There’s shrimp in my cookie jar! Setting up my planted shrimp tanks 🦐

5304 Views 83 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  FernKing
I’m excited! I’m terrified! I’m learning! These “shrimp tanks” are going to be my first fish tanks since childhood. I’ve got a green thumb so I hope that helps with setting up a planted fish tank. I also wanted to make these on the cheap so I bought these 2 gallon cookie jars from Target for $14 a piece. I’ve read Diane’s book and shrimp tutorial so I want to keep it simple and low tech as possible.

Drinkware Dishware Mason jar Serveware Tableware

I started with Organic MiracleGro potting soil. It was black, rich in organic matter and had no pearlite! I added a little oyster shell to the bottom of the jar and on top of the soil.

Food Ingredient Fluid Recipe Dish

I’m going to use the “dry start method“ and grow the plants in the jars like a terrarium for several weeks before adding water. The bottom of the jars is a little “domed” in the middle so I have a 1 1/2“ channel of soil on the sides but it’s as thin as 1/4” in the middle of the jar. I bought some “paver” gravel. It’s white and it says it’s mostly made of quartz so it should be inert enough. I added the plants and the gravel at little at a time together. I didn’t want the plants to have to reach through 1“ of gravel to get nutrients. The plants I bought are ”dwarf baby tears” (hemianthus callitrichoides), “Anubias Nana Petite”, Telanthrea Rosefolia (Alternanthera reineckii) and American frogbit. I have experience with native Florida plants but not these plants, so it’s all a big experiment! 😎

The baby tears came as a mat with some metal mesh on the bottom. I removed the mesh because I don’t know what will happen to it once it starts to break down or possibly rust. I’m expecting the baby tears to take over the bottom as I let it grow.

The Anubias was much smaller than expected. It was also very firm. I expect it to grow slow and it might get taken over by the baby tears. Oh well.

The Alternanthera was long with lots of good buds and roots on it. I believe it’s technically the submerged form. I tucked the first half of the stems along the sides of the jar letting the leaves stick out of the middle. I‘m hoping these will become a “background“ plant and give the aquarium some color.

Plant Grass Groundcover Plastic bottle Automotive tire

Plant Botany Grass Terrestrial plant Groundcover

Plant cutting technique: The Alternanthera looked like a “cutting” rather than an individually established plant. I planted it with the stems half buried giving the plant plenty of opportunity to establish roots. It’s a bit much to take a cutting and stick a small amount of the stem tip in the soil and expect it to establish roots. I did the same thing to a branch of ”Champman’s senna” that my landscaper broke off. I stuck most the the branch into the ground and trimmed most of the top leaves. It established roots and is now the largest Chapman’s senna in my garden (Go figure 😂) Pictured below:

Plant Plant community Vegetation Terrestrial plant Grass

I tossed the frogbit into a failed “bucket pond” I tried setting up last year. Neglected spider lilies are still growing from last year in the soil. I hope I’ll all be okay. The frogbit was VERY leggy! I was hoping for some of the cute tiny clumps I’ve seen in other people‘s tanks. I hope it makes some smaller babies I can use for the shrimp tanks. We’ll see!

Plant Houseplant Terrestrial plant Flowerpot Grass

I’ve had great success setting up my terrariums outside in indirect sunlight to get the plants established. I’m going to try the same thing here. I’m not sure if I want to leave my (future) shrimp jars outside overnight. I have lots of nosy and naughty raccoons and I don’t want them breaking my jars. The Alternanthera has already “perked up” after just an hour outside so I feel optimistic. I have probably made some mistakes but I’m hoping to work it all out! I’ll post updates as they happen. Hopefully I’ll have shrimp set up in the next couple of months. 🦐

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If it's Cyano, it's not algae but a bacteria that won't go away without treatment. It's hard to see in your pictures.
If it's Cyano, it's not algae but a bacteria that won't go away without treatment. It's hard to see in your pictures.
I know it’s bacteria, I just use the term “blue-green algae“ out of habit. The foil didn’t work. the BGB is stuck against the glass and soil but no where detectable in the rest of the tank. I’m planning on breaking this one down anyway when I plant my big fish bowl.
We’ll see.
Glad to see its still running.
It’s nice to hear from you. Yes! The tanks are doing fine, but one better than the other. I might break it down and do a ”redo” and replant the plants with new soil and STS in the same jar. I’ll post about it when I do.

But check out my new project and the reason why I started with these jars in the first place 😎:
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