So a week last Monday was ‘Shrimp Day’. Here is what happened.
The all day (and half the night) process of setting up the new tank to replace the first was very exciting.
For tank 2 there were some key things I knew I wanted to do different – having learnt from tank one.
- A bigger tank – only 5cm wider but around 10 cm taller.
The mantra seems to be the smaller the tank the harder it is to keep looking good. It’s harder to landscape with plants, harder to do water changes without disturbing the layout, harder to maintain a stable temperature and water conditions, hard to clean/scrape – you get the idea. It’s HARD!!!
So, although this increase is only from a 25-30 litre tank – it feels like a massive amount of room – and looks so much bigger (but takes up very little desk space).
- An aquascape (planting scheme) that doesn’t touch too many sides of the tank – so much nicer for water to flow round, shrimps to ‘do their thing’ and I’m hoping less algae and disturbance if I do have to scrape.
- My filter is the same but this time the spray bar is about an inch above the water – so much better flow, not blocked by ‘stuff’. Also, the empty water space above the plants has been changed from about an inch to a 2-3 inches. This gives lots of room to scoop out and replace water without knocking over ‘stuff’ in the tank.
Basically, it is less cluttered and designed to be easier to maintain. I can see my shrimps better and I’ve invested in a shrimp feeding tube to keep their food out of the substrate and on top of a rock.
The only down side, so far has been that the light no longer penetrates as well because the tank is taller – so will have to see how that goes. It definitely isn’t as well illuminated.
Tank Set Up.
1) Dennerle Nano Cube – 30 Litre tank – £37.99 from SwellUK
It’s a nice tank with curved front edges (that you can’t see in the picture), tested it out for leaks and was fine – bit messy on the silicone though and the glass top is very thin.
The glass top sits on plastic hangers – which were a very tight fit and I worried the glass would shatter. I have discarded the top and my husband made a new one to fit around the filter out of acrylic.
2) Same filter as last time
3) Some new wood and plants + old ones replanted – £40 approx
4) Rain water, filtered for large particles, boiled and remineralized.
4) Dennerle Scaper’s soil + topped with Fluval Shrimp Stratum
5) Same light
6) Same cooler
It took all afternoon to set up and all evening to catch the shrimps and swap over the filter and cooler and take out the other tank. I had a plan and itemised the order of things to keep organised.
First the tank was tested for leaks within 24 hrs of it arriving (to enable a claim to be made if needed for a replacement). Then substrate was added (no washing needed apart from the Fluval topper) and the prepared water (boiled and remineralised) was added just so it soaked into the substrate to saturate it.
The shrimps were taken out of the old tank – well as many as possible and transferred to a net/fry box sitting in a bowl of water. I’ll review this later – but basically they got out of the net and into the bowl – some got stuck and that part was a bit of a nightmare. A thermometer was placed in to keep an eye on them.
Next the wood and plants were added to the new tank (the old one now became a swirling mess of remaining shrimp and soil).
Water was added – about another 4 inches.
We took down the old tank and closed down the cooler and filter. Water staying in that part of the circuit to keep the important filter bacteria wet and alive. Next we carried in the new tank, connecting it up to the cooler and filter.
The old tank went into the kitchen so my husband could catch more baby shrimps – my motto is ‘leave no one behind’!!
So, the tank was then topped up to the top (gently and slowly pouring water in so as not to disturb the soil) and left for the evening to settle down.
I tested the water and the ammonia reading was really high – the soil leached a lot more than I thought it would. I dosed with Prime, added a top up of bacteria for the filter and in went the shrimp.
A few days later I dosed with AmGuard – for emergency ammonia removal as it was still showing up and my pH was above 7.
Than tank seems ok now, all shrimp (plus babies and berried females) survived and apart from the slight problem of floating wood (now held down by dragon stone) – the water is clear, the shrimp are happy and it’s looking great. Ammonia is reading zero and I feel relieved!
I will do a 25% water change next week, as soon as it rains to lower the Nitrate.
Over the next weeks I will review how to catch shrimp – what worked well and what didn’t plus some of the equipment and test kits I used (and whether they were any good!).
You can also find out what happens when you drop a pot of shrimp remineralisation powder into a bowl of water…