Once you are up and running, you will occasionally have to maintain the conditions in your tank to keep shrimp healthy.
My fish tank is algae free on the glass walls. My shrimp tank … not so much!!!
The cause in my case was
- direct sunlight
- build up of Nitrate
- No filter cleaning
So, I used a metal blade tank scraper to clean the algae of the sides. Did a third water change (re mineralised rain water), and cleaned out the filter (put in some new filter pads/wool). I also cleaned out the cooler to maximise its effectiveness for the hot days when it will be working hard to keep my shrimps cool.
If your tank is balanced (cycling well to keep Nitrite at zero and water changes to take out Nitrates) , your glass may stay totally clear. To help, Nerite snails will keep it clean but they don’t like low PH/acidic water so they may not be an option for shrimps that like low Ph water.
Some people do it daily, others weekly or even monthly. Some people take out a third water, others 50% or more.
Personally I do two checks to decide on what to do.
- How is my TDS?
- How are my Nitrates?
- How does it look!
If my TDS reading is a little high and the water is low from evaporation, I just top up with filtered rainwater. If it needs a big top up I add mineral powder.
If my Nitrates are high (and algae is blooming) both are indicators for a good 25-50% water change. I re mineralise and make sure the water temperature is not going to dramatically change.
My shrimp are observed – irrational/frantic swimming can indicate the change is too much from what they have become used to … so slowly does it.
I have an external canister filter and an internal filter that came as a single unit. The internal filter sponge needs washing out monthly and the spray bar weekly. (Dental floss brushes are great for cleaning the nozzles).
The external canister gets done yearly.
Never throw out all your filter medium. Inside the canister are two sponges and the ‘stones’ which hold the good bacteria that keep your tank cycling. The sponges can be easily and cheaply changed or even washed out. The stones I change every 12-18 months – but only half of them. Don’t throw away your stones or your nitrogen cycle will reduce or stop! Never wash out your stones.
Here is my filter sponge!! Totally black and decayed. No wonder it wasn’t working.
I tipped out the filter stone medium and sieved out the black water. I then replaced them back into the filter. You don’t want to leave your stones out of water for very long because the bacteria could die.
Anyone for coco pops?
Every year the cooler gets flushed out with tap water and reflushed with rain water. This pushes the slurry out of the unit and gets it working efficiently for the hot summer days. It’s an expensive bit of equipment so I want it to last.
I never change the soil. Nutrients may deplete but my tank is a living tank with live plants and shrimp/snail poo which are also giving nutrients into the soil and water as well as taking them. The plants are healthy so I’ll take that as confirmation all is well.
If you have live plants and good conditions they may grow like crazy! I have some aquascaping tweezers and sharp scissors to prune my plants. In the summer this might be weekly.
If your hands are submerged most of the time, wear pond gloves to avoid transmitting poisons to your tank and being poisoned by bacteria etc in the tank. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
Avoid over feeding shrimp so that food build up doesn’t accumulate for algae to flourish.