This is one of the most basic tank setups I have ever done and so far its the best one I have used for all types Shrimp such as Crystal Reds, Taiwan Bees, and Tiger Shrimp. Note Tiger Shrimp that I have kept do well on an active substrate and an inert substrate, they don’t seem to be too fussy in their preferences.
The principles are the same for every bee tank and that is you must have a good substrate, in this case, we are going to use Akadama which is a hard-baked clay bonsai soil from Japan.
As far as I know, Akadama comes in three different types that we can use, this can become confusing as the bags are often in Japanese but what you can look out for are the words hard baked, Ibaraki, double red line, triple white line.
Why is it so good in a shrimp tank? It is a clay which means it is able to suck in
nutrients via cation exchange, this helps with pH and mineral control and clarity of the water.
The first layer down should be a bacteria, The bacteria I use is called Borneowilds Enlive, you can also use other great products like Mosura BT-9 and SL-Aqua Milione powder
this then gets covered with a 3cm layer of Akadama soil. The depth is important in making sure you have some dark zones and low water movement because different bacteria like to live in different conditions. For example, some types of anaerobic bacteria do not do well in light conditions they require dark areas.
The best filtration for this setup would be a double canister filter but if you are on a budget like me these things are not always possible. So I go with what I would consider the next best thing a Pat Mini Filter from AquaEL combined with the double filter modification.
Next, you can add your water, if you use tap water please remember to use a dechlorinator, if you don’t do this you risk killing everything in the tank every time you do a water change. A word of warning about dechlorinators is that they are not all made equally some of them only dechlorinate which means they only bind or remove chlorine while others will also help with ammonia and nitrate problems and other chemical issues. The one I prefer to use when I have to is Seachem Prime. Most water companies will flush out their network of pipes every now and again or when they get breaks or when there is flooding just to kill off bacteria. so make sure you use a dechlorinator.
If you use Reverse Osmosis you can set the TDS of your water to 150ppm and add it to the tank. Follow this link if you would like to know more about Reverse Osmosis
Regardless of which type of water you use remember to age that water for 24 hours for a number of reasons, the first being is that the water will be much colder so let it heat up with the room, another reason is that new water straight from the mains will have a higher pH this is caused by excessive oxygen.
Once your tank is full of water you can switch the filter on and add some plants if you
wish to, I like to use slow growing low light plants because they are easy to deal with. The plants I specifically use are subwassertang, java ferns, and hornworts because they are so easy to grow.
Next, we cycle the tank for a minimal time of two months, I know this is a lot longer than we normally do things but it is for a reason some but not all soils do contain ammonia which is deadly to shrimp, this takes time to be removed by your developing nitrogen cycle.
The other reason is we want a tank full of algae, full of bacteria, full of biofilm, this takes time to develop as this makes up a huge part of a shrimps diet, you also want a plentiful supply of food for when those first baby shrimp are born in this tank.
Fully cycled and fully supplied with natural food what shrimp wouldn’t want to live here?
For maintenance, you shall do 25% water changes every week and if you like you can also dose small amounts of fertilizers. I like to use Orchid fertilizers because they are very week and easy to source.
For more information on this whole process check out my video below and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me Here
Happy Shrimp Keeping