- Waste In
- Ammonia NH3
- Nitrate N02
- Nitrate N03
- Water Changes and Plant uptake.
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
Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a membrane to remove ions, molecules and larger particles from drinking water. This in effect creates a pure water source from which we can add buffers to create water to any specification for our shrimps.
This is done by adding salts of some sort to the water, these buffers are species specific so you will need a different one for Neocaridina and Caridina and other types of shrimp. To
measure the amount of buffer you need to add to the water you will require a TDS meter, TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids.
For Bee shrimp, I like a TDS of 150ppm
For Neocaridina I like a TDS of over 200ppm
Remember all water needs to sit and age for at least 24hours before going near a tank.
Once you make the switch to Reverse Osmosis chances are you will never go back to using ordinary tap water and really why should you?
HOW DO REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER SYSTEMS WORK?
Reverse Osmosis works by forcing water through a membrane that allows some things through but not all things, Typically the size of the holes in a membrane range from 0.1 to 5,000 nm depending on the brand.
Think of this process like you would if you were sifting a bag of rubble what you keep goes through the holes while waste is left on top and discarded if you have a TDS which you should have if you own a Reverse Osmosis Unit..you can test this.
- First, test your tap water as a rough guide I will say mines is 50ppm.
- Second test your clean water outlet, this should range from 0-10ppm
- Third test you waste water outlet and see what you get for me its normally around 100ppm.
What about Reverse Osmosis Maintenance?
I will list this in order of what I do because it will make more sense for you this way, let’s start of with the sediment filter these need to be replaced every 3-4 months because they do clog up and become chocked ..tap water is much dirtier than you think and if you ever decide to cut up an old sediment filter I am pretty sure you will be shocked.
Your Carbon filter should be changed again every 3-4 months, I like to run two of them inline on my system so It never gets to the point of failure.
The RO membrane itself can last for years and I change mines out every 3 years or so, they will last longer if you protect them with regular filter replacement in front of it.
New Reverse Osmosis Unit And High TDS
This is very very common in new systems as I think some of the carbon dust from the carbon filters is able to pass through the RO membrane, to fix this all you have to do is let your RO unit run for an hour before you start to collect that water.
Is Pure Reverse Osmosis Water Safe to Use In A Shrimp Tank?
The answer is yes and no so let me explain, Using RO water just for top ups is perfectly fine and this mimics what happens when it rains ..Using RO water this way will also prevent your shrimp tank water from becoming harder and harder, this is a term called TDS creep.
Using pure Reverse osmosis water for large water changes is a big no-no, first you will stress your shrimp because of the huge differences in water parameters, this is a common cause of death in shrimp to understand the why you have to take it to the cellular level ..every living cell has a water content and that water content will also have a salinity content. (This part is probably worth an article on its own)
These cells also have a semipermeable membrane just like your RO unit.
Water with a higher salinity level will try and pass through this wall and vice-versa, in a Shrimps world putting its cells into an environment with very little salinity causes the salt content in its cells to want to leave.. to cope with this the cell tries to take on water and it expands.. A good example of this is in us when we go swimming.
If you stay in the water to long take a look at your hands and see what happens to your fingertips, the water intake of cells in your skin are very visible here so you can imagine how bad this could be for a shrimp if this happens fast.
This is a big reason why people lose lots of shrimp while doing large water changes and then claim that their water was ok, unfortunately, this isn’t true when it comes to shrimp.I don’t want to go to of topic on this subject but this is why the plop and drop method of acclimation doesn’t work.. I have never lost any shrimp to drip acclimation.
What Else Do You Need For A Reverse Osmosis System?
You will need a catchment barrel or tank, I use a large 60liter bin that looks like this, which is large but very slim, in a shrimp room environment this is very very important. which you can check out here
Next, you will need to add a float valve to add to your barrel, while this isn’t 100% necessary it will save you from having to think about the water being left on. Which you can find Here
Next on your list should be an auto shut off valve like This Without this valve, none of this setup will work so this is a must, What I should also mention here is this device fits on to your RO waste water and good clean water ..the top will say IN and OUT .. This is where your good water goes into the In Part of the valve, the part on the other side connects to your float valve.
1.Good water In
2.Good water out
On the backside of this device you put in your wastewater in and waste water out.
From here on you simply fill up your barrel full of good fresh reverse osmosis water and add your buffer to it, I think its also a good idea for you to have air running through the water via an airstone or have a circulation pump in your barrel.
TDS meter I recommend HM Digital
Buffer for Caridina SaltyShrimp Bee Shrimp Mineral GH+
Buffer For Neocaridina SaltyShrimp Shrimp Mineral GH/KH+
Cheap RO Unit Like Mine Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
And more cheap Revers Osmosis Units That won’t break the bank.