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30L Low tech Cherry Shrimp Tank

Michael W

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13 May 2013
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879
I have recently re-scaped the low tech shrimp tank and changed the substrate so I thought I'd start a journal to keep a track of its progress.

The tank size is 30L
Lighting is 1 T8 14W and is on for 5 hours a day from 5pm-10pm
Substrate is Aquatic compost + sphagnum peat moss capped with Cat Litter
Plants include Anubias Nana Petite, Narrow leaf Java fern, Rotala Rotundifolia, Micro swords and Frogbit with a bit of duckweed
There are an unknown number of normal red cherry shrimps nothing too fancy which I have had for a year or 2 now.

Now for some Pictures
A full tank shot
28WAk7P.jpg

A Little cave I made for the shrimps
XF2E8lO.jpg

Micro Swords for the carpeting plant
nG4nZKQ.jpg

The Anubias at the back is by far my oldest plant out of all my aquariums, It has grown so well that there are pieces of it in my other 3 aquariums and the piece from the front in this aquarium is also from the one at the back. I'm hoping that eventually I can cover the back left corner with even more rotala leading to the anubias at the back. And the Java fern should also hopefully fill in the space between the rotala and the anubias at the front. The micro swords will cover eventually cover the rest of the space. I quite like the cave, I would like to have some moss on the slate on top, I used to have java moss there but I some how killed it, don't ask me how as I do not know. I do have some fissidens fontanus I could use but I'm not sure, other mosses that I have thought of which I don't have includes Weeping moss and christmas moss, any suggestions would be appreciated. Excuse the cloudiness as the pictures were taken after changing the substrate.

Tears were shed as I was filling the tank because of the cat litter being very light the peat and compost came up. I'm slightly regretting the use of Cat Litter for this particular tank because the cat litter is so light partly due to me using the litter from the bottom of the bag so they are very small. Another problem I'm facing is with the filter. The suckers for it are rubbish and it has to be rested on the substrate and its actually moving the cat litter near the front of the tank. I do have a HOB but even at the lowest setting the water entering the tank will push away the cat litter at the bottom so that is a pain. I'm thinking of make a slide sort of thing so the water coming back in will flow across the surface instead of going straight down.

So that is the basic information of the tank, hope yous enjoy this tank as much as I do!
 

roadmaster

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18 Oct 2009
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I like it :)
 

sa80mark

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2 Oct 2007
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Leicester
Is that really cat litter ? I dont think ive ever seen cat litter but that stuff looks great more like a gravel, very interesting stuff

What brand is it ?
 

Michael W

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sa80mark

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2 Oct 2007
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Leicester
It does look good im very impressed with how it looks, I always presumed cat litter would be white or pink or something daft I really didnt expert it to look so multi coloured and I suppose natural, I would definitely consider it for a future tank
 

Michael W

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The colour of the cat litter is really more similar to the top two pictures because I played around with the software however, I have another tank set up using the same bag of cat litter as this one and the colour is closer to the last picture than the top two. Maybe that was because I washed it for 3 hours or because its set up longer.

P.S the light for this tank is more towards the pink side
 

Michael W

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Hi Roy, this tank is going smoothly, there are a few poor looking leaves here and there but a little bit of trimming should make it look better. I have since added some crypts in the foreground which in theory should grow quite large and make it seem out of place. However, this is not the case yet and I don't mind but we shall see how it will turn out. I have added some coconuts in there for the shrimps to graze on. I did tie some anchor moss on it from Tim but it had melted for some reason but there are strands here and there which should turn out fine. Last Christmas my friend got me 2 Bucephalandra, one of them is doing quite well but I think it can still be better. The second one I thought I lost but it turned out it had gotten dislodged and was hidden behind a coconut shell and its form and growth is looking quite sorry due to the position it was in. Even so, I think it will pull through with some TLC as it is not dying as far as I can tell.

But there is some shocking news! I AM KILLING DUCKWEED and I don't know how. Previously I had removed a bucket load at the beginning of this journal while swapping substrate. The duckweed's population recovered quite quickly and this process was repeated a few times. I then began not to care about it anymore and the duckweed started dying on its own... The lack of duckweed isn't really affecting anything, I'm not getting algae that wasn't there to begin with and the plants aren't looking bad, some of the pin holes on my crypts were there when I got them form the store and it hasn't spread. So that is that, this is my favorite tank in the house.

Picture will follow soon, hopefully in the week end. I will show you a picture of this tank a few years ago in the meantime, notice the growth of the Java moss, I can't think of why I can't repeat its success anymore.

8228374794_48160bed7b.jpg
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
But there is some shocking news! I AM KILLING DUCKWEED and I don't know how. Previously I had removed a bucket load at the beginning of this journal while swapping substrate. The duckweed's population recovered quite quickly and this process was repeated a few times. I then began not to care about it anymore and the duckweed started dying on its own...
Could be soft water, or lack of NPK. Duckweed shows a pretty linear growth response to nitrogen.

I have a couple of tanks where the water is soft, and I can't grow duckweed (Lemna minor), and it always looks a bit yellow and anaemic in all the tanks. If you put it in hard water and feed it, it will go brilliant emerald green and grow like wildfire. <"Modelling Duckweed growth in wastewater treatment systems">.

The differential growth rate of Duckweed along a nutrient gradient was how I originally came up with the "Duckweed index".

On other forums you get a lot of posts where people said things like
My nitrate test shows zero, but I have a huge amount of duckweed clogging my tank, I throw away all I can find away every week, but by the next week it has covered my tank ....."
Usually followed by people telling them how
to kill the duckweed with herbicides
or
that plants don't reduce nitrates, but this wonder product (insert name of your choice) does
I eventually gave up replying to the threads, but I started not only thinking about not only using duckweed colour and growth as an index of water quality in "polluted" tanks, but also as an indicator of when at least one nutrient level had declined to a value too low to support plant growth.

I was always going to use a floater to take CO2 out of the equation.

I started with duckweed, DI water, and Long Ashton solution, (which I quickly ditched in favour of some hydroponic Tomato fertilizer) and a conductivity meter.

I soon found that Duckweed didn't give me a fine enough resolution response, and that it stopped growing at quite high conductivity levels (I used conductivity as a proxy for nutrient levels). Lemna minor was "better" than Lemna gibba, but I needed something which would survive in more nutrient poor and acidic water.

Both Salvinia "auriculata" and Pistia stratiotes showed a range of growth responses survived at lower nutrient levels, and were apparently un-affected by pH, but they had hairy leaves and it was more difficult to judge greenness.

Out of the options I tried I found Limnobium laevigatum was by far the most suitable in terms of both colour and response to nutrients, and it became my "duckweed" of choice.

cheers Darrel
 

Michael W

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Thanks a very interesting read Darrel! I guess it is easier to kill Duckweed than people assume! Do you find some floating plants to do poor under strong flows? I don't know if there are any correlation between strong flow and poor looking floating plants but in some of my tanks where flow is some what high I find then to not do or look so great. Maybe it could be the nutrient deficiency rather than the flow.

Also, have you any experience in growing Water Sprite as a floating plant? I have always had hard luck in doing so even though I hear a lot of people succeeding. I think the plant's emersed form looks amazing when floating. I've always had emersed growth on the plants I floated but the whole plant itself soon degenerates.

Michael.
 

Michael W

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Good idea Roy, I tried that with straw before for some Riccia, I could give it a shot when I get some more floating plants. I imagine some air line tubing joined together from both ends will work too. But the foam seems to be easily accessible and cheaper with the same affect!
 

Michael W

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Here are some pictures as promised

First up a FTS

15064728924_87d747939b_z.jpg


Cryptocoryne Willisii runner

15499271688_7f2a6fe94d_z.jpg


Here is a coconut with some narrow leaf java fern plantlets and a Bucephalandra. I decided to change that part of the tank because the java ferns were rooting into the substrate which will make it hard to move around in the future without having the soil come up.

15065301373_14868043ff_z.jpg


Here is the Buce with a not so good looking form/structure, It's hard for me to tie this one so I planted the roots but not the rhizome. Notice the side shoot developing near the substrate, but I don't know if it is stunted or not.

15499463017_6ee8e194b4_z.jpg


Sorry for the poor pictures, the dirty glass and the GSA :p

Enjoy,

Michael.
 

Michael W

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So tank maintenance this morning, to my horror I have spotted some algae spreading in my Fissidens Fontanus which could be seen near the front of the tank at the left hand side. Since Fissdens are the most expensive plants second to the Buce in my tank, I am determined to save it. I have spent some where from 1-2 hours using tweezers picking at the algae strand by strand. I did my best but some just had to be thrown away to cut the loss. I gave the health portions a trim to encourage new growth and branching and retied some on a little stone. Some of the trimmed Fissidens I have placed on a little piece of coconut to see if I can grow it emersed and let it fasten itself onto the coconut.

I don't think I have fully removed all the algae but hopefully they will go away after sometime. So my to do list for today and until the algae's demise is as follow:

1. lower lighting from 5 hours to, I may get a clip on lighting unit to elevate the light source.
2. manually remove all visible algae or at least try to.
3. Keep filter clean
4. Improve flow, which I have by upping the filter output
5. Get some more floating plants

I am pretty sure the algae is Cladophora which I had put in the tank and taken out because it didn't look right. :banghead:
 

Michael W

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This one is fine, nothing has changed. The growth has been slow but from looking at these pictures, the Crypts have put on growth. Not a lot though. I'll see if I can get some pics later on in the week.
 

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