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CRS setup. Is there anything I have forgotten?


13 Jan 2012
Hey all,

Just about to start a CRS project and I am gathering all the necessary equipment.

Stuff I already have:
Tank: Cube, 30x30x30cm. 27 litre.
Light: Led fitting microhabitat 8.
Air pump: Old one I already had.
Heater: 100W set to 24 C.
Sponge filter, suitable for 200L. In my other tank maturing:
Plants: Various small crypts, Amazonian frog bite, moss ball all taken from other tank.
TDS pen.
Freshwater master test kit.
Plenty of Malaysian trumpet snails.

The tank in position:

Stuff still to get and sources:

Substrate: Akadama bonsai soil:
Minerals: Saltly shrimp bee shrimp GH+:
Almond leaves:

My local water is very hard so I will be using re-mineralized RO with the Salt shrimp to bring it up to 150tds. This should bring my GH and KH up to the desired level. I plan to set it all up and leave to mature whilst monitoring the Ph. Hopefully the Akadama should bring the Ph down to around 6.5. I will also add a few almond leaves in at the start to start a nice rich biofim developing in the tank.

After everything is stable add the shrimp and hopefully they'll be happy and breed!!

How does this sound to the experts?

Am I missing anything?

Much appreciated,

Hello Jim, look forward to seeing this all set up. Only thing I was thinking was the heater out put for that volume of water should it stick on.
Hey Kirk,
Thanks, just re-checked the heater. It's actually a 50W. Does this sound more reasonable?
Phew...... Yes much better.😀 I was looking at the picture, it did look a tad small for a 100😀. I was just thinking you would probably only have 20 ltrs of water after your akadama etc. have you looked into ada amazonia or equivalent? I used that under my akadama to help things, but I left it about four weeks before adding shrimp. Worth it in the long run as it will be easier keeping them, you'll still need your salty though.
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What's the benefit of the ada amazonia? Thought the substrate just lowered the Ph and that the akadama would do this?


Bogwood: Thanks for the tip. will set the temp a at 21/22.

Have ordered the leaves and the minerals. Ebay seller for the akadama is on holiday till tomorrow!! Getting impatient😛!! Will order that then.
😀😀 If you find the akadama too big, a tip is to get two pieces of ply and Sandwich some of it and stand on it and twist to make the bits finer, you can get it to a powder for round plant too. I found this better than pestle and mortar.
What's the benefit of the ada amazonia? Thought the substrate just lowered the Ph and that the akadama would do this?
The Amazonia is black and coloured shrimp really stand out on it. I have one set up with amazonia and one with Ibaraki akadama and the amazoinia is aesthetically more pleasing with round particles of an even size. The Akadamia is far rougher looking. I am using it for black shadows so they should stand out on it but I don't think reds would look as good.
At the moment my temp is at 19 degrees and all shrimp from babies to adults doing fine. Will add a heater for the winter though as don't want it going any lower. I find 21degrees perfect.
As shrimp keepers its good to see there is now a choice of suitable substrats out there. And very helpful to hear what forum members use.
Some better than others, and we eventually end up with what works best for us, the shrimps and the plants.

I have 5 shrimp tanks, and have my favourite substrate, by no means the cheapest.
However it gives me a choice of size, colour. Maintains the water parameters, and the plants grow well in it. Has been in use now, for many years, with my CRS . BLUE BOLTS,etc.
Hey all,
OK, to summarise it's mostly aesthetics then. Although I'm sure there are some chemical differences. I think I'm going to stick with the Akadama. Not hugely concerned about aesthetics but cost is a factor. Plus I can get the akadama in the correct quantity of ca. 4 litres. Other brands seem to come in 3 or 9l. Three is to small I think and 9 too expensive!!


If you no bothered about looks There's always cat litter😀
Tesco light weight kitty. This is my sons tank.
we used it in his last tank too, it was recommended on here so we gave it a go.
Hmmm... Does it result in a a lowered Ph? In fact I read a bit more about akadama and it said that it was just a neutral substrate and wouldn't change Ph. I'm a bit confused now. Does the substrate lower Ph or can I expect a low Ph straight after the RO water is re-mineralised?😕

P.S. I don't think that looks that bad...

Got the akadama. It was the Ibaraki type and is quite fine. I like it. Cost me £1.50 per litre from local bonsai dealer!! Colour change is difference between wet and dry colour:

Sieving!!! So boring! Never really runs clean! Because as you mix it more dust is created! I was a bit worried at this stage:

However I got it all in (used 4 litres in the end):

Then planted and filled (hardly merky at all, yay!):

This morning crystal clear. Helps that the filter is probably mature already:

One question: How do you fertilise a CRS tank? Is EI acceptable? Will it not mess with the TDS,GH and KH?? Go some testing to do but will post parameters later today.

Water parameters:

RO from shop:
TDS 15, PH 7.0, GH <1, KH <1.

Re mineralised RO:
TDS 170, PH 7.0, GH 6-7, KH 1-2.

After 24 hrs in tank:
TDS 167, PH 7.0, GH 5-6, KH <1.

Akadama seems to be sucking some of the GH and KH up. I've read it'll do this until its 'saturated' (equalised with water conditions probably a better description) then it will stop.

Some people get away with dosing their shrimp tanks with ferts but most don't because as you say it messes up your parameters.
Ok, so everything is settling down. It's been two weeks and my water parameters are stable. Plants are growing a bit but slowly. Had to take out one of the crypt varieties out due to melting. Just did a 10L water change to get rid of any nasties that may have built up through the cycling process.

Parameters at the moment are:

Ph: 7
GH: 5-6
KH: 0-1
TDS: 162
Temp: 22-23. (Seems stable so I will keep it at that).
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~2.5.

The Cattapa leaves have only just arrived so put one in this morning. They're huge in relation to the tank!!! Hoping they will bring the Ph down a bit bit I've heard Ph isn't actually as important for lower grades of CRS as GH and KH?

Anyway I'm thinking of stocking next weekend with 10 low grade CRS.

Anybody got any suggestion about sourcing shrimp. Cost is a factor unfortunately. My LFS sells them at £6.99 a piece!! I was thinking of this ebay seller:


He seems to have good reviews.

Full tank shot (stupid floating leaf!! 🙂)

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