Fertiliser dosing in a shrimp tank

Neo_Keeper

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Hello!

This is my first post here, so a little info about myself. I'm a long time african cichlid keeper, and short time neocaridina planted tank keeper.

I have a 40 litre low tech desk tank with amazon frog bit, subwassertang, marimo moss balls, java fern and hornwort....busy eh?

The light is a 15W fluval plant nano 3.0. The lights run from 8am until 8pm with a 'siesta' between 2 and 4 pm. The lights run at 50% for cool and warm white, 30% for the red and 10% for the blue. The light levels are halved for the 'siesta'.

I am dosing the EI method potassium nitrate, potassium phosphate and magnesium sulphate and the chelated micro nutrients, except using 25% of the suggested dose. My API nitrate test kit (I know these can't be relied on) reads at around 10ppm pretty much every time I measure.

The tank parameters are:

Temp - 22-23 Deg. C
pH - 7.6 - 7.8
GH - 7-8
KH - 3-4
TDS - ~200ppm

OK, i'm sure there are some things there that will stand out as very bad to the more experienced of you.

The main type of algae (although not bad at all currently) is akin to a green string, and it mainly accumulates in the roots of the amazon frog bit.

The amazon frog bit when I got it had thick padded dark green leaves with black striations and the leaves were not that big - they felt like a very mature plant. These leaves died back and were replaced with bigger green leaves with no padding (like cellulose) underneath and no dark striations, but all seemed well otherwise. Now some of the leaves are yellowing, shrivelling at the edges, developing holes and dying. Some of the newer frogbit have stunted leaf growth and just shrivel away. I've let the roots of the frogbit grow longer than I would like, in the hope that it would help them absorb what they need (although if it's not there, then they can't).

The marimo moss balls are green and not doing a lot (as you would expect)

The java ferns are not doing well. The ones which look very green are not growing and the others have had the tips of the leaves turn brown/black and then the leaf starts to decay.

The susswasertang is not doing a lot, although some of the leaves have developed a few holes and look like they might be shrivelling back a bit.

The hornwort (which was a more recent edition) is growing at a phenomenal pace. When the hornwort started to take off is when the amazon frogbit started to suffer.

My personal feeling is that I am lacking in either potassium or iron, but I am a complete novice at this! I have potassium sulphate and chelated iron, so can add these if advisable.

Could you guys please give me some tips to get my tank on track? I think maybe I need to move away from anything to do with EI, being a shrimp tank (which also contains malaysian trumpet snails) I am best to do a 10% water change per week, or risk the health of the shrimp. Therefore, I am a bit concerned about nutrient build up, as i've read people have had problems in high tech tanks with EI nutrient build up when doing a 50% change.

I should state that the health of the shrimp is more important to me than the health of the plants, but it would be nice to have both, right? :)

I've attached 2 pics. How the tank was (about 3 weeks ago) and how it is now (the one with more hornwort).
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
Welcome.
OK, i'm sure there are some things there that will stand out as very bad to the more experienced of you.
Sounds (and looks) fine to me. You can just let the Hornwort float (if you get fed up with re-planting it), it doesn't actually have any roots.

It might take a while for the Java Fern and Subwassertang to get going.

I've also been long term cichlid keeper (although soft water ones in planted tanks), and I think it would be fair to say that this isn't quite such a <"confrontational forum"> as some of the cichlid keeping ones.
The main type of algae (although not bad at all currently) is akin to a green string, and it mainly accumulates in the roots of the amazon frog bit.
Looks OK, you may find the Shrimps visit the roots for a bit of forage as they become more confident.
when I got it had thick padded dark green leaves with black striations and the leaves were not that big
They've been grown under high light, I've been chucking my spare plants on the pond since lock-down and they are now <"tiger-striped and really thick, dark and chunky">.
Some of the newer frogbit have stunted leaf growth and just shrivel away. I've let the roots of the frogbit grow longer than I would like, in the hope that it would help them absorb what they need (although if it's not there, then they can't).
My personal feeling is that I am lacking in either potassium or iron,
It probably isn't potassium (K) because K is mobile within the plant and deficiencies show up in older leaves first, it might be iron (Fe) deficiency, have a look at <"Corydoras in hard water"> and <"Duckweed Index says">.
chelated iron, so can add these if advisable.
Have a look at <"Apparent plant ....."> it talks about the relationship between iron chelates, pH, carbonate hardness and iron availability.
I think maybe I need to move away from anything to do with EI, being a shrimp tank (which also contains malaysian trumpet snails) I am best to do a 10% water change per week, or risk the health of the shrimp. Therefore, I am a bit concerned about nutrient build up, as i've read people have had problems in high tech tanks with EI nutrient build up when doing a 50% change.
We tend to like water changes, I do about 10% a day, others will do a larger more infrequent water change.

As you read through the threads you'll see mention of the <"Duckweed Index"> and <"Conductivity datum">, they are <"simple approaches"> that do away with a lot of <"water testing"> etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Neo_Keeper

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Hey Darrel

Thanks for the response! I will come back with some educated questions when I have had a chance to read everything you have mentioned.
 

Neo_Keeper

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OK, so i've done some reading :)

I let the smaller hornwort float, when it gets a bit more substance to it, I tie a couple together with a lead weight and let them sink, quite like the look this way!

As I was an african cichlid keeper, the most complext thing I could ever keep was Java Moss - and even that didn't always turn out well!

Some new leaves are pale and small, and some older ones are suffering too - the symptoms point more towards iron than potassium (from what i've read) so I will try that. I have 3 options available in the cupboard:

Increase the EI micro nutrients (currently at ~25% dose)
EDTA iron https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fe-13-ED...737805?hash=item3b2c072b4d:g:VZ0AAOSwfhlcM7Jt
Easy-life ferro

A question though - Easy life ferro says 10ml in 100l will increase the iron by 1ppm (it also contains potassium "and other elements"). EDTA says 10ml would increase the iron ppm by 0.1 in 100l. To me, the ferro liquid does not look 10x more concentrated than the EDTA...not even sure you would get that to dissolve?

I am limited to 10% on this tank because neocaridina do not like large water changes (can cause a forced molt and possibly death). Will I have problems of nutrient buildup dosing partial EI method? I have a proper calibrated (not ebay special) TDS meter, so I think the conductivity index could be very useful!
 

Hufsa

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I am limited to 10% on this tank because neocaridina do not like large water changes (can cause a forced molt and possibly death).

Hope this doesnt come off as confrontational but I dont think this is true necessairly.
It its however stated as fact by many shrimp keepers on the shrimp focused forums.

I keep neos and have had my fair share of problems with them and water changes.
But, I have killed way more shrimp doing 25% water changes with poorly parameter matched change water, than I have with 75-80% changes with water that is closer to the water in the tank.

I think you can do 50% changes no problem as long as you match the important (KH & GH) parameters and preferably also pre-treat the water for chlorine, if that is added to your tap.
What I mean is if the water going in is almost the same as the water going out then the shrimp have no problem.

You dont have to take my word for it, but maybe experiment a bit and form your own opinion, that way you dont have to go by very strict rules that may or may not be needed :)
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Neo_Keeper

Firstly, welcome to UKAPS! :)

You are possibly aware that shrimps are sensitive to copper in the tank water. Therefore, it's very wise to ensure that fertilizers do not contain copper at a concentration that could harm your shrimp. I suggest that you take a look at the following excellent article on this topic:

https://aquariumbreeder.com/how-copper-affects-dwarf-shrimp/

If you decide to measure copper in your water, I can recommend a test kit which is more sensitive than the API Test that Michael (author of the article) suggests. Just let me know.

JPC
 

Neo_Keeper

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Hey guys

Updates after a few days.

I have increased the EI dosing from 20% to 30%. The floating plants seem much happier (as you can see attached). I think it's more likely the micro rather than macro which is helping, so I might dial the macro back to 20% and see what happens.

I upped the WC to 30%. This changed the TDS from 210 to 185. The substrate is paleo sand (CaCO3), so hopefully at least some calcium will dissolve into the water column. I am still running on tap water and using the substrate to buffer (as I do with mbuna/haps) but I have an RO unit and may switch to remineralised RO water.

I think the Micro nutrients from the EI kit should be OK. The copper content is 0.23% and I am now dosing just shy of 10ml per week. This is higher than other ferts though.
 

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jaypeecee

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Hi @Neo_Keeper
I think the Micro nutrients from the EI kit should be OK. The copper content is 0.23% and I am now dosing just shy of 10ml per week. This is higher than other ferts though.

The above figure sounds high. I suggest you calculate the copper level that you will have in your tank water and then compare the result with the recommended figure in the article to which I referred you. Otherwise, your shrimp may not be happy shrimp!

JPC
 

Neo_Keeper

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Hi @jaypeecee

OK. What i'm going to do is switch to EDTA Iron and aim for 0.25ppm/week. This is 1/2 EI for the Iron.

We'll see how that works :)

@Hufsa @Majsa

When I bought the blue dreams they were sold to me as high grade. I bought 10, there are a couple of nice ones, but there are a couple of very bad ones too. I've had them less than one month and have 2 berried. Looking at the pic attached (and there are a couple of that quality) do you think I should talk to the seller, or is that just the way it is with neos? Should I remove her to a cull tank?
 

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Neo_Keeper

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There would be 0ppm copper added to the tank. But I will also lose Boron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc.
 

Hufsa

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When I bought the blue dreams they were sold to me as high grade. I bought 10, there are a couple of nice ones, but there are a couple of very bad ones too. I've had them less than one month and have 2 berried. Looking at the pic attached (and there are a couple of that quality) do you think I should talk to the seller, or is that just the way it is with neos? Should I remove her to a cull tank?

Im sorry to be this blunt but thats not a high grade blue dream, its not even really blue.
Blue dream happen to be the variety that I breed and sell, and I would cull this shrimp immediately if i saw it in my tank. I would also never sell this low a grade, but I know a lot of sellers that sell just about anything that crawls around in their tank. Depending on if you want the hassle or not, you can complain to the seller that the shrimp received do not match the description. If I paid a premium for "high grade" I would certainly not be happy with this shrimp. But, after a few months the window of timely complaints have sort of passed, but again, who says there is a rule for how late you can complain. You can say that you were only recently notified by other shrimp keepers that they were not in fact high grade.

Depending on how certain you are about your ability to keep the rest of the 9 alive, you could cull it now to avoid the poor color genes to spread, or you could let her produce a few litters and hope a few of the babies are better looking before you cull her.

When I started my colony I kept all the ones I got for a while, even if they were lower grade than I was going for, because you want to build your population and have as many shrimp contributing as possible.

But that one is pretty bad looking, im not gonna lie.

This is a grading chart for blue dream I found online, might be helpful.
Bluedreamchartkleiner.png

Also a quick picture of the shrimp I took out for sale last time I was selling. These are not being sold as high grade so I would expect much more from the shrimp you bought.
Untitled1.jpg


On a different note, dont shy away from copper in fertilizer. As long as it is within moderate levels it wont harm your shrimp and they require trace amounts of copper just like almost every living thing to be healthy. Some shrimp foods even have trace amounts of copper in them because of this.
 

Hufsa

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I think the Micro nutrients from the EI kit should be OK. The copper content is 0.23%

Where is this percentage listed? Is it the percentage for the final solution or for the powder? I think most likely the latter?
Otherwise there must be some sort of mistake. That is too much

Edit:
For reference I add about 0.0018 ppm Copper per week.
My powder packet lists 0.10% copper, but this is the powder itself. Its diluted much more before going in your tank
 

Neo_Keeper

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No, I agree. They were absolutely tiny when they came to me..so would be very difficult to tell. They've had nearly a month to settle in now, so you would expect that to be enough to colour up etc (and they have grown a lot).

I am using this kit https://www.aquariumplantfood.co.uk/fertilisers/dry-chemicals/ei-starter-kit.html and I suspect the trace elements are this stuff - https://solufeed.com/media/46480/sodium-free-tec-tds.pdf So it would actually be 0.23% in the powder.

I am wondering if it is worth my time complaining, or just starting again...it might be an honest mistake.
 

jaypeecee

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Blue dream happen to be the variety that I breed and sell, and I would cull this shrimp immediately if i saw it in my tank.

Ouch! Would it not be better to just transfer such 'not-so-attractive' shrimp to a tank of their own where they can live out their life naturally?

Isn't that more ethical?

JPC
 

Hufsa

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Ouch! Would it not be better to just transfer such 'not-so-attractive' shrimp to a tank of their own where they can live out their life naturally?

Isn't that more ethical?

JPC

People can mean both transfer to a different tank and "cull" when they say cull I have noticed. I only have one aquarium so there is nowhere else for the unwanted shrimp to go. Therefore I euthanize them. Im not getting too tripped up over the ethics of culling shrimp. He who has never eaten a shrimp sandwich or had them in a wok can cast the first stone, I say ;);)
 

rebel

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i'm sure there are some things there that will stand out as very bad to the more experienced of you.
Maybe but we all were beginners once, some of us were beginners for longer than others; You know whom you are ;) .

Welcome to forum!
 

Majsa

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When I bought the blue dreams they were sold to me as high grade. I bought 10, there are a couple of nice ones, but there are a couple of very bad ones too. I've had them less than one month and have 2 berried. Looking at the pic attached (and there are a couple of that quality) do you think I should talk to the seller, or is that just the way it is with neos? Should I remove her to a cull tank?

I've always had a rather "lazy" attitude towards shrimp colour, I bought my yellows originally as low-grade. I deliberately bred with the nicest ones and later added a few high-grades to refresh the group a little bit. The lowest of the low-grades have remained in another tank.

@Hufsa, suddenly I recognised your profile picture, you are...the Groke!
 

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