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Naufragium / Shipwreck (Dennerle scaper 35)

aec34

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The ‘big tank’ (well, 60p) set up is on hold for the foreseeable while we wait for building work, so I’ve treated myself to a Dennerle scaper’s tank 35 as a caridina shrimp tank. I’ve fancied having a go at some caridina for a while and the excuse is that this tank is small enough to move round the house as needed, but big enough to give me options. Anyway, here’s the kit, mostly from stuff kicking about:

Tank: Dennerle scaper’s tank 35
Filter: Aquael pat mini (or Dennerle eckfilter - or maybe both?! There’s also a versamax mini, but I’ve really struggled to cover the inlet successfully to make it shrimp safe and still get any flow.)
Light: Aquael Leddy smart 2(6w)

Substrate: Tropica soil + gravel

Wood, a few rocks, botanicals, etc. Got some nice pods from Blackwater UK.

Plants: Assorted buces, crypts, java fern, floaters, and mosses plus other random trimmings/survivors from the two dinky tanks I’ve broken down (10 litre + work bowl). I’m also going to cross my fingers and have a go at some Monte Carlo and Sagittaria subulata. It’s worth a try...

My plan is to plant relatively heavily from the outset, WCs with tap water for the first few weeks, then move to remin-ed rainwater/RO (found out last week that my v near LFS does RO, which is a nice back up if the garden butts fail). I’m expecting it’ll be a few months before I’m ready for any shrimps - no idea yet exactly what to get, but apart from the shrimp choice I feel like a more or less know what I’m doing with the set up and planting.

BUT, livestock. Since I won’t have shrimps for a while, in the interim does this mean I should really steel myself for snails as a small clean up crew? 😬 I’m not really a fan, but I know how good they are for tanks. I came across the suggestion of red racer nerites (yay, no breeding), but then found out they lay eggs anyway (boo, things on glass). I’ve been told rabbit snails are a good option, but I’m worried about how big they might get? When I say I’m not a fan, I mean I really don’t want to have to touch the fleshy bits. (This is where snails win over slugs in the garden - snails have a handle.)

I had not intended keeping fish in this tank - and definitely not with the shrimp - but read that some like to move in a pair of fish (only when the tank is already hospitable, obviously) for a couple of months to help maturity before replacing with shrimp. I mean, fish for a bit would be AMAZING, but this is a little tank and not something I thought was doable. Has anyone tried this? I really still don’t know fish, apart from my plotting of CPDs/chillis for the 60p.

(Photo of one of the piles of bits to start tank)

924B3F4C-563C-45C4-ABFB-2EBBE4CBD5F5.jpeg

Edit: also, can caridina water parameters = happy snails...?
 
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ScareCrow

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I wondered what evolution was doing where shells were concerned but you've solved it. Developing handles for us so we can avoid touching slimy things.
I have no experience with caridina but interested in what you are doing as I'm also contemplating keeping them in rainwater. My tap water is terrible and RO doesn't sit well with me because of the amount of waste it produces.
The little knowledge I can impart though is I use pure (60ppm +/- 5 tds I don't know gh/kh) rain water in my current tanks and find that snails don't really last long. I've only got the little bubble 'pest' snails but often find their shells (minus the snail) looking whiter than normal. This is probably due to my water being soft and not having enough carbonate to maintain their shells.
You'd need to add some minerals for your shrimp, I'm not sure which and it what quantity though as that's as far as I've got with my own research.
 

shangman

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I have a few MTS and bladder snails in my caridina tank, but I don't think they could support a proper big thick shelled snail like a nerite or rabbit. They need proper kh and gh, a pH of at least 7. Also the rabbits and wizards like it a bit hotter than the caridina shrimp.

You could try a betta fish maybe? I don't have experience with them though so not completely sure. They might like it too hot too.
 

aec34

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Hi @ScareCrow that’s interesting about your snails. I already remineralise rain water with an off-the-shelf product for my cherry tank - so it should just be a case of aiming for a lower TDS. It’s dead easy with my current tank, I just do half a scoop in a 5 litre bottle drawn from the butt. The cherry shrimp seem pretty happy, and I have gotten over all the random critters which come in with the water.
 

Wookii

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Betta's can often be voracious shrimp hunters too, so perhaps not the first option for keeping with your prize Caridina.

Assuming you are targeting around 5-6dGH for your Caridina tank, that should have sufficient calcium for snails, the problem is more that Caridina require soft water with an acidic pH (6.0-6.5). It's the low pH that causes the the snails shell to dissolve eventually killing it, and is also the reason snails don't do that well in CO2 injected tanks, as the CO2 typically drives the pH below 7.

That being said, I have a thriving population of Ramshorn snails in my high tech. The older snails do eventually succumb to the acidic conditions unfortunately, and their shells break down, but it takes some time - and since they have been born and raised in the tank of their own accord, and not at my behest, it spares me a little of the guilt I would have if I intentionally purchased a snail and added it - something I have now stopped doing.
 

aec34

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Have now christened the tank ‘shipwreck’ after finding a really nice bit of wood at the LFS - it’s really straight and has the look of an old hewn timber. And I got some terracotta amphorae off eBay. I’m sure these will be a step too far towards the bubbling treasure chest for purists, but I like them and I’m a Latin teacher/Classicist so I’m sticking at least one of them in 🙂

‘Naufragium’ does sound classier than ‘Shipwreck’, which is a short step to ‘Carcrash’ (potential future name right there??). A fancy name does make it sound like I know what I’m doing, which I don’t think is true.

0AD995E0-7186-494E-8FBD-31E84B149694.jpeg


Current set up idea (terrible photo):

82D3A1CD-4393-4ECD-9F6E-7FD5B931FB75.jpeg
 

aec34

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Spent the day setting the tank up. I can’t quite believe how well this has worked, especially since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have enough plants. Floaters still to go in.

EA7AECC6-DE71-4017-A530-D4F5F63DB17B.jpeg


Tropica soil mostly covered by Dennerle black shrimp gravel. Was thinking about leaving a patch I could have sand in case I do think corys are a good idea, but now it’s set up I’m pretty sure this will be shrimp only.

I really like buces so there are few of those, plus anubiases and crypts and a whole host of other small refugee stems and mosses from smaller tanks I’ve now closed down. In the front is saggitaria subulata and a small patch of Monte Carlo. I’m not very optimistic about growing anything carpet like, but thought it worth trying these two plants for the cost of 2 tropica pots.

Worst case I’m confident at least the buces, anubiases, and crypts and some of the stems will grow. Hoping for better results with java fern than last time.

Lots of big water changes planned ideally daily for this first week.
 

aec34

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Two weeks since planting.
431BC1D6-923E-456B-8EF0-FCB56F1633C5.jpeg
Big water changes with tap every 2-3 days, and no trimming/tidying yet. Frogbit already starting to take over. I also split and rehomed a moss ball, and treated myself to a nymphaea lotus. I’ve wanted one of these for ages and it is absolutely stunning. The tank is already feeling quite full, which I’m pleased with 🙂
No inhabitants yet apart from a couple of rogue limpets. Now the tank is starting to grow I do feel like this could eventually be a happy home for some tiny fish given how much cover there is, but I’m not sure if it’s big enough.
 

plantnoobdude

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looks very nice! I just noticed my first berried female crystal red shrimp in my tank. Very excited. when do you plan on adding yours? sidenote: the ceramic pot may raise kh which the caridina will dislike.
 

aec34

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looks very nice! I just noticed my first berried female crystal red shrimp in my tank. Very excited. when do you plan on adding yours? sidenote: the ceramic pot may raise kh which the caridina will dislike.
Thanks! Have no plans just yet for creatures - going to leave it a bit longer. Good shout on the pot. It’s an aquarium ornament so I’m hoping won’t do anything too major to the water chemistry but will bear it in mind. I’ll need to shift over to rain water etc anyway before getting caridina - my tap is too hard.
 

aec34

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Stem plants growing well, as is the lotus. Moss is starting to perk up. Removed some melted sagittaria, but some of it is growing well. Culled about half the frogbit - it’s growing like the clappers. A little algae on the old anubiases, which came with them from the other tank; worst leaves removed.

I’m seriously thinking now about keeping a little group of endler’s livebearers (ideally if my LFS keep them), in which case I’ll introduce some cherry shrimp soon from my other tank to help with maintenance.

Heater installed. I’ve been pondering my filter. It’s in the back corner which I know isn’t ideal, and the duckbill is pointed at the back wall. I’ve turned the flow down a bit in case I do go endler’s, but think this does still give enough circulation.
 
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aec34

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Planted for a month:
75E70B8A-A5EA-4EE8-AA88-425A23E095FB.jpeg

Removed a small melted buce from the centre of the tank; I’ve never had this before - even in almost zero tech - so think it must be a combination of weak/small plantlet, poor circulation and too much wood-fungus-fluff stuff. Apart from some of the sag, everything else growing pretty well. Trimmed rotala tops and replanted.
May add some cherries soon and see if LFS have any suitable endlers….
 

aec34

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Back from LFS. Not very inspired by the chap I spoke to for advice (compared to the guy at Sweet Knowle who was brilliant), but my gut says the stock is well kept.

No endlers, but I’m now thinking about getting ember tetras. Everything I read suggests they are easy to keep, albeit sometimes shy - and not jumpers which is good since I’d like to keep the tank open. How does this sound to those who know fish?
 

Wookii

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Back from LFS. Not very inspired by the chap I spoke to for advice (compared to the guy at Sweet Knowle who was brilliant), but my gut says the stock is well kept.

No endlers, but I’m now thinking about getting ember tetras. Everything I read suggests they are easy to keep, albeit sometimes shy - and not jumpers which is good since I’d like to keep the tank open. How does this sound to those who know fish?

Embers are peaceful, brightly coloured and pretty hardy, they’re a great little fish. Like a lot of tetras though they can tend to just ‘hang’ around chilling out - great for them, not always ideal for the fish keeper who wants to see a bit more activity.

By contrast Endlers are the opposite end of the scale, completely hyperactive and never stop moving and jousting with one another.

So it depends on what you’re after.

You have a good level of surface cover, and not too brightly lit, plus if you are still moving to RO as originally mentioned, you can run softwater, so the world is your oyster to an extent on fish choice.

Edit - Sorry, I thought the tank was the 55 litre, if its the smaller 35 litre, that will limit your choices somewhat.
 
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aec34

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Embers are peaceful, brightly coloured and pretty hardy, they’re a great little fish. Like a lot of tetras though they can tend to just ‘hang’ around chilling out - great for them, not always ideal for the fish keeper who wants to see a bit more activity.

By contrast Endlers are the opposite end of the scale, completely hyperactive and never stop moving and jousting with one another.

So it depends on what you’re after.

You have a good level of surface cover, and not too brightly lit, plus if you are still moving to RO as originally mentioned, you can run softwater, so the world is your oyster to an extent on fish choice.

Edit - Sorry, I thought the tank was the 55 litre, if its the smaller 35 litre, that will limit your choices somewhat.
Thanks @Wookii. These are in fact the nubs of the problem: it’s not v big, and I’m really indecisive 😬
I really don’t mind what fish, so long as the tank suits them. Currently still on tap water.
 
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