Tropical soil buffering and shrimp

Donna Watts

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4 Dec 2018
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Hi all

Back in December I took the plunge and created a planted nano.
I couldn't be happier with the plant growth and health however I have a problem.
I introduced a small number of cherry shrimp. Quickly I noticed they were showing signs of poor moulting and then dying.
After a bit of research I have found this problem is down low GH and KH.

My problem is that I'm using tap Water with a GH of 18 but the tropica soil is pulling nearly all of the GH out and all of the KH.

I have been doing a 2 litre water changes every other day for over 3 weeks and I'm fighting a losing battle.

The conditions just don't meet those that are needed for cherries.
Is there any way to combat this?

Here is the tank
20190204_174710_zpsj1bab9en.jpg


Thanks
 

tam

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Are you sure that's the issue? I've tropica soil and I'm starting with water that's only GH6/7 and my cherries are doing fine. In fairness don't test the GH in the tank but I'm not seeing dramatic TDS reduction either. Have you tested your water or are you just assuming poor moult = low GH = you must have a low GH?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I couldn't be happier with the plant growth and health
The plants look very good.
I have been doing a 2 litre water changes every other day for over 3 weeks and I'm fighting a losing battle.
You could change a bit more water. Because we have very hard tap water the ion exchange capacity of the active substrate will soon be exhausted (basically it will have stopped exchanging H+ ions for Ca++ions). The more water you change the quicker this will happen.

I found Cherry shrimps do pretty well in our tap water (I live in Corsham), but they struggled a bit in the winter in the tanks that use rain-water.

You could also try feeding the shrimps a calcium supplement, leafy green veg (broccoli or nettle leaves). and a bit of cuttle bone (sold for cage birds) would be my suggestion.

cheers Darrel
 

Donna Watts

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Joined
4 Dec 2018
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Location
Wiltshire
Are you sure that's the issue? I've tropica soil and I'm starting with water that's only GH6/7 and my cherries are doing fine. In fairness don't test the GH in the tank but I'm not seeing dramatic TDS reduction either. Have you tested your water or are you just assuming poor moult = low GH = you must have a low GH?
Yes I'm sure this is my problem. The shrimp show what is known as the ring of death for about 1 week then pass away. This is a symptom of a poor moult. This then made me check my water hardness in the tank only to find KH 0 and GH of 4.
This was a shock due to the hardness of the water out of the tap.
The TDS also reduces quite a lot.
 

Donna Watts

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Hi all,The plants look very good.You could change a bit more water. Because we have very hard tap water the ion exchange capacity of the active substrate will soon be exhausted (basically it will have stopped exchanging H+ ions for Ca++ions). The more water you change the quicker this will happen.

I found Cherry shrimps do pretty well in our tap water (I live in Corsham), but they struggled a bit in the winter in the tanks that use rain-water.

You could also try feeding the shrimps a calcium supplement, leafy green veg (broccoli or nettle leaves). and a bit of cuttle bone (sold for cage birds) would be my suggestion.

cheers Darrel
Thanks for the info on the cuttle bone. I am feeding broccoli once a week. Do you just put a small bit of the bone in the tank?

I'm reluctant to change too much water at once as the tank is only small and I didn't want to shock the shrimp.

Hopfully the ion exchange exhausts it's self sooner rather than later then.

Thanks
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Do you just put a small bit of the bone in the tank?
Yes.
I'm reluctant to change too much water at once as the tank is only small and I didn't want to shock the shrimp.
I'm not sure I would worry with Cherry shrimps, they are pretty robust. I'm a great believer <"in water changes">.

You can get figures from your water supplier, but because of the dGH you can be pretty sure it is water from a limestone aquifer, either chalk or Jurassic age limestone. Our supply is pretty low in everything other than Ca++ and HCO3- ions.

cheers Darrel
 

Donna Watts

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Wiltshire
Hi all,Yes.I'm not sure I would worry with Cherry shrimps, they are pretty robust. I'm a great believer <"in water changes">.

You can get figures from your water supplier, but because of the dGH you can be pretty sure it is water from a limestone aquifer, either chalk or Jurassic age limestone. Our supply is pretty low in everything other than Ca++ and HCO3- ions.

cheers Darrel
Your not too far from me so I'm not sure how different our water will be. I'm in swindon.

My water is quite hard here. It also has plenty of nitrate :( I think it was 20ppm when i checked it a while ago. I did look up my water a few years back when keeping marines.

I agree with water changes but i prefer little and often rather than big changes.
Maybe I'm just over cautious..

I don't think it helps that I have so much substrate. I built it up at the back quite heavily not realising how active it was. I probably have around 6 inches depth at the rear of the tank. This may take a while to deplete.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I think it was 20ppm when i checked it a while ago
Use the figures from Thames Water, but I think you will have a lot more NO3 than we do. The great advantage of planted tanks is that NO3 levels fall, rather than rising in the tank.
I agree with water changes but i prefer little and often rather than big changes
I'm a little, but often, water changer as well.

I still think you can change more water, possibly every day rather than every other day? I use rain-water, I just draw it off (from the water butt) the the night before I use it and let it warm up over night. You could do the same with tap water, and that lets it out-gas any chlorine, as well as warming up

I re-use old six pint milk cartons, so it doesn't matter if they grow algae/leak eventually, they've had a longer "working life" than they were intended for. I change about 10% water a day in the tanks, the only exception is that small volume tanks get a full "6 pint" change, however small they are.

cheers Darrel
 

Mortis

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17 Jun 2009
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355
Supplement their food with blanched spinach or kale. It should help. Also you could try the shrimp mineral blocks/balls
 

HiNtZ

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26 Jan 2016
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London
I have an RCS tank with Columbo soil, planted - never had any problems.

GH 14
KH10
PH 6.8-7

WC once a week at around 20%, dosing Flora Grow Pro and feeding Shrimp Cuisine.

Sounds like a diet issue - I would have thought what the shrimp can't get from the water they will get from a high quality specialised food. Or, if you have fish in the tank too the shrimp will eat their poo and get minerals that way since fish food is pretty complete.
 

akwarium

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20 Feb 2010
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187
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Haskerhorne, Netherlands
The most obvious solution is to change the soil.

Or switch to Caridina shrimp, they prefer soft water...
Or put a small piece of limestone in your filter or tank... continuously adding minerals won't give fluctuations like water changes might.
 

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