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[APD] Re: Planted Tank / Shrimp Tank

From: "Bill C" <w_r.c at usa.net>
Subject: [APD] Planted Tank / Shrimp Tank
To: <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>

I have just been given a tank that is 30 inches long, 12 inches wide and 12 inches high.

I'd like to set up a planted tank for fresh water shrimp.

Would this tank be suitable?

What plants should I use . . . how many . . . how densely planted?

I already have Flourite for the substrate.

Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

Sounds like a nice-sized tank, and Flourite is always good for plants. The more densely-planted, the happier the occupants. However, I also think that low-maintenance low-light plants are the way to go in a tank that's specific to shrimp, especially if you plan to keep smaller varieties like bee shrimp and cherry reds. I say this because I've had problems keeping shrimp alive in tanks in which I'd dose even minimal amounts of fertilizers. Amano shrimp (or Caridina japonica) are the exception. They can tolerate moderate levels of fertilizers in the water as well as a wide range of temperatures and water parameters.

Remember that in general, it's best not to mix long-arm (Macrobrachium) species with algae-eating (Caridina/Neocaridina/Palaemon) ones. The former tend to be quite predatory in nature and will indiscriminately go after other shrimp as well as small fish when they reach maturity. The latter may be mixed and housed in relatively large numbers. However, there is always the possibility that species from the same genus will cross-breed. Also, if you choose to get filter-feeding shrimp, it's best to wait until the tank is well-established. Since they need their food to be suspended in the water column, it may be necessary to supplement their diet with microfoods that are produced for corals and such... I've never kept filter-feeders so I really don't know. They tend to spend most of their time near filter outlets or the sponges of sponge filters, where the food comes straight to them.

As for plants, shrimp seem to find all sorts of goodies in Java moss to snack on. I'll bet they'd LOVE a Marimo (Cladophora aegagropila) ball to pick through. And the algae-eating shrimp seem to enjoy perching on or under bigger-leafed plants like Cryptocorynes and Java fern. Anubias always make for good eye candy in a low-light tank. Oh, and don't forget the driftwood. For some reason, my shrimp are always happier when there's driftwood for them to climb on. Riccia seems to be a favorite with shrimp, but you may need to leave it floating, depending on how much light you're using. Sometimes I see a shrimp or two clinging upside-down from a patch of floating riccia.

Remember to test the waters (literally) first, with just a few shrimp of each new species. With Neocaridinas, I usually buy three at a time and normally lose one of them in the first day or two. Hopefully, you'll have a better survival rate than this. If you can't seem to keep them alive, run the filter with some activated carbon for a day or so and try again. If this helps, you may need to do this regularly after water changes or use RO/DI with minerals added back (I use RO Right). If it still doesn't work and you suspect that they're having problems molting, you may need to add iodine and/or calcium and/or magnesium. Copper is absolutely deadly to shrimp, so always check the contents label on all reagents before you add it to your tank. Keep the temperature set around low- to mid-70's (Fahrenheit).

Gee, I wish *I* could have a nice-sized tank like that "just given" to me... ;-). Have fun setting it up!


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