Friday, October 14, 2011

Profile-Cherry shrimp

The red cherry shrimp is a colour variation of Neocaridina heteropoda, the wild version is native to Taiwan, the red ones are the most commonly kept ones but it comes in blue and yellow as well as a few other colours.

This species is very hardy and does well in a densely planted tank, in a NPT you may need to over feed them as they have such a low bioload the food they eat does not build up in the aquarium to decompose into nutrients and CO2 like it would in a heavily stocked tank with fish. Shrimp only tanks can become deficient in carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. What you can do is dose with a liquid fertilizer and diy, compressed or liquid CO2. You can also add snails to the tank and feed the tank much more than if you only had shrimp, I like Malaysian trumpet snails for this as they are nocturnal and during the day they dig through the substrate aerating it and burying waste. At night they leave the substrate and look for food.

Cherry shrimp breed without any help from you, just add water and wait. The babies like to feed of the moss as it has a high surface area for microorganisms to grow which they like to eat. You can feed the shrimp blanched vegetables such as baby spinach, carrot and cucumber; they eat many other vegetables other than these. They will also eat fish flakes and pellets, shrimp pellets and decomposing organic matter such as dead plant leaves, they also eat the micro organisms that live on this as well. Remember they do not eat much, only feed as much as they can consume within two hours, or feed before the lights go out and leave it for the MTS to eat.

Cherries are very tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, in many areas they can be kept without a heater all year round, because of this you must be careful not to release them into waterways as they are very hardy and could become a pest. I keep mine at 24 degrees with my crystal red shrimp and they breed like crazy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tip-potasium sulphate

I have read numerous times that using the walstad method can result in a potasium (K) deficiancy after the tank has been set up for 6 or more months. The reason for this is that there is little potasium in fish food, the potasium in the soil is almost the only source of this macro nutrient. Once the plants have used the limited amount of K present in the soil they become defiant, pin holes develop in the leaves and growth is stunted. The potasium is removed from the tank through the prunings tacken from the tank. From what I have learnt about permaculture I know this is not sustainable. I want to try find a solution to this. I haven't come up with any organic solutions so I thought I would try this as I had a big bag of this from when I used chemical fertilisers. I realy don't like using chemicals :(

I thought I should mention now that I haven't had a K defiancy in any if my tanks yet (nearly a year) and I hope I don't develop one. I might add some sea weed to the filter to decompose, it is supposed to be high in K.

There are three options I can think of, or two I suppose depending on how you look at it. You could a) strip the tank down again b) fertilise using a water soluble fertiliser or c) add fertiliser rich in K to the substrate, I would prefer something organic but I can't think of anything off the top of my head.

A tip I recently learnt is this, you can add potasium sulphate to the soil before you add it to the tank. I decided to give this a try, I added 1 table spoon a small ice cream bucket full of soil. I'll see how it goes. I'm worried the sulphur may be turned into hydrogen sulphide from the anearobic bacteria in the soil, only time will tell. I can't remember where I read this so I just added what I thought would be a good amount, the tank has been set up a few days and the fish and plants are fine so far. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

New shrimp CRS

I just got these new shrimp this Sunday, I've been admiring them for months and finally decided to get my self some, they are all A grades, some V bands and Tiger tooth as well, they are patterns the shrimp have. I need to save up for a chiller before the temperature rises to much, they don't like to go above 14 degrees so that will be hard in my Brisbane Summer! They aren't really energy efficient though :( I'm hoping the energy I save by using the soil and not manufactured chemicals will of set some of that, I'll have to try insulate the tank as well. Here are some pictures of them, they are much more agile and graceful than the red cherry shrimp.

I wish I could have gotten better pictures, looks like I may have the start of a green water algae bloom! I'll have to try find some willow branches.