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Switching up a cherry shrimp setup?


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I want to change up my cherry shrimp tank a little bit. Same substrate and filtration and plants but I want to switch out my hardscape (keep rock pile but switch out spider wood for bigger driftwood pieces).

I haven't gotten them to breed yet, and it's been about 3ish months since having them (about 5 shrimp in a 10 gallon). I know they like things to stay the same to feel comfortable. Am I shooting myself in the foot to switch things up a bit or should I just go for it? I really want to see a ton of shrimp in there because it's so boring having to look hard and maybe seeing a shrimp or two in there (not to mention the fact that my husband keeps asking why they aren't breeding yet). 

In there I have a sponge filter, gravel substrate, 1/2 and 1/2 distilled water and my well water (was extremely hard so I made it more reasonable this way hardness wise), spider wood, guppy grass, dwarf lilies, a nice rock pile where they can (and do) hide, Java fern, Java moss, and a few anubias. I feed them a teeny tiny bit of bacter AE every other day, and occasionally a teeny bit of quality flake. Water parameters are ph 8.4ish, 5-10 nitrate (0 amm, 0 nitrite), 25ppm GH, 300ppm kH. I only do about a 10% water change once a month to try to keep things stable. I am open to other tips if you see something I seem to be missing. 

Edited by MBStevens
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4 hours ago, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

Old pieces of wood that are in a tank already have biofilm, algae etc on it. 

Gotcha, I didn't know if I was missing some special ingredient or something haha. I've been soaking my wood after having boiled it several times for about a week now to get some tannins out. So they're new but at least will have soaked a bit. I'll use bacter ae to get some nice biofilm growing on it when i throw it in the tank tomorrow. 

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I find that my shrimp won't start breeding in a tank until it has been set up along with the hardscape for several months, even if it has enough nitrifying bacteria to call it "cycled." It's the seasoned tank time thing that Cory talks about in livestreams sometimes. If your primary goal is to get the shrimp to breed ASAP, I would recommend leaving your hardscape the way it is. If your primary goal is to visually enjoy the tank or if the wood choice will bug you, then go ahead and switch it. It will be fine either way, switching the wood might only set you back by a couple of weeks. Or maybe not at all!

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