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Hello everyone, 

I'm new to the hobby and I wanted to know if my water parameters are good for starting a shrimp tank and for keeping fish or do I have to make any adjustments?

I currently have livebearers and two gouramis.

I tested the water parameters using the freshwater Master test kit. I did the off-gassing test (aeration test ) and this is what I got:

Sun 8/14/22 Tank water parameters:

  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: 0 ppm
  • pH: 6.6 or  6.8 ( It was hard to differentiate the colors if it was 6.6 or 6.8 but looked more like it was 6.6)
  • KH: 35.8 ppm
  • GH: 196.9 ppm

Results after testing my tap water ( Tested on 8/14/22) 

  • Ph: 7.6
  • High range ph: 8.4 or 8.8 ( It was hard to differentiate the colors but it looked more like it was 8.8)
  • Kh: 125.3 ppm
  • GH:  161.1 ppm

Off-gassing test 24 Hr result (Tested on 8/15/22 (Mon after letting my tap water sit for 24 hrs with an air stone):

  • pH: It was either 7.6 or 7.2 but looked more like it was 7.6
  • High range: 8.0 
  • KH: 143.2 ppm
  • GH: 179 ppm

Water parameters of my tank after doing 50% water change yesterday on Tue (8/15/22):

  • pH: 7.2
  • KH: 53.7 ppm
  • GH: 143.2 ppm

Thank you in advance

Edited by Tropicalfishkeeping201
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I am by no means an expert at shrimp and just got my first shrimp a few months ago but I can share what I have learned. It entirely depends on what kind of shrimp you get and what parameters they were raised in. Many shrimp breeders use RO water and remineralize it so it's important to check with them what ph, gh and kh they bred them in. I intentionally sought out someone raising them in harder water for this reason. Yours isn't as hard as mine but it's something to consider. 

Another thing to consider is the tank mates. Idk much about larger shrimp but I think they would be ok with those tank mates. Neocardinia shrimp however would have a hard time. The adults may be fine but you will be losing a lot of babies keeping them with live bearers and gourami. You may even not see the adults often as they will be hiding. 

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On 8/17/2022 at 12:26 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

At the beginning I wanted to keep shrimp with my fish but I also heard that the shrimp can become fish food so I think its best that I start a tank with shrimp only. Thank you! 

Shrimp certainly can become fish food, but given enough hiding places they can usually maintain a colony.

Your water parameters look okay for neocaridina shrimp (red cherry shrimp and the other color varieties), but I'd wait a few months before adding them so the tank can season.  See the link below for some basic shrimp keeping info I posted a while ago if you'd like to take a look.

 

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On 8/18/2022 at 5:50 AM, JettsPapa said:

Shrimp certainly can become fish food, but given enough hiding places they can usually maintain a colony.

Your water parameters look okay for neocaridina shrimp (red cherry shrimp and the other color varieties), but I'd wait a few months before adding them so the tank can season.  See the link below for some basic shrimp keeping info I posted a while ago if you'd like to take a look.

I will read via the link you provided, Thank you so much! 🙂

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On 8/17/2022 at 10:26 AM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

At the beginning I wanted to keep shrimp with my fish but I also heard that the shrimp can become fish food so I think its best that I start a tank with shrimp only. Thank you! 

Depending what kind is involved I would encourage you to keep fish + shrimp.  They do well together.  I don't think I'll ever have a tank without some amano shrimp.

As for your tank...

KH/PH on your tank is pretty low, especially compared to the tap.  This isn't great for shrimp.  PH swings aren't their favorite, and their least favorite being temperature swings.

I would get your tank parameters within 10-15% of your tap before you consider adding shrimp.  Something like PH/KH/GH are going to determine what shrimp works best with your current setup.  Just meaning, as mentioned above, neocaridina, caridina, Amanos, etc.

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On 8/18/2022 at 4:39 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

Depending what kind is involved I would encourage you to keep fish + shrimp.  They do well together.  I don't think I'll ever have a tank without some amano shrimp.

As for your tank...

KH/PH on your tank is pretty low, especially compared to the tap.  This isn't great for shrimp.  PH swings aren't their favorite, and their least favorite being temperature swings.

I would get your tank parameters within 10-15% of your tap before you consider adding shrimp.  Something like PH/KH/GH are going to determine what shrimp works best with your current setup.  Just meaning, as mentioned above, neocaridina, caridina, Amanos, etc.

Thank you, I was thinking of starting with either Amano or neocardina shrimp since I heard they are a good choice for beginners since they are more hardy. What can I do to improve my water parameters? What can I do to increases my Kh and Ph? 

I want to keep my water parameters stable. 

Edited by Tropicalfishkeeping201
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On 8/18/2022 at 6:26 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

What can I do to increases my Kh and Ph? 

your parameters from the off-gassing test would be what you'd expect to see in the tank.  I would do 50% water changes every 2-3 days until parameters match the tap. You need to verify what is in the tank can handle those parameters.

Things in play here in the tank that will alter those parameters are substrate, hardscape, and buffers.  I don't think you're using buffers, I don't recall the substrate (but I assume it's inert), and even if you had massive amounts of wood I wouldn't expect the vast difference we are seeing in PH, KH, from the tank vs. your tap.

For the time being, you'd just want to perform those water changes.  Amanos don't like PH above 7.5 in my experience. Which means you'd want to find something else.  As for what works best in high PH and hard water, I don't have the answer to that, but I can try to figure it out with you 🙂

From a brief search, it looks like Red Cherry Shrimp (or similar neocaridina potentially) would be best bets for the tank once you match the tap parameters.


 

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On 8/18/2022 at 6:39 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

your parameters from the off-gassing test would be what you'd expect to see in the tank.  I would do 50% water changes every 2-3 days until parameters match the tap. You need to verify what is in the tank can handle those parameters.

Things in play here in the tank that will alter those parameters are substrate, hardscape, and buffers.  I don't think you're using buffers, I don't recall the substrate (but I assume it's inert), and even if you had massive amounts of wood I wouldn't expect the vast difference we are seeing in PH, KH, from the tank vs. your tap.

For the time being, you'd just want to perform those water changes.  Amanos don't like PH above 7.5 in my experience. Which means you'd want to find something else.  As for what works best in high PH and hard water, I don't have the answer to that, but I can try to figure it out with you 🙂

From a brief search, it looks like Red Cherry Shrimp (or similar neocaridina potentially) would be best bets for the tank once you match the tap parameters.


 

Thank you! I have platys, mollies, and a gourami in the tank. Currently I do not have any wood in my tank, I have these few decorations for fish to hideout but nothing that will alter the parameters. I have a sand substrate from Caribsea which is pH neutral and it said it won't increase water hardness and have a few small anubias plants and some floating guppy grass.  I will do another 50% water change. 🙂

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On 8/18/2022 at 6:54 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

I have a sand substrate from Caribsea which is pH neutral and it said it won't increase water hardness and have a few small anubias plants and some floating guppy grass.

Do you happen to know which one?

Platys: up to 8.5 PH
Mollies: up to 8.5 PH
Gourami: up to 7.8 PH (I see reports of higher, stating that very slow acclimation is recommended)

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On 8/19/2022 at 12:42 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Do you happen to know which one?

Platys: up to 8.5 PH
Mollies: up to 8.5 PH
Gourami: up to 7.8 PH (I see reports of higher, stating that very slow acclimation is recommended)

The substrate I have now is the Caribsea Super Naturals Aquarium Sand Sunset gold.  I previously had gravel and about 2 weeks ago I changed it to this sand. Are my water parameters good for my fish or what should I do to have better water parameters for them?Will the water change help? 
image.jpeg.68ef397bb41e959704dbdb8a0ccfe2fb.jpeg

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On 8/18/2022 at 10:18 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

Are my water parameters good for my fish or what should I do to have better water parameters for them?Will the water change help? 

Everything I am seeing, what you have in the tank currently will help. What you're dealing with is essentially Old Tank Syndrome.  Water is missing minerals and other things naturally found in your water and doing water changes will slowly increase those.  50% water changes, weekly until parameters rise.  You can also do this slowly over time.

It comes down to stuff like plants using those minterals, fish waste, and a few other things.  Here is a few links on the topics of what is going on.

First is the relation of PH --> KH and how missing some of those minerals has lowered the PH in your tank.
https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/ph-gh-kh

Second is trying to understand what caused them to lower in numbers (meaning your KH and GH, and as a result your PH.

 

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On 8/19/2022 at 1:25 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Everything I am seeing, what you have in the tank currently will help. What you're dealing with is essentially Old Tank Syndrome.  Water is missing minerals and other things naturally found in your water and doing water changes will slowly increase those.  50% water changes, weekly until parameters rise.  You can also do this slowly over time.

It comes down to stuff like plants using those minterals, fish waste, and a few other things.  Here is a few links on the topics of what is going on.

First is the relation of PH --> KH and how missing some of those minerals has lowered the PH in your tank.
https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/ph-gh-kh

Second is trying to understand what caused them to lower in numbers (meaning your KH and GH, and as a result your PH.

 

Thank you so much! I’m going to do the water changes, I apologize for all the questions, is that I’m new to the hobby so this is all new to me and I just want to make sure I do things right for my fish so that they can live a healthy life.  I don’t know if its my water parameters but currently I have 2 platys that it seems like it lost its scales or not sure if they got injured but I see something fuzzy growing in these scaleless areas. It looks like its starting. I don’t know if its a fungal infection or columnaris. I don’t understand why they have this because I do weekly water changes.

image.jpeg.caeb1027bec5864812f37db70711e555.jpeg

D81D3763-2A6A-4459-A03D-0C8C02E94205.jpeg

5FA99410-2701-418D-ACD9-118424916FD4.jpeg

Edited by Tropicalfishkeeping201
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On 8/18/2022 at 10:31 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

I apologize for all the questions, is that I’m new to the hobby so this is all new to me and I just want to make sure I do things right for my fish so that they can live a healthy life.

No issues at all, we are all here to help one another 🙂

On 8/18/2022 at 10:31 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

 I don’t know if its my water parameters but currently I have 2 platys that it seems like it lost its scales or not sure if they got injured but I see something fuzzy growing in these scaleless areas. It looks like its starting. I don’t know if its a fungal infection or columnaris.

I am not sure.  @Chick-In-Of-TheSea@Colu what do you think?

Is there anything in the tank (decor or something) where the fish could injure themselves on?  Have you seen them flashing at all?

Flashing, just means, they try to "scratch" by swimming and then rubbing their side in the sand or on decor.

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On 8/19/2022 at 1:46 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

No issues at all, we are all here to help one another 🙂

Thank you very much! All you guys have been very helpful especially since this is all new to me 🙂

On 8/19/2022 at 1:46 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

No issues at all, we are all here to help one another 🙂

I am not sure.  @Chick-In-Of-TheSea@Colu what do you think?

Is there anything in the tank (decor or something) where the fish could injure themselves on?  Have you seen them flashing at all?

Flashing, just means, they try to "scratch" by swimming and then rubbing their side in the sand or on decor.

Yes, I do have two decors where it can be possible that they could have injure themselves and I haven’t seen them flashing but I will keep a close eye on them to be sure. What worries me is that I see something something fuzzy in those areas. Its hard to get a good picture of them because they are constantly moving around. 

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On 8/18/2022 at 11:00 PM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

What worries me is that I see something something fuzzy in those areas. Its hard to get a good picture of them because they are constantly moving around. 

Fuzzy points towards a fungal issue.  You'd treat with Ich-X (and potentially also salt).

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On 8/19/2022 at 2:19 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

Fuzzy points towards a fungal issue. 

Yeah, columnaris is bacterial and it is more like a gray discoloration, often in a square shape for some reason.  It is not raised up and fluffy like a fungus would be.  I can't tell from the photos you posted whether or not the issue is fluffy.

Fungus:

Capture.PNG.bca1d07e2a5897e12efa6f5326aa920d.PNG

Columnaris:

7D4ADE39-1506-4E86-BC13-EDEF249C9581.jpeg

F427CDF5-78E4-4215-8E4A-DCBBB350AB1E.jpeg

Edited by Chick-In-Of-TheSea
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On 8/18/2022 at 8:39 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

. . .  Amanos don't like PH above 7.5 in my experience. Which means you'd want to find something else.  As for what works best in high PH and hard water, I don't have the answer to that, but I can try to figure it out with you 🙂

From a brief search, it looks like Red Cherry Shrimp (or similar neocaridina potentially) would be best bets for the tank once you match the tap parameters.


 

I have some that seem to be doing fine in 8.2 pH water.

 

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On 8/19/2022 at 8:49 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

Yeah, columnaris is bacterial and it is more like a gray discoloration, often in a square shape for some reason.  It is not raised up and fluffy like a fungus would be.  I can't tell from the photos you posted whether or not the issue is fluffy.

Fungus:

Capture.PNG.bca1d07e2a5897e12efa6f5326aa920d.PNG

Columnaris:

7D4ADE39-1506-4E86-BC13-EDEF249C9581.jpeg

F427CDF5-78E4-4215-8E4A-DCBBB350AB1E.jpeg

The infection is starting so its hard to tell but it looks a little bit fuzzy. I’m going to try to get a better picture. Thank you 🙂

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On 8/19/2022 at 7:47 AM, Tropicalfishkeeping201 said:

The infection is starting so its hard to tell but it looks a little bit fuzzy. I’m going to try to get a better picture. Thank you 🙂

Skin damage which leads to fungus is common after pH goes down too far, especially in fish that prefer high pH like mollies and platys.

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On 8/19/2022 at 7:26 AM, JettsPapa said:

I have some that seem to be doing fine in 8.2 pH water.

Yeah. I have seen reports.  I assume that the biggest thing is acclimating them to that PH very slowly (or they are just more used to it from the start).  This goes back into local parameters of where the fish (or shrimp) are born and how that water compares to my vs. your water vs. their natural habitat and that data we have available.

Nature finds a way....  I had molting issues when PH rose and it may purely be just the rate at PH swings (issues with KH stability).

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