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Water parameters for chili rasboras and Neocaridina shrimp


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I am part way through setting up a ten gallon planted tank with dragon stone, driftwood, and a pool filter sand substrate, with the ultimate intention of housing a colony of Neocaridina shrimp and then, once their numbers have built up, adding a school of chili rasboras, though at the mowm the only animals in the tank are hitchhiking bladder snails.

I have a water softener, and my tap water, after 24 hours off-gassing, read (measured with a Sera test strip and a cheap Amazon TDS meter):

287 ppm TDS

dGH: ❤️

dKH: 15 - 20

pH: 7.2-7.6

I have an RO filter, and so for my other tanks, I normally mix tap and RO at equal parts (1:1) with 1.5 tablespoons of Seachem Equilibrium per 5-gallon bucket to get to 6 dGH (which works out to about 500 ppm TDS or so, I guess because of the potassium and other non-calcium/non-magnesium ingredients in Equilibrium).

My new water, then, is about 500 ppm TDS, 6 dGH, 8-9 dKH, and close to 7 pH, and my tanks settle between 6.4 and 6.6 pH (there's a fair amount of driftwood and other organics).

So, that's all preamble to say: can I keep mixing my water the way I have been for this new tank with chilis and neos? The alternative would be remineralization of straight RO with something shrimp-specific, probably Salty Shrimp GH+/KH+. I think that would probably still be fine for the chilis, but if I can have the convenience of one "recipe" for all of tanks, I'd prefer to do that.

Thanks in advance!

My tap water dGH is less than 3, but when I tried to write that as " < 3" it changed it to a heart emoji and I couldn't change it back.

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Both are very resilient species. For over a decade I've raised and bred neocaridina in the equivalency of liquid rock at 7.6 ph (old house) & 6.4 ph (since 2021) with chili rasboras in their tanks.

I added 2 pounds of crushed coral to their substrate in a 55 gallon during initial setup & toss in a wonder shell whenever the current one dissolves & the mixed color colony is still thriving, with 45+ chili rasboras, 30+ pygmy cories, & CPDs ( lost count), plus a pair of threadfins.

I have another neo colony (blue only) in a 20 with pygmy cories & treat it the same way (1 pound of crushed coral under their substrate).

 

As with many non-wild caught freshwater species, stability is more important than how they lived in the wild. I don't see an issue with their water being at the same mixture as your other tanks... as long as they get the calcium & other minerals they need to thrive.

Edited by Tazalanche
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neos would like slightly higher gh, rasboras will be fine as well. if you have a hob, you can use cuttlebone made for birds to raise it. remove the metal clip and put it in the hob where it wont float. between the plastic and cartridge if its built that way. replace when it dissolves away.

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Slightly higher GH, okay. I guess I'm just fretting because, in terms of shrimp, I've only ever had Amano, and I want to get this right from the beginning. Plus my LFS is really hung up on TDS, and while the "TDS can be misleading" idea makes a lot of sense to me, 500 seemed high for shrimp and soft water fish, so I wanted to float the idea here first to draw on the forum's collective expertise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I bought six Amano shrimp for a different tank, drip acclimated them, and added them in. Less than twelve hours later, they were all dead. The TDS in that tank is about 500 ppm.

So now I'm re-thinking my "recipe" for water changes. I have all soft water fishes, or least fishes that don't mind soft water, and I think this creeping TDS has been a part of my Apistogramma not spawning (it's been a few months now).

Here's the math I'm thinking of: instead of 1:1 tap:RO, use 1:4 tap:RO, though still with 1.5 tablespoons of Equilibrium per five gallons. If I did my math right, that should give me 6 dGH, 2-3 dKH, a starting pH of right around 7, and a TDS of about 120 ppm. It'll mean that I'll go through RO filters faster, but c'est la vie, I guess.

So then to make this change, I'll do frequent, small water changes of about 10% so that the plants and animals get a gradual change.

I wrote all that above earlier in the week but did not end up posting it. About an hour ago I did mix up about 4:1 RO:tap in a 5 gallon bucket:

20240315_193044.jpg.bd989b094756a09615ce817bbe204542.jpg

My reading of that is 0 about 5 dGH, about 3 dKH, and a pH of maybe 6.8 (also some chlorine; I'd forgotten the dechlorinator, though none of it has been added to any tanks yet).

But my TDS meter registered about 320 ppm TDS! I know my water softener is leaving a little residual sodium, but I thought that this math would work:

1 part tap at about 300 ppm (running tally: 300 ppm) PLUS

4 parts RO at about 10 ppm (running tally: 340 ppm / 5 = 68 ppm) PLUS

1.5 tablespoons Equilibrium (for 6 dGH) at about 107 ppm (6 × 17.8)  (running tally: 175 [68 +107]) PLUS

Some small amount for dechlorinator, maybe call it 200 ppm total. So why would it register at 320 on the TDS meter?

I guess I could use straight RO, remineralized with Equilibrium (for the GH) and potassium carbonate (for a little KH), but I was rather hoping to use some tap, not least for the temperature matching.

Any ideas? Did I do my math wrong?

At the moment, the bucket is sitting with a small submerged pump acting as a makeshift powerhead; I want to see how it tests out after 24 hours off-gassing. I guess I'll report back after tomorrow's testing.

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On 3/15/2024 at 8:45 PM, Rube_Goldfish said:

potassium carbonate (for a little KH)

I’m finding it easier to use the alkalinity buffer and acid buffer from seachem together for my straight ro water. This allows me to target a certain ph and kh number at the same time consistently 

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On 3/15/2024 at 5:45 PM, Rube_Goldfish said:

Here's the math I'm thinking of: instead of 1:1 tap:RO, use 1:4 tap:RO, though still with 1.5 tablespoons of Equilibrium per five gallons. If I did my math right, that should give me 6 dGH, 2-3 dKH, a starting pH of right around 7, and a TDS of about 120 ppm. It'll mean that I'll go through RO filters faster, but c'est la vie, I guess.

My water is KH of ~4, GH of 2x KH (8-10).

My water used to be KH of about 8-10 and GH of anywhere from 15-25 (~450+ ppm)

I would encourage you to use liquid GH/KH test kits and to basically ignore TDS and only rely on your KH and GH numbers.  Things like liquid farts, dechlorinator, and anything that is dissolved in the water would affect your TDS.

On 3/6/2024 at 3:48 PM, Rube_Goldfish said:

I have a water softener

This is likely causing major issues. Think of it as contamination and unknown things in your water that you cannot really test for.  Your best bet is to have access to water from the tap or to use RODI and a standard GH+KH buffer available for shrimp keeping.

I would start there in terms of your research for issues.

On 3/6/2024 at 3:48 PM, Rube_Goldfish said:

My new water, then, is about 500 ppm TDS, 6 dGH, 8-9 dKH, and close to 7 pH, and my tanks settle between 6.4 and 6.6 pH (there's a fair amount of driftwood and other organics).

The numbers, KH you're showing vs. the pH you're testing seems odd to me.  I would love to run a test for comparison sake using a few buckets of water, airstones, and varying levels of KH.

My setups are usually cooler, higher surface movement/aeration and my PH is never above say... 7.2

KH is 3-4 now, but it was maybe 8 once upon a time.

This tank with the mass of driftwood, I would look into how often and how much you're changing water if the pH is consistently low.

Edited by nabokovfan87
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