Miniature Shrimp Tank

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Paradise fish

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Above is a miniature version of the Walstad Method Shrimp Bowl. The shrimp, plants, and the soil mixture provide everything for each other. Shrimp having very low bio load allows you to keep them in such a small amount of water volumn.

It has everything that shrimp needs. Plants, driftwood, moss, and almond leaf. I'll be keeping it at a east or west facing window to promote plant growth. The plants are dwarf sag, anacharis, baby tears, java fern, mini marimo moss ball, crypt wendii, and duckweed.

Soil substrate is 3/4" of sifted all organic no fertilizer top soil mixed with some natural red clay for iron and a small handful of crushed seashells for minerals, capped with 3/4" of rinsed pool filtration sand. But, I added a single layer of filter floss between the sand and the soil, to keep the soil from being mixed with the sand. The single layer won't keep oxygen getting reached to the bottom and still allow the plants' roots to reach into the soil.

The shrimp in there are cherry shrimp culls which I feed every other day. In traditional Walstad method you don't add any bacterial supplements and have no need for conditioners, but I still added a bit of Stability and will be dosing Amquil Plus every day for the first few weeks.

It's a great alternative from those desktop aquariums and better than just some plants in a vase of water. No water changes necessary, other than top offs.
 

Ed204

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Nice setup! What shrimp are your housing right now?
 

jmaldo

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Creative. One suggestion though. You might want to consider some type of lid. Shrimp are known to climb out.
 

Susiefoo

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I like it! I'm very interested in this as I'm thinking of setting up something similar. Can I ask - how does the cycle work in a tank like this? Do you have to cycle first before adding shrimp, and how does it sustain itself? Or is the bioload so low that there isn't a cycle as such?
 
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Paradise fish

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Ed204 said:
Nice setup! What shrimp are your housing right now?
You mean in this tank or under my roof. Haha.

In the tank I'm housing three cherry shrimp culls (ugly ones you usually get rid of). I have a couple jade shrimp living with my Scarlet Badis and I have a breeding colony of blue velvet shrimp (14 breeding adults and 100+ shrimplets).

jmaldo said:
Creative. One suggestion though. You might want to consider some type of lid. Shrimp are known to climb out.
I'm sure if I actually cared about these shrimp I would have a lid. But like I said above, these are cherry shrimp culls so I really don't care about what happens to them too much. I guess if I decide to put a couple of my favorite blues then I would. Thanks.

Susiefoo said:
I like it! I'm very interested in this as I'm thinking of setting up something similar. Can I ask - how does the cycle work in a tank like this? Do you have to cycle first before adding shrimp, and how does it sustain itself? Or is the bioload so low that there isn't a cycle as such?
Hi Susiefoo thanks for asking.

This set up works by providing the tank with everything needed to maintain a self sustaining ecosystem.

I'm sure you already know about the nitrogen cycle of aquariums: fish produce ammonia, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) turns ammonia into nitrites, nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) turns nitrites to nitrates, then the nitrates are removed by regular water changes.

In the Walstad method, you add plants to the aquarium enough to use up all the nitrates produced my the fish. The plants use the nitrates to grow and provide the fish with clean water and oxygen. In turn, the fish provides the plants with ammonia (which is easily accessible to use by the plants) and CO2, and their wastes collected in the gravel as further fertilizer. The soil substrate is actually a key factor. It's not only soil but also clay and seashells or limestone. The clay is natural red clay which provides iron supplement to the plants. The seashells, limestone, and/or crushed coral will provide additional minerals needed by plants, like phosphates, potassium, magnesium, and other trace minerals therefore eliminating the need for fertilizers. Some of these minerals are also added by fishfood. The soil is sifted all organic, no fertilizer potting soil. You need to make sure that it has no added fertilizer because many are toxic to the fish. The soil provides beneficial bacteria that will kick start the nitrogen cycle.

So in the El Natural tank, the nitrogen cycle goes like this:

•Fishfood and fish provide wastes and ammonia and CO2.

•Ammonia is taken up by soil bacteria (AOB and NOB), producing nitrates. Ammonia is also taken up by plants as a faster and easier source of nitrogen.

•Nitrates and CO2 are used by plants as a source of nitrogen to grow, providing clean water and oxygen for the fish.

•The soil mixture provide the plants with any additional needs to stay healthy.

•Topping off the tank with fresh treated tap water (from evaporation) and leftover fishfood provides additional minerals for the fish and plants.

You are then left with a tank that's almost maintenance free with no need for water changes! Just top off the water as it evaporates, feed your fish, and enjoy your naturally planted tank! I've done this method for tanks as big as 29 gallons and even did it for my 40 gallon pond to keep it maintenance free! If you go anything bigger than 10 gallons with this setup, a small filter or pump is recommended to help circulate the water. I have a 20 gallon filter set on half flow for my 29 and it's more than enough.

If you're interested in setting one up, let me know and I'd love to help you step by step!
 

Susiefoo

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Thank you SO much for that detailed explanation! It's really helpful. I am looking to get a 5 ish gallon shrimp tank as my Christmas present (I've been married long enough that I choose my own presents ) and would love to use this method. Thanks for your kind offer to help, I may just have to take you up on that once I've done some more research!
 

Idokrasi

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Very neat! I was thinking of trying something like this with my own shrimp culls once I get my main shrimp tank running again.
 

Ed204

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You mean in this tank or under my roof. Haha.

In the tank I'm housing three cherry shrimp culls (ugly ones you usually get rid of). I have a couple jade shrimp living with my Scarlet Badis and I have a breeding colony of blue velvet shrimp (14 breeding adults and 100+ shrimplets).
Hahaha, I'm planning to house some Scarlet Badis in the future, the problem is that they're really picky eaters.
 
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Paradise fish

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Ed204 said:
Hahaha, I'm planning to house some Scarlet Badis in the future, the problem is that they're really picky eaters.
Mine too!
 

Ed204

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Paradise fish

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I wish. It'll bite it then spit it back out.
 

Zerologist

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Hello Paradise fish ! May I know what is the capacity of your miniature version of the Walstad Method Shrimp Bowl on your picture above?

Thanks!
 
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Paradise fish

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Zerologist said:
Hello Paradise fish ! May I know what is the capacity of your miniature version of the Walstad Method Shrimp Bowl on your picture above?

Thanks!
I decided to cycle the "tank" with a simple pond snail first, but it should be enough to support two full grown dwarf shrimp (especially once the plants start to grow in)!
 

Zerologist

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Sorry but what I mean by "capacity" is the volume (gallons)...
 
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Paradise fish

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Zerologist said:
Sorry but what I mean by "capacity" is the volume (gallons)...
Oh. Haha it's a little more than a cup and a half.
 

junebug

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You just reminded me how much I love a simple Walstad tank.

Maybe I'll turn my office fish tank into a little shrimp tank The betta that was in it just passed away so it's sitting there, empty now.
 

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Thanks for your detailed post. How are the shrimp doing now? I just added 4 caridina cantonensis to my 2 gallon walstad bowl, RO water, heavily planted no other livestock. Added a small piece of cuttle to the water for calcium but wondering if I need to add additional supplements for mineralization?
 
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Paradise fish

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So cycling the small container was a bit of a task, but other than that my shrimp is doing fine! For minerals, I just do water changes with tap water. If I see nutrition deficiencies in my plants, I do a large water change in my other bigger tank, dose fertilizers in there, then use the fertilized water from the bigger tank to do a water change in my shrimp container.
 
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