Shrimp Haven, Low-tech Carpets, & Cool Anubias

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Paradise fish

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1 year

I created this unique set up as a luxury forever paradise for my Fantasy Blue Dream Velvet Shrimp. It contains everything a dwarf shrimp could ever want and then some.

To start out with I chose a 20L as I knew that I have quite a lot of bio load to account for. As many of you know, you can keep up to 10 dwarf shrimp of several different sizes and age in one gallon of water with little issue to the bio load. The shallow depth will also be perfect for low to medium light demanding plants with my Finnex Stingray.

I added three small filters each rated up to 7 gallons. I personally think that having several small filters is better than having one large one, especially with low flow aquarium inhabitants. Also, I already had two of these filters so it was much cheaper to get another one. Sponge over each intake to be shrimp safe and also add a lot more bio capability.


One of the debates of shrimp keeping is whether to go with active substrate (like aquasoil) or inert substrate (like pool filtration sand). I decided to do both. First I covered the whole bottom of the tank with Eco Complete black that I used a strainer to filter out the larger particles. Used the finer portion that's like coarse sand or fine gravel. I built the three glass containers from cut glass from Lowe's then filled them up Walstad Method fashion (topsoil/clay/minerals mixture capped with gravel) but used Seachem Fluorite Sand (inert substrate) instead of gravel. The dirt mixture contains lots of organics and will actively lower the pH, as well as produce CO2. I also filled the gaps between the container and the aquarium glass with pool filtration sand so no shrimp get stuck between.


There's a question if shrimp need plants and if so what kinds are best. The truth is, yes. Shrimp like plants, but don't need them. As for the types, as long as the plants are dense the shrimp will love it. This makes moss a easy candidate as it's compact and easy to grow. But other dense plants like carpet plants are great as well.

I made three containers of planted substrates as a side project to see what's the easiest carpet plant to grow in a no CO2, no fertilizer, no high lighting condition. The choices were:
1. Regular baby tears (hemianthus micranthemoides). Grows the best.
2. Monte Carlo. Grows very slowly.
3. S. Repens. After acclimated grows very well.
4. Regular hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula). Stagnant. Had some vertical growth at first. Not dying, but not noticing any noticeable new growths. It's just, there.

In between the containers I have Bucephalandra attached to granite and Anubias Nana Petite on lava rocks. Growing great. In front I have several different types of moss I'm growing out on DIY moss pads. In the first picture you see Taiwan moss, along with some cheap bulb plants and Marimo balls. Second picture has a carpet of Anchor moss. It's really good at carpeting. In the third you'll see flame moss.

I think I'm turning into a Anubias collector as right now I have two very rare types of them. Anubias Nana Pangolino, the smallest anubias in the world, and Anubias Nana Pinto, a beautiful anubias with leaves that are pure white to marbled to white speckled light green. Saving up for other rare types. These shrimp help me to keep these plants clean and healthy.


Shrimp Essentials
In every shrimp tank, there should be some items that covers several tasks.
1. Creates and promote the production of bio film. Driftwood is renowned for its ability to do so. I have a piece of boiled Cholla wood and almond leaves that's really good at doing this as well as several lava rocks. I always promote lava rocks and driftwood as your go to hardscaping materials for shrimp tanks.
2. Creates a safe haven. Moss as well as stacked lava rocks and driftwood will provide a safe hiding place for young shrimplets. The underside of a Almond leaf or sponge filter can provide this as well.

3. Helps to promote optimal water conditions. My tap water, although it's great being filled with minerals and micro elements as well as having no chlorine, is practically liquid rock with very high kH. I strongly believe in not tampering with your pH as it'll only be more trouble, especially when trying to lower it (unless you have a RO unit). Instead, I recommend having buffers in your aquarium which will help promote the conditions you'd like to have. For example, if you're wanting higher pH, add play sand, limestone, crushed shells/coral, and other carbonate based materials in your aquarium. Or chuck a whole cinder block in it. If you want a lower pH, use active substrates like ADA, Fluval Stratum, or Aquavitro Aquasoil. Add organics like driftwood, leaf litter, aldercones, and lots of carbonate loving plants. Use peat moss in a media bag as your mechanical filtration in your filter. Or dump it in the aquarium. But unless you like the look of tannins, your only natural option is to use active plant substrate. So I put some in a small acrylic container and added it into my aquarium. This will help buffer the pH and slowly lower the kH.

This shrimp tank is self sufficient and balanced to the point where all I have to do is feed and add water from evaporation. There's no added fertilizers, pressured or injected CO2, or much algae. There's no sign of ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates. No need for water changes or gravel vacuuming as the waste products are used by the plants. Every month or so I do a small leisurely water change and harvest any overgrowth of plants/moss and catch some shrimp culls to sell off.

I sold off the less desired colors over time, but I still have over 200 shrimp. Right now I mostly have the deepest blue dreams left that still need to grow. They love their new tank and grow really fast in here. I hope to breed them to produce a pure and true line of these highest quality Blue Dreams, with their culls still being quality Blue Dreams. Their color rivals that of high quality Royal Blue Tiger shrimp, but more hardy with less than half the care and attention to water conditions necessary.

Sergeant Pepper

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3 years
I'm impressed. Beautiful and Awesome Setup


Valued Member
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4 years


Well Known Member
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3 years
Very impressive!
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