Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

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NYCShrimp
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Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

Hello everyone! I'd like to introduce myself to this forum by admitting to a classic beginner's mistake: before stumbling across this forum, I read up on species of plants that would grow in the brackish water 1-gal tank I planned to release my Eco-Sphere prisoners into, and bought some Java Fern and Anubias Nana.

Right before drowning them in salty water that would eventually kill them, I discovered this forum! I decided to just fill the tank with treated freshwater, and keep the very basic UGF that came with the tank. It's been cycling with Dr. Tim's for a little over 2 months now, has beautiful growth, some copepods and algae, and a voracious zebra nerite snail named Ripley. It has zero ammonia and nitrites, is producing nitrates, and I do a 25% water change once a week. Things seem pretty stable, and the nerite is happy and pooping.

My question is this: could I put 3-5 cherry shrimp in this tank? My LFS gets some beautiful varieties and I've seen some chocolate sakuras, carbon Rilis and neon fire yellows come through. I'd love to upgrade to even a 5-gal, but living in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, NY, my space is pretty limited and I am stuck with this 1-gal for now (so scrapping it and getting a larger tank is not an option for the time being, though I am aware a bigger tank would solve all problems).

I don't want to end up with a stressed system, but I have a decent understanding of bio load and the chemical balance, and have been pretty vigilant about water parameters. I'd also be happy to wait a few more months with just the snail, to make sure things are OK. Any advice would be hugely appreciated, even if that advice is to just keep it as plants+snail only until I can make space for a larger tank (this would probably not be for years, alas).

Thanks!
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by Hyoscine »

It would be a bit cramped, but I don't think the bioload would be an issue. Really, your snail is going to be pooping more than ten shrimp would. The shrimp are a little more sensitive to changes in water quality though...

If you do get some shrimp, I'd get at least six; they're happier in groups. And add a few more shrimp friendly plants if you can. Marimo balls, or subwassertang are no hassle at all, and shrimp really like them. Frogbit might make the tank feel more homely too. Also, I'd stick with the most boring looking shrimp you can find; they've been through less selective breeding, and tend to be a bit hardier.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

Thanks for the thoughtful reply! You're absolutely right, the nerite is pooping all day every day. I think once I am absolutely sure that the tank is adequately handling all the snail waste, I'll see what my LFS has in terms of neocaridina. The "lowest grade"/least expensive shrimp I've seen them carry are still pretty stunning PFRs.

I have a marimo ball in the brackish tank I'm cycling for my opae ula, but it would probably be happier in the freshwater tank. I love the look of subwassertang, though! I'll see what my LFS has in stock, and pray it's snail-free. I'll see about posting some photos of it once it's got more inhabitants.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

Update! I added riccia, subwassertang, a clump of moss that came with the subwassertang(?), and frogbit. I now have 6 low-grade red rilis (mostly males) and one bright blue shrimp (my LFS had some and I really really really wanted him!). There are now 2 nerites in there because the one in my Opae Ula tank (Lyle) ate almost ALL the algae. Everyone is happy eating the piece of blanched zucchini I put in there every other day, along with the occasional algae wafer piece.

I am keeping up with 20% water changes every week and all parameters look great. I keep expecting something to go horribly wrong because it's a 1-gal, but it definitely cycled with zero ammonia and nitrites, produces nitrates at a constant rate, and seems like it's been stable over the now almost 3 months. I'll continue to watch it like a hawk, though.

I do add some Flourish Excel and liquid potassium every now and then with a measured dropper for the plants. Everything looks really great. My friends who have seen this tank have just been totally amazed by how vibrant and full of life it is. I can sit and watch it for hours and kind of zone out. It's my meditation on aquatic life :smt060
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

Also, I can pop the tiger nerite Lyle back and forth between the FW and brackish aquarium. He adjusts immediately and eats all the things. I wish I had just him for both aquariums-- one is enough to keep them both clean.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by Mustafa »

How's this tank doing? I think you can go with 20% water change every two weeks if your bioload isn't too great and still do ok.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

I definitely over-did the water changes and lost a couple shrimp afterwards. The bio-load is very low (one nerite died and I am switching the other between this tank and the opae ula tank), and they seem to be much happier with smaller water changes every 2 weeks, which is what I've been doing! I've been using bottled Spring Water...would it be better to use NYC tap water with Prime? I have a huge bottle of it and it only takes a drop per gallon.

I actually just bought a new tank on Cyber Monday. It's a 2.5 gallon all-glass tank with a little HOB filter that I am tricking out with bio-balls and ceramic, and a prefilter sponge. I'm going to try to cycle it with some stuff from the little tank over the next few weeks. I think they'll be a lot happier in there. None of them have saddles, currently, but I think it's because I was bothering them too much initially with too-large, too-frequent water changes. Right now they seem super happy.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

Also, how much should I be feeding 5 shrimp? I've been giving them a tiny fraction of a sinking pellet every 2 or 3 days, and a chunk of zucchini (mostly for the nerite) maybe once or twice a week.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by Mustafa »

NYC tap water with prime *should* be fine. The only issue with NYC tap water is that it has really high levels of Phosphate (about 2 ppm). Other than that it's almost like RO water. :) I wish I had NYC tap water here in San Diego. Our tap water is almost brackish.

As for food...it all depends on how greedily the shrimp attack the food and how much algae are in the tank. I'd try a tiny piece of food, see how they react. If they don't care...wait a few days and try again...if they still don't care...wait a week etc.
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by Mustafa »

Mustafa wrote:NYC tap water with prime *should* be fine. The only issue with NYC tap water is that it has really high levels of Phosphate (about 2 ppm). Other than that it's almost like RO water. :) I wish I had NYC tap water here in San Diego. Our tap water is almost brackish.

As for food...it all depends on how greedily the shrimp attack the food and how much algae are in the tank. I'd try a tiny piece of food, see how they react. If they don't care...wait a few days and try again...if they still don't care...wait a week etc.
Do you still have this tank?
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by NYCShrimp »

I do! I actually overdosed if with anti-worm meds a few months ago and killed everything :(

However, I cleaned the crap out of it, changed the filters and vacuumed the gravel, and am just now starting over again. I have 3 neocaridina in there and they seem to be fine so far (it's been 1.5 weeks), but I don't plan to put nerites in there for a long long time.

It's a gorgeous little tank and was doing very well until I tried to kill the worms. The plants are still thriving beautifully, though!
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Re: Accidental 1-Gal Planted Tank

Post by Mustafa »

Yeah..don't do anything drastic next this time around. ;-) :-D
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