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aliclark330

Low-maintenance Invert Tank? - Total Noob

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aliclark330

Hello all, 

 

First of all, let me apologize if there is a good topic on this info elsewhere - I have been scouring the net for a few hours, and haven't been able to fully answer my questions, so I'm hoping to find some clarity here. I appreciate any time and information you can offer me, as there is still a whole lot that I don't understand. I realize that caring for aquatic life is a significant investment of time and money, and that my question seeks to (sort-of) skirt those caveats, so I hope I don't offend anyone - I have a lot of respect for the reefkeepers here and am just looking for some possible answers.

 

With that said, what I'm looking to do is set up a very small tank at work, with mostly plant life to observe, but I would very much like to have some kind of tiny invertebrate in there like a shrimp or crab. However, I can't really manage large or frequent water changes in the space I'm in, as it is the web department (still marveling that they're letting me have a tank at all). I have been wondering if it would be possible to set up a 2.5 - 5 gal tank with perhaps 1-2 shrimp, a crab, or a few snails, and then LOTS of plants to try and get away with smaller volume water changes once, maybe twice a week. I definitely wouldn't think of subjecting a fish to this; I had considered a betta early on but quickly learned how foolish an idea that was. Realistically, I know I might just have to stick with some cool aquatic plants (I've wanted a marimo forever and will just stick one in a jar with some lucky bamboo if everyone thinks this is a terrible/otherwise impossible idea) but I would really love to have something I can feed and watch move around a bit. Even sea monkeys, lol.

 

So, any suggestions for an ultra-low maintenance nano-tank? I've been looking at plants like marimo, anacharis, java fern, and lucky bamboo to have poking out the top. Would it be possible to add in any inverts? What type of maintenance would I be looking at if so? Would a filter/heater/additional light be necessary under those circumstances? Sorry for any stupid questions :blush:

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Astinus

I have seen Tanks with Fresh water shrimp.  I know somebody here does them, I can't remember who, though :(

:welcome:

I just did a quick Google search and found this.

http://www.aquariadise.com/7-easy-aquarium-invertebrates/

I did not read the entire page, but, they mention FW Shrimp.

 

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Weetabix7

So are you wanting to do a FW or SW setup?

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yungKitten

If you can do a 10% water change once a week you could even keep fish if you wanted to. 

* a fish

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Clown79

A 10-15% weekly water change is all thats necessary unless you have a heavily stocked tank or run into issues.

 

There are cherry shrimp that you can easily do, theres ghost shrimp as well. Snails are good too.

 

You could do a betta tank.

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aliclark330

Hey all,

 

Thanks so much for all the replies!

 

@Astinus Thanks for the link! There was another one on the page to a cherry shrimp care sheet, which also has some info that's been helpful. 

@Weetabix7 Either, honestly whichever makes the most sense. I have looked into sexy shrimp and am interested, but was unsure of the additional difficulties presented by saltwater tank keeping. 

 

@yungKitten @Clown79 Really, so a betta might be possible in that size? Would it basically be siphoning out that much (10-15%) from the water, replacing with treated water, and maybe turkey baster/algae sponge spot cleaning?

 

I would be ecstatic if I could have even just cherry shrimp and snails. I know betta can pick on shrimp, so was less certain about mixing, but would consider a betta only tank if the upkeep is about the same.

 

Thanks again!

 

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Weetabix7

A small group of Sexy Shrimp would be really neat and are easy to care for, but don't put them with Corals, other than maybe Leather Corals or Xenia. 

Their descriptions will usually say they are Reef Safe, but they will pick at corals. 

You can also put pretty Macroalgaes with them, this is the season to be able to find a good selection of Macro. 

 

You could also do:

http://www.kpaquatics.com/product/anemone-shrimp-spotted-cleaner/

or 

http://www.kpaquatics.com/product/anemone-shrimp-pederson/

 

and they can be kept in a Reef tank. 

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SeaFurn
On 4/10/2017 at 4:30 PM, Astinus said:

I know somebody here does them, I can't remember who, though :(

Check out the early pages of @natalia_la_loca 's thread (link below).  Besides her awesome reefbowl she's got an awesome shrimp bowl!  She hasn't updated us on the shrimp bowl in awhile though! (ahem)

 

 

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Astinus

TYVM SeaFurn :)

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natalia_la_loca

Shhh @SeaFurn! It's kinda messy :rolleyes: that said, it's kinda neat because it's not just low maintenance, it's no maintenance :) 

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Astinus

lol! :lol:

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Clown79

Sure you can have a betta in a 2-3g. 

A 15% weekly waterchange would be good.

 

You'd simply clean off algae, stir the substrate, vacuum(while syphoning), and replace with treated water.

 

Having a tank with a filter is the best option and getting a small heater is wise. Aqueon has heaters for 5g tanks.

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aliclark330

Wow, I love how active this forum is :) Makes me feel very at home even for knowing next to nothing about aquariums!

 

@Weetabix7 I had read about sexy shrimp damaging coral, but didn't know about Macroalgae as an option! I had been looking at a freshwater setup (because my interest in marimo actually started all this) but do think a saltwater tank would be gorgeous. Would the other shrimp you linked be alright in something 5gal or less? I had read some folks warning the feelers on Pederson shrimp could be too long for small setups, but that might be in more crowded circumstances. 

 

@SeaFurn @natalia_la_loca WOW, those are stunning! And pretty much exactly what I was thinking - I'm looking for little to no maintenance, if possible lol :P Your moss bowl is beautiful too. I hadn't heard of Opae Ula, but they seem very interesting - as mentioned, I'd really like to have a marimo ball in my setup, and was aiming for fresh/brackish water. However, all these lovely corals and macroalgae do have me reconsidering! Would you recommend the Opae Ula over something like cherry or ghost shrimp? I would like to be able to feed them/interact some what, but not tackle major water changes - is that possible with a setup like this?

 

@Clown79 That actually sounds pretty manageable! Would it be alright to have something like a snail or two in a tank like that? Otherwise, just a few plants and a marimo would be more than enough for me. I'll look into Aqueon - had been checking out the Fluval systems, which I understand are generally all-in-one except the heater, so that would be a great help. 

 

Thanks again to all!! You guys are great and I really appreciate the help. I started out just interested in marimo, now I'm googling sexy shrimp all day at work. Thanks a lot guys!! 

 

 

 

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Weetabix7

They would be fine in a tank that is 2g to 5.5g. I've kept them in a 4 gallon Macroalgae dominated tank just fine. 

Pics from that tank are in my sig, and here's a link to the Tank thread if you want to see what is possible with Macros: 

 

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natalia_la_loca

The choice is really a matter of preference. Cherry shrimp are 2-3 times as big and can be kept with a wider variety of plants but generally require more maintenance than opae'ula, as far as I know.  Although I have heard of people who do few/no water changes on cherry shrimp tanks.

 

Opae'ula are pretty limited in terms of the plant life that can handle brackish conditions.  The main reason I don't show mine off is that although the shrimp themselves are thriving, the biofilms they like to eat are not very pretty.

 

Overall, I would say cherry shrimp are more charismatic.  But opae'ula are pretty neat too, given that you don't ever have to feed them and they can live 20 years or more.  They also move around a lot, almost as much as mysis shrimp do.

 

And of course, sexy shrimp are sexy. (Until they start eating your zoas)

 

 

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aliclark330

@Weetabix7 Wow, that is a gorgeous tank. Checked out your thread as well, lots of great information and inspiration there - thanks!

@natalia_la_loca Hm, the cherry shrimp might be more my direction in terms of tank-interactivity - I'd like to be able to spot feed them, and having more plant life would be a plus, even if I have to do a 10-15% water change once a week. However, I've been reading up on the opae ula, and do find them extremely interesting. I've seen them housed with moss balls and macroalgae mostly, which could be enough green for me, but hadn't heard/noticed an issue with unsightly biofilm - could you elaborate on that?

(I did see some folks having issues with hair algae, excessive macroalgae growth, and in one case an unidentified bit of plant life creeping up the wall, but all cases appeared manageable via scraping/pruning)

Sexy shrimp still appeal to me, for obvious reasons (twerking shrimp? count me in) but is the unkeep for a tank like that significantly more than a freshwater one? Would it be okay to have a few sexy shrimp, macroalgae, and snails? Would that be a lot more work than a cherry shrimp setup?

Edit: thought of a probably-stupid question, but...is it okay to house red cherry shrimp and another color, such as blue velvet? I understand they are variations of the same species, but wasn't sure if there would be any problem. 

 

Sorry for all the questions!! Thank you all for your patience and help!

Edited by aliclark330

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natalia_la_loca

When people talk about macroalgae with regard to opae'ula tanks, they generally mean chaetomorpha. Not the prettiest macroalga, but it grows in brackish.

 

There is debate about whether marimo balls will grow in brackish. Best read up on it if you go that route.

 

this is the biofilm I'm talking about:

31533147665_d7e608ee3c_b.jpg

 

It kind of looks like a cross between cyano and hair algae. Something very similar grows in the Hawaiian anchialine pools that are their natural habitat. Horned nerite snails help keep the glass clean.

 

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yungKitten

I actually like it.

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aliclark330

@natalia_la_loca Wow, I love that - did you just wrap bits of the chaetomorpha around those 'tree' branches and let them grow? The 'grassy knoll' effect is really cool. I'm very impressed the snails keep the glass that clean as well. Have you done any other manicuring, or has all of that been natural growth? It really looks gorgeous, I'm actually leaning heavily towards a setup like that now. Has the population been reproducing? What is your maintenance schedule like? (I was checking out your whole thread and see you started around this time last year - super cool!) 

 

I realize I'm still full of questions, and I apologize - just getting more and more excited about this whole thing. Thanks again!

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natalia_la_loca

Ha, thanks :) it's not chaeto, that's the biofilm I was talking about. It grew on its own like that. I did remove a patch of it that was growing on the surface of the water.

 

my maintenance schedule is almost nothing. I top off once every month or two. I open the lid every couple of weeks for a few hours to give them some fresh air. That's all. No water changes, feeding or dosing.

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Astinus

Looks so cool and Au natural :)

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aliclark330

Wow, that's freaking phenomenal. Please do pardon my ignorance, this is all very new to me, but fascinating. I dug through your pico bowl thread and saw you're a painter as well, as a fellow artist I must say I take a lot of inspiration from both your aquascapes and your artwork. I'm pretty certain my girlfriend is getting tired of hearing about shrimp, but I'm lucky she's indulging me - haven't mentioned to her yet that a reef could be in our future :rolleyes: She did admit the opae'ula looked pretty cute, I will be sorry not to have more interaction with them, but I think it's a smarter place to start for someone like me (Never kept fish, had a hermit crab for almost a decade as a kid though).

 

I'm almost decided on an opae'ula bowl at this point. I was planning to order everything I can from Petshrimp.com, probably including some of the brackish mossballs (I'm content enough without a real marimo for now, maybe will do another freshwater planted bowl when I'm more prepared) and 1-2 snails.

 

Is there a min wattage of LED for growing the biofilm (or is that silly to worry about here)?

Would you recommend any specific substrate, wood, or rock for scaping?

Have you had the shrimp/snails reproduce in the past year?

 

Fantastic work, thank you again for all your time. 

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natalia_la_loca

Sweet :) i'd love to see some of your artwork! If there's a minimum wattage, I don't know what it is. They don't need super bright light. I have an old Skyye daylight over their bowl. I believe some people just have their opae'ula on windowsills.

 

Re: substrate, the only real need is to make sure you have some kind of aragonite in there to keep the pH up. I used leftover dry rock and aragonite flakes from my saltwater tanks. People have used all sorts of rocks, fake plants etc. in addition to that.

 

None of my shrimp or snails have bred. The shrimp get eggs from time to time, but none seems to have hatched. That seems to be a common experience based on what I've read in the Petshrimp forum. They often don't start breeding for a year or more.

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