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Peppermint shrimp... jar... thing?

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So, like many people, my experience with peppermint shrimp has been pretty terrible. I got this guy for free, and he ended up terrorizing my anemone and my hammer. No real damage done, but still. I caught him in a trap, threw him down into a bucket with some saltwater, a filter, and a few strands of caulerpa, and said that I'd take him to the store at some point.

 

Well, I never made it to the store, and seeing him so dark and discolored made me feel kinda bad - I mean, it's not his fault that he's an anemone-eating menace, right? He'd probably even be great for Aiptaisia, if I had any. I ended up getting a bit bored, and wanted to get the big 5 gallon bucket out of my crowded floor. So, I set up a 3 gallon jar that takes up ALMOST as much space! Makes sense, right?

 

This jar is just going to be a catch-all from stuff that I don't want in my 10 gallon. Caulerpa, extraneous macros, pesty inverts, whatever I happen to have too much of. It'll be receiving a 4 liter (1 gallon-ish) water change weekly, with water freshly drained from my 10 gallon. I don't feel like dosing this tank for the macros, so hopefully the "dirty" water from my main tank will help keep those fed, and it'll be cost-effective, too.

 

I used old base rock (cleaned), with a cycled sponge in the internal filter. The jar itself is just one of the massive glass jars from Walmart - they were used pretty often in the pico contest. I set it up a while back, and quickly upgraded. 

 

Equipment list:

 

3 Gallon Candy Jar

Top Fin Internal Filter

Old 12" Finnex LED Strip (plenty for most macros)

 

Livestock:

1x Bastard Shrimp

Caulerpa Prolifera

Dragon's Breath

 

I'm running this tank without a heater (for now), because as far as I can tell, the shrimp doesn't really require one. They're found as far north as Charleston, and seawater gets below 60 in the winter - the tank runs 68 at it's lowest, and usually hovers right at 70. No issues so far, although I will add a heater if it becomes necessary.

 

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Yes - it is ugly. This was thrown together at 1 AM out of pure boredom, and a strong will not to start eating sunchips or something. I'll probably be removing that solid piece of rock in the top left, and I'll be removing the caulerpa from the straw once it starts growing a bit. I just zip-tied it onto the straw to keep it from floating and getting caught in a place where it can't get light. You can see the little piece of dragon's breath on the far right - it was trapped under a rock in the 10 gallon, and I threw it in here to see how it'd do at room temp under a planted tank fixture. The hope is to make this look better as I go, and to fiddle with this tank instead of the main one. Trying to keep disasters from happening 😂

 

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That's a nice new home for him.

 

Pico jars are fun and I found mine very easy to maintain

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Yeah, I enjoyed the size of the tank when I had it set up the first time. I just wasn't a fan of not being able to keep a lot of the fish and inverts that I like - with a larger tank at my disposal, I think I can really enjoy this one. Nothing much simpler than some saltwater in a jar on my floor.

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So, while this thread was created on Sunday, the tank itself was set up on Friday. So there has been SOME time for things to settle in, and here's what I'm noticing:

 

The shrimp molted. I know that can also be a sign of stress, so I'm not writing it off as a good thing - but, it survived the molt and is doing well. It's still picking at the molt right now, but I'll remove it tomorrow to avoid polluting the tank.

 

The same Caulerpa that's growing very slowly in my 10 gallon under reef lighting has thrown out several new runners and has sprouted a few new leaves since being added to the tank. It's a brilliant green, too. I know the color is likely a product of the daylight lighting, but I can't explain the growth, other than maybe the caulerpa simply doesn't like the actinic lighting? I read that most green macros are collected from relatively shallow waters, so I guess that makes sense - I just didn't expect such a huge difference.

 

The Dragon's Breath has gone from almost completely yellowed to the red that I love about this macro. In my main tank, it does well - lots of growth, and decent color. But it's not as pleasing to the eye as the stuff is under daylight lighting.

 

So, have other people found that macros just don't do too well under super blue lighting? In the future, when keeping most macros, should I shoot for a more daylight light? Or, is there another variable that I'm just not thinking of? The only difference in water quality is that this stuff is a bit dirtier (nitrates are running around 20 PPM, with PO4 running around 0.1).

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I think most macros utilize warmer spectrums than corals do.  They need more red/white than blue to grow and photosynthesize.  I prefer whiter tanks overall but definitely with macro I'd try to keep to 14,000k or less.  I'm glad dragon's breath is doing well for you, I've tried it probably 8-10 times and it dies every time. :sad:

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That'd make sense, especially with the macros that hail from shallower waters. I also prefer tanks a bit whiter, but after giving this tuna blue bulb about a week... I kinda like it. I wish I could get a better mix of color, but the corals and anemone seem to really be liking it, and the firefish really fluoresces under it too. Maybe I'll mix in one of the 50/50 bulbs with it at some point - or I'll just DIY a fixture and kinda get a good mix. 

 

The dragon's breath seems kind of like a toddler that keeps on bumping into the coffee table. I've noticed that it grows pretty decently, but it shades itself out pretty quickly. I've got a dead spot in the center of the macro, because I didn't think about that portion being in the corner and not receiving any light. But, I enjoy how it looks, so hopefully I'll figure out a way to get a corner filled with it.

 

I'll probably throw in a couple pieces of Codium to see if it does any better under the planted tank lighting tomorrow. It's growing in my 10, but not super well. Maybe I'll learn some stuff with this little tank!

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Sat down to finish up a scholarship essay, and lost about 20 minutes just watching the shrimp do... shrimp things. Eating pellets, sifting through the muck on the floor, and doing a little dance. Kinda crazy how simple things can be so enjoyable, huh?

 

I ended up not moving out that rock, since he's been pretty active and I feel like removing part of the scape would give him less crawling room, if that makes sense. I'd like to get something that looks better, but I think what I have is working.

 

I forgot to throw in some Codium, so oops. I'll try and do that this weekend. I also need to figure out a way to get the caulerpa and the dragon's breath to stay put. I'll probably use zip ties for the dragon's breath, but I've found that caulerpa dies off when it's zip-tied. It's done it in both of my tanks. I'm sure it's already attached to the rock, but still, I'll have to figure something out to get it to fill in the rest of the rock to try and get things to fill in.

 

As for the shrimp, at this point, I'm pretty sure the cooler water isn't having any adverse effects. It does hide some during the day, but it usually comes out around feeding time. It's got good color, and I kinda get why some people love invert-only picos so much now. There's some interesting behavior that goes on.

 

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