Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inert Substrate Trail/Experiment

I've been a long time advocator of using active buffering substrate when keeping bee shrimps but as we all know, active substrate is pricy and can be very expensive. With prices ranging anywhere from $30-$40/bag, it can really add up depending on how many tanks and the size of tanks you want to setup.

As such, I wanted to try to find an alternative substrate that would be more cost efficient and that would allow me to better allocate my funds towards other things like more fancy shrimps or other fancier equipments. One of my goals with using Eco-Complete is to have a sustainable tank for years to come and avoid having to swap out the substrate as the buffering exhausts, something more commonly experience among those using active substrates. Myself, I've been using the same ADA Amazonia  for my 10 gallon PRL tank for roughly 3 years before needing to swap and restart the tank. My goal this time around is to avoid the hassle and have a tank sustainable nearly indefinitely. I believe having an active substrate tank for 3 years before needing to swap the entire tank is actually pretty good, but I'm not aiming for good this time. I'm aiming for perfection.  :)

After spending the better half of my Friday doing nothing but tank maintenances and tearing down the revamped tank, I am pretty happy to have the entire process completed and over. It was a lot of work to drain the water, net the shrimps, re-home the PRL, remove the substrate, clean the tank, and tint the tank. This was all done on a 91F day... it wasn't fun...

The Eco-Complete had a really smelly smell, so in the meantime, I will be cycling the tank with regular tap before I flush and seed it with RODI mineralized with the Bianco Products. Of course, this new tank will utilize the entire Shrimpy Daddy lineup.

Another goal I hope to prove (SD has already proved this, but I want to prove for myself) that it is doable to breed and maintain a thriving colony of bee shrimps (in this case my JRB) inside a inert tank.

The believe the first few months will be present a difficult situation as I try to maintain the tank's parameters (because I will not have the active substrate helping me) but as the tank matures it will slowly stabilize the work will be lesser on me.

As per usual, below pictures shows my tank setup in SD fashion. Please enjoy.

The Goods

Step 1: Cleaned Tank

Step 2: Revive Vita 

Step 3: The Sinewy Cereal S

Step 4: Revive Vivace

Step 5: Revive Minerals

Tank is filled, filter is hooked up, and light is turned on. I'll provide an update once I perform a flush to clean up the water inside the tank. It's currently very murky and unsightly. In the mean time, I'm going to even out the substrate in an increasing slope (for photo taking) and slur the substrate lightly while I'm at it. This will help release any gunky substrate stuck in the substrate. My plan is to be as eco-friendly as possible, and being that California is currently in a drought, I want to get the maximum results for the least amount of water used.  

PS: In hindsight, I'd probably should have gone with the Eco-Compete Flora Max which is the dried form of the Eco-Complete. It's a little bit better and probably easier for me and helps me avoid this murky look. Hmm....note for the future I suppose. 

Anywhose, cheers and thank you for reading! Stay tuned for my next update!


  1. Replies
    1. Tank is up now. Fully cycled. Now i'm working on dropping the pH so that I can keep JRB.