Originally Posted by D-rock
hello all not new to the app but new to posting, i want to start by saying love the help everybody shares with tha said im in the process of setting up a 30g shrimp tank and plan on using stratum rocks drifwood plants etc but for set up should i cycle the water before i plant or is it ok to plant then cycle?
If you want, you can do a "silent cycle".
This is a good idea for your setup because shrimp need an established tank with a healthy supply of biofilm / algae and you are planting it, so you have some time to dial in good plant growth.
Stratum is a good substrate, just make sure to use 100% RO
water (you want 0 degrees kH
because the substrate acts as a buffer) and boost the RO
water to whatever gH
level you desire. You can use a homemade blend of K2SO4, CaSO4 and MgSO4, or you can buy some over the counter such as Salty Shrimp or Seachem Equilibrium.
Driftwood is a good idea. Try boiling it several times, swapping out for fresh water as the old water gets dirty. This will help reduce the amount of tannins in the water (if you don't want stained water) and will kill any bad organisms living on the wood. Use Seachem Purigen in your filter to remove tannins if you want.
As for plants, it really depends on your water source, light source, nutrient source and carbon source. What are your lights? What are the dimensions of your 30g tank? Do you plant on using CO2
? What fertilizers would you like to dose? What plants do you like the look of? What water source are you using?
As for the silent cycle I mentioned, Plant the tank from day 1. The plants will shed some biomass which will decompose in your tank creating ammonia. Plants will utilize ammonia as a Nitrogen source, and they will bring beneficial bacteria into your system to help seed the tanks bio-filter. You can dose a small amount of ammonia (say 1ppm) but it is not 100% necessary. During the first few weeks, focus on getting the plants growing really well. During this time, the cycle will be taking place on it's own. By the time you've got the plants growing nicely, and the tank looking good, there should be enough algae / biofilm to support some shrimp, and enough of a biofilter to support the initial starting colony.
Which shrimp are you planning on keeping? Neocaridina probably will not like a buffering substrate such as Stratum.