My last old Oscar finally died, he was one of a pair I bought when they where about 11/2" long.
I was left with a very well "cycled" 55 gal
. tank with an over kill filter, (Fluval 304) and lots of rather expensive but algae covered plastic/fabric plants.
I wanted a community tank but something different than the tropicals and Cichlids I`m used too, so decided to try shrimp.
I cleaned the tank, but not real well, so as to avoid a long cycling before set up. I just rinsed every thing with the garden hose. Scrubbed the plastic plants as best I could with a bit of dish soap then boiled them quickly and rinsed them again. The rocks I scrubbed with a brush and rinsed. Then I went down to the local creek and gathered some "bog wood" from the clear fast moving water, this I just gave a quick rinse to knock off any loose stuff, left a little moss/algae on it.
I set the whole thing up with the old gravel and old filter media, some tap water (our water is very good here, just let it stand for a 24 hrs and can use for cycle with any thing) and left it for 3 days. Then I changed out the charcoal only and left it another 24hrs.
I started with just the 6 Neons then added more fish over the next 2 weeks. The shrimp went in after about 3 weeks, and 2 days after the first water change along 6 Cherry Barbs.
The tanks is now about 6 weeks along. I have a lot of wood, some stick to the glass fabric plants and some plastic ones in the gravel as well.
I wanted lots of cover for shrimps, a moss carpet but I don`t want live plants as its too hard keeping it stable here as the temperature range is huge even with a good fan.
Solution was some floating plastic plants that look 'moss like" when bunched together. I tied them together around the "roots" with some old sinking type fly fishing line I had, then poured some fine gravel over them carefully. It looks great and because it kinda spikey the fish can`t get into it, only the 4 Kuli Loachs get underneath it.
The tank is 6 weeks along now and has 8 Z.danios,10 WCM Minnows,6 Neons,6 1/2 grown Cherry Barbs,4 Kuli Loachs, 3 amano shrimp, 7 "Sakura" aka red cherry shrimp and at least 4 1/4" Sakura/RCS shrimplets. I lost 1 RCS a day after introduction and 1 Amano escaped and died, thet rest of the fish and shrimp are growing very well...ALL the female shrimp are berried now even the Amano shrimp that can`t fully reproduce in fresh water have eggs.
I am planning to add 6 more Neons and a couple of Dwarf Gouramis as a "center piece".
The goal is to have a reproducing RCS colony that can handle some loses to the fish. I have a few shrimplets that are almost big enough to be safe from the fish now, from the one RCS that has finished her first brood. The adult shrimp are quite brave and the fish let them alone. The 2 female Amano shrimp are the "bosses" now at nearly 3" (they double size in 6 weeks) and take food from the fish at will. The RCS hide to change shells or when ready to drop shrimplets but otherwise are out in the open.
So far so good, although my tank seems to have NO algae left anywhere thanks to the Amanos I am now adding bits of algae waffer to the flake food every 3 days or so. The plastic plants never looked so clean.... I`ll try to put a few pics up soon.