How do you clean substrate when you have shrimp?! An odyssey

OP
AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
3,057
Reaction score
4,283
Location
UK
If you keep shrimps, you may want to have two different sizes of siphon.
One big siphon and one small siphon with adjustable flow rate to prevent the shrimps from being sucked into the siphon especially the shrimplets that are extremely small.


But when you want to siphon out the debris from the gravel, use a smaller siphon with adjustable flow rate.
You can adjust the flow rate to be slower and you can clean just a small area of the gravel.
I also avoid going too close to places where I can't see the shrimps clearly.
I only siphon mostly the front part of my tank where I can see them clearly and places without plants or the open area.
Thank you kindly! I had a larger syphon when I first got my tank, but found it frustrating trying to work around plants, and it drained the water level too low before I'd finished cleaning the gravel, even with pausing the flow while moving to different sections, so I bought the smallest syphon in the store so I could around and in between plants. I just use that one now since the tanks are only 15-16 gallons anyway, and it works well :) I always gravel vac when I do a water change anyway. I've been lazy about cleaning the back part of the tank at times, since it's the most densely planted part, but it's also where the filters are and a lot of plant sheddings end up. I ended up with a few kinds of algae and possibly some cyanobacteria because of too many organics in the water, so I'm being more careful about making sure I raise the sponge filter off the gravel and clean all around and under it, and those plant bases. A lot of muck does gather there! On balance, I'd rather spend time carefully searching buckets for shrimplets than do battle with cyanobacteria *shudders*

On the 55 gallon though, without shrimp, the bigger the syphon, the better! It's my dad's tank and since he's in his 80s and was neglecting the tank, I took over maintenance before I really got into keeping fish myself. His fish cupboard is full of random fish stuff, and I found two syphons. One had a ridiculously short hose that made it rough to start a syphon or reach the back, the other had a longer hose so I just used that one, for the past year. But cleaning the 55 always left me in pain. Despite being tall, I could only just really reach with the tube over the side of the side of the glass to the gravel and it made to hard to see what I was doing - and reaching the back hurt too, and the hood doesn't help and isn't easily removed. I always worry that I'll get careless and put too much pressure on the front glass while trying to reach, and break it, and by the time I've cleaned the gravel and pulled 5-6 fifteen litre buckets from the tank, my back and arms are killing me. No shrimp to avoid in that tank, luckily, just molly/platy fry. My small syphon is useless in there both because it would take forever to drain enough water and because the gravel in there is much larger and gets jammed in the tube.

I've been planning to buy a syphon with a much longer tube bit so I'd dread water changes on that tank less. Compared the tube sections of the syphons in the store last week, but the length of the tube was the same as the small ones, the bigger ones were just wider and had longer hoses. Then I dragged out the other syphon with the short hose he had tucked away and compared, and the tube was just that bit longer than the other! So I switched the hoses and used the longer tube with the longer hose, and omg, the difference it makes! Kicking myself royally for spending a year doing painful water changes, when I had the equipment to make it so much easier right there :oops:

So I agree, the right syphon for the right tank is important! Don't be like me and use a stupid one for a year because you haven't got around to measuring how long a tube you want and you have more urgent things to do. Makes maintenance so much easier to have the right tools.
 
OP
AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
3,057
Reaction score
4,283
Location
UK
I changed the gravel and sand for my shrimps tank last week.
I had to change the sand in my shrimps tank as it caused my water GH to increase to 9.

It took me one whole day to move them as my tap water GH is 5.
I put all my shrimps and some fish in a small tank and did a slow acclimatization of about 7 hours.

But now I realized that I should have switched to my bigger tank of 25 gallons instead of using back my 15 gallons tank.
Probably, I may move them again in the future.
Oh man, catching and moving all those tiny shrimp... not surprised it took all day! Did you have a lot of the really tiny almost invisible baby ones to move? I'm excited about new set ups, but I know it's going to be a big job to move all those little shrimp.
Love that there are other people out there who will go to that much trouble to find babies I ended up with multiple tubs of water dotted around my living room and the house house took on a decidedly fishy smell until I could be 100% sure all my lil dudes were safe haha. I'm pretty sure I got gray hairs during the process too
Haha, I love that others go through a whole process to save them too! I was shocked and a bit sad when I saw someone on another forum say that it didn't matter if some got thrown out in the water since they breed so much anyway, seemed really heartless to me. I'm not trying to save each tiny one because I worry I won't have enough shrimp, it's because I hate the thought of throwing any out and them inevitably dying because of me.

I know there's a good chance that I will have missed a few in the mulm, and accidentally thrown them out, or will in the future :( This little ninja baby nearly wasn't spotted even, but I can't think about that too much. I know that it hasn't/won't happen for lack of care or from not trying to save them, even if it means spending a few hours coming back to check the buckets now and then and re-acclimating them to the tank. :) They don't usually give me this much trouble, so I hope this specific little dude avoids the syphon on the next water change!
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
11,127
Reaction score
6,877
Location
Teesside, UK
When I had to close the 50 litre tank and move the occupants, I counted them all. I managed to find 92 shrimps from adults down to babies. I know I must have missed some babies as well :(
 
OP
AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
3,057
Reaction score
4,283
Location
UK
When I had to close the 50 litre tank and move the occupants, I counted them all. I managed to find 92 shrimps from adults down to babies. I know I must have missed some babies as well :(
It clearly wouldn't have happened through lack of trying or being careless though. You clearly care a lot and devised a system to try to save as many as you could!

Ooohh, gonna have to count them as I move them when that finally happens. :D I remember when I only had one tank, and had way more guppy fry survive than I expected, since the adults just didn't seem to eat fry, so I got a second tank for a grow out tank. I had to empty and move the first tank so I could put in a bigger tank stand for both tanks, so I set up new tank on the floor temporarily, moved filter and things over to it, then set to catching and moving the fish. I had like five adult females and one male, and I estimated I probably had 40 odd fry of different sizes. So I counted as I caught them all up, which took ages. Every time I thought I was done, I'd spot another tiny fry. Final count? 83 baby guppies :oops:

I leaned that I'm terrible at estimating, especially in a densely planted tank with tiny things that hide. I can easily count between 30-40 RCS without trying too hard, and that's just the ones that are red enough to spot, so it'll be fun to see how many are really in there. Very happy that they will stop breeding once they run out of space though. If only guppies did the same thing.
 

Lajos_Detari

Fish Herder
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
918
Is that a garra? I've only seen a video of them once, adorable chubby little things!

No, it's a Panda Loach.
Just like the cute Panda Corydoras, this Panda Loach is also very cute.
And the young ones are so small just like the size of a Red Cherry Shrimp.
I think they are great algae eaters as they will swim and crawl every part of my tank and they will graze on the glass, the wood, the gravel, sand, caves, etc.. They are very active.

 
Last edited:

Lajos_Detari

Fish Herder
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
1,065
Reaction score
918
I guess if you can DIY a long hose with a water pump(power head) to connect your 55 gallons tank to your bathroom or garden will be helpful for removing your tank water.
I attached some photos if you are interested.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20200804_092558.jpg
    IMG_20200804_092558.jpg
    278.5 KB · Views: 33
  • IMG_20200806_095341.jpg
    IMG_20200806_095341.jpg
    203.5 KB · Views: 20
  • Power head.PNG
    Power head.PNG
    276.6 KB · Views: 21
  • Submersible water pump 1.PNG
    Submersible water pump 1.PNG
    331.7 KB · Views: 23
  • water pump.PNG
    water pump.PNG
    119.7 KB · Views: 21
OP
AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
3,057
Reaction score
4,283
Location
UK
I've just cleaned the shrimp tank and rescued 3 tiny baby shrimps from the bucket. They were about 1 mm long.
They're so cute and yet so annoying!
I fished a few out from the buckets on the last water change, but thankfully none of them hid or gave me the runaround like that 5 hour ninja baby!
I did have one older/almost adult shrimp actively choose to swim up the syphon tube. I had my thumb over the bucket end and was trying to shoo the shrimp away (do yours not want to move either? Mine don't care about the syphon!) and he swam up there! I had to lift the tube out and pour him back in. First time that's happened to me.

I was stressing them out though I think because I did a deep clean and moved some plants around, so their usual hiding spots weren't right.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
11,127
Reaction score
6,877
Location
Teesside, UK
My cherry shrimps have no fear of the siphon tube, though if it gets too near they usually jump backwards. Baby shrimps are just too small to fight the current and are impossible to see against sand.

Daisy's rice fish are not afraid of the siphon tube either. I'm forever having to shoo them away when I do a water change on my big tank.
 

seangee

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
4,334
Reaction score
3,404
Location
Berks
My chili rasbora and microdevario kubotai are not only not afraid. They are insatiably curious and actively try to swim up the tube even if I am shooing them away. The ember tetras are not far behind. Although I do try to avoid sucking them up I have resorted to buying a large plastic sieve and emptying my buckets into that as a matter of course. I do drain the two tanks concerned into jerry cans, so netting them out of the bucket is not an option.
 

trending

Members online

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Top