Tag Archives | Tropical Fish

Adding Peppermint Shrimp to a Saltwater Aquarium

A couple of days ago at Aquarium Tip Tank I wrote about using the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System to acclimate all new livestock to the water conditions of your tropical fish tank. What I didn’t tell you is that I first used the system to acclimate 3 Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni)! These were the first of the cleaner crew, and the first of any livestock that I added to my 30 gallon saltwater tank. Today I will share some pictures and some aquarium tips for adding Peppermint Shrimp to a saltwater aquarium!

I have to admit, I had originally planned on adding a much larger cleaner crew to my tank. Unfortunately, when I asked my Local Fish Store (LFS) about a cleaner crew, the aquarium salesman said, “Well, we just took down our cleaner crew tanks and we’re about to start setting them back up. So, we probably won’t have much as far as cleaner crew goes for about 4 weeks.” My thoughts were, “Great. I’ve been cycling my tank for 4.5 weeks. I’ve got some diatoms blooming, and some algae starting to grow all over the live rock, live sand, and walls of my tank. Do they have anything in here that might eat some of that and help clear my tank up a little bit?”

Luckily, the LFS at least had some Peppermint Shrimp. While the Peppermint Shrimp is best known for enjoying a meal of nuisance Aiptasia, it will also scavenge the aquarium picking at the live rock and live sand for detritus, uneaten food, other nuisance algae, and decomposing organic material. Peppermint Shrimp have also been successfully tank bred.

While 3 Peppermint Shrimp won’t be a complete cleaner crew for my 30 gallon aquarium, it is at least a start. Like many invertebrates, Peppermint Shrimp can’t tolerate copper-based treatments or high nitrate levels. I’ve done some water testing and my water parameters are suitable, but I also know that if the Peppermint Shrimp survive, then some fish will survive too! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to put any aquarium livestock into unsuitable and stressful conditions. However, Peppermint Shrimp are abundant, have been successfully tank bred, and are sustainable. I’ve done everything that I can to ensure that aquarium conditions are suitable, and its time to acclimate these 3 Peppermint Shrimp and add them to my tank!

The bag of Peppermint Shrimp Hanging for Temperature Equalization while Dripping Aquarium Water Into it for Chemical Equalization

To read a little bit about acclimating new livestock check out what I wrote here.

2 Peppermint Shrimp in Corner of Bag being Acclimated

When the Peppermint Shrimp were done acclimating it was time to get them into the main tank. Whenever you do this with any livestock DO NOT just dump all of the contents of the bag into the main display tank. If the original water in that bag came from your LFS you have no idea what might be in there. If the water in that bag came from your quarantine tank, then it might contain the remnants of some copper based quarantine treatments (more on that later). Grab your trusty aquarium net, scoop up the Peppermint Shrimp, let the bag water drain back into the bag, and swiftly but gently add the Peppermint Shrimp to your main display tank!

One of the Peppermint Shrimp worked its way over to the corner of the tank under the heater.

Hopefully, the Peppermint Shrimp start exploring their new home and scavenging food from the live rock and live sand immediately after being added to the tank.

Peppermint Shrimp Hanging Out Upside Down Under Live Rock

Are you adding new tank mates to your aquarium? Show us! Leave comments below.

Stay tuned to Aquarium Tip Tank for the next round of cleaner crew additions!

TJ

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How To Make Saltwater for a Small Marine Aquarium

Yes, this one is pretty simple. However, there are a lot of people that shy away from starting a saltwater aquarium when they realize that they have to somehow make, or acquire, actual saltwater to fill their fish tanks with. In reality, mixing up some saltwater takes less time than running water through an RODI filtration system to get purified water. Some people don’t want to take the time to use an RODI filter, but we recommend an RODI filter to purify all of your water for any type of fish tank that you have, be it freshwater or saltwater.

Once you have your canisters of RODI purified water, it really only takes a few minutes to measure your salt mix, pour it into the purified water, mix, and test for specific gravity and salinity using a hydrometer or refractometer. I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt and literally just follow the directions on the back of the bag. Below, I’ve included a video about how I mix my saltwater.

In the end, it ends up that it takes almost exactly 2.5 cups of salt mix for me to make a 5 gallon bucket of saltwater. These days, I go ahead and put 2 cups straight into my RODI purified water, mix up the salt, do a quick specific gravity and salinity test, and add another 0.5 cup of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt. Obviously, I’m still starting out on the low end of specific gravity and salinity when I only have 2 cups of reef salt in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Personally,  I just like to test, and make sure that everything is mixing correctly.

So what do you do if you have a larger tank and you need to make more than 5 gallons of saltwater at a time? There are a few options here. One is to have several 5 gallon buckets of water. For example, if you have a 100 gallon home aquarium, you would need 20 gallons of saltwater to perform a 25% water change. You would need to make 4, 5 gallon buckets of saltwater and make sure that the water conditions all matched.

Maybe you have a 20 gallon container for your saltwater. Hopefully it has wheels. Just fill it up with RODI purified water and add 1o cups of Instant Ocean Reef Crystals Reef Salt.  You may want to start with 9 cups, do some specific gravity and salinity tests, and add more salt mix until you get to the correct water conditions. Try this the first couple of times and you may end up finding out that you’re adding that 10th cup of salt mix every time you go to make a 20 gallon container of saltwater.

Whatever way you decide to make your saltwater, and whatever type of salt mix you choose to use, it really isn’t very difficult to mix up some saltwater. Just follow the directions on the salt mix container, and remember to do a few quick checks of your water conditions while your making your saltwater.

Most salt mixes state that the saltwater you make with them can be used immediately. This is true, and some people do this without any detrimental effects to their saltwater tank. However, I like to let my saltwater sit for a little while before placing it into the tank. I like to make sure that all of the salt and all of the beneficial trace elements, and vitamins are properly dissolved in the water. This also allows the saltwater to have some time for gas exchange and oxygenation before pouring it into the tank. If you let your saltwater sit in a container for several days, make sure that you test the water conditions one more time before pouring it into your tank just to make sure that none of those water conditions changed unexpectedly.

How do you make your saltwater? What salt mix do you use? Leave comments below.

TJ

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