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Tiger Shrimp water parameters: tap & tank inconsistency

Dan Nguyen

13 Nov 2018
Good evening all,

I've kept Tiger Shrimp a few years back in regular tap water and they lived for a year or so but didn't breed, and I want to do it right this time. My current setup has been running for a month and a half. It's a planted 40x40x30 filled up to about 12cm (18-20 litres) with emersed growth above the surface, and I've used ADA Amazonia Light for its soft water properties. However, the tap water in Bristol is hard, which I imagine will be a problem during water changes. Since I can't afford an RO unit, I've bought the ADA Soft Water Conditioner, which does alter my tap, but not enough to match the Amazonia levels in the tank closely. I am planning to buy a big jug of RO water from the LFS for top-ups, but I don't fancy traveling 2 miles there by foot, paying for it, and carrying it back up the hill every few weeks or buying an RO unit just for this small tank and remineralising for water changes (student life).

Untreated tap:
PH 7.6
GH 13
KH 8

Tap + ADA Soft Water:
PH 6.8
GH 13
KH 8

Tank (using Soft Water + buffered by Amazonia):
PH 7
GH 13
KH 2

As you can see, there is a slight difference in PH and a big difference in KH between the water I'd use during water changes and the water in the tank. The Conditioner does make my tap more acidic, but it doesn't seem to do what is actually advertised (ie soften the water). Do you think if I do the water changes slowly enough, the parameter differences won't affect moulting and breeding too much? I have read that stability is the key, but I find that it's somewhat confusing in terms of water changes; does it mean tiny water changes around twice a week or less frequent changes as to let the shrimp moult cycle in peace without sudden changes? I don't think nitrate would be a problem even with fortnightly water changes even though the substrate holds some, because the tank is quite heavily planted.

Sorry for the wall of text and questions, but I really do want to get it right this time before I even consider buying shrimp. Any help would be greatly appreciated.