Need advice, low tech shrimp tank..


May 8, 2007
Hey all,

Well i've been inspired to do a low tech low light rimless tank dedicated to shirimp. I know that fish poop will fertilzie the plants, but in the case of shrimp i'm assuming that they will not create as much waste so should i dose than?

I am doing a 21 gallon custom rimless tank, sponge filter, 2x18 watt of light (approx 1.7 wpg).

For my plants i was thinking of a bit driftwood in the middle off center, with java moss all over it and a java fern on the top, and then all the rest of the substrate will be covered by blyxa japonica.

What do you guys think about this, any advice for dosing fertz.. if needed.. i wanna make this a low maintanance and low tech tank, so staying away from water changes...

Maybe i should just add some algae eaters, to start it off then add..the shirmps in later... (tanks been cycled for a month now)

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
You can use water changes...then use Excel if you wish.
Otherwise, most moss species will do well if cool and low light is used, not much will be needed as far as nutrients.

Tom Barr


May 8, 2007
Hey Tom,

Alright, understandable for the java moss, i know that's a plant thats suitable for low light plants. There so much contraversy about some plants NEED co2 and high light and blah blah blah. I've always followed your advice to give the "other methods a try for yourself". Personally i have a high light, high tech tank with co2 and dose Ei method, for the most part the tank does fairly good.

Now i wanted to try a lower light, non co2 enriched environment but there is so much speculation around it, about how to Exactly do it, of course there is no perfect way to do it and there is so much trial and error... fair enough i'll try, just need more advice.

Dosing Excell in my 21 gallon tank would mean i would need to do water changes correct... that would mean i would have to dose some extra ferts to the tank correct? My blyxa japonica is going to need that i assume with the amount of light in there.

What would be a suggested addition of excell and other macro elements. I am guessing that 1 dose a week of trace (flourish is what i have) would be adaquete?

Anymore suggestions would be ideal. The whole tank will mostly be B. Japonica except for the Large piece of driftwood covered in java moss and java fern on top.

The light i should add is the 2x18 w t5's.

Here's a pic of the setup.. i was just testing the b japonica in the tank to see if it would do well for a week.. i know my bioload is not much at all, which will be corrected when i add all of it.



Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
Sacramento, CA
You don't really have low light. 1.7 watts per gallon of T5 lights, which I assume have individual reflectors, is not low light. I think you need to be following an EI dosing scheme, perhaps at 1/2 the recommended dosage, and Excel at the full dosage recommended on the bottle, which I recall is 5 ml per day for that size tank. If this were my tank, first of all it wouldn't look nearly as good as it now does, I would just follow the EI dosage for a 20-40 gallon tank, and change 50% of the water once a week. And, I would add more plants - Blyxa japonica would be fine for that.