Shrimps on Planted Tank

Keeping sensitive shrimps like CRS and bee shrimps on planted tank is not that complicated…if you keep the tank simple. Choose non-demanding plants like moss. For this tank, I keep weeping moss tied to a driftwood and some christmas moss tied to mineral balls. I also have a bolbitis which is thriving in green due to the lower temperature on this tank with the installed chiller. I only dose iron every major water change, nothing else as I don’t want any water parameter change for my shrimps. Some shrimp keepers want more algae on their tank as the source of food but since this is a planted display tank, I try to keep algae to the minimum, I turn on the light only for about 3 hours at night and the rest is blue subtle light or moonlight overnight to mimic the night. This tank has virtually no algae so to make up for the limited food source for my shrimps and shrimplets, I dose bacter AE or dry biofilm or powdered spirulina every 3 days. I also added a lot of ketapang or indian almond leaves to supplement as food source and they do a pretty good job as backdrop design for my tank. It also keeps my water pH stable to 6.5 which my CRS needs to breed. To keep the water stable, I keep major water changes to the minimum of at least once per month at 15% only. Nothing more than that. I use distilled or RO water added with some liquid minerals to keep the parameters balanced. Result is a well l-balanced, low-maintenance, hassle-free shrimp and planted tank in one.

Underwater Football

My green neon tetras seem to like playing football. This happened when I dropped some bits of crab cuisine in their tank.

45CM Tank – The Set Up

So last Sunday, just right after I brought home my new ADA 45cm Cube Garden, I immediately started with the tank set up. I was so excited to start with it and I am also worried as I pre-purchased the HC cuba days before and that any longer that I keep them unplanted risks of them drying out.

I also forgot to buy an aquarium mat so I had to improvise by using a kitchen anti-slip mat. It is quite thin so I had to cut out 2 pieces to make a thicker layer for my tank’s base. (I replaced it later on with a Borneo Wild tank mat)

Kitchen anti-slip mat as temporary tank mat
Borneo Wild Tank Mat

Unboxing the ADA Cube Garden

The tank is gorgeous! It is a departure from my old, greenish regular tank. It is quite clear and the workmanship is really good. I’m actually not sure how they glue the tank sides as I cannot see any visible glue on it. There is a set of metal cover holders included in the box.

ADA Cube Garden



Very fine workmanship on this tank




Substrate System

For the substrate, I will be using the ADA Power Sand – S for the base. Amazonia Aqua Soil and La Plata sand for the cosmetic layout.

Substrate System Line Up

I’ve also previously purchased from another hobbyist a mix pack of ADA substrate additives containing Bacter 100, Clear Supper and Tourmaline BC. Really economical instead of buying separate tubs where you only need a few scoops of each.

ADA substrate additives mix

Laying Out the Substrate

Here I just followed the steps I’ve seen on Youtube channels. Pretty standard where you put half of the additives first, then top it off with the powersand and pouring in the remaining on top of the powersand.

Additives spread over the tank base
Powersand poured in with the remaining additives

The powersand were carefully set at the center of the base to make sure they are not seen from the tank display when the aqua soil is poured in. I did this by pouring in the aqua soil on the sides of the powersand first to make sure I don’t unnecessarily displace the powersand.

Next, I poured in enough aqua soil to form the desired depth and layout that I want. I used cutouts of plastic sheet to hold the aqua soil in place, very useful when you have a steep slope on your layout. I then added in my hardscape in the layout, the tree and some ADA stones (I think they are the Koke Stones).

Plastic sheet cut outs were used to hold aqua soil in place

One thing I learned before on my old tanks is to always pre-wash cosmetic sand before putting them in your tank since they will pretty much cloud the tank once water is poured in.

Small stones placed in to hold the soil slope

My layout has a slope so to hold the aquasoil in place, I placed small volcanic stones along the side of the soil, providing support.


For this this tank, I am using HC cuba or dwarf baby tears as carpet. This is not my first time on HC. My first try on my other tank was a failure when my HC melted out when molds grew on it. It could be, because I covered my tank completely during the dry start method. The place I am currently in is pretty humid and I think it somehow contributed to the molds. I am still trying the dry start method, but this time I will keep the tank partially open so dry air can come in and moisture can come out the tank.

HC cuba bed, cut in small cubes

I also replanted some of the dwarf hairgrass from my other tank. I’ve pre-soaked them in anti-algae and anti-snail solutions overnight just to make sure I don’t transfer any unnecessary stuff from my old tank.





Then I added some twigs and smaller stones to complete the look.

DSM Maintenance

My CO2 cylinder is currently out for refilling which may take about two weeks so I am keeping this tank dry for a while.

For maintenance, I spray water mixed with some drops of liquid fertilizers to keep the tank moist and I completely cover the tank with a plastic wrap at night when the AC is on just to trap some heat on the tank and keep it half open during the day when the room temperature is already high.

Day 3 of DSM

Day 3 of DSM


Day 3 of DSM

I will be posting pictures as I progress with the DSM. Keeping my fingers crossed.

***This is not sponsored. The products featured here were purchased on the author’s personal capacity. No link will be provided for product purchase.

Tank Spotlight: 30CM Cube Garden

30cm Cube Garden

This is my Cube Garden tank. My first high tech planted tank. I started this project September last year and it has grown to this.

Tank Specs: 30cm x 30cm x 30cm, regular glass

Lighting System: Nemolight Aquafresh 18 watts and Aquael Moonlight LED


Nemolight Aquafresh 18W

Aquael Moonlight LED 1W

CO2 System: UP Aqua A-138 1 liter, bazooka diffuser


Filter System: Eheim 150 with Gush Lily Pipes

Substrate System: Aquasoil Amazonia and Malaya

Cooling System: Chill Solutions CSXC-1


Chill Solutions CSXC-1 chiller

Hardscape: dragon rocks, tree

Flora: christmas moss on tree, anubias nana petite and riccia fluitans on dragon rock cliff, reineckii mini, japan hair grass, hydrocotyle tripartita, staurogyne repens, fissidens fontanus, hemiamthus micranthemoids, eriocaulon cinerium.

Fauna: siamese fighting fish ‘betta’, sundadanio axelrodi, pygmy corydoras, otocinclus, nerite/horned nerite, assasin snails.

Dosing System: NPK, Iron and trace


Dosing Line Up

Temperature: 26-27C

Photoperiod: 7 hours daylight with CO2.

Cube Garden on moonlight

***This is not sponsored. The products featured here were purchased on the author’s personal capacity. No link will be provided for product purchase.