11-03-2006, 03:37 PM
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I see nothing wrong with your idea, just watch not to overdo the CO2. In that size tank I wouldn't put more than 6 of the cherry shrimp, due to food supply. I also would be careful about when to add them, since they will need a food supply to sustain them and algae is their primary food source. A new tank will have little to no algae growth.
When setting up a tank such as this, I suggest waiting about 4 - 6 weeks before adding the shrimp to allow for food supply build up.
If the nutrient level is kept low, there may be no need for any gravel vac'ing to be done.
I currently have a 20 gallon planted tank set up and the last time I tried to do a gravel vac, the water came up clear... there was nothing to vac.
Just don't over feed and you should be good with water changes only, leave the gravel alone all together.
If you find the need to do a gravel vac, I'd try using a piece of rigid air tubing (like is used for UG) and a piece of flexible airline tubing to run your siphon from. This will give you more control about what you suck up, and also how much force is created with the siphon. Keep the tank well let while doing it, and just be on the lookout for baby shrimp. If you siphon into a bucket instead of down the drain, you can then let the water settle and use a flashlight to look for any stray shrimps that might have been accidentally sucked up, and then you can easily put them back into the tank before dumping the water. I use this method when cleaning betta fry tanks, and so far so good, I haven't lost one yet.