2.5-gallon Tank: Ocean Water + Bottled Water

Updated 8/4/15, 11/26/15, 12/27/15

2.5-gallon: Ocean Water + Bottled Water

2.5-gallon tank with a 1-to-1 ratio of ocean water to fresh water.

After moving the original 2.5-gallon tank colony into the 18-gallon, I decided to experiment with the 2.5. Based on accounts by Dennis Nakashima, I decided to see if opae’ula could thrive in a mix of ocean water and bottled water. I decided to go with a 1-to-1 ratio of salt to fresh. I got the ocean water from Ala Moana Beach and used bottled water instead of the tap water used by Nakashima. I stocked the tank with 10 shrimp bought at a pet shop in Honolulu. For the UGF, I used the remaining half of a 10-gallon set. (I used the first half in the 5-gallon Fluval Chi.) Since it didn’t fit in its stock size, I used a hacksaw to trim off a side to make a tight fit. I chose a test subject from the bag of shrimp and placed it in the tank. It seemed active and healthy. I waited a few more hours to see if it would suffer any ill effects. It was fine, so I added the remainder to the tank. Thus far, after three days, the small colony seems fine. The tank is very close to the west-facing windows so it’ll receive a lot of sun during the day and a huge amount in the late afternoon. Update 11/26/15: I noticed a slow leak in this tank about a month ago and moved the colony into another tank. I won’t be using this again.

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2 Responses to 2.5-gallon Tank: Ocean Water + Bottled Water

  1. Moni Ames says:

    Hi. I’ve enjoyed reading your articles. Thanks for sharing. There is still so much to learn about keeping opae ula. Its been a lot of trial and error for me finding what works. I’ve been raising them in Michigan for over 2 years. My big tank is a 29 gallon aquarium with a small hang on back filter with the intake well covered with a sponge. It works good. I tried several different filter designs. The shrimp are so good at squeezing into small spaces that it’s scary. The issue that I have now is trying to decide if I should keep the macro algae I have growing in my tank or not. It looks like thick hair. The shrimp like climbing on it. I’m sure it removes toxins from the water and adds oxygen like all plants do. The problem is that it takes over and I can harm some shrimp hiding in it when I try to remove a clump of it. I’m just a plant person and want some kind of live plants in all my tanks. I use half strength Instant Ocean mix and distilled water. No real ocean around for me.


    • JimS says:

      29-gallons and 2 years — that’s huge with a lot of history. You’re definitely doing a lot right. I’ve never had that type of algae in my tanks. Mine grow in sheets, like curtains,covering the entire walls of the tank and can be easily peeled off with my fingers. But they seem to bloom all over the tank only once. After removal, the sheets don’t return. Instead, there’s a thin growth of green algae that grows very slowly. I wipe them off with a plastic scouring pad about once every few months more for visibility than anything else. Have you tried removing most of it — leaving just a few traces to allow for more controlled regrowth? If you have and the thick growth continues to return, you may need to cut down on the amount of light in the tank. Perhaps a cycle that’s aligned with the natural day? If they’re getting sunlight during the day and artificial lighting at night, then you could reduce one or the other so they receive roughly 12 hours of dark or low indirect natural light. Live plants in a tank are very nice. I wonder if they stimulate the kind of algae growth that you’re experiencing. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


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