Gina (Green Acres Organics) and I were talking this morning and she mentioned Friendly Aquaponics using Gammarus as a great addition to raft tanks.. I was just researching suppliers and found out our local tilapia supplier has something commonly called grass, glass or ghost shrimp.
According to this link, sounds like it would do similar thing in clearing out dead stuff and adding to a more natural ecosystem, possible adding more nutrients?
They grow to about 1" in size and are clear..hence the name.
Has anyone used these in their raft systems?
There is also a place in Florida you can order Gammarus as well.
I wouldn't say they add any nutrients, they will be much like worms in converting nutrients the same as any other detritus eater. Just keep the dissolved oxygen really high since every additional creature you add will need dissolved oxygen too.
I know that the gammarus don't seem to be a problem for plant roots but you might want to research the glass shrimp and make sure they prefer dead stuff since if they take to snacking on the fresh new tender plant roots, they won't be an asset to a raft system.
I've actually been at Aquatic Eco Systems when some one came in complaining that the ghost shrimp in an ornamental pond they were caring for were causing them no end of trouble by cleaning the filters too well. See their issue was they didn't want any suspended solids in the water since it was for an ornamental koi pond and people don't like to see floating specks in the water but the ghost shrimp had taken up residence in the filter box and were breaking down the larger detritus that would normally get trapped in the filter causing the water to flow through the filter media too well and leave the water with all the little specks in it that the customer didn't like.
Now this isn't an issue in aquaponics where we are not worried about a small amount of suspended solids but something to understand if you dabble in the ornamental side too.
Really, I thought I'd heard of a guy who was growing cherry shrimp outdoors year round in Florida. Sounded like he was moving a bunch of his operation into the garage to get more production through winter (pretty sure even in South Florida water temps drop well below 70 F) I got the impression that they survived fine but I expect they wouldn't be reproducing or growing very well when the temperature was below 70 +
I've thought about getting some and growing them as feed for my catfish but I'm not sure if I could grow enough to make it worth the extra trouble.
Looks like they thrive at 70-80. Ph might be a bigger factor in some systems since they like it above 6.6
I don't think the catfish would care.
So are these just in those 4 tubes over your bin fish tank? Any idea how many you have in those tubes?