If you’ve read around the site you’ll know I have a few tanks all with shrimp in to keep them clean along with small tropical fish. The shrimp need places to hide, breed and keep safe but I found that the shrimp houses don’t fit a natural looking tank well. So I set about customising one to get it to blend in better with the planted tank. I’m pleased to say it looked okay going in and as time has gone on and the moss has grown its almost un noticeable in the tank.
Building a shrimp house
As a quick idea here’s what the finished article looks like after a year or so in the tank.
If you look closely you can see the holes of the shrimp house tube behind the moss. Over time a couple the holes have become filled with gravel along the bottom but there’s still enough for them to get in to. Compared to some of the hideous shrimp homes I’ve seen this blends into a planted tank really well and doesn’t take from the over all look of the tank.
How I did it
You just need 3 things to build this and they’re all pretty cheap to buy.
1 – Small shrimp house by Superfish – Buy here on amazon
There is another option for this where you can buy the tubes separately if you wanted to build one as a slope up the wall or a custom shape or size.
2 – Lava rocks with java moss (small size) – Buy from Aquaessentials.co.uk or Ebay
3 – Aquatic glue – Buy from Amazon here (this size should be plenty)
Once you’ve got all the bits its a case of building it all together. The aquatic glue is strong stuff so make sure that you protect any areas that your going to do it on. Then it’s really simple to use, start at the bottom layer and put a good blob of glue on the rock and then start sticking. It’s best to do one side and then the other as shown here –
Once the row around the bottom is done start the next level, don’t worry too much about accuracy as the moss will grow and cover any gaps – you could also fill the gaps with soil or gravel if you wanted it to look neater. I left both ends free as it was being places against a wall. If you really wanted to hide it in a larger tank then you could cover over one ends with rocks and turn the circle end away from view.
Leave it out of the tank for 24 hours to allow the glue to properly dry (it does dry underwater too but takes ages and you don’t want ant stones falling off. Keep it under a plastic bag/ cling film (Saran wrap if you’re in the USA!) and either spray it with water or pour a little over to keep it moist.
Here’s how it looked when the building had finished and it was ready to dry off –
Then once it’s dried off you can add it to the tank –
To make it blend in better I then added a couple of bamboo sticks with Java moss on, some larger stones and a plant to make it look more natural until the moss grew and hid the tubes completely from view.
If you have any questions about this then please use the comments below or send me a tweet to @smalltanksUK