Are water changes really necessary?
This is a question that is always floating around, and the simple answer is – it’s definitely yes. Once your tank is fully established from the nitrogen cycle, you will have zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and extreme levels of nitrate. Nitrates are good; they help plants grow. But when there is an excess amount of them, it can be harmful to the shrimp and fish. There are some rare instances where people are able to get away with less frequent WC (water changes) in their heavily planted aquariums, which can consume massive amounts of nitrates and turn them into oxygen.
Water change regiment
When it comes to maintenance, water changes are just part of the hobby. You need to stick to a regiment of days to perform WC’s in order to balance your tank, especially if you are going to do aquatic plants. Typically, shrimp hobbyists like to do WC’s every 7-14 days and about 10-15% of the water to be changed. This is to pull out some of that “old water” and add a little bit of new water for a balanced aquarium.
Evaporation and topping off
Your shrimp aquarium is always going to have evaporation and thinking that topping off the water will fill the absence of doing water changes is not recommended. Only pure water is evaporated, leaving impurities in the rest of the water, thus making it harder, and in time, unsuitable for your red cherry shrimps or fish. Typically topping off every other day or so is fine as long as you are still doing your water changes every week to biweekly.
Multitasking is the best
Every so often, it’s nice to optimize your maintenance regiment with trimming your plants, cleaning the glass, and vacuum clean the substrate while you perform these water changes.