Hello everyone!

I thought it would be nice to introduce our 15 gallon tank here, because Sulawesi schrimp are the main reason we bought and setup this tank. We fell in love with cardinal schrimp (C. dennerli), so after a lot of research which included foreign (German) magazines and a lot of underwater pictures and videos we decided to make a lava rock background (as they are rock specialists), add a big piece of spiderwood (the piece fits the tank in only one way), and be recitent with plants (just a bush of Vallisneria, Hydrocotyle leucocephala and an Echinodorus barthii). Floating plants (Salvinia natans) serve two goals: (i) dim the lights and (ii) extract nitrates from the water. Some catappa leaves (shredded into pieces) complement this setup.

Right now, the (Tetratec EX400) external filter (equiped with a sponge on the inlet side) is cycling for the last 6 weeks. the background and plants were added to the tank just yesterday. We plan on cycling some extra weeks before adding tylo snails and the schrimp (a few weeks after the tylo snails).

Water parameters are:
PH: 7.5
KH (carbonate hardness): 6
GH (total hardness): 11
NH3/4 (ammonia/ammonium): 0
NO2 (nitrite): 0
NO3 (nitrates): 5 - 10 (this was before adding the floating plants)
PO4 (phosfate): 1

We have a few questions:
- currently we have some carbon in the filter, to extract possible pollution from the water. How long do you suggest to leave the carbon in the filter? (after we take the carbon out, we put in some biolocial filter medium from another (cycled) tank)

- Which tylo snails do you suggest? As far as we know, there are three main options. The first being the 'mini' with a length of just about an inch (2.5 cm). Second option would be some species that reach about 1.5 inch (4 cm). Third option would be the snails that reach 2.75 inch (7 cm).
- How many snails would be good to start with?

- how many Cardinal schrimp do you suggest to begin with? We thought it would be a good idea to add the schrimp in two of three steps, to see if everything is going well. Would that be a good idea? Why so? Why not?

We are open to any help!

Cheers
~ Ivo (and Mascha, who is currently asleep)

P.S.: I made some pictures of our tank, but didn't manage to post them up here, though they are in the schrimpnow gallery. Any help woud be appreciated.