Starting a new shrimp tank (stocking question)

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Original poster
Mar 20, 2019
I'm starting a new 10 gallon shrimp tank. It's planted with a large piece of cholla wood in it. I've just completed doing a fishless cycle, and my ammonia and nitrite levels are low with nitrate of 2.5. Anyway, my plan is to purchase about 20 red cherry shrimp and start a colony. My question for you is for you is about the tank mates.

I've read that having snails in a shrimp tank is very beneficial. For one, they help keep the tank from recycling, as many snails have a significant bioload. I've also read that their stool can be quite healthy for the shrimp. Well, in cycling my aquarium, I've developed a significant algae problem. I had initially planned to have a mystery snail in the aquarium, but in my experience they've been rubbish for algae. I've read that nerite snails are much better, but they have a smaller bioload. Would I still be able to get the same benefits from a few nerites as I get from a single mystery snail, with the added benefit of a better algae eater? I've also read of the benefits of having Malaysian trumpet snails on a planted tank as long as you don't overfeed them, leading to a population explosion. I've heard you can't really vacuum the substrate of a shrimp tank without sucking up baby shrimp, so this would help.

Part of my thoughts on this is that I know cherry shrimp are not nearly as good of algae eaters as Amano shrimp. I much prefer the cherry shrimp as they reproduce and will show up much better on my black Eco Complete substrate. I've also considered adding in up to a few Amano shrimp. Thoughts?

Finally, I did want some fish in the tank eventually to add to the visual interest. I know there aren't many fully shrimp-safe fish. I've had bad results in the past with glowlight tetras eating all of my full grown males and dooming my previous colony to eventual extinction. So, I've been considering up to 6 Otos. I know they're a little more tricky, but if I add them last the tank should be pretty well established. The triad of the ultimate algae-eating team seems to be Amano shrimp, nerite snails, and otocinclus. However, I also don't want to keep the tank so clean that my RCS are outcompeted.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. They're partly scrambled due to the myriad of differing opinions you can find online about the aquarium hobby. So, I just thought I'd get your opinion on the following possible additions, with the only definite being the cherry shrimp. I'm happy keeping as few or as many of the species as possible, but I want to try to optimize the health of my shrimp while also trying to keep the tank interesting and lively.

20 cherry shrimp
+/- mystery snail (how many?)
+/- nerite snail (how many?)
+/- Malaysian trumpet snail (how many?)
+/- Amano shrimp (how many?)
+/- otocinclus (how many?)