The New Tank
So I ended up scooping out the floating debris that should have been a layer of substrate on the bottom of the tank. I really wish I had kept the label so I know what to avoid for the future. Oh well.
This morning I decided that I needed to do a background. I like the look of a plain black back wall to the tank and I never think of it to do it outside with a can of spray paint while the tank is still empty and dry. There are lots of youtube videos telling you how to use masking tape and plastic to keep from painting the sides you dont want painted and what paint is best...
I will tell you a secret. As long as you can still reach the back of the tank you can paint it even with shrimp/fish in it. You use acrylic craft paint and a cheap brush. I got both from a Dollar store and paid a whopping $2 total and it has done both my shrimp tanks with lots of paint left over and lots of life left in the brush. It hides the wires and hoses in the back and gives a nice neutral background. The down side of this type of paint is that it can scratch off pretty easy but that's OK it's just on the back side, and its easy to fix. Just don't throw away the leftover paint. Or if you do, no big deal, black is black and it's only a dollar for a new tube of it.