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Shrimp Tank Questions


Bunnywinkles
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Hi all!

I have not had an aquarium in YEARS, probably close to 15 now. Back then I was Young and dumb, and didn't really understand things like water parameters, etc. I just knew what the pet store sign said. I'm sorry fish 😞

Now I am much more educated. I am looking to get back into the hobby with some Cherry Shrimp. My plan is as follows.

The Tank:
10 Gallon tank divided to two ~5 Gallons with a foam divider
Nano Sponge filter in each
USB Air Pump for each
Pool filter sand substrate (Up in the air)
Live plants, Java Fern/Moss
Small driftwood


The Execution:
Get the tank, plants, substrate, Divider, pumps, filters
Use Fritz water conditioner
Fill and begin cycling process, figure out my aqua scape
Once cycled, order the shrimp (10 or so) and a Mystery Snail for each side
Intention of two sides is for one to be a fry side and one to be a big boy side. Figured 1 10g will be better than 2 5g. Cheaper tanks and more water in one tank.
I will drip acclimate using a specimen container

Any holes in my plan? Gotchyas I need to look for? I am going to mostly go with Aquarium Co-op items where available (Filters, pumps, net, specimen container, test kits, plants, etc). Will two pumps be too much for a 10g? I was going to get valves to lower the pressure if needed, as well as some never clog stones.

Also, Corey, your podcasts are awesome! Thanks for all the work you do.
 

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Is the plan to make this a shrimp only tank? If so, there isn't a reason to separate babies from adults, there isn't any predation on young. Moving new babies actually is more risky. 

Best thing to do is setup the tank (a buffered substrate to bring up the pH would be helpful for their exoskeletons) and getting it cycled completely with ammonia is the first step. Once the tank is cycled dose the tank with some GlasGarten BacterAE to get additional biofilm growing. After that you're set for success.

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On 9/17/2021 at 10:26 AM, Bunnywinkles said:

. . . Any holes in my plan? Gotchyas I need to look for? I am going to mostly go with Aquarium Co-op items where available (Filters, pumps, net, specimen container, test kits, plants, etc). Will two pumps be too much for a 10g? I was going to get valves to lower the pressure if needed, as well as some never clog stones.

Also, Corey, your podcasts are awesome! Thanks for all the work you do.
 

Yes, there is a hole in your plan.  As the replies above indicate, not only is separating the juvenile shrimp from the adults unnecessary, it would be very difficult, if not impossible.  In my opinion you're making this too difficult.  Don't divide the tank.  That will cut down on the equipment you need, and make it more visually appealing.

Below is some information I've put together with basic information on keeping shrimp that you might find useful.

  • Neocaridina shrimp (Neocaridina davidi; red cherry shrimp and the other available colors) are one of the easiest ornamental shrimp to keep, with a wider range of suitable water parameters than caridinas. Their parameters do overlap, but it's a narrow range, and not something I'd recommend for inexperienced shrimp keepers. I don't have any experience with caridinas (at least not yet), so I won't address them here.
     
  • 6.8 to 8.0 pH is usually the recommended range for neos, with Gh from 6-12 and Kh at least 4. There are supplements you can add to the water to raise the hardness if yours is low. They will tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but around 72° F is generally considered best. At higher temperatures they will grow faster and breed faster, but they will also not live as long. Basically, higher temperatures accelerate their lifespan. Shrimp are sensitive to copper in the water, though the small amounts in commercial fish and shrimp food won't hurt them.
     
  • If you’re curious about how many to start with, the answer is as many as you can afford, but if money is a factor (which it often is for most of us), you can get a nice colony going with 10 or so. Of course, it will take longer than if you start with 25, but you’ll still probably get to 100 sooner than you expect.
     
  • There are many color varieties, and they will readily breed with each other. The results will generally be brown or clear after a few generations. For this reason, if you want to maintain a specific color it's best not to mix them. Even if you do stick with a single color you'll need to remove undesirable colors occasionally. The amount of culling you'll need to do will likely vary depending on the purity of the shrimp you start with. From my personal experience my red shrimp need a fair bit of culling, while the blues ones need very little. Many people do keep and enjoy mixed colors, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. If you do cull, you can have a separate dedicated tank for them, or add them to tanks with fish. Even in tanks with dedicated shrimp hunters you'd be surprised how many will survive, especially given adequate hiding places. I occasionally see one in my 65 gallon tank, and my big angelfish just loves shrimp.
     
  • To get the most enjoyment from shrimp, keep them in shrimp only tanks, or just shrimp and snails. You don't have to worry about predation, and they'll also be more visible if there aren't predators in the tank with them, even if the predators are too small to be a threat to adult shrimp.
     
  • Even if they are the only things in the tank, they will feel more secure with hiding places, especially when molting or when a female is releasing babies. Dense plants are a good option. Java moss, guppy grass, Süßwassertang, and pearl weed are some good choices. A pile of rocks, sized so that the shrimp can crawl inside, is also a good idea.
     
  • They are sensitive to changing water parameters, so most experienced shrimp keepers recommend limiting water changes to around 15%, and the new water should be close to the same temperature. If you do larger water changes, it’s even more important to temperature match the water.
     
  • Since they need biofilm to graze on, and are very intolerant of ammonia and nitrites, it's usually recommended to let a tank run for at least 3 months before adding shrimp, and 4 months is better. You might get by with adding them sooner by adding a sponge filter, plants, substrate, etc. from an established tank, but you still aren't likely to have as much success as you will if you're patient and let the tank "season" (I know this from first-hand experience).
     
  • In addition to the biofilm, they will also benefit from being fed. There are several commercial foods especially for shrimp, but I've also given mine several kinds of fish food, and they've eaten all of them. While there are mixed opinions about it, many people believe they also benefit from blanched vegetables once or twice a week. I've tried several things, and mine seem to prefer zucchini and spinach, followed by sweet peppers. I usually feed those late in the evening and remove any uneaten portion the next morning. By the way, shrimp just LOOOVE freshly crushed snails. Mine will swarm all over one.
     
  • If you use CO2 in shrimp tanks keep it around 10 – 15 ppm, and definitely below 20 ppm. They often can’t tolerate the pH swings and/or elevated CO2 levels at higher concentrations.
     
  • Of course, if you want to establish a colony you need males and females. Females are usually larger, and have better color, so when selecting them in a store you can get all females if you aren’t careful. It’s not difficult to tell them apart, even on shrimp that are the same size. The abdomen (the rear half) of females is larger than males, with the bottom line sagging down. Males’ abdomen is thinner, and it’s pretty much a straight taper from front to back.
     
  • As they reach maturity, females will develop a “saddle” on their back. This saddle (usually yellow) is the unfertilized eggs showing through their shell. They're ready to breed when they next molt, after which the fertilized eggs will move down below their abdomen where she will constantly “fan” them and juggle them around with their swimmerets to keep them aerated. Unlike some shrimp, neos don't have a larval stage, so they’ll hatch as fully developed, but very small, shrimp after about 4 weeks.
     
  • If you suddenly notice the shrimp swimming around the tank more than usual, it’s probably nothing to worry about. When a saddled female molts she releases pheromones signaling she’s ready to have her eggs fertilized, which gets the males swimming around trying to find her.
  • If you notice a shrimp with a lighter colored lateral line on top, that's called a "racing stripe", and is a harmless feature that's common with some color varieties. It will typically get wider, with the edges more ragged, as the shrimp gets older.
  • You won't likely need to worry about a shrimp becoming overstocked.  A well planted 10 gallon tank can literally hold hundreds of shrimp without being crowded.
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On 9/17/2021 at 11:58 AM, JettsPapa said:

By the way, shrimp just LOOOVE freshly crushed snails. Mine will swarm all over one.
 

I thought I was the only one who did this... Glad to know there are others!

On 9/17/2021 at 12:04 PM, Bunnywinkles said:

The plan was to grab the females before they drop, but it would be harder to do.

Thank you guys for the posts, this gives me some more to think about!

It's not worth the time or the stress to the shrimp to do this. 

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On 9/17/2021 at 1:43 PM, Del said:

If you keep the split, you could always have a second type of shrimp, and see what you can breed the best! 

Don't do this. What's going to end up happening is the other shrimp will climb over or the babies will get through and then you're going to weaken the selective breeding. I tried this at one point with mattenfilter thinking nothing would get through, what I ended up finding out is they just crawl over. 

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On 9/17/2021 at 2:00 PM, JettsPapa said:

Nah.  Just get a second tank for that, and then a third.  🙂

I have a wife that already thinks I have too many hobbies. So I am thinking maybe a 20 long split into 4 "tanks" instead xD.

I did think about using the split tank to keep culls separate from the better looking ones as well.

On 9/17/2021 at 3:20 PM, Tihshho said:

Don't do this. What's going to end up happening is the other shrimp will climb over or the babies will get through and then you're going to weaken the selective breeding. I tried this at one point with mattenfilter thinking nothing would get through, what I ended up finding out is they just crawl over. 

But If I put red Cherries, then Blue, then some ghost, I can breed American Flags! Good points though.

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I’ve read many, many stories about experts trying to keep shrimp colors separated by dividers and every one of them gave up the idea after learning that the shrimp find a way over, around, or through every type of divider you can name.  Some switched to smaller tanks so they could focus more on breeding just a few prime individuals and work at perfecting a specific color line.  Then they would move them to a larger tank and work at producing in more number once their line was breeding true.

I'm no shrimp expert, but I’m a member of several Bands with shrimp experts as members.  I’m still in the learning stages myself.

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On 9/17/2021 at 10:46 AM, Tihshho said:

Is the plan to make this a shrimp only tank? If so, there isn't a reason to separate babies from adults, there isn't any predation on young. Moving new babies actually is more risky. 

Best thing to do is setup the tank (a buffered substrate to bring up the pH would be helpful for their exoskeletons) and getting it cycled completely with ammonia is the first step. Once the tank is cycled dose the tank with some GlasGarten BacterAE to get additional biofilm growing. After that you're set for success.

I agree that BacterAE is great for shrimp, it seems to have helped with my breeding quite a bit. I wouldn't dose it based on the labels recommendations though, just a little pinch after I change water. A little bit goes a lot further than they would have you believe.

Another product I really like is SaltyShrimp Shrimp Mineral Gh/Kh+, if you have soft water like I do it is really useful for adding mineral content to the water for shell health, I have used it for the year or so I've had shrimp and I don't recall ever having any die from failed molts/white ring of death. 

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I keep colonies of blue dreams and yellow golden back Neocaridina. I agree with @JettsPapa and @Ken. A mature seasoned setup will get them breeding faster - I shoot fir an 8-12 week window minimum before stocking with shrimp. I like BacterAE as discussed by @Gumbo99. Honestly any bacterial supplement like Fritz 7 or the Seachem one work fine too. I use catapa leaves, alder cones and make sure you have rock piles in a couple spots to act as a nursery- this is an LRB trick. Mulm, leaf litter and debris are not a bad thing. Don’t remove the algae from the sides of the tank babies need it to get started. I like lava rock as it is very porous and is a great place to get beneficial bacteria to colonize. Wood is great for growing biofilm and is a great place to put subwassertang and some form Of moss - easiest is Java and Christmas moss. They love plants any rhizome plants, guppy grass, hornwort and floaters- water lettuce, the dreaded duckweed and red root floaters are all great. They need light to get their best color 6-8 hours can suffice. Filtration they like gentle if any flow. Sponges are great as they are also a source of food. I’d stay away from large snails - this is my opinion and from personal experience if a ramshorn dies they’ll eat it and no issue. If a mystery snail dies they can’t eat it fast enough and you’ll have dead shrimp. Have fun shrimp are awesome. Once your colony is up and running you can try some setups with fish and shrimp. 

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On 9/18/2021 at 10:41 PM, Beardedbillygoat1975 said:

I keep colonies of blue dreams and yellow golden back Neocaridina. I agree with @JettsPapa and @Ken. A mature seasoned setup will get them breeding faster - I shoot fir an 8-12 week window minimum before stocking with shrimp. I like BacterAE as discussed by @Gumbo99. Honestly any bacterial supplement like Fritz 7 or the Seachem one work fine too. I use catapa leaves, alder cones and make sure you have rock piles in a couple spots to act as a nursery- this is an LRB trick. Mulm, leaf litter and debris are not a bad thing. Don’t remove the algae from the sides of the tank babies need it to get started. I like lava rock as it is very porous and is a great place to get beneficial bacteria to colonize. Wood is great for growing biofilm and is a great place to put subwassertang and some form Of moss - easiest is Java and Christmas moss. They love plants any rhizome plants, guppy grass, hornwort and floaters- water lettuce, the dreaded duckweed and red root floaters are all great. They need light to get their best color 6-8 hours can suffice. Filtration they like gentle if any flow. Sponges are great as they are also a source of food. I’d stay away from large snails - this is my opinion and from personal experience if a ramshorn dies they’ll eat it and no issue. If a mystery snail dies they can’t eat it fast enough and you’ll have dead shrimp. Have fun shrimp are awesome. Once your colony is up and running you can try some setups with fish and shrimp. 

I just read this, but not 5 minutes ago I ordered a lava rock and spider wood from Flip.

I decided to go with a 5.5 gallon tank for now that will be on my desk, although I have permission to eventually take up a corner of the basement, once I finish the entertainment room down there.

I am going with pool sand substrate, and just ordered some Java Moss and Fern from AC, as well as a sponge filter, nano pump, air line, check valve, etc. I tested my tap water today and it has a PH of 7.6, 0 nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia. I need to get a GH/KH test.

Thanks for the tip on snails. We will see what I do that route.

Do you guys use backgrounds? I really just want a black background, but not sure what to use. AC and Flip didn't sell anything that I saw.

I am hoping to get water in and bacteria added tomorrow. All in all, the journey has begun!

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On 9/18/2021 at 10:32 PM, Bunnywinkles said:

Do you guys use backgrounds? I really just want a black background, but not sure what to use. AC and Flip didn't sell anything that I saw.

If it's to help you see the shrimp, rather than to impress the neighborhood, you could tape paper to the back of the tank. The trick is to get it flush against the tank wall, and use many tiny pieces of clear tape on the edges so the tape doesn't show. Looking from the front, it looks like a legit background.

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On 9/19/2021 at 12:08 AM, Ken said:

The cheapest brush on stuff they have.

I'm gonna hijack for a quick second. What brand have you found for the 'cheapest stuff they have' that lasts? Last couple times I tried that, cleaned the glass well prior to painting, and if I bump a corner post drying I always get it flaking off? Either I'm doing something wrong or using the wrong paint, that's why I stick with rattle cans. I'd like to know more so I can just get a 1 gallon jug for future tanks, haha.

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