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Neocaridina/Caridina Tank Setup Procedure


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Hey everyone! @Fish Folk and I were chatting, as I am sending him some sweet sweet neocaridina blue hybrids very soon and he asked me my setup procedures as to what has been successful for me. Even though he was inquiring on neos, I figured I would also share my caridina setup procedure as well as these can be VERY tricky for most wanting to get into it(it really isn't as tough as it sounds). Below I will first explain my neo set up with pics currently of one tank I have going and then pics of my caridina set up that is running, also two others I just started the process of setting up. Hopefully this will help others in getting into keeping/breeding shrimp. 


Tank recommended for breeding: I use 5 gallon Aqueon tanks from Petco. I found the need of keeping these in 10 gal is a little bit overblown as in my experience it is much easier to keep the water parameters stable in a smaller tank, especially for the more finnicky caridinas. 

Substrate: Aqueon Shrimp Substrate. I SWEAR BY THIS over Fluval Stratum. Why? One, Fluval Stratum to start is sooooo dusty. Even after rinsing nonstop, it is still incredibly cloudy and often requires multiple water changes before that is removed. Also it tends to get a lot more funky which has resulted in my getting shellfish leaches or whatever they are called due to dirtier than normal substrate. Aqueon's is just as good and doesn't throw off dust...its also very easy to keep clean or better yet for your shrimp to keep clean as they are foraging about. 

Filtration: AOC small or nano sponge filter. You could use some of the cheaper Chinese ones off of Amazon but the sponges get incredibly nasty and will need to be serviced more often than not. AOC's are wide enough that they don't goop up and get nasty requiring attention really at all. 

Plants/Other Shrimp Happiness Additions: Tourmaline & Red Bee Balls(Mineral balls), Almond & Jackfruit leaves(boil & let sit for 2 days to get a nice film on them, the shrimp love it!), Alder & Filao cones(Again boil & sit), Cholla wood pieces for little hotels(3 inch pieces again boil & sit), Catappa Bark(SURPRISE! Boil & sit) and all have at least 1 Marimo Moss ball in them. All have either additional Java Moss or Subwassertang inside as well. Allowing film to build up post boiling is not as essential here as with caridinas, but keeping these things in will offer snacks for your neos and also allow you to not have to feed them often. Honestly, with both neos and caridinas, allowing them to work on what's in the tank is often better than overfeeding. Overfeeding causes your tank water to foul and especially with caridinas, will cause your shrimp problems. I like to use shrimp sticks from my favorite small business person on Etsy...per forum rules Etsy isn't allowed to be posted link wise, so if you want to know my seller just DM me and I will drop you their info. Super nice guy that breeds but also makes his own food which he in turn sells along with full packages of everything you need to set up your tanks. 

Food: Like I said, DO NOT OVERFEED. They have plenty available in their tanks to feed them believe it or not. Overfeeding will foul your water and cause you all kinds of meh experiences with breeding. I find adding one shrimp stick or a REMOVABLE shrimp feeder once a week will be enough. I feed my neos Sera Shrimp Granules & Pollen Granules, both can be found on Amazon with an easy search. Unable to locate, just DM and I will drop you a link. 

Lastly, Parameters: Luckily with Neos, you can really keep them in a wide range of parameters without torturing them. Whereas they aren't HUGE fans of hard water, they can live quite well and produce in harder water ranges of 7.4-7.6, my tanks run usually around 7.2. 

I prefer to keep TDS between 150-300. GH between 4-8 & KH between 3-15. I even have a dry erase board for my weekly checks before water changes for TDS, GH & KH.

Next I will cover CARIDINAS...

Tank recommended for breeding: Like my Neos, I keep these in 5 gal Aqueon tanks from Petco. Here I really prefer the smaller set up. Having it in a smaller tank allows my parameters to stay pretty on point of where I want them. This is incredibly important when raising caridina shrimp successfully. 

Substrate: Akadama Bonsai Soil & Fluval Stratum(2/3 Akadama 1/3 Stratum). Yes, I use Stratum here. Mainly as the Bonsai soil is quite dusty as well and its the best mixture I have read/researched on for these shrimp. It provides a lot of film on things that once your caridinas come into the tank provides them with a feast from the get go. It also keeps your tank water, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT HERE, at a lower pH. You will need to rinse with distilled water or RO water a couple of times before adding to your tank. Keep in mind once you fill with water it will still be pretty cloudy but everything will settle and clear up after a couple days if you rinse enough beforehand. It is damn near impossible to get rid of all the loose sediment, so like I said, patience it will clear. 

Filtration: Same as Neos. AOC sponge filters do the best job. Nuff said. 

Plants/Other Additions to Make Your Shrimp Happy: I do not keep a ton of plants in my caridina tanks. Right now I just added a Marimo Moss Ball to my first caridina tank, but beforehand, for the first few months I have just kept the following: Tourmaline & Red Bee Balls(Mineral balls), Almond & Jackfruit leaves, Alder & Filao cones, Cholla wood pieces for little hotels, & Catappa Bark. It is VERY IMPORTANT to boil and allow to sit for several days creating a lot of biofilm. This biofilm is ESSENTIAL for the success of caridinas in my experience. For the first few months post cycling it will provide a lot of grazing for your shrimp. After adding to the tank just before I put the shrimp in, they often times grow a little hair algae of some sorts in the film but that is quickly decimated once you add your shrimp in. 

Food: They love biofilm and seasoned leaves/wood pieces. I also get from my shrimp guy Moringa tabs and also dried veg for them. I only add these in once every week after water changes and if they do not finish it up within a day or so, I quickly remove to not raise the water's TDS. Keeping foul food removed is essential and a must when keeping caridinas in my experience. 

Now for the big one....parameters: Once you set these proper, keeping them that way isn't very difficult honestly. You have to use RO water or distilled water, really RO is preferable. If you cannot do this yourself with your own RO system, I highly advise having a local LFS nearby that will provide you some. Keeping them in any other water will stress them and likely end up killing them. KH cannot be present AT ALL. KH is not your friend when it comes to raising caridina shrimp hence why RO or distilled water is best as nothing is present. pH with these is definitely very important as well. They require a very low pH easily enough attainable with the additions of the seasoned foliage help with this greatly. I prefer to keep mine as close to 6.0 as possible. Highest you want it to get is 6.4-6.6 range, if you see it running higher water change with fresh RO water you prepared. Preparing your RO water to get the proper GH is also incredibly important. They thrive on GH but at ranges of 3-5 GH. Over 5 and under 5 will definitely play a huge part in your success of keeping them. The sweet spot is 4 GH I have found. I usually prepare my RO water with MORE Shrimp GH Conditioner, it can be found on a couple sites via Google. For 5 gal of water I have found it takes roughly 100 drops to get straight RO water to 3-4 GH. When I prepare my water, however, I prepare it to 3 GH just in case my water's GH climbs nearer to 5, I can water change and drop it along with the TDS. TDS of your water should never get about 115 TDS. I will water change as soon as it climbs above 100-105. Temps for both shrimp I have not seen much of an issue with...no heaters in either and my fish room stays roughly at 76/77 F. I keep a fan blowing on the tanks to help with any rises in temps, especially in the summer. As of yet, I haven't seen anything negative with my caridinas even though I have heard they prefer cooler temp water.

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you all in your shrimp keeping endeavors. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out in DM or below here. Also, feel free to follow my Shrimp Journal for all updates on my own successes and yes, failures. ENJOY!! 


@Flipper tagging you here to hopefully help with your recent troubles. 🙂 

Edited by Shadow
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/13/2024 at 12:53 PM, Shadow said:

to know my seller just DM me

I tried to DM you but it said I could not.  Here's what I was trying to send.

Thanks for the wonderful info on shrimp.  I know now that I'll never try the Cardinas.  I do have a question, who's your shrimp guy you talked about?

Also, I'm about to start cycling a new Fluval Flex 15g.  I've really procrastinated but I'm about ready now.  I was thinking, once it's cycled and seasoned for a bit, I'd love to try buying some of your blue shrimp.  I'll know much more about shrimp by then.  Still working on making my yellow ones happy in their 20 gal high.

Thanks for your time.

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Thanks so much for this.  I've been in the process of setting up/cycling/growing plants and biofilm for neocaridina shrimp.  Your information helped me avoid some pit falls I was heading into, including not waiting long enough for the tank to have enough life in it to support them.  I'm taking your advice to not overfeed to heart.  That has been a hard one to conquer with my fish tanks and would be a disaster with shrimp.  I'm in a rural area with lots of oak, banana and magnolia trees so its been fun to gather and boil leaves.  The shrimp arrive this afternoon!  I've got a drip setup all ready.  I'm  bit anxious but mostly determined. 

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