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Getting Started with Cherry Shrimp


David W
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I am setting up a 20 gal long for cherry shrimp. I am currently planning a species only tank. They will likely have some snail friends, hitchhiking on the plants.  

I received my CO-OP plant order today. I got them planted and moved some plants from my other tanks. Everything came a day early and was very healthy. 

I have been running a sponge filter in an established tank for about two weeks.

In my research, I have read and seen on respected YouTube videos that shrimp should go in to a well established tank. I know that this tank is going to take a little while to get there. Without the bio-load from live stock, I have a hard time believing that there will be enough going on to get the tank established enough for the shrimp.  I am not in a hurry and plan on letting the plants do their thing for a while. 

So the questions.   

How long should I wait before moving the sponge filter? Should I move it soon and start feeding the tank with ammonia or food? Will the plants do better if I move it over to give the tank a little flow? I have a new sponge filter I can put in for now and swap it out later with the established one. 

Would it be a good idea to put a mystery sails in the tank or some fish I can move over to another tank before adding shrimp? 

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Should I just get a good cycle going, let the plants get established, and then throw in the shrimp?

Thank you, all advice is appreciated. 

 

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  1. 2-3 weeks is about the amount of time I'd recommend taking to seed a sponge filter in an established tank. You have a head start and I commend that! This is a personal thing for me, but I also like to move the seeded filter into the new setup 24-48 hours before adding livestock so that the bacteria can migrate onto other surfaces like plants, hardscape, and substrate. In my experience "established tank" is more about fewer swings in parameters and more biofilm growing on surfaces.
  2. Having snails with shrimp is VERY beneficial, but this isn't specific to mystery snails. My reasons for this are, they have a higher bio-load than shrimp (and therefore can prevent the cycle from crashing) and they eat green spot algae (that shrimp generally don't clean up after very well).

Shrimp are generally a lot less temperamental than many people would have you believe. As long as there's biofilm and a healthy ecosystem they'll generally take care of themselves and in my home my CRS are one of my lowest maintenance tanks.

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Prob let the plants grow and see if you get any pest snails to help your cycle along as well as add your mystery snails. Their bioload should be at least equal the bioload of the shrimp. I almost always use snails when cycling, they're just so tough. Maybe consider testing the water after a couple weeks to see if your ammonia remains at zero.

Shrimp do seem to do well in established tanks, but what fish/invert wouldn't? lol. The Caridina species I've always heard is much more sensitive than Neocaridina - which cherry shrimp fall under. In fact Jimmy brought home cherry shrimp a couple months ago from the Co-Op and stuck em in a brand new 3 gallon tank right away and they've since quadrupled their population. I think it also depends on source of the shrimp.

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Thank you for the feed back.

I am going to start with getting an air stone in the tank to help with the gas exchange. I’ll swap it with the sponge filter later. 

I will let the plants do their thing. I am not in a hurry. If there are no snails in the plants, I’ll move over some rams horns from the other tanks. I’m hoping some MTS eggs snuck in with this batch.

I am not comfortable shipping live fish to Cleveland during holiday shopping season, and the two LFS I frequent sell out of shrimp very quickly. So I’m probably looking at January or February. 

Thanks. 

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4 hours ago, David W said:

Thank you for the feed back.

I am going to start with getting an air stone in the tank to help with the gas exchange. I’ll swap it with the sponge filter later. 

I will let the plants do their thing. I am not in a hurry. If there are no snails in the plants, I’ll move over some rams horns from the other tanks. I’m hoping some MTS eggs snuck in with this batch.

MTS are actually live bearers I believe, so if you see little tiny cones sneaking in, that’s them! 

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I also tend to squeeze out the dirtiest sponge filter in the fishroom into a new tank that is going to house shrimp. Bomb the tank with dark "chocolate" water about 3-4 weeks before the shrimp move in. It may not help at all, but I always feel like all that grunge just has to be seeding the tank with lots of shrimp goodies. Superstition? Probably but have had great success with it over the last few years and now it is just a thing I always do for shrimp tanks 😄 

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15 hours ago, David W said:

throw in the shrimp?

I do not recommend throwing the shrimps. I doubt they would appreciate it.

All joking aside it sounds like you're well on your way to being successful with shrimp. You've given yourself plenty of time and you have a solid plan with plenty of worthy advice. You are much more patient than I was when I wanted shrimp. How many are planning on starting your colony with? Are going with the standard red or another color?

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I'm about to setup 2 shrimp breeding tanks, and I suggest getting some Bacter AE or another powdered shrimp food to put in and help the biofilm develop. I cycle my tanks with plants and some media from another tank for a week or so, and while that is going, I add in the powdered food. Definitely add in some wood and Indian Almond Leaves. My neos LOVE grazing on those as they break down. Some people suggest intentionally growing algae in preparation of a shrimp tank for a week or so before adding the shrimp. I'm thinking about trying something like that on one of my next shrimp tanks. 

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8 minutes ago, Aubrey said:

How many are planning on starting your colony with? Are going with the standard red or another color?

I am thinking minimum 10 probably 20. I will definitely get red. Red is my and daughters favorite color.  I set up the substrate and hardscape colors to let the red stand out. 

9 minutes ago, BassKase said:

Definitely add in some wood and Indian Almond Leaves

Co-op was out of the Indian almond leaves when I ordered the plants, but they are on the way with cholla wood. Thanks for the suggestion on the food.  

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  • 1 month later...

I have an update and a question. 

First I want to say thank you to everyone for the advice. It all made the process go very smooth and helped set up the tank for success. 

So far so good. I have had shrimp in for a few weeks. Plants and shrimp are doing well. Snails are doing a little too well, I am working on finding the balance with the food. 

IMG_1311.jpg.645c9708591541b4955f8392ebc7ea97.jpgIMG_1310.jpg.fcaf666c64ef9f264b0b7d7a0b3c2b26.jpgIMG_1306.jpg.d595d9b0f539ac56714e71cecb4d33ef.jpgIMG_1322.jpg.455b3fdb1873c6bff5f17c17788253fd.jpg

I ordered 20 shrimp from a breeder in Ohio, figuring the water would be sort of close to mine. They came in a variety of sizes, and have acclimated well. I don't believe I have lost any. They have began breeding fairly quickly. Over the last week four of them has become berried. So far everything is going very well. 

I do have some hitch hikers. It appears a few eggs came over in some plants. They have hatched and I have four small fry. They are about 3/8 in / 10mm long. I think they are Australian Rainbows.

IMG_1320.jpg.f6adfe9494da1311d45438061ea5bfc6.jpg

I pulled plants from two tanks, One has the rainbows, and the other has neon tetras. They are definitely not corys or ottos, and my water isn't ideal for neon breeding. 

So, I am concerned that the fry will start to go after the shrimplets, after they hatch. How big will shrimplets be when they hatch? How big should the fry get before I need to remove them from the tank?

Initially I was going to wait until I could move them to the tank with the adults. With the shrimp colony just starting to breed, I want to keep the best chance for success. 

I did notice that the fry started picking at the detritus worms today. The detritus worms are at most 1 mm long. 

Thanks in advance for any help. 

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Your tank looks great.  I'm also dealing with unexpected fry in my shrimp tank, and trying to decide when is the right time to move them.  I don't want them to eat my shrimp, but I also don't want them to be eaten when I move them back to the parent tank.  I'm thinking I'll probably move them when they're about 3/4" long, but that's not any kind of an authoritative number.  I'm sure the size of the fish in the tank they're going to is also a factor, and sparkling gourami are the largest fish in my tank.

Regarding your question about the size of newly hatched shrimp, they're so small they're difficult to see.  However, they will also mostly stay hidden when they're that small, and even if your fry do pick off a few I doubt if it will be enough to matter.

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