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FAQs on Freshwater Shrimp Systems

Related Articles: Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Forget Crawfish Pie, Let's Make a Crawfish Tank! By Gage Harford

Related FAQs:  FW Shrimp 1, FW Shrimp 2,& FAQs on: FW Shrimp Identification, FW Shrimp Behavior, FW Shrimp Compatibility, FW Shrimp Selection, FW Shrimp Feeding, FW Shrimp Disease, FW Shrimp Reproduction, & Shrimp by Family, Genus, Species: Atyids: Genera Caridina & Neocaridina (Japanese Marsh, Yamato Numa Ebi, or Amano Shrimp, Bumble/Bee, Crystal), Genus Atyopsis (Bamboo, Wood Shrimps), Genera Attya, Atya, Atyoida (Mountain, Rock Shrimps), Freshwater/Brackish/Marine Palaemonidae Rafinesque, 1815 & FAQs on: Palaemonetes (Ghost/Grass/Glass Shrimp), Macrobrachium (Blue "Lobsters), & FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2, FW Crustaceans 3, FW Crustaceans 4,&& FAQs on: FW Crustacean Identification, FW Crustacean Behavior, FW Crustacean Compatibility, FW Crustacean Selection, FW Crustacean Systems, FW Crustacean Feeding, FW Crustacean Disease, FW Crustacean Reproduction & Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, & Crayfish FAQs, Crayfish 2, Crayfish ID, Crayfish Behavior, Crayfish Compatibility, Crayfish Selection, Crayfish Systems, Crayfish Feeding, Crayfish Disease, Crayfish Reproduction,

For most species... a well-planted set-up is best.

Birth of baby shrimps 05/06/08 Hi, My daughter is 7 years old and she is curious to know how are baby shrimps born. <Many different ways. Depends on the shrimps. Is this a school project or simply out of curiosity. If the former, that's not something we're here to help with. If the latter, the short answer is this: most shrimps produce eggs that float away in the plankton. After a while the eggs hatch and the "baby" shrimps pass through a series of larval stages until they become miniature shrimps that settle down onto the substrate. Although the details are different, the basic idea of a larval versus adult form is similar to the way larval butterflies (caterpillars) are different to the adults. Some shrimps, mostly freshwater ones, do not do this. The mother carries a few large eggs under her swimmerets and protects them. When they hatch, the newborn shrimps are perfect miniatures of the adults, and immediately walk about the bottom just like their parents. If you get some Cherry Shrimps from a pet store, they breed easily if kept well, and you can watch this at home.> Can you provide us the answer with pictures or video clip attached? <No.> Thanks, Esther <Cheers, Neale.>

Calcium in Crab & Shrimp Tanks     6/2/16
Hello,
I keep a few crustaceans (Panther crabs, Rainbows crabs, Geosesarma crabs, Crayfish and Cherry Shrimp). I know that calcium is important for the proper development of their shells. I have looked all over the net and can't find any definitive information on how much calcium and how often it's needed, so I'm hoping you can help.
I bought some small calcium tablets (1" long by .5" wide), but I haven't put them in the tanks yet. I need to know how often I should be giving my crustaceans calcium and how much. So far they've been doing good but I want to make sure they have the best care possible.
Any help is much appreciated. Thank you.
Kind Regards,
Suzanne
<As with humans, it's the "bio-available" Ca that is important; and for freshwater organisms this takes the form of both dissolved and macro-sources. Unless you have a Calcium concentration test assay, I'd rely on "hardness" as a measure here; and aim for "medium hardness" (measured in various ways: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water
AND I would use the small calcium tablets you mention (or softer sea shells, cuttle bone) as an exogenous source these animals can/may pick on.
Bob Fenner>

preparing a freshwater shrimp tank   8/10/14
Hello you WWM peoples, hope you're having a great day!! I'm pretty sure I've read everything you have on freshwater shrimp and I did learn quite a bit, thanks for that.
<Cool.>
However, I am looking for information on a particular topic and didn't come across it on your site, shocked, I know...I'm looking for specific information on setting up a freshwater shrimp tank from the beginning. Can anyone guess what I'm about to do? Huh, can ya, huh, huh, can ya?.Oh!
No!......You were so close!..I'm setting up a 5 gallon Fluval Spec V (with a sand fall) freshwater shrimp tank from the beginning - using distilled water because I my water comes from a well and has way too much iron coming straight from the well and I've read too many times not to use artificially machined softened water.
<Indeed, but make sure you buffer the DI/RO water before use. Pure H2O will be lethal to shrimps. To be fair, the farmed shrimps are very adaptable animals -- some even thrive in/prefer brackish water (Red-Nose shrimps, I'm looking at you) but very few/none come from truly mineral poor waters.>
Yes, I do have all the necessary items to re-introduce back into the water what the distilling took out (pH, minerals, etc.).
<Good. Realistically, marine aquarium salt mix will probably do, around the SG 1.002 mark, unless you're keeping something especially finicky. Do recall that most of these freshwater shrimps are very closely related to marine species, and many have marine stages to their life cycle.>
So, I'm about to setup a freshwater shrimp tank from the beginning and don't want to make any mistakes as I foray into this new species! Is it just like setting up a freshwater fish tank and I could do fishless cycling with some ammonia?
<Yes.>
I'm asking because I cannot for the life of me find hardly anything on the internet about it, and the few things I have found on the internet are using special freshwater shrimp products that I've seen (and can be
purchased) on the breeders websites, go figure.
<Indeed.>
We're talking about special bacterial powders, old mud powders, mineral powders, etc.
<I always think this approach overkill. Gravel from an undergravel filter, established sponge media from a canister filter, even decent sized clumps of floating plants will all jump-start the cycling process, easily enough to allow you to add a few small fish or shrimps from the get-go.>
If you read the descriptions of all these special shrimp products your shrimp WILL IMMEDIATELY DIE if you're not using them to get your tank to the right pH, GH, KH, calcium levels, etc.
<Meh. Depends on the shrimps. Some, like Cherry Shrimps, are astonishingly hardy provided not overtly poisoned with copper. Others, some of the Bumblebees for example, are more delicate.>
I have to admit, I have purchased a few of the more general products but I'm not sure how specific I need to get. I know taking care of shrimp is going to be different than taking care of my ADF's but is it THAT MUCH different?
<Hardly at all. The two coexist quite well, even (assuming the frogs don't take any tiny/hatchling shrimps as food).>
Keep the water clean and chemically balanced, don't feed them too much and enjoy them.
<Pretty much.>
Could you please let me know the proper way to set up my tank so my freshwater shrimp will be happy and not stressed when they enter the tank and so that they won't all die within a day of going into my tank.
<Not going to happen if you start with Cherry Shrimps or some similar tough species. Would highly recommend adding plants first, especially floating plants (long, feathery roots are covered with "good" bacteria as well as infusoria for shrimps to eat). That'll provide enough bio filtration for the tiny amount of waste shrimps produce.>
Your advice is much appreciated by myself and my future shrimps...Stacy
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Using Copper (for snail control) and then Adding Shrimp (BobF, may need to review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)<<Ok>>       2/20/14
I am setting up a tank (currently only gravel, one fish, basalt, plants, wood, aquatic moss).
<<Biota and wood, mulm... will absorb a good deal of Copper... NEED to employ a test kit... NOT simply pour in and hope>>
Very recently (less than two weeks) contracted snails in my aquarium and bought some copper sulfate on sale to try and combat it (can't stand snails for whatever reason or another). Still haven't added it, and I'm hesitant to due it because upon reading around I discovered it
would be harmful to shrimp, and I had been planning on keeping some cherries and hopefully having them breed once I got my hands on some.
<You are right to be cautious. Copper compounds are extremely toxic, not just to snails but to fish, plants, you! While they do kill most types of snails quite quickly, you're then stuck with a bunch of rotting snail carcasses in the tank, and the more dead snails, the worse water quality will become. Other types of management are usually best, not least of all manual removal if the number of snails is small.>
Reading on your site in the marine section I heard of people managing to get rid of the copper enough to keep shrimp using several products, most notably CupriSorb which I also ended up buying.
<Yes.>
Now others are telling me using any copper will just muss it up any shrimp keeping plans completely.
<There is that risk. Essentially, copper is absorbed by various sorts of non-organic <<And organic>>  materials in the tank, as well as being dissolved into the water. Quite quickly copper in the water can be diluted through water changes or removed using Cuprisorb, but the copper that's been absorbed by, say, calcareous rocks and shells in the tank will leach out slowly over time. If you have fresh Cuprisorb in the filter for a long time thereafter, then all well and good because that'll remove any carbon that leaches out of the rocks and shells, but remember that Cuprisorb needs replacing <<And testing for free cupric ion>> and of course gets clogged up with bacteria and detritus quite quickly as well, reducing its usefulness.>
I also read something about chelated copper and ionic copper being more or less harmful in a tank, and about using chelated in freshwater so it doesn't bind, or something along those lines.
<Not aware of this, but generally we have less calcareous material in the freshwater aquarium than the marine aquarium. Let me direct you to Bob's Copper FAQ, here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm
In a nutshell, if you choose to use copper, best to remove as much material as possible from the aquarium, even the rocks and gravel. <<Yes>> The emptier the tank, the better the copper will work and the less potential for absorption of copper by rocks, gravel, etc. Obviously you can wash gravel under a hot tap to remove snails, and do likewise with rocks and ornaments. Plants are trickier, but can be dipped in dilute potassium permanganate solution to effectively kill snails and eggs (such potions are sold in aquarium shops and reasonably safe to use, though KMnO4 is extremely toxic so handle with
care, especially around children). Run the tank "empty" save for the water, filter, and heater for as long as recommended with the snail-killing potion you have, then do a series of water changes, use the Cuprisorb, and once Cu ion concentration reaches zero (use the test kit sold for marine aquaria) reassemble the tank. It would be easiest to have the fish (and plants) in a QT/hospital tank while all this is going on, but not essential unless your fish are notably copper intolerant ones such as loaches, catfish, most oddballs and some of the more delicate tetras, cichlids and such. If you aren't using a QT tank, then I'd still keep the plants out of the tank while all this was going on, perhaps in a container of water somewhere sunny for a couple (no more) hours a day (a cheap plastic goldfish bowl would be ideal). Sound like a faff? Yes indeed. The use of copper is a pain in the backside in freshwater and marine aquaria, and to be honest, there are almost always safer ways to tackle problems we used copper for in the past.>
So should I go ahead with copper and Cuprisorb? Would I be able to keep shrimp after doing it?
<If you do as described, you'll have minimised the risk of copper remaining in the system. So yes, the maintenance of shrimps should be doable.>
Will chelated or ionic copper make some sort of difference?
<Nope.>
Or should I quickly get used to the site of shells in my tank?
<I do. Do read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsnails.htm
<<Yes; or employ other means of control>>
Snails generally become a pest in tanks where one or other parameter isn't balanced; too much food, too much algae, too much waste accumulating on the substrate. I think of them like miners' canaries: if the snails are troublesome, then there's something amiss with the tank. Not always, but usually. A few small snails doing their thing in a balanced, healthy planted tank will generally do no harm and perhaps some good, particularly the Malayan livebearing snails and little Physa species which aerate the substrate and consume algae respectively. You can also add non-breeding snails, Nerite snails, that will remove algae and keep down the populations of other snails by removing their food, or even add carnivorous snails,
Assassin snails, though the jury's out whether these also eat small shrimps too. Some of the big snails are good "uber-competitors' too, the Tylomelania species especially, and by letting them loose in your tank, you'll go a long way towards suppressing populations of other, less attractive snails.>
Thanks a ton!
<Most welcome, Neale.><<RMF>>
Re: Using Copper and then Adding Shrimp (BobF, may need to review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)     2/21/14

Hello!
I just wanted to write back and thank you both for your time and effort in answering my question. You have both helped me very much, and while I still haven't chosen my route yet I'm glad I finally have some good information to base it off of (oh, and I apoligise for not inserting a hello in the beginning, I must have been sleep writing :) ). Thanks again, and have a great day!
<Most welcome and good luck with the aquarium. Neale.><<RMF>>

FW Shrimp, Iodine Dosing - 12/23/2012
Hi folks
<Hi, wait - Gord?  Again?  Lovely!  Sabrina with you this evening.>
I've got a 12 litre cherry shrimp tank underway with my first brood of young shrimp.
<Fun!>
I got some iodide to add to the tank but it's not the Kent product I've seen the advice about. It is Salifert Natural Iodine. The marine dose is 5ml per 100 litres. The label states that 10 drops is 1ml. .
<The Kent product suggests 5mL per 50 gallons....  Why on Earth do we persist in using Metric and "Standard" measurements in combination like this?  5mL per 190 Liters is too elegant, perhaps?  Too sensible?  Sigh....  Well, 50 gallons works out to about 190 Liters, so were I in your shoes, I'd probably start out at a drop or two per ten gallons (37-ish Liters, I do wish we'd just switch to Metrics already!) per week, as I have done (and would do) with the Kent product, and see how things go....  Adjust as necessary and feel safer going a bit over that as your Salifert product seems to be half-ish the "strength", if we go by the recommended doses for marine use.>
I work that out to be 5 drops per 10 litres at marine dosage rates. The advice I've seen on WWM is 1 drop of the Kent iodide per 10 gallons (I assume US).
<Sigh.  The Metric system is so, so much better, more useful....>
Am I safe enough to add one drop per week or do I need to get it lower by making a dilution?
<I think you're safe, and can fudge on the side of going over a bit.>
I've no experience of dosing iodine so if you could give me some advice I'd be grateful.
<Mostly, you're just aiming for healthy shrimp.  If your shrimp are currently reproducing successfully, you may not need to dose at all - but I don't honestly think it would hurt.>
Cheers
Gord
<Best wishes, and enjoy those gorgeous critters!  -Sabrina>
FW Shrimp, Iodine Dosing - II - 12/24/2012

Hi Sabrina
Aye, me again! You’ve only got yourself to blame, well you and the rest of the Crew. If you didn’t have so much on here for me to read I wouldn’t have so many questions!
<Heh!  Yes, we do it to ourselves, I suppose.  *grin*  We're glad of the well-thought-out questions you've brought.>
That is a relief, I had been dosing at 1 drop per 10 Litres, having misread the one drop per 10 gallons. A bit of a schoolboy error, I know. I stopped dosing about 6 weeks ago, when I realized my mistake, and finally got round to asking the question.
<I see.  Well, we all make such errors.  If we'd only all switch to all Metric, all the time....  Sigh.>
Hopefully, breeding these little shrimp is going to pay for the fishes food, help with algae in the other tanks, provide a *very* occasional snack for the carnivores and be a lot of fun in their own right. I’m also fantasizing now and again that I might get a chance mutation that I can breed from and have my very own signature shrimp. 
<Possible, through selective breeding.  Just like guppies, only cuter.>
I also have 6 Amano shrimp in another tank, on algae cleanup duties. It’s a 70 litre so I’ll give them 2 drops per week. That’s the next breeding project when I’m comfortable with the Cherry Shrimp.
<Caridina multidentata are no easy undertaking when it comes to breeding!  That's a very difficult project, but one with which you would surely have fun and learn much.>
Sexing the Amanos is a flaming nightmare for me though.
<Oh!  Not too terrible, once you get used to looking at them.>
I *think* I’ve got six males but so, so hard to be sure.
<Well, breeding with six males is not going to be easy.>
Actually, since I’m writing, maybe you could give me the benefit of your experience on Amano sexing, if you would be so kind? I can just about recognise the body shape differences from watching the Cherry Shrimp, I’ve looked in the shops and at photos but I cannot discern a saddle on any Amano, even when it is ringed in a photo. I’ve also read that the females have more of a striped bottom line of markings and the males are more spotted, but that was a single source from a hobbyist website.
<I've seen males and females both with "more striped" and "more spotted" lines; I go just by the shape of the animal.  When a female is not carrying eggs, when she is at rest, the pleopods will be entirely shielded by her carapace.  The sides of the "shell" will extend far enough down that the pleopods do not "hang" below unprotected.  This serves to have more of the eggs more well protected when the pleopods are covered in them.  Of course, when they're covered in eggs, much of the pleopods will be exposed.  But if you look at the males, you'll see that their pleopods, just normally at rest, are much more exposed than a female's (although still well protected).  If you get a chance to look at a whole mess of them at a shop, you'll start to pick out the differences quickly.>
I know about the brackish water requirement and that the larvae need near marine conditions, but I have not read much beyond that.
<Not many folks have bred them due either to the fact that it's not economical, or that there are few folks who have the passion, interest....  So you won't find much to read on it.  In fact, if you are successful, you'll have far more to contribute to the great lack of information than is currently out there right now.>
I’m saving that up for when two conditions are met: Having a verifiable female and when I can persuade my better half that we could squeeze another nano in somewhere, since my planned breeding tanks have now been overtaken by single female Bettas from our failed sorority attempt.
<Hee!  Female Bettas aren't always as friendly as the books indicate, are they?  I've had a couple that were worse than any male.>
I couldn’t agree more about Metric vs. Imperial or Standard, especially since it is hardly rare to be speaking to someone from across the pond nowadays.
<A very strong pet peeve of mine.>
I just use Metric as matter of course, but I think that’s probably from too much time spent in science.
<As I am currently employed in the scientific research industry, my already strong preference for Metric has become even stronger.>
I still estimate distance in feet and inches and weight in pounds and ounces, though
<The worst for me is still temperature.  I can't get my brain out of Fahrenheit, except for the small temperature range at which we house our fish.>
and was taught both systems in school.
<Us, too.>
Crazy.
<Oh yes.>
Thanks for your help.  It is very much appreciated by my better half, our fishes, shrimples and I.
<And your thoughts, sharing, and discussion are much appreciated by us!>
Cheers
Gord
<A very happy holidays to you all.  -Sabrina>

Bamboo Shrimp; sys., nutr., I2   11/24/11
Hi Crew,
<Laura>
Just a few questions. First though, I love this site. The crew is truly amazing in their knowledge content and their willingness to share it with those of us who lack that knowledge.
<Our pleasure as well>
This question is directed at Sabrina since she is the shrimp-obsessed one.
<Ahh, will send to her in the hope that she will see, respond, as well as try to do so myself here>
I have recently acquired two Bamboo shrimp. They are in a well established
75G tank with 3 Danios, about 6 glow light Tetras, 3 glass cat fish, two Cory catfish, 1 Otocinclus, and two rather large Angel Fish. I have an ornament in the tank that looks like a stump. It sticks up far enough that the shrimp can get in the current of the outflow from the filter. That is how I feed them. I squirt the Kent's Microvert into the outflow and they get it. I crumble up flake fish food and put it in the outflow and they seem to eat that way too. I also put in three or four algae wafers for the car fish and the shrimp should they want to munch on them. Is this way of feeding ok and how often should I give the Microvert to keep them healthy?
<Yes and yes>
I do not see any of the other fish pestering them and when I turn off the light at night they go inside the stump to hide. I read several of your posts where you state to put in Kent's Iodine for the shrimp. At my LFS all I could find was Kent Iodide, is this the same thing or a comparable substitution?
<Any commercial aquarium iodide/ate solution will do and is advised>
Do I need to see if I can find Iodine instead of the Iodide?
<Not Iodine... too toxic... though commercial prep's are often (wrongly) talked of as such, this valence state of elemental I2 is not safe, nor very useful for "getting into" the animals we'd like. A fave line here:
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/ReefIodide.html>
Is the dosing the same for Iodide and it is for Iodine (1 drop/ 10 gallons)?
<Half-doses for freshwater (from products intended for marine use) is about right...>
I read on a one other website that the shrimp only have that white line down their back if they are upset or stressed, is that true?
<Not always in my experience. Seems this presents itself when they are excited period... when very happy as well>
Both of my shrimp always have that stripe. One is a nice shade of red and one is a wood brown color, which I think is what they are supposed to look like.
<I as well>
Thank you for your time and knowledge,
Laura
<Again... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Bamboo Shrimp, Sab chimes in     11/24/11

Hi Crew,
<Laura>
Just a few questions. First though, I love this site. The crew is truly amazing in their knowledge content and their willingness to share it with those of us who lack that knowledge.
<Our pleasure as well>
This question is directed at Sabrina since she is the shrimp-obsessed one.
<<Who, me? Shrimp-obsessed? Yes, I think that's a fair description.>>
<Ahh, will send to her in the hope that she will see, respond, as well as try to do so myself here>
<<I see and respond.>>
I have recently acquired two Bamboo shrimp. They are in a well established 75G tank with 3 Danios, about 6 glow light Tetras, 3 glass cat fish, two Cory catfish, 1 Otocinclus, and two rather large Angel Fish. I have an ornament in the tank that looks like a stump. It sticks up far enough that the shrimp can get in the current of the outflow from the filter. That is how I feed them. I squirt the Kent's Microvert into the outflow and they get it. I crumble up flake fish food and put it in the outflow and they seem to eat that way too. I also put in three or four algae wafers for the car fish and the shrimp should they want to munch on them. Is this way of feeding ok and how often should I give the Microvert to keep them healthy?
<Yes and yes>
<<I think what you're doing is fine. They'll learn quickly that you feed sinking foods and will probably start to go for that more than anything. General rule of thumb is, if they're fanning into the current, they're hungry. My best success with fan-type shrimp was with Atya gabonensis and the (now non-existent) Marineland sinking foods, but really, any sinking foods are great. You might try something in a very small pellet form that they can search around the substrate for. It's possible that the boisterous cories might outcompete them for food, so maybe consider feeding sinking foods in two very separate locations at the same time.>>
I do not see any of the other fish pestering them and when I turn off the light at night they go inside the stump to hide. I read several of your posts where you state to put in Kent's Iodine for the shrimp. At my LFS all I could find was Kent Iodide, is this the same thing or a comparable
substitution?
<Any commercial aquarium iodide/ate solution will do and is advised>
<<As Bob said - but with one important exception; do NOT use anything labeled "Lugol's Solution". This is FAR too concentrated for any freshwater use, and will cause more harm than good. The Kent Iodide is fine, and what I use and recommend.>>
Do I need to see if I can find Iodine instead of the Iodide?
<Not Iodine... too toxic... though commercial prep.s are often (wrongly)
talked of as such, this valence state of elemental I2 is not safe, nor very useful for "getting into" the animals we'd like. A fave line here: http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/ReefIodide.html>
Is the dosing the same for Iodide as it is for Iodine (1 drop/ 10 gallons)?
<Half-doses for freshwater (from products intended for marine use) is about right...>
<<Less than that, even. Just a drop or two per ten gallons every week will suffice, unless you have hoards and hoards of shrimp breeding....>>
I read on a one other website that the shrimp only have that white line down their back if they are upset or stressed, is that true?
<Not always in my experience. Seems this presents itself when they are excited period... when very happy as well>
<<Agreed.... And in some, it's constantly present.>>
Both of my shrimp always have that stripe. One is a nice shade of red and one is a wood brown color, which I think is what they are supposed to look like.
<I as well>
<<Some are greenish, some red, some brown, some orange.... Quite a rainbow of possibilities, and sometimes they'll change color, too, possibly due to foods, water chemistry, dominance....>>
Thank you for your time and knowledge,
<<And thank you for your thoughtfulness and care for your animals.>>
Laura
<Again... Cheers, Bob Fenner>
<<Wishing you well, -Sabrina>>

FW shrimp tank   11/3/09
Hello All Knowing crew:
<Gosh!>
I so much enjoy this site and had a question for you.
<Fire away.>
Essentially, is my tank still cycled? Here's the situation. My 10 gallon has completed cycling (been up for 8 weeks).
<Should be cycled by now, assuming there's been a supply of ammonia from somewhere. Simply running a tank with water but no livestock won't cycle the tank without a source of ammonia. The easiest way is to add a pinch of flake every couple days, just as if there were fish in there.>
I've decided to make this tank a shrimp and fry tank.
<Nice.>
It will be heavily planted with lots of nooks for hiding. Due to my need to redecorate (for the shrimp to show up better, etc), I removed 3/4 of the gravel (which was 1 1/2 inch deep) and put 1 inch of another finer-grained gravel on top.
<Okay.>
I have an 8 week old sponge filter and a bio-wheel filter whose intake is covered with a pre-filter sponge. These have been running since the tank started. I originally smooshed the sponge filter into my larger
established tank to get the good bacteria going.
<Just to be clear, adding bacteria from another tank is great, but the bacteria will die back without "food" in the form of ammonia.>
I want to add Amano shrimp but wondered whether this tank is still cycled and safe for them.
<Assuming proper cycling, then yes. Shrimp are actually quite hardy, and I've stuck Cherry Shrimps into comparatively young, even new, aquaria and found they positively thrive. They produce very little ammonia themselves, and if the plants are healthy and growing, a balance establishes itself very quickly.>
I know the shrimp are sensitive and prefer an established tank.
<Not kept Amano Shrimps myself, but would assume they're comparable to Cherry Shrimps.>
Is my tank still safe? Any other things I should consider? By the way, the shrimp are on their way.
<Good luck!>
Thank you for considering my question.
-Janet
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp tank   11/3/09

Thank you for your very quick answer.
<You're welcome.>
I was worried that because I took out so much original gravel (and the good bacteria) I would have to start cycling again.
<Just to be clear here. Gravel from tanks with undergravel filters is a good source of bacteria, but from tanks with other types of filters it is much less useful. Only the very top layer of gravel from such tanks will
have the nitrifying bacteria we want, because they're very sensitive to low oxygen concentrations, and so can't live more than a few mm into gravel beds without undergravel filters. So while taking a handful of gravel is better than nothing, it's not as good as taking live media from a mature canister (or whatever) filter and putting it into the new filter.>
I cycled with 2 fish for the 6-8 week period.
<Should do the trick!>
Thanks from all of us!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nerite snails and shrimps  10/15/09
In a previous message I asked about the compatibility of Bolivian Rams and Neon Dwarf Rainbows for a 30 gallon aquarium that we're converting from cold water to tropical.
<Indeed.>
I asked what else we may want to add and Neale suggested shrimps or Nerite snails. However, our water tends to be very soft and I'm wondering if this would be a problem for these critters. Hardness is 50 ppm and alkalinity is under 80. One pH test indicated 6.8 but another test indicated 7.1.
<So, we're talking neutral rather than basic water. Fine for both species of fish, but would tend to harden it a little.>
Our LFS says they mix some crushed coral (or something like that, I think)
with the gravel in their tanks. Is this an adequate solution?
<Can be, but tends to be unpredictable in efficacy. By all means try it and see what happens. A half-cupful, placed in a media bag, should do the trick. Obviously, as it becomes covered with silt and bacteria, it will dissolve less, and so you do need to be removing and thoroughly cleaning this crushed coral under a hot tap, likely monthly.>
if so, how much needs to be added? My concern with this is that the water we add during water changes will be the softer water. Will this be too much of a shock to the fish?
<No, it'll change the pH slowly, as it dissolves. No worse than acclimating fish from the pet shop to your home aquarium.>
We have maintained this aquarium for several years by performing a 40 to 50% water change every 2 weeks. (It seems to require that much in order to vacuum all the gravel completely.) On one hand, we hate to fix something that ain't broke, but I understand the Bolivian Rams may be more sensitive than the types of fish we've kept in the past (goldfish for the past couple of years and Congo and other tetras before that). What would you suggest we do?
<By all means try out the crushed coral route. Me, I prefer to add something to each bucket of water. If you look here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm
You'll see there's a Rift Valley salt mix. If you added one-fourth the dose per bucket of water, that should harden the water significantly and in a totally consistent way. You might up the dose to one-half the quoted amount. Either way, this mix adds general hardness (the Epsom salt) and carbonate hardness (the baking soda) and together these create water conditions that will suit the species you're after.>
On another note, we've had trouble finding test kits for hardness and alkalinity. Our LFS doesn't seem to have anything for fresh water, they just have marine test kits. All we found was a 5-in-1 test strip.
<These are adequate for freshwater fishkeeping. It's ball park figures you're after here; precision isn't critical. In terms of water chemistry, a pH test is essential, and a general hardness and/or carbonate hardness (sometimes called alkalinity) test kit are both useful.>
Can you recommend any reputable online aquarium supply dealers where we might find the test kits we need? And what should we look for? (Brands, names, etc.)
<I guess the Tetra Tests are well regarded, but they're all much of a muchness, using very, very basic chemical tests. So get whatever's available and to your budget.>
Thanks, Jeff
<Cheers, Neale.>

Help (Shrimp; maintenance, species unknown!) 3/17/09
Hello Crew,
Awhile back, at a show I purchased a small terrarium with a tiny popcorn shrimp. The water has been evaporating and getting low. I do not know what kind of water to refill it with and or how to open the enclosed box terrarium. I do not want to hurt the little guy.
Please help. Thanks
Clueless
Mary
<Hello Mary. I have no idea what "popcorn shrimp" are beyond those frozen McNugget-type things made from reconstituted fish-style petroleum products fried in crispy starch-based breadcrumb-type foodstuffs. So I'm going to assume it's something like a small the Halocaridina shrimps supplied inside those self-contained glass aquarium globes. This being so, evaporated water should be topped up with deionised water, as opposed to tap water or mineral drinking water. That said, if it's possible to do so, the water should be replaced, at least in part, as per any other type of aquarium or vivarium. The tricky bit here is you probably don't know if the water is freshwater, brackish water, or salt water. Obviously, you'd need to replace old water with new water of equivalent chemistry and salinity. The manufacturer should know, and you could find out from them, perhaps via their web site. In the meantime, do have a look at the excellent Pet Shrimp web site; they have a section on Halocaridina shrimps and the glass globes they're sold in. The site owner is clearly skeptical about them, and it's probably true that most of these supposedly self-contained globes eventually do fail. So you may learn something useful there, and perhaps think about ways you can improve the habitat you've got in such a way the shrimp lives a longer, healthier life.
http://www.petshrimp.com/hawaiianredshrimp.html
When it comes to pet shrimps, I'm a big fan of Cherry Shrimps; they're easy to keep, and when happy, breed readily. Watching the baby shrimps develop is absolutely fascinating.
Cheers, Neale.>

Triops, water quality, and cycling  9/21/08
What a wonderful website and resource.
<Thanks for saying so.>
After many years away from the hobby (like 40), I decided to get back in in a small way -- I got a Triassic Triops kit and started a batch of 20 eggs in a larger tank (3 liter) than the one supplied with the kit (1 liter). I used distilled water, and followed the instructions, adding the detritus "teabag" and watching the 3 Triops that hatched grow rapidly.
<Good.>
The teabag really was a very effective dried infusoria culture, as I was able to spot paramecium with a high powered magnifying glass within 24 hours of putting the bag in the tank.
<Not heard of this method before, but sounds great!>
I kept temps between 20 and 24 C without a desk light (as suggested in the instructions), but in a windowsill -- I liked the idea of a natural day/night cycle for light levels and temperature swings. Algae wouldn't be a problem as it's edible to Triops, and their stay in the hatching tank was only going to be a week.
<All agreed; these animals be definition are adapted to clear, shallow water where temperature varies rapidly and algae grows profusely.>
When they were about a cm long, I moved them to a 5 gallon aquarium I had set up a month before with quartz gravel, and a plant I got from a small pond I dug in my yard. The plant looked a lot like watercress (the pond is spring fed and volunteered water plantain and duck potato the first year, along with a great variety of other plants).
<OK.>
I had also added temporarily some Blacknose Dace from a stream on my property. They stayed in the newly set up aquarium for about a week before being returned to their collection point a little fatter than they started. At this time I knew nothing of cycling an aquarium, but accidentally had initiated it, I think. The aquarium had no filter and no heater.
<Do always take care returning pet fish to the wild; there are restrictions on doing so in many places because of the (very real) risk of carrying diseases and parasites into the wild. Much damage has already been done in equivalent ways through fish and freshwater invertebrates escaping/being released from fish farms and ponds. If in doubt, destroy captive fish rather than release them to the wild.>
After a month, algae had formed on the tank walls in a thin coat and partially died back, and had also formed on the plant, which wasn't looking as healthy for it. I checked the water pH and it was near 8, which surprised me as the tap water (from a natural spring) is 7 and soft. And I didn't think quartz gravel would alter the pH.
<It shouldn't.>
Although Triops are supposed to prefer some alkalinity, I decided to change out 70% of the water and bring it down to 7.5.
<With invertebrates it's almost always best to make small water chemistry changes where possible. If anything, I'd be recommending 10-20% water changes per week here, and leaving the Triops to adapt (as they should) to any minor variations in between.>
I didn't know about ammonia or nitrite testing at this time and only checked pH.
<Elevated pH can come from ammonia, so that's definitely an issue.>
I then acclimated the Triops to the new water over a few days by doing partial water changes in the hatching tank, adding the larger tank water. I didn't want to shock them going from near distilled water to normal tank water in one jump.
<OK; in general though these animals do seem to prefer soft, neutral to slightly acidic water similar to that in an ephemeral pond.>
Finally the Triops were added to the larger tank, and happily attacked the algae, detritus and some Cyclops seen swimming there. The Triops really took off and doubled their size in a couple of days, I started adding regular TetraMin flakes (maybe 4 or 5 at a time, crunched up) once a day. Then disaster struck. The largest Triops started swimming poorly and died within 24 hours. Then another died overnight. The smallest finally also died -- all within 48 hours. None had reached egg laying maturity, though the largest was about 2 cm and probably would have been shortly.
<What's filtering this tank? My guess is you're adding a lot of food, and without some means of filtration the ammonia itself could cause problems. An air-powered sponge filter is ideal.>
So, I started reading, and found this site. As a guess maybe the tank had cycled, but there was a bacteria bloom and die off since no fish had been maintained in the tank after the initial group. I think there was also partial algae die off, and the plants weren't looking as good. pH rose because of the several die backs?
<Maybe; all comes under the heading of "unstable, immature aquarium conditions".>
Also, because of no filtration, no aeration, and introduction of rapid waste making machines (Triops) eating everything and shedding every day, I think the system couldn't respond quickly enough -- maybe there was enough oxygen for the Triops, but not the ammonia and nitrite bacteria to act?
<Well, like anything else, Triops need a balanced tank.>
Also maybe the Triops needed iodine for shedding? And there were two occasions where tank water went to 18C overnight so temperature may also have played a part. I've also considered that the tank harbored toxic (inedible) algae, pathogens, or something else introduced from the wild plants and fish.
<Nope.>
Well anyway, I am trying again. Tank and gravel were bleached, and run under a continuous flow of spring water outside for 2 days in case of former introduced pathogens. Tank chlorine was then checked at zero.
<Do cycle the tank this time round using a filter.>
I've bought an under gravel filter with bubbler, pump, 50 watt heater. Also, Kent Iodine. I will add one drop to full tank when finished. This time I am also fishless cycling the 5 gallon tank with household, unscented, ammonia. I now also have the various N compound test kits for that.
<Great!>
Question: other sites have said to cycle with tank water at 3-4 ppm tested ammonia content. And on this site in cycling FAQs you suggest 1 ppm.
<Anything above even 0.5 ppm is redundant; if you think about what's going on, you'll understand. The ammonia you detect is the ammonia the bacteria aren't using. So provided you detect ammonia at all, that means the bacteria have taken all the ammonia they can use at that moment.>
What is confusing is that my test kit translates (with a chart) the ammonium ppm to free ammonia ppm using the pH value. So my question is, is the suggested 1 (or 3-4) ppm figure the total ammonium figure, or is it the free ammonia figure?
<Don't worry about it. Here's your goal: minimise the ammonia reading as far as practical, and don't consider the tank cycled until the ammonia returns to zero.>
At pH 7.5 I'd have to add a LOT more household ammonia to reach even 1 free ammonia ppm than I would for total ammonium. In fact, so much that I believe my test kit can't measure it on its limited scale.
<Don't do it this way. Just cycle the tank by adding either enough ammonia to maintain 0.5-1 ppm ammonia, or else add little pinches of flake food every couple of days. Every 2-3 days measure the ammonia. Provided it goes up and then back down to zero, you're fine.>
I've assumed you meant total ammonium, and brought that figure to 1 ppm -- figuring I can always raise it if you say that was wrong.
<Don't.>
I've also bought to Cryptocoryne species from the LFS in hopes they will work well with the Triops tank, and assist with bacterial inoculation. I haven't removed the mineral wool from the roots -- should I? If so should I leave it in the tank anyway for awhile?
<The plants will only marginally help mature the tank, but they will have other positive benefits over time.>
If this time I'm successful with a Triops Longicaudatus generation, I hope to try Triops Australiensis, next.
<All good fun.>
Can you shed any light on the probably water quality requirements for this last type? If possible in terms of, GH, KH, pH, (maybe mg, too) and also temperature? I mean for the adults.
<The best site for Triops info is probably:
http://www.triops.at/
It's run by a scientist who sells them on the side of his work.>
The young, I know need high osmotic pressure, and high water purity, and 25 C temps, but I'm sure water quality changes in the sinkholes and clay pans they are found in as time progresses. Any info on any of this?
<Juveniles certainly won't hatch until they experience the equivalent of a shower of rain forming a puddle. But beyond that, not much is known about optimal conditions. It's trial and error, really. Numerous forums and Yahoo groups for these animals, so would recommend joining/communicating with other hobbyists.>
Thanks for putting up with this long letter, about what my LFS laughingly referred to as glorified sea monkeys -- just after I picked up the ammonia test kit. I suppose I should have owned a discus.
<Much more fun than Discus; have kept, reared these animals, though admittedly only got one to maturity. Because the eggs are cheap, half the fun is to keep trying different methods until you find a system that works for you!>
Best Regards,
Steve
<Cheers, Neale.>

Stem Plants, Roots, Shrimp, Iodine, and Fertilizers - 06/01/2006
 Dear Crew, <Hi, Shawn!> I have a couple of questions, but I first want to thank you for the great resource you have created for all of us amateur hobbyists.   <Your kind words are greatly appreciated.> I've spent more hours reading articles and FAQs on your website than I can count.   <Heh, me too!> With that said, there is one thing I can't figure out.   <.... lots of things I can't figure out....> I've got a relatively new 55 gallon tank that is heavily planted.  It's been going for about a month now, and is doing great as far as I can tell.  The tank as a Fluorite base, 4 full-spectrum fluorescent light tubes.  I use supplemented/buffered R/O water to do my water changes, and my water levels all seem good.  I also inject CO2, with consistent levels of about 26ppm.  On to my question....  Many of my stem plants (actually all of them) have grown long white roots from every part of the stem, nearly to the top of the plant.   <This is normal for some plants, like Egeria, Elodea/Anacharis, Limnophilia, Cabomba....> Many of these white roots are easily 10 inches long and they are quickly taking over my tank.   <Today, the tank....  tomorrow, the world!!  If they're terribly annoying, I'd trim them back; otherwise, let 'em have their fun.> Is this normal?   <For some stem plants, yes.  What species are you keeping that are taking over?> I was hoping that they would just go away as the main roots settled better in the substrate.   <Some stem plants will settle down and do as you state, some will just keep up with those shiny white roots.> Okay, two other simple questions.   <No more!  Oh, okay, just kidding.> I am using "Flourish - Comprehensive Plant Supplement" to supplement my R/O water (along with Baking Soda to raise the kH) on a weekly basis.  Is that sufficient?   <As long as your KH, GH, and pH are steady, this is fine.> I am also planning on adding various shrimp to the tank (red cherry & Amano to start with) <Excellent!  May I suggest "zebra" or "tiger" shrimp?  The alpha male of a colony will be a STUNNING blue with brown-black stripes and red tail and rostrum.  http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.cgi?action=show&artNo=156 > and read that they need iodine to thrive.   <Yes.> My Flourish supplement contains 0.0001% iodine in it, but that doesn't seem like enough.  Do you think I should get a separate iodine additive? <I would.  I'm still using Kent marine iodine at a rate of ONE DROP per ten gallons weekly (NOT the marine dose), but most any marine iodine supplement could be used in similarly small quantities.> Thanks for everything you've done. <And thank you, again, for your kind words and encouragement.> Shawn <Wishing you well,  -Sabr

Advice on new additions please!! Shrimp sys., much more...  6/10/07
Hi Crew! <Hello!> I've been trawling your site all morning and can't seem to find any info on my new tank mates I purchased yesterday! <Oh dear.><<Heeeeee! RMF>> Normally I wouldn't buy something without researching it first but these guys were irresistible! <Uh-oh.> My tank is 100lt, recently cycled (upgraded from a 60lt) Ph 6.4-6.5, GH between 6 and 7, KH 0, ammonia and nitrites 0 and nitrates about 15. The temp is usually 24C but its hot here at the moment so has creeped up to 26C! <Water conditions sound very good a nice variety of soft water tropical fish. Increasing the turbulence (i.e., bubbles or splashing) at the top of the tank can help add a little more oxygen to the water in warm weather, but 26C isn't too high for most species.> In the tank are 4 Leopard Danios, 5 Corys and 3 Japonica shrimp. I also have 4 Pearl and 4 Yellow Kerri Danios in QT. <All interesting and worthy inmates. Shrimp tend not to do universally well in soft/acid water, so try to make sure the pH doesn't drop below 6.5.> So, on to the new additions! Yesterday I bought 2 shrimp labeled 'Chameleon Shrimp' and have so far narrowed that down to either Macrobrachium eriocheirum or Macrobrachium lammeri but the only info I found was that they need harder, alkali water! :o( <Macrobrachium spp are among the WORST additions to aquaria. They vary in size from fairly small things not much bigger than your Amano shrimps through to giants around 30 cm long. Ever eating freshwater tiger prawns? Those are Macrobrachium. Very widely cultivated in fresh and brackish water pools across Asia and increasingly elsewhere. Now, the deal with Macrobrachium is that they are omnivores and HIGHLY territorial. The "omnivore" bit means that while they will happily eat catfish pellets and the like, they will also catch small fish. The "territorial" bit is a warning: once they take charge of a burrow or cave, they demand to be left alone. Males of the species fight with one another. I've seen the big ones coexist with robust Central American cichlids, and some folks have the smaller species in community tanks, but still, they are not really 100% safe aquarium denizens. So watch them carefully.> I have some crushed oyster shell, would this help? <Potentially. I'd suggest placing some in a filter media bag and then placing it in the filter. Adding crushed oyster shell to the substrate works fairly well for a while, but eventually gets covered in algae and bacteria and its buffering capacity drops off. Better to put the stuff in the filter where you can clean/replace every couple of months. This said, you're aiming for neutral pH and moderate hardness, otherwise your other fish won't be so happy, so don't go bananas. Add a small amount, wait a week, measure the pH and hardness, and then adjust up or down as required.> They have claws, are they a threat to my japonicas/Corys? <Potentially, yes. Macrobrachium will take smaller fish if the opportunity presents itself. The problem won't be so much while you're feeding normally, but when you go away for your vacation and the fish are left alone for a week or two, a hungry shrimp might turn its attention to any small fish...> The current inhabitants are all present so far! What do I need to feed the new guys? <Macrobrachium spp are all omnivores. So a mix of vegetable and animal foods. I'd be using algae (such as Plec pellets), Sushi Nori, bloodworms, shelled mussels, etc. Calcium-rich foods are important, for shell production. For that, you want to be using some shell-on foods periodically. Krill would be ideal for small specimens, or unshelled prawns for larger ones.> Managed to hand feed the one I could find a cichlid stick but that wouldn't be much of a balanced diet! <Cichlid pellets not a bad start. But variety is important. Like crayfish, Macrobrachium basically eat anything organic, and in the wild to some extent are sifting mud for general detritus. So they aren't fussy. This is why they are a popular fish-farming species: they can be reared on what is basically refuse (like tilapia, chicken, and pigs, really).> Plus I cant find the small one to feed it anyway! How do I sex them and will they fight each other? <Males will certainly fight. Males generally tolerate females, assuming they aren't fighting over space. But there's no guarantees here.> I also bought 2 fish called 'Chinese Butterfly Suckers', they've already cleaned the algae from the QT tank! <Oh dear... these are likely Beaufortia kweichowensis. Certainly a member of the Hillstream Loach family, Homalopteridae. Among the least reliable aquarium fish in the hobby. Few survive any length of time. They live in relatively cool, highly oxygenated, spotlessly clean mountain and forest streams. In the wild they eat almost nothing but "aufwuchs" -- the mix of green algae and tiny animals they scrape from rocks. In the aquaria, they need algae, whether "real" or supplied via things like Sushi Nori or algae wafers. Vegetarian flake food smeared onto rocks might be worth trying, too. Small animal foods such as bloodworms should also be provided. The problems most aquarists have with them are these: [a] water quality; [b] getting enough food into them; and [c] too-warm an aquarium. They're essentially subtropical, and ideally want to be maintained at the cooler end of the spectrum, around 20C being about right.> They are the cutest fish ever and look like tiny black Plecos with white spots all over you can see their little hearts beating, stuck onto the glass! <Yes, they are lovely. But specialist fish.> I think they might be river fish, but my filter kicks out a strong current so hopefully that will suit them... what else do I need to know about them? <Well, I think I've covered the basics. Just keep thinking about what these fish are -- they live in streams with shallow water, lots of green algae, very high oxygen levels, and tonnes of water movement.> Will they be okay in my tank? <I wouldn't be the house on it. Your water chemistry and quality are actually very good for these fishes. BUT, your problems will be keeping them cool enough (or at least bumping up the oxygen level to compensate) and ensuring there is thorough water flow throughout the aquarium, especially at the bottom where these fish "hang out". You also need to ensure they have enough to eat. So, you have your work cut out for you. That said, in a tank specially set up for them alongside species from similar conditions (such as danios and White Cloud Mountain minnows) they are not actually delicate fish and some people have had great success with them. But they aren't "easy fish".> What should I feed them when they have eaten all the algae? <More algae. Plus a certain amount of animal protein. I'd be going 60% algae, 40% bloodworms and the like.> Sorry for the huge email but I felt so bad about buying them without knowing how to care for them!! :o( Any help would be much appreciated! <To be fair, hillstream loaches aren't actually featured in that many aquarium books. But investing in something like Baensch's Aquarium Atlas (which does include a number of them) is one of wisest things any aquarist can do. Good aquarium atlases pay for themselves over and over again by letting you identify fishes when you're shopping, so you can decide there and then whether to buy what you've found.> Thanks! Ruth. <Good luck, Neale>

Glass shrimp 05/20/08

Hi, I have some FW glass shrimp I would like to adapt to NSW. Can you give me some guidance about how rapidly this can be accomplished and how? Mike <Hi Mike. What does "NSW" mean? All I can think of is New South Wales! So get back to us with this, and we'll try and answer your question. Cheers, Neale.> <<Near Sea Water? As in saltiness is my guess. RMF>>

Re: glass shrimp 05/21/2008 Hi, I have some FW glass shrimp I would like to adapt to Normal Salt Water. Can you give me some guidance about how rapidly this can be accomplished and how? Mike <Mike, unless these are truly euryhaline shrimps, then acclimating them to saltwater conditions may not be possible. It all depends on the precise species. Here in the UK, the common "glass shrimp" sold as food for marine/freshwater fish is the euryhaline species Palaemon serratus, and while it doesn't last long in freshwater (a few days at best) in brackish or salt water it does equally well. Acclimating euryhaline invertebrates from estuaries to variations in salinity is generally very easy, and can be done via the drip method (or similar) across an hour or so. These animals come from areas where the salinity will vary very rapidly, so they don't need to be "pampered". But if the shrimps aren't truly euryhaline, then this isn't going to work. You (probably) can't acclimate a freshwater/salt-tolerant shrimp to marine conditions. Palaemonetes paludosus for example is one of the shrimps sold as the "glass shrimp" in the US, and to the best of my knowledge is not amenable to high-end brackish or saltwater conditions. Cheers, Neale.>

Wood Shrimp
Have just acquired a Wood Shrimp. Have looked at many web sites, but have not really found that much information about them. The LFS I buy from is long established, well-respected, and staff is quite knowledgeable and always available and helpful. They always have healthy live-stock; both Marine and Freshwater, and interesting inverts. They admit they also are not yet completely knowledgeable about the shrimp.  At any rate, the first one we bought home this past Friday was dead by this past Sunday morning. I tested our water quality with two different test kits: pH=7.4, KH=4.5, GH=9, Nitrate=0, Nitrite=0, Ammonia/Ammonium=0.  The tank is well-planted (all plants doing well), it is a 46 Gallon Bow Front and has the following members: 4 quarter-sized Angelfish 1 small Pearl Gourami 1 dwarf Flame Gourami  1 dwarf Honey Gourami 6 Amano shrimp 3 Kuhli Loaches 3 small Clown Loaches 2 Blood Fin Tetras 5 ghost shrimp (I am fairly sure, but not absolutely positive these have all been eaten by now; have not seen any in about 2 weeks) 6 small Siamensis 5 Otocinclus 6 pygmy Corys 3 green Corys 3 Sterbai Corys 3 Panda Corys 11 Harlequin Rasboras 1 Pair- Sailfin Mollies 1 Pair- Sword-tails Mollies 3 small Clown Plecos  3 very small Borneo Plecos (butterfly loaches)  The tank has been up since 3/26/04. Everyone doing fine, looking fine, eating well. I bought the Pearl Gourami, 3 of the Amano Shrimp, The 6 Siamensis, and one of the Angelfish at the same time I got the first Wood Shrimp. I returned the deceased crustacean along with a water sample to the LFS, and they agreed with my water tests. They believe as do I, that the Wood Shrimp dying that quickly is more than probably a reflection that something was wrong with it to begin with. They gave me another Wood Shrimp that has appeared and behaved much more actively and interested than the first one. I am interested in your opinion, (s) regarding this death and my tank numbers. I would also be very interested in any and all info about Wood Shrimp and Vampire Shrimp. I enjoy research and reading and do not mind technical jargon ( I give anesthesia for a living). I appreciated Kevin's remarks regarding setting up my 275 Gallon reef tank and am looking forward to hearing from you regarding the above matters. Thanks so much, Dave Harvey <<Dear Dave. Here are some sites for Atyopsis moluccensis, a filter feeder: http://www.plantedtank.net/woodshrimp.html  http://www.fishpondinfo.com/shrimp2.htm#wood  http://www.azgardens.com/shrimpfactory.php  etc etc...I get the feeling there isn't much info because there isn't much to say about them :P basically, they're filter feeding inverts that look cool but are a tad more sensitive than other shrimp species. Dave, btw, your tank is WAY overstocked. I am very concerned regarding the fact that your NITRATES measure zero, to me this means something is wrong with your testing kits. I have not seen such a stocking rate with zero nitrates. It is physically impossible unless you have so many plants in there that you can't fit any water in. Is there a freshwater plenum being used? Please re-test your water. You may want to keep an eye on your pH, if it starts to fall, the substrate may be becoming anoxic. Chances are, there are sections already anoxic (or anaerobic) in the tank, small gaseous emissions like sulfide or methane may be killing your shrimp. You can read up on anaerobic substrates here: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/roots.html or you can check the WetWeb plant section, or do a Google search. You might not want to add any more shrimp for a while, it is obvious they will not survive in this tank. When you do decide to add them, you may want to drip them, as you would a saltwater invert. A nice slow drip may make the difference in acclimating the sensitive shrimp to your tank parameters. Or better yet, put one into a small cycled quarantine tank, and observe it for a week or so before adding to the 46g. But please, buy yourself a new nitrate test kit. Ammonia and nitrites at zero are logical. Nitrates need to go somewhere, but in your tank, I fail to see where! -Gwen>> 

Water Needs of FW Shrimp - 03/15/2004
 Hello, Thank you for a wonderful website!! It gave me a lot of  good tips and answers to questions concerning tapwater I had. <Glad to hear it, and thank you for the kind words.> I have been using P.A.T. by Aqua Craft, Full Spectrum Multipurpose Water Conditioner for water changes, now I'm not so sure that that alone is enough. <I must say, I'm not familiar with these products; I'm assuming we're in geographically different places?> I had a problem with slimy black algae last year and the pet store told me that came in our tapwater?? <Uh, not *quite*.  The algae didn't "come in" your tapwater, but was probably there due to the presence of nutrients that it could feed off.> I live in Northern Washington. <Ah, bet it's nice and cool, there!  It's already like summer here in sunny silicon valley.  I'm envious.> I purchased 6 algae eating shrimp a day ago (about 1inch long, transparent) and they seemed quite happy roaming around the tank and on the glass eating. <Truly wonderful critters.  I recommend dosing the tank with iodine - I use Kent marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons weekly (NOT the marine dose).> This morning they were all hovering around the top (plastic knob) of the aquarium heater. The aquarium temperature is 78. Is that to cold for them? <Not at all, this sounds fine.  Out of curiosity, do the shrimp have sort of a "cloudy" look to them?  Healthy shrimp, even opaquely colored ones, can be discerned from unhealthy ones by an almost "clear" quality to their color.> I have a 46gallon tank with 6 cardinals, 6 gold tetras, 2 Otocinclus. Would it be safe to add 4hatchet fish, or would that be overcrowding? <Sounds like an excellent addition to your tank.  You have room in your tank, plenty and to spare.  Do please be sure to employ a quarantine tank, hatchets are notorious for bringing in ich.  I'd recommend getting six or so, though, as they're happier in groups, like the tetras.> That's a lot of questions...hope you can help me. <Hope so, too!  Everything sounds good, to me.  The only thing to be very concerned of with the shrimps is metals like copper in the water.  Look for that "clear" quality in your shrimps as a telltale sign of good health.> Eliza <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Water Needs of FW Shrimp - II - 03/21/2004 Sabrina, Thank you for you quick reply and the tip about adding iodine to keep my shrimp healthy. <Yes, a very important issue, I'm glad to have been able to help.> They are doing an amazing job of cleaning the tank! <Wonderful critters, eh?> They are so opaque that I have trouble locating all six of them at one time. <Er, do you mean clear?  Or really mean not-see-thru?  Basically, clear = good, cloudy = bad, and both qualities can be observed on shrimp that are an opaque color (like wood shrimp, cherry shrimp, etc.).  Now that I re-read my previous message, I realize how er, "unclear" my wording was - sorry about that.> Will they eat fish food when they run out of algae? <Yes.  I would try to offer them foods high in veggie content, perhaps something like Ocean Nutrition's frozen "Formula Two", or things like blanched zucchini, cucumber, etc.> Eliza <Thanks for writing in, Eliza.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Shrimps and Iodine
Hello again, seems like I'm pestering you folks a lot with invertebrates questions lately.  I was looking through the Freshwater Snail FAQ again, and noticed a note by Sabrina <Me!> that freshwater shrimp tanks can/should be dosed with iodine <I first got this notion from another person that had asked about it, and I got the dosing rates from the fella at http://www.franksaquarium.com/ , in case you (or others) wished to know.> (she recommended Kent reef iodine - I found a bottle of Kent's marine iodine while browsing an LFS this weekend and picked it up) at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week, and that it may help snails as well. Getting to my questions, does the iodine break down over time in the tank, or get absorbed by the charcoal in the filter, or what? <It'll get used up by the shrimp, and will break down in time> Also, is there a way to measure the amount in freshwater, and would you be able to suggest a recommended level? <I think it highly impractical to test for it....  Iodine tests are very awkward and time consuming, and I'm not even positive they'll work with freshwater.  One drop per ten gallons weekly is a very, very small amount, but really does improve overall health of the shrimps.> I've been told there are iodine test kits for reef tanks, but the individual who told me that wasn't sure if they would work in freshwater. <Yeah, I rather doubt that it would.> I change approximately 10% of the water in my tanks weekly, and 25% once a month, would that be enough to remove any excess to prevent buildup?   <I think you'll be absolutely fine with that.> Additionally, can the iodine harm fish or other life forms in the tanks? Other than ghost shrimp and mystery snails, the other tank inhabitants are black phantom tetras and Otocinclus (golden Otos, I believe) in one tank, and African dwarf frogs in the other.   <I don't know much at all about the frogs - but everything else should be great.  I've used this in a heavily planted tank with some pretty sensitive fish, with absolutely no effect on the fish (or plants) whatsoever.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> Thanks again for any help you can provide,  Chris

Ghost Shrimp, marine
I would like to add fresh water ghost shrimp to my tank for algae control and they are neat. All I can find in the stores are salt feeder ghost shrimp. Is there any way to adapt the salt shrimp to live in fresh water and what is the difference. Thank you <Can be done... see WWM re. Bob Fenner> 

Plant Supplements and Shrimp - 04/04/2005
I've been using Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement in my 5.5 gallon aquarium and recently bought a few algae eating shrimp (I believe they're the Amano something type).  <Likely Caridina japonica, "the" algae-eating or "Amano" shrimp.> I noticed that this supplement contains (min) .00001% copper as well as .24% chelated iron. I've been using a little lower dosage, just in case, but I was wondering if these metals would adversely affect my shrimp... <Having wondered the same thing myself, and having used similar supplements on my planted tanks with shrimp, I feel safe in saying that I really doubt that the supplement you are using, at or below the recommended dosage, will cause the shrimp any harm. I think your shrimp ought to be just fine.> ...and would the use of iodine supplements improve the situation?  <YES! Oh, yes. Absolutely, yes. I use Kent Marine iodine at a rate of ONE DROP per TEN GALLONS every week. For your little tank, you could do one drop every two weeks. DO NOT use the marine dose printed on the bottle.> Oh! I was also planning on putting some Triops in there (although I don't know if you folks know a lot about them) <I sure do! I *love* Triops!> and was wondering whether they would eat the shrimp, the shrimp being about 1.5 or 2 inches long.  <.... I don't think they would. I certainly can't guarantee anything, but I don't think they would. You might try getting a couple of el-cheapo shrimp (like ghost shrimp, often sold as feeders) and put those in with the Triops - if the Triops don't eat them, the japonicas should be safe. I've always wanted to put Triops in one of my tanks; I just need to hatch a few more. Awesome little boogers, aren't they??> Thanks a bunch for your help! <You bet. I have great interest in hearing how things go with the Triops. Please do let us know how it works out, and how well they do in the tank! Thanks, and good luck! Wishing you and your adorable inverts well, -Sabrina> 

Awesome Shrimp Question - 04/05/2005
Hey awesome team at WWM! <Hey, awesome reader!> Can ghost shrimp be slowly acclimated to saltwater at 1.025 SG.? <Honestly, it depends entirely on the species. There are many, many shrimp that fall under the name "ghost" shrimp. To be quite honest, you could try it with just a few and see how they fare. Don't raise the salinity more than 0.002 a day.> I want to raise them, should I aim for a larger say 55 gal, or could I do this with a 25? They don't seem to mind being crammed. <They sure don't mind being crammed, but the larger you go, the more likely you are to be successful. The ghosties most commonly offered for sale can be easily raised and bred in freshwater.> I also think that they don't eat their offspring so farming these little guys shouldn't be too much of a problem? <Not difficult at all. Been there, done that. They breed like bunnies.> UGF, air stone, water changes... Will everything just happen on it's own if I start with a good population, vary foods...? <Pretty much. A word of caution - if you don't add iodine, they may not breed, and may slowly die off. I use Kent marine iodine at a rate of one drop per ten gallons each week (note that this is NOT the marine dose!). I went from losing a few shrimp each month to breeding profusely after a few weeks of adding iodine. When your populations get very high, you may wish to increase the dosage. Good luck with your shrimp! Wishing you well, -Sabrina>   

Java fern and wood shrimp... where's that Sabrina?    1/19/06
Wow, and double wow with regards to the, very, useful forum at Wet Web Media.  In a 30 gallon tank  (pH 7.4, KH 4, no nitrates, nor ammonia).  Four month old, natural sponge filter on a powerhead, producing decent current and bubbles. Good fluorescent light. Substrate and gravel bottom, 26 degrees Celsius. It is a freshwater setup for, now, two wood (or flower) shrimp. Stuff seems to thrive, like Daphnia, hydra and some plants (some grass and a well established lotus that can't be stopped, cut from another tank setup). <Neat>   This is a second tank, because the first ten gallon has a very mean skunk loach (didn't know they come equipped with knives along the gills which to stab at Chinese algae eater and others attempting to share space under bogwood), so now it gets it's own tank.  The first shrimp, a larger one died, but the two much smaller ones seem to be doing fine once I started to hand feed them with microalgae via eyedropper injected into the current they filter from. <Good technique> They have settled, not looking for the exit, even at night.  From the many unorganized questions about aquarium habitats, two are pressing.  I have some Java Fern and Java moss in this tank.  Not much salt and rather soft water. Will the fern do ok in the tank -- not brackish? <Yes, likely so. Once established, is tolerant to a broad range of conditions/environment... just a slow grower> They look fair now, darker green, some black spots, and some bearded algae did show up.  The second question, a more depressing situation.  That I have read up on, including aquaculture perspectives from overseas; no one has had luck in getting these shrimp to thrive in a closed systems.  Have you heard different? If not, why on earth are they sealing them as pets? Mark <Am going to send your question to Sabrina Fullhart, who knows most re this group... I do think that some of the Europeans, especially German aquarists have done better and better here. Bob Fenner>

Java fern and wood shrimp... where's that Sabrina?   1/22/06<<In and out, hopefully mostly in for a while....>> Wow, and double wow with regards to the, very, useful forum at Wet Web Media.  In a 30 gallon tank  (pH 7.4, KH 4, no nitrates, nor ammonia).  Four month old, natural sponge filter on a powerhead, producing decent current and bubbles. Good fluorescent light. Substrate and gravel bottom, 26 degrees Celsius. It is a fresh water setup for, now, two wood (or flower) shrimp. Stuff seems to thrive, like daphnia, hydra and some plants (some grass and a well established lotus that can't be stopped, cut from another tank setup). <Neat>   This is a second tank, because the first ten gallon has a very mean skunk loach (didn't know they come equipped with knives along the gills which to stab at Chinese algae eater and others attempting to share space under bogwood), so now it gets it's own tank.  The first shrimp, a larger one died, but the two much smaller ones seem to be doing fine once I started to hand feed them with microalgae via eyedropper injected into the current they filter from. <Good technique> <<To be quite honest with you, I have only once seen truly healthy wood shrimp in an aquarium store....  And that was at Ocean Aquarium in San Francisco - Justin's tanks are nicer than any of mine will ever be.  Happy shrimp.  Uhh, the point I'm trying to make here is that it is VERY hit-or-miss whether you can rehabilitate newly purchased wood shrimp....  I would say you have a 50/50 chance of your newly-purchased Atyopsis living past a week.  If you can get 'em past their first moult and they end up with a less "foggy" look, you're probably in the clear.  I urge you to quickly get some sinking food that breaks into a "powder" in a short time after sinking - any/all freshwater filter-feeding shrimp will dip their "fans" into this powdered food and gobble it greedily.>> They have settled, not looking for the exit, even at night.  From the many unorganized questions about aquarium habitats, two are pressing.  I have some Java Fern and Java moss in this tank.  Not much salt and rather soft water. Will the fern do ok in the tank -- not brackish? <Yes, likely so. Once established, is tolerant to a broad range of conditions/environment... just a slow grower> They look fair now, darker green, some black spots, and some bearded algae did show up.  The second question, a more depressing situation.  That I have read up on, including aquaculture perspectives from overseas; no one has had luck in getting these shrimp to thrive in a closed systems.  Have you heard different? If not, why on earth are they sealing them as pets? Mark <Am going to send your question to Sabrina Fullhart, who knows most re this group... I do think that some of the Europeans, especially German aquarists have done better and better here. Bob Fenner> <<These are very easy animals to care for if you observe a few key points - iodine, food, hidey-holes, and "clear" or "uncluttered" space.  Unless you do VERY frequent water changes, I recommend you add iodine to the aquarium - I use Kent marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week - notice that this is NOT the marine dose!!  Regarding food....  Most folks are duped by the term "filter" feeder into thinking that these animals will get what they need right out of the water of our aquaria.  Not so, as you obviously know!  Feeding with microalgae, though certainly helpful, is likely not enough for them, unless it's constantly in the water in a high volume....  They really need a lot of food.  I've had a single wood shrimp completely clear a 70 gallon aquarium in which everything was covered by a fluffy diatom algae - in just a few days.  You could literally see the paths in the algae left by the animal.  Crazy.  Tetra makes a sinking tablet food that breaks into a fine dust; this is a very useful food item for them.  Larger wood shrimps or their giant African Atya cousins (A. gabonensis, A. "camarunensis"....) will be delighted with the smallest forms of the Marineland foods or Hikari's micro-pellets.  Do keep in mind that some of these animals are very secretive and like to be hidden.  Make sure there are plenty of spaces where they can pile up on or near each other in close confines.  A pile of driftwood or a piece of slate leaned against the back wall in the corner of an aquarium will please these guys.  And uncluttered space....  I sometimes think these beautiful fan-handed lovelies are as dumb as stumps.  They can really get "freaked out" by a lot of plant cover or just "stuff" in general that gets in their way.  They'll grow accustomed to it eventually, but try to let the bumbling beasties have some empty space to roam around, and try to feed them in that space.  It'd be nice if that space opened out right in front of their hidey-hole(s).  All in all, they can live for quite some time - my Atyas stuck around for some years, even carried eggs (though I never found young).  They're really quite interesting to watch, especially in groups.  A couple males to a handful of females is perhaps best.  One male will grow very large and display dominance - it's funny to see them "battle"; with no weapons, two sparring shrimp will "face-off" by walking headlong into one another and trying to climb each other.  Whoever gets bored and wanders off loses; the other is the winner.  They make excellent and fascinating aquarium pets, as long as their needs are met.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>>

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