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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Cherry and Crystal Shrimp Project Questions?

I've recently decided to start a Shrimp Project. I want to have a colony and obviously breed them. Just them, no fish. I initially got my tank set up for crystal shrimp and did intend to have cherries later, but it seems they were out and my plans turned backwards(they told me they didn't have any, but I THINK I may have gotten one that is very young, it's mostly white with some red on its back), which should be fine since they need similar and stable tanks, from what I've read my water parameter are good for them, but let me check to be sure:
API Master freshwater test kit was used, water hardness was taken from the water company.
PH: 7.2
GH: 10dgh
Nitrite: 0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates always the same between 0 and 5ppm, that's the lowest my testing kit shows other than zero, it never changes. I decided to take some water to a trusted LFS that doesn't use strips, they said it's closer to about three and my kit will just show is as a lighter color, right in between. ^^;
KH: 80 I had to use strips for that since I can't find the testing solution, but to be sure I took it to my LFS and they said for once that was accurate. lol

I keep the temp at 78 degrees.

The filter actually came with the tank, I believe it's an aqueon ten gallon power filter that I have added a sponge to so the flow isn't extreme, but still fairly good. It doesn't blast anyone about, but it gives a nice gentle flow that does reach the plants, and again, doesn't blast them about but they look like they're in a gentle breeze, the shrimp have been sitting on the plants in the flow without trouble.


I've started out with four, didn't want to get too many at a time and shock the tank. I have them in a ten gallon, well planted and very well established tank(The tank is about three years old, about two years ago I re-did it to have sand substrate instead of gravel and it hasn't been changed since except a few plants added here and there, plenty of algae around for them to eat, I hate that algae but I heard it's good to let it grow for them), with just them and some trumpet snails, and six guppy and platy fry temporarily because it felt so empty. lol

So I know how to tell them apart if I researched right: Males are actually not as colorful as females from what I've read, which happens but is odd in the animal world...and they're smaller. Females usually are bigger, brighter and have a "Saddle" that looks yellowish or green. So I THINK I have at least one male and two females, unsure on one, and the fourth one...I'm not even sure it's a cherry, I think it's actually a young crystal shrimp. ^^; Heh.

Anywho, REALLY WANNA KNOW...ahem, one of my females has that saddle and it's very obvious and a light yellowish color...now I was wondering, do the females ALWAYS have this, or does this mean she is for sure carrying eggs? The other one I think is female is about the same size as the one I'm positive is a male, but it's much brighter in color, I can't make out a saddle yet.

If it means she is for sure carrying eggs, how do I know if they're fertilized, or do I have to wait to know for sure?

How long to wait until there are baby shrimp?

Do I need to do anything specific for the babies, aside from obviously moving the baby fish out? They're newborn fish practically, but they're still big enough to mess up, eat or kill baby shrimp. Do I need to move the adult shrimp out?


How big of a colony is perfect for a ten gallon, well established and planted tank with about eight trumpet snails(I intend to move half of them out once my big tank is settled), and still leave room for breeding and possibly for a colony of red crystal shrimp once I can afford them?

How many can I add at a time, and how far apart? I don't want to add too much stock at once and shock anyone. Is four at a time every two weeks or so ok, or should I wait longer, and can I add more at once?

I ask how many I can have because it seems too far fetched to me. I've triple checked on stocking while doing my research and most places I've read around at said I can have something like fifty-sixty in there...Mm, that just sounds like extreme over-stocking because they're small, which too many people do, and just doesn't sound right to me, that's too much for anything this small surely! How many would any of you more experienced people max it out at for this tank?

Little more baby care: Any extra tips for their care and for the babies care? Feeding, cleaning, things to look out for. I've never found anything that said I need to remove the parents, so I assume they wont eat their own young? If I DO need to remove one or the other, will a net in the same tank suffice for the babies, and will a gravel bottom tank suffice for adults if not? A mesh one or a plastic one? I have both or I can build my own if neither are good.


All the same questions for Crystal Shrimp too, how to tell males and females apart, how do I know females have eggs, any differences, changes I need for them?

Anything I may have forgotten or that you think needs fixing? I was under the impression my tank was perfect from what I've read and hope so! lol
 

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You said you added a sponge but I'm not sure if you mean over the intake or the outake? I would place a sponge over the intake as well, if you haven't. I've heard it can suck up shrimplets, even on a gentle flow. I don't know how try that is but I do it on both my canister on my 35 gallon, and my HOB Aquaclear on my 10 gallon tank. The shrimp also seem to love picking debris/food off of the sponge, I always have a few hanging out on it.

My males and young ones are almost completely clear (males seem to be clearer than young, as the young have a red/orange tint to their bodies), with a smattering of red on their backs. I wish I could get pictures to show you, but I'm terrible at it.

My females are almost always either saddled or carrying eggs. The saddle seems to move down their body or something, and then they start carrying eggs under the tail portion of their body, with their back legs holding and moving all the eggs, I suppose to keep them from settling too much?
On the rare occasion they are neither, they are just a vibrant bright red, they outshine the males by far.

I'm not sure an exact time period, I never really kept track. I'd say within a few weeks she will release the eggs, and then after a few days you may be able to spot the shrimplets. I have a leaf substrate, so all my shrimplets grow up there and then come up into the rest of the tank when they're about 1/4 of the way grown.

Shrimp won't eat their own babies, if that's what you're asking. I'm not quite sure of the question there lol. I have shrimp in my 35 gallon with Kuhli loaches and Harlequin rasbora. I started out with 5, later added 4 more, and from them breeding I have around 30-40 in the tank. The fish don't bother them, unless one swims into the fray during feeding time and a fish may accidentally dart for it, but the shrimp are so quick they never get hurt and the fish won't pursue.

I would be worried that the Cherries would breed with the Crystals and create a strain that isn't 'pure'? But I'm not sure if they can or not. I'd research that. I currently have 11 adults in my ten, and I just dumped them all in at once. It's well planted and established. It also has Malaysian Trumpet snails, Pond snails, and Ramshorns. I would max out around 30, but it depends on how many plants/decorations you have for them to explore/get on/etc. They're small, have low bioload, and seem to do well. Occasionally I see a scuffle over food but they just kind of poke at each other and one swims away.

Only thing I would do for babies is maybe add a nice chunk of moss for them to hide in while they're still tiny. I've never had a problem with parents eating their young, I don't think shrimp really eat anything that's alive. Though they're certainly quick enough to catch something, if they wanted to.

Mine also LOVE floating plants. Especially the root mass of water sprite, and they also like to browse among the duckweed.

In the ten gallon I occasionally feed them a tiny shrimp pellet, but only because it isn't as established as my 35, and I worry about them not finding enough food. (I'm sure they're fine though, but it can't hurt to supplement a bit. Plus it's a good way to get everyone in one spot for counting.)

Don't know if I said this earlier (too lazy to go back and re-read what I've written so far...ha!) but in a well established tank I think you're fine adding the rest you want at one time. You don't need many to start a colony, in fact if you already have males/females now...you don't really need anymore. Later I would add some just to add to the gene pool but they breed quite reliably.

Mine have been thriving in my tanks. My water has a ph of around 6.8-7.2, and very low gh/kh. Like 3 and 4 or something like that. Quite soft.

I don't know anything about crystal reds, so I can't help you there :(

Hopefully this helps with the cherries though!


EDIT: About fertilization...I think once the saddle is there they are just kind of 'buns in the oven', just getting bigger to be released. From my experience saddle -> eggs -> larger eggs -> her releasing them somewhere -> getting saddled again.

I honestly can't be 100% on this as I've just left them to their own devices, sort of a 'they will or they won't'...they most certainly 'have', in my tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Wow, Jen, that is a lot of lovely info.

Yes, I had read you can keep them fine with crystal reds and Amanos temperament and living space-wise, but I never saw anything on interbreeding...but then cherries and crystals do look quite a lot alike, I'm wondering if they originally came from cherries and amanos interbreeding. lol I dunno, I never saw any warnings on that. I may just stick to my cherries, I sure do like them and they don't cost an arm and a leg to get like crystals(the reds are like $17 here, I hear they can sell for much, much more in some places, and the black crystals are only a tad less). x.x

My ten gallon is very well planted. I intend to add still more. LOL I wont be able to see the ground if I do though. ^^; Ah, love my plants though, it makes the critters happy. I was worried I'd never see my little shrimp, but they hang out on top of the plants and the glass where I can see them. I have a Marimo Moss Ball, I wonder if that'll work for them. They can probably hide in it just fine, my baby fish do often. The newborn guppies can hide in there just fine, so shrimp can probably disappear.

As for my sponge, I actually put one behind the filter cartridge so it didn't hurt the inflow, but lessened what it puts out and made a bigger place for the beneficial bacteria colonies. But I may try adding a bit of sponge around the intake area like you suggested(if I understood you right) and see if that works out.

I have a piece of driftwood in another tank that really isn't needed anymore since I moved the plecos to a larger tank with wood already...would that be a good addition for the shrimp? :3 It's got some small little hidey holes too, and could probably soften the water a tad..I heard they liked harder water and I was well within the range though, so maybe I shouldn't. I also read they do not like parameters changing and mine have been stable for quite a while. I always worry small critters will actually get stuck under it. x.x I had that happen once with a baby long-finned BN pleco! She did not survive. =(
 

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I honestly think 50-60 shrimp in 10 gallons would work just fine. they have incredibly tiny bioloads.
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know they have the low bioload AND they themselves are pretty tiny...but I was more worried about space! That many would still probably take up half the tank or more. =o Do they -like- being in such tight groups? One of my males and one female hang out together just fine almost constantly, but my extremely bright red female likes to be alone, and I never see the other one. I'm pretty sure it's nested down in my plants and wont come out. lol They only seem semi-group happy to me, either that or my pair is what they call a mating pair. ^^;

That's another question! I heard somewhere that they have pairs that stick together pretty tightly if not for life...is that true? Do they actually bond like that? And if they do, do they still go for other girls and then..I dunno, slink back to their partner? LOL I am fascinated by bonding type critters. :3
 

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You could look at other species of Neos (yellows, pumpkins, etc), though they will interbreed with the others, and supposedly you'll eventually end up with brown xD

The marimo ball should be enough, I've read that shrimp love them for the debris they catch in them. I've never had one so I couldn't personally tell you, but they seem to be a hit with shrimp.

Yeah, I meant to put a sponge pre-filter over the intake, just in case.

My shrimp really seem to like the driftwood I have in my tanks, and they like climbing on stuff so I don't see why not. I don't think it would affect params too badly if it's already been in a tank for awhile ^^

My water is quite soft and I had worried shrimp would not fare well, but they've done excellently. No trouble with growth or anything that I've seen.
 

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I've never really noticed bonding in mine...they seem to just do their own thing, but they don't mind being around each other (they never seem to fight unless it's poking each other over a pellet). I don't think I've ever even noticed when/how they breed. I just notice that I have a saddled female or one carrying eggs.

The 11 in my ten gallon just sort of do their own thing and explore the tank looking for food, and then will group together when I put food in the tank.

I can't say for certain if they do or don't though! I haven't personally seen anything like that, but you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, either way, so long as they're happy and they seem to be. lol I got some photos of my tank, I need to wipe down the tank, got water stains, never fails, the one of my bright red female is pretty bad, but she's enjoying that algae, I always hated that algae, always scraping it out only to have it come back, I gave up on the corners since my snails and fish enjoyed it anyways..but now it's serving a purpose at least. LOL

I'm gonna add in one or two moss balls for them as well. I've also currently got about four baby fish in there, I moved the rest out earlier. :3 These can stay for a little bit, it looks good with those tiny fish in there and only four shrimp. You can see my bigger anubias plant has some brown on it,t hat happened a few months ago when I treated my big tank for internal parasites, it hurt my plants, but it's grown in about a dozen new leaves, the others are actually healing up. I may need to trim a few anyways. I forgot I also have a ramshorn snail in there too. lol I may get him a buddy, if I can ever find any! It doesn't seem to lay eggs on its own...my trumpets breed fine though, maybe ramshorns need mates? I though they were asexual.






And the terrible one of my shrimp, she's pretty bright though, eh? lol The other is most definitely a female, she's got a saddle that's fairly prominent. On this one you can sorta see her saddle, when I turned on the lights this morning they were all a lighter color and I could see hers better though. They seem to get dull colored over night and then kick up with the light, I have a couple fish that do that as well so I didn't figure it was out of the ordinary. One is certainly male and I still have no idea on the fourth one. Hard to get good photos of them though, they're so tiny!


So that's what my set up for them looks like for now, soon to have a couple moss balls. =) Seem good so far?
 

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I love the setup, i always wanted to start a shrimp tank... But never had :)
 
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Shrimp tanks are so fun. I started out with six giant red females... didn't realize they were all females at the time. But they were, and sakuras or fire red quality at that. I picked up another half dozen later, and possibly up to another half a dozen or so since. I can't keep count of how many I have. Not even at feeding time. It's a swarming mass. I can use almost half an algae wafer to feed my crew.

Moss and floaters are your friends for shrimp/lets. Moss balls = snack bar. The moss balls catch debris that shrimp love to snarf. Same with the sponge over the intake filter (needed with shrimp, critical with babies!).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh dear. I guess I'll see about getting that sponge set up tonight then, I was kinda letting it go for a bit...but I don't think I'll take any risks if the adults can be at risk as well. Not sure how to go about it, can I just put a small tight hole in one and stick it on there?

What would my red female be ranked as with that color? I'm assuming somewhere in between the top and middle ranked shades of red, but I haven't researched their color quality ranks.

Also, I was wondering, I like to put some of the veggies out of the frozen fish food "Emerald Entree" in for my snails and fry, they LOVE it, but my shrimp are on it fast as well. Is it ok for them to have all that stuff? It's got romaine lettuce, spinach....I forget what else, mostly plant matter but it does also have mysis, shrimp and bloodworms which I pick out.

So now I'm pretty sure I have two males and two females, but that second male...still not sure if it's even a cherry shrimp. lol
 

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I also heard of people using panty hose andusing that to cover the intake.. :)
Just make sure it is OK - ie, if borrowing off partner, ask them! :)
 
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I have heard of people using that too..unfortunately I hate the stuff to the point I wont even go shopping for it, so I have none. LOL

I did make a little adjustment though. This morning I had....yesterday morning(I have been up far too long again lol), I had a rainbow guppy I've been trying to get some special babies from(I hold out hope she bred with my red and blue endlers guppy male and isn't having more from her last mate of whom I have no clue since I purchased her pregnant...) go into labor and my nursery is full as are my large homemade nets...so I put her in the shrimp tank. ^^; To keep those oh so tiny babies from getting eaten by the filter, I took some screen that I use for making my super giant nets out of, and tied it to the intake with white, clean thread. It didn't work out as I had hoped, but it worked as I intended it to without messing up the flow much. It just doesn't look so great. lol I did it around a few times so if anyone wants to hang on it to eat it wont suck them to it and still does its job. :3

So now my shrimp have temporary tankmates again, but only until I am confident they're strong enough to be moved to the real nursery.

And I was wondering, is that shrimp I showed a low-rank fire red, or a high rank sakura? .-. I can't tell, it's pretty solid red, but it's not as bright as the higher ranked fire reds. Still getting used to it and I probably wont be able to tell myself until I have many more, and I'm just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Got my shrimp today! I had ordered in some last week, they sent them priority mail Monday instead of Wednesday when I ordered so they didn't get stuck over the weekend and they got here about two hours ago.
They all seem well except one I'm not sure about. I couldn't tell if it was dead or if it was shedded skin, I can't find it again, so maybe it was fine and trying to be still, the rest are nice and active. I just finished acclimating them and doing a drip, added them in and did a tiny water change. They all went either right into the plants, or right to eating food off the glass and algae pellets I put in while they were acclimating. They're nice little shrimp! SO HAPPY! Some are as small as the ones I bought, and others look full grown. Lot's of females! I can see their eggs so that makes me happy. =) I know I have at least one male, so we can have even less chance of inbreeding. These little fellas came priority mail from California. And since none died or seem to be slow, ill or injured except that one I am unsure of, I think I got more than 25 of them which was the original order, they said they'd send extra. I spent only $39.99 for them, that many here would have cost me WELL over a hundred dollars, so I decided to try and order my first live critters in the mail.

It was nicely packed, two very large bags with plenty of air, what looked like the remains of a shrimp pellet, and happy shrimp. Some are already showing their colors again, they go white when kept in the dark for a few hours. ^_^ Happy, happy, happy! It looks like I got some sakuras, high quality sakuras and maybe some Fire Reds and low rank fire reds. I'm sure a few will also be low grade Sakuras and cherries. That's ok though, but I was hoping for some fires as is, hard to find them in the high quality red color.

SO! Colony of Cherry Shrimp, completed. Got around thirty or so now, instead of my initial four. lol =) Now to see if they do well in there and maybe breed. They seem to like it thus far.
 

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Any pics of the cute lil shrimp? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I did an update yesterday but my net died right as I posted, and it was all deleted when I managed to go back to the page. LOL That sucks.

Anywho, yeah I have some photos, but they're not very good at all. My camera just absolutely refuses to focus when it's multiple things. x.x Yeah, but you'll get the idea. I think I got ONE good one. I took 34 of the other from different angles and lengths, just couldn't get it to focus.

You can see one of my newborn baby dalmatian mollies in this one, sorta...I've got two platies, one red/orange, one I am positive is white though I dunno how it happened with a red platy and blue platy breeding...a guppy and that molly, I've gotta move the platies out to their proper nursery. The nursery has older babies who can eat the others, but the platies can go in now. The shrimp don't seem to mind the little guys, so long as there isn't more, which there wont be. ^_~




THIS one came out good though. You can see they're all pretty light colored. Most have gotten in some color by now, one in particular turned solid dark red, can't see her saddle anymore. The rest look about like this one, though yeah, some have a tad more red on them. The one that turned a solid red color was pale when it arrived as well, I wonder if anymore will get that bright. =) Wish I had a good photo of her, but as usual, can't focus the bloody camera! NEITHER of them!






Well, alright, tried anyways. I think some came out ok, so I'll update newest ones that I just took soon as I upload them. lol This probably will run out of time and wont let me edit in. ^^;

Key words there, came out "Ok" certainly not good ones. v.v;


They like that fern. lol I still have to get them a moss ball or three.




See what I did to the filter there? lol They hang out on that now. I wrapped screen around it a couple times, it no longer sucks enough to hurt my shrimp, still catches stuff though, and didn't interrupt the flow much. It slides right back off when I need to clean it, and then stays on even if I tamper so long as I don't pull, that was useful.
 

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Looking great! :)
Love seeing all the shrimp babies!

Just a thought on the camera, maybe try using the macro setting if you have it? :)
 
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I have two very old, over-used and abused cameras. Hard to keep them from being abused with kids and puppies. I put them up, someone gets them down to take photos and leaves them in the kid/puppy war path, I think I just need new cameras. lol I get good shots sometimes, especially of like sunsets and such, things REALLY far away, but anything closer than five feet or so comes out smeared no matter the zoom or settings I use, even tried video to take still shots from. x.x

Well, I got two better ones of one of my bright girls. There is ONE in there, that I have found thus far, that looks like a coal from a fire, no cracks, dark, dark red and you can't see her saddle except in the morning when I first turn the lights on. Is that what they call a high rank fire red?

Anywho, I was trying to get you guys some good photos. I'm happy to find some people who love these guys as much as I do, I get all excited every morning when I go to turn on the lights. :3 They're still not perfect shots, and it's not of my dark cherry one, but I have several this color, it's such a lovely color. I was so hoping I'd get some proper red ones over the mostly white with bits of red. I like those too, they do even it out in there and they certainly aren't ugly even though not as bright. I'm thinking that may change and they'll get more color once I've cared for them a while like three of my others(the fourth is now assuredly a crystal red), but maybe not. This is pretty dark red, but the other I mention and can't find to get a shot of, is a very dark red, maybe brown/red but more red than anything.


 

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reading your thread makes me want to get some - for my hermie tank that has a 1.5G FW pool; like I originally planned for the tank - but i worried about my filter flow, I think its too strong. But the snails don't mind! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ah, look at how this tank has bloomed!

So, an update first. I found some youngsters in there, not sure if I got those in with the ones I ordered or not, they're about...oh, small, maybe half an inch. I on't know if babies grow that fast. lol Anywho, I have only had one other die since I lost six the day after I got them. Checked all the water stats, had no spikes, it didn't look injured, so dunno what happened there. All the rest look healthy and happy...that one did too though, it was doing this tail curl thing since I got it, it was one I was worried about, but it looked fine after a couple days, then started it again. That's the one that died. Any idea what causes that?

So here's how the tank has bloomed, I'm proud of those plants! Compare them to the last full tank photo to see the huge difference. Ah, and I have a female swordtail in there temporarily. I'm planning to keep a couple small guppies in the tank with the shrimp, certainly not these large fish. For now she's just being QT'd there, I just got her. Hopefully she's as healthy as she looked when I got her, just waiting for the move stress to leave her, and hopefully wont pass anything to the shrimp tank. o.o; That'd be awful after all this work, wouldn't it? lol

 
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