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GeToChKn 12-28-2012 12:31 AM

Population density and breeding
So after seeing many threads about not breeding and people expecting 10 shrimp in a 20 or 40 gal tank into hundreds, I thought I would start a thread to get people opinions and maybe something for people to find when reading when it comes to breeding.

This is my understanding, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

A female develops unfertilized eggs in her back, which we refer to as the saddle. When the time is right to her; temp, water, minerals, phase of the moon, day of the week, whatever factors they use to determine, she then molts, and two things happen. She releases pheromones in the water which attract the males, and her shell becomes soft. If a male copulates and leaves his sperm, she passes the eggs through her body and the sperm and they become fertilized and she then store them in her lower plepods to carry to term.

The window in which a male can fertilize her, and this the eggs is only a few hours until her new shell starts to harden and that process can't happen again until she molts again.

This leads me to my theory, that if you are starting with a small population, start them in a small tank. I myself tried to thin out my population and try breeding in different tanks and got dismal results. Trying to put my CBS and CRS and goldens all in different tanks and then by grades, etc but when you only have a few of each in a 10 or 20 gallon, it's a rare chance the male can make that window or even find her. This is leaving out fertility problems of the male or female, which I'm sure exist as they do in every creature on earth.

Heavily planted tanks affect this as well. Lots of places for the female to not be found during that window.

When I culled all my cherry shrimp and PFR's that I mixed together as a noob, I had a few nice females in a tank with a few males I wanted to keep. It was a 20 long. No breeding. Put them in a 2.5gal and blame, back to back to back to back berries. Plucked out babies and culled as fire reds or cherries and now I have a very nice solid red population of at least 200 shrimp at any given time and sold hundreds from the tank, where as keeping 5 shrimp in the 20 long, I doubt I would have been anywhere near there.

There is nothing wrong with having a nicely planted and scaped tank, but if it's full and lush and you don't size your population according to the tank size and coverage, I don't think you'll get the breeding you expect. My best results now are a population sized to the tank, and bare tanks. Setup a small tank with some moss if you only have a few shrimp and get them breeding in it and pull babies out to populate your "show" tank.

I think you'll get much better results. If you are a male or female looking to randomly "hook up" with someone, are your odds better in the middle of a campground in a forest with 4 random campers spread out over 10 miles or in downtown New York at rush hours randomly asking people?

fplata 12-28-2012 01:17 AM

You will need to ask a whole bunch of people. But, I do I agree with your theory.

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inthepacific 12-28-2012 03:16 AM

this makes sense. i plan on doing this as well. possibly breeding them in my small 5 gal then moving the others to a 20 long. with both crystal reds and cherry

Zenzu 12-28-2012 04:03 AM

Interesting, I've had a breeding problem for a few months. I have roughly 16 shrimp in a 10g and all parameters match what I have found to be ideal online. The tank is a 10g and kept very stable, but it has a lot of plants. I've been slowly pulling them, but there is still a bunch. The shrimp have been breeding age for at least 2 months now and I still haven't seen any berry up. I've had molts and a frenzy of dancing males, but again no success. Maybe making a nice happy place for the shrimp to live was a bad idea.

wicca27 12-28-2012 04:06 AM

i agree total small tank i get more berried shrimp that is y my shrimp tanks rang from 1 to 5 gallons

Fdsh5 12-28-2012 12:25 PM

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I made the same error with my yellows. I got 12 of them and put them in a 20g. It took forever to get the numbers up. I never considered they would not be able to find each other for some "quality time".

Senior Shrimpo 12-28-2012 03:55 PM

Are you sure about this? I always believed the males could find the females because of their pheromones. That's why they go all stir crazy whenever a female molts.

I've had the opportunity to set up shrimp tanks of many sizes, and I really don't like smaller tanks. Their fluctuation of water parameters makes it hard to keep the babies alive IMO. So in a bigger tank even if they aren't breeding as much, you're still keeping more stable parameters and retaining more baby shrimp.

82nd_Airborne 12-28-2012 04:06 PM

While I agree the idea seems right in principal, i just put 5 yellows in a 20L, only 2 if which were mature. That was 2 weeks ago. Today I saw my female berried. Call it luck or whatever, just thought I'd share.

Drewsplantednutz 12-28-2012 04:34 PM


Originally Posted by GeToChKn (Post 2127748)
I think you'll get much better results. If you are a male or female looking to randomly "hook up" with someone, are your odds better in the middle of a campground in a forest with 4 random campers spread out over 10 miles or in downtown New York at rush hours randomly asking people?

Good theory but if I was a camper who hunts best at night for my mate that is covered in perfume and leaving a perfume trail everywhere she goes over a 10 mile stetch. Im gunna find that hotty by the end of the night if it kills me.

Mr. Leg 12-28-2012 07:36 PM

I have been told by a few people that the ideal tank size for breeding is 10-20 gal. Both for stable parameters and them being able to find each other when its time for the baby making.

I also put a few BKK with 3 female CRS in a 48 gal tank that was scaped but not overly planted. They breed regularly. Same tank had 10 yellows and a few months later I had 60+.

So I think is a combination of size and how heavily planted it is. even in a 20 if you have a few shrimp and a ton of moss, plants and hiding places it will be difficult for the guy to find her. That same 20 gal with less cover will increase the odds.
My suggestion if you want the larger tank for stability and only starting with a few shrimp provide just enough cover/moss to keep them happy. Then add more plants and cover as your population grows.

GeToChKn 12-28-2012 07:54 PM

I'm not saying this is not the definitive answer to why shrimp don't breed, just an observation that I've noticed and see sometimes people have a few shrimp in a big planted tank and can't get them to breed and if water and everything else is in check, it could be something else to consider.

sayurasem 12-29-2012 01:48 PM

Sir you are correct! There's a reason the biggest breeding box is only .5 - .75 gallon depending on the brand.

This thread got me thinking... I once started from 10 CRS in a 10 gallon tank. Six months later I ended up with around 50. Then I thought to my self I better get a bigger tank! Now after more than six months again in a 20 gallon long I only end up with 65.

Now I put all my shrimps back to the 10 gallon with brand new cycled Amazonia lets see how it goes.

On a side note I think population balance is the key to shrimp breeding. Too big of a space and too few shrimps and breeding go slow. Too many shrimps in a small tank and breeding will slow down (maybe?). 65 shrimps was the highest amount of shrimp I had in a 10 gallon but sold some so I'm back to 50.

A plus: if you guys ever watched foreign breeders in youtube, their tanks has little to no plants at all, maybe moss or some other low profile horizontal growing plants. Maybe it is intended so females has no where to hide from the male shrimps?

Drewsplantednutz 12-29-2012 03:45 PM

I think the breeders use small tanks to control quality and quantity. And have little plants ease on finding and netting them up

frontosa88 12-29-2012 04:22 PM

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For some reason i have gotten good results with larger tanks. All of my tanks range from 20 to 100 gallons. There is no secret. If the shrimp like your water, they will breed like crazy. It's really cool to see a large tank with a few thousand shrimp. Here is a pic of a 50 gallon breed out tank. That's what i call a shrimp ball. You will notice that a lot of breeders don't have a lot of plants in their tanks. That is because it is easier to catch them.

Soothing Shrimp 12-29-2012 04:36 PM


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