Some helpful shrimping tips... Enjoy.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #1
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Some helpful shrimping tips... Enjoy.

I've been shrimp keeping for about 4 years now and figured I'd provide a little break down of my experience to help those that are interested in getting into this hobby. Others that have shrimp but can't find the right setup or have had minimal success may also find this helpful.

I read quite a bit before I got started on my first tank. I'm the type that goes all out when I find something that interests me. I did my research but came to find out that a lot of what people suggest is just flat out wrong, or much harder than it sounds.

Initially, I started with a 20 gallon tank and went the whole HOB filter w/ sponge, co2 injection, ferts, high lighting, water testing kit, and heavy planting route. I loved the look of a heavily planted "natural" tank, and wanted to incorporate it into my shrimp breeding operation. However, I found this to be an art form of it's own. Providing the proper amount of Co2, photoperiod, and ferts to maintain a tank free of algae and dying plants seemed almost impossible. I would get massive amounts of string/black algae so i'd do a water change, cut back on my photoperiod, decrease the co2, change fertilizer amount, and the algae would continue to grow while my plants suffered. This process also requires regular water changes which isn't always the best idea when breeding shrimp.

The most important thing I learned is that you don't need co2, expensive lights, a plethora of different fertilizers, or a testing kit to keep a lovely planted tank. I started out with 6 CRS and about 8 OEBT. I currently have hundreds of CRS and about 60 OEBT. However, I sell my shrimp on a regular basis. I've sold hundreds of CRS over the last 4 years, even trading for store credit at my LFS. My OEBT's have also been a HUGE seller. My stock of OEBT's is pretty low ATM, but only because my inventory goes within a few days each and every time I put them up for sale.

Here is the scoop on my setup...

The one thing I have found to be the most useful has been the incorporation of sponge filter. They are CHEAP, about $10, and with a single air pump (rated for around 70-100 gallons), air lines, and a manifold, you can filter 4-5 tanks for around $80-$100. With HOB filters, you spend around $25-$35 for the filters themselves, plus $5-10 for a sponge over the intake. I use black tubing and I prefer it over the clear. It doesn't get slimy and nasty like clear airline does. I also have had good results using AirPod air pumps as well as the Fusion Quiet pumps. I also prefer the Discard-a-Stones over a regular air stone. They are easier to replace.





I also found that despite the fact that I had a sponge over the intake, occasionally my smallest shrimp would slip past the tiny crevices between the intake tube and sponge and get chopped up by the blades of my HOB filter. I'd also find shrimp in the sump of the HOB filter. My guess is that they would crawl up the water outlet and get trapped. Not really a huge deal, but don't you want to be able to watch your shrimp? I have yet to see/hear about any dead shrimp victim to a sponge filter.

I initially bought a Current 2x24w light for about $80 for my first 20 gallon tank. This light works great but for multiple tanks it is pretty unrealistic when it comes to energy consumption/light output. They are also not readily available in my area.

My second lighting system consisted of (4) clamp on style reflector type lights from home depot, (4) 6000k CFL's, and PVC tubing to make an overhanging bar that each light clamped onto. This lighting system was about $75 total, accommodated (2) 10 gallon tanks, and was fairly ugly.

Now, for the best solution I have found. Click Here The brand is Archaea and the model is the clamp-on. I buy these LED lights though my LFS. Or you can buy a similar light on Ebay if you search "led antenna aquarium". They are known as an antenna style LED fixture and are by the far the best bang for your buck for 10 gallon tanks. They also make a wider LED fixtures with plastic feet for bigger tanks called the "slim-Pro". I have one on my newest 20 gallon rimless and it works fantastic!

The larger ones look like this...

Basically, these lights are about the same price as fluorescent lighting (if not cheaper), put out around the same light output, all for about 1/5th of the power consumption. Make water changes with ease when it comes to the antenna style. In my opinion they are by far the most aesthetically pleasing lights available and take up very minimal space. They are made by a brand that isn't too popular yet, but I have yet to have one fail.

In my first tank I used Flourite and obsidian black sand. Big mistake... The sand was messy and it was nearly impossible to use a gravel vacuum without sucking up a ton of sand. I also could never get my plants to flourish in Flourite, no pun intended.

Instead, I tried ADA aquasoil in my second tank and have never had the need to try anything else. It keeps the water in great condition hardness-wise, and my plants seem to enjoy it. It's also very easy to clean and unlike other people on this forum, I have never had any issues with it causing massive swings in hardness or breaking apart and making my water cloudy.

I don't really have any experience with other brands of soil and I'm sure there are cheaper options when it comes to aquasoil type substrates.

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is overfeeding, I know there was a time when I did. Shrimp are TINY, and do not eat a whole lot. I usually feed about every day but I often skip a day and let them graze over my tanks. By overfeeding you will allow critters to take over and blow up in huge populations. When I first began shrimping I would often overfeed and all my tanks had tubifex worms, nematodes, and cyclops everywhere! Imagine yourself the size of a shrimp... Now feed the amount of food that you would eat in a day at that size.

Tank Mates
In my experience, ottos are perfectly safe in shrimp tanks. I keep 2 in just about every tank I have and they are great fish.

I've also keep 2 albino corys with my OEBT and the there are babies all over the place.

My smallest tank has about 5 exclamation point rasboras and they have been great tank mates.

Pymgy corys (corydoras habrosus) are another perfectly safe and exciting tank mate. My LFS has them with their shrimp.

I personally tried neon tetras and they nipped at my shrimp so I took them out and resold them on craigslist.

While selling shrimp I encountered a customer that brought some extra duckweed and dwarf water lettuce. These have become my favorite plants I keep in the tank and my shrimp LOVE it. The duckweed is kind of a pain though. It's so hardy and grows so fast that I am constantly removing it. However, I have never encountered a plant that grew so well. The dwarf water lettuce grows much slower and produced cool little roots that hang down into the tank. My shrimp are constantly chilling and picking around the roots.

Duck weed

Dwarf water lettuce

Java fern is also a favorite of mine. It's pretty easy to grow and is constantly changing. Leaves fall off and new ones grow. My shrimp also love to eat the dying leaves when they fall off.

Other than that I keep mostly moss and long grass type plants.

Tank Setup
When I setup my first tank it took quite a long time to cycle. I artificially added ammonia by putting about 1/4 cap full of ammonia in the tank each day. You can find unscented pure ammonia at ACE hardware in the cleaning section.

After every week I'd do about a 50% water change and continue dosing ammonia until my tank was cycled. While I wait for my tanks to cycle I usually plant plants and worry about aesthetics. Once you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, do a large water change. Just to be safe, I usually add some more ammonia and make sure it is gone within a day or two. Then another water change to get the nitrates down before I add shrimp.

Once finished cycling you're tank will take some time to mature and create an equilibrium. Shrimp can be added during this time but they often will not breed very well until an equilibrium is reached. Maybe i'm crazy, but it takes a while of my regular maintenance before the shrimp will explode in a sexual frenzy.

My typical maintenance schedule consists of around %20 water changes about once every 12-16 days, however my OEBT like a change every 12-18 days or so. While removing the 20% of water, I use a gravel vacuum to lazily suck up the top most layer of visible aquasoil in order to remove excess buildup of shrimp poop. This means I don't bother to remove any wood or rocks to get EVERY area. I just do the parts that are easy to get with the vacuum until I have about 20% of the water out of each tank. I have always done this, so it may be a key to my success! Who knows, it may suck up just enough bacteria to refresh that biofilter every few weeks but using a gravel filter also makes taking the water out of the tanks much easier.

The some one I have. Has worked for 4 years now...

When refilling my tanks I do not let water sit for any amount of time. I know some users do this to allow the pH to settle but I have found that step to be unneeded. I fill a mini trashcan with 60% tap water, then I add about 1/6th of a cap full of Seachem Prime before I fill the remaining 40% with RO. By adding the RO after the Prime, you are essentially mixing it in, like coffee and creamer. Then I just pour this water from the trash can into a pitcher which I use to easily pour the water into my tanks.

I also squeeze out my filters every other month if not longer and usually do this during a water change. The water changes that I squeeze out my filters, I do not vacuum in order to keep as much good bacteria in the tank and prevent any mini cycles.

When removing algae off the glass, I only do the front of the tank. By allowing the algae to grow on the sides you are providing shrimp food and also making it so algae grows more on the glass and less on your plants/rocks.

That being said, don't clean your tanks too often. I know many of you think your shrimps will be happier but, by conducting water changes, you are just changing the water parameters and making them readjust. They will not breed very good if they are continuously readjusting. Overall, shrimp keeping/breeding is fairly easy and doesn't require very much maintenance at all.

I'll add more information as I think of it. That's all for now folks.

Happy shrimping,


Last edited by SHMaRiM; 02-09-2013 at 09:09 PM.. Reason: More info added
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:29 AM   #2
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by adding the "prime" you dont need to let water set for any amount of time because it takes out the chlorine and chloramine from the water that hurts the shrimp. letting water sit will remove chlorine but not chloramine. so its always good to check with water treatment plant you get your local water from to find out what they use to treat the water. i dont have to worry about chloramine ours just uses chlorine so i let my water sit so i dont have to use a dechlor product. im bad about water changes on all my tanks fish and shrimp but i seem to make things work that way. i maybe do a water change once every couple months. i only change water on one tank more often at least every 3 weeks and that is just because of angels and them laying eggs. i dont use ro water at all. i just use tap water and that works for me. i know most it wouldnt work for but so far my shrimp do pretty well
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:04 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tips! I just started my first shrimp tank with 2 CRDs and one of them has eggs. I don't know if the other one in the tank is a male though. Unfortunately, there are only a few eggs and they don't look like they will hatch.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:54 PM   #4
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what about plants that are best for shrimp and tankmate..

good guide..i like to read more because what you write is what I am finding out for myself after losing many shrimp and trial and error made by others suggestion which didn't work out so good
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SHMaRiM View Post

Once finished cycling you're tank will take some time to mature and create an equilibrium. Shrimp can be added during this time but they often will not breed very well until an equilibrium is reached. Maybe i'm crazy, but it takes a while of my regular maintenance before the shrimp will explode in a sexual frenzy.
This is so true. I'll put shrimps into a well cycled tank 2-3 months. The shrimps will berry but baby survival is pretty low until 4,5,6 month mark. Then shrimps start breeding like crazy.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:40 PM   #6
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Thanks Schmarim good write up. Let us know when you find out about those lights.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:42 PM   #7
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Very informative! Thanks for sharing!

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Old 02-05-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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Plants and tank mates added.

Edit: Added pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Last edited by SHMaRiM; 02-05-2013 at 09:22 PM.. Reason: More...
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:05 PM   #9
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I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the contribution!
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:26 PM   #10
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Adding pics helps. +1
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:22 PM   #11
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Found the lighting manufacturer. Updated the OP.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:26 PM   #12
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very useful.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:12 AM   #13
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very useful info thank you for the great read ill be coming back to this for sure. Thanks
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:41 AM   #14
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Thanks for the great tips!
Many of your experiences are same as mine.

Checked the antenna style LED fixture light on e bay.
Its quite expensive 65 dollars (i.e.260 NIS) including shipping charges to my country.
The larger one is more expensive.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #15
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Try this link...
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