Shrimp changing color to match environment - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Shrimp changing color to match environment

Hi all,
I'm wondering how long the transformation takes place. I recently had some cherries in a sand tank and moved them to a black substrate. How long would it take for them to darken? Can only juvenilles do this?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 06:41 PM
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I'm not really sure as I've never monitored them really closely after changing substrates, but I would expect you would at least have to wait for a molt to see much difference.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-13-2019, 07:52 PM
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I did not witness any color changing moving my cherries from BDBS to white PFS. Only thing I noticed color wise were my not-amanos going from very pail coloration while stressed out getting bagged at LFS to my tank where they actually developed some coloration (although slight).
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 02:30 AM
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Within hours, *IF* they can darken up.

I say this only because a really red shrimp can be very pale at night with the lights off, maybe even with a blue-ish hue, and this can be noticed once you turn on the lights first thing in the morning.

If, however, they don't darken up after a week, chances are, they aren't going to, because they aren't a high enough grade to do so.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses. Have another question, does going bare bottom have any effects? I'm doing the flip aquatics method for a new tank I just setup. Method is to have the substrate in a container within the tank so that it may be replaced very easily when it runs out of buffering capacity.

I'm planning on crystal shrimp (probably black), would it be better for color to put the substrate down traditionally or would they be fine with this method? Also how would covering the backside of the tank with black paper work? Does it only matter if it is the substrate in particular that is dark?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 05:20 PM
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The Flip guys explained that they do it that way to simplify changing out the substrate once it's spent. Bare bottom tanks are much easier to keep clean and adding a pot of substrate just gives them the best of both worlds for Caridina. Having watched their videos it certainly seems to work. I am not of the opinion that substrate colors, backgrounds, etc. have much if any permanent effect on coloration -the shrimp either have it or they don't. There are diets that claim to enhance whites, reds, and blues but having used some if there was any change it was pretty negligible. My take would be that if you want great color get high grades of shrimp to start your colony and cull subsequent generations to keep the line nice.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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I decided to do both - have a shallow layer of substrate on the bottom (this was actually done so the shrimp could walk around and forage on the substrate, not color reasons), and a small container with substrate that can be changed easily. I'm actually not sure why flip aquatics hasn't done this yet...maybe they have and just haven't talked about it. I don't see any drawbacks so far.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 07:54 PM
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Cherry shrimp can change color pretty dramatically based on substrate color.

Not sure about Crystal Reds...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Bringing this back up, its been about 3 weeks I think since I changed the substrate color to dark. The shrimp have not darkened at all so I dont think its having any effect. My next train of thought would be that the shrimp need to be actively hiding in order for this survival instinct to kick in (darkening to match substrate color). I'm going to add 1 small fish to both my cherry breeding tank and black crystal breeding tank, any suggestions? Tanks are both 2.5 gallons so not much leeway. Was thinking of endlers or mini rasboras
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 03:55 PM
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So your shrimp wont darken because they aren't a high enough grade.... in order to have darker shrimp, you need to cull out the lighter colored ones (make sure to keep the best males in tank!) so that future generations will have darker and darker coloration. That, or just replace them with higher grades. Would not recommend mixing higher grades with lower grades.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
So your shrimp wont darken because they aren't a high enough grade.... in order to have darker shrimp, you need to cull out the lighter colored ones (make sure to keep the best males in tank!) so that future generations will have darker and darker coloration. That, or just replace them with higher grades. Would not recommend mixing higher grades with lower grades.
The initial population was very red, but the offspring are consistently more clear. I did not cull the offspring though. I also didn't notice any color change since changing the substrate. Meanwhile in my display with the same batch of shrimp they are very red and I have not culled those shrimp either. Something bigger is going on here imo
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 05:15 PM
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Could be bad water parameters stressing the shrimp. Just a guess
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 11:06 PM
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In my limited experience the parents dont necessarily determine the color of the offspring. I have some solid red (guess they are painted red cherries not sure exactly). So far the off spring from them although tiny are mostly the normal decent grade RCS type colors with a few that look like the wild natural colors. I also have a couple brown emeralds and one of there offspring is the same very dark brown color. Havnt found any more of the brown's offspring.

I also have an older offspring of the reds that is a very bright medium high grade RCS color. Not the solid red but the red/clear of typical RCS but the red coloring is very bright.

This is on PFS equivalent substrate. I honestly dont think it matters much but thats just my uneducated opinion.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by united natures View Post
Could be bad water parameters stressing the shrimp. Just a guess

Great point, the nitrates are a little higher in the little shrimp breeding tanks compared to my display, it is 20ppm vs 0-5ppm. I added a buce and some floating plants in both tanks, hoping to get the nitrates down and see what the next generation of offspring look like
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