How to make a (far more robust) line of shrimp - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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How to make a (far more robust) line of shrimp

How do people get "bulletproof" shrimp? Is it similar to guppies where you just aim for one trait, then subject a number of individuals of that variant and expose them to extremes (like GH/temperature/whatever)? It'd be nice to get vigorously breeding blue dreams one day...

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-07-2020, 11:12 PM
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I'm unaware of bulletproof shrimp being a thing at all. My yellows and oranges have seemed more prolific than blues and high end reds, but the same extremes will kill each type, as far as I'm aware. Imports are far more problematic in any color, but as home bred Neocaridina go my biggest obstacle has been finding lines that breed true. Black rose and any blue have been the worst for me, yellow, orange, and basic red cherry the best in that regard.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 01:56 AM
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When you find some "bulletproof" shrimp, can I buy some please? Even the basic red cherries here in Singapore can be fragile and/or infertile

Surely the more you breed any line, the more narrow the genetics become, and the more fragile the shrimp are. So on that basis, the closest that you'll get to "bulletproof" shrimp are going to be wild varieties (wild in terms of colouration, and also maybe in terms of wild caught coming from teh biggest genetic pool).


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so in other words, we have "fancy guppy" shrimp right now....the solution would be to introduce wild shrimp genetics, then breed back the color while subjecting shrimp to varying conditions...which is a headache and a half....but also interesting, given the possibilities this opens back up...

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 04:20 PM
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If you produce "wild" colored shrimp from a colored variety, I am not sure if it's possible to breed back to the color. Theoretically speaking, it should be possible, but from the mixed tanks of other hobbyists, once the shrimp start turning "wild" colored, they tend to stay that way.


If you are down for experimenting though, I'd say go for it!!!!


That said, I don't know that it's possible to obtain any truly wild shrimp, but you can find plenty of "wild type" shrimp, aka culls, from people and businesses. This may pose an issue as you don't know what exactly those shrimp may be carrying.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-08-2020, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
How do people get "bulletproof" shrimp? Is it similar to guppies where you just aim for one trait, then subject a number of individuals of that variant and expose them to extremes (like GH/temperature/whatever)? It'd be nice to get vigorously breeding blue dreams one day...
The strategy you've laid out only works if there's a proportion of your population that expresses your desired trait to begin with. If all of your blue dream shrimp are are weak, you may have none that meet your selection criteria.

The bottom line is it's really hard to breed for multiple complex traits (= controlled by more than one gene) at the same time. What does "bulletproof" mean exactly? I'm not sure how you're defining it, but I'm guessing that it's a constellation of attributes. The more traits you are selecting for, the more difficult it is to figure out which parents are going to move you toward your ultimate goal.

I only have a rough sense of shrimp genetics, but I understand that the color lines have been achieved by extensive line breeding. Line breeding is great for stacking genes required to achieve unusual phenotypes (like a blue shrimp), but it means that you are losing genetic diversity across the board, not just in the one trait you are focusing on (color, in this case). Not only can inbreeding lead to weaknesses in individuals, but it can permanently purge beneficial traits from the entire population. This is where going back to wild shrimp would be helpful, but as other people have said, it's next to impossible to get back the blue.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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The strategy you've laid out only works if there's a proportion of your population that expresses your desired trait to begin with. If all of your blue dream shrimp are are weak, you may have none that meet your selection criteria.

The bottom line is it's really hard to breed for multiple complex traits (= controlled by more than one gene) at the same time. What does "bulletproof" mean exactly? I'm not sure how you're defining it, but I'm guessing that it's a constellation of attributes. The more traits you are selecting for, the more difficult it is to figure out which parents are going to move you toward your ultimate goal.

I only have a rough sense of shrimp genetics, but I understand that the color lines have been achieved by extensive line breeding. Line breeding is great for stacking genes required to achieve unusual phenotypes (like a blue shrimp), but it means that you are losing genetic diversity across the board, not just in the one trait you are focusing on (color, in this case). Not only can inbreeding lead to weaknesses in individuals, but it can permanently purge beneficial traits from the entire population. This is where going back to wild shrimp would be helpful, but as other people have said, it's next to impossible to get back the blue.
Hmmm....I guess by bulletproof, I'm thinking of shrimp that are 1) more fecund, 2) less temperature sensitive, and 3) less eC/TDS sensitive. My thinking is that cross breeding wild caught shrimp (which are presumably hardier), with established blue dreams, and then subjecting the offspring to changes in temperature (by keeping them outside maybe), TDS/eC (rainfall + additions of GH/KH minerals), and then following this up by selecting out the least blue dream-esque shrimp as time went on would work to preserve the fecundity and hardiness of shrimp, something I find lacking in the blue dreams I've handled before.

So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 03:40 AM
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I'd also consider using shrimp from other hobbyists as your hardy stock - look for those neos which are thriving in tap water, or outdoor ponds that freeze over in the winter, etc. A lot of things in the hobby seem to be hardier when they're tank bred, vs wilds which are optimized for the very particular environments they come from.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 07:25 PM
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I have contemplated this idea myself

Quick background
From what I can tell, tiger shrimp, tangerine tiger, and bee shrimp come from the same water. They may or may not be the same species, but they definitely live in similar water in the wild.
I've read about a dozen different articles that say different things. I honestly don't know if they are different species or not.
That being said, tiger and tangerine were bred in Europe where hard water is more common. Bee shrimp were bred in Asia, where soft water is more common. My understanding is that the current shrimp just acclimated towards those conditions. I wouldn't say someone bred them that way, but it was an evolutionary pressure

So the pH tolerance is malleable, from what I have read.

Temperature
One thing that seems pretty consistent is that bee/tiger shrimps cannot survive in as wide of a temperature tolerance as neo shrimp.
Given that this is probably an evolutionary adaptation over millions of generations, I don't know if you will be able to breed a "robust" caridinia shrimp that can handle a larger temperature delta.

Sulawesi shrimp like >80 degree F water. You might be able to breed some that can handle 77 degrees, but I dont think you will get them to tolerate 45 degrees F like neos can.

GH/KH
Bee shrimp seem to like soft water with almost no GH.
Tigers can tolerate hard water better.
Neos, despite being generally very tough, do not survive well in soft water.

This actually makes a lot of sense. Animals that build shells typically prefer harder water, because they make their shells out of calcium. Calcium-based chemicals are normally what makes water "hard". However, the environment where some shrimp live has very limited calcium. Bee shrimp seem to have evolved to handle the softer water, when needed.

One important thing, a lot of city water is made hard ON PURPOSE. Traditionally, hard water is caused by calcium in the water table. If you ever go to San Antonio, TX, which is built almost entirely on a limestone aquifer, you will experience very hard water. If you live in Portland, OR a lot of the water comes from snow melt and the water is very soft. Alkaline water prevents pipes from leaching things like lead into the water. In fact, if you saw the whole Flint, MI saga, it was caused because the city changed their water source without adding enough alkaline agents. These agents make the water "hard", but while your water might have the same pH/KH/GH that you see online for a shrimp, it wont actually have the same chemistry.

All that being said, I would think that you could breed shrimp to handle hard water much more easily than you could breed shrimp to handle soft water. I doubt anyone is going to breed neos that can survive in distilled water. However, I think you could breed bee shrimp that can survive in harder water.

The short
95% confident bee shrimp could be bred to handle hard water <100 generations.
85% confident you could NOT breed bee shrimp to handle >80 degrees in <1,000 generations
90% confident you could NOT breed neos to handle typical bee paramters in <1,000 generations

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 08:27 PM
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Agree overall with your sentiments, with the exception of your very last one.
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90% confident you could NOT breed neos to handle typical bee paramters in <1,000 generations
I keep Neos in bee parameters currently in 4 tanks. If they grow, breed, and thrive any differently than they do in my tap, it's not anything I can notice. I take my time acclimating them, but rarely have losses going from whatever KH the breeder had to a 0 dKH environment.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-09-2020, 09:29 PM
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Agree overall with your sentiments, with the exception of your very last one.

I keep Neos in bee parameters currently in 4 tanks. If they grow, breed, and thrive any differently than they do in my tap, it's not anything I can notice. I take my time acclimating them, but rarely have losses going from whatever KH the breeder had to a 0 dKH environment.

I was under the impression they had a hard time reproducing in the soft water environment. However, I am known to be wrong about most things

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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 02:48 PM
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Haha, no worries. It's really super low GH (or really high) that seems to cause molting problems.

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-10-2020, 03:32 PM
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In nature, the strongest one and with qualities that improve its life in its environment will success. That is the principle i use with my snail/shrimp and fish procreation and population control.

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-11-2020, 03:46 AM
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In nature, the strongest one and with qualities that improve its life in its environment will success. That is the principle i use with my snail/shrimp and fish procreation and population control.

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Not always. Sometimes the least strong survive.

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 09-11-2020, 03:47 AM
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Not always. Sometimes the least strong survive.

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Not f you trying to make a "far more robust" line of shrimps
Also, you are exactly right, thats what i said as well: and with qualities that improves its life on its environment

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