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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've been having an embarrassing problem lately. I-- er my shrimp haven't been breeding nearly enough. I was too busy and stopped caring for my tanks for a while (easy thing to do) and when I did pay attention to them I saw very few babies in the tank. Well, darn.

So here's my checklist that Frank helped me out with (I encourage you to check out his blog, he's an inspirational shrimper and his shrimp racks are LEGENDARY: http://ebi-ken.blogspot.com/ ) to determine why my shrimps weren't breeding.

Top 9 things you can fix easily:

  1. pH
  2. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates
  3. Temperature
  4. gH & kH
  5. Tank size
  6. Foods & Additives
  7. Water changes
  8. Oxygen content
  9. Planaria and Hydra

Now allow me to explain each of the following things.

Problem: pH of your water. This is a big deal. Shrimp will not reproduce unless their ideal conditions are met, e.g rainwater streams that carry a very low pH of 5.5-6.5. It varies a lot depending on the shrimp, however- for TBs, that number must be closer to 5.5 than 6.5 (due to longer gestation of eggs I believe) for crystals, they're fine anywhere in that range and even up to ~6.7 or ~6.8. For Neos, their range seems to be 6.7-7.6 (but they are flexible). Regardless, testing the pH should be a priority when your shrimp aren't breeding.

Solution: pH can often rise too high, in which case new soil can be added, some driftwood or leaves (which add tannins to lower pH), or some humic/peat acid. Mosura and many other shrimp food sellers also make products to lower the pH.

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Problem: Ammonia, nitrites & Nitrates: This one is pretty simple and doesn't warrant much attention. It is obvious but is important nonetheless. Ammonia burns the gills of fish and inverts, eventually causing death. Nitrites are also deadly to your shrimp and nitrates, when excessively high, can slowly poison them.

Solution: make sure your tank is cycled, get some stem plants (or moss) to soak up nitrates, and do water changes more often (once a week until the problem resolves).

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Problem: Temperature. Another obvious one. CRS and all caridinas are very susceptible to temperature fluctuations and need a temp of 70-75 at all times; however, mine only seem to breed in 71-73f. Not really sure why. They live in temps colder than that (they fry hotter than that though) but they will not breed and will grow much slower.

Solution: Invest in a heater if your tank is too cold. If it is too warm, a lot of folks in SoCal have used DIY chillers/coolers on their tanks, or just simple aquarium fans. You could also try putting them in a room with AC (but be warned, you'll have to do a lot of top offs!)

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Problem: gH & kH. If you have all of the following correct, kudos! Here we start getting nit-picky. For crystals and neos alike, your general hardness should be 4-5, and your carbonate hardness should be ~0-1. Your TDS is a little more disputed, because with those values you should get a TDS of around 130, and most hobbyists recommend a TDS of 180 in the winter. Remember- lower your TDS in the spring and summer to promote molting and breeding, and make it higher in the fall and winter gradually. This reflects the shrimp's breeding cycle in nature.

Solution: If your TDS is too low, add some mineral supplements (mosura, borneowild, etc. make them) ; if it is too high do gradual water changes.

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Problem: Tank size. Shrimp will never not breed in a tank that is too big (at least in what we can recreate). But shrimp often won't breed as rapidly in small tanks under 10 gallons. There ARE exceptions, like Bsmith's Mini-M, but for whatever reason shrimp don't seem to dig small tanks.

Solution: My only solution for that would be transfer them to a larger tank.

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Problem: Food & Additives. Ha, this is what my problem turned out to be. I wasn't feeding them enough! I had forgotten and only fed them once every 2-3 days- no good for a colony of hundreds of shrimps. They didn't show signs of stress, but didn't grow very much or molt much- they were just hungry.

Solution: Feeding them foods that don't cloud the water or create ammonia, like Borneowild Barley or Ebiken Ei, help to make sure all your shrimp are fed without worrying about hurting your water quality. As I've found after buying a bunch of sample sizes of food from the great H4n, shrimp RELISH trying different foods (especially after being stuck with the same three for a few years). The first time I gave mine barley, they were done with it in 7 minutes. I did time them. Variety of the diet can help shrimp a lot, especially "mineral" shrimp foods. Another good idea is to buy shrimp foods with chitosan, like Mosura Gravidas or Borneowild Vigor, or chitin based additives like borneowild dance, which make shrimp molt.

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Problem: Water changes. How often are you doing them? This varies from person to person, but here is my input on the subject. DO NOT do water changes over 20%, ever. 20% per two weeks is plenty for my tanks; others do them once a week and experience breeding. DO NOT remineralize water top offs, either, but do remineralize water change water.

Solution: I don't recommend never doing water changes, but 30% once a week, especially on a smaller tank, can cause a lot of stress to the shrimp that can stop them from breeding. See if doing less spurs breeding. On the contrary, if you're not doing any, doing a 20% water change might actually HELP breeding. Water changes are indeed a double edged sword.

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Problem: Oxygen content/CO2 levels. Some babies don't live because they don't get enough oxygen as eggs, or the momma shrimp will stop fanning them because she doesn't have enough oxygen. Shrimp also can only deal with very limited CO2; levels that would not harm fish can be hazardous, if not fatal, to shrimp. The recommended CO2 level for a planted tank, 30 ppm, may not harm the shrimp, but I have never heard of them reproducing in it.

Solution: Get a bubbler or sponge filter! This one is a simple solution and can help perk up your shrimp. For CO2, you have to make a choice- do you want plant growth of shrimp colony growth? Either reduce the levels of CO2 in your tank, or add an airstone, but even that may not stop the shrimp from getting CO2 poisoning.

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Problem: Planaria and Hydra. If you find your shrimp dying for no reason, planaria or hydra may be the cause. Planaria can slither under the shell of shrimp and kill them from the inside. Hydra can stress shrimp out by stinging them and can kill baby shrimps. There are also other pests, like dragonfly nymphs (easily spottable) that like to feed on shrimp.

Solution: Panacur! Or some sort of flubendazole/fenbendazole medicine. It is available online, and some aquatic shops are now selling it as a pest remover. Simply follow the dosing instructions, and your planaria/hydra infestation will clear up. Shrimp are not effected by this medicine, and will not even be harmed if they consume it (I know this from experience).




Anyway, I hope this helps you guys, Merry Christmas! Now time to go party and drink some eggnog lol :hihi:
 

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This is a pretty great thread. However, it should be noted that CO2 (assuming the shrimper is using CO2...I know a good amount of people don't) is extremely toxic in excess or in lack of oxygen/plant biomass. I personally inject a healthy amount of CO2 into my 20g long and watched both amanos and cherry shrimp go at it before lights out. Both were berried in the morning. ;) But, we all know that CO2 is one of the most deadly things we put in our tanks but plant mass and oxygen levels play a large part in how much we can safely inject (i.e. how much is being converted to O2 via photosynthesis, how much isn't being used and is just saturating the water column, how much is being offgassed, etc.).

To the oxygen levels section, I think surface film and plant mass should also be mentioned somewhere in there. Otherwise, this is a great thread and will hopefully benefit our shrimpers and generations of shrimpers to come.
 

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Problem: Water changes. How often are you doing them? This varies from person to person, but here is my input on the subject. DO NOT do water changes over 20%, ever. 20% per two weeks is plenty for my tanks; others do them once a week and experience breeding. DO NOT remineralize water top offs, either, but do remineralize water change water.
Pardon my ignorance, Why not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks! If anyone has any input I'll make sure to add it. Freph, I added more onto the section about oxygen content and added in a bit about co2. Thanks for your help!

P.s if this does get stickied, can I still edit it? Because I'd like to at least have 10 reasons but I'm blanking haha. Also I didn't even really get a chance to proofread much of it.

edit: Was gonna answer Hockiumguru's question, but Bluek24a4 answered it so much better than I did lol. See the post below mine.
 

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Thanks! If anyone has any input I'll make sure to add it. Freph, I added more onto the section about oxygen content and added in a bit about co2. Thanks for your help!

P.s if this does get stickied, can I still edit it? Because I'd like to at least have 10 reasons but I'm blanking haha. Also I didn't even really get a chance to proofread much of it.
Hm, possibly parameter stability? I find that helps a good bit too. I mean, I know you have sections for the parameters themselves but if you're looking for another section then perhaps you could dedicate one to that. Just throwing out ideas at this point. :hihi:
 

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Lot's of folks do large 50% water changes or larger with shrimps and fishes alike without issues.(Me too)
With that said,I think it is only when water changes are not regular that larger water changes affect chemistry too much,too quickly.IME
If you start a tank with 50% water changes each week,then this would be all the shrimp know. If you start with 20% water changes each week ,or each month,and then for whatever reason perform a 50% water change,then sudden change in water chemistry could very likely have negative effect due to sudden changes in their environment.(GH.pH)
I do not believe that large water changes regularly from the outset of setting up a shrimp or fish tank have any negative effect unless...you are also monkeying about with pH or buffers. IMHO
 

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Pretty sure driftwood lowers ph but you probably already knew that ....

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