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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a few breeding projects going on, and I recently decided to expand the field to include amano shrimp. It was just too painful to watch a heavily berried shrimp release a batch of zoea to their doom, so I didn't. :)

For food I am growing phyto in a 20" cube that I assembled from scraps. The light source is 4 23 watt CFLs in the lid, and the interior of the box is painted white. While it's on, the lights keep the box fairly warm and the fresh and salt phytoplankton I've got going are doing reasonably well.

Generally speaking I am using the methods that james0816 and others employ, but I am trying to do two things differently. (Note: It's entirely possible that I have not read their procedures sufficiently well and something I think is a relatively novel approach is actually what they've been doing all along.)

First I am trying to use as few tanks as possible for the testing, keeping it to two tanks for multiple batches of zoea running concurrently. I just don't have room for a whole bunch of small tanks, and my lighting and filtration capabilities are fairly limited. I have a freshwater birthing tank and a brackish growing tank. The freshwater tank has a filter and a moss ball, and the growing tank has a filter and some lava rocks. The lights are on 12 hours each day and the temperature is cool, in the low 60s. I'm wondering if these shrimp need warmer water to develop or not, so I am intentionally trying a fairly cool environment. Their native habitat can get fairly cold, and the ocean temperature in their neighborhood is in the low 60s. Yet another variable to test...

The second difference is my filtration. Because of the size of the zoea and just as important, the size of their food, the filtration options are fairly limited. Any sort of mechanical filtration will tend to remove both the zoea and food over time, though as the zoea age this should be less of a problem. I was concerned about water quality without some biological filtration though, so I made air powered filters from 20 oz bottles filled with lava rocks. The flow through the bottles is good and any food or zoea that are sucked into the filter are expelled from the top fairly quickly. I am using this type of filter on both tanks, and I seeded the lava rocks with filter material from established fresh and brackish tanks. I'm also intending to introduce some algae to the brackish tank to help consume nitrates, but I've been too lazy to do that thus far. That is the primary purpose of the moss ball in the freshwater tank, though it also serves as a perch for expecting mothers.

Thus far I have had one berried shrimp. She berried on 9/21/11 and I moved her to the birthing tank on 10/7/11, 16 days later. She began hatching 2 days after that, 10/9/11, and I allowed her to hatch shrimp for 4 days before removing her and replacing her in my main tank. Unfortunately she banged against the side of the dip and pour I used to move her so hard that she actually split her shell open behind her head. She has the equivalent of a nasty scab at the moment and I hope that she survives her next molt.

The zoea were removed from the freshwater tank by filtering it through a scrap of synthetic chiffon fabric. The zoea are small enough that they can fall through the holes in a brine shrimp net, but this fabric is a fine enough mesh to catch them all and does not have any 'fuzziness' that would trap the zoea. They were transferred unceromoniously, along with whatever mulm and other debris they had been filtered out of the first tank with, into the brackish tank. An initial guess at the number of zoea recovered by this is 100-200 animals. There are a lot of the little guys right now... They seem to be surviving well. They've been eating the phyto I have fed them (at least the water is clearing up after I feed them) and appear to be eating spirulina that I tried as well. I'm sure that there has been some mortality, but at this point it appears that the vast majority of the zoea are still alive.

I'll keep this updated as the zoea develop. Hopefully I will have some that last beyond this first week.
 

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Here's a thought, and I know it's way off out in left field. But I also have never seen anyone else try this (and I'm pretty certain is crucial to amano zoe surviving).

Instead of running a filter in the saltwater tank, try buying a few pounds of live sand and live rock from your LFS. (aka, instafilter)
 

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Hmmmm....live rock is an interesting concept. Wondering though if there would be any critters that would feast on the zoea with their small size.

Good luck on your project. It's nice to see others do things like this.
 

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Live rock- IME, there could be ANYTHING on it. I mean anything. I got a snowflake eel once. lol

Most of the time you don't get anything but when you do... it's pretty funny

As shrimp are pretty low on the food chain (especially zoe) I would stay away from live rock.
 

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shrimpo is correct ! i use to have a salt water tank and 9 times outa 10 i got bristleworms in my live rock which mightnot only be harmful to your amano babies but to you also if you accidently touch one! there are lots of stragglers with live rocks that hide in tiny holes.

also i have tryed breeding amanos before i ended up with lots of 2 1/2g , 5g and styrofoam cups everywhere lol itwas very stressful! none of my lil guys survived but it was a fun learning experience, i may try again one day!

good luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a thought, and I know it's way off out in left field. But I also have never seen anyone else try this (and I'm pretty certain is crucial to amano zoe surviving).

Instead of running a filter in the saltwater tank, try buying a few pounds of live sand and live rock from your LFS. (aka, instafilter)
This was kind of my idea for using lava rocks from an established brackish tank. It's already biologically active, populated with a bunch of brackish bacteria, algae, and some microfauna (somehow or other I've even got coraline algae going in there...) It's not coral, but it does have a relatively large surface area.
 

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I just cycle the tank with an air stone and small sponge filter. I make sure it can take at least 5ppm of ammonia a day. Once it is cycled, I replace most the water, remove the sponge from the filter intake so it just floats around, and also remove the air stone from the tubing, but still in the tank. This should be more than enough to handle the bio-load of a 200 zoes. Using high light and growing algae in the tank helps even more. I've never had ammonia or nitrite readings when doing this.

I think you could probably get away with cycling with just an air stone and some lava rock (sitting in the tank, not in a filter). Key is to get it well cycled before putting any zoes in it.

I wouldn't suggest sucking anything through a filter, even if it just contains lava rock. I don't think your zoe will survive too many rounds through a filter like that. I don't even keep my air stone in a tube because of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, two weeks in and I had a population crash. Until 10/21 I had approximately 50 zoea surviving. On the morning of 10/21, I could only find 2 in the whole tank. Nitrogen readings were good and there were no large temperature swings; I'm not sure what killed them, honestly. I'm keeping this batch going until I see no signs of life, as I don't have any berried amanos at the moment anyway. I did a 75% water change in case something nasty had built up in the tank.

Out of curiosity, of the people who are raising (or trying to raise) these shrimp, how large are your zoea after 2 weeks of growth? When they convert into their benthic form? Mine are perhaps 1.5x as big as they were when they hatched, which seems slow to me. I imagine the temperature is playing a part in that. I'm considering scrapping one of my tanks in my living area in order to move the spawning and rearing tanks into a climate controlled part of the house.

ETA:
Regarding the filters, they don't appear to have caused the zoea any harm. The only spots with fast flow are the inlets and the outlet, with the portions where the zoea might come in contact with lava rock being fairly slow flow. I am considering making the inlet holes larger to reduce the flow rate at any given spot.
 

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I have tried several times to breed amano shrimp in the last 3 years and except for 2 shrimp that morphed, the results were bad and the 2 shrimp were placed into a heavily planted 5 gal tank that they shared with no one but they were never seen again. Maybe I introduced them to fresh water too quickly, a tricky part I never got to again in later trials.
My conclusion: It is hard as hell to raise amano shrimp. I doubt that I will invest the time and money into another experiment but who knows. If you manage it, let me know maybe I will give it another try.
Here is what I have learned.

It is easy to breed the amanos, they do it willingly if you have both male and females. The females carried the larvae to full term without any problems in fresh water. What you should do is remove the female into a small tank (2 or 5 gal tank) filled 1/2 with tank water when the eggs are dark and let her stay there until she drops them. Then remove the female and return her to the main tank. Add double strength salt water to the tank with the larvae. This will make the tank salt water. It will not hurt the larvae one bit to be suddenly exposed to salt water. The problem comes in with feeding them. I found they eat phytoplex and crushed spiritulina flakes squeezed through a cloth. The problem is finding the right amount of food for them as water changes seem to be the biggest problem. I have had no losses feeding them but then I felt I needed to do water changes due to the food polluting the water and that is when I lost most of the zoes each time. I believe you need to feed them very sparingly and do no water changes or find a petstore that will give you some discarded water from a saltwater tank heavily infested with algae in order to get this right.
I have grown some salt water algae in a small container for my last attempt and added that to the tank but I found it impossible to spot the larvae after I added the algae and since it was not free floating they may not have considered it as food. So that did not work out well either. If I were to do it again I would use the salt water algae and squeeze it through a cloth like I did with the spiritulina. Good luck. I will keep checking on this threat maybe one of us will crack the code sometime.
 

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Just random speculation here but I wonder if a permanently running/established brackish/salt tank overgrown with algae and other stuff that you normally try to avoid would be enough to keep them alive with very little feeding (and thus no water changes).

I know this is not so different than what Liam and Jason are talking about but whenever I see a 'neglected' sump or refugium in a saltwater tank I can't help but think of all the tiny crap that must be living in there.

I haven't ever heard of 'natural' saltwater tanks that require no filtration and very infrequent water changes (think Walstad bowls but saltwater) so I don't know if it is really hard to pull off or if this is simply because saltwater fauna either adds a big bio-load or requires really clean water so no one bothers. In terms of freshwater shrimp though people have overgrown tanks that shrimp can survive in with zero feeding. Obviously the freshwater shrimp are born ready to eat small stuff in the tank and don't need to be target fed like zoea so it is easier.

This seems to be something that some people have had success with in raising opae ula (no or little filtration, live rock or seeded lava rock) and just dumping light on it and letting it grow algae and micro-fauna to both filter the water and feed the shrimp.

I would imagine that you would still need to target feed but an ugly overgrown tank might give you a bigger safety margin in regards to water parameters and food supply.
 

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Out of curiosity, of the people who are raising (or trying to raise) these shrimp, how large are your zoea after 2 weeks of growth? When they convert into their benthic form? Mine are perhaps 1.5x as big as they were when they hatched, which seems slow to me. I imagine the temperature is playing a part in that. I'm considering scrapping one of my tanks in my living area in order to move the spawning and rearing tanks into a climate controlled part of the house.
The only time I was successful (44 made it to adult), I actually had one morph after just 10 days. I would say it had 5x to 10x the body mass of a newborn zoea, but that was over a year ago so I'm not certain. The rest in that batch took up to 28 days to morph.

Since then I've had nothing but failures. I wouldn't see any growth, and all died after about a week. I'm working a new batch now. I think I've solved some of the feeding/growth problems. After close to a week I'd say they've added about 30% to their mass. I have them in a 2.5g tank with a 2.5g hatching tank butted up against it, so I can easily compare their size to the newborn zoea in the hatching tank.
 

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I have tried several times to breed amano shrimp in the last 3 years and except for 2 shrimp that morphed, the results were bad and the 2 shrimp were placed into a heavily planted 5 gal tank that they shared with no one but they were never seen again. Maybe I introduced them to fresh water too quickly, a tricky part I never got to again in later trials.
I had 44 that I transitioned to freshwater (a 2.5g tank with just some plants and sponge filter). 3 months later when they were big enough to move to a bigger tank, I counted all 44, so all survived.

For the transition to freshwater, I usually gave them a day. May brackish tank was 1.013sg. I would suck the shrimp into a turkey baster and put them in a 1qt container. I then removed enough water so it was 20% full. Then for the next day I would just squirt a bit of freshwater in every hour or so until the container was nearly full, and then I just dump them into the freshwater tank. I suspect I could actually do it much faster than that.
 

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The problem comes in with feeding them. I found they eat phytoplex and crushed spiritulina flakes squeezed through a cloth. The problem is finding the right amount of food for them as water changes seem to be the biggest problem. I have had no losses feeding them but then I felt I needed to do water changes due to the food polluting the water and that is when I lost most of the zoes each time. I believe you need to feed them very sparingly and do no water changes or find a petstore that will give you some discarded water from a saltwater tank heavily infested with algae in order to get this right.
I have grown some salt water algae in a small container for my last attempt and added that to the tank but I found it impossible to spot the larvae after I added the algae and since it was not free floating they may not have considered it as food. So that did not work out well either. If I were to do it again I would use the salt water algae and squeeze it through a cloth like I did with the spiritulina. Good luck. I will keep checking on this threat maybe one of us will crack the code sometime.
The one success I had, I most likely had something growing in the tank that they really liked, because it was cloudy and they grew very fast with only a bit of supplemented feeding (a bit of phytoplex and crushed algae wafers). I haven't reproduced those conditions. I do have tanks cloudy with algae, but see no growth in these tanks, and they die after a week. These are all very well established brackish tanks ranging from 1.014 to 1.023sg.

I'm starting to have some success with growth now in a 1.014sg tank that I heavily feed with powdered food. I created the food by adding a combination of algae wafers, spirulina, and shrimp tabs into a crucisble, and crushing into a powder. I then mix with some water and feed a few drops into a 2.5g tank about 4 times a day. You can actually see them grab pieces of the food and eat it. Sometimes they will grab a piece almost as big as their head, and slowly nibble away at it.

I don't believe free floating algae and kent's phytoplex works because it is too small. kent's phytoplex is 3 to 15 micrometers. The algae is likely even smaller. The head of a zoea is about 250 micrometers, and I believe they like grabbing food in the 15 to 100 micrometer size.

Yes, adding a lot of food does pollute the tank. Having a well established tank will help (no ammonia or nitrites). You may also have an algae bloom, but this is probably a good thing, because it removes a lot of pollution. I've been doing a 50% water change every few days. Not too bad with just a 2.5g tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't believe free floating algae and kent's phytoplex works because it is too small. kent's phytoplex is 3 to 15 micrometers. The algae is likely even smaller. The head of a zoea is about 250 micrometers, and I believe they like grabbing food in the 15 to 100 micrometer size.
I was considering trying to start rotifers for just this reason, but I really don't need another food source to take care of. I've been feeding cultured phyto based on the DT's blend. One of the species in it continually takes over (a brown algae), but I have enough of the original stock and first split of the culture to reseed it a great many times before I have to buy more, so I'm good for phyto needs.

DT's supposedly contains phyto that grows up to 20 microns, and that particular species is the one that is taking over my cultures, so maybe I'll just let it go and feed them brown algae... I've also added powdered spirulina, and I've seen them attacking the grains, but that is a bit too big. I'm currently giving 5-50 micron golden pearls a go to see if I can get them eating better.

After a water change, a bit of crud vacuuming from the bottom of the tank, and a change of lighting, I can see at least 10 zoea swimming around in the tank now. Hopefully that means that there are several more about that I hadn't seen previously as well. Still a massive population crash, but not quite as bad as I had though.
 

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I was considering trying to start rotifers for just this reason, but I really don't need another food source to take care of. I've been feeding cultured phyto based on the DT's blend. One of the species in it continually takes over (a brown algae), but I have enough of the original stock and first split of the culture to reseed it a great many times before I have to buy more, so I'm good for phyto needs.

DT's supposedly contains phyto that grows up to 20 microns, and that particular species is the one that is taking over my cultures, so maybe I'll just let it go and feed them brown algae... I've also added powdered spirulina, and I've seen them attacking the grains, but that is a bit too big. I'm currently giving 5-50 micron golden pearls a go to see if I can get them eating better.
Golden Pearls sounds promising. I'll give that a try if you have some luck with it. DT's is a bit pricey due to the shipping.

BTW, I forgot to mention that back when I had my success, I did sometimes see them feeding on soft fuzzy algae growing on the sides of the tank.
 

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Not sure if I can do this. But can full grown Amano Shrimps live in a Brackish tank? Or do they HAVE to live in a freshwater set up?
 

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Not sure if I can do this. But can full grown Amano Shrimps live in a Brackish tank? Or do they HAVE to live in a freshwater set up?
"brackish" is somewhat ambiguous. You could argue that it covers salinity in the range of 2% to 95% of full marine salinity. I would say they would probably be ok at some of the lower brackish salinity levels. After all, after they morph into juvies, they are still in brackish water and need to swim to a freshwater stream.

http://www.thekrib.com/Fish/Shrimp/ says they are "very tolerant of salinity and pH ranges". What is the salinity of your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Not sure if I can do this. But can full grown Amano Shrimps live in a Brackish tank? Or do they HAVE to live in a freshwater set up?
It might make life easier trying to get the silly things to breed successfully if this was the case. I know that one of the people on here who is trying to breed them had an adult die shortly after a small amount of salt water was accidentally added to a birthing tank, but it could have been coincidental, of course.
 

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Adult Amano's are not tolerant of salt. I learned that the hard way. I lost an adult Propinqua at the same time. Salinity of the water was low but obviously just enough to harm them.

As for feeding the zoea, I'm using a home cultured four phyto cocktail, spirulina and golden pearls. Still waiting for the breakthrough for transitioning the adults as that is where I have been failing of late.
 
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