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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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...
 

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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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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 :crying:

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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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...
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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.
 

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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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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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Agree overall with your sentiments, with the exception of your very last one.
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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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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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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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.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
Not always. Sometimes the least strong survive.

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Also, you are exactly right, thats what i said as well: and with qualities that improves its life on its environment

This is a pedantic point, but that isn't how selective pressure works in evolution.
In evolution, if some of the shrimp can BARELY survive and other shrimp die, then the shrimp that survived will produce offspring.
However, they don't keep getting "stronger". They don't improve past the initial survival, necessarily.



They won't necessarily keep getting stronger and stronger.


This is a very technical point, but it is a pet peeve of mine. People tend to think of evolution as the animal just getting better and better. That isn't how it works. Animals evolve to survive, not thrive. Look at the California Condor if you want an example of how badly they can evolve. The California condor has one egg per 2 years. It only starts laying eggs at the age of 6.
Most birds will have multiple chicks per year, even if the parents can only support 1. This means that if food is plentiful, they will produce large broods and if food is scarce, they will simply let the young starve to death. The condor evolved to only have 1. This makes the bird incredibly prone to an extinction event. It would take the condor a long time to repopulate and even if some of the birds adapted to the new pressure, the condor couldn't breed quickly enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hmmm....also should be noted that cali condors evolved to take advantage of large megafauna deaths like mammoths and the like, and the population plummeted when they died as well.

Granted, sometimes there's a really handy mutation that makes the organism in question better suited for passing on its genes. The longer you live, the more sex you get to have, the more babies you create. We just have to figure out how to select for that....which I guess could be continuously changing the environment that the shrimplets grow up in, to select for the most "robust" ones. While at the same time making sure to not kill every shrimplet in existence....
 

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Hmmm....also should be noted that cali condors evolved to take advantage of large megafauna deaths like mammoths and the like, and the population plummeted when they died as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWP_tFJmC40



Granted, sometimes there's a really handy mutation that makes the organism in question better suited for passing on its genes. The longer you live, the more sex you get to have, the more babies you create. We just have to figure out how to select for that....which I guess could be continuously changing the environment that the shrimplets grow up in, to select for the most "robust" ones. While at the same time making sure to not kill every shrimplet in existence....
Thank you

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Hardiness means a lot of things, but mostly it's about the ability to tolerate change. In aquariums, the main changes are temperature, water chemistry (pH/GH/KH/TDS), and water quality (ammonia/nitrite/nitrate). There's also disease immunity, but that's a lot harder to test or quantify.

There aren't really genes for "adaptability to X". You have genes that code for certain cell enzymes or a larger liver. Those genes are lost or mutated just as easily as others, so if the shrimp that produce the next generation happen to have lost the genes for a certain antibody-producer, then that trait will be lost.

Additionally, it's not as simple as one gene = one trait. Genes are often "tangled" together (genes that cause Trait X and Trait Y are side-by-side on the chromosome). For example, the gene that causes red legs may be right next to the gene that determines the shape of the intestines, affecting the shrimp's ability to absorb nutrients. Genes can also have effects throughout the body instead of just one spot. For example, the protein that's needed to produce brown color may be the same protein that's needed to excrete excess ammonia from the gills.

Shrimp breeders have sought the "ideal" conditions for shrimp, then bred shrimp in those conditions for hundreds of generations. The current shrimp are extremely inbred, so even though the "ideal" may have been wider than breeders thought, any genes that would allow them to adapt to other conditions are likely gone.

We know the key to adaptability on a large scale is population variation. Simply having a lot of shrimp from different sources increases your chances of different genes. We also know that mutations happen at every generation. In theory, if you take a large number of inbred individuals and let them breed freely for several generations, mutations can bring back some of the lost traits.

Let's say you want to create bulletproof red cherry shrimp. I would start by getting as large and as varied of a population as possible. Buy many shrimp from many sources, then breed them all together, letting them mix as much as possible. Then I would get some wild (not wild-type, but actually wild caught) shrimp. Breed them to the reds in a separate tank. The F1 generation will appear wild-type, but will have some of those extra genes for red color. Now, here's the tricky part: you need to breed those F1s to reds, but you can't let the population constrict. You might also need to split the population so you have multiple lines going at once.

I would do it by combining shrimp from the different lines based on sex: breed several dozen red females to several dozen F1 males, then take the adults out before the next generation has a chance to breed with their parents. Take the resulting F2 males and breed them to new red females. Repeat until the Fs are reliably red. Run several of these lines in parallel so you can cross between them later.

Of course, you will need to cull to some degree, but you have to be careful. You want lots of breeders and lots of babies.

While this is happening, don't baby the Fs in terms of temperature, water chemistry, and water quality. You'll probably need to baby the original reds, though. You'll have to keep the breeder tanks in ideal conditions while the red parents are there, but then vary the conditions after removing the parents.

Also, try to identify and breed your longest-lived shrimp. If you have a shrimp that seems to be tougher than most, try adding it back in for another round of breeding (this would be a backcross). Or you could just start a tank of your oldest/largest shrimp and let them breed freely, developing an "old-timers" line which you could use for occasional outcrossing.

***************

A small-scale version would be to get a few wild-caught shrimp and breed them with some reds (preferably purchased from different breeders). Take that cross, and split it in two: one line will be repeatedly outcrossed to more reds as above, while the other will be line bred for red color. So you'll need three tanks: a tank of red shrimp, a tank of wild-crosses to be bred with the red shrimp, and a tank of wild-crosses line bred for red color. I would be very curious to see if the wild crosses started producing reds without any additional red crosses, but even if they don't, they'll be useful for outcrossing.

***************

Or, if you have the money, just hire some scientists to figure out exactly which genes control the red color, and then genetically engineer a bunch of wild shrimp. Assuming the red genes themselves don't cause a loss of hardiness, you should have very hardy shrimp with red color. You could breed these shrimp as their own thing or cross-breed them with existing reds to invigorate them. (This is one huge advantage of GMOs that people don't know about - you get the traits you want without the problems associated with inbreeding. Unless, of course, your starting population is inbred and/or you inbreed the resulting modified organism.)
 
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