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I'm setting up a 20 long tank and would like some input. I would like it to house shadow pinto caridina shrimp, however I would like to breed my way to them, along with some panda or violet corydoras and harlequin rasbora or similar schooling fish. It will be running a Marineland C-160 filter, echo complete substrate heavily planted, low tec, for most of the tank with sand in one corner for feedings and so the Cory's can dig in it. My tap water is soft, tds of 77, Gh 4, Kh 2, after resting ph settles at 7.2. I have a 10 gallon set up with drift wood and the ph stays at 6.6 so between the wood and leaves in tank and maybe some peat moss in the filter I think I can maintain the same ph or lower. I'm thinking of using salty shrimp gh+ to raise the gh a bit and add beneficial minerals and getting a haing on breeder box for selective breading. Would this be fine for breeding caridina shrimp or should I invest in a small RO/DI unit? As far as the filter intake is the Ehime pre filter worth the extra money or should I just use a course sponge around the intake? I am new at keeping/breeding shrimp, other than ammano I have used for cleaning and ghosts as cleaning/feeders in community tanks so any input on the setup or additives would be appreciated thank you.
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Would this be fine for breeding caridina shrimp or should I invest in a small RO/DI unit?
I'm pretty sure you already know the answer. Invest in the filter. It'll be the best $100-$200 you've spent in the hobby. You'll also be able to use it outside the hobby, which isn't something people usually consider. I'd say it's an even split for me and I have a ton of tanks.

You can chase parameters if you want but you'll never really get them where you want them and won't likely be able to maintain much in terms of stability. Meaning the environment won't be ideal for the shrimp you want to keep. Or you can get a reverse osmosis system, use a quality buffering substrate (don't use inert, it's a waste of your time and effort with shrimp like this) and add your own mineral salts. With this second option, you'll encounter fewer problems and will have less of a headache. More of a set it and forget it option.

That said, I wouldn't try to keep fish with them - I'd have a separate shrimp tank. Especially if you're trying to breed shrimp. The two don't really go hand-in-hand. It's a bad idea - especially with expensive, sensitive shrimp.

Also note that you'll likely encounter plenty of people in the hobby who frown upon hybridization of shrimp. I'm one of them and believe it's a terrible practice akin to what's occurred in the dart frog hobby in the past. But to each their own.
 

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What's that?
Creating a hybrid animal that doesn't exist in the natural world by crossing two species or subspecies that don't live together in the wild/wouldn't normally breed/only something you see in captivity. Like @Nihtiwtorot explained.

It's something people who want to protect species within the hobby frown upon. I always encourage those who keep them to have a plan if they decide to leave the hobby. Mainly to make sure they aren't accidentally introduced to a colony by unsuspecting newcomers. But also to guarantee there's no accidental release into breeding operations or the wild.

The shrimp we keep are pretty rare overall and aren't like Guppies or other common fish we have in the hobby. While selective breeding for brighter whites or lesser reds isn't exactly natural, it's quite a bit different than crossing separate species or subspecies. Bright blue Neocaridina will still revert to wild-type Neo. Same for SSS and other high grade Pure Red Line Caridina - they'll revert to wild-type Bees over time.

Crossing isn't something I do and I always encourage others not to do it. But people can do what they want and I try not to be a pain in the rear about it.
 
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