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(Also new to this site. I guess I should be posting in the Introductions forum. Oh well. :wink2:)

I am considering building a planted tank and adding some cherry red shrimp. The closest thing I've ever had to an aquarium is some Marimo moss balls in jars, so I've been reading a lot. But there's a lot of conflicting information -like some sites saying only 10 shrimp per gallon, whereas there are people who say they've had dozens per gallon! Obviously I'm only going to start with a handful, but since they're apparently prolific breeders I don't want them to get cramped...At the same time I don't want (or have space for) a large tank. What's the smallest size you recommend for starting with 5 or 10 shrimp?

Also, I am hoping to keep it pretty low-tech since I am not familiar with aquariums. I'm planning to use a sponge filter as I've read that's the safest for shrimp, and I'll do partial water changes regularly as well. Is a fancier filter necessary for a smaller tank? And is it dangerous to use tap water?

I've read about cycling (new concept to me but it definitely makes sense that you shouldn't just plunk them in some water and call it good) so it'll be a while before I actually get my shrimp, not to mention I'm not ready even to set up the tank yet. Any suggestions regarding specific supplies, plants that are easy to grow and that the shrimp like, things you've found useful, etc.? I figure it's better to get as much right the first time as I can.

Thank you for taking the time to read!
 

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I've seen people with shrimps in 1 gallon, but I don't know how that goes lol. I would say a 5 gallon would be a nice starter for 10 shrimp, allowing them room to expand. But then again, you often hear that a 10 gallon is easier to keep the water parameters stable.

A simple sponge filter is perfect and will need an air pump to drive it. The only downside is that air pumps tend to be a bit noisy.

Plants they like are moss balls and other mosses that you can attach to bog wood/rocks using cotton or fishing line. In time they will attach themselves. Mosses do like more light than you would at first think though, so check that your tank's light is sufficient. Java fern is another easy low light plant.

Your tap water will be fine as long as you add a de-chlorinator to it before adding to the tank. Also check your water hardness (sometimes can be got from your water company's website). Shrimps like a GH of at least 6, the optimum being between 6 and 8, this helps when they shed their old skins.
 

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Thank you for taking the time to read!
Well this tells me already that you are pretty much, good going with this. I feel like you wont have many problems on your shrimp keeping journey now. many people just throw shrimp in a tank and yell breed while staring at it for 4 hours.
So kudos to you sir.
As for the actual questions, I will answer all if not most of them.
Minimum shrimp tank size is, I would say 1 gallon really. Not a novice thing though, but its not difficult either, I don't suggest 1 gallon to you, or five gallons and under to you. I say go out an buy a five gallon tank, get a good quality sponge filter and put it in there, let the tank cycle. Find out what your parameters are in that tank, such as GH/KH, PH, etc. Come back and say "what shrimp match these parameters" unless you can alter that not using chemicals.
As a beginner shrimp keeper, my shrimp time I kept shrimp I got five cherry shrimp in a five gallon tank, couple months later I am a experienced shrimp keeper *fast learner, check my journal* and they are breeding by the hundreds.
If you have anymore questions feel free to ask. Im sure I didn't answer them all.
Speaking of which
As a substrate I would get Sand, any kind. Pool filter sand or regular "SAND" from Petco or something. Why sand? sand is a lighter color and easily attracts algae growth with a good light, thus providing some good food for the shrimp. Of course with you still feeding them. Sand also is a very "compact" substrate meaning it holds air well due to the weight of it. For this reason I would get some Malaysian trumpet snails to get those air bubbles out, which could be detrimental to your tanks inhabitants in the long run.
Holy [censored][censored][censored][censored] I didn't even type much and this looks like an article!
 

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But there's a lot of conflicting information -like some sites saying only 10 shrimp per gallon, whereas there are people who say they've had dozens per gallon!
"10 shrimp per gallon" is just a general rule of thumb. With good filtration, it is indeed possible to have hundreds, if not thousands, in a small tank!


What's the smallest size you recommend for starting with 5 or 10 shrimp?
10 gallons

Don't care if you have 1 shrimp or 50 shrimp, I would still recommend a 10 gallon tank.


I'm planning to use a sponge filter as I've read that's the safest for shrimp, and I'll do partial water changes regularly as well.
There are several different styles of sponge filters you can use. You can use one with a weight (most often circular) that keeps it at the bottom, one that suctions to the side of the aquarium (single or dual sponges - dual recommended for cleaning purposes), or an HMF sponge, which comes in 3 options. There's the side HMF, corner HMF or halfmoon HMF.

On the tanks at home, I use AC HOBs and may also use a weighted sponge filter in the tanks. I'm planning on setting up a 10g tank at work and plan on going with a corner HMF there.

The great thing about sponge filters is that they also act as a feeding ground for shrimp!


Is a fancier filter necessary for a smaller tank? And is it dangerous to use tap water?
That depends on your tap water.... using a LIQUID test kit, can you tell us your tap parameters?

Ammonia
Nitrites
Nitrates
GH
KH

And using a cheap TDS meter, can you get us the TDS of your tap?

Everyone says that tap water is fine, but that's not necessarily true. It's like saying that the air is the same regardless of where you live, be it in the city or out in the forest. Cities have pollution!


As it so turns out, I'm one of the "few" people where tap water isn't good for shrimp! Why? Because it's too soft... As ambe mentioned, ideal GH for Neo shrimp is 6-8, although they can handle harder water. Not many can handle softer water... I have a KH and GH of 3. That is, it's half as hard as the water needs to be for the shrimp to be able to not only survive but to thrive. Before I fixed the water parameters, I couldn't get baby shrimp to survive to adult-hood! Actually, the majority of them probably died within days of being born because there wasn't enough calcium in the water column for them to molt.

My sister on the other hand, who lives maybe 5 minutes out of town, has a KH of 10 and a GH of 19. My TDS is ~50 and her's is 475. That's a huge gap! And I've taken to mixing a little bit of her water with my water to get ideal parameters for the shrimp.


I've read about cycling (new concept to me but it definitely makes sense that you shouldn't just plunk them in some water and call it good) so it'll be a while before I actually get my shrimp, not to mention I'm not ready even to set up the tank yet.
Definitely look into cycling a tank using ammonia! And make sure you get "pure ammonia" (10%?) without any detergents. If it has detergents, then it will get foamy when you shake it. It should look like water when you shake the container.


Any suggestions regarding specific supplies, plants that are easy to grow and that the shrimp like, things you've found useful, etc.?
Any low tech plants should be fine! Anubias, ferns, moss, bruce, etc. If you want to use fertilizers, then there are ferts designed for shrimp tanks.


It would be helpful to have a drip acclimation setup, even if you don't use it for new shrimp, it's a good idea for water changes, at the least.

Water changes could be done 1-4 times a month.

If you top up on the water in a tank due to evaporation, be sure to use RO water. Topping up with tap water could result in higher GH, KH and TDS, and thus a huge change in tank parameters once you do a water change.

Start with at least 10 shrimp. If you want best chance of shrimp becoming acclimated to your tank, go with juvenile shrimp.

Buy only "home grown" shrimp and not imported shrimp. Imported shrimp are more likely to have health issues than "home grown" ones will.

Alternatively, you could also try matching the water parameters of the breeder, thus reducing chance of shock.

A DIY egg tumbler or manufactured shrimp egg tumbler may be of interest in case you ever have a female that drops her eggs or a berried female that dies.

Leaf litter. Oak, birch, indian almond leaves, mulberry, etc.

Alder cones may also be of interest.

Avoid using crushed coral or any rocks that may raise GH, KH and TDS.

Mineral balls are nearly pointless...
 
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