One day we decided that we wanted to ask other hobbyists who are equally skilled, if not more, in their respective specific interests to give their two cents. Being said, our first guest is our friend Chris; He runs a cool Instagram and is super knowledgeable when it comes to keeping shrimp (amongst other things as well). He’s been in the hobby for 3 years, is originally from Alabama, but now resides in Philadelphia. His set ups are great and his plant growth is amazing so be sure to check out his stuff on his social media platforms. (Also, if you watch his stories, sometimes cute dogs appear too) Anyways, without further ado, read on for Shrimpery’s take on dwarf freshwater shrimp. *claps*
Dwarf freshwater shrimp make colorful, easy to keep, and charismatic inhabitants for your planted aquarium. They come in many varieties, and due to their small biomass, you can keep hundreds in a larger tank, or even house a small group in a tiny nano aquascape. I have hundreds of shrimp between my three tanks, and that number is continuously increasing; freshwater shrimp breed readily if water parameters are appropriate.
Maintaining ideal water parameters is the most challenging aspect of keeping dwarf shrimp. In the wild, dwarf shrimp inhabit clean, temperate mountain pools in East Asia, and do best in water conditions resembling their ancestral habitat. Between the two species, I keep, bee shrimp/crystal shrimp (Caridina cantonesis) are the most sensitive; cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidii) are hardier in a wider range of conditions.
Ideally, your water conditions should resemble the following: pH 6-7, water temperature around 70-74 degrees F, total dissolved solids 70-180, GH 4-6, and KH around 0. You can precisely control your water parameters by using remineralized RODI water (I use an RO Buddie filter to generate the water, which I remineralize with Tantora Gh+). Using external canister filters (Eheim 2215, for example) and a pH-lowering substrate (such as ADA Amazonia) will also make it easier to maintain ideal water parameters.
Hardcore bee shrimp breeders keep their shrimp in minimalist tanks with no CO2 injection and little to no fertilizer, but they can survive in high-tech planted tanks where co2 and fertilizers are used in moderation. In my experience, you will have far more success with Caridina shrimp in “low tech,” non-CO2 tanks. Neocaridina shrimp will happily thrive and breed in high-tech planted tanks and are less sensitive to environmental fluctuations. It is easiest to breed shrimp successfully in a well-cycled tank that is at least ten gallons (twenty gallons is preferable). Being social creatures, it is best to start out with a group of at least ten.
I feed my shrimp Shirakura Ebi Dama shrimp food, but there are many shrimp foods on the market that will work. I try to only feed my shrimp what they can eat in an hour or two, and I only feed them every other day. I occasionally supplement their diet with frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp once a week. It’s important not to overfeed your shrimp to avoid build-up of toxic nitrogenous wastes in the water.
Shrimp can coexist with small, peaceful fish, but almost all fish will eat freshly hatched shrimp babies. If you’d like to breed shrimp successfully, it is preferable to have a shrimp-only tank or a large tank that is sparsely populated with peaceful fish and has plenty of plants and hiding places for baby shrimp.
It is inadvisable to mix colors of Neocaridina shrimp, as their offspring will exhibit unpredictable, often undesirable colors, such as clear or mottled brown. Caridina shrimp varieties, however, can be bred with exciting, attractive results.
Have fun with your shrimp and hit me up on Instagram if you have additional questions not covered here!
This article was written by Chris AKA Shrimpery. All links lead to his social media platforms and all words and photos are by him.