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FAQs on Freshwater Shrimp: Caridina, Neocaridina; Japanese Marsh Shrimps

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Yamato Numa Ebi, or Amano Shrimp, Bumble/Bee, Crystal...

Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/17/18
Hello Crew!
<Ms. H.>
I am finally back in the hobby after many years. However, it has not quite started as smoothly as I would like. The tank is a planted 29 G standard (fishlessly cycled- 0 ammonia, nitrite, ~10 ppm nitrate, 74*F currently) and was initially stocked with 28 celestial pearl Danios, 1 (maybe 2 inch) albino Bristlenose Pleco, and ~30 cherry shrimp. Before that, the tank was cycling with just plants and hitchhiker snails for about 5 weeks. The livestock was added on 12/5. Absolutely none of the local fish stores are decent, so these critters were shipped to me from a single supplier.
So far, I have lost two shrimp (one a few days ago and the other yesterday), one Danio (arrived very skinny and haven't seen it in a while), and now the Bristlenose Pleco (late yesterday). I was trying to figure out what on earth happened, since the tank has consistently shown 0 ammonia/nitrite and I had seen everyone eating. Today, I noticed a couple of the Danios had suspicious white spots (one or two per fish, some on the body and some on the fins). I am guessing ich is what took the Pleco and that it was hard to spot on the albino fish. I am especially kicking myself because I ordered online to specifically avoid major ich problems like all the local stores have! No idea, beyond shipping stress, on what could have happened to the shrimp.
<This last; "what could have happened to the shrimp." What are you referring to?>
Now I am faced with a dilemma. Most advise for treating ich involves salt/heat. Can I go to 85/86* safely with CPDs?
<They should be okay at this temperature temporarily (a week or so); as long as there is sufficient aeration>
I'm thinking it should be fine in the short term (and will be slowly raising temps unless told otherwise). Can heat alone work (which I see is sometimes recommended)?
<Heat alone can (indeed) work>
Most importantly, will this kill my shrimp and plants if I try to do this in the main tank?
<See the mention of the Cryptocorynes below. RCS upper temp. limit is generally/given as 80F... again, I would risk raising it to the mid 80's here>
The tank is planted with crypt wendtii and balansae, so I am particularly worried about melting the plants down to nothing (again LOL). I can live with dead plants if it means healthy fish but I am rather attached to the shrimp already. I have the ability to set up a QT tank for the fish to treat separately, but I don't know if that would cause more stress to the fish.
<Agreed; and, what a trial trying to net them out!>
From what I can find on here, leaving the display without fish for a week or so at 80* should be long enough for any cysts to die off, but please let me know if that's wrong. Treating the whole tank with anything aside from salt and heat is pretty much a non-starter if I understand correctly too. Finally, would acquiring a UV sterilizer be of any use (as either an alternative or adjunct to any of the above)?
<There are other methods, but I would just go w/ the heat here>
Lesson learned- always QT (even if it's the only fish and it's all from the same supplier and they are very reputable) and QT the fish and shrimp separately.
<Ah yes>
Many thanks in advance!
<Welcome. Please do keep us informed of your observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

Thanks so much for the quick response.
<Welcome; certainly>
The "what could have happened" referred to the mysterious shrimp deaths of the first two.
Sadly, I have come back to 3 more dead shrimp today. The tank temp is sitting only around 82 right now. Should I stop increasing temp?
<... I would raise it to 85 F....>
Will the week you mentioned at an elevated temp be enough to rid the tank of ich?
<Hopefully so>
The fish are darting around, so I think everyone is getting stressed. I am at a loss on what to do from here. I've heard Paraguard is invert safe,
<?! It is NOT. The Malachite (Green) is quite toxic to shrimps: https://www.seachem.com/paraguard.php>
so I am honestly tempted to lower the temp a little (roughly ~80) and go with it in tank or just net all the fish out and treat separately. I really don't want to lose more shrimp (or fish for that matter) if I can avoid it. I lowered the water level a bit and have a sponge filter already running (the sponge gives a ton of aeration).
<The choice is yours>
Furthermore, am I making an inaccurate assumption with the shrimp? I have been assuming stress is causing losses this whole time since water parameters have been correct and I haven't seen any obvious signs of disease.
<I/one cannot really say based on the proffered data. There could be other cause/s, influences at play here>
Thank you all again for the assistance.
<To be as clear as I'd like: I simply respond to folks GIVEN the information available and what I have confidence in, to WHAT I would do given similar circumstances. In this case, were it me/mine, I would go forward with the increased temperature, possibly add some activated carbon to the filter, flow path (to discount metabolite, other noxious factors); and NOT medicate, NOT move the organisms here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich in Shrimp/Planted Tank     12/18/18

I probably should have looked at the ingredients before thinking about Paraguard. Testimonials or not, I am not risking malachite green with shrimp. My apologies.
<No worries>
I bumped up the heater again to get it to 85F and will plan on a week at that temp once it gets there. I'll pick up some carbon just in case something is going on that I can't see/test for.
It does make one wish for a crystal ball though. I appreciate all of your (and team's) efforts to essentially assist people blindly.
Assuming no more shrimp deaths or major fish distress I will maintain course per your advice. If anything else happens I will just go ahead and net the fish out to treat separately.
<Anima bona fac; be of good life. Cheers, BobF>

Painted Fire Red Cherry Shrimp     11/15/17
Hello, this is Jinoo Kim. I have been breeding regular cherry shrimp for about 2 years.
<Nice beasts!>
With a long time breeding and proper culling, I finally managed to reach Painted Fire Reds. I have three (one male and 2 females) so far in a ten gallon. I had to sell all my hard work to start working with these guys and expand into higher grade shrimps such as Taiwan Bees.
How long would it take for the three shrimps to reach a high population in the 10 gallon?
<When I start with about 6-10 shrimps, I find it takes about a year to get to the point that the shrimps are "common" enough (in an 8-10 gallon tank) that there's enough to spare. By that I mean you can remove 10-20 specimens and still have a viable population in the tank. Bear in mind it takes 3-4 months to reach sexual maturity, and even if each female produces a couple dozen offspring a month that survive to adult size, which is a generous
estimate, it's still going to be, say, 4 months for first generation of offspring to reach maturity, then another 4 months for the next, so at least a year before we're talking about a population measured in the hundreds.>
I never started so little since I started breeding with 30 cherry shrimps in a 20 gallon. I need to fill up the ten gallon so I can sell the shrimps and have more money for the higher grade shrimps.
<Understood. But to actually make serious money, you want populations in the hundreds if not thousands, so you can take big bags of shrimps to the retailer. So with just 3 really good specimens that have the genes you want, it's going to be probably 4-5 generations before you get big enough populations you can The ten gallon is super established, there is algae literally on every wall of the tank. The tank also has a blue Stiphodon, which I don't think eats shrimp.
<Should not eat adults, but tiny babies might be at risk, so provide cover.
Stiphodon are mostly aufwuchs feeders though, so competing for the same food as the shrimps. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Painted Fire Red Cherry Shrimp     11/15/17

Thank you for the answer!
I'm breeding the Painted Fire Reds as a hobby now (I might sell some, I'll even send you some shrimp for thanks if you want, that way I can test shipping).
<Kind of you to offer, but not necessary. A photo or two of your collection would be just fine!>
I'm going to move them to a display tank after I reach a good population, with a Betta (to control population, I don't see them eating adults plus a lot of hiding space). I'm going to use the ten gallon as a cull tank. Now I am breeding a bunch of Taiwan Bees (most notably the Galaxy Pinto, which is a hybrid) in 20 gallon longs.
<All sounds very promising and professional! Good luck.>
Again, thanks for the help.
<No problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: LED lighting for 55 gallon tank. Stkg Car.       6/29/16
so 55 gallon tank: 4 Cajun crays, 1 dwarf gourami, 12zebra Danio, 10 bleeding heart, 4 sterbai Corys.....how many red cherry shrimp can I safely add?
<I'd start w/ about a dozen and see if they'll reproduce there. Bob Fenner>
Re: LED lighting for 55 gallon tank       6/29/16


Safely raising KH and GH in a Neocaridina tank?      3/22/15
I keep small planted, cycled tanks (under 6 gallons each) and have been successfully keeping mature colonies of Neocaridina for about three years, with enough shrimp to sell regularly. These colonies see weekly water changes (with Prime and no other additives) and are fed sparingly of Ken's sinking sticks with calcium, pure Spirulina powder, and dried/blanched leafy greens.
<Sounds good. I keep Red Cherry Shrimps much the same way, getting little direct food but plenty of kitchen leftovers, from cooked peas and old salad through to rice noodles and hard boiled egg yolk. They seem to thrive on this sort of diet. No real need to fork out for expensive foods, though some calcium and iodine rich foods should be used periodically, I think.>
Recently I've noticed the colony dwindling and that several females (across all tanks) have molted prematurely and dropped their eggs - each time I was able to save most of the little guys by fashioning a tumbler out of a fish net, using the flow of the filter (with the net at a distance) to keep them fresh but not buffeted. These shrimplets survived but a few days and then seemed to disappear one by one.
I tested yesterday:
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrite
5 Nitrate
*pH 7.8*
*GH 2*
*KH 4*
*TDS 70*
And out of the tap, TDS is 40.
The pH had always been 7.2, the GH 8, and the KH 6, with very little variation. The TDS meter is new, so I have no prior values for that.
As I understand it, the KH being higher than GH can indicate use of a water softener.
<No, not normally. Standard domestic water softeners are all about lowering the "fur" and "limescale" minerals present in hard water. They do this in various ways, though ion exchange resins are the norm in the UK. The result is water that doesn't contain the limescale minerals, but it's more swapping minerals than removing them, so you aren't producing anything
"soft" in the aquarium sense, which is water that has a low total dissolved solids. The corresponding negatively charged ions (carbonate, bicarbonate, sulphate, etc.) are all still there. Indeed, because more sodium ions are present (this is used to replace the calcium and magnesium ions removed) it's arguable that the water is less "natural" than most fish would experience, so isn't widely recommended for use in fishkeeping.>
In any case I imagine those low parameters are the reason the shrimp are having such a rough time, as nothing in my maintenance routine has changed since the birth of the tanks.
<Possibly. As tanks age, they tend to become more acidic. In short, organic material builds up in the gravel, filter sponges, etc., and these tend towards decaying in a way that produces nitrate, tannins, and other pH-lowering acids. These will, of course, react with any dissolved alkaline substances in the water such as carbonate salts, in what I'm sure you remember from school as neutralisation reactions. It's very common for tanks to thrive on benign neglect for many years, but they suddenly go into a crisis of some sort, with the pH dropping and fish, plants and shrimps ceasing to thrive. Alongside a decent water change, a thorough clean of the tank is called for, the aim being to remove as much organic muck as possible from the substrate and filter without upsetting the happy filter bacteria that have been keeping the tank alive for so long. Make sense?>
I'm not having luck in finding any cases that are particularly similar to my own. Is there a way that I can raise GH and KH without raising pH to the point
that it will kill the shrimp? How should I proceed?
<Raising the carbonate hardness directly with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is doable. But I'd suggest raising the entire hardness spectrum a little using the old Rift Valley Salt Mix, perhaps at one-quarter the recommended dosage to start with. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
Add to each batch of new water, check the pH and hardness of the tank, observe the livestock over the following week, and if all goes well, keep this as part of your ongoing maintenance process. Rift Valley Salt Mix is cheap as chips, and you can tweak the three ingredients up and down as needed; some folks leave out the marine salt entirely, though I wouldn't, as it provides some useful iodine and other trace elements that many organisms need. Lower the Epsom salt quota to lower general hardness, lower the baking soda quota to lower carbonate hardness. Easy peasy.>
I appreciate your time,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

cherry shrimp hassling injured Corys     2/11/15
Dear WWM Crew,
I'm seeing something in my tank that I thought was impossible: cherry shrimp are pestering fish.
<Not so much pestering as feeding on dead tissue.>
The tank in question is a little 5G one I'm using as a quarantine tank. I set it up months ago with a few cherry shrimp and a handful of plants and have been using it first to breed up a bunch of cherries and secondly to quarantine fish: both shrimp and fish are heading ultimately for the kindergarten fish tanks. It has been a wonderful way to get a good population of cherry shrimp into the kindy tanks. I knew they bred fast, but I've never kept them in a predator-free environment before and there
are now hundreds of the things!
So yesterday I sent off a batch of white clouds to kindy and this morning I received some Corydoras paleatus that, once quarantined, are heading to the same kindy Fishtank. Unfortunately the Corys arrived in the post in bad shape: two were dead on arrival and the remaining 3 have injured fins.
Anyway, I acclimatised them and put them into the tank, but there seems to be a problem: I've seen shrimp picking at the fish's tails. I reckon that the Corys have been damaged in transit by being in a bag with dead mates for 24 hours, and that the shrimp are actually "only" picking off dead bits of fin. But it's bugging the Corys enough to make them swim away each
time. I'm worried that it will stress them and decrease the chances of them surviving this initial adjustment/quarantine period.
<Possibly, but it's a small risk. Obviously the idea would be separate them for the interim, just in case.>
Now I had no idea this could happen! Shrimp and Corys coexist entirely happily in my main tank and always have done so. I figured that the Corys might hunt some of the baby shrimp, thus curbing the population in there somewhat, but it didn't occur to me that the shrimp might attack the Corys.
<Corydoras will eat small shrimps for sure.>
What would you do? I could catch some of the shrimp out, but the process of netting them would further stress the Corys, and I don't have anywhere to put the shrimp other than a bucket or back into my main tank, which would mean any disease the Corys are carrying could be transferred with the water to the main tank. I could net the Corys out and put them into a
bucket, but that doesn't seem a great idea either, seeing as the quarantine tank is filtered and planted and should in general be a good place for them to heal and recover.
<Can you not isolate the catfish or the shrimps in a floating breeding trap or breeding net? Not ideal, but at a pinch should work.>
I could feed the tank heavily in an attempt to make the Corys seem less interesting to the shrimp. The filter could probably cope with this: it's a well established tank by now. Do shrimp stop looking for food when they are full?
<Not really. They're grazers with an essentially straight-line digestive tract. Food goes in at about the rate faeces come out, which is ideal for their natural habitat where they consume algae and organic debris. Adding the odd algae wafer should attract their attention, but the degree to which it'll dissuade them from pecking at the catfish is unknown.>
Have you ever seen this happen?
What would you do?
<See above.>
Any advice would be welcome,
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Red Cherry Shrimp       12/16/14
Hello All, Hopes things are going well for you. I have a question about red cherry shrimp please. I am considering putting them the aquarium I am setting up and would like to know first of all if there is a particular number I should buy for them to be out in the open more.
<Like schooling fish, get at least six. The more the merrier really, and since they're pretty cheap, getting a dozen isn't unreasonable.>
Also, what kinds of freshwater fish should I avoid keeping that would pose a danger to these shrimp?
<Pretty much all of them. But very small, very inoffensive fish can work. I keep mine with Heterandria formosa, and have had success keeping Cherry Shrimps with Oryzias spp too. By "success" I mean the shrimps not only survived they bred, with enough youngsters surviving for their numbers to increase over time.>
Thank you. James
<Cheers, Neale.>

Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13
Hello crew,
I'm new to the hobby and hooked, your website has been very helpful.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a 10 gallon aquarium set up for my daughter, with six white cloud minnows, all seemingly happy and healthy, and started with five red cherry shrimp, now down to two.
<I see.>
Tank has been up about 3 months now, Ph7, gH4, kH3, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all at 0 according to API tests. 2 gallon changes every week, using ro water from my home system, SeaChem neutral regulator and following with fresh trace a day after the change to avoid precipitation. There is one mat of java moss, otherwise unplanted (but lots of silk and plastic
plants and a ceramic hiding place for the shrimp). Tank is unheated,  Temperature fluctuates between about 74 and 79F daily, I'm in San Diego CA and its the middle of summer, I'll be letting the temp fall to 70 in the winter (I have a tank heater ready to go, we rarely use heat or AC here).
It used to get over 80F but I went to LED's and an egg crate top. From the research I've done, these numbers actually seem to be more favorable for the shrimp then the fish, yet I've had a slow die off of 3 shrimp, each one dying a week to 10 days apart, the most recent today.
<Have you used any fish medicines? These are often lethal to shrimps. Have you checked your tap water for copper? Failing that, make sure your water conditioner removes copper, just to be on the safe size. Copper is toxic to shrimps (well, it's toxic to fish too, but shrimps are more sensitive).>
I've noticed nothing unusual about the shrimp. They do tend to hide a lot, but would always make appearances, mainly foraging in the Java Moss. I feed them sparingly, have used boiled carrots and kale and Hikari shrimp cuisine. They never seemed too interested in eating, one or 2 would be on the carrots when they were put in, no interest in boiled kale, don't seem
to sense Hikari food unless I drop it right in front of a shrimp. The fish scoop the rest up of the Hikari before the rest of the shrimp eat.
<Try Hikari algae wafers; mine love them. Also don't feel afraid to experiment. My Cherry Shrimp and Ricefish aquarium lives in the kitchen, and I'll try little bits of all sorts of things; among the things the shrimps have gone for are avocado, hard boiled egg yolk, cooked clams and mussels, raw as well as cooked fish fillet, even tiny bits of ham! Stuff that's soft and easily picked apart is ideal; if you can buy whole cocktail shrimp, eat the tails yourself and throw some of the rest in the tank -- my
Cherry Shrimps go bananas for the inside of cooked shrimp heads!>
The first shrimp was found dead in the middle of the tank right on the substrate, the last two actually were in the java moss, all were motionless but intact, not more than a few hours dead.
<Oh dear.>
Is there a chance that I am starving them?
<Possible in a new tank. Cherry Shrimps are extremely opportunistic though and will pick apart pretty much anything, not just algae.>
I doubt I am overfeeding, I feed the fish New life Spectrum pellets and flakes, Almost nothing gets to the bottom other than a few flakes from time to time. Is it just the unpredictability of invertebrates?
<Possibly, but Cherry Shrimps are like cockroaches in the right tank.
Basically they want a mature aquarium with lots and lots of plants, gentle water current, and lots of the right sort of food. Water chemistry isn't crucial so long as it isn't too soft and acidic (hard water is probably ideal) and the temperature should be middling, i.e., room temperature or slightly higher (around 22 C/72 F is ideal).>
Now that it's more than half of them dead I'm having doubts. Any advice is appreciated, and thanks very much for your awesome website!
<If you lived local, I'd let you have a few of mine. Meantime, review the aquarium and feeding, and if you want, have another go. Do try and get a fair number, at least 6, as these animals are gregarious and may well pine away if kept in too small a group.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

<PS. Just noticed you're using RO water. Probably best not to. A mix 50/50 with hard tap water is ideal for Cherry Shrimps. Aim for a general hardness around 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5. While they may tolerate softer water, they do need at least some calcium in the water to properly manufacture their shell. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

Thank you, Neale.
The feeding strategies are appreciated.
I will work on a strategy to raise GH. In the documentation I've read, 3° of GH was acceptable for both the minnows and shrimp, and my tank is between 3-4, it makes sense that it's not ideal for shrimp though.
<I think so.>
The reason I use RO water is, our tapwater registers at one part per million of ammonia out of the tap (API test) as I believe San Diego uses chloramine in it's water.
<A good water condition should deal with the ammonia and chloramine.>
The RO water still has traces of ammonia , but with SeaChem Prime I'm assuming it takes care of it, and I also assume the bio filter is effective as the aquarium registers zero every time I check, a couple times a week now.  Prime also claims to fix heavy metals, so I assume copper is not an issue. Haven't tested though, so thanks for that suggestion. Perhaps I will try the 50/50 ro to tap ratio, unless you think the 1ppm out I the tap is too much to overcome. 
<A good water conditioner should neutralise this.>
Im sure the shrimp would appreciate more plants, but they seem to like hiding in the fake ones, and I am not willing to open the CO2 can of worms yet, so I don't think the heavily planted tank is in the near future :)
<Oh, I don't bother with CO2! Stuff the tank with Java Moss and Anubias, and let nature take its course. My kitchen tank is literally a 10-gallon vat of Java Moss, and so far as I can tell, there's hundreds of Cherry Shrimps crawling through the stuff.>
Not trying to sound like a SeaChem ad, but I use their neutral regulator, which has kept the tank at a constant 7.0 pH per my tests. The problem is, if I raise calcium with an additive, the phosphate buffer precipitates it out. Is that even a problem?
<I don't personally recommend adjusting pH directly. Much better to let animals adapt to the ambient pH of your tap water. If you have liquid rock like my tap water, then a 50/50 mix with RO or rainwater will result in something around 10 degrees dH, pH 7.5 or so.>
Will the calcium still raise the GH out of solution?
<Calcium carbonate will raise both general and carbonate hardness, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.>
Should I try another buffering system?
<I would not.>
I'd rather not, as this has worked to the letter, and the fish are vivacious.
<Little steps. Make small changes. Maybe changing 10, 20% each weekend. See how the fish react.>
Could this be as simple as throwing in some calcium substrate or coral?
<Is an option, but unpredictable. How much is needed? How long will it last before it stops reacting? Difficult to say.>
Thanks again for your help, any further input on raising my GH is appreciated.
<Ah, would direct you here first:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

Thanks again.  Last question: Your vote on quarantining more shrimp when I'm ready to add them to the community (lots of debate on that, I'd certainly do it for any fish, is it necessary for inverts? I purchase everything from the same shop)?
<Quarantining is always a good idea. But shrimps carry few diseases that can affect fish; the only serious threat I can think of is Whitespot, and even then, only in the sense that any wet object can carry Whitespot from one tank to another -- the shrimps themselves cannot be infected by the parasites. Just be prepared to treat for Whitespot if necessary using the salt/heat method that's harmless to fish and shrimps.>
The above mentioned is a great article, I read it a few months ago when I was planning the tank, looks like the Pearson square will help me sort this out. Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red cherry shrimp population dwindling     11/20/13

Hi Neale and crew,
An update and a few questions about my continuing red cherry shrimp problem.
To recap: 10 gallon, low light plants, ro water with additives giving kH 4-5, gH 9-10, pH 7.2-7.6
<All sounds good.>
I tried another batch after my first population died off, same results but a little longer lived this time. I have switched from phosphate buffering to carbonate buffering my ro water since I had a green water bloom. I added floating hornwort to try to go the cheap route, had little effect over a week other than making a mess, so I sprung for a Salifert phosphate test:
predictably, literally off the charts, darker color reading than 3 ppm.
<I see.>
After reading about the damaging effect phosphate can have on coral,
<High phosphate perhaps, but I do believe *some* phosphate is essential.>
I'm guessing at these levels it could retard other invert shell production too, just a hunch, I haven't read much about phosphates and shrimp to that effect.
<Honestly don't think this is a major factor. My shrimp population lives in a kitchen tank on their own, and apart from periodic top-ups for evaporation, I don't think I change the water more than 2-3 times a year!
It's just an algae-ridden swamp in there, and I throw all kinds of kitchen scraps in there for them to eat (the other day a small piece of a spare rib bone!). But the shrimps breed freely. I wouldn't keep fish this way, but Cherry Shrimps really aren't delicate in the right tank. I do keep the tank quite cool though, maybe 22 C/72 F, and there's a lot of plant growth as well as algae, so the shrimps have lots to eat. Our water is rock hard here, and that may help too.>
I'm bringing the phosphate level down with water changes and Phosguard, which I believe is an aluminum oxide adsorbent. Down to around 1 ppm after 5 days. Any hints on that process?
<What you're doing sounds fine.>
I'm thinking another contributing factor would be the silly white and blue substrate we have, the tank is in my little daughters room so I let her pick it out, very cute but
<Ah now, that's a possible factor. Shrimps are sensitive to some metals like copper and I'd definitely use a copper test kit to see if that's a factor. Even if you don't buy such a kit, most marine aquarium shops will do such tests for a nominal fee (often nothing). Copper could come from your household plumbing, from odd coloured rocks and gravels, or from certain medications.>
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Live rock - lowest salinity (RMF, any input here?)>Again, your stmt.s are exact, sufficient<    4/24/13
Hi Crew
As part of an Amano shrimp breeding project, I'm looking to move from raising the zoeae in marine conditions to brackish conditions. With some evidence that live rock provides a good food source for the larvae, I'm wondering what the lowest salinity is that live rock would tolerate? Sorry to ask, but you guys are the only reliable salt water contacts that I have.
<Hello Gord. As a general rule of thumb, virtually all marine (as in, living in the sea in its strictest sense) invertebrates are osmoconformers.
They can't regulate the balance of salt and water in their bodies, and any changes (like reducing ambient salinity) are likely to stress and eventually kill them. So the short answer, is that lowering the salinity beyond normal marine (~35 gram/litre, ~1.025 SG at 25 C) will eventually kill off all the little critters on the expensive live rock you bought. BUT WITH THAT SAID, there are plenty of invertebrates adapted to below-normal salinities; brackish water environments are teeming with worms, shrimps, crabs, snails, clams, etc. The pattern tends to be that while diversity goes down, abundance of each species goes up, so instead of 100 species of clam as you'd see on a reef, you get just 5 species of clam in the mangrove a few miles inshore, but those 5 are massively more abundant than any of those reef-dwelling clam species. So, while most of the invertebrates on your live rock will surely die at, say, 75% normal marine (~26 gram/litre, ~1.018 SG at 25 C), there may be a few hardy forms that positively thrive in the absence of competition. Of course, these may not necessarily be the ones you want, but you can hope! At least some algae for example are more likely to adapt to lower salinity than copepods, and "pretty" things like soft corals and anemones are among the least likely to adapt. In short, it's worth a shot, but you can't predict what you'll end up with, and in any event, going much below 75% normal marine is likely to kill everything on the rock save a few algae and bacterial species. You could, I suppose, seed "dead" live rock (or tufa rock) with brackish water or estuarine mud that you collect yourself, assuming of course temperature changes aren't too severe. Unless you live relatively close to the sea then this wouldn't be an option, but it's a thought. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Live rock - lowest salinity (RMF, any input here?)     4/26/13

Hi Neale
Thanks very much for that. It's predominantly algae and bacteria I'm after, as it happens, to provide "filtration" and a food source. I'd be looking at 50% salinity, so it definitely sounds worth a try. Will let you know how I get on when the next hatch happens.
<Ah, real good… collecting your own evidence by experimentation! Cheers, Neale.>
Live rock - lowest salinity (RMF, any input here?)>Again, your stmt.s are exact, sufficient<    4/24/13

Hi Crew
As part of an Amano shrimp breeding project, I'm looking to move from raising the zoeae in marine conditions to brackish conditions. With some evidence that live rock provides a good food source for the larvae, I'm wondering what the lowest salinity is that live rock would tolerate? Sorry to ask, but you guys are the only reliable salt water contacts that I have.
<Hello Gord. As a general rule of thumb, virtually all marine (as in, living in the sea in its strictest sense) invertebrates are osmoconformers.
They can't regulate the balance of salt and water in their bodies, and any changes (like reducing ambient salinity) are likely to stress and eventually kill them. So the short answer, is that lowering the salinity beyond normal marine (~35 gram/litre, ~1.025 SG at 25 C) will eventually kill off all the little critters on the expensive live rock you bought. BUT WITH THAT SAID, there are plenty of invertebrates adapted to below-normal salinities; brackish water environments are teeming with worms, shrimps, crabs, snails, clams, etc. The pattern tends to be that while diversity goes down, abundance of each species goes up, so instead of 100 species of clam as you'd see on a reef, you get just 5 species of clam in the mangrove a few miles inshore, but those 5 are massively more abundant than any of those reef-dwelling clam species. So, while most of the invertebrates on your live rock will surely die at, say, 75% normal marine (~26 gram/litre, ~1.018 SG at 25 C), there may be a few hardy forms that positively thrive in the absence of competition. Of course, these may not necessarily be the ones you want, but you can hope! At least some algae for example are more likely to adapt to lower salinity than copepods, and "pretty" things like soft corals and anemones are among the least likely to adapt. In short, it's worth a shot, but you can't predict what you'll end up with, and in any event, going much below 75% normal marine is likely to kill everything on the rock save a few algae and bacterial species. You could, I suppose, seed "dead" live rock (or tufa rock) with brackish water or estuarine mud that you collect yourself, assuming of course temperature changes aren't too severe. Unless you live relatively close to the sea then this wouldn't be an option, but it's a thought. Cheers, Neale.>

Amano shrimp hatched today - need info on sea water   1/31/13
Hi Crew
Please help my poor little pickled brain. I have no marine experience and I'm landed in a crash course situation.  My Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentis) hatched today and I have 100-150 little zoes. I realise I have to act fairly quickly to avoid losing them. I'm following this method:
It seems to refer to full strength seawater but mentions it should be at 34ppm. On http://www.planetinverts.com/Amano%20Shrimp.html it states 34ppt as full strength seawater. Am I going completely out of my head here, Wikipedia (I know, I know, but I'm in a hurry) states seawater to be 3.1% - 3.8%. Am I correct in assuming 1.7%, not 17ppm, would be brackish and 3.4%, not 34ppm, would be full strength?
<Basically, 34 ppm simply means 34 grams of marine salt mix per litre. Easy as pie if you're happy with Metric. If you go download my "Brack Calc" application, http://brackishfaq.webspace.virginmedia.com/Programs/brackcalc.html
you can switch it to US units and you'll find it's a shade over 4.5 oz per US gallon. In fact Caridina spp. likely tolerate a range of salinities as larvae, so I'd not be overly concerned about getting it dead-on.>
If you could give me a quick answer I'd most appreciate it, as from what I can gather I've only got a few days to hold the zoes in fresh water, including today, and I need to age the sea water as much as I can (at least 24 hours) before using it.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Amano shrimp hatched today - need info on sea water   2/2/13

Hi Neale
Thank you very much for that early-bird response!
I went on a wing and a prayer with my old home brew hydrometer and finally had seawater at about 1.023-1.024 at midnight last night. From what I salt measured in, I'm not far off with 30g/l then. A relief to know I'm OK since I don't really trust that hydrometer.
For the sake of understanding, what it going on here? I've always understood ppm to be equivalent to mg/l or mg/kg.
<Remember that salt absorbs water from the air, so unless the salt is bone-dry (i.e., from a new box that hasn't been opened) each gram/oz of salt will actually be some small percentage water, or put another way, less salt than you think it should be. So you add 35 grams to a litre, but the specific gravity ends up being a bit below what you expect, like 1.022 instead of 1.024 at 25 C. Hence you do need a hydrometer to double-check the salinity of the water when you make it using some amount of gram/litre or oz/gallon. On top of this, ppm is only approximately g/l. Gram/litre is the exact and correct way to describe salinity. Normal seawater is taken as 35 gram per litre, but in reality is +/- some very small amount depending on where you are in the world. One ml of water (i.e., one-thousandth of a litre) of water should weight 1 gram, hence the 35 parts per thousand. It isn't 35 ppm, parts per million, though misunderstanding of the "per mil" for "parts per thousand" may have meant the term "ppm" has crept into the aquarium literature as an erroneous way of saying parts per thousand.>
My first attempt was rather amusing, sea water at 34 mg/l. In the back of my head I had a feeling it wasn't going to be right. I needed double strength water as I will be diluting it so I had to make up 500ml with 27g salt dissolved in it and put 5ml of this into 4l. Needless to say the taste didn't exactly remind me of a quick dip in the briny!
<Quite so. 34 mg/l would be freshwater. Perfectly drinkable, and indeed, probably less salty than many foods and drinks we consume.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Amano shrimp hatched today - need info on sea water   2/2/13

Hi Neale
Brilliant! Understood! I just have to remember that there's aquarium ppm as well as scientific, and aquarium ppm is g/l not mg/l.
<Better still, just don't use ppm; it's ppt, parts per thousand, though even that is deprecated (in scientific jargon, ppt can be used for parts per trillion).>
Thanks for explaining that, it would have itched and itched at me.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Fertilizer/phytoplankton culture... SW, and Amano f'     2/12/13

Hi Crew
I had an Amano Shrimp hatch recently and acquired some live phytoplankton to feed the zoea (please correct me if my plural is wrong here, because I'm not sure).
<Is the plural of zoeae>
 By the time I paid postage and got some decapsulated brine shrimp eggs to make up my order to the minimum £6, it was near enough £15 for 100ml of plankton. Naturally I'm inclined to culture the phytoplankton. I did some reading and found a method that used Miracle Grow to feed the algae. I had a look and Miracle Grow do a large range of products, so I'm not sure which to use.
<Mmm, it's their "brand X" product: http://lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore.com/77-498-dry-plant-food/miracle-gro-plant-food-615144.aspx?utm_source=PLA&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=rkg
Takes very little>
I'm experimenting with using organic concentrated seaweed fertilizer, for use in the garden.
<Yikes... a mess. I would "go inorganic" here, unless you have a lot of large jars, outside space>
 My first culture seems to be doing OK when added to seawater mixed with concentrate to the dilution on the bottle for liquid feeding of terrestrial plants, i.e. what would be in the watering-can but with salt added. I considered it might be too strong, and have one at 50% strength and two at 25% strength. Originally these last three were seeded with 2.5cm3<s?>/l of the made up concentrate as per the bottles instructions for liquid feeding of terrestrial plants but they didn't seem to be doing so well. I.e. 2.5cm3/l of what would be in the watering-can added to salt water.
<Understood... I would dilute further... like an order of magnitude>
I seized on the seaweed fertilizer because I had it and I assumed something composed of rendered down algae must pretty much contain the building blocks of algae in a good balance. Is this a reasonable assumption to have made?
<In general, yes... but you need to start w/ a pure culture of the algae to be cultured>
What do you think of my concentrations to feed the algae? Have you a tried and tested method?
<Not that one, but had three algology (in the UK), phycology here in the US, classes... one of which was culture... We made our own basic (inorganic) fertilizer mix... was copied out of formulae in Bergey's Manual et al. I'd search, read the works of Frank Hoff nowayears>
Also the algae seems to have a real desire to cling to surfaces, much like FW algae. I know it's not FW algae because I've never seen any that's a weird khaki colour. I thought that it was supposed to be free-floating, like green-water, but it is flocking. The setup is clear 2l fizzy drink bottles with an airstone in each, sitting on a south facing windowsill. I'm near Edinburgh, Scotland, to give you an idea of climate. 
<Ahh, yes... I wish Neale to see this. He spent time there...>
It is mix of plankton - Tetraselmis sp., Isochrysis, Pavolova, Thalassiosira weissflogii and Nannochloropsis.
<Mmm, and the water used to mix in was sterile/sterilized to start with? Am dubious re such mixed cultures... one species comes to be favored...>
I still have about 20ml left in the bottle of plankton so I reckon I'm
on my last attempt if these experiments fail and my shrimp has berried
<Best to keep cultures going... keep serially diluting to make anew... to have on hand at all times.
 Obviously, what little I'd make back on selling the shrimp on would be totally wiped out by buying more phytoplankton, if I can even get the zoea to adult stage, so it would be great to have the stuff available as and when required.
I'd be grateful for you pulling apart my assumptions and methods and letting me know if you have a better way of doing this. I've found myself in at the deep end without any warning or real time for planning and reading, so I'm going to have to throw my hand out to you again and ask for your advice. As you can probably tell I have absolutely no SW experience but I try to do my best by all the life in my aquariums, expected or not.
<A review of the basics of food culture in Hoff's works, the Breeder's Registry and MOFIB on line will serve to enhance your knowledge and skills, give you sense of comfort/company>
Thanks once again.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Fertilizer/phytoplankton culture  further input, referral by Neale     2/12/13

<Gordon, to save duplicating what RMF has written thus far, will abstain from further comment, except to ask you to check today's and likely tomorrow's batch of FAQs because I've been answering a fairly similar question about breeding Uca spp. Fiddler Crabs. Little/nothing is known for certain re: breeding crustaceans with marine larval stages, so much depends
on understanding the biology, recognising the limitations of aquaria (e.g., filter pumps, lack of plankton in the water column) and planning accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fertilizer/phytoplankton culture 02/13/13

Hi Bob, Neale,
Thanks very much for your replies. I'll have a look at the sources mentioned and the FAQs. I read them daily, anyway. Looks like there's going to be plenty to get my teeth into!
Thanks for the link for the Miracle-Gro, I'll hunt that down tomorrow and try to move to inorganic as and when I split the cultures.
Bob, by cm3 I mean cubic centimetres (cc, ml).
<Indeed.><<Ahh... wish I knew how to produce the "3" as superscript>>
Neale, I'm set up with the larvae in 8l of 30g/l salt water with an airstone bubbling very gently in one corner. I give the tank a gentle stir with a wooden spoon about four times a day to bring everything back up into suspension. For the first time today I noticed the larvae grabbing tiny clumps of flocculated algae. I'm using a jeweler's loupe for observation in case you think I have superhuman vision! One grabbed a tiny hair that had a growth of algae on it and I watched it strip it bare! Absolutely fascinating to watch these tiny organisms. Some seem to be feeding from the bottom also, drifting down, pausing then propelling themselves back up into the water column.
<Sounds very promising indeed.>
My female is berried again and isolated, so I've got a repeat shot at this.
I'll keep trying and I am keeping a journal of my efforts. I can type it up and send it in if I am successful and once I have proven my method, if it is of interest or use.
<For sure. There are a handful of reports of breeding Amano Shrimps, so it can be done, but it is fiddly, and each additional report provides aquarists with useful ideas for setting up their own protocols.>
Thanks again for the advice, both. It is much appreciated.
<Good luck, Neale.> 
Re Amano shrimp, repro. success!     3/6/13

Hi Crew
Just wanted to report in my limited success of about 20 Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentis/japonica) transferred to fresh water from salt two days ago. Still maybe 10 or so waiting to come over. I put them in a lightly planted 60l tank, they are hard to find in there but I have seen six at one time today, so I'm assuming all is well.
<These are Amano Shrimp juveniles, I take it?>
Difficult? No. Time-consuming? Yes, at first. Worth it? Completely!
Next stop - Bamboos (Atyopsis moluccensis). I have heard successful breeding hasn't been achieved with this species. Wouldn't mind being the first. My goal, however ambitious, is to take the difficulty and mystery out of breeding lower order shrimp and see more home-bred specimens available. Maybe I'm "riding on a wave" but it's an environmentally sound aim to strive for and I'm going for it.
<A worthy aim.>
No questions, you'll be relived to know, just a share. Criticisms, experience, thoughts and observations always welcome though!
<I do hope that you find the time to write down your methods, take some photos. I'm sure many of the magazines will be keen to publish your results; I'd be happy to help if I can. Cheers, Neale.>

How often do you feed cherry shrimp?    12/17/12
I ended up putting the cherry shrimp I got into a separate tank.  They look so delicate.
<They're not. I just cleaned an external canister filter and found a bunch of them living inside it! To get through the filter inlet they must have been sucked in as babies and grown to adults inside.>
The guy I got them from said feed them once a week a leaf of blanched spinach.
<If you want. But they're scavengers and eat leftover foods. I don't deliberately feed mine on a regular basis, but instead let them eat algae and organic detritus, while offering now and again things like bits of raw fish bones and scraps of seafood they can pick at.>
The other website said 2 or 3 times a week various shrimp foods.
<If you want.>
The guy at the supposedly smartest pet store said once a day Hikari shrimp food.
<Unless they're on their own in a really clean tank, daily feeding is unnecessary.>
He's been around a while but I don't know if he keeps them personally nor how fast they sell their stock. Hikari has a good reputation so I bought some.
<Hikari make first rate fish foods; indeed, I've used their algae wafers and "Cichlid Gold" for something like 20 years.>
I hadn't fed them but once in four days with some freeze dried blood worm, other than they have tons of java moss, and they weren't very active and so I fed them yesterday some Hikari, and now they're all over the tank like little acrobats!
<Quite so.>
I read over feeding causes deaths....there are so many differing opinions on the frequency to feed though.  How often do you think is good? 
<Honestly, there's no set amount, and overfeeding is no more deadly to shrimps than to fish -- providing the filter can cope with any uneaten food, overfeeding isn't lethal. The problem with overfeeding is when you dump so much into the tank the filter is overwhelmed, and then the ammonia and nitrite goes up. But for what it's worth, something like a single algae wafer would be ample for a dozen adult shrimps (perhaps more) and would be sufficient for 2-3 days.>
It's not like I can see nor recapture miniscule pellets if they don't eat them all! I'm not sure how many I have.....it could be 15 but there's so much java moss it's hard to say.....and one just gave birth so there are fry too...probably a lot of fry like maybe 15 if her belly was any indicator.  They're currently in a 5 gallon and I change out 1 gallon daily.  Will I need a larger tank?  Is it necessary to change a gallon daily if that size is ok? 
<Five gallons could work, but I find an 8 gallon tank hits a sweet spot for shrimps.>
I will probably need to rehome some at some point, just need to know the number it becomes an issue.  They're so miniscule they probably aren't heavy polluters but I've being doing the daily water changes because I heard they're sensitive.
<They really aren't. I've seen them thrive in my windowsill tank which almost boils in summer and freeze in winter, and is filtered by a simple box filter that gets checked out maybe 3 times a year.>
Well fed they'll be less likely to eat the fry.  I can't see the fry but the guy said you won't for a while.  There's panty hose over the filter intake so I hope they are all safe on that end, and hope it also in time adds an additional layer to the filtration system the way a sponge filter does by colonizing helpful bacteria. Also, do you think duckweed and frogbit are useful or pests?
<Depends on the context. Duckweed is usually a nuisance because it's easy to transfer (e.g., on nets, hoses or buckets) into tanks where you don't want it, and once it's there, it's difficult to remove. But it can look really nice in "nano" tanks, bright green, and providing plenty of surface for small fish and shrimps to explore at the top of the tank. Frogbit is that bit bigger and so easier to manage; I like Amazon Frogbit a lot, and use it freely. But neither is the equal of Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides, the perfect plant in so many ways.>
The guy who sold me the shrimp offered me some.  I planted some of my water sprite as it's the type that can be planted…
<No! Don't do that! At least not to all of it. Much prefers to float, and infinitely easier to grow like that.>
so I could put something else at the top or just get more watersprite.  I think those two might be nice plants too, but they're listed invasive in some states and I don't know if they could become a problem in an aquarium or easy to control. Thank you.  I hope your enjoying your week end.
<Twas a nice weekend indeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: How often do you feed cherry shrimp?    12/17/12

Most of the water sprite is floating.  Maybe I'll try frogbit and avoid the duckweed, that's what I needed to know, thanks!
Do you know what the plant in the picture is?
<No image came through.>
Most had died out when I had actinic lighting, but it thrives in regular light now I've got it fixed and this sprig came with my new endlers and is already growing a little.  It never breaks apart....but the shop that's now closed down out of business had called it "soft hornwort." I haven't seen any info on it.  Whenever I ask for soft hornwort at other shops, people sell me or give me the coarse type that sinks and shreds!!!!!! As you can see, this plant is lightweight and floats at the top and small fish love it.  I never noticed much shedding and I wish I could buy some rather than wait for this sprig to slowly grow, but I have no "name."
<Well, try sending another photo.>
Thank you, hope your week is as nice as your weekend.
<Likewise! Cheers, Neale.>

Restocking 29 gallon tank..... Temperature compatibility with 2 tiny mollies?     12/9/12
I pick up some new fish tomorrow from a guy who has too many. You said (I think it was you!) that cherry shrimp can be converted to low brackish.
<Indeed. SG 1.001-1.002 at 25 C/77 F will do them no harm, and that's ample for livebearers.>
So wouldn't this also apply to fire red shrimp because they have the same name and they're just a color variation?!
<Should be fine, but the best approach is to try a few out and see what happens. If they're still happy and feeding a couple weeks later, add some more.>
Here's their info and the same 2 names as for cherry shrimp:
You also told someone in the forum that the cherries prefer a cooler temp....I saw this when I was trying to find info on if they were brackish tolerant. People do commonly keep shrimp locally, though my home averages 79 F most of the year. When we have cold days it will be 75 F inside my home at the coldest point, but temps usually climb higher daily, even during winter.  I'm in Texas. 
<That will cause no harm to these shrimps. They're subtropical to warm-temperate animals, native to China and Japan.>
I was intending to throw the fire red shrimp and some Endler's (that I heard do tolerate brackish)
<Yes, and again, SG 1.001-1.002 will be ample, for these and the Mollies. No need for more salinity than that.>
into the established 29 gallon tank with the 2 female baby balloon mollies, and then slowly convert to low end brackish due to the mollies.  These mollies could eventually grow into a problem for the other fish, I know this, and I will deal with that if/when it happens.  They're pretty small now...and I threw in a bunch of cover plants for hiding places for shrimp and Endler's. I just want to know.....do I remove the heater or set it at a lower temperature, and what temperature would you recommend?
<I'd set the heater to 25 C/77 F and leave it at that. All will be fine at this.>
Or is the temperature difference going to be bad for the mollies who have been raised with it set for 78 degrees?  It looks like they will tolerate to much cooler, but I don't know if it would cause illness to suddenly go from 78 to 72.  (Though....it could run even warmer naturally on a warm day.  The shrimp may not like it, and I can't afford a chiller!!) Thank you!  I appreciate all of the helpful advice you've given me to help restart my very 1st full sized tank.  If you say little mollies need to move out, I do have another tank I can set up for them and I had been planning on setting it up anyway. I never realized shrimp like it chilly.
<Tolerate more than like; they can, do thrive at tropical temperatures all year around, even if that isn't what they'd enjoy in the wild. Mine live and breed wildly at this.>
I see cherry shrimp in all the shops and they're kept on the warm side like my home, though they're just stock and it's not their final home. Many people keep air conditioning at 70-72 F, so I'm odd I guess!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Restocking 29 gallon tank..... Temperature compatibility with 2 tiny mollies?     12/9/12
Yes, thank you.
<"Real good", as Bob F would say. Cheers, Neale.>

African Butterfly Fish, Bamboo Shrimp, and ????    6/23/12
I love to read your solutions to aquarium questions. Here is mine. I have a well-planted 37 gallon aquarium with sand substrate. It’s been established for about a year and. I just moved everything out of it to my 55 gallon. While shopping at Petco today for a dog door (I can hear all the booing already) we found some bamboo shrimp and thought they were awesome, so we bought 5 for the empty 37.
I do my research, but I want to see what you think of my plan.
<Will do.>
I would like to add my African Butterfly Fish to the 37. He’s in our 125 gallon right now, but the black skirts are snagging many of his crickets before he can get them, not to mention that our school of 6 Red Irian Rainbows are learning how tasty they are. I have to put in about 6 crickets to get one to him.
<I see. They do eat floating foods, including good quality flake -- try something like New Spectrum or Hikari.>
Right now, I have two Aquaclear 50 filters running on the 37. My mantra is ‘over filter’.
<Not necessarily a good thing. Pantodon live in still water, and will normally find spots away from water current. Once optimal water quality is reached, any additional water turnover (movement) is merely water current, which is appreciated by some fish, disliked by others. As in real life, mantras and dogmas may make sense at face value, but a few words can't ever reflect the complexity of the world as it is, so be flexible.>
I would like to drop the water level about an inch, remove one of the filters, and add my Butterfly Fish. I have floating Anacharis for him to hang out in, and I’m hoping that removing one filter will make a nice calm space for the Butterfly and still supply enough current below for the shrimp to feed in the water column.
<Ah, yes, good plan.>
I would like to add a school of large, non-nippy tetras like 6 Congo tetras or Head and Tail Lights.
What do you think of my plan, and are there any other fish that you can think of to fill midwater that won’t harass/become food for the Butterfly or dismember my shrimp?
<Pretty much anything too big to be eaten, not too big to be scary, and of course placid and non-nippy. Among the less familiar species from the same part of the world, the non-aggressive Ctenopoma are very good choices, especially Ctenopoma acutirostre and Ctenopoma fasciolatum, both of which exhibit nice colours, and the second species comes in a nice steel blue rather different to many other aquarium fish. African Knifefish can work well too, as should small Synodontis species like Synodontis nigriventris. Polypterus palmas and its allies are about the right size and temperament, too.>
Perhaps there are some species that are not live bearers that I have overlooked. For some reason, I have problems with livebearers here, but no problem with egg laying species.
<Is your water too soft? Livebearers need hard water.>
Thank you in advance for your opinion. I’m sure it will be helpful. Thank you, also, for helping so many people solve their aquarium problems.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Weird cherry shrimp illness? – 6/6/12
Hi, my name is Jenny, and I had received 13 or so cherry shrimp as a little birthday present about a month ago (along with three unneeded baby apple snails, but I guess they could be good company.)   Now first, I must say, I LOVE your website!  Your crew had really helped me get through the problems I previously had with my fish, and I am very grateful (along with my fishes :] )  that you have this website running!
<And thanks for the kind words.>
Now, if you can help me with this question, it would be great!  Ever since I got the shrimps, I have been keeping very good care of them in a 1-1.5 gallon tank, which is all I had considering that my other tank had a 2.5 inch-tall angel and some voracious guppies dwelling in it.  I changed the water every two to three days, tried to keep the filter clean as best as I could, and carefully vacuumed the gravel (being sure I didn't sweep up the babies, [my goodness, they're so small!])
I am feeding them algae pellets right now. I do not really have any foods high in calcium for them, but I will try to find something.
<They're actually not that fussy. They'll eat almost anything. I have an 8-gallon tank in the kitchen, and I dump all sorts of bits of uneaten food in there: cucumber ends, wilted lettuce leaves, overcooked sweet potato, sushi Nori trimmings, and small slivers of fish or shellfish. On top of that they eat the algae that grows in the tank and pinches of flake food every few days. These animals are very undemanding and in the right tank breed at a tremendous rate.>
They all seemed healthy.  They molt regularly, and they are just as voracious for food as my angel and guppies! I knew I couldn't leave them in there forever, so once I got my Cory into a different tank, I started cleaning out and re-setting up a 10 gallon for them.  I'm planning on using the same 6.6 gallon filter in the shrimp tank right now, and pouring the water from the 1.5 gallon into the 10 gallon, just adding half a gallon of new water every day until I get it completely full.
<Fair enough.>
Now, I noticed two of my biggest/oldest juvenile cherry shrimp are starting to turn a milky white.  It started with one of them, and where the saddle was supposed to be, it just started to turn white.  It spread all the way down its tail, and its eyes also clouded over.  This just happened to the second-oldest juvenile, too.  I looked this up, and another person had the exact same thing happen, only their shrimp died two days later.  They've been like this almost a week now.  I do not know the ammonia levels, but they are not high, I can guarantee it.
<Do bear in mind adult males are semi-transparent, varying from off-white to pink, with only a few darker red markings. Only the females are genuinely cherry red, and their colours vary a bit as well, with a nose-to-tail band along the top coming or going, supposedly depending on their reproductive state.>
The Nitrate is 20 ppm, nitrite 0, pH is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 (dang, the test strips are hard to read...) Temperature fluctuates between 72 and 80 degrees, but not too drastically.  May increase/decrease a degree every hour or two.
<All fine. Cherry Shrimps actually prefer subtropical conditions, and in summer you may as well leave the heater off. Have the heater set for about 18 C/68 F to keep the chill off in winter, but otherwise these shrimps will be happier a little cooler than your tropical fish.>
I believe that what may be causing this is a calcium deficiency, but all of my adult shrimps, including the biggest, "Big Mama" are doing fine!  I would have expected it to be her instead that is getting this white color. 
Today, I just checked on the shrimp and I saw a white molted shell, but I only saw one of the white shrimps.  Maybe it was something that happened before molting?  Maybe it's just coincidence?  I'm not sure...
If you want, I could send a picture of one of them.
<Feel free. Try and keep the image down to about 500 KB though.>
I would be very glad if you could inform me on what may be happening to my shrimp!
Thank you for your time,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness?  6/7/2012

Thanks for the reply.
<Ahh, Neale has gone out till Sat.. I'll see that he sees this>
 I guess I'll try to keep the temperature a little lower.  Maybe the high temperature could be contributing to the problem..?
Not sure if it's contagious or not, but I can only seem to see one shrimp with the white coloring.  The other shrimp could have gotten better, hopefully.
I could not find the connection cord for my camera, and the SD slot does not work on my computer, so I could not get a picture.
I don't think it's the shrimps' exoskeleton that is changing color, like how a cherry shrimp can turn white.  It seems to be inside the shrimps' bodies, like they both have eggs, except they don't look like eggs  (also impossible because they had never developed saddles, and they cannot be pregnant because I have no males)  It's kind of hard to describe, but it looks as how the saddle looks under a female shrimp's exoskeleton, except it's so much bigger and extends farther down the back of the shrimp. Like someone filled the shrimp with milk or something, making the shrimp look a cloudy off-white color.
If you have ever seen a dead ghost shrimp, how it turns a pink-ish white color, it looks just like that, only it's just in the back of the shrimp instead of the whole body.
I'll see if the temperature is affecting it by cooling it down to 70-72. I actually do not have a heater, so I use a small fan to cool down the water temperature; does it very gradually, so no stress on the inhabitants of the tank.
In the meantime, I've already put them all in the 10 gallon, so I need to work on getting the water level to 10 gallons instead of leaving it at 2.
Again, thank you for the reply, and I hope the description above will help determine what this strange condition is!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness? Attn.: Neale    6/10/12
Thank you for informing me that Neale was gone, Bob, and thank you for replying back.
If you would be so kind as to show this email to Neale when he returns, I would be very grateful. Well, it's bad news for one of the shrimps that had turned white, as he passed away some time last night.  I hope that he hadn't suffered very much…
<Shrimps tend to turn white when dying. So rather than a disease as such, I'd suggest this is a symptom of some underlying stress. Cherry Shrimps are astonishingly hardy animals, but there are two things they hate: copper and high water temperatures. Bearing in mind they come from relatively cool, well oxygenated streams in Taiwan, they're best treated as subtropical rather than tropical animals. In summer, check they aren't overheated. I've kept them in unheated tanks in the UK, and they seem to have no problems handling cool temperatures down to 15 C, and perhaps less. As for copper, you can use a copper test kit for this. Any retailer who handles marine fish should be able to do a copper test for you, either for free or some nominal amount (one pound is the usual here). If you have copper in the system, you can get media that removes copper, or else replace everything inside the tank likely to have absorbed copper (such as calcareous rocks or shells) and of course change as much water as is practical, perhaps 50% today, 50% the next day, and another 50% the day after. Do also make 100% sure you are using a water conditioner that removes chloramine, copper and ammonia from tap water, as well as ammonia. Also, in theory anything added to the tank that might have been dipped or sprayed in pesticide (such as snail killing potions) can introduce toxins, so things like plants should be added only after being thoroughly rinsed. Likewise rocks stored in the shop where bug spray or cleaning fluids might have been used might also bring in pesticide residues lethal to shrimps. Last but not least, you never, ever add fish medications to a shrimp tank -- except for salt, the only safe thing to use with shrimps.>
The other "missing" white shrimp was found last night, so it's good to know he's still alive, I guess.
<Good. There are white, thread-like worms that can infest shrimps, but I've not seen them on Cherry Shrimps, just wild-caught "feeder" shrimp.>
Well, now that the first shrimp had passed away, I know that the other shrimp may do so very soon.  So, in case this disease/condition is contagious, should I remove the other live shrimp?  Should I cull him and any others that may get this way?
<I would isolate any obviously infected shrimps, yes; a floating breeding trap might be okay, but honestly, I'd probably euthanise (a whack with a hammer should do the trick for something like a shrimp) or at least move into its own tank for observation.>
I also saw some kind of oily substance floating on the surface of the water, and I haven't seen it before. I'm guessing it's from when the shrimp had died and it released some substance into the water.  Should I remove this oily-looking liquid, or will it go away on its own?
<Definitely remove. Unlikely to come from the shrimps, but oily films might oxygen getting into the tank. More seriously they do suggest a shortcoming in terms of water quality or water movement (i.e., turnover, splashing at the surface).>
I also have a picture of one of the shrimps.  Sorry if it's a little blurry or hard to see, but you can clearly see the white mass in the shrimp.  I hope the picture helps with figuring out what is happening.
<Too blurry I'm afraid.>
Again, thanks for the reply.  I'll try my best to care for the remaining shrimp as best as I can.
<Don't give up hope! It's a question of fixing any potential problems, and then isolating any infected/affected shrimps until such time as they recover. Cherry Shrimps thrive on benign neglect (you should see my Cherry Shrimp tank!) so you've really should be able to find a way to keep them reliably and easily. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness? Attn.: Neale    6/10/12
Well,  just looked at the shrimps today, not as active as usual.  I have the tank temperature at 72, but I can't seem to get it to come down more.
<Water can't get any cooler than ambient air temperature, and direct sunlight will increase water temperature still further.>
I think I have found a new shrimp that has started to turn white.  I really hope not, though.  It's the reddest of all the younger shrimps!  Hope that by bringing the temperature down I can stop it from going farther.
<Let's see. I wouldn't go out of your way to make it cooler than 22 C/72 F just yet.>
I will euthanize the other shrimp that was white, but probably not with a hammer.  I'll go with a less... messy way of euthanizing it, with a small cup of water and a bit of clove oil,
<Not sure Clove Oil works on shrimps.>
I did fix the oily substance "problem," though.  Sometimes if any of my tanks don't have very good water circulation, they start to grow some kind of algae on the surface,  and I'm guessing that the substance on the surface was just the beginning of the algae growing.  Small adjustment made to the filter, so now the water's circulating a lot better. Substance was "gone" in about 20 minutes or so.
<Good. Yes, more splashing does minimise the oily film.>
I'll try to cool down the tank to around 68 or 70 and try to get this whole shrimp epidemic under control (easier said than done, haha.)  Hopefully I won't have something like this occur again!
Thank you very much for helping me with this, and have a good evening!  :)
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

RCS dying.    5/31/12
Dear WWM crew,
thanks to your site I'm now a much more knowledgeable fish keeper than I would otherwise have been.
I have a newly established (cycled) planted fresh water aquarium 60cm x 30cm X 30cm, ADA soil with a thin sand substrate and a population of 20 chili Rasboras and 5 RCS, ammonia <0.02 ppm, nitrite 0 and nitrate <10ppm.
<Mmm, okay>
I have just one question, is it possible that my RCS could be dying due to contamination from an Anubias 'nana' that I transferred from a tank treated six months ago with a copper based Ich treatment.
<Not really; no. The amount of "released" free copper is miniscule... Of more benefit (Cu is an essential micro-nutrient) than harmful... check out many commercial fish foods... is often an ingredient>
The shrimp were very active, feeding and swimming and most have molted in the two weeks that they have been in the tank.  The 'nana' in question had a large quantity of green hair algae on the leaves and I suspect that this may be the problem.
<Yes! This "hair algae" could be a toxic blue green/Cyanophyte... This might play a negative role here. I'd be moving the plant elsewhere, even just isolating in a jar... Using a bit of activated carbon to see if some sort of chemical can be removed thus>
I have removed the plant to see if this has any effect on the death rate of about 1 RCs per day.
Thank you in advance for your help,
<Thank you for sharing. Would it do good to have you review what little we have on these shrimps?
Oh, I would add a bit of iodine-ate... as you'll read re. Bob Fenner>
Re: RCS dying. BGA toxicity poss.     5/31/12
Thank you so much for your response.
After seeing your suggested cause of death, I looked up Cyanophyte and, after reading the WWM article blue green algae I noticed that the plant in question has some reddish brown smears on the leaves.
<Ahh; a common appearance for some BGAs>
The plant came from a 20 gallon planted tank, due to the high temperatures of the South East Asian summer I have been leaving the lights off in the day.
The tank has a lid and the thermometer is showing temperatures in the low 30c range. Could this be a trigger for the growth of the Cyanophyte?
<Yes... along w/ aspects like low flow rate, low DO, high nutrients of different sorts, a lack of competitors for such>
Would it be toxic to the six zebra danios and seven tiger barbs in the tank?
<Some types, yes; not all... That is, put another way, there may well be types that are toxic to shrimps, but not these cyprinid fishes>
As I understand it, limiting their food source by feeding more sparingly, providing competition for nutrients by adding plants and keeping the lights on is a solution to this problem. Is this so?
<Indeed; this is so. You are a quick study>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Rainbow shrimp, source - 05/11/2012
Hello crew, hope you're doing well.
WWM: Yes, thank you!
I have a question about some amano shrimp lookalikes. I was reading through the freshwater shrimp faq #1 the other day and noticed a tip from Sabrina to keep an eye out for amano-like shrimp mixed with the Amanos.
WWM: Indeed.
''If you're lucky you might find 'rainbow' shrimp in as contaminants with the Amanos.''
WWM: No idea what she's referring to here.
Today while visiting a nearby pet store I did in fact spot some unusual looking amano shrimp mixed with typical Amanos! I'm curious about what makes rainbow shrimp a lucky find, and I've been trying to find info online. Could I get the scientific name of these fellows to narrow down my search a bit?
WWM: There are some shrimps called Indian and Malaysian Rainbow Shrimps, apparently unidentified species of Caridina, and there basic care is essentially identical to Amano Shrimps except they do breed in aquaria.
WWM: Cheers, Neale.
Re: 'Rainbow shrimp -- continued'' - 05/11/2012
Oh my! Breedable amano shrimp?! *runs off to the store to buy some before someone else gets them all*
WWM: Ah now, I did say that some breedable Caridina species have been sold as "Rainbow Shrimps". Who knows what the ones being sold at your pet store turn out to be. And what's the big deal with Amano Shrimps anyway? Lots of prettier shrimps that are very easy to breed, like Cherry Shrimps.
Thanks Neale! -George
WWM: You are welcome. Neale.

Re: ''Rainbow shrimp'' – 05/12/12
Grain of salt taken. I'm still going to make an effort though!  I agree, cherry shrimp are very nice, I have a group residing in my nursery tank. I like how cheeky the Amanos are though; when I tried putting a cherry in with my fancy Betta, the poor thing zoomed away and hid until I tore the whole tank down to rescue him. When I tried the same thing with an Amano,
she just stared him down, and even occasionally darts in and snatches his food away right from under his nose. That's what I call attitude!
Anyway, would you like me to try and send a picture of this mystery shrimp when I get it home?
<For sure! Have fun shopping! Neale.> 
Re: ''Rainbow shrimp''' – 05/12/12

The Mystery of the Amano Lookalike, part II: When I got to the store, I noticed the price tag was a bit outrageous, so I decided to take some pictures instead and try to figure out what this is, and how not to kill it before laying down such a big chunk of change. So far, the closest matches I can find are Caridina cf. Cantonensis sp. 'red tiger', Caridina babaulti var. Malaya and Caridina serrata sp. 'red tupfel'. I sent some pictures to some shrimp guy online, so I could potentially find out pretty soon. Here's one of them that wandered up by the glass! Sorry about the picture quality, had to use the camera on my cell phone.
<Is really no use for identification… could be anything… likely Caridina, Neocaridina sp… but which? Hybrids, too, are common, and much produced on fish farms in the East. So while the Aqualog book is good, helpful -- it's only as up-to-date as its year or printing. Would peruse PetShrimp.com, if you haven't already; I think they have a forum too.>
You can just make out the weird horizontal stripes on the body if you squint and strain your eyes a bit. In real life the stripes are bright red. Very attractive little beasts! I hope I can find out what they are. You have you have yourself an awesome day... Or night?
<Hmm… is almost 9 PM, UK time.>
You guys are all my heroes! Keep up the great work.
<Cheers, Neale.>


Assassin Snails   4/25/12
Good day,
Not sure if it's the right email that I'm sending this to.
<Sure is.>
Just a quick note on your page about these snails. I bought 3 yesterday to get rid of my other snail infestation. Have some cherry and amano shrimps in the same tank.
When I got to the tank this morning, I found a red cherry sucked almost dry with one of the assassins still busy cleaning it out.
<Can happen
. My specimens seemed to ignore the shrimps, and the Cherry Shrimps bred merrily away with the Assassin Snails. But the Assassin Snails are hunters, and they surely can take down a sick/weak shrimp given half a chance. They will also eat the moults -- don't forget shrimps cast off a moulted exoskeleton each time they grow. For the snails, moults are a good source of calcium. What you have there could very easily be nothing more than harmless recycling of a shrimp moult into snail shell!>
I don't mind the loss since I've learned something from it.
Have a great day.
<You too, Neale.>

Aquarium question   3/18/12
Hello, my name is Matt. I have two 10 gallon aquarium's at the moment, both have 4 fish in them. I need some extra room so I'm combining the two tanks into a 20 gallon tank. I know the fish I have will get along with each other, but I have Amano shrimp in the one tank. My question is if the Blood Red Dwarf Gourami fish I have in the one tank will get along with the Amano shrimp?
<Should do. But very small shrimps might be at risk. The presence of plants will help.>
There are 6 live plants in the tank and there seems to be lots of room.
Thank you for your help.
<Good luck! Neale.>

Do Red Cherry Shrimp eat fish eggs?    2/2/12
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hello Jamie,>
I've got 3 tanks cycling at the moment, 1 x 65 litre and 2 x 35 litre. They were previously used for breeding Mollies (but they weren't really big enough for that), and still have a few Assassin snails in them after some problems with snails being introduced on plants (that's another story though).
I've yet to introduce plants to these, but that is another topic, although suggestions would be appreciated.
I'm planning on using 1 of the 35 litres tanks for a male Betta and the 65 litre tank for some Cardinal Tetra (10-15) and a female Betta.
I want to move the female Betta to the tank with the male on occasion for breeding, and I'll use the other 35 litre tank for and Tetra eggs that I can save (if I can get them to spawn).
I'd like to use Red Cherry Shrimp to help control the algae on all the tanks, but I'm concerned they'll get a taste for any of the eggs on offer as well.
Can you tell me if this will be the case, or if you can recommend something else of suitable size for the tanks for cleaning, it would be appreciated.
<I keep Ricefish (which lay eggs) with Cherry Shrimps, and every so often I'll find two or three baby Ricefish swimming about that clearly came from uneaten eggs. So whatever impact the shrimps have on the number of eggs, mine don't eat them all, if they eat any of them at all. Your own mileage may vary, of course! Few animals turn down fish eggs given the chance, because fish eggs are immobile, easy portions of protein and fat. Nerite snails are probably the closest to "safe" because they're such dedicated algae eaters. But shrimps and most other snails will surely eat an egg if they can.>
Many thanks in advance,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: A Newby~ Question about fish compatibility... 10 gal. filter set up  1/21/12
The ten gallon I'm starting has been up and running going on 5 days.  I used the water from my water change and vacuuming of the 29 gallon, I added two java fern, and yesterday I added a large clump of java moss. 
It has a Whisper filter- when I finish using it as a quarantine tank and I'm ready to add cherry shrimp, which would you recommend as a better alternative for the shrimp: [1] Should I fasten a sponge over the intake, or [2] should I use knee high panty hose to cover it--and if so, in one or two layers? 
<Either. But a sponge would provide a good place for them to feed.>
I read that small shrimp and shrimp fry can get caught in the intake and die.
<Mine don't seem affected thus.>
I bought this tank as a kit and would hate to waste the filter and spend more money on a new one if it could be avoided.  These were suggestions I read, my main concern is if they would interfere with the filtering process and be harmful.  I don't know enough to make a judgment!
Also, I guess I probably need to use a hardier fish to cycle it before I should consider adding the Knight Goby or Indian Glass Fish? 
<Ideally, cycle without fish beforehand and avoid being stuck with fish you don't really want/need.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Amano Shrimp problem, repro.     1/21/12
Hello, I have a Problem with my Amano shrimp, one of my females has weird flaps that have formed just before her tail starts, at first I thought that she may just be pregnant but they have started to brown and she is becoming more and more shy. After searching the internet for possible causes and having no luck I would really like to know what is wrong if anything as I am worried for her, I do hope she is just pregnant but from research and looking at photos I'm rather sure that she isn't. I have tried to take photos but unfortunately the female concerned will not let me and I do not want to cause her any more stress chasing her around the tank. Thank you so much for your help, Leah
<Amano Shrimps don't get pregnant in the sense of retaining developing embryos inside their bodies. Instead, when the eggs are fertilised, the female carries them under her abdomen (the bit of a big shrimp that we would eat when shelled). As those eggs develop they turn speckled brown, and that's a sign they're developing. Without a photo to be sure, that's what I'd guess you're seeing here. Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry shrimp issue   1/8/12
Dear Crew
A very happy new year to you all.
<And to you.>
I've been keeping cherry shrimps for nearly two years now.  The issue I have is that they often die within a month or so and they never breed.
<Odd. I seem to be overrun with them.>
I have begun to keep them in a small 9 ltr tank by themselves and again, same problem.
<Oh dear.>
My tank has 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia and 5ppm nitrates.  I do a water change of 40% every week.  I am in London so we have hard water.
<Neither hardness nor nitrates seem to be a major issue with this species, so shouldn't be a factor.>
I feed them on algae wafers and occasional shrimp pellets as recommended by the LFS.  There are plants in the tank so I add a tiny amount of JBL Ferropol, the daily 24 fertiliser drops and a tiny amount of Easycarb every other day.
<Why not try skipping both these supplements in one tank and see what happens?>
Do I need to therefore use RO water?
<I do indeed use a 50/50 mix of rainwater with hard tap water.>
The only other problem I could possibly think of is that the tank does have a large population of tiny snails and they appear to smother the shrimps for the food.
<Shouldn't be a factor either.>
Any clues as to what I am doing wrong?
<Nothing obvious; but mine do seem to thrive in tanks that receive benign neglect. No fertiliser, lots of algae, tiny fish (e.g., Ricefish), floating plants to remove nitrate, and very infrequent water changes.>
many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry shrimp issue   1/8/12

Ok, thanks Neale - I might just try cutting out all the added fertilisers and easycarb and adding some RO water.
<Sounds like a plan. You might also have your tap and aquarium water tested for copper. Any decent marine aquarium shop should be able to do this.
Cheers, Neale.>

shrimp are dying  10/16/11
Hello again
I'm new to the dwarf freshwater shrimp keeping. I have a 24 gallon tank (Cardiff by current USA) it came with a pretty powerful pump which would caused the shrimp to get pushed against the overflow. I bought another pump that was less powerful (100 gph) which seems to not push the shrimp against the overflow to where they can't get off.
<Oddly enough, most of these shrimps are native to fast-flowing streams, so a fair bit of current suits them well. Of course, they do need plants or something else to grab onto, Java Moss being particularly acceptable, but floating plant leaves being popular too.>
I keep reading about the circulation in the shrimp aquaria and am wondering if I have too low of a flow rate and low O2 levels.
<Red Cherry Shrimps aren't too fussy. I have them in a variety of tanks, including ones with indifferent water flow, and provided the temperature is adequately low, 22 C/72 F seems about right, they thrive. Indeed, I have some at room temperature with Florida Flagfish, and their aquarium gets rather cooler than that, and the only filtration is a simple air-powered box filter at almost the lowest rate of flow. Crystal Red Shrimps are reputed to be much more delicate. Not everyone finds them difficult to keep -- I've not kept them so can't comment from personal experience -- but as with Red Cherry Shrimps, I'd be more focused on water temperature that water flow.>
I have about 60 red cherry shrimp and have added about 40 crystal reds. I have about a handful of pond snails, leopard Nerite and olive Nerite snails. I took out the assassin snails after I read about others experiences with those and dwarf shrimp.
<I've never had problems mixing Assassin Snails with Red Cherry Shrimps, but I dare say in the absence of anything else to eat, these predatory snails might consume weak or otherwise ailing shrimps. I know there are reports of Assassin Snails consuming shrimps, but I'd wonder how many involve healthy shrimps as opposed to dead, dying or weak shrimps.>
I put the assassin snails in there to get a start on the pond snails. I've noticed that after the addition of the crystal reds, they seem to be aggressive towards the red cherry shrimp. I actually saw one attack a berried RCS tonight, which is dead now. I think she was on her way out anyway, before the attack.
<This is a very perceptive comment. Most of these small shrimps can get along if they're similar enough in size, assuming the tank is big enough and there's plenty for them to eat. But they're all opportunistic to some degree, and they can and do eat one another given the chance. Usually the victim is a smaller, sick or weakened shrimp, but immediately after moulting can be a vulnerable period too, especially in tanks lacking sufficient hiding places.>
I did a water change last night with dechlorinator and don't use any additives. The water parameters are: Temp is at 72 degrees, nitrite and nitrate at 0 as well as ammonia. pH at 6.5 KH at 40 ppm and GH at 120-180 ppm.
<Sounds reasonably good for them, but I find Red Cherry Shrimps do better in neutral to slightly basic conditions, i.e., pH 7-7.5. Crystal Red Shrimps may or may not prefer slightly acidic conditions, but I'd aim for a more neutral set of conditions if keeping both species together. Acidic water conditions tend to be unstable, and even if a pH of 6.5 is "ideal" in strictly biological terms of this species, ensuring a steady pH of 6.5 can be hard work. Slightly alkaline conditions, say, pH 7.5., might not be ideal, but they will be stable, and the shrimps can prosper under such conditions.>
I know that the RCS are tolerant to a wide range of conditions and that the CRS are not so tolerant.
<Red Cherries are certainly the easiest to keep and breed.>
Your thoughts would be appreciated
<Do check the copper concentration of your tap water. Copper can be very toxic to shrimps. Do also consider keeping, breeding the Red Cherry Shrimps first, to get yourself going and accustomed to what's required when keeping shrimps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying    10/18/11

Thanks Neal. I forgot to mention that the substrate that I use is from Fluval that is designed to keep pH acidic for the CRS and provide nutrition for the plants. I have some limestone in the tank to help offset the pH so it doesn't go too low.
<I do not like to use substrates to alter pH, and in any event, these two are working against each other, so why bother. The bigger picture is that when substrates are used to alter pH, you can't really control or predict the pH. I think it's much better to produce the water chemistry in the bucket, and then buffer that water chemistry, and thereby ensure stable conditions in the aquarium.>
I don't even know if the limestone really effects it that much.
<Neither will work much once covered with bacteria and algae.>
I'm wondering when the lights go out if the pH dips that much.
<Can do. Use a pH test kit.>
Another question is how often do you feed your shrimp?
<Hardly ever. I keep them in tanks with suitable small fish, such as Ricefish, and ensure there's a bit of leftover food along with algae for them to eat. Once a while I'll tip in an algae wafer.>
I feed Fluval shrimp granules once a day.
<Sounds ample.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying

Hi Neal
I'm thinking that the stone might not be limestone. I did the vinegar test and it didn't foam, but I know this stone raises the pH of the water.
<Then should react with vinegar, surely? If it raises carbonate hardness, and thereby pH, it should react with an acid since it would have to be an alkali rock of some sort.>
It's called lace rock and I took it out last night and did a small water change.
<Do believe this rock is a kind of limestone.>
I lost another 2 shrimp over the night and I can't figure it out. The tank is only about 6 weeks old. I have a big piece of driftwood in there that is new and I don't know if this could be the problem.
<Shouldn't do if cured, but uncured wood will lower the pH quickly, and that could cause problems.>
I don't know how this was treated. I bought it online. It's African driftwood. Have you heard any problems with using driftwood in shrimp aquaria?
<Not when using cured wood in sensible amounts.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying    10/18/11

Hey Neal
I checked the local tap water contaminant report and copper was at .28ppm.
I should use R/O water from now on. Do you think shrimp would be sensitive to that level of Cu?
<Could easily be. Water conditioners that neutralise copper are available, if RO isn't economical. However, I would remain open minded about other possible problems. My cherry shrimps are breeding quite happily in water with trace levels of copper. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/18/11

Thanks again Neal. I didn't mention that there were trace amounts of Arsenic and Lead as well. I think I'll just look into a R/O unit and call it good. If they keep dying, I'll be left scratching my head again.
<Again, do look for a water conditioner that neutralises metals. But yes, RO or rainwater may prove a useful starting point here, with Discus buffer added as required to create the right water chemistry. The Rift Valley salt mix at about 25% dosage would be a cheap and effective alternative.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/19/11

Do the rice fish bother your shrimplettes?
<Not as far as I can tell. There's lots of young shrimps in there! To be fair, my tank has lots of hiding places, so whether the shrimplettes avoid trouble or are merely left alone I cannot say. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/25/11

I have ordered some "Daisy" rice fish. They should do just as well as the other rice fish, shouldn't they?
<Should do, but there is some variation, with some Oryzias species being considered fairly delicate. That said, Oryzias woworae is one of the easy Ricefish, and doesn't seem difficult to keep at all, provided it is kept in tropical conditions (some Ricefish need or prefer subtropical or unheated conditions). Oryzias woworae isn't fussy about water chemistry, but slightly hard, around neutral water seems best, ~10 degrees dH, pH 7.>
I have switched to R/O DI water and still am having shrimp loss.
<With some sort of salt mix or Discus buffer added, I take it? Pure water will not be acceptable to these animals.>
The tank has been set up since mid August. Is it possible that the tank might not be done cycling?
<Possibly, especially if the water is too soft.>
My test kits are showing zero nitrites and nitrates and ammonia, but then I've always had a hard time distinguishing faint color changes on the color charts. If you will recall I have RCS and CRS and both are dying. RCS are supposed to be very hardy, which make me think the tank may still be cycling. On a side note, do you know if the dwarf orange crayfish is compatible with shrimp? I've heard it both ways.
<In theory Cambarellus should be compatible, but honestly, I wouldn't risk it without having another population of shrimps breeding away in another tank. Crayfish are opportunistic, and at moulting time will view shrimps as a useful source of calcium.>
I appreciate your help, greatly.
<You're welcome. Neale.>

Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11
Hi There,
Just stumbled across WetWebMedia and must compliment the site and the volunteers for providing such a informative, valuable and pleasant resource.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have kept fish on off for many years but would just consider myself a recreational fan of fish when compared to the many hardcore enthusiasts and could use some seasoned advice. I have a 5 gallon tank (I know that this size tank is quite unpopular here but it is all I have after my recent move) that has been active for a few years with a few killifish (A. australe) but which I decided to switch to red cherry shrimp (rcs).
<I see.>
I recently purchased 10 rcs from an individual and added 4 more from a local fish store when it seemed to me that I could use more female specimens (an since they were carrying eggs).
<Indeed. A starter population of 4 females to 2 males works well.>
The shrimp were acclimated by dripping my tank water into the water they came in over a period of two hours until ph reached tank ph. Initially shrimp seemed to be doing just fine and cleaned the tank of any algae, slime and growth form the tank walls, plants, driftwood��everywhere. They are very active and showing color and two molted�� so they seem happy.
Unfortunately, I have been losing one shrimp each day (4 so far). I have been doing 10-15% water changes every day the ammonia in the new water is the same as the tank at 0.25-0.50 so I don��t know if this is actually helping (out of the tap it is at 1.0+).
<I would avoid such frequent water changes. Red Cherry Shrimps seem to thrive on "benign neglect". Algae, gentle (air-powered!) filtration, and some organic mulm on the bottom all seem to be very helpful. Quite possibly even rather small changes in water chemistry can affect them badly. On the other hand, when left to their own devices, with small water changes weekly, and few fish or other tankmates, they seem to multiply readily. Low nitrate and phosphate may well be important, but you also want the tiny microbes on the sediment and sponge filter that they like to eat.>
I have read that water treated with chloramine often still produces ammonia readings even with established tanks but honestly I wasn��t really checking the ammonia much when the tank was stable with the former killifish residents who seemed to lead a decent life.
1) Water conditions:
*ph = 7.1
*Ammonia = 0.25-0.50
<Here's one major problem. If your water has non-zero ammonia levels, then minimise water changes as far as practical, and use an ammonia-removing water conditioner. In a Cherry Shrimp tank without fish, 10% weekly would be an acceptable water change.>
*Nitrite = 0
*Nitrate = 0
*General hardness = 130
*Temp = 78
*Water treated with API StressCoat from tap and with Seachem neutral regulator
*some plant tabs inserted in sand.
*occasionally add a pinch of non iodized aquarium salt (say once every other month or so)
<May or may not be helpful; I wouldn't bother. But I would try to ensure the water is moderately hard, maybe 10 degrees dH, through the use of a 25-50% dosage of Rift Valley salt mix, as described here:
Cherry Shrimps need some calcium carbonate to make their shells, and conversely, acidity will make it harder for them to grow their shells.>
2) Tank set up:
*Sand substrate of about 2.5 in
*Plants: java fern, java moss, hornwort, some duck weed, A. nana, African tiger lotus
*driftwood, lave rock and some stones.
*flourcent light
*I��m currently running two Aquaclear 20s to increase beneficial bacteria and ensure minimal waste. Filters have sponge, filter floss, ceramic porous stuff, some AmmoCarb. I plan to cut back to one once I figure out the problem
3) Fish load
* 1 male Betta in own section separated from shrimp
<Bettas can eat Red Cherry Shrimps; at the least, they'll attack them if hungry, and even if the damage isn't enough to kill them instantly, it can cause problem over days, weeks.>
* 14 now 10 (though I only ever can find like 6-8 at any given time) rcs
* 2 Ramshorn snails (one in the Betta space, one in the tank)
Is it the ammonia that is gradually killing the rcs? They look so active and eating, coloration and molting and retaining eggs (remember I purchased two rcs with eggs) would seem to indicate healthy shrimp.
<Ammonia is a problem with all livestock.>
If that is what you suspect, I��m a bit surprised as this tank set up was previously established BUT there was one big change, I upped the PH when there were no fish in the tank from some thing below 6 to 7.1 using SeaChem's Alkaline buffer to get to a PH I thought better for most new fish (since I was changing from the australes). Could this have killed off all of the beneficial bacteria? The snails and plants were fine with this change.
<Don't use pH buffers to change the pH without changing the hardness first. Just adding potions to change pH is always a bad idea!>
Outside of the dying rcs, the remaining rcs don��t seem exceptionally bright. They totally cleaned off the algae and slime. So I put in some flakes which only one or two seem to eat. I put in Hikari algae tablets (has no copper but other metals is this why they don��t like it?) which none ate
<Mine love them! See here:
and which I had to vacuum back out to avoid fouling the water. They can��t seem to deal with live Tubifex worms. I��m assuming they will figure out the flakes if they are starving but I thought they were supposed to be really easy and not picky?
<They are not picky at all!>
Why can you keep so many more shrimp than fish. These guys seem hungry all of the time and consumed so much on the first day that the sand was blanketed by tube like rcs poo. How is this any different from fish? Less protein diet to decompose?
<Shrimps don't have such a high metabolism or oxygen demand as fish, so there's less for the filter to deal with. You can't ignore their affect on water quality completely, but six shrimps probably doesn't have as much impact as, say, a single Neon Tetra.>
Sorry so many questions but I��m just getting back into thinking about this stuff since I��m having so many casualties. Any insight would be much appreciated.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11

Thanks for the quick reply (now that is amazing given the load of e-mails you must receive).
I have already used ammonia removing water conditioners... see API Stress coat and SeaChem neutral regulator below. I would think this plenty... are they not effective or do you have some other conditioner suggestion here ?
I'm still confused by the happy behavior of the rcs and the deaths.
<Should be fine. Do remember not to add anything with copper in it, e.g., fish medications, as these are toxic to shrimps. Likewise, if you have copper pipes in your home, then a water conditioner that removes copper is helpful.>
Also, on the food front, thanks for the pics and nice fish/inverts you have there. hopefully my shrimp will figure out that the algae tablet and fish food flakes are more likely going to provide them with food than just sifting through their own poopy over and over again =)! I'm quite surprised as any shrimp (Amano, ghost, etc) that I've had in the past generally take prepped food first! I seem to have an oddly picky batch of rcs=(.
I'll go get some newer test kits to dest dH and kH versus my GH scales but suspect that my water is moderately hard.
<Which should be fine.>
In summary it sounds like I will cut back on the water changes and just be patient and see how it goes. Hopefully they start eating prepped food and stop kicking the bucket.
Thanks again!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11

Sorry for one e-mail. I'm assuming that not all questions end up on the web site? That would be great as I sent all of this from my work e-mail and my preference would be for that not to be out there. I looked on the FAQ and didn't see our conversation so if you might be able to confirm that this isn't posted or to delete my e-mail, that would be great.
I will be more careful in the future.
Thanks again So much!
<All messages do go on the web site, but without any personal information.
Messages are usually posted on the web site about 24 hours after we've answered them. Cheers, Neale.>

Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths- 8/20/11
I added 30 Cherry Shrimp about 4 weeks ago to a planted shrimp-only 10g tank, and every day one has died.
At the time, 2 Otocinclus were added. The Otos are fine!
Now I'm really confused on why they're dying. This is what I know - Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. I'd test PH and other, but I don't have the kits for that.
<Well do check. At minimum check the pH; Cherry Shrimps do best in water that has a pH around 7 to 8. They dislike very acidic, very soft water.>
There shouldn't be anything wrong with the water source - the four Amano Shrimp in my 30g are thriving from the same water source - so that's got to rule out copper, metals, etc...
No Hydra or Planaria present.
Tank has a matured sponge filter. Flow appears to be okay, with numerous tiny oxygen bubbles about.
Temp is 78F because of Summer.
<A bit warm for Cherry Shrimps, but shouldn't be fatally so. Ideally, 20-25 C/68-77 F, towards the cooler end of the range in winter, but not substantially above in summer. Extra oxygen is useful. Do bear in mind that these are subtropical, mountain-stream animals that aren't well adapted to stuffy, sluggish, warm water conditions.>
There is some lava rock in the tank with moss growing on them.
I add half a Hikari algae wafer every 2-3 days. There is algae growing in the tank.
The majority of shrimp are healthy - scavenging the substrate, climbing the tank glass, rock and plants and swimming about happily - but then one of them acts lethargic, sometimes trouble swimming, mostly keeps to the lava rock and ends up dying within 2 days. I'm really not sure what's going on, and it's really frustrating because I've made this tank as shrimp-friendly as possible. Additionally, any females with eggs seem to drop them. All I can guess is that a plant had been treated with pesticides (but I do 25% water changes on all tanks weekly, so it should have been diluted right?) or stress somehow - but if it's that, what's causing the stress?
<Possibly, but it's unlikely a plant from another tank could carry enough residue to harm livestock in your aquarium. But certainly worth considering.>
I hope you can help.
<There's nothing obviously wrong here. Copper and formalin are two common killers, but you say you haven't used them. The water is a bit warm, but not high enough to kill Cherry Shrimps. The tankmates seem okay, though sometimes mixing bigger shrimp species with smaller ones doesn't work out, the bigger ones killing the smaller ones (perhaps if they aren't getting enough calcium or protein any other way?). I'm not a huge fan of lava rock for a variety of reasons, but good quality stuff should be aquarium-safe.
If these shrimps are a new purchase, I'd perhaps suspect the batch being dodgy, or else be more reflective on how the shrimps were adapted to the new aquarium. Review purchasing, quarantining (if done), acclimation to your water chemistry, and so on. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths (RMF, how persistent is Malachite Green?)- 8/20/11

Just had an idea. The aquarium silicone has been stained turquoise-blue with Malachite Green. However, the treatment was performed (as far as I can remember), a year and 3 months ago. Is it possible the staining could still retain it's toxicity?
<Possible, but my gut feeling is that after 15 months any residual Malachite Green would be at such a low concentration it's unlikely to harm your livestock. Of course the shrimps may pick at algae that bioaccumulate the stuff, so it's hard to say. Filtration through carbon or something better like PolyFilter or HyperSorb may be worthwhile, but if the aquarium isn't large, and shrimps are key to your long-term plans, perhaps replacing the tank with a new one, and using this as a hospital/quarantine system makes sense.
I've asked Bob F. to comment here. He may have an idea on the toxicity, persistence of Malachite Green. Cheers, Neale.><<Olde Malachite Green in the Silastic seal should not be an issue. RMF>>
Re: Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths   8/23/11

I sent a reply on Sunday, but I don't think you've got it.
Just had an idea. The aquarium silicone has been stained turquoise-blue with Malachite Green. However, the treatment was performed (as far as I can remember), a year and 3 months ago.
<A long time ago.>
The air pump tubing has also been used in water with copper, and it does have the blue staining copper gives. It was last used in copper water about a month/month-an-half ago.
Is it possible the staining could still retain it's toxicity?
<Possible. But really, it's very hard to be sure without examining the shrimps in a forensics lab for crustaceans! Instead, concentrate on what you'll do in the future. If you want to keep shrimps, then phase out any bits of hardware potentially contaminated, including gravel, and replace with new stuff. Else, set up another system for shrimps and leave this one as a fish-only system. Different shrimps have different tolerances, and it may well be that one species of shrimp survives where another dies, so if you still have happy shrimps of a different species in the tank, maybe stick with those. Cheers, Neale.>

Grow my own live feeder shrimp?    4/17/11
This is mostly a curiosity/exploratory question. I see many, many references here to feeding new fish with live feeder shrimp. I love the concept of growing my own fish food, and I'm having a ball growing copepods in my cellar as treats for my small fish. But after searching this site for a long time, I can't find any reference to growing them. I do see references on the web for "freshwater ghost shrimp" as food. Is this what is meant by live feeder shrimp? Can you direct me to any online or book references for growing live feeder shrimp? Thanks!
<Hello Tim. Yes, "feeder shrimp" are any sort of freshwater shrimp. At least here in the UK, brackish water ones are quite widely sold as live foods for tropical freshwater and marine fish. Since the brackish water shrimps can survive for a long time in either set of water conditions, they're ideal for that. Now, while it is possible to breed *some* shrimps at home -- Cherry Shrimps are perhaps the easiest -- not all shrimps can be bred at home -- Amano Shrimps are the famous example. The non-breedable ones typically have a larval stage to their life cycle, and while the females will mate and produce eggs, the larvae that emerge from those eggs are difficult to rear and may need brackish or marine conditions to develop
even if the adults are freshwater animals. It's turned out to be very difficult to rear things like Amano Shrimps. As a very broad rule, Neocaridina tend to be breedable, Caridina spp. are a mix of breedable and non-breedable species, and Palaemonetes non-breedable. The bottom line is that breeding breedable shrimps is easy -- Cherry Shrimps for example will take care of breeding without any effort on your part, provided the tank has plenty of green algae, no predators, and gentle, ideally air-powered filtration. But even so, you're very unlikely to produce meaningful quantities of them that might be used as live food. Each female produces a few dozen offspring every month or so, and those offspring take a few months to mature, and the adults themselves only live about a year, so you'd need to reserve some to keep your population going. There are much, much easier live foods you can produce at home, most notably earthworms for big predators, and perhaps just as crucially, earthworms lack thiaminase, which crustaceans contain, so they'd be healthier too. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Grow my own live feeder shrimp?    4/17/11
Neale - Thanks for all the info! After researching the Web on freshwater Ghost Shrimp, I, too, came to the conclusion that this would be a difficult project. Oh well. I guess I've just got to get a grip on my enthusiasm for new things!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: plants and cycling   1/30/11
Hi Neale,
quick question,
would I be able to put crystal red shrimp in my brackish water tank, kept at a very low salinity, around 0.001?
<Yes, they'll be fine. Virtually all the small algae-eating shrimps in the trade thrive in slightly brackish water, SG 1.001-1.003. I keep my Cherry Shrimps at SG 1.002 in a planted tank alongside some Limia nigrofasciata, and they positively thrive, as do the plants (Vallisneria, mostly). It may well be that the marine salt mix contains essential minerals like iodine lacking in freshwater aquarium conditions -- they certainly seem to live a long time and breed readily. Cheers, Neale.>

Quick cherry shrimp compatibility question, Chaetostoma   1/18/11
I have a 35 gallon tank with 6 black neon tetras and a rubberlip Pleco.
I bought 10 medium sized cherry shrimp the other day. I have observed them the last few days moving about the tank and seeming to be eating algae.
However, I have seen none today and, somewhat alarmed, have been watching my tank almost obsessively for several hours with no sighting. I did research before I bought, and the everyplace that mentioned black Neons and cherry shrimp said they were compatible. Have I bought my fish an expensive
snack? Is it possible the black Neons ate them?
<Not the Tetras, but the Loricariid. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quick cherry shrimp compatibility question   1/19/11

Thanks for your reply, and I apologize for the grammatical error. That it could have been the Pleco was a passing thought I, unfortunately, disregarded. Am I correct in assuming this would happen with any Loricariid? Hope you are enjoying your vacation!
<Mmm, I don't think I would trust any Loricariid with these small shrimps... There are other "algae eaters" of use... Bob Fenner>

compatibility   11/24/10
Hello, I was wondering if ghost shrimp, Amano (algae eating) shrimp and fiddler crabs would be compatible with each other. I know fiddler crabs require brackish water, but what salinity can the shrimp tolerate? If they get along, what SG would be best for all species? They would be in a 30 gallon tank. I would provide sufficient habitat/hiding spots for all species including water plants for the shrimp and adequate land for the fiddler crabs. Thanks.
<Funnily enough Amano shrimps develop in the sea, but the adults mostly live in freshwater. But they will tolerate slightly brackish conditions just fine, certainly SG 1.003 to SG 1.005 at 25 C/77 F, and perhaps a
little higher. In fact most shrimps tolerate slightly brackish conditions, and I have some Cherry Shrimps in a tank at 1.002 at 25 C alongside some Limia nigrofasciata. But Uca species may need more saline conditions depending on the species. Plus, Uca are opportunistic, and while their diet is primarily algae and organic detritus sifted from mud, they may catch shrimps given the chance. So by all means try it out and see what happens, but don't invest a huge amount of money in this just in case it doesn't work. I'd try out the brackish water Palaeomonetes sold as live food -- at least here in England -- before investing in more ornamental shrimp species. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Hi Neale - Heterandria formosa - Cherry Shrimp & PraziPro   10/13/10
Hi Neale,
How are you? I hope all is going well!
<I'm fine, thanks for asking.>
The PraziPro worked, the Heterandria formosa are doing great; thanks for the advice.
I gave my 10 gallon main Het tank a single dose at the beginning of August.
Would it be safe to add Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda) to the tank? It is bare bottom, has a sponge filter and a lot of java moss.<Should be fine by now. Try half a dozen and see what happens.>
I can't find copper listed on the bottle but I've heard other medicines can affect shrimp and I want to make sure the PraziPro won't effect them.
<Prazi Pro contains Praziquantel, and yes, it probably is toxic to shrimp.
But assuming you've done a series of water changes, the amount left in the aquarium should be trivially small, partly because of dilution but also because filter bacteria break down organic compounds fairly quickly.>
<Sounds like you're having fun with these very nifty livebearers. Cherry Shrimp appreciate much the same conditions, so this combo should work nicely. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi Neale - Heterandria formosa - Cherry Shrimp & PraziPro   10/14/10

Hi Neale,
I've been thinking about Cherry Shrimp for awhile and some have are available now.
I'll give my tank a couple extra water changes to be safe and get some next week.
Can the shrimp go straight into the main tank, or should they be quarantined?
<<Depends. The free-swimming Whitespot pathogens can move from tank to tank on any wet object, be it alive or dead, so yes, Shrimps can carry them. But the pathogens can't survive away from fish for more than a day or two, a week at the outside. So if the shrimps have been kept in a fish-free aquarium isolated from aquaria containing fish, including different nets and buckets, there is little risk of the shrimps carrying any diseases at all. On the other hand, if you can't be sure they've been isolated, then yes, quarantining is a very good idea. I will make the observation that both shrimps and Heterandria have a high tolerance for salt, so using the salt/heat method to treat for Whitespot will effectively "clean" the shrimps if you add them to the aquarium directly, and without any risk to either fish or shrimp.>>
Also, I bought some Indian Almond Leaves off eBay; would the shrimp like those in the tank?
<<Sure, but why bother?>>
<Sounds like you're having fun with these very nifty livebearers. Cherry Shrimp appreciate much the same conditions, so this combo should work nicely. Cheers, Neale.>
The Hets are really a lot of fun! I started with a handful and it is neat to see new babies all the time and watching them dart through the Java Moss.
<<Definitely nice fish.>>
I think it is great that a lot of different types of aquariums are doable in people's homes. As a matter of fact, even though I have three tanks, I find myself thinking about other aquariums I would like, and I think some articles about Multi Tank Syndrome on WWM would be a good idea. :)
<<Ah yes, there's always another fish worth keeping! I agree, reading some articles about how to make fish rooms and aquarium racks would be a nice idea. I've seen several people convert their basements into fish rooms, and there's a lot of work involved doing the air pumps, wiring, plumbing and so on. Naturally, if *you* feel like writing something about the care and maintenance of your livebearers, why not check out back page of WWM Digital magazine and read up on what we offer authors!>>
Cheers, Michelle
<<Have fun! Cheers, Neale.>>

Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
I (fairly) recently bought 3 Cherry Shrimps to go in with a tank of Neon Tetras and Lambchop Rasboras about 2 or so months ago. But for some reason, they keep dying.
<Usually Cherry Shrimps are a very reliable species. Mine breed like rabbits even in tanks that don't get the best of care! But like all shrimps they're sensitive to copper, so make absolutely sure you haven't used copper-based medications in the tank. Also check your water conditioner neutralises copper, especially if your pipework is copper, and in the UK, most household plumbing will use copper somewhere along the line, e.g., for the hot water tank.>
The shell on them seems to split horizontally and they die a few hours later.
I can't understand this because all the water parameters seem fine . . . 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 25 Nitrate, PH at 7 and 16 dH water hardness (apparently Neons are acidic fish but they've had no problem with my water).
<All sounds fine. Don't use a "pH down" product though; such potions tend to do more harm than good. For all these fish, pH 7.5 will be fine, which is what I'd expect for 16 degrees dH.>
I also have a snail (well 'snails' now, it bred today!) in the aquarium and nothing is wrong with its shell.
Can you advise me anything?
<With Shrimps, there are basically just a few things to get right. One is the copper issue. Also avoid formalin and malachite green. Next up, ensure plenty of water circulation along the bottom of the tank. Since these Shrimps need oxygen but don't swim in midwater, they can suffocate if there is stagnant water at the bottom. When moulting they need some sort of hideaway, even from one another. Dense plant thickets are good, but caves are even better, and those caves should ideally be small enough that fish can't get in. Often, Shrimps go behind filters to moult. Water chemistry isn't crucial, and Cherry Shrimps can tolerate slightly acidic conditions well, but the carbonate hardness should not be too low, 3 degrees KH being about the lowest. If needs be, offer some shellfish occasionally that they can eat to make up any losses (small pieces of unshelled shrimp work well).
Finally, iodine is a key nutrient for crustaceans. Shrimps generally get enough from their diet, especially if you use a food formulated for crustaceans, such as JBL Novo Crabs. Sushi Nori would also be rich in iodine and easy to buy at many supermarkets and Asian food stores. But you could also add iodine to the water. Marine aquarium iodine drops need only
be used at about one-quarter to one-half the dose needed for marine tanks, and as such would be very economical. One last thing. Cherry Shrimps are very gregarious, and while they shouldn't die if you own just three, you will find your overall success much better in groups of six or more.>
If it's any help, all aquarium livestock was bought from one of the Maidenhead Aquatic stores in England.
<Usually a very reliable group of stores. I was visiting the one in Harlestone Heath, Northampton yesterday afternoon while doing a store review for another web site. Definitely worth discussing your experiences with the manager of that store. Feel free to print this off and have him or her discuss these points with you.>
Thanks in advance!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
I use Tetra Aquasafe for the water conditioner which apparently neutralises copper, zinc and other metals.
The tank is about 15 gallons, planted with Water Wisteria and Bacopa. I change a litre of water everyday. I have never used any medication in the tank, nor any of the PH plus or minus chemicals .
. . I'm all for naturalness. :) I will be going to the fish store (the local Maidenhead Aquatics store) at the weekend to get another 6 or 7 Cherry Shrimps then (they aren't cheap! £12 for 3!).
<£1.50 to £2.50 each is more typical, but the price may vary with the seasons.>
How would I be able to test how much circulation is at the bottom of the tank?
<Put a bit of flake on the bottom. If it sits there, that's bad; if it wafts along briskly, that's good.>
I have to agree with Maidenhead Aquatics being a very good store. The staff there have always been knowledgeable and willing to knock the price off a bit. Great selection of fish there as well! Last time I saw a disease in one of the tanks, there were staff on hand treating it with a sign up saying 'not for sale right now'.
<Do ask whether these shrimps might have been poisoned in the shop; if they've used copper, that's certainly possibly, though you'd expect to die within a day or two of copper use. If more than that has elapsed since you purchased them, then something is amiss in your aquarium. Are you sure there aren't any loaches or catfish in the tank that might view them as food? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
It has been 2 months since I got them.
<About enough time for moulting; could well be an iodine issue or similar.>
I don't have any catfish or loaches in the tank.
I did just try putting a flake at the bottom, and it wafted away into some lucky Neon's mouth.
Like I said, it's the shell splitting or turning clear in the middle that seems to happen a few hours before they die.
<When moulting, Shrimps crack open transversely, the slot appearing between the cephalothorax (the head/body segment) and the abdomen (the segments with the swimmerets on, the big you eat on proper shrimps). If that's what
you mean by splitting, then that would appear to be a moulting issue.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .
No . . . I mean the whole shrimp dies. It's the whole thing. The carcass is red and looks to contain the dead shrimp . . . One did this 1 and a half weeks ago, and was never found again, so I can assume it was eaten.
Whenever mine have actually moulted, they've been found again 3 days later and the white, ghostly shell is on the substrate.
The split is formed after the 2nd pair of legs.
<Well, it is what it is. I really can't offer you any more advice than that already provided. You'll have to read through my previous messages, try out the solutions offered, and see what happens. Saying the shrimp "just dies" isn't enough for me to provide anything more specific I'm afraid. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Tadpole nursery... re pH, Alk... hardness... reading...    6/14/10
Good afternoon/evening Neale,
<Hello again Diana,>
I have been having lovely luck with my tank since we last traded e-mails, my two adult frogs are doing great and my one surviving tadpole has blossomed into a full fledged frog named Spike.
Performing my weekly water changes and feeding frozen brine shrimp or blood worms every other day. However, two days ago two of my cherry shrimp kicked the bucket leaving me with one female cherry, one male, and four
<Oh dear.>
Tested my water today before my usual Sunday water change and the ammonia was off the charts high (somewhere between 4.0 and 8.0) and the Ph was off the charts low (between 6.0 and 6.4).
My usual Ph out of the tap is around 7.6. Nitrates are 0 temp is around 75-78 as the weather has been warm.
<I see.>
All frogs are accounted for but my shrimp go missing on a regular basis, hiding among the plants.
They usually reappear at some point so I never worry much.
<Me neither. I often find gaggles of them hidden inside filters or behind ornaments.>
That being said, I have only been able to account for 3 small Amanos and 1 female cherry over the last few days which means the big amano and the little boy cherry are missing. I have a feeling that they may have died as well and are hidden among the plants. If this is the case could it cause the ammonia spike?
<Possibly, but a single dead shrimp shouldn't overly tax a biological filter, so I'd be open minded on this. Do the usual things first. Check the filter is working properly. That the air pump is bubbling nicely, and that there's nothing blocking any air pipes. Use a pencil or chopstick to root around the plants a little, and see that there isn't a dead fish or lump of uneaten food sitting there. Plant roots keep gravel clean, but any gravel more than an inch or two from the plants should be gently raked down to a depth of about half an inch. Take out the filter sponge or ceramic noodles and gently rinse them in a bucket of aquarium water -- or, lukewarm water no hotter than the aquarium but not much colder either.>
And, what could cause the Ph to crash?
<Check the carbonate hardness. If it is very low, less than 3 degrees KH, you might want to add some of the Rift Valley salt mix at 0.25 to 0.5 the usual dose for Rift Valley cichlids. If you have Platies, Frogs and Shrimps, they all like high carbonate hardness so this is a low-risk, low-cost strategy. Do also read:
All aquaria experience pH drops between water changes; what limits those pH drops is the buffering capacity of the water, normally carbonate hardness, but you can also use commercial pH buffers. For Platies, Frogs and Shrimps, the aim is a pH around 7.5.>
My tank is pretty heavily planted with Java Fern, moss wrapped bog wood and grass; the plants are very full and bushy making it virtually impossible to see what is going on underneath it all.
Should I pull everything apart to find everyone or should I closely monitor the tanks chemistry, up the frequency of water changes and let nature take its course with anything that has died?
<Oh, I wouldn't uproot anything, but a stick of some sort can be used to stir the leaves a bit.>
I have included a picture of my tank to help you envision my predicament.
<Looks charming!>
I did a 50% water change and ammonia is showing 0 and Ph is 6.6.
<Is rather low for frogs, Platies and shrimps.>
Thanks for your constant support,
<My pleasure.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery/// reading...............
Good Morning Neale,
<It's about quarter to seven PM here -- but thanks anyway!>
OY!!! KH is 1 degree!
<Very low.>
two small Amanos dead this morning. I am down to 1 cherry, 1 amano, three frogs and a gaggle of snails. Ammonia is back to 0.25 Ph is down to 6.4.
Filter operating properly, rinsed ceramic media yesterday, will rinse sponge today.
<Right, now, when water is this soft and this acidic, your biological filter is going to work less and less reliably. At about pH 6 biological filtration usually stops completely.>
So, it is clear that I need to raise the Ph and increase KH.
<I agree.>
I see your recipe for the rift valley salt mix but I also happen to have a bottle of Nutrafin African Cichlid Conditioner - can I use this?
Each dose provides 20mg/L (ppm) as CaCO, or by 1 percent of GH. Guessing I should raise the hardness and Ph slowly over a few days...what is the best way to do this?
<General hardness and carbonate hardness are different. Think of them as the way both "volts" and "amps" are about electricity, but different aspects. General hardness has little/no impact on buffering. Carbonate hardness is what you want.>
Dosing instructions on the bottle are 5mL per 10 US gal, my tank is 5 gal so I should use 1/4 of the half dose (I'm not sure I can even get my head around computing that!)?
<Here's an idea. Go buy a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Make up some dechlorinated tap water, and then add the amount of Rift Valley cichlid salt mix -- or at least the sodium bicarbonate -- needed to raise the carbonate hardness to 3-4 degrees dH. You can then use that water for water changes across the next few weeks. As/when you need more, you can make some more up. Does that make sense?>
And, how do I maintain this stability during water changes?
<Do 25% water change today and then daily for the next 3-4 days. That should level things off.>
If I change 50% of the water on a weekly basis would I simply add a 1/2 dose of the salt mix to the replacement tank water?
<Yes, but once settled down I'd only be doing 25% changes weekly unless the tank got really messy.>
Thanks Neale. Once again I am finding myself in an unenviable crisis situation!
<The sudden pH drop and resultant death of fish is actually quite common.
This is why "old hands" like me tend to focus on carbonate hardness rather than general hardness.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... Hey, look at me!
Thank you. Yes, your big bucket of rift valley salt mix makes perfect sense. I'll whip up the recipe this evening and begin treating immediately and continue over the next few days. Thank you again.
<My pleasure. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... now reading in Nova Scotia... Good day all!
Hi Neale,
I just re-read the salt solution recipe and I want to clarify that I am understanding you correctly. My tank has only snails, ADFs and shrimp - no fish.
If I prepare this solution in a 5 gallon bucket should I mix it at 50% (1/2 teaspoon soda and aquarium salt, 1/2 tablespoon Epsom) and than add that after a 25% water change? And, will my frogs tolerate the salt?
<Yes, this will be fine for the frogs. It's really a trivially small amount of salt.>
Clearly Chemistry is not my strongest subject!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpole nursery... Monty Python future skit content...
Okay thanks! Off to buy a bucket and some Marine salt.
<Cool. At a pinch, non-iodised (e.g., Kosher) sea salt will do too. Cheers,
Re: Tadpole nursery... no, really
Good to know! Thanks.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry shrimp and their colorful cousins. [Bob, any online FW fish/shrimp dealers in the US worth mentioning?] <<None that I'm aware of... Again, Craig's List, Aquatic Auction...>>   4/17/10
Greetings from the Panhandle of Texas-
<Greetings from England.>
Once again I seek your council o'masters of the wet world-
I have researched many sites and have found many answers. Each of the answers cancels out the next and they really don't make much sense. I am so confused!!!!!
I have in my near future a plan to stock a 250 gallon tank, I have just finished building, of grandeur with cherry shrimp and some of the other colored shrimp advertised on the "buy your shrimp here cheap page". Which of the so called fresh water shrimp would you recommend to a shrimp beginner?
<Any Neocaridina species is well worth keeping. All seem much of muchness in terms of care, size, behaviour, and breeding potential. Caridina are also easy, though some will not breed under aquarium conditions, the Amano shrimp most notably of all. Macrobrachium shrimps are fun and sometimes quite big, but territorial, predatory, and in some cases a little on the delicate side. Atyopsis and other fan shrimps are generally the least accommodating and the easiest ones to starve to death.>
What kind of wee fish would you recommend to house with them?
<I've kept things like Corydoras and Limia with Cherry shrimps, and not had any problems with the adults holding their own. If you want to breed the shrimps, then choose species unlikely to eat the juveniles: pygmy Corydoras, Aspidoras spp., surface-swimmers such as halfbeaks and hatchets, whiptail catfish, Kuhli loaches, and small livebearers like Heterandria formosa and Ender Guppies.>
Actually that would be another question to toss your way. Can you recommend a reputable fish/shrimp dealer? I have dabbled in keeping fish, crab and amphibian aquariums forever and you know what? I don't know all of the answers yet. However I try to keep an open mind and depend a lot on you 'Fish Yodas'!
<I cannot recommend anyone in the US, but perhaps Bob will offer up a suggestion.>
Are cherry shrimp better kept in brackish water or fresh water?
<They prefer freshwater, but will tolerate slightly brackish water just fine up to around SG 1.003.>
Please speak slowly. I am getting mixed answers and need your input. If you can recommend a web site even that might be beneficial. Once again thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tadpoles part 2, Now cherry shrimp care, I2 use     4/15/10
Dear Neale,
<Hello Diana,>
Tank is doing splendidly and I have added 6 Cherry shrimp and 1 Amano. I have already witnessed the discarded shell of one of the Cherries so I am taking that as a good sign that they are thriving.
<Quite so. I adore these shrimps, and find them very easy to keep once settled.>
I have read on the site that iodine is an important component for the calcium uptake in my shrimps and snails.
<More so for crabs and crayfish really. In my experience the smaller shrimps get all the iodine they need from their food.>
I have been able to fine Kent Marine Iodide, but not Iodine as Sabrina suggested. The back of the bottle states that it is for the health of crustaceans so I went ahead and bought it. Do you know if there is a difference or if they are interchangeable?
<Precisely the same thing from our perspective. If using, I'd only use 25% the dosage stated on the back of the bottle.>
Also, how many Amano shrimp could I potentially add to my 5.5 gal tank - they are quite the tidy uppers!
<A couple maybe.>
<Have fun! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tadpoles part 2
Hi Neale!
<Hello Diana!>
I LOVE my shrimp! Fascinating little creatures and very entertaining.
<Yes they are.>
My Amano shrimp is clear and quite large compared to the cherries (at least an inch long) so I don't think 20 would fit, but I am guessing that two-three would be comfortable given that they don't overload the tanks filtration system (I am learning that shrimp don't really seem to have the same effect as fish or frogs).
<Oh, yes, I thought you mean Cherry Shrimps. I misread your message. I wouldn't keep Amano shrimps in 5.5 gallon tank at all, since they do get quite big, potentially 5 cm/2 inches. But a couple should be okay. Amano shrimps may hog the food, and could eat newly-moulted Cherry Shrimps, so keep an eye on things.>
Also, two of my Cherry shrimp are gone and I am curious if my frogs have eaten them - they stare at them longingly on a pretty regular basis. My frogs are a good 1-2 inches, Mrs. Frog being the larger of the two. It is for this reason that I am nervous about adding any smaller shrimp (like bumblebees) who will possibly end up as lunch. Is this a reasonable concern?
<It's a concern, certainly. The best approach is try it out, see what happens, and if after a few weeks you have all the shrimps you started with, add some more. I've kept Cherry shrimps with surprisingly large fish such as Limia, and been surprised to see the shrimps multiplying steadily.
But you never really know until you've tried it out. African Dwarf Frogs are not reputed to eat shrimps or even livebearer fry, but there's always a risk.>
You mention that the shrimps get their iodine from their food...should I be feeding them something specific?
<Try algae wafers, like those used for Plecs. Half a wafer, or even a quarter, will be ample for six shrimps, used perhaps 2-3 times a week. If you look on my web site, you'll see a swarm of them crawling over an algae wafer:
For the time being I have left them to munch on the various algae in the tank and clean up the blood worms that the
frogs and snails don't finish. If I added more shrimp would there be enough leftovers to support a larger colony? Perhaps I should be supplementing with something else?
Have a lovely day,
<You too. Cheers, Neale.>
My Amano?   4/15/10
Hi Neale,
This is my Amano, King Kong (named by my daughter). Perhaps he is actually something else as he is quite large compared to the cherries.
<Indeed he is a big chap. But no, he's a standard issue Amano shrimp, so far as I can tell.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My Amano? 4/15/10
Dear Neale,
Thank you again for all of you invaluable information and support. I am truly enjoying my new found hobby and am especially optimistic now that I have given up fighting to keep fish in a tank that is too small!
<Very good.>
My shrimp and frogs are wonderfully fulfilling and infinitely easier to keep happy.
<A good result all around>
You offer a terrific service (that I may have at times I fear taken advantage of) and are truly offering a much needed service!
<I'm glad were able to help.>
I am grateful for your patience, honest opinion and guidance.
<You are most welcome.>
Okay - off to get algae wafers!!
<Good oh.>
Have a great day,
<Likewise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: My Amano? 4/15/10
Hi Neale,
Last question of the day. <<...>> Water parameters in my 5.5 gal tank are the following (water treated with dechlorinator only, 5 drops Excel CO2 and a liquid plant food added daily):
PH 7.4
KH 9
GH 6
Nitrate 0
Ammonia 0
Temp 77ish
<All sounds fine, though do be aware the shrimps don't like water very much warmer than this, so watch them during summer.>
I am now feeding with the recommended algae wafers and adding 1 drop of iodide every 2-3 weeks for the shrimp (since I have it, might as well use it right?)
Does that look like suitable conditions for my 8 shrimp and 2 ADFs?
Have a lovely evening (or morning - depending on when you get this)
<About 10:23 British Summer Time!>

Caridina japonica larvae, & SW phytoplankton culture   4/2/10
Hello folks,
Two of my Amano shrimp are currently releasing their eggs. I believe this started last evening. They are in a 5 gallon hatching tank. I have done my homework and am prepared to do the introduction of salt water, etc, when the time is right.
My question has to do with my phytoplankton culture. I just started this culture at 5:30 pm last night (3/31).
<Started? What species...?>
I anticipated that hatching of the larvae would start sometime within the next week. This is my first time working with the Amano larvae and this is also my first time doing a phytoplankton culture. I understand that the phyto culture is most potent at around 10 days.
<Depends on species, temperature, water quality, lighting... but about this time frame, yes>
Here's the question: When it's time to feed the larvae - in about 3 or 4 days - can I add the culture even though it's only going to be a few days old?
Is there enough nutritional value in this or should I plan on trying another type of food? What might you recommend?
<Boosting the phytoplankton growth rate by raising temp., increasing light intensity and duration. I would look into, buy a concentrated live culture for back up... A multiple species mix... there are quite a few nowadays.
DT's is a good line>
Thank you so much for your advice. All of you inspire me to keep learning.
<Please do keep good notes and relate your experience back to us. Bob Fenner>

Amano shrimp larvae   3/20/10
Good afternoon folks,
<Hello Janet,>
I will be trying my hand at raising Cardina japonica (Amano shrimp) larvae.
<Good luck with that. This is not often managed by home aquarists.>
I have 2 females ready to hatch. After the zoes hatch in the hatching tank, I will remove the mommies back to the main tank. I understand that the zoes are very tiny
<Yes, and planktonic.>
and that they can sometimes die if they get caught up in the surface tension of the water.
<Hard to imagine this is a major source of mortality.>
Obviously I am not using a power filter in their tank.
<Correct. At most, a sponge filter would be used. But honestly, I'd be using a non-filtered tank receiving direct sunlight so that plants and algae would filter the water. An airstone might be used to keep a little current going on.>
My question is: Should I use a sponge filter on low bubbles or no filter?
<See above. The larvae are planktonic, so anything that "sucks" is going to cause problems.>
I plan on introducing a phytoplankton culture and brackish water to their tank at about day 4 after hatching.
<Cool. Do keep a note on what you do. The reality is that there's no established protocol for breeding this species, so in all likelihood you'll be repeating the process multiple times slightly altering the process each time until you find a route that works for you. For example, fully marine conditions seem to be required rather than brackish, and that's going to limit your options in terms of plants in the tank, so more likely you're going to need one tank for the adults, and another (marine) tank into which you acclimate the larvae, ensuring that this new tank has plenty of established marine algae (planktonic ideally, but some on the rocks and whatnot would be helpful for once the larvae metamorphose). Marine plankton can be purchased online if required, with several types being widely used
in labs.>
Could you advise me on the filter situation and my plan?
<See above.>
Thanks so much for your advice.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Male platy with what looks like cotton mouth plus 2 ADFs who are turning white. Now Shrimp    3/18/10
Hi Neale,
You have peaked my curiosity with your mention of shrimp! Once I get the frogs situated in their newly cycled and redecorated permanent 5 gallon home I would love to add some shrimp. I have searched around on WWM to find more info about them and am fascinated by all there is to learn.
<They're very easy to care for. Almost "just add water" kind of animals, save in one regard: copper-based medications will kill them very quickly.
Otherwise they're tolerant of a broad range of water chemistry conditions, including slightly brackish, and will happily multiply given a mature aquarium with plenty of algae and detritus for the baby shrimps to nibble on. Curiously, the females are the bright red ones, rather than the males, who are more transparent.>
It is mentioned more than once that the tank should be supplemented with iodine in addition to the liquid CO2 and plant food that I currently add on a daily basis. Will this be okay for my two ADFs?
<Should be fine.>
Also, my frogs are about 2 inches long - will they eat tiny shrimp?
<The baby ones, quite possibly. But interestingly enough, the shrimps seem to manage to hold their own if you start off with enough females to crank out more shrimplets than the frogs can find. Mostly the baby shrimps hide inside filters and under plants, so they're pretty good at avoiding trouble. After 3 or 4 months, you'll find young shrimps here and there.
It's pretty neat. I'd recommend starting off with at least 6, four females and two males. Note than NOT all shrimps well breed in aquaria. Cherry Shrimps (Neocaridina heteropoda) will, while Amano Shrimps (Caridina multidentata) won't, or rather can't, because while they spawn and produce eggs in freshwater, the shrimplets have to drift down to the sea to develop completely. So if you want to breed shrimps, and see a bunch of species on sale, make a note of the species names and spend a little time researching them just to make sure they can breed under aquarium conditions.>
Will the shrimp eat the leftover blood worms from the frogs breakfast or are they strictly veggies?
<Oh, they're omnivorous and will happily eat all sorts of things. They're superb "scavengers" in the sense of eating leftover fish food without adding substantially to the loading on the filter.>
My 5 gal is cycling along nicely. Clean, clear water with perfect chemistry. Feels like a fresh start. If everything continues to look this good next week I will likely move the frogs shortly after.
Thanks and have a great day!
<You too.>
PS - Sabrina at WWM refers to Justin at Ocean Aquarium and the amazing health of his shrimp. I purchased my 2 frogs from Justin. He and his wife are lovely!
<That's good to hear. Cheers, Neale.> <<Sab took me to visit their shop in San Fran... Fantastic... crazy, bad location, but a plethora/adventure for petfish-philes. BobF>>

Betta... sys., comp.     3/17/10
I have a Siamese fighting fish in a little 14 litre bowl.
<Yikes! How are you heating such a small bowl? Bettas are tropical fish and soon die kept at room temperature, even with a light on top of the bowl.>
I'm looking into getting another tank most likely a 75-80 litre.
<Very good.>
I want to know what sort of fish I can put in with him.
<Not much. Bettas don't make good companions for other tropical fish.>
He seems fairly placid, doesn't really flair up at other fish that are in other tanks near him.
<Not really the issue. It's more the reverse. Fancy Bettas are deformed fish by the standards of Mother Nature's handiwork, and compared to the wild Bettas, they can barely swim. They also drag around these great long
fins that are so delicious to nibble on that even things like Neons, otherwise non-nippy fish, can't help but have a go!>
I heard you can put in tetras, sometimes guppies, Rasboras, Danios, Corydoras etc. How many of each can I put into a 75-80 L aquarium? I want to get the best variety I can of fish and colour.
<I'd think very, very carefully about this. The best companions for Bettas aren't fish at all, but things like Cherry Shrimps and African Dwarf Frogs.
A 37-litre (10 US gal.) system set up for a Betta, some shrimps and some frogs can be wonderful and not too expensive.
If you must choose fish, select species that stay close to the substrate and aren't likely to become nippy. Dwarf Corydoras (e.g., Corydoras hastatus) are ideal tankmates, and so too are Kuhli Loaches. Tetras (including Neons) and Danios should be avoided because far too often they end up harassing the Betta. White Cloud Mountain Minnows and Dwarf Rasboras (Boraras spp.) are not so likely to nip at the Betta, especially if the tank is spacious and nicely planted, so the Betta and the Minnows/Rasboras can avoid one another. But that's about it. As any experienced Betta will tell you, the males are best kept alone, and if you want a community tank DON'T BUY A BETTA!>
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Re: Betta, sys., shrimp comp.  3/19/10
Thanks for the response Neale.
<My pleasure.>
:S I've never had fish before and I was told that they prefer tropical water but they can do OK in cold water.
<Might be told that -- but it's rubbish.>
I've had him for nearly a year and he's been fine, nice colours and very active but I was going to transfer him to a heated tank.
<Good. The sooner the better. Like any animal, Bettas can put up with a certain amount of abuse, and if you're lucky, they may well survive for long enough for you to realise your mistakes and put things right. If your home is reasonably warm, then the fish might be just warm enough that its immune system hasn't been totally shot to pieces. But still, when we say "tropical fish" we mean fish from the tropics, as opposed to "coldwater fish" which are those fish that do well at room temperature. As it happens, the Betta has a close relative called the Paradisefish (Macropodus opercularis) that does fine at room temperature. It's a beautiful fish, but a bit bigger and a total thug sometimes, and consequently it isn't much kept these days.>
I was looking into a few ghost shrimp but unfortunately I don't think I can get them in the area I'm from, Melbourne Australia, at least I haven't seen them anywhere.
<No great loss. Do ask around for Cherry Shrimps. These breed readily, so once someone gets the hang of keeping them, their offspring will be easily available via fish clubs and the like.>
I've only ever seen Yabbies or some sort of crab but they have pincers so I thought the may not be a good idea for my Betta.
<I'll say! While Yabbies (Crayfish) are primarily herbivores in the wild, they can, will eat anything they can catch.>
Dwarf Corys, minnows and Boraras sound good. If I wanted all 3 with my Betta, how many of each can I keep?
<Corydoras are schooling fish, so keep 6-8 specimens in a 10 gallon/45 litre tank alongside your Betta. Likewise, adding half a dozen Boraras brigittae for example wouldn't add substantially to the filter load provided you were using a decent air-powered sponge filter or an undergravel filter. I wouldn't use anything with an electric pump with
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta
Yayyy I can get Cherry shrimp
Just wondering how many shrimp I should keep in the 75L tank with those fish?
Much appreciated :)
<These shrimps are gregarious, so I'd get half a dozen, at least. The males are smaller and semi-transparent, while mature females are solid red.
Obviously you'll want both if you're going to breed them. Cheers, Neale.>

Amano Shrimp compatibility 2/18/10
I'm able to find compatibility charts for freshwater fish and inverts, but not combined. Hoping you can give some advice as you've helped me a few years ago...
I have two established tanks, both planted. One 55g and one 29g. Today I purchased 8 Amano shrimp and put them all into my 29gallon guppy tank, but I really want (and need) them in my larger tank, My problem is, I suspect
almost everything in there could be considered a shrimp threat.
I have:
1 angel
<Will eat small shrimps.>
1 Gourami
2 clown loaches
<Shrimps is food!>
1 Chinese algae eater
1 angelicus catfish (4-5")
<Is this Synodontis angelicus or Pimelodus pictus? Either way, yes, will eat shrimps. Synodontis angelicus, like all Synos, will eat snails, shrimps and any shelled invertebrates; Pimelodus pictus will eat small shrimps as well as small fish.>
1 guppy
<A nervous Guppy at that!>
My shrimp are considered large at about 1 to 1.5", but the fish in this larger tank are all two to three years old, so mostly medium size. From what I've read, it seems I'd have to move the loaches, and I'm willing to move them to the guppy tank, but what about the others? Also, if these larger fish do pose a threat to the shrimp, would they be o.k. with sufficient hiding places, and would they be worth a darn as scavengers and cleaners if they perceive threats in the tank?
<They will hunt down and exterminate the shrimps in no time. Pointless. The only shrimp that would work would be a large Macrobrachium species, but these are in turn predatory and quite aggressive animals, and a bit delicate too, so hardly easy pets.>
Thank you...
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Amano Shrimp compatibility �� 02/19/10
Thanks Neale,
<You're welcome.>
I was afraid of that.
Yup, my beautiful catfish is Synodontis.
<Crunch, crunch -- this genus is a specialist invertebrate/algae eater.>
And my guppy is just fine...haha, been in there for over a year.
<Obviously smart and fast.>
Thanks, but I won't try other shrimp as the Amanos are supposed to be the best consumers of black beard algae.
<Questionable at best. Nothing really eats Rhodophyta once in place.
Nerites are perhaps the best invertebrates for grazing flat surfaces and keeping them clear of algae, and shrimps do peck away at plant leaves, but neither roll back existing algae problems. Have a read here:
I'll move the fish.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Shrimp and cardinal tetras   12/6/09
Dear aqua experts,
<Hello Janet,>
I have only found conflicting advice in trying to find the answer to my question, so I come to you to get my answer. I have 2 established freshwater tanks. The 10 gallon houses 14 red cherry and Amano shrimp as well as 10 zebra danios that are about 6 weeks old and growing.
<Very good.>
The 20 gallon houses 3 zebra danios and 6 cardinal tetras.
<I'd up the number of Cardinals if you could. I'd also make the observation that Danios prefer cooler water to the Cardinals, so one or other group of fish isn't going to be completely happy. 25-26 C would be about the best
compromise, but even then, not ideal.>
I would like to move the danio juveniles into the 20 gallon with their parents and have a danio-only tank.
<Very wise. Danios like things on the cool side, around 22-24 C.>
I would like to move the cardinals into the shrimp tank.
Both tanks are planted, the 10 gallon heavily. I'm sure (?) the shrimp are very happy in their current tank with only some baby danios to keep them company. Can I add the cardinals to the shrimp tank (after I move the baby
danios) without the shrimp becoming reclusive, boring, anxious and eaten?
<Yes; Cardinals pose minimal threat to the Shrimps, even Cherry Shrimps, and the two species will coexist nicely. Since Amano shrimps like things a little on the cool side, they're ideally kept with Danios rather than Cardinals.>
Thank you all knowing ones.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Plant Supplements and Shrimp - 04/04/2005 I've been using Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement in my 5.5 gallon aquarium and recently bought a few algae eating shrimp (I believe they're the Amano something type).  <Likely Caridina japonica, "the" algae-eating or "Amano" shrimp.> I noticed that this supplement contains (min) .00001% copper as well as .24% chelated iron. I've been using a little lower dosage, just in case, but I was wondering if these metals would adversely affect my shrimp... <Having wondered the same thing myself, and having used similar supplements on my planted tanks with shrimp, I feel safe in saying that I really doubt that the supplement you are using, at or below the recommended dosage, will cause the shrimp any harm. I think your shrimp ought to be just fine.> ...and would the use of iodine supplements improve the situation?  <YES! Oh, yes. Absolutely, yes. I use Kent Marine iodine at a rate of ONE DROP per TEN GALLONS every week. For your little tank, you could do one drop every two weeks. DO NOT use the marine dose printed on the bottle.> Oh! I was also planning on putting some Triops in there (although I don't know if you folks know a lot about them) <I sure do! I *love* Triops!> and was wondering whether they would eat the shrimp, the shrimp being about 1.5 or 2 inches long.  <.... I don't think they would. I certainly can't guarantee anything, but I don't think they would. You might try getting a couple of el-cheapo shrimp (like ghost shrimp, often sold as feeders) and put those in with the Triops - if the Triops don't eat them, the japonicas should be safe. I've always wanted to put Triops in one of my tanks; I just need to hatch a few more. Awesome little boogers, aren't they??> Thanks a bunch for your help! <You bet. I have great interest in hearing how things go with the Triops. Please do let us know how it works out, and how well they do in the tank! Thanks, and good luck! Wishing you and your adorable inverts well, -Sabrina> 

Missing Shrimp I am the proud owner of a new 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. I have had it up and running for about 2.5 weeks with two scissortail Rasboras, and it is now completely cycled. The ammonia is 0, as is the nitrite level, and the ph is somewhere around 7.8. After weeks of anticipation, I went out today and bought two Gouramis that fade from orange to silver, three cherry barbs, a false Cory, and two japonica shrimp. If you haven't heard of them they were about an inch long, and looked like ghost shrimp (the store said they cost more for their "algae eating abilities").  When I returned home I excitedly acclimated them and then released them into my aquarium, I came back about an hour later, and the shrimp were gone, I had heard somewhere that some shrimp burrow and I was hopeful, but it is now the evening and there is still no sign of them. Were they eaten by the Rasboras (2.5") I hope not. I was also wondering if you have any suggestions for a peaceful community fish that is blue or green, I feel like there is so much red in my aquarium. And one last question, I also have a ten gallon aquarium with a golden mystery snail, one albino Cory, I adult male guppy and two adult females, 5 juveniles, and about fifteen on week olds. What should I do to relive my overpopulated tank, my nitrite and ammonia levels are zero but I can't help but feel that they are crowded. Thanks for having such a great site, Steven <First, keep testing for ammonia and nitrite. Two and a half weeks seems a little quick to establish good strong bio filtration. And you stocked a little quickly. The new fish add to the amount of ammonia that needs to be filtered by the bacteria in your filter. The colony will need time to grow and adjust. Do water changes to correct any spikes. When ammonia and nitrite stay at zero AND nitrates are on the rise, you are cycled. Not sure what happened to your shrimp. They may be hiding in there somewhere. They may have been eaten. Not sure what a "False Cory" is, but my catfish love shrimp. You may also want to check in your filter. Don> 

Japanese Swamp Shrimp (Caridina japonica) Compatibility - II Hi Bob, Many thanks for your advice. After doing some internet research, I very much like Opaline Gouramis. I've called several tropical fish stores in the Pasadena/greater LA area. None seem to have either Opaline Gouramis or Amano shrimp. Considering I'm in the second biggest city in the US, there have to be some good LFSs. Do you have any recommendations in this area?  Thanks, Catherine <Mmm, I'd let my "fingers do the walking"... Try your search tools: with the string: tropical fish stores in Los Angeles, and call the folks nearer you re. Bob Fenner>

Lookin' To Talk About Shrimp - 04/19/2005 Dear Bob, <Actually, Sabrina here, at your request> My name John from Indonesia. <Nice to hear from you, John, thanks for writing in!> I am really interested in fresh water shrimp. <Me, too - obsessed, nearly!> Algae eater. <Referring to Caridina japonica, "the" algae-eating or "Amano" shrimp?> I need to talk to Sabrina (maybe). And I would like to join the discussion with Sabrina. Can I know how to start. <Well, here I am! You can also find me on the WetWebMedia forum, at http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk - my username is "Vintage_Fish" if you wish to correspond in that manner. I'm also including the other question you sent with this one....> I would like to get some importers of algae eater freshwater shrimps. Can you help to recommend me few names of good importers in USA or Japan? <.... I know one fellah that brings in some VERY interesting African imports, including the most wonderful and impressive Atya gabonensis (a large, filter-feeding blue/black or grayish shrimp, with orange colored juveniles).... You can find his information and stock list at http://www.rehobothaquatics.com. I imagine, since you're looking specifically for algae-eating Caridina japonica, you might want to try to find a contact in Japan, as that's where the species comes from. Unfortunately, I do not personally know of anyone for you to contact. Perhaps Bob or someone else might chime in here with some ideas for you. Please also be aware that C. japonica is NOT the ONLY species of freshwater shrimp that eats algae; there are actually quite a number of very different and beautiful species that are algae eaters. You might enjoy browsing through this website: http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.html#Garnelen.  The website is all in German, but you can at least click on the different species names and see what they look like. Many/most of the Caridina and Neocaridina species are algae eaters.> Thanks, John W. <Wishing you well in your shrimp hunt, -Sabrina> 

More Shrimp Talk - II - 04/20/2005 Dear Sabrina, <Hi, John! Good to hear from you again.> I attached the 2 pictures of shrimps and please confirm the names. I think no. 1 is Caridina <Likely a Caridina or Neocaridina, other possibilities as well....> and the 2 is Atya. <Either an Atya or an Atyopsis, I would *guess*, but it would help to see the animal from the side, in the water. I assume this IS a filter feeder, yes? More likely an Atyopsis species, in your area.... but it doesn't quite resemble A. moluccensis; I'm very interested in seeing more photos of this shrimp - Atya and Atyopsis are my to favorite genera.> Is that right? <An excellent starting point, at the least! I urge you to email the folks at the link that I gave you yesterday, and see if they can give you definitive species ID for both of these.> We wild caught them. Do you know where is the biggest market for those shrimps? <Seems to me the best market for any freshwater shrimp is in Europe. Also, if you try to market them in the US, please let me know - I am very interested in taking a look at that Atyopsis (?) firsthand.> I will send you more shrimp pictures. <Please do! But a word of caution - our crew inbox is somewhat limited in size, so please don't send too many at once. Just a couple at a time, and wait for my reply before you send more. These two are great photos, I'm eager to see more!> They are amazing, we get the size even what I call mono because they are seems weird small. <I very much look forward to further correspondence.> Thanks, John <And thank you as well! -Sabrina> 

More Shrimp Talk - III - 04/20/2005 Hi, John! I just wanted to clarify, since I sent you two links yesterday, the German website is the one to email for better identification. Here's the link again, just in case: http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.html#Garnelen. Though the website is all in German, I believe there is at least one fellah that, if you email them in English, should be able to help with identification. -Sabrina 

Algae Eater With Guppies - 10/17/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a 36 gal tank with guppies and live plants. I have had some algae growth on my plants and hoped you might suggest a good fish to add to my tank that will eat algae on the plants but is safe to keep with guppies and their fry. One of the people at the LFS I use a lot suggested Otocinclus. <A very effective, but very sensitive fish.> I've also read about using Plecos, but that they can damage plants if they are large. <Ancistrus "bushynose" Plecs are a good choice, and stay under 5" roughly.> The algae on the plants appears to be mostly green hair algae. There is some on the glass and a little on the substrate that appears to be more of a green slime. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. <You might consider shrimp of genus Caridina or Neocaridina.... the "algae-eating" shrimp, Caridina japonica, and the "cherry" shrimp, Neocaridina denticulata sinensis v. red, are both readily available in the hobby now and excellent consumers of algae. Not to mention cute!> Thanks, -Rob <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Oh Golly Mollies, Salt, pH, etc. - 10/21/2005 Hello I am new to salty systems. I've always had freshwater aquariums which I still run two. But I saw some Dalmatian Mollies and had to get some. I have one male and three females. I do plan on adding maybe two or three more mollies and an algae eater and that's all this tank will have in it. I don't want to overcrowd them. I talked to three different fish stores to set up my system to get it ready. (I wish I had found this site first.) So I set up a 29 gallon tank with one teaspoon of salt per 5 gallons of water. Should more salt be added? <Nah. Especially not if you plan on an animal for consuming algae. With salt in the water, I would recommend using Caridina japonica, the "algae-eating" shrimp, as these fare well in slightly salty conditions.> I have an Aqua Tech 20-40 power filter at a flow rate of 160 Gph with bio fiber. Is this ok or would a bio wheel be better? <Mm, whatever you prefer. If you've already got the Aqua Tech, I see no reason to buy something different.> All the stores said a pH of 7.2 was right; mine's between 7.4 and 7.8. <This is fine - BUT - please don't let it be *fluctuating* between these.... far too much fluctuation between 7.4 and 7.8 to be safe. A steady pH is pretty important.> The temp is at 80 degrees. I see on you're site you recommend a high pH so should I get some crushed coral sand to raise it, or is it okay at the level I have? <Constant, steady pH is better than precise pH. You'll be fine with what you've got, I think.> Also I do test the water with strips but this just shows a range of where it should be. So should I get a better testing kit if so what do you recommend? <I would. Look for a quality liquid-reagent test kit.... Kordon makes 'em, so does Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.... You'll need pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate most essentially.> Thank you for your time. -David <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Fish, Shrimp, and Thanks Our fish would like to say thank you to the WetWebMedia crew. (tank you, tanks, tanka) <To you and your fish - you're very welcome!  Please forgive the delay in response; I've been having computer issues, but it looks to be all sorted out now.> We have had a lot of fun with our new freshwater tank and several learning experiences. Our first fish was a "Betta in a bowl"  purchased by my two eldest, they saved their allowance to do this and we ended up with two new family members, Blootie a Betta, and Pickles, an African frog. A few months later we knew we wanted an actual aquarium so we soon had Blootie and Pickles housed in a ten gallon with five neon tetras, several plants, free snails which appeared out of nowhere and every thing was fine; we do a 20% water change weekly and add some aquarium salt and dechlorinator. <Sounds like great fun!  Please remember, when you add salt, only add enough to compensate for water you *remove*, not water that has evaporated, as salt does not evaporate.> Our tank is held at 78F and we have several plants which we prune every two weeks, we run a Whisper filter with activated carbon, every other week we switch the carbon for Ammocarb, though I am not sure it does anything, <Only the carbon is needed; test your water regularly for ammonia, with your water change/maintenance scheme, I doubt you see a trace of it.> we have a shallow smooth gravel substrate. We feed a mixture of flakes, bloodworms, brine shrimp and a pea every night about an hour before lights out. <Mmmmm, yummy!> Our first problems started when we obtained two new fishes, Odie and Sink (Otocinclus).  The primary pea consumer was Blootie but after Sink and Odie arrived things changed. Sink metamorphosed into a new fish we called Stink. He chased everybody, the tetras, the frog, the Betta and especially Odie, Odie lived in perpetual fear, Stink would charge the full length of the aquarium to get him. <WOW.  That does *not* sound like normal Oto behaviour!  Please check out the following links, perhaps you have something different....  First, on Otos: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/otocinclusart.htm  on SAEs (and non-SAEs): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saes.htm > Stink actually latched on to Blootie a couple of times leaving a white mark which has now cleared up. <Yikes....> Stink may have been starving when he arrived but that passed, he turned into a very messy fish and was getting visibly fatter and  meaner. <He's sounding an awful lot like a "Flying Fox" or "Chinese Algae Eater" at this point....  notoriously mean buggars.> Pretty soon everybody started hanging out somewhere safe from the seriously deranged Stink and this caused problems, nobody was eating the pea, our water started to get cloudy and green algae started to grow on our floating plant. The tetras which previously tested every floating speck to see if it might be food, stopped doing that and spent their time up high, avoiding Sink. Blootie stayed at the top of the tank, ready to run, Stink couldn't eat all the food but he was determined to try. We finally decided Stink had to go and things are back to normal. Our water is clear again, nobody is chasing anyone and everyone seems happy. (We gave Stink to an unsuspecting local fish store, not telling them he was an insane fish.)   <*Laugh!*> I have been reading the freshwater links (I have actually been reading everything I can on your site as time allows) and my question has to do with adding a crustacean of some sort. We really do not want a repeat of the Stink trials and we really would like to add a shrimp or something. Given our current happy tank is there anything we could add that would probably be happy. <Stick with shrimps of the genera Caridina and/or Neocaridina; these primarily algae-eating lovelies include "the" algae-eating (aka "Amano") shrimp (Caridina japonica), cherry shrimp (Neocaridina denticulata), bumblebee shrimp (Neocaridina sp.), red-fronted or "Rudolph" shrimp (er, I think a Neocaridina species....), red-tailed tiger shrimp (another Neocaridina), to name a few that are occasionally available in the US.  Ghost shrimp would be a safe addition, as well (and cheap, to boot - and commonly available).  Filter feeding shrimp, such as Singapore/bamboo/flower shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) are commonly available, and also perfectly safe to add to your tank; this last would probably be the most "fun", as they are large, diurnal, and uber-cool.  Stay away from "big-arm" shrimp of the genus Macrobrachium; these are nearly all carnivores that will prey upon your fish.  Same goes for crabs, they'll eat anything that holds still long enough - and some things that don't.> I have read about the shrimps in the freshwater shrimp section <Currently and unfortunately very lacking in information - I intend to rectify that with an article or two as soon as I dig up some time, I promise!> but I am still not satisfied that I won't get it wrong. <One important point - please dose the tank with iodine if you get shrimp.  This is easy and cheap.  Get a bottle of Kent Marine Iodine from your fish store (geared for saltwater tanks).  Ignore the directions on the bottle completely, as your freshwater shrimp have nowhere *near* the iodine needs of a saltwater tank - add only one drop of the iodine once every week (use a pipette or a medicine dropper from the pharmacy).  Doesn't sound like much, but it makes all the difference in the world.> In addition to adding a shrimp to our ten gallon, we intend to get another ten gallon aquarium and move the frog (Pickles) in with two fire newts, for which my oldest boy is saving his pennies, is this going to work ? <Oh, wow, I have absolutely no idea....  I'll pass this along to Gage for his input; hopefully he'll be able to help you on that one better than I can.> Thank You <You bet!  Wishing you and your critters well,  -Sabrina>

Water Needs of FW Shrimp - 03/15/2004 Hello, Thank you for a wonderful website!! It gave me a lot of  good tips and answers to questions concerning tapwater I had. <Glad to hear it, and thank you for the kind words.> I have been using P.A.T. by Aqua Craft, Full Spectrum Multipurpose Water Conditioner for water changes, now I'm not so sure that that alone is enough. <I must say, I'm not familiar with these products; I'm assuming we're in geographically different places?> I had a problem with slimy black algae last year and the pet store told me that came in our tapwater?? <Uh, not *quite*.  The algae didn't "come in" your tapwater, but was probably there due to the presence of nutrients that it could feed off.> I live in Northern Washington. <Ah, bet it's nice and cool, there!  It's already like summer here in sunny silicon valley.  I'm envious.> I purchased 6 algae eating shrimp a day ago (about 1inch long, transparent) and they seemed quite happy roaming around the tank and on the glass eating. <Truly wonderful critters.  I recommend dosing the tank with iodine - I use Kent marine iodine, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons weekly (NOT the marine dose).> This morning they were all hovering around the top (plastic knob) of the aquarium heater. The aquarium temperature is 78. Is that to cold for them? <Not at all, this sounds fine.  Out of curiosity, do the shrimp have sort of a "cloudy" look to them?  Healthy shrimp, even opaquely colored ones, can be discerned from unhealthy ones by an almost "clear" quality to their color.> I have a 46gallon tank with 6 cardinals, 6 gold tetras, 2 Otocinclus. Would it be safe to add 4hatchet fish, or would that be overcrowding? <Sounds like an excellent addition to your tank.  You have room in your tank, plenty and to spare.  Do please be sure to employ a quarantine tank, hatchets are notorious for bringing in ich.  I'd recommend getting six or so, though, as they're happier in groups, like the tetras.> That's a lot of questions...hope you can help me. <Hope so, too!  Everything sounds good, to me.  The only thing to be very concerned of with the shrimps is metals like copper in the water.  Look for that "clear" quality in your shrimps as a telltale sign of good health.> Eliza <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Water Needs of FW Shrimp - II - 03/21/2004 Sabrina, Thank you for you quick reply and the tip about adding iodine to keep my shrimp healthy. <Yes, a very important issue, I'm glad to have been able to help.> They are doing an amazing job of cleaning the tank! <Wonderful critters, eh?> They are so opaque that I have trouble locating all six of them at one time. <Er, do you mean clear?  Or really mean not-see-thru?  Basically, clear = good, cloudy = bad, and both qualities can be observed on shrimp that are an opaque color (like wood shrimp, cherry shrimp, etc.).  Now that I re-read my previous message, I realize how er, "unclear" my wording was - sorry about that.> Will they eat fish food when they run out of algae? <Yes.  I would try to offer them foods high in veggie content, perhaps something like Ocean Nutrition's frozen "Formula Two", or things like blanched zucchini, cucumber, etc.> Eliza <Thanks for writing in, Eliza.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Shades of Uwe Werner! Sabrina, hope you're all recovered... <Yes, much! Thank you. Nothin' a little Gatorade couldn't fix.> pls take a peek at the attached pix. This was the FW shrimp I mentioned at IZOO... about an inch long. <Attractive little beastie.> Any idea as to species? <But for the reddish cast, I would almost think just plain ol' C. japonica; my bigger ones in a brightly lit tank have taken on that nice coppery cast to their backs, quite different from the small guys - but the red and patterning on the sides.... no, I think perhaps this is your fellah: http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.cgi?action=show&artNo=094 ("Redbacked dwarf shrimp") Or perhaps this guy: http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.cgi?action=show&artNo=117 ("Red dwarf") I would lean more toward the first of those two, though. Unfortunately, no species name for either, but hopefully an idea as to what they are. Very nice. -Sabrina> Bob F <Do agree with your analysis. Thank you. Bob F>

Shrimp.  It's What's For Dinner. - 07/13/2004 Hi, <Hi, Tim, Sabrina here, this evening'!> I have bought a number of freshwater shrimp (japonica) to help control hair algae.  However, they apparently are being consumed by someone in the tank.   <What leads you to believe this?  Are you missing shrimp, or have you found shells and/or dead shrimp?> I have a long-standing 30-gallon tank with 10 golden white clouds, 5 green neon tetras, 3 marble hatchets, 3 Kuhli (sp?) loaches, 1 spotted Cory cat and 1 stick catfish.   <By stick catfish, do you mean a Farlowella/Sturisoma cat, or something else?  I don't see anything in this list that looks like a shrimp eater, provided that cat is in fact a Farlowella or Sturisoma....> Any idea who the shrimp eating culprits might be? <No clue whatsoever.  None of the above animals seem like something I'd think twice about....  I have a large Sturisoma aureum in with my japonicas, and haven't seen any problems....  Also, how big are your shrimp?  And are you *positive* they're being eaten?> Thanks,  Tim <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Shrimp.  It's What's For Dinner. - II - 07/14/2004 Hi, Sabrina, <Hi, Tim!  Glad to hear back from you.> I've bought maybe 18 shrimp over the last six months - four in the last couple of weeks. I saw 2 yesterday (none now but they could be hiding in the plants - Amazon Swords).   <They are a good critter at hiding.> Their size is maybe 1/2 to 3/4 inch.   <Pretty small, but even still, I don't see how any of those tankmates could be at fault.> Yes, I've seen some shells, which I expect are molting, and occasionally I see what appears to be the meaty portion of a shrimp body on the floor of the tank. <Some things to consider, here.  Do you dose the tank with iodine?  And have you ever, in the life of the tank/substrate/decor, used ANY medication containing copper?  AquariSol, Cupramine, and CopperSafe are just a few.> My "stick catfish" is a Farlowella (according to the pictures).   <A very cool fish.  I would not expect this animal to go after shrimp, at all.> Still stumped, but thanks for your thoughts.  Tim <My best guess is that the shrimp are dying for reasons other than predation - first and foremost, I'm thinking a lack of iodine.  I used to lose a few ghost shrimp a month before I began using iodine in my shrimp tanks; now, not only am I not losing any, but everyone's breeding.  I use Kent Marine Concentrated Iodine, marketed for reef tanks, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week - NOT the marine dose!  The other idea I can come up with for your losses is toxicity of the water; copper naturally comes to mind, possibly ammonia or nitrite....  Do be testing.  I hope we can get to the bottom of this!  Wishing you and your inverts well,  -Sabrina

Furry Shrimp? - 09/10/2004 Hi all, I have a question for Sabrina, the shrimp-obsessed!  <Wayhay, thass me!> Actually anyone will be just fine :) I have some Japonica shrimp in my 25G freshwater tank. I have had them for about 4 months. Well I noticed that on one of them the rear legs (all the small ones) have what looks like fur, thick, fluffy stuff (for want of a better word) in between the legs. It's really hard to describe.  <And hard to envision, from the description.... Is this "fur" on/among the swimmerets/pleopods (the legs used for swimming, not walking), or on the walking legs?> It goes from the body of the shrimp down to the end of the legs and its thick! It's not on the front legs just those small multiple rear ones.  <I don't suppose you could provide a photograph.... ?> It looks like a thick algae growth or something.  <I *have* seen algal growths on the backs of very large shrimps, like fully grown M. rosenbergii, when kept in a poorly-cared-for tank, but never, ever seen C. japonicas with algae on 'em; I doubt that's what it is.> It's the same color as the shrimp kind of beige-y color. <I'm supposing what you're seeing is, in fact, a normal "hair" that grows on the pleopods - not really true "hair" at all. Strikes me as though I've only seen such "furriness" on larger japonicas.... I know my two biggest exhibit this, and all my Atya and Atyopsis shrimp are so furry on their undersides they make puppies look bald.> Anyone have any idea what this could be?  <Though admittedly, I don't know what the hair is called off the top of my head (ouch, bad pun), I do believe this is absolutely normal.... A pic would help immensely.> All my water param.s are good, NH3, NO2 zero, NO3 about 5ppm. My other fish and shrimp are fine. <Sounds good.> I'm really mystified. I was hoping it was eggs but I found a picture of what a shrimp with eggs looks like and they ain't eggs! <You'll know eggs when you see 'em. But unless you're keeping your japonicas in brackish water, no eggs from them will survive; the larvae would require quite a bit of salt in the water to make it to adulthood. If you are interested in breeding, though, there are a lot of species that will do so successfully in a freshwater tank like yours!> Thank you for your help and time as always. <And thank you for your interest and kind words!> Maggie <Wishing you and your inverts well, -Sabrina>

Little Eaters of Algae Hi! <Hello!> I have an Eclipse 6 aquarium.  I have had it for 6 weeks....it is finally done cycling....no ammonia an no more nitrites.   <Wonderful.> I have 4 platies and 1 Cory catfish.  Is it okay to purchase an algae eater....can you recommend something small?   <I can, indeed.  But you'll find I'm extremely biased, here - getting into my favorite subject, an' all....  Your best bet all the way around is to look for freshwater algae eating shrimps.  These pleasant little creatures come in pint-sized packages packing a punch to pulverize your putrid algae problem - uh, sorry 'bout that....  Do try to find cherry shrimp or bumblebee shrimp, as these seem to stay the smallest and are avid attackers of algae.  You could easily keep half a dozen of either of these kind in your tank.  If you can't find those, next in line are 'the' algae shrimp, or Amano shrimp, the well-known Caridina japonica.  These get significantly larger, so you'd probably only want two or three in your tank.  If you're lucky, you might find 'rainbow' shrimp in as contaminants with the Amanos.  These have a slightly more prominent 'hump' in their back, though not much, and they have a few stripes running perpendicular to the stripe down their back (the Amanos lack these stripes, and the stripe running down their back is much narrower).  They also become neat colors as they age, blue-green or red-brown, and they stay smaller than the Amanos, too, though not as small as cherry shrimp or bumblebee shrimp.  And, failing shrimps altogether, you'd probably be safe to get a single Otocinclus catfish.  These tiny little guys do a number on algae, but aren't nearly as fun as shrimp (uh, in my obsessed mind, that is).> I don't have much algae yet.   <Good!!  Though you might have to feed your new algae-eating-critter on other veggie matter, too.> I don't want to purchase a larger algae eater because of the size of the tank.  And the algae eater has to get along with catfish and platies.  Is the catfish good enough???   <Corys don't eat algae much to speak of (they also like to be in groups of three or more, but in a small 6g tank, that's virtually impossible).  Whether you choose an Otocinclus or any of the abovementioned shrimps, you'll be absolutely fine, in terms of compatibility.> Also, with a tank this  size.....should I do a water change about every 3 weeks....like a 25% water change? <Well, I'd do water changes closer to every week, but only on the order of 10-15%.  Less water, more often is usually the best bet. Thanks! <Any time!  -Sabrina, the shrimp-obsessed> 

Re: frog and fish compatibility, now Shrimp Sel.    7/11/09
Neale, are there any types that you would recommend that are easy to feed and maintain?
<Cherry Shrimps (Neocaridina heteropoda) are outstanding, being colourful, active and willing to breed under aquarium conditions. They're especially easy to sex, and starter colony of, say, four of the big red females and two of the semi-transparent and rather smaller males will quickly multiply in numbers. While some baby shrimps will be eaten, with luck, you'll soon have dozens, and you can either unwanted ones or give them away to other aquarists. Other Neocaridina are available in all sorts of colours: orange, yellow, blue, green and more! The smaller shrimps such as Bumblebee and Crystal Red Shrimps tend to be too small to do well with community fish except the very smallest types (such as Neons) while the bigger shrimps like long-arm shrimps (Macrobrachium spp.) can be (often are) predatory and territorial. Amano and other algae shrimps (Caridina spp.) are good community residents, but they don't breed in captivity because they produce planktonic larvae that need to develop in brackish or salt water. Crayfish generally aren't a good idea, but the small Orange Dwarf Crayfish from Mexico, Cambarellus patzcuarensis, is a very good species that works well with non-aggressive tankmates. Like shrimps, it's vulnerable during the moulting phase, but unlike shrimps, is very sensitive to Iodine deficiency, so use a (marine aquarium) Iodine supplement at about half dose for best results. Gets to about 5 cm in length, so more like a robust shrimp than a traditional crayfish. German aquarium manufacturer Sera produce a very readable booklet on feeding and keeping crustaceans; download it here:
Might give you some ideas! I have a windowsill tank devoted entirely to shrimps and snails, and although a bit different to what people usually think about, a "freshwater reef tank" of this sort can be a lovely
challenge for the bored aquarist. In this case, there's just some plants, a heater and a small filter; lighting is plain sunlight, and the plants and algae grow wonderfully! Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry Shrimp, guppy comp.    9/27/08 I was just wondering, would my guppies eat red cherry shrimp? <No; have mixed Limia (closely related to Poecilia) with Cherry shrimps and ended up with lots of babies of both.> Are red cherry shrimp good cleaners? <Excellent; though as ever, it's YOUR job to keep the tank clean. Do this my minimising what goes in (i.e., don't overfeed) and maximising what comes out (i.e., via water changes). Both Guppies and Cherry shrimps are primarily algivores, so do provide them with a diet rich in greens.> Does their exoskeleton shed a lot and does it make a big mess? <Yes they shed their exoskeleton, but the shrimps eat them to recycle the calcium. So usually not a problem.> thanks! -Sarah <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Cherry Shrimp   9/28/08 Hello Crew, In addition to my other e-mail, I was wondering if the red cherry shrimp would eat my baby guppies. all of the babies are between 2-4 months old. _thanks _Sarah_ <Sarah, please do read my e-mails thoroughly: as stated, both baby guppies and baby shrimps will coexist with parents of either species. You might lose or two, but not enough to matter. Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry Shrimp Compatibility, w/ Corydoras   8/20/08 Hello, <Amanda> I hope whichever of the crewmembers that gets this is having a good day. <I hope we all are> I have a quick question. I am pretty sure I already know the answer, but I read over the facts (both shrimp and Corydoras) and just wanted some confirmation either way. I have the opportunity to purchase some cherry shrimp (they aren't very common here). I am very interested in getting some but only if I can house them safely. The only tank I have which is suitable to their needs at the moment is populated by 10 Corydoras (five C. aeneus and five C. sterbai). My gut feeling is that the Corydoras might try to eat the cherry shrimp (on the Corydoras section on WWM it is stated "Corydoras et al. are more carnivorous than omnivores... eating mainly insect larvae, worms, and crustaceans in the wild." If this is the case I will not get them, but if you feel housing them together will be safe I'll pick them up. Thank you Amanda <If this tank is large enough (let's say 29 or more gallons), and there is sufficient habitat (rocks, plants, wood...) these shrimp and Callichthyids should be fine together. Bob Fenner>

Cherry shrimp with crystal red striping?    2/16/08 Hi guys! You've helped me in the past and was hoping you could help me now. I have a genetic variation that has popped up in my cherry shrimp breeding colony. I have had these shrimp for two years and have no crystal red shrimp. A few weeks ago I noticed a female that I thought had a white stripe due to molting. I got a good look at her last night. This is sure enough what she looks like. I am thinking of giving her her own 5 gallon and a few fellas and see if this mutation pops up more frequently. Any thoughts or comments? Take care, Mary. <Does looks like Neocaridina sp. "Red Crystal" as opposed to Neocaridina denticulata sinensis "Red", but since the latter is an artificial form, it's entirely possible that genetic throwbacks might turn up occasionally. In any case, if you like the shrimp, and are 100% sure that it isn't a specimen of Neocaridina sp. "Red Crystal" that got in somehow, by all means see if you can 'fix' the mutation through further captive breeding. Cheers, Neale.>

Nice. RMF

Neocaridina heteropoda compatibility  11/28/2007 Hello, I would like to keep some cherry fire shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda) in my 55 gallon planted tank and was wondering if they would be ok with my blue rams. I have also heard of people keeping a dwarf puffer (Tetraodon travancorius) with red cherry shrimp (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis) successfully and was wondering if this was possible, and if so would they be safe with the cherry fire shrimp. thanks CJ <Greetings. The short answer is no and maybe. Rams require very soft, very acidic, and very warm water. Neocaridina heteropoda is a subtropical species that needs around neutral to slightly alkaline, moderately hard water to do well. In very acidic water these shrimps have problems developing their exoskeletons. So basically there's no overlap between what Mikrogeophagus ramirezi wants to survive any length of time (28-30 degrees C, below 5 degrees general hardness, pH 5.5-6.0) and what the shrimps need (18-20 C, ~10 degrees dH, pH 6-8). As for mixing shrimps with Dwarf Puffers. Some have managed it. Some have seen their shrimps turn into sushi. It's not like Puffers don't eat little red shrimps, and certainly any baby shrimps will be dinner. But if you want to give it a go, that's a gamble only you can decide on. I personally wouldn't. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: compatibility, FW shrimp  11/28/07 thank you, I don't plan on keeping puffers and shrimp anytime soon so no worries there. But are there any shrimp you would suggest to keep with tetras and rams for algae control (no ghost shrimp please, bad experience with them eating all of my fish). <Greetings. If Ghost Shrimp were eating fish then either [a] they weren't Ghost Shrimp; or [b] the fish were dead anyway. Ghost Shrimp -- if we're talking Palaeomonetes spp. -- are opportunists. Mixed with tetras, Corydoras, and the like they are utterly harmless. But it is entirely possible you were sold Macrobrachium sp. instead. Juvenile Macrobrachium can be easily mistaken for other, more harmless shrimp species. While Macrobrachium are essentially scavengers that feed on carrion, algae, and organic detritus some species can and will eat small fish given the chance. This underlines a common problem in the hobby: retailers using common names instead of Latin names, and hobbyists not pressuring them do to otherwise. In any event, there really aren't any shrimps that will do well in the hot, soft, acidic water Mikrogeophagus ramirezi wants. If you visit a blackwater river or swamp you will immediately notice the lack of molluscs and crustaceans. Neither group do well in such environments because of the absence of calcium salts in the water that they need for skeleton construction. Instead you find insects and other animals less dependent on calcium for their growth. You could of course increase the pH to around 7 and maintain a moderate level of hardness and a middling temperature, but your Mikrogeophagus ramirezi probably won't do well, and will likely die from something like Hole-in-the-Head before too long. I'd strongly recommend you just enjoy them for what they are. If you *must* try a shrimp, then go with either the Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata) or the Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis), both of which seem to be more adaptable than anything else on the market. I've kept Neocaridina denticulata sinensis in neutral, moderately soft water with Cardinal tetras and they've done quite well, breeding happily and growing quickly. But I doubt they would do well in strongly acidic water, and all shrimps do best in moderately hard, neutral to slightly basic conditions at temperatures similar to those experienced by that species in the wild. Cheers, Neale.>

What can I add? Betta...    8/30/07Hello, I recently bought a 1.5 Gallon tank for my betta fish. I have not yet placed my fish in this tank because i read on a website that you should put in the less aggressive fish first. What I was wondering was what type(s) of fish would be suitable for this environment? Some of the fish that I would be interested in putting in the tank are: Cherry Shrimp <Maybe> Mollies <Nah> African Dwarf Frog <Maybe> Flying Fox Tetras <Nah and nah> Julii Cory catfish <Need more room, stable env.> Will any of these fish work out with my betta? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm the linked files above, and re the Compatibility, Systems of the life you list, are considering... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: What can I add? Betta comp.  �� 08/31/07 thank you so much for your help i really am thankful! I think i might go with the cherry shrimp but i haven't decided yet! But thanks again <Welcome! BobF>

Re: What can I add? Shrimp w/ Betta 9/6/07 Hi again! I was wondering if any other kinds of shrimp can be put with my Betta fish such as: Amano Algae Eating Shrimp Tiger Algae Eating Shrimp Rudolph Red-Nosed Shrimp Bumble Bee Shrimp White Spotted Pearl Shrimp Blue Buddha Shrimp I don't know I might just stick with my first idea, the cherry shrimp, but I haven't decided yet <Mmm, do wish I knew more right off-hand and had my in-print references with me... am on the road... I would look for info. on the net re which of these species stays smaller, likes warm, semi-acidic water (like Bettas)... and eats readily the sorts of foods Siamese Fighters do. Bob Fenner>

Re: What can I add? With a Betta   9/7/07 thanks anyway I think ill just stick with the cherry shrimp <A good choice> I don't think my fish is aggressive because i put a picture of the cherry shrimp up to the tank and he flared up for like one sec then was perfectly fine with the picture. What do u think? <Interesting> Is that a good test to see if he is aggressive? <I do think you have something here. BobF>

RC Shrimp Article    7/30/07 Dear Bob & WWM Crew, I have written before and you have always been very helpful on my questions regarding my FOWLR tank. The reason I am writing now is because I had my first article published in TFH magazine (September issue) regarding Red Cherry Shrimp and their care. If Bob or anyone else gets a chance to read it, I would greatly appreciate your opinions as I respect your opinions greatly. Thank you very much. Paul <Hello Paul. My three copies of TFH arrived this morning, and even before I read my own article ("Mission Impossible") I read your article on cherry shrimp. I really enjoyed it. I bought a couple of these shrimps about a month ago for a tank with some cardinal tetras, and there are now at least four 10 mm-long juveniles scampering about the Java moss. So being able to read up on their biology and husbandry was very timely. Anyway, for what it's worth, I thought the article well written, insightful, and nicely illustrated. Freshwater invertebrates are somewhat overlooked in the hobby for reasons unclear to me. I hope you'll be writing some more articles for TFH and elsewhere! Cheers, Neale.>

Advice on new additions please!! Shrimp sys., much more...  6/10/07 Hi Crew! <Hello!> I've been trawling your site all morning and can't seem to find any info on my new tank mates I purchased yesterday! <Oh dear.><<Heeeeee! RMF>> Normally I wouldn't buy something without researching it first but these guys were irresistible! <Uh-oh.> My tank is 100lt, recently cycled (upgraded from a 60lt) Ph 6.4-6.5, GH between 6 and 7, KH 0, ammonia and nitrites 0 and nitrates about 15. The temp is usually 24C but its hot here at the moment so has creeped up to 26C! <Water conditions sound very good a nice variety of soft water tropical fish. Increasing the turbulence (i.e., bubbles or splashing) at the top of the tank can help add a little more oxygen to the water in warm weather, but 26C isn't too high for most species.> In the tank are 4 Leopard Danios, 5 Corys and 3 Japonica shrimp. I also have 4 Pearl and 4 Yellow Kerri Danios in QT. <All interesting and worthy inmates. Shrimp tend not to do universally well in soft/acid water, so try to make sure the pH doesn't drop below 6.5.> So, on to the new additions! Yesterday I bought 2 shrimp labeled 'Chameleon Shrimp' and have so far narrowed that down to either Macrobrachium eriocheirum or Macrobrachium lammeri but the only info I found was that they need harder, alkali water! :o( <Macrobrachium spp are among the WORST additions to aquaria. They vary in size from fairly small things not much bigger than your Amano shrimps through to giants around 30 cm long. Ever eating freshwater tiger prawns? Those are Macrobrachium. Very widely cultivated in fresh and brackish water pools across Asia and increasingly elsewhere. Now, the deal with Macrobrachium is that they are omnivores and HIGHLY territorial. The "omnivore" bit means that while they will happily eat catfish pellets and the like, they will also catch small fish. The "territorial" bit is a warning: once they take charge of a burrow or cave, they demand to be left alone. Males of the species fight with one another. I've seen the big ones coexist with robust Central American cichlids, and some folks have the smaller species in community tanks, but still, they are not really 100% safe aquarium denizens. So watch them carefully.> I have some crushed oyster shell, would this help? <Potentially. I'd suggest placing some in a filter media bag and then placing it in the filter. Adding crushed oyster shell to the substrate works fairly well for a while, but eventually gets covered in algae and bacteria and its buffering capacity drops off. Better to put the stuff in the filter where you can clean/replace every couple of months. This said, you're aiming for neutral pH and moderate hardness, otherwise your other fish won't be so happy, so don't go bananas. Add a small amount, wait a week, measure the pH and hardness, and then adjust up or down as required.> They have claws, are they a threat to my japonicas/Corys? <Potentially, yes. Macrobrachium will take smaller fish if the opportunity presents itself. The problem won't be so much while you're feeding normally, but when you go away for your vacation and the fish are left alone for a week or two, a hungry shrimp might turn its attention to any small fish...> The current inhabitants are all present so far! What do I need to feed the new guys? <Macrobrachium spp are all omnivores. So a mix of vegetable and animal foods. I'd be using algae (such as Plec pellets), Sushi Nori, bloodworms, shelled mussels, etc. Calcium-rich foods are important, for shell production. For that, you want to be using some shell-on foods periodically. Krill would be ideal for small specimens, or unshelled prawns for larger ones.> Managed to hand feed the one I could find a cichlid stick but that wouldn't be much of a balanced diet! <Cichlid pellets not a bad start. But variety is important. Like crayfish, Macrobrachium basically eat anything organic, and in the wild to some extent are sifting mud for general detritus. So they aren't fussy. This is why they are a popular fish-farming species: they can be reared on what is basically refuse (like tilapia, chicken, and pigs, really).> Plus I cant find the small one to feed it anyway! How do I sex them and will they fight each other? <Males will certainly fight. Males generally tolerate females, assuming they aren't fighting over space. But there's no guarantees here.> I also bought 2 fish called 'Chinese Butterfly Suckers', they've already cleaned the algae from the QT tank! <Oh dear... these are likely Beaufortia kweichowensis. Certainly a member of the Hillstream Loach family, Homalopteridae. Among the least reliable aquarium fish in the hobby. Few survive any length of time. They live in relatively cool, highly oxygenated, spotlessly clean mountain and forest streams. In the wild they eat almost nothing but "aufwuchs" -- the mix of green algae and tiny animals they scrape from rocks. In the aquaria, they need algae, whether "real" or supplied via things like Sushi Nori or algae wafers. Vegetarian flake food smeared onto rocks might be worth trying, too. Small animal foods such as bloodworms should also be provided. The problems most aquarists have with them are these: [a] water quality; [b] getting enough food into them; and [c] too-warm an aquarium. They're essentially subtropical, and ideally want to be maintained at the cooler end of the spectrum, around 20C being about right.> They are the cutest fish ever and look like tiny black Plecos with white spots all over you can see their little hearts beating, stuck onto the glass! <Yes, they are lovely. But specialist fish.> I think they might be river fish, but my filter kicks out a strong current so hopefully that will suit them... what else do I need to know about them? <Well, I think I've covered the basics. Just keep thinking about what these fish are -- they live in streams with shallow water, lots of green algae, very high oxygen levels, and tonnes of water movement.> Will they be okay in my tank? <I wouldn't be the house on it. Your water chemistry and quality are actually very good for these fishes. BUT, your problems will be keeping them cool enough (or at least bumping up the oxygen level to compensate) and ensuring there is thorough water flow throughout the aquarium, especially at the bottom where these fish "hang out". You also need to ensure they have enough to eat. So, you have your work cut out for you. That said, in a tank specially set up for them alongside species from similar conditions (such as danios and White Cloud Mountain minnows) they are not actually delicate fish and some people have had great success with them. But they aren't "easy fish".> What should I feed them when they have eaten all the algae? <More algae. Plus a certain amount of animal protein. I'd be going 60% algae, 40% bloodworms and the like.> Sorry for the huge email but I felt so bad about buying them without knowing how to care for them!! :o( Any help would be much appreciated! <To be fair, hillstream loaches aren't actually featured in that many aquarium books. But investing in something like Baensch's Aquarium Atlas (which does include a number of them) is one of wisest things any aquarist can do. Good aquarium atlases pay for themselves over and over again by letting you identify fishes when you're shopping, so you can decide there and then whether to buy what you've found.> Thanks! Ruth. <Good luck, Neale>

Apistos and Shrimp    5/21/07 Hello,  I was wondering if it would be ok to keep Apistogramma and Caridina serrata together. I have plenty of room for them and they would be going into a planted aquarium. I'm just worried that the apistos would eat the shrimp. Thank you, CJ < Apistogramma cacatuoides have a pretty good sized mouth. If the shrimp will not fit in their mouths then they will probably leave them alone until the shrimp moult. When the shrimp moult their skin is very soft and leaves them vulnerable to be eaten by fish. If there are plenty of places for them to hide they will be fine.-Chuck>

FW, shrimp hlth... maint., Dracaena plants... non-aquatic   4/22/07 Dear crew, First I would like to thank you for all the information you provide. Thanks to you I have a flourishing tank full of shrimp and fish. Unfortunately I also have a flourishing problem. I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater tank that is cycling with 2 Cory catfish about an inch long, 2 glassfish, 3 ninja shrimp, and 1 bamboo shrimp that recently molted. <Mmm, a necessary/compelled comment: Not a good idea to cycle a system with such livestock present... the shrimp likely molted out of stress more than all else> I also recently added lucky bamboo <Hmm? The Dracaena? Not really aquatic...> and java moss. The problem started when one of the Hikari tropical sinking wafers that I feed my catfish fell into the java moss where my catfish could not eat it, before long it had white stalks growing out of it, <The catfish or the wafer?> the same thing happened to one of my ninja shrimps body after it died. <Mmm, yes... likely "mycetes"... mostly fungal decomposer colonies> I also noticed some white specks on the aquarium glass and when I tried to scrape them off they didn't come off. <Use a single-edged razorblade if this is a glass tank> Is this just a side affect of the tank cycling and if not should I be worried? <Mmm, maybe so...> All my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are where they are supposed to be. I apologize if  you have already answered this question but I could not find it on your website. Thanks,  Tuscan <Mmm... the usual water changes, monitoring should do it here... Bob Fenner>

Amano Shrimp... soon to be everywhere   4/16/07 Hi Bob, On 2/15/07 I had emailed you about a missing Amano shrimp in my 30 gallon octagon tank.  Well it was the baby so he/she always stays pretty hidden.  But three days ago I noticed that one of my amino shrimp is LOADED with eggs.  If it's not my sun corals giving me babies... or pupfish doing same... now it's my amano shrimp.  I'm thrilled and well nervous, too.  The thought of ... how many eggs does a female shrimp carry at once? <Small shrimp species... hundreds> ... being hatched in my tank is somewhat alarming in terms of pollution. <Mmm, most likely to be eaten... if not reared elsewhere> Refresher, 6 danio, 4 neon tetras, 1 kuhli loach and 3 Cory... but in quarantine for 3 weeks  now I have 4 cardinal tetras and 2 kuhli loach which I will be adding to this tank in the next couple days.  It's not like I have a large tank with a large fish load which can consume most of the small shrimp.  I also imagine with all the hiding places I set up for my kuhli loach, they also serve well for the shrimp and I may have an abundance of small shrimp in this tank... and the three I have now do leave quite a bit of detritus.  I know some may get sucked up in the filter.  Should I just move my fish from 5 gallon quarantine into the 30 gallon and try to catch the shrimp w/her eggs and move her into the 5 gallon quarantine tank? <If you'd like... My fave piece on their breeding/rearing: http://www.jayscustomcomputers.com/wilma/Articles/page1.html> I'm just not sure what to expect.  Also, how many days/weeks does it take for the eggs to hatch. <About a week> I don't think it's been more than a week since I've noticed her with the eggs.  Because they're so messy I decided not to get any more shrimp but have decided to get 1 or 2 SAEs... <Good choice> I guess my shrimp have other ideas.  Also, they are slowly devouring my sword plants.  What are my options to feed them... <The fish meal and Spirulina based wafers, pellets... and Spectrum brand...> they're doing a great job of keeping the algae off of everything in my tank. Thanks again, Debra P. <Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Question, FW   3/28/07 Hi Crew,  I've written two or three times previously regarding my 150 gal planted tank.  It used to house 2 large pond fish, then I realized I just couldn't keep up with their messiness.  Last summer I gave away the pond fish and added tropical fish and plants.  The tank is stocked with a red-tailed shark, 7 gold barbs, 9 SAEs, 6 Otocinclus and 11 kuhli loaches.  About a month ago I added 3 algae eating shrimp, one pretty good sized and 2 smaller.  Since they immediately went into hiding I almost forgot they were in there.  Till about a week ago.  I've tried hard not to overfeed the fish so once a day I give them Hikari micropellets and I toss in one sinking wafer.  Once or twice a week I supplement their diet with frozen brine shrimp or blood worms.  Anyway, last week after I tossed in the wafer,  the larger of the shrimp scurried out of hiding and snatched it away. <Heee. Typical> He/she scurried back into hiding leaving the loaches searching for the wafer.  I thought it was pretty funny and threw in another wafer for the loaches.  The same thing has happened every feeding since.  As soon as I throw in the wafer the shrimp appears and makes off with it.  However,  I started wondering if that was defeating the whole purpose of having algae-eating shrimp.  Would it be better to stop feeding wafers and just feed more micropellets, or just let the shrimp have the wafers? <Mmm, I would keep proffering the wafers... these shrimp are not really "cleaner uppers" in captive systems> I used to break up the wafers but then the barbs would grab the pieces and the loaches were left searching for the wafer.   I know this is kind of a silly problem, but I'd like to make the best decision possible.  Thanks a lot,  Kerry <Perhaps a wafer placed at both ends of the system at the same time... will grant all a bit? "Just one thin little wafer..." This last for Graham and his Monty Python fix! Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Amano Shrimp - Hiding or? 2/15/07 <Oh man! I wish Sabrina were here... She is absolutely passionate re FW shrimp...> I have a 30 gallon octagon freshwater tank with 5 neon tetra, 6 zebra danio, 1 gold danio, 2 Julie Cory, 1 peppered Cory and one striped Kuhli loach. When I asked the LFS what I should add to help with the algae problem he recommended Amano shrimp. <Neat choice> I asked for 3 (a baby got scooped up in there with them) so I ended up with 4.  Purchased Friday 2/9.  I acclimated them slowly just like I would for saltwater shrimp <Good> and then put them in the tank.  The baby I found dead the next day, and two are MIA.  The first day they were all out on the driftwood picking off the algae.  The 2nd day is when I found the small shrimp dead and it turned a reddish color.  Since Saturday I've been searching for the shrimp. <This species and most all other FW shrimp are reclusive, retiring> At fish feed time one shrimp comes out and then poof he's gone.  At night I've only seen one shrimp (using a flashlight to look for those glowing eyes).  Tuesday morning afraid that I might have some dead shrimp rotting I went in and removed the rocks and all but one piece of driftwood.  Again I only saw one shrimp. no bodies, no shells, nothing in the filter.  Tank is covered and nothing on the floor.  I'm at a loss.  Can they hide that well? <Mmm, yes> Any of the above animals possible culprits? <Of the fishes you list, doubtful> The shrimp are not small. about the same size as my largest danios. about an inch and a quarter.  In the beginning I did see one of the danios kind of nip at that one shrimp in passing, it scooted off and the danio went about its business.  I read that iodine should be added, but I've been using Amquel in tap water for water changes and I know my Salifert test kit will not give a reading because of the Amquel and I'm afraid to add iodine without testing. <Mmm... an occasional (let's say with the interval of water changes) dosing at a low level (a few drops of a stock solution period)... is a good idea... this material is very transient... won't overdose... much the same as iodated salts for human consumption> Which water conditioner/dechlorinator should I use instead of Amquel so that I can test for iodine? <I would likely not actually test...>   Tank parameters as follows (testing done Wednesday night): 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Phosphate 7.2 pH As this is a tall tank I have two thermometers one on the substrate and one near the top.  The heater is placed closer to the bottom.  Bottom temp is usually around 76°, top temp usually around 79°. <Interesting... this is a surprisingly large difference. Do me a favor and "switch" thermometers and see if they register this difference still> I have Amazon swords and java ferns all of which I constantly have to wipe algae off the leaves, two pieces of driftwood, 3 large rocks.  So there are plenty of hiding places. Again, thank you so much for your advice/comments. Regards,   Debra P. <I would not be overly concerned re the consequences or possible loss of the Amanos... And I do encourage you to consider adding SAE's here for algal control. Please do take a read re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saes.htm Bob Fenner>

FW Shrimp <beh.> questions!... and cycling comments.   2/4/07 Hello to whomever will inherit this email! <Audrey> Six days ago, we put two Amano and four Cherry shrimp in our 10 gal. aquarium. They were all over the place for about a day, then apparently they found very good hiding places. We haven't seen three of the Cherry since. The fourth made its home with the Amano. I'll remove the rocks tomorrow when I clean the tank and see if I can find the three missing Cherry :-) <... Cleaning? Removing the rocks? I would not thoroughly clean such a system, nor remove the rocks> In any case, that's not my question. The two Amano had been hiding for a few days. But two days ago they moved out of their hiding place to the back of the aquarium. We thought it was a little weird, since that corner is more open than their usual hiding spot. Then, this morning, I found a molt (I was thinking their colour had been off, I guess this is likely the explanation). Then, an hour later, a second molt! Do shrimp usually molt the same day? <Can> I know from reading WWM that triggers can be water changes or adding iodine, but I didn't do any of those. Do you think that the fact that I started giving them sinking wafers (36 hours before the molt) might have been a trigger? <Could have, yes> (Hikari small sinking wafers, almost the same ingredients than the flakes we give the fish). Or did the move into the aquarium trigger this? <Much more likely, yes> I'm just curious... The two of them were, at least this morning, much more colourful and active since the molt. They've started moving about the tank again. I haven't been home so I haven't checked on them since. Now the colour is off on the one visible Cherry, and I'm wondering if it's not getting ready to molt too. I will get iodine next time I go to the very neat saltwater fish place in town (I love looking at their tanks, especially the inverts...). They don't carry it at freshwater fish stores. One more shrimp question. I saw in some FAQ that Sabrina was saying something about C. Japonica not breeding in full fresh water but other species of shrimp doing so. But she never said which species, and there's not a whole lot of freshwater shrimp info on WWM (I think I read all of it, and didn't find an answer to this question, even using the search box). So, which species of shrimp breed well in FW, besides Ghost shrimp? <Most all the commonly available species...> Ah, and one comment, for those who still doubt the usefulness of cycling BEFORE you put in fish. We had set up and planted our 10 g. aquarium on the very last days of December - no fish, some Pigmy Chain Swords, a bunch of Bacopa, two small Anubias Nana. rocks, branch, gravel and bio-balls in the filter. After a week, there was about .5 ammonia already, but I felt thing weren't moving along fast enough, so I plopped half a frozen shrimp in there, and watched it turn into hairy stuff, then gooey stuff... (can't get Bio-Spira in Canada). A week and a half later, after the expected ammonia and nitrite spikes, everything leveled off. It cycled in less than three weeks total. I'm amazed. I really couldn't believe it. Maybe some useful bacteria came along on the plants (???). <Undoubtedly, yes> And, with the live plants in there, even nitrates were 0. So, we put in some fish, two Mollies, as well as six small shrimps. Two days later, still nothing detectable - and those fish are pooping machines. It works! (I expect nitrates to go up in short order though, I don't have nearly enough plants to keep up with the amount of waste the fish will produce). While, in our 5g. unfiltered quarantine (but with a bubble wand - we had to get a new heater and will eventually get a filter for it, but we can't afford to buy everything at the same time, and the heater was more pressing), which holds two Mollies that we got at a less reputable place and were waiting before introducing into the 10g, we have to do a 60% water change every day to keep the ammonia below 0.5... (I have no idea how people can keep goldfish in gallon bowls for months given the levels of ammonia we get on a 5 gal. with 2 Mollies.) <Yes...> I'm now fully convinced: bacteria are a good thing, and waiting for the cycle to complete before adding fish is DEFINITELY worth it. <Agreed> And almost all this knowledge came from you guys. I do have some books, but I just keep re-reading the same info in the books, and it's not nearly as detailed as what I read here. And there are no "useful tips" in the books, just general rules. You're great :-) Thanks, Audrey <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Stem Plants, Roots, Shrimp, Iodine, and Fertilizers - 06/01/2006 Dear Crew, <Hi, Shawn!> I have a couple of questions, but I first want to thank you for the great resource you have created for all of us amateur hobbyists.   <Your kind words are greatly appreciated.> I've spent more hours reading articles and FAQs on your website than I can count.   <Heh, me too!> With that said, there is one thing I can't figure out.   <.... lots of things I can't figure out....> I've got a relatively new 55 gallon tank that is heavily planted.  It's been going for about a month now, and is doing great as far as I can tell.  The tank as a Fluorite base, 4 full-spectrum fluorescent light tubes.  I use supplemented/buffered R/O water to do my water changes, and my water levels all seem good.  I also inject CO2, with consistent levels of about 26ppm.  On to my question....  Many of my stem plants (actually all of them) have grown long white roots from every part of the stem, nearly to the top of the plant.   <This is normal for some plants, like Egeria, Elodea/Anacharis, Limnophilia, Cabomba....> Many of these white roots are easily 10 inches long and they are quickly taking over my tank.   <Today, the tank....  tomorrow, the world!!  If they're terribly annoying, I'd trim them back; otherwise, let 'em have their fun.> Is this normal?   <For some stem plants, yes.  What species are you keeping that are taking over?> I was hoping that they would just go away as the main roots settled better in the substrate.   <Some stem plants will settle down and do as you state, some will just keep up with those shiny white roots.> Okay, two other simple questions.   <No more!  Oh, okay, just kidding.> I am using "Flourish - Comprehensive Plant Supplement" to supplement my R/O water (along with Baking Soda to raise the kH) on a weekly basis.  Is that sufficient?   <As long as your KH, GH, and pH are steady, this is fine.> I am also planning on adding various shrimp to the tank (red cherry & Amano to start with) <Excellent!  May I suggest "zebra" or "tiger" shrimp?  The alpha male of a colony will be a STUNNING blue with brown-black stripes and red tail and rostrum.  http://www.wirbellose.de/arten.cgi?action=show&artNo=156 > and read that they need iodine to thrive.   <Yes.> My Flourish supplement contains 0.0001% iodine in it, but that doesn't seem like enough.  Do you think I should get a separate iodine additive? <I would.  I'm still using Kent marine iodine at a rate of ONE DROP per ten gallons weekly (NOT the marine dose), but most any marine iodine supplement could be used in similarly small quantities.> Thanks for everything you've done. <And thank you, again, for your kind words and encouragement.> Shawn <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Betta Compatibility, Cherry Shrimp - 05/20/2006 Hey WWM crew, you guys have a pretty awesome FAQ going here. <Thanks for the kind words!> I went through the Betta compatibility FAQ and searched online but I did not really find an answer to my question so I was hoping you guys could help me out.  I currently have an eclipse 12 (12 gallon, 150 gph, bio-wheel) that has a relatively dense group of plastic plants around the back and sides with a cave and 2 ornamental decorations with some holes in it. The tank is cycled and currently houses 6 harlequin rasboras and a Betta. They get along fine and for the most part seem to ignore each other. The Betta seems to enjoy going around the tank and occupies all levels of the tank. My rasboras tend to stick to the middle to upper levels so I was thinking of getting something to occupy the bottom of the tank.   <Sounds great.> I know Cory cats tend to get along well with Bettas. However, I think a group of 3 Cory cats might be pushing my tank to the limits <Mm, you'd probably be okay with a few of one of the smaller species.> so I was thinking of maybe housing some cherry shrimp instead with the Betta and rasboras. <Cherry shrimp are great.> I know cherry shrimp live about 2 years long but I'm worried that my Betta might try to eat them for food. <It's possible.  I have a particularly aggressive female Betta that has killed shrimp much larger than cherries.  I think most Bettas would be fine with them, though.> However, they are about an inch long <Surprising.  They rarely get this large.  It might be a different species that you're looking at; maybe C./N. sp. "zeylanica", which can look similar but gets larger.> so I was hoping that the Betta would leave them alone after a while.   <You could try getting just one or two shrimp at first and see how the Betta responds.> What do you think, should I add a group of 3 Cory cats to the tank or add like 6 or 7 cherry shrimp to the tank?   <I, personally, would try the shrimp.  I think this would be better for the tank in terms of bioload, also the shrimp will eat algae, also shrimp are a lot of fun to watch.  Start with just a couple to see how the Betta reacts to them, and if there are no problems, get the rest.> Thanks for all your help.  -Xiaosong <Glad to be of service.  -Sabrina>

Re: Betta Compatibility, Cherry Shrimp - 05/21/2006 Hey Sabrina, <Hi, Xiaosong!  Incidentally, you have a beautiful name.> Thanks for your help! <And thank you for giving me the opportunity to help!> You were right about the size of the shrimp; they are more like 3/4th of an inch. So I had a quick follow up question. Once I get the shrimp, do you think it would be better to pull the Betta out of the tank for a day or two to let the shrimp get acclimated to the tank or should I just put the shrimp in with the Betta right away? <I'd get just a couple to start with, and go ahead and put them in.  That'll give you the best idea of how the Betta is going to respond to them, I think.> When I first introduced the Betta to the tank with the rasboras, I put the Betta in the tank in a breeding net on the side for a day but I didn't think it made a difference in the end with the rasboras. <Sounds like a plan, then!> Thanks! <Any time.> Xiaosong <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

More FW crustacean stocking  - 04/20/2006 Hello WWM Crew!! <Hello, Don!!> I've been reading (and enjoying) the copious information on your website and I'm very grateful that there are people such as yourselves that take the time to further (and better) the aquarium keeping hobby.   <Thank you very, very much for these kind words.> Now that I've gotten the accolades out of the way, on to the questions.  First off, Hi!  I'm Don!   <Hi!  I'm Sabrina!> My partner, Richard and I, are in the process of losing our freshwater, planted aquarium-keeping virginity.   <Oooooh, exciting!> So.... we have a 37 gallon, bow-front, acrylic tank that currently houses: 6 fancy guppies 6 Rasbora tetras 6 Penguin tetras 10 Neon Tetras 6 freshwater clams (I suppose they're there, I've never seen them!) <These actually fare very, very poorly in aquariums....  They need copious amounts of free-floating algae and other micro foods to stay alive....  if they're not gone now, they will be soon, I'm afraid.  I heartily advise against getting these again.> 2 Flower Shrimp (one passed) <Sorry to hear this!  Shrimp are my fave....> 3 (I think, but I've only seen 2 as of late) Cherry Shrimp <The third's probably in there somewhere.> 3 Japonica shrimp 6 Otocinclus catfish (they've been miracle workers when it comes to clearing out all algae growth in our tank!!) and various snails (I believe there are 3 Ramshorns, 3 black mystery and 6 zebra) we have 2 medium sized pieces of natural driftwood, adorned with java moss (that has yet to take root but has been tied/anchored with peat moss) and many many live plants. <So far, so good, aside from that shrimp....> Our water has a pH of 7.6 out of the tap, and in the last few days we have had a measurable ammonia concentration of approx. .25 ppm.    <Disconcerting, but not "deadly" as yet....  do please try to bring this to zero.> Nitrates and Nitrites remain at 0. <Yikes!  Still cycling??> Herein lies the issue.  I've learned from reading on this site about the cycling process that   one should endure when setting up a new system.  We have not followed those guidelines, unfortunately, and are now likely experiencing the fallout from such rash behavior.   <Yup.  But you're learning....  and I'm very happy for that.> Needless to say, we have overstocked our tank (a sign of our eagerness to house and grow live   aquaria) <Mm, I wouldn't say you're overstocked, but stocked too much too quickly.> and after becoming attached to our inhabitants, are doing our best to ensure their ongoing well-being.  So here's where I need a little guidance in the process.  Since the damage is pretty much done and we've overstocked our new, un-cycled tank, what measures are required to keep the aquaria we're currently   housing, relatively healthy and un-dead, for lack of better terminology.  From what I've read on this wonderful site, water changes are pretty much par for the course and we're doing those (approx. 5 gallons a day, sometimes twice a day depending on the ammonia concentration) to keep our inhabitants as happy and healthy (not to mention un-dead) as possible. <Perfect.> We have also used Marineland Bio-Spira (last weekend) and are currently using Fritz-zyme Turbo 700 to hasten the cycling process and as a stop gag measure to stave off any further loss of life. <Perfect again.> We had a blue crawfish (Procambarus sp.) <Yeeeeeee-ikes!  Not with the shrimp, please, nor with any slow-moving or bottom-dwelling fish - they'll all become snacks.> and one of our japnionca shrimp recently pass on (not sure if this was due to the un-cycled-ness of our tank or the trauma suffered during shipping). <I hate to say it, but be glad for the lack of the Cray.  Crays are GREAT, but really ought to be with critters that they can't or won't hurt.  The shrimp and otos are not in this category.> So I suppose my formal question is:  Should we be doing as many/as frequent water changes as we are doing, in lieu of the cycling process not being completed, even though we've used the previously   mentioned products (Bio-Spira/Fritz-Zyme Turbo Start)? <I would, yes.> I guess I could/should make that a little clearer...  Are we doing more harm than good by changing the water so often, or should we allow the ammonia to build to a level, just shy of tolerable for our   tank inhabitants in order to promote bacterial growth, or should we continue with the water changes to keep the ammonia concentration at a less-than-lethal level for our overly stocked tank?   <Though it will prolong the cycling process, keep up with the water changes....  The cycle will establish, it'll just take a little longer.> Other issues we're grappling with are whether or not the 3" fluorite substrate has a negative affect on our invertebrate aquaria (after-all we did lose 2, I've read about copper being adverse to their livelihood and I'm not sure if fluorite is detrimental to their well-being) <If it helps any, I've used fluorite in plenty of shrimp-containing tanks with no apparent negative results.  I would not be concerned here.  In all honesty, freshwater shrimp are not always cared for properly at stores and wholesalers; these animals may have been doomed prior to purchase.  When you buy shrimps and crays, you should look for a certain quality of "clarity"....  Hard to describe, but once you've seen/recognized what I mean, you'll understand.  "Cloudy" shrimp should be avoided.  This "clear" vs. "cloudy" can be seen even in totally colored shrimp, like wood/fan/Singapore shrimp.... again, it's tough to explain.> and does iodine (added as a supplement to aide our invertebrates) have any affect on the fish we're keeping?   <Nope, not a problem at all - and of vital importance to the inverts.> We do plan on getting another blue crayfish (Procambarus sp.) to replace our recently deceased <I recommend strongly against this.> and we'd like to add a few more fish (probably compatible tetras or another species you'd recommend that's compatible with the above mentioned, currently housed aquaria and more shrimp (they're too cute to resist)).   <I bet you'd really delight in the antics of a handful of small Corydoras cats, or if you fear outbreaks of undesirable snails, a few Botia striata....> Thanks in advance for your informative response <Glad to be of service!> and sincere thanks for providing a forum for all of the unlearned yet eager novices (such as myself) new to the 'trade'. <And again, thank you VERY much for these kind words.> Don Anderson <All the best to you, Richard, and your new tank!  -Sabrina Fullhart>

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