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FAQs on Freshwater Shrimp Reproduction

Related Articles: Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Forget Crawfish Pie, Let's Make a Crawfish Tank! By Gage Harford

Related FAQs:  FW Shrimp 1, FW Shrimp 2, & FAQs on: FW Shrimp Identification, FW Shrimp Behavior, FW Shrimp Compatibility, FW Shrimp Selection, FW Shrimp Systems, FW Shrimp Feeding, FW Shrimp Disease, & Shrimp by Family, Genus, Species: Atyids: Genera Caridina & Neocaridina (Japanese Marsh, Yamato Numa Ebi, or Amano Shrimp, Bumble/Bee, Crystal), Genus Atyopsis (Bamboo, Wood Shrimps), Genera Attya, Atya, Atyoida (Mountain, Rock Shrimps), Freshwater/Brackish/Marine Palaemonidae Rafinesque, 1815 & FAQs on: Palaemonetes (Ghost/Grass/Glass Shrimp), Macrobrachium (Blue "Lobsters), & FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2, FW Crustaceans 3, FW Crustaceans 4, & & FAQs on: FW Crustacean Identification, FW Crustacean Behavior, FW Crustacean Compatibility, FW Crustacean Selection, FW Crustacean Systems, FW Crustacean Feeding, FW Crustacean Disease, FW Crustacean Reproduction & Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, & Crayfish FAQs, Crayfish 2, Crayfish ID, Crayfish Behavior, Crayfish Compatibility, Crayfish Selection, Crayfish Systems, Crayfish Feeding, Crayfish Disease, Crayfish Reproduction,


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.>

electric blue lobster, repro.    1/23/11
hello WetWebMedia crew
I have a few questions about my electric blue crayfish/lobster. See I bought it for a good price because there female was caring eggs and the baby I bought was about an inch long. I was wondering if this species is asexual?
<No. Male and female crayfish are distinct. Sexing them is quite tricky, but do-able. Identify the species you have, and then use Google to find images of the males and females. Generally, there are differences in the shapes of the appendages under the abdomen.>
I was told it was but I would like to be sure.
<You were told wrong.>
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ghost Shrimp Breeding Help 02/14/10
I'll start out with a general idea of my tank: 46 gallon, established for 2 years, currently housing 9 sidthimunki loaches, 3 Otos, and is quite heavily planted. There are some Malaysian trumpet snails to keep the sand moving and the plants healthy, but I only see them when the loaches decide to dig one up and play soccer with it.
About 6 months ago, I had purchased several ghost shrimp for my tank. I had never kept shrimp before, and I admit they were intended as a snack for my green spotted puffer. The humanitarian of a puffer decided to befriend the shrimp instead (in fact, the morning after I added them to the tank, I awoke to find him resting on the bottom with three shrimp cleaning him off). The GSP has now moved on to a larger saltwater tank, and I still have the shrimp!
<I've noticed some Puffers tend to eat small shrimps but ignore larger ones, even if they could in theory slice up the larger ones with their sharp beaks.>
I've become a huge fan of them, and would like to help them expand their population.
<Easier said that done. Palaemonetes paludosus is the standard Ghost Shrimp of the US hobby, which is the one I assume you have judging by your e-mail address. Anyway, female Palaemonetes paludosus carry the fertilised eggs
under their swimmerets, but the eggs hatch into larvae, not miniature shrimps. The larvae need to drift about for a few days feeding on tiny plankton (essentially infusoria). They then metamorphose into tiny shrimps, and start feeding on algae and detritus just like the adults. You can contrast this with Cherry Shrimps, which hatch from their eggs as perfectly formed miniature shrimps. These are easy to rear, provided nothing eats them. Given the right conditions, Cherry Shrimps will breed even in community tanks with filters, but Palaemonetes paludosus can only breed in tanks without filters and away from anything likely to eat the larvae from the water.>
They're fun to watch and certainly do their part with cleaning (my moss balls are sparkling!). I believe I have 5 females and 4 males, and I've seen the females carrying eggs. Unfortunately, I've never seen any evidence of "shrimplets"- the females have eggs one day, none the next, and the population never goes up.
<Precisely. The filter sucks up the larvae, and that's that.>
I suspect my sids may know something about this, though they never bother the adults at all. I have a breeder net, but I'm not entirely clear on the best way to use it for shrimp. I don't want to keep the females in the net for an undue length of time, as it seems it would only stress them. Is there a fairly reliable way to predict when the eggs are close to hatching without knowing when fertilization took place?
<Not really, no.>
Is it ok to keep the female in the net for a long period of time, possibly a week or more?
<Sure, but the larvae will drift right out of the net.>
Do the young shrimp have any special requirements like additional salt, temperatures, etc, beyond the typical needs of the adults?
<Contrary to myth, no, Palaemonetes paludosus don't need brackish water to reproduce. But the females do need to be kept in an unfiltered tank (ideally, a pond) with plankton-rich (i.e., green) water.>
Would Hikari First Bites be an acceptable diet until they're ready for something bigger?
<No, too big.>
Can you recommend a healthy limit on the number of shrimp in a 46 gallon (long) tank?
<Easily one per gallon, probably twice that, but the number of fish you have in the tank will reduce that, and if you decide to breed the shrimps, then the number will be reduced significantly because you'll be relying on plants for filtration rather than a filter.>
I was also wondering if there are any other types of shrimp that would get along well with the ghosts. I've seen red cherry shrimp in the stores locally, but they're usually quite small and I understand the ghosts may pick on/ eat them.
<Can happen, but rare, if plenty of space and food for all concerned.
Cherry Shrimps are an infinitely easier species to breed, and overall, the best shrimps for the casual hobbyist.>
It would be fun to have a few species, but I'm also happy with the ghosts and I don't want to risk any problems. Sorry for all the questions, and thank you (in advance) for the help!
<Happy to help.>
PS, I believe it was this site that convinced me to move my GSP into saltwater when he reached a certain age. Great advice! He's never looked better, bright white belly and growing quite rapidly.
<That would be Jeni's advice rather than mine. But I'm glad it's worked out well.>
And yes, he's made friends with a coral banded shrimp... for now. Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Aquaculture of Malaysian prawns   8/6/08 Dear Bob, Can you please tell me of a good book or website that gives details about how to breed/raise Malaysian prawns? Many thanks! June <Mmm, yes, I can. The works listed here: http://www.miami-aquaculture.com/macrobra.htm are about the most complete, up-to-date re culture of Macrobrachium. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much Bob! I really appreciate it! Warm regards, June <Most welcome my friend. BobF>

2 questions. Glass shrimp repro., gold barb comp.  7/13/08 Hi guys. I noticed that my ghost/glass shrimp had eggs the other day!! I'm excited about possibly having babies! Unfortunately I have not found a lot of info on raising the fry. I have a 1gal tank with a bubble filter and some gravel to isolate the moms and babies (my nursery!) I noticed tonight when I was trying to catch the moms-to-be that there was a "bug" floating in my tank. I fished him out and discovered to my delight that it was a shrimp fry!! So he is now in my nursery. What can/do I need to feed the fry? I don't want to starve them to death. I put some algae pellets and 1-2 fish flakes, is this enough for the fry? <The American Glass Shrimp is Palaemonetes paludosus, a species with a planktonic larval stage (albeit quite a brief one). As such, it is virtually impossible to breed in aquaria. The mother will carry the eggs for a period of weeks, but once they hatch the fry float about in the water column feeding on microscopic organisms including algae. Unless you are able to both feed them and make sure they don't get sucked into the filter, the fry will die. The Amazonian Glass Shrimp Palaemonetes sp. is similar. Only those shrimps that produce fully-formed juveniles (such as Cherry Shrimps) are breedable in aquaria -- and how! Cherry Shrimps will multiply almost as quickly as snails under the right conditions.> And one question not shrimp related. I have one more too. I have a Gold barb in an 2.5 gallon tank because he didn't play nice and killed 8 of my other fish. <Did it have any tankmates of its own kind? Most Barbs tend to be aggressive and/or nippy when kept in groups smaller than six, and though it sounds odd, they become more peaceful the bigger the school. In any case, this tank is far too small for what I am assuming is Puntius semifasciolatus.><<Likely Puntius sachsii. RMF>> I did a water change and went home for the weekend and came back to find him in horrible shape. His fins were almost gone, and he had some red/bloody patches on the front of his lip, and at the base of his tail. He was very "twitchy." <Surely poor water quality. In a tank this small, maintaining the essential zero nitrite and zero ammonia at all times will be next to impossible given the size/activity of this fish.> I tested my water, and everything was normal, except for the water being hard, the pH about 7.8, making it alkaline. I treated the water I researched it and everything matched up with fin rot. <Would agree.> I got him some Melafix.... <Garbage; use something that actually works, e.g., eSHa 2000 (in Europe) or Maracyn (in the US). Melafix appeals to some aquarists and retailers because it is "homeopathic" and cheap. But it isn't tested either, and doesn't pass anything like the standards required by proper veterinarian drugs.> ...and it seemed to start to work, and the twitchiness decreased. Today he has some new open sores. He has a small in tank filter, 2 plastic plants and a decoration to hide under. Could he be "scratching" against his hiding spot? Or have I misdiagnosed him? He's not my favorite fish, but I don't want him to die a slow painful death. I can send a pic of him. <First of all, treat him appropriately. Then monitor water quality, and act accordingly. He can't possibly live in a 2.5 gallon system, so moving him to another tank is essential. If he is aggressive with your other fish, that's likely because he's bored. Barbs are intensely social, and like humans, become cranky and unpredictable when kept "in solitary". Consider six specimens the minimum number, and ten or more the ideal.> Thanks guys. Michelle <You're welcome, Neale.>

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>

Birth of baby shrimps 05/06/08 Hi, My daughter is 7 years old and she is curious to know how are baby shrimps born. <Many different ways. Depends on the shrimps. Is this a school project or simply out of curiosity. If the former, that's not something we're here to help with. If the latter, the short answer is this: most shrimps produce eggs that float away in the plankton. After a while the eggs hatch and the "baby" shrimps pass through a series of larval stages until they become miniature shrimps that settle down onto the substrate. Although the details are different, the basic idea of a larval versus adult form is similar to the way larval butterflies (caterpillars) are different to the adults. Some shrimps, mostly freshwater ones, do not do this. The mother carries a few large eggs under her swimmerets and protects them. When they hatch, the newborn shrimps are perfect miniatures of the adults, and immediately walk about the bottom just like their parents. If you get some Cherry Shrimps from a pet store, they breed easily if kept well, and you can watch this at home.> Can you provide us the answer with pictures or video clip attached? <No.> Thanks, Esther <Cheers, Neale.>

Sexing ghost shrimp I'm trying to breed ghost shrimp and I was wondering how to tell the difference between a male and female ghost shrimp. <Mmm, is this the ghost shrimp of the family Callianassidae? Or the Palaemonids that are sold as food animals in the pet-fish trade? For the latter please see here: http://fish.orbust.net/ghostshrimp.html Bob Fenner>

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>

FW shrimp cultivation Dear Bob, Can shrimps be cultivated in fresh waters - like farm dams where we raise tilapia (breams) fish? Best regards, Chileshe Mutale <Mmm, some species, yes... are polycultured thus. Bob Fenner>



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