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FAQs on Freshwater Shrimps, Crustaceans

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Ghost Shrimp, food, livestock, algae eaters...

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>

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> 

Crayfish I was wondering wither I could successfully keep a crayfish in a 2.5gallon tank with a sponge filter. <it would be a little cramped, but it would likely work too. They are incredibly hardy creatures.>

shrimp and snails Hello Bob, how are you doing? My name is Andy and I was wondering how big do freshwater shrimp get, the type people eat, and also how hard it is to raise them, also how hard it is to raise escargots and which type is used as well? Thank you for your time. I would appreciate it if you could get back to me. skippers  <Please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm and the accompanying FAQs file. The Helix spp. snails utilized as Escargot in France and elsewhere are not hard to raise, clean, use... have seen this done with the ones imported into California. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater shrimp- predatory? Dear Bob and others, Hello and thanks for your great site, has reassured me muchly! I havea 240 litre Juwel aquarium, with inbuilt filter and heater system, which we've had running about a month, it's planted with live plants: cabomba, twisty valis, some ozelot, and a very small type of nymphea, approximately 60 percent of the tank bottom (maybe more) is planted and at the moment we have 6 Black Widow tetras, 5 otocinclus (4 alberti, one unknown that came with), 4 freshwater shrimp, again species unknown, and we USED to have 6 neons, now we only have 3. What could be getting them, we have no nitrates/nitrates, our ph is 6.5 and the temp is 75 C. Could it be the shrimp, we are feeding flake and steamed spinach? All comments appreciated <perhaps as you suspect my friend, the shrimps are a very serious suspect for predation. They are greedy and omnivorous and will catch and kill any sick or sleeping fish within grasp. I take it that your neons disappeared and not died (no carcass or symptoms). If so... do look hard at the shrimp especially if no other fishes are showing any signs of distress or disease. Many pet shops only display such fish with larger community fish. Others just don;t care about the incidental losses. With kind regards from across the pond. Anthony Calfo> Nicola

Macrobrachium rosenbergii information Robert, Around 14 years ago I purchased three "Blue Lobsters" from a pet store in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Later on I learned that they were known as Macrobrachium Rosenbergii. These three invertebrates were the most interesting aquarium pets that I had ever owned. They are long gone now, but I recently purchased a 125 gallon aquarium which I intend to put my larger Cichlids in. Thinking about what to put into the empty 55 gallon, I remembered the "Blue Lobsters" which I loved having in the past. My question is where can I purchase them??? I can not find them anywhere in the West Michigan area. Whenever I ask pet shop employees they look at me like I am crazy!! If you might have any information that might be helpful please e-mail me back. <These crustaceans are still about, though not near as popular as they were years back. This one species is widely and intensively cultured as a food organism (mainly in the Far East). It and a handful of new species of interesting prawns, shrimp and true lobsters can be had from larger retailers and etailers. Please contact the folks on our Links Page here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm to start your search, and ask your local fish stores if they'll please look, special order one, more for you. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Andy Shearer

Blue Marron, Brown Algae and dying Guppies Hi Robert, <<Greetings Mark, JasonC here.>> Firstly I will go through what I have and my experience, that may help to answer my questions. I have about 8 months experience with a 3' 126 litre home made tank in which I have 5 Barramundi, 1 Eel Tail Catfish and 1 Bumble Bee Catfish. This tank has an undergravel filter and an Aquaclear 200 filter and is decorated with mangrove root, rocks and various plants. I have found this tank a pleasure to observe and maintain. Luckily there has been no casualties and all 7 fish have grown considerably, so much so I am thinking of building a 4 1/2 foot tank with some glass I have, to accommodate there size. <<good idea.>> Because of the Barra's ferocious appetite and the cost of their food I have built another 3" 126 litre tank which I have 3 Hockey Stick Tetra's, 5 Cardinal Tetra's, 2 Male Guppies and 3 Female Guppies and about 25 Baby Guppies. The Tetra's are in the tank for a bit of colour while the Guppies are being bread as feeder fish to supplement the Barra feeding. This tank also has an undergravel filter and an Aquaclear 200 filter and is decorated with rocks and a variety of plants, some to make it easier for the baby Guppies to hide. This tank is only 2 months old and has been a little challenging as I have had a few problems with Guppies Dieing and a brown algae that seems to be growing on everything, including the upward facing leaves of the bigger foliage plants. I am constantly cleaning this algae from the rocks, upward facing leaves and the glass sides. Then vaccuming as much as I can before it settles. I feed these fish flakes and for the babies Liquid Small Fry. Firstly can you help with the brown algae and how do I control/eradicate it? <<You should avail yourself to the materials on WWM, of interest to you would be these two algae-control articles, one on fresh water and one on planted tanks: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwalgaecontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algcontagb.htm >> Secondly, I don't understand why the Guppies are dieing. They seem to swell in the stomach and after death bust open through the anus. <<According to Bob, this is unfortunately this is indicative of a bacterial condition [Chondrococcus or columnaris disease] which can only be cured with the use of Neomycin sulfate. You could also use the Tetra medicated flakes, but you should probably evaluate the cost/benefit of this excercise. I would certainly stop adding new fish to this tank until you have this under control.>> Thirdly, I have inherited a Blue Marron and am keeping it in the breeder tank and was wondering if this is ok with consideration to: How do I feed it with the correct diet? If kept feed properly will it still be a threat to the other fish? Is the neutral PH of the community tank ok? <<read up on these guys: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm >> If there is to much in this email the main thing I am concerned about is the Blue Marron issue, followed by the brown algae then the dieing Guppies. Any help would be greatly appreciated as at the moment I am running totaly blind. <<Definitely go through the WWM site, there is much information there to help you.>> Thank you Mark <<You are quite welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

please help !!!! hey, i have a tropical aquerium with a small blue marron <This is a Crayfish for browsers: Cherax tenuimanus> about 3 inches long and wen i went to check my tank this morning i found the bluemarrons shell without him in and than i looked under a rock and he is there and he isnt moving is hibinating or some thing and growing back a new shell or is he dead please write back as soon as possible thank you for your help. <In all likelihood your Marron is indeed hiding while its new exoskeleton is hardening. Do leave the old one in the tank (sometimes they are eaten to help build the new one) and the crustaceans hiding space intact... It should come out in a week or so. Bob Fenner> From ian

Any non-fish for a community tank? Mr. Fenner: Thank you for your prompt reply and helpful information in response to my questions about freshwater lobsters and crayfish. <You're welcome> (My interest in these crustaceans and the like is purely non-gastrological, though) <oh> If lobsters and crayfish are not ideal candidates for a community tank... are there any invertebrates that are? Any that won't be eaten by the fish? <Yes... depending on which species we're talking about... of a certainty there are ones that can/do/will eat each other> Must have fish and invertebrates (and not eat them) too! Please help! AHR <Do take a read through the various fresh and brackish water sections (livestock sub-sections) posted on WetWebMedia.com for input on selection, choices. Bob Fenner>

Update Dear Bob, I thought I'd let you know that Oscars et al are doing well.We have been testing the water daily - everything coming up normal, and doing a 20% water change every other day. I would once again like to thank you for your help (my fish thank you too). <Great to hear of the improvement> We set up a 40 gallon tank yesterday and will follow your advice and let it cycle for a few weeks before adding livestock. That will give us time to plan what goes in and keep the stress level to a minimum. I am thinking of putting a couple of crayfish (Astacus) in (cause I like to watch them) <Very interesting animals... I had Procambarus clarkii (the most common "crawdad"... used as "ditch bugs" in Louisiana, Texas, and California when I could get enough of them...) for years> and need to figure out what to add with them. I haven't had an aquarium since I was very young (too young to know how to look after them) and I had forgotten how enjoyable and relaxing it is to watch them. <Look for livestock that's fast, aware, large enough... but not too susceptible to crayfish dinners!> Thanks again for your help and do/will keep in touch. Linda <Do so. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

"Craw Dads" Dear Bob, After our emails earlier today I searched the net for info re crayfish. Correct me if I am wrong, but not too many people have an interest in these creatures.  <Not that many... surprising for how many species, interesting biology...> I have spent more than a couple of hours searching and other than recipes on how to prepare them, I have come up with three articles. I live in Canada and to see these creatures is a relative rarity. I suppose elsewhere, ie the U.S. and Austraila, they are considered too common to get excited about. I did live in Mississippi in the early 80's and do recall them on menus, ( I did not partake) but still kind of think of them as an unique creature worthy of observing. Here at home, my favorite creature (outdoors) is our toads, we have an extensive garden and pond area dedicated to just those creatures. Just cos I don't know, where abouts in the U.S. do you reside? <In southern California, next to Mexico, a town called San Diego> Do you ever come north to Canada? <Yes, but not often... usually travel to places where the water is warmer... to dive, make photographs. Bob Fenner> Linda

"A Craw-Fish by any other Name would Chew Plants..." Mr. Fenner: I am in the early stages of preparation for building my first community tank. I am planning a 35-Gal tank with many live plants and two species of schooling middle fish, one species of surface fish, and an additional species of bottom-feeding/pleco-type fish. Is this feasible? <Sure> My main concern is this: I feel that in the future I may be unable to defend myself against the irresistable charms of lobsters and crayfish.  <They are delicious... prepared properly!> Is there a place in a perfectly harmonic community tank for one of these invertebrates? <Mmm, no, not really. There are some fresh to brackish crustaceans that are "better"... please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm> I hear that they have picky tastes in water pH and temperature, are destructive to aquatic landscaping, and can be determined to bust out and go AWOL. Is there a way to have fish AND yabbies? <Again... not really... their tastes are actually "too cosmopolitan", and many species are known to be quite "eury" condition... adaptable to widely varying conditions... but most all what folks call "lobsters", crayfish, crawdads, ditch "bugs"... are all too destructive, fish-eating to be "harmonious" in a community tank... Maybe two tanks? Bob Fenner> Please advise.

caridina japonica and freshwater shrimp Hi Ronert, I have some beard algae troubles in my tank and i want to ask you if there is any difference in purchasing c.japonica or any old freshwater shrimp? <Yes... very different animals. A bit on both on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm Bob Fenner> Keith

Freshwater Lobster <Lorenzo Gonzalez standing in for Bob-in-Asia> Hi, about three weeks ago I bought a blue freshwater lobster, and I know that it needs fairly hard water, do you know of any suitable tankmates for it? I hope that there are some hardwater cichlids that will be suitable for it, but I'm not too bothered if they aren't cichlids. <Almost any Rift Lake Cichlid that won't get too big to eat it, and isn't too small to get eaten... will probably do fine. The larger S. American cichlids will happily eat the lobster, besides, most prefer softer water than their African relatives. Either way, most of these cichlids, and probably the lobster too, will likely be just fine with tapwater, if it isn't softened with a household softener (anathema to all fish, really)  -Lorenzo>

ghost shrimp for trigger and puffer My fish love these things, but the LFS has problems getting them. What's it take to culture them? Thanks in advance. J -- <Really need to get to these sorts of pieces for articles, books and the websites... For now will tell you this can be done... and you may find the most information starting with the "Freshwater Crustaceans/Shrimps" section of the www.WetWebMedia.com site and the references beyond listed there (under Bibliography/Further Reading at the bottom of each article/section). Bob Fenner>


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