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A Guide To Crystal Red Shrimp

Dincho

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Joined
18 Oct 2010
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129
I have a bit of time on my hands this afternoon so thought i would do a little guide to CRS. I have seen and read many posts about people wanting to keep them so thought i would share some basics and things i have learnt during my shrimp keeping years. I am hoping anyone else who keeps them will add to this thread as I'm sure I'll miss a few things.

Understanding The Shrimp
Crystal red shrimp(CRS) are a colour morph of the wild black and white bee shrimp. A Japanese breeder found a red coloured shrimp amongst his bee shrimp colony and set about creating a red variant of the bee shrimp. This single red shrimp was repeatedly bred with and back crossed to create a stable red variety of the bee shrimp that we now see today. It is said that the CRS shrimp strain was created from only 3 shrimp, making it extremely inbred and sensitive. Due to its sensitivity its extremely important to get your water parameters right and keep them stable.

Water Parameters
PH:CRS prefer acidic water so a ph below 7 is important. There have been cases where CRS have been kept with a higher ph but lifespan, health and breeding are severely diminished. Ideally a ph reading of 6.0-6.8 is needed, the lower the better. With a low ph the free ammonia in the water is also much lower, again improving living conditions. GH: You need to be aiming for a GH reading of 4-6, this is to help with molting. The GH reading basically consists of the calcium and magnesium content in the water, both essential for shrimp to molt, breed and grow. Its always best to use RO water with CRS as you are able to add back to the water what you want, without nasty surprises coming from the tap water. KH: Most breeders aim for a kh of 0. In the wild shrimp often molt and breed after a heavy rainfall, keeping your kh at 0 imitates the rain and encourages constant breeding. TDS: TDS (total dissolved solids) levels should ideally be kept between 100-150. If you get your gh readings right using RO water then this is usually simple to achieve. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate: Like fish keeping, ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0 as standard. Nitrate in a shrimp tank also needs to be 0 or as close to it as possible. High nitrate levels lower the immune system of the shrimp making them very susceptible to bacterial infections, probably the biggest cause of shrimp deaths. Oxygen: Something that is often over looked is a simple air stone, from experience and experiments i have done i find high oxygen levels are essential! shrimp look, act, breed and feed better in a tank with good oxygen levels. Temp: Try to aim for a temperature between 21-23, a temp of 21c may result in a stronger colour to the shrimp, 23c helps eggs hatch a few days sooner. Try not to let the temperature fluctuate, pick a temperature and keep it.

Feeding
Personally i think our shrimp are over fed. In the shrimps natural habitat they feed off the leaves and biofilm they have available to them, they thrive on next to nothing. I used to feed my shrimp daily when i first started but i had a constant struggle with nitrate levels. Now i rely on bacterial based shrimp foods that help build a good biofilm, accompanied by 'black water' products that contain tannins and a good amount of fresh leaves such as spinach and stinging nettles. I always keep a couple cattapa leaves in every shrimp tank as standard, biofilm builds quickly on them, they release tannins and they have natural healing abilities. Packet shrimp food is great for a varied diet but feeding them once or twice a week from the packet is all that is needed.

Some of the above may seem a little daunting but its really not, if the aquarium is set up the right way from the beginning then keeping CRS is really simple. Thanks to their growing popularity there are many products designed solely for CRS. Shrimp substrates are brilliant, they buffer the water to near perfection, your only thing to worry about when using these is to get your GH and TDS readings right. RO water should be considered essential for CRS, again there are many products to help re-mineralise the water with the goodness needed. I think i have waffled enough now but hopefully other people can chip in with things i have not covered.

Breeding
Breeding CRS is as easy as breeding cherry shrimp once you have your water right. As mentioned above you should be aiming for a kh of 0 to encourage reproduction, its equally important for the water parameters to be stable and consistent. Sexing shrimp is also easy once you know what to look for, the females have a much rounder underbelly where as the males underside is less curved. The males also have longer atennules (the shorter pair of antennae). When a female reaches sexual maturity you will see what looks like a yellow saddle appear on her back, these are unfertilised eggs, the saddle can be harder to spot with strong coloured shrimp. Providing you have a mature male in the tank a mating takes place after the female molts and the body is much softer, after a couple days you will see the eggs move down to her abdomen where she will keep them moving using the pleopods (the mini legs on her belly). You can expect these eggs to hatch in around 4 weeks time.
sexingshrimp.jpg



Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections are probably the biggest cause of unexplained shrimp deaths in the aquarium, they are much more wide spread than first thought. Due to the sensitivity of CRS their immune system is easily weakened letting bacterial infections run riot. A weakened immune system can be caused by many things but i'll try and cover the basics. High nitrate levels are an obvious cause, people new to shrimp do not realise nitrate levels acceptable in fish tanks are not acceptable to shrimp. Adding new shrimp to existing colonies is also risky unless quarantined, different shrimp from different aquariums have different fauna and tolerance to different bacteria. The shipping of new shrimp can also stress them out leaving them with a weakened immune system. Treatment: From my experience the best treatment for bacterial infections are pussy willow bark and beta glucan. Pussy willow bark should only be used short term, it has natural antibiotic qualities that can also start killing the good bacteria if left in the aquarium for more than 2-3days. Beta glucan has been scientifically proven to improve the immune system of shrimp. There are more and more shrimp products that contain beta glucan, dosing regulary can help fight outbreaks before they occur.
Here are 2 great links that explain bacterial infections in depth and list possible causes and symptoms:
http://www.crustahunter.com/en/node/894
http://www.garnelenblog.de/diagnoseliste/

Crystal Red Shrimp Grading

CRSGradingMedium.jpg


@ Admin/Moderator: Permission to post these images has been granted, proof available if required.
 

Gill

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17 Mar 2008
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SinFin Derby
Def, agree with using Catappa Leaves, they get nice and slimy and provide loads of food.
IME they also go Nuts for Hikari Carnivore/Massivore Pellets.
 

Sentral

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28 Jun 2011
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Great guide! I also think it'd be great if you could share some images of your set up and products that you reccomend and uk suppliers :)
 

Aquadream

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5 Apr 2010
Messages
393
Dincho said:
I'll keep adding to it.
Great article.
I have many CRS and they have been breeding like crazy. Occasionally some of them loose the white colour then it comes back. Do you have any idea why this is happening?
 

Dincho

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18 Oct 2010
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Aquadream said:
Dincho said:
I'll keep adding to it.
Great article.
I have many CRS and they have been breeding like crazy. Occasionally some of them loose the white colour then it comes back. Do you have any idea why this is happening?

Usually loss of colour is either an infection, old age, poor water conditions or if they have just molted? If the colour is coming back it would suggest either poor water conditions or a molt. Are there any ghost shells about when you notice it? does a water changes trigger colour improvement?
 

Aquadream

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Joined
5 Apr 2010
Messages
393
Dincho said:
Aquadream said:
Dincho said:
I'll keep adding to it.
Great article.
I have many CRS and they have been breeding like crazy. Occasionally some of them loose the white colour then it comes back. Do you have any idea why this is happening?

Usually loss of colour is either an infection, old age, poor water conditions or if they have just molted? If the colour is coming back it would suggest either poor water conditions or a molt. Are there any ghost shells about when you notice it? does a water changes trigger colour improvement?
I keep the water as close to perfect as possible, by monitoring all parameters with professional tests and professional electornic probe that can measure Cond., Sal., TDS., PH and Temp. All of the gear is quite expensive laboratory stuff.
I noticed that the shrimp seem to display better colour later in the day.
And by the way I have more than 95% survival rate on the babies, but the colours are not as I would hope them to be. Nothing like your shrimp shows for example.
The colour change is on all age, not just to the old ones.
Moulting is flawless.
I would not say that water change triggers much of a colour improvement. Some of the shrimp would seem better after water change, but others don't.
I wonder if I overfeed them or under feed them.
Also how good the Shirakura foods are, because that is all I can get in Bulgaria.
 

Dincho

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18 Oct 2010
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Zdrasti :)

Where abouts in Bulgaria are you? I lived in BG for 4 years, are you English?

If all you can get is shirakura then you are better off feeding boiled spinach or stinging nettles. Its pretty hard to under feed shrimp, as long as you have some plants or moss then they will live off the biofilm building up on them. What is the lighting like in your shrimp tank? I have a tank with poor lighting and shrimp always start the day with poor colouring and get brighter as the day goes on. I have a tank that has extremely high lighting and the shrimp seem to keep their strong colours even after lights off. You say molting is flawless, what about the shrimp colour after a molt? They become much softer and weaker in colour while they wait for their shell to thicken up, you could try feeding a food high in protein and calcium, this thickens the shell and makes them much brighter.
 

Quetzalcoatl

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12 Jul 2011
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Thanks Dincho.

I was just about to return to my thread about CRS to ask you some more questions but then saw this excellent, informative thread :thumbup: Thanks for taking the time to write it.

You state that Nitrate levels should be kept at Zero. Does this make keeping CRS in a high tech planted tank a No-No then?
 

Aquadream

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Dincho said:
Zdrasti :)

Where abouts in Bulgaria are you? I lived in BG for 4 years, are you English?

If all you can get is shirakura then you are better off feeding boiled spinach or stinging nettles. Its pretty hard to under feed shrimp, as long as you have some plants or moss then they will live off the biofilm building up on them. What is the lighting like in your shrimp tank? I have a tank with poor lighting and shrimp always start the day with poor colouring and get brighter as the day goes on. I have a tank that has extremely high lighting and the shrimp seem to keep their strong colours even after lights off. You say molting is flawless, what about the shrimp colour after a molt? They become much softer and weaker in colour while they wait for their shell to thicken up, you could try feeding a food high in protein and calcium, this thickens the shell and makes them much brighter.

I am not English. I am Bulgarian and I live in Ruse. It is on the BG-Romanian border.
I lived for about 8 years in the UK.

The light in my CRS tank is 18W T8 6500K Arcadia over 25 litres of illuminated volume. It is not strong, but not low either.
The shrimp colour after molt seems good at least on those that have the colour to begin with.
I tried to feed the shrimp some fish food and discovered that TetraPhyll fish food helps for the colour of CRS.

I wonder something else.
What GH booster do you use and what parameters that booster is providing? I established that if Ca++ and Mg++ are let say in proportion 3:1 and the GH is 6 then the TDS never gets lower then 175ppm.
You say that the TDS should be around 100-150ppm. That would suggest the Ca++ and Mg++ to be at a ratio 2:1 or even lower. That is one water parameter that no one talks about, but I have the hunch that it is the key to low TDS, Cond. etc and sufficient GH.
 

jimmy james

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8 Oct 2009
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Excellent article. A must read for anyone looking to keep these fantastic shrimp. I find a temperature of 23 degrees celcius preferable in my tanks.
 

Dincho

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Quetzalcoatl said:
Thanks Dincho.

I was just about to return to my thread about CRS to ask you some more questions but then saw this excellent, informative thread :thumbup: Thanks for taking the time to write it.

You state that Nitrate levels should be kept at Zero. Does this make keeping CRS in a high tech planted tank a No-No then?

To be honest, i have no idea! I don't really keep high tech planted tanks, mine are all full of moss. The most adventurous i have ever been is by adding some Ludwigia glandulosa :shh: I'm sure someone on here has CRS in a heavily planted tank though?


Aquadream said:
I am not English. I am Bulgarian and I live in Ruse. It is on the BG-Romanian border.
I lived for about 8 years in the UK.

The light in my CRS tank is 18W T8 6500K Arcadia over 25 litres of illuminated volume. It is not strong, but not low either.
The shrimp colour after molt seems good at least on those that have the colour to begin with.
I tried to feed the shrimp some fish food and discovered that TetraPhyll fish food helps for the colour of CRS.

I wonder something else.
What GH booster do you use and what parameters that booster is providing? I established that if Ca++ and Mg++ are let say in proportion 3:1 and the GH is 6 then the TDS never gets lower then 175ppm.
You say that the TDS should be around 100-150ppm. That would suggest the Ca++ and Mg++ to be at a ratio 2:1 or even lower. That is one water parameter that no one talks about, but I have the hunch that it is the key to low TDS, Cond. etc and sufficient GH.

I know Ruse well, i was living in Veliko Turnovo.

Like you i used to mix my own re-mineralising 'powder', the problem i had was finding the balance between TDS and GH, mixing the same ratio each water change would not necessarily provide the same results each time. Now i use packet minerals and i seem to have much better results. Another difference is i add all the minerals under the substrate when setting up a new tank, instead of with each water change. I still need to add a little after water changes but nothing major, just a little booster.

I still don't think the colour loss in your shrimp is something serious, if the colour is returning then it can't be that bad. 10k lighting is 'suggested' for shrimp, if your shrimp start the day dull and brighten up over lights on hours then it may be something worth looking at?

jimmy james said:
Excellent article. A must read for anyone looking to keep these fantastic shrimp. I find a temperature of 23 degrees celcius preferable in my tanks.

Well spotted ;) I added recommended temperature. Cheers Jimmy

jimmy james said:
Excellent article. A must read for anyone looking to keep these fantastic shrimp. I find a temperature of 23 degrees celcius preferable in my tanks.

Working on it.
 

basil

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1 Feb 2009
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Dincho said:
Grading guide added. Anyone think of anything else that needs to be added?

How about the effects of perfume on CRS??!! :thumbup:
 

billy boy

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What minerals would you suggest to put under the substrate?

Just that I'm about to set up a crs tank and have some mosura bt-9 and mosura some old sea mud, What else would you recommend to put under the substrate?

BTW, The substrate I will be using is Colombo Flora Base.

Cheers
 

Dincho

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basil said:
Dincho said:
Grading guide added. Anyone think of anything else that needs to be added?

How about the effects of perfume on CRS??!! :thumbup:

o_O Still a touchy subject :lol: I guess that's pay back for the Crewe comment :lol:

billy boy said:
What minerals would you suggest to put under the substrate?

Just that I'm about to set up a crs tank and have some mosura bt-9 and mosura some old sea mud, What else would you recommend to put under the substrate?

BTW, The substrate I will be using is Colombo Flora Base.

Cheers

Mosura will do. Add the old sea mud on the base of the aquarium then add a layer of substrate, now sprinkle the BT-9 over the substrate then add a thick layer of substrate on top. The problem with mosura is they don't contain as much as some other brands so you might also want to get Mineral plus and rich water too. Have a look here about setting up a shrimp tank, just use your Mosura products instead on Benibachi: http://www.shrimpkeeping.com/basics.html
 

billy boy

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wick. scotland
billy boy said:
What minerals would you suggest to put under the substrate?

Just that I'm about to set up a crs tank and have some mosura bt-9 and mosura some old sea mud, What else would you recommend to put under the substrate?

BTW, The substrate I will be using is Colombo Flora Base.

Cheers

Mosura will do. Add the old sea mud on the base of the aquarium then add a layer of substrate, now sprinkle the BT-9 over the substrate then add a thick layer of substrate on top. The problem with mosura is they don't contain as much as some other brands so you might also want to get Mineral plus and rich water too. Have a look here about setting up a shrimp tank, just use your Mosura products instead on Benibachi: http://www.shrimpkeeping.com/basics.html[/quote]



Cheers Dincho :thumbup: I have some mineral plus, Couldn't get any rich water in this country but got some mosura bioplus hopefully that should help things along, Will also be using a fully mature external filter.

Cheers
 

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