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A Guide To Crystal Red Shrimp

Finn

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7 Mar 2014
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Liverpool
Thanks for the detailed reply Finn. I suspected as much, but having no direct experience with CRS didn't want to assume anything. In fact when I read the intro, I thought Aha! crystal red shrimp, super inbred type with extremely limited gene pool and near to useless immune system . . . maybe this is the grain of truth in the nitrates myth?
Hence my question :)

I think the idea that all of CRS fragility is linked to their breeding is becoming a lot less relevant. Maybe 10 years ago imported livestock wasn't so great, but I think they've improved dramatically. I believed it big time when I first started keeping them, because all I had was online articles that were essentially parroting information from each other. I was petrified of losing my shrimp, constantly second-guessing myself and sweating small stuff. Needless to say, it's the tinkering about that shrimp don't like much - and ironically that's the natural inclination of the novice - only to reaffirm myths of difficulty.

What's intriguing is that while one hobbyist can be worldly wise to many forms of 'snake oil bullshit', the very same person can easily be unwittingly selling snake oil themselves if only in the form of spreading misinformation out of a sincere desire to help others. I'm pretty sure I've been guilty of this myself in years past. In normal circs just one to one this doesn't have a huge impact I don't imagine, but when such a person is blithering about nitrates on YouTube to an audience counted in thousands or even tens of thousands of hobbyists, its amazing how quickly total blahblahblahblahblahblahblahs becomes incontrovertible "scientific" Fact.

Oh definitely, and you're not alone - I find myself cringing far too often of memories of my own proclaimed "facts" quickly mooted by new experiences in breath taking speed! I think the big problem with "getting shrimp right" is that after just a few generations everyone's shrimp will be slightly different, able to tolerate different things as they adapt to different care styles. That in many ways is the beauty of the species, but also often leads to more ambiguity than useful facts when lots of people get together and try to share their experiences.

What I've found is that shrimp are just like any thing else - they can adapt to a range of conditions as long as they are kept consistent. Their quick generational cycles mean that they can compensate for poor breeding or previous tolerances and return to parity as long as a few manage to stick it out - not fun viewing for budding breeders but in the end you get healthier livestock that you don't have to bend over backwards to accommodate.

I remember reading somewhere on UKAPS about people remineralising RO using standard EI ferts compounds. I think this was aimed at creating a pretty soft water environment that would also sustain decent plant growth, but I'm a bit foggy on the details and I can't find the reference just now. I imagine it might well avoid spending a small fortune on shrimp specific remineralisation products and combine getting the right TDS range for various shrimp types, with keeping plants happy.

When I have time I'll look into it more as I quite fancy keeping CRS at some point. Right now sadly, they'd just be snacks.


As far as some shrimp products go, I must admit that salty shrimp remineralising stuff is actually pretty good (though I can' help complaining as I'm a terrible penny pinching miser), frankly because it's convenient and TDS is one of the few things it's best to do well (though I'm sure EI salts can do the job fine) but for the rest of shrimpy paraphernalia, my cynicism was formed from cold hard experience after falling for the snake oil big time myself. I naturally wanted guaranteed success when I started so have sampled many of the the various foods, dusts and potions available. I'm now pretty confident when I say that the only important thing is consistency and patience! Sochting oxydators, beta-glucans and immunoglobins, specialist foods and humic acid additives - I've been there and they're all about as useful as a fart in a jam jar! My 'fanciest' shrimp are taitibee hybrids and they've been fed on aquarian tropical flake and old leaves I've found for over a year now to excellent success. No silly blahblahblahblahblahblahblahs, just standard low tech care regime. My pure red line CRS culls are in an EI dosed CO2 tank and are perfectly happy as well.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that when you do try some CRS yourself just remember that there's more than one way to skin a cat!
 

Victor

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10 Jun 2013
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Brazil
I still don't understand some things. There is any problem to perform 50% wc at once in crystal red shrimp tank? And what happens If I keep the TDS between 300 and 400? They can adapt well to this hardness level? The TDS is that high due EI regime. And one last question, based in former replies, CRS can tolerate nitrates very well, ins't it? My tank can accumulate until 40 ppm if the plants don't uptake nothing. Please, share your experiences.
 
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Finn

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7 Mar 2014
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Liverpool
A 50% weekly water change will be fine on it's own, but a high TDS will likely mean they won't breed and may have shedding issues (kind of in same manner that Cherry shrimp get shedding issues at lower TDS, only reversed). That would be my main concern. Are you using RO water currently? If not then try remineralising RO to 140 TDS and using that in your tank, while maintaining your EI regimen and monitor your TDS rise over the course of a month, if anything, then just to see if you're experiencing a nutrient creep. If you can keep your TDS between 140 and 250 within a week with RO water, I would say it's fine for shrimp. They'll get used to the fluctuations as long as they're regular.

To be honest, I think TDS as a measure of water quality for shrimp kind of falls apart with EI dosing as KH (which is what you generally don't want with CRS) can remain entirely stable despite the other nutrients increasing conductivity, essentially makes a red herring for yourself. A lot of what raises conductivity in your EI salts aren't going to cause your shrimp any bother at all, including the nitrates, but the magnesium can start your GH to creep if you're not careful. I guess the simplest way to find out whether your set up can work is to wave off some brave pioneering shrimp in to test the waters themselves, but I would definitely look at using some remineralised RO water first, and possibly monitor GH and KH instead of TDS until you're confident that what you're doing is resetting your tank reliably after every water change - which is the most important thing.
 

Victor

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10 Jun 2013
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Brazil
Thank you for your reply. My tap water is pretty soft, about TDS 60. I dose weekly, 21,3 g of MgSO4.1/7H2O (magnesium sulfate heptahydrate), 9,8 g of KNO3, 10 g of CaSO4.1/2H2O (calcium saulfate hemihydrate) and 0,86 g of KH2PO4 in my 300 L tank. All them pre-mixed in a solution. This yields 20 ppm of nitrate, 7 ppm Mg, 2 ppm PO4, 10 ppm Ca and increase the dGH in 1,6 as "rotala butterfly calculator" indicates. So my high TDS is due this ferts salts. Do you think I'm dosing too much Mg and Ca? Today my TDS is 309, still too high to CRS breeding, isn't it?
 

Finn

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7 Mar 2014
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Location
Liverpool
Yeah it is quite high, perhaps you might be able to reduce your Mg and Ca dosing slightly, personally I don't use any Calcium in my EI mixes, even for the aquariums where I use remineralised RO, but my lights are low and my CO2 is gentle (1bps for a 60L). Thinking about it, that could be the secret - you could try reducing lights while dosing 3/4 EI to see if that gives you a more even TDS reading, and then perhaps try removing Ca from your fert mix altogether and see whether you begin to get deficiency in your plants. If not, then you're golden, but if you do then you can just go back to dosing your standard formula and then tone down the Ca until you reach the tolerance point. Just some ideas though.
 
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Victor

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10 Jun 2013
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Alright. OK, it's easy to remove the Ca completely, I was just taking some powder (CaSO4+1/2H2O), putting it in a cup of water and than throwing the content into the tank. My tank is high tech and I use high light. I'm sure I can keep the TDS at 200 or less If I perform a 70 % wc per week at once. But it seems too much, no? I'm afraid to kill the future CRS with a sudden change in water parameters. Oh, my dKh tank water is less than 1 I've measured with two different test kits. But the dgh I don't know to inform, my gh test kit is very inaccurate.
 

Finn

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7 Mar 2014
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Liverpool
Alright. OK, it's easy to remove the Ca completely, I was just taking some powder (CaSO4+1/2H2O), putting it in a cup of water and than throwing the content into the tank. My tank is high tech and I use high light. I'm sure I can keep the TDS at 200 or less If I perform a 70 % wc per week at once. But it seems too much, no? I'm afraid to kill the future CRS with a sudden change in water parameters. Oh, my dKh tank water is less than 1 I've measured with two different test kits. But the dgh I don't know to inform, my gh test kit is very inaccurate.
Haha I know what you mean about not wanting to kill your shrimp but if you want to keep shrimp, you have to be prepared to lose them too!

I agree that 70% is a lot but if you're talking about a 300 litre tank then that increased volume is going to smooth the ride a little. If you want to stick with the high light, cut down the Ca/Mg and try big water changes to see if you can get CRS to breed then I think you should go for it mate. It's a risk sure, but all that can happen is that you go back to the drawing board.

Ultimately shrimp are weird. There are people that meticulously set up a new tank for CRS following guides to the letter and still manage to have their shrimp die on them, despite doing everything right. Then there are people who blithely disregard everything written on the matter and manage to have very successful breeding colonies. It's not fair and certainly not quantifiable, so the best thing you can do is to have a go.
 

JMorgan

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North Yorks UK
I've just come across an article on CRS keeping in a back issue of Amazonas magazine March/April 2012. The article is by Kurt Mack and has some excellent tips. For example using daphnia as "guinea pigs" to test that wood and plants are safe and insecticide free before introducing them to a shrimp tank. He describes how a friend's entire shrimp colony was killed off by him stroking a dog that had been dosed with a flea treatment a few days previously - which made me think about how many otherwise mysterious shrimp deaths might have a similar cause. I also appreciated his comments on over-feeding as another major cause of problems. Definitely worth a read and if you don't have a subscription then its the right time of year to start dropping hints ;)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I've just come across an article on CRS keeping in a back issue of Amazonas magazine March/April 2012. The article is by Kurt Mack and has some excellent tips. For example using daphnia as "guinea pigs" to test that wood and plants are safe and insecticide free before introducing them to a shrimp tank.
I use the same method (<"Daphnia bioassay">) to make sure that the rain-water for water changes is OK. I'd also add some <"structural leaf litter">, it acts as a browsing surface for the shrimps, and the humic and fulvic compounds produced complex any heavy metals, that may have become soluble at lower pH values.
My tap water is pretty soft, about TDS 60. I dose weekly, 21,3 g of MgSO4.1/7H2O (magnesium sulfate heptahydrate), 9,8 g of KNO3, 10 g of CaSO4.1/2H2O (calcium saulfate hemihydrate) and 0,86 g of KH2PO4 in my 300 L tank. All them pre-mixed in a solution. This yields 20 ppm of nitrate, 7 ppm Mg, 2 ppm PO4, 10 ppm Ca and increase the dGH in 1,6 as "rotala butterfly calculator" indicates. So my high TDS is due this ferts salts. Do you think I'm dosing too much Mg and Ca? Today my TDS is 309, still too high to CRS breeding,
Soft water is really useful as a starting place, I'd try halving the calcium and magnesium addition.

You could use the TDS meter to get a balance between fertiliser addition and water quality. Do a 50% water change and then add enough of your pre-mixed fertiliser to bring the TDS to ~150ppm before the next water change. It might take a few water changes before you get down to 150ppm TDS. Record your initial TDS after the water change and how much solution you've added.

Once you are at a fairly consistent 150ppm you will know roughly how much fertiliser solution to add, but this will vary dependent upon plant mass.

If plant health suffers you will have to decide between low TDS and plant growth.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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I use the same method (<"Daphnia bioassay">) to make sure that the rain-water for water changes is OK. I'd also add some <"structural leaf litter">, it acts as a browsing surface for the shrimps, and the humic and fulvic compounds produced complex any heavy metals, that may have become soluble at lower pH values.

Darrel do you mean Daphnia or shrimps with "browsing the leaflitter surface"? I was wondering is it a typo? If so that would mean leafliitter is enough to keep daphnia alive? I kinda strugle a bit to keep daphnia culture alive sometimes and they just disapear after clearing all the food (i guess) but i never used leaflitter for daphnia.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Darrel do you mean Daphnia or shrimps with "browsing the leaflitter surface"? I was wondering is it a typo? If so that would mean leafliitter is enough to keep daphnia alive? I kinda strugle a bit to keep daphnia culture alive sometimes and they just disapear after clearing all the food (i guess) but i never used leaflitter for daphnia.
I meant for the shrimps, but I use leaf litter in the buckets I have for Daphnia.

I used to have the same problems of "boom and bust" in my Daphnia cultures, but I found an <"article on caudata.org"> that suggested that adding leaf litter made the cultures more stable. I don't actually have a tank culture of Daphnia any more, I get a reasonable amount from the buckets and water butts, even in the winter, now that I have fewer fish.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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Thanks for the explaination and link Darrel.. I'll give it a try and see how it goes. :)
 
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If I may bump this, I have a few year's experience with Cardina shrimp and some thoughts. I should first say that I am FAR from an expert, let alone any "authority" on these, but I've had some strong colonies, and lost more than my share (of individual shrimp and whole colonies) as well.

My biggest takeaway is, these things hate to be moved. It's odd because they seem to ship pretty well, but many crash from either bacterial infections or the change in environment well after settling in to their new tanks. Several days and even weeks later, you may lose shrimp in a "perfect" tank they have been moved to. I suspect that some perish from simply having empty stomachs for several days during shipping, but have no way of proving that theory. Dead shrimp after the first week of purchase is not necessarily an indication that your parameters are bad, or even off a little from their ideal. It's just different and different makes them die. I always suggest buying juveniles, because they 1) tend to be less expensive, 2) seem to acclimate better, 3) will have a full life as a breeder if they survive. If you can just get a few gender pairs to survive to maturity in your tank, the shrimp will do the rest and you will not only have plenty, but the new generations will positively thrive in your water.

After that, I'd suggest that an RO/DI filter is darn near needed. I live in a place with pristine mountain water -it's soft and neutral and only about 40 PPM TDS. And guess what -I can't get new Cardina shrimp to acclimate to it for love or money. I use a 50/50 mix of tap and RO/DI for my tanks, but whenever I'm expecting a shipment, I pretty much get that tank water changed to the point that it's almost all remineralized RO water until I can get them used to mine. This works only because it is what most breeders (at least here in the US) do. I don't tend to use heaters, and my house can get quite cool. Breeding will absolutely slow down but I think the shrimp are hardier for it in the long run. Even tanks I heat to only 68 F (20C) don't seem to fare as well as the ones I allow to fluctuate (which is becoming all of them soon as the odd Ancistrus or so can be moved). I think the perfect shrimp tank in a perfect world is set up for many months without shrimp. Put a few danios or such in there, and get a good bacteria colony going. I'm not simply talking about cycled for a month for NH4, NO2 and such here; it's the maturation that an old tank has that provides the bulk of what these creatures eat. Can't stress that part enough. Leaf litter should go in right after substrate. Doesn't have to be catappa or anything fancy, I use more oak from my yard than anything. I also like to set out Rubbermaid bins with some leaves and let them sit in the sun a few days in warmer months to cover with algae and biofilm. Few foods exist that they flock to like aged sun leaves! I use two main foods, though I have a couple of dozen on hand that I've bought and am trying to use up. Outside of produce from my local grocer, I use Bacter AE (or Dennerle's Bio Tase Active -both seem very similar) for babies and flake food (usually plain ol' Omega One freshwater flakes) and Ebita's Quarto 2 for juveniles and adults for 99% of my supplemental feeding.

I do 20% water changes weekly with a 50/50 mix of dechlorinated tap (only because I have tap which I can do this with) and remineralized RO/DI on each tank. In some, I am growing prized plants (like Buce) and so lightly fertilize the new water. In tanks with tougher plants, I only add potassium. Always have clean hands and arms before putting them in your shrimp tank. I have lost whole colonies from putting my arms in tanks with lotion or sunscreen on. Fish tanks I had been in previously that should have gotten the brunt of poisoning were unaffected. CRS will let you know there is a toxin very quickly by all dying.

To finish up, I guess I would mostly want people to know that these aren't ideal for fish tanks. Frankly, they stink as a long term fish tank resident. If you don't want a shrimp tank, get Neos. If you want Cardina, set up a tank just for these amazing specimens. You may find ottos or micro danios thrive alongside them, but I feel like virtually all fish are either a predator at some life stage or a competing species. Hope this helps anyone interested in starting out with these awesome creatures!
 
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REDSTEVEO

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Thread Bump and a half
I have just started keeping the bog standard Red Cherry Shrimp. I started off with 10, now I've got about 70 odd, with more tiny one's appearing every week.

I have just moved them all into a planted Jewel Lido 200 litre tank yesterday. They seem to be loving it.

Is it okay to add a group of about 15 Ember Tetras in there with them?

Also is it possible to add any other kind of shrimp in there with them or should I stick with the one species?

Thanks, and great thread.
 

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LondonDragon

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I have just started keeping the bog standard Red Cherry Shrimp.
Wrong type of shrimp for this thread ;)

Is it okay to add a group of about 15 Ember Tetras in there with them?
It's fine for adults, but if they get a taste for the babies they will eat them, as long there are plenty of hiding places some should survive.

Also is it possible to add any other kind of shrimp in there with them
Will be fine as long they are not also Neocaridina, otherwise they will interbreed and you will get natural colours (plain shrimp).
 

ForestDave

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Hi all, I meant for the shrimps, but I use leaf litter in the buckets I have for Daphnia.

I used to have the same problems of "boom and bust" in my Daphnia cultures, but I found an <"article on caudata.org"> that suggested that adding leaf litter made the cultures more stable. I don't actually have a tank culture of Daphnia any more, I get a reasonable amount from the buckets and water butts, even in the winter, now that I have fewer fish.

cheers Darrel
Hi Darrel.
Would you change or add anything to this guys daphnia system, I fancy giving daphnia breeding a go.
Thanks Dave
 

Kelvin12

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16 Nov 2020
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I hope this post is still active......
What a brilliant well thought out article followed by great posts. I am just venturing into these CRS for the first time after some while with neo's.
However I have a few water worries. I am using RO with a mix of old used wood and plants together with AZoo for re-mineralizing. I thought the old mix would be better maybe than the solution..
My TDS at the moment is 111ppm but I understand it still needs to be raised a little.
My main concen though is my KH and GH readings. On testing with the API kit my GH starts green straight away with no orange then to green as per the instructions.
KH starts yellow straight away again with no blue to start then to yellow again as per instructions.
Is there something I have missed here or is this a normal feature of RO water being as a result of it being stripped of everything.
At the moment I am starting with 50 litres and a move later to a 150 litre just to see how they go.
This really is a great forum I seem to have lost track of it for a while and just rediscovered it .
 

MichaelJ

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Hi @Kelvin12,

What are you using for remineralization? please provide a link to the product... is it AZoo-Aqua.com ?

Shrimps generally prefer around 6-7 GH... (Mostly made up by Calcium). You probably never want to go lower than 30 ppm of calcium, but also a relatively low TDS < 300 ppm depending on species, Crystals wants it much lower, but It also really depends on how well the stock is adapted to specific water parameters. I keep my Cherry shrimps (Neocaridina) at 275ppm, 7 GH, 24C and they are very colorful and breeding... the ppm is a bit on the high side according to the expert breeder I bought them from. Ideally I should be down in the lower 250 ppm, but its somewhat of a balance with a densely planted tank.

Is there something I have missed here or is this a normal feature of RO water being as a result of it being stripped of everything.
Yes, you will essentially see zero KH and zero GH out of a RO unit.... Not really sure if thats what your asking?

I seem to have lost track of it for a while and just rediscovered it .
You are hereby redeemed... Welcome back to UKAPS! :)

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Kelvin12

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G'DAY michaelJ, thank you for the reply I was worried the post might have been a bit old to get a reply. The re-mineralizer is AZoo Gh plus gh and is according to the add, and its supposed to be new.
Yes that is the concern I have its the readings from the GH on testing it starts green straight away with no initial orange colour to start with as the API instructions say. Similar results on the KH straight to yellow with no blue colour at the start as the instructions say. I have read elsewhere today, endless reading, about this and they say its a normal thing with RO water to get these sort of readings with RO. I do worry about some of this information on Google as a lot of it is quite old now.
Been adding a few plants and wood today and watching carefully the TSD. I'll have to add a bit more AZoo de-mineralizer yet to bring it up as its still at 111ppm. I'll do that steadily and in small increments. I did actually overdose it initially and had to drain the tank and refill it all over again.
Amazing site and its really busy with a lot of traffic. No idea how I lost track of it as its bookmarked in my list but glad I stumbled across it again.
.
 

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