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josu2

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josu2 last won the day on December 10 2017

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About josu2

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    Ohio
  • Inverts You Keep
    Euryrhynchus amazoniensis, bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), vampire shrimp (Atya gabonensis), tiger shrimp (Caridina sp.), blue velvet shrimp (Neocaridina sp.), several Neritina and Clithon sp. snails, assassin snails (Clea helena)

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  1. Sorry all, I am officially out of the snail breeding business! I love these guys, but it was just too labor intensive to keep so many extremely messy snails in my limited tank space.
  2. I think the simple answer is that none of them or several of them are albino. The name "albino" is a trade name that is applied unevenly. I've seen "albino" used to describe mystery snails that are ivory, gold, and light-bodied w/ pink or purple shell color.
  3. Hypancistrus plecos, I would think, would pose a grave threat to the adults, not to mention young shrimps. They are omnivorous and usually have no problem eating meaty foods.
  4. One thing I've learned in keeping and raising mystery snails is that many owners do not appreciate just how much waste they produce and how much food they need available to live for a long time. I still like them and think they might be the most enjoyable snail to own, but over time I've begun to feel that it is easy to overstock them and in many fish setups they will struggle to get food. Sensible stocking with shrimps could have a lot of benefits, though, since they will eat up uneaten food, won't struggle to compete with shrimps, and are similarly fun and odd like shrimps. Nerites are workhorses and, to the extent that I can tell, have very little bioload. You don't get to see their "faces" like you can with mysteries (and some others) and they might be the least silly of all the snails. They are beautiful and hardy, though, and I've never minded the eggs. Mine have stopped doing that after a short time in my tanks. Malaysian trumpet snails do have the benefit of turning over the soil, to the extent that is a benefit. They are, in my experience, by far the hardest to get rid of and the least responsive of the pest snails to reducing feeding. Pond and bladder snail populations will get minuscule if feeding is cut back, but the trumpets are pretty resilient. Assassin snails are beautiful and also burrow in the substrate, but they'll need something to eat (pest snails are good for that, but they like fish food too).
  5. I say no, but I've had a couple Hydor heaters (I forget the name, but they are glass tubes but small for <20 gallon tanks) that always made the tanks much hotter than the setting implied. It would be hard to keep it under 80 degrees F without putting them at a minimum setting. I never had any deaths that I'd attribute to it, though. I'll also mention a heat-related mishap I recently had. I had a digital thermometer in one of my tanks, one of those cheaper plastic ones where the display goes outside the tank with a probe inside the tank. I'm always skeptical of cheap thermometers, of course. I also have a TDS meter (handheld) that has an option for measuring temperature instead. Well, the two thermometers agreed perfectly with each other, so that gave me confidence that they were probably basically correct. Well I bought a pack of three nearly-identical digital thermometers recently, about two years after getting the previous one, and wanted to compare the readings. The new trio all agreed with each other almost perfectly, but were way off from the old one. The new ones had a temperature reading about 3.5 degrees F higher than the old one. I ended up doing a test that I saw recommended in a few places on the web. I put a little bit of water in a glass of ice and stirred for a little bit to chill the water as much as possible. The correct temperature reading should be 32F/0C. The new ones read between 31.8 and 32.1 while my old one (as well as the TDS meter) register at about 29F. That means I'd been calibrating all my heaters to a true temperature about 3 degrees higher than I thought I was, all because my two most trusted thermometers happened to be wrong in the exact same way. In the main tank affected, I had lost some Corydoras habrosus after over 2 years in the tank in what I considered a premature die-off. It was initially stocked improperly, with German Blue Rams in that same tank, so I had been trying to keep the temp right at 78F, which is an absolute maximum for long-term care of C. habrosus and a minimum for long-term care of the GBRs. As it turns out, the tank was likely 81-82 for most of that time, probably contributing to the early demise of those Corydoras. Interestingly, my Eheim heater — which can be calibrated — hardly allowed for me to change the calibration enough to get it to match up with what I thought the temp was. That's because the heater was more correct than my thermometers.
  6. I'm a fan of Han's filter covers and use them on several of my tanks. They do clog for me sometimes, but it's kind of unavoidable if you have any loose waste (like decaying plants) and want it to be fine enough to keep shrimplets out. But it's easier to tell if it's clogging than sponges, which can get clogged with a kind of liquid waste over time, and much easier to clean by using an old toothbrush or similar for a few seconds. With sponges I end up just squeezing and squeezing out the gunk and I'm never really sure if it's totally clean.
  7. So far, so good here. I'm seeing blue shrimplets whenever I look in the tank, so I'm feeling confident that the gamble is paying off. Maybe at some point down the line I'll add some more to diversify the genetics, but for now I'm happy to have started a colony with just two shrimps. And even more encouraging news (IMO) is that I spotted two berried tiger shrimps today. I haven't bred any Caridina sp. before, though in my past experience their demise was mostly due to bad stocking decisions. But I couldn't know for sure whether they would find my tap water and other aspects of the tank acceptable until they bred. Maybe they'll change their mind before the eggs mature, but I think this is a very good sign that the tank will be thriving with even more shrimp activity in the near future. The tank is more for enjoyment/aesthetics than breeding, but I'll probably start culling and trying to make everybody look nice once their numbers are sufficient. My starting stock of tigers isn't exactly impressive so there's lots of room for selective breeding to improve their appearance. I'll probably select more for the "super tiger" type of appearance than the darker body color; I prefer the striped look because it looks more natural to me. Plus, the neos I have in the tank are blue anyway. As for them, the mother is a nice "blue velvet" while the other female I purchased is much more of a "blue dream" type, with a really nice navy color over almost the entire body. Of course, I don't have a clue what shrimp fathered the shrimplets other than I can say with some confidence that it must have also been a blue since the shrimplets are already clearly blue. I should get some more pics sometime soon, but for now I'm letting the glass continue to accumulate green algae for the benefit of the fish and snails (and the shrimps, who occasionally try to feed from it).
  8. I've always wanted a river setup and I was oh-so-close to having one. Unfortunately, my mystery snail breeding necessitated using the tank I designated as river tank for growing out the snails instead. Well I have finally wrapped up the mystery snail breeding, so the tank is finally ready for business! I hadn't decided what exactly I wanted to do with it until I was watching some Chris Lukhaup YouTube videos of Caridina shrimps in their natural habitats. I was struck by how much water flow characterized some of these habitats. With that in mind, I decided to make my tank a (mostly) shrimp tank. This does, of course, go against a certain conventional wisdom. Google around about dwarf shrimp care and you'll see lots of matter-of-fact statements that they should be provided an environment with minimal water flow. And it is true that some shrimps tend to be found in stagnant waters. But I wasn't convinced that this was so important, so I decided to try this. Here's the setup, which was first put together 2 years ago: 20 gallon long tank (30" long, 12" tall) AquaClear 50 filter placed at the end (not back) of the tank to send the flow longways. An additional Rio 90 powerhead for more flow. The AC50 has a Han stainless steel mesh intake cover and the powerhead has a sponge pre-filter. Light-colored sand came from Home Depot. large (mostly) rounded river rocks from LFS, which cost me a fortune...never think you can eyeball how much something will weigh. smaller river rocks from Home Depot large-ish spiderwood several pieces of cholla from a now-defunct shrimp tank, one with Xmas moss on it (just added) Marimo ball that has been in there for 2 years 6" pleco cave covered in Xmas moss Cryptocoryne undulata 'red', C. wendtii 'red', C. becketii Heated to 70-72F Custom-cut plexiglass lid with additional plexiglass piece to fit around filter and cords Since I took this pic, I've added a hanging light fixture instead. The green algae is there by design (for food!). I also did some DIY moss shelves suctioned to the wall after this pic. Here's the extra piece of plexiglass around the filter: So who's going to live in here? The biggest beneficiaries are some of the shrimps I already owned, because they're filter feeders: 3 bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) 1 vampire shrimp (Atya gabonensis) Then I added some new shrimps: 8 tiger shrimp (Caridina sp.). They're a pretty varied group, some quite blue, one or two more like the "super" tiger with orange tails, and at least one with rather red stripes. 2+ blue velvets (Neocaridina sp.). I say "+" because I only bought them because one was berried at the LFS. One of the eggs actually hatched while I was drip acclimating them and my spouse actually watched the hatching occur. I'm not sure how it ultimately did. By a few days later, all the eggs had been released. Now about 10-14 days later we're starting to spot little tiny blue shrimplets around the tank. Success! Next are some nerite snails, one of which is an "onion" snail. Another is a very young, compact species that is probably a Clithon sp. (horned nerites) but has an interesting brown color pattern that's hard to describe. And then on a whim I got a rarer variety of nerite that turned up at my LFS, which I have since gathered is Vittina waigiensis with no consistent common name. The best common name IMO is "tire track nerite." I haven't gotten a great pic of mine yet, but this photo from a site selling them shows you what I mean. Last but not least, I've added a river fish that I'm confident won't bother the shrimps: hillstream loaches, in this case the variety often sold as "Borneo suckers." They are Gastromyzon species, in my case I think one of G. ctenocephalus and the other G. scitulus. They tend to be mixed species groups in sellers' tanks (and the wild) and are not bred in captivity. Sadly, my LFS did a really terrible job getting them out of the tank—these guys are much more dedicated to being suctioned than suckermouth catfish are. The employee, who had never caught any before, was pushing the fish with his net on one side and then trying to pry the fish off with his finger/fingernail on the other side. It took a long time to net it and then took a long time again to transfer from the specimen container to the fish bag. One of them in particular lost a lot of its skin in the process, as you'll see in the picture below: We're calling that one Harvey (like Harvey Dent from Batman). I'm peeved with the LFS but I know they didn't realize how damaged the fish was. It took me a few days to notice how extensive it was. They can get very pale and when they do, these injuries are really hard to see. These fish like high flow (well, very high oxygenation moreso than actual flow) and I'm excited to give them a tank that meets their needs and shouldn't stress them with much serious competition for food. As a side note, you can see my biggest bamboo shrimp there. The two hillstream loaches were doing all kinds of hijinks on that big rock, carefully avoiding the bamboo shrimp who acted as if he didn't care or notice them at all. I may ultimately add one or two more hillstream loaches, but I don't have too many more plans for the tank. I'm hoping the tiger shrimps will breed, but they're more finicky than the neos and I'm not sure how eager they will be to breed at this temperature. We'll see how it goes.
  9. So is the mulberry itself nutritious or is it more of a good medium for beneficial biofilm growth? I'm thinking of using this (in part) to put in the path of my filter feeding shrimps, but I wonder if it is meant to be eaten in that way.
  10. It just depends on what kind of environment you're providing. I've had shrimps that are apparently clever enough to release their shrimplets in dense mats of moss. When there are places like that for them to hide, there are many more fish that just aren't likely to find them. There are fish like cichlids that in their nature just like to hunt things and incessantly peck around and aren't going to work with shrimp most of the time. But there are many other fish that aren't going to eat a shrimplet unless they just happen to bump into one...so the question becomes whether they will bump into one or not.
  11. My little tank of these guys is still going strong. They seem to breed continuously much like caridina/neos, though I think at a bit slower pace and smaller numbers of eggs. I would guess that there are at least 30 of them in the tank right now. I don't have a good way to know if any of them are from the original group I purchased. I rarely see any dead ones, but I do know that in general they like to pull any dead animals in the tank into a hiding spot for later consumption. I believe I have seen photos from Chris Lukhaup of a berried female, so I know I'm not the first to breed in captivity. With that said, almost all reports I can find online describe failures to keep these shrimps alive for long, let alone breeding them. There are some differences in my care compared to that many of these other keepers who struggled. The most consistent one: temperature. I don't know exactly where this came from, but most other accounts of keeping these shrimps involve matter-of-fact claims that the shrimps need very warm water, >80F. I can't find any published scientific basis for this claim (though that would be true of most fish and shrimp we keep in the hobby). What I can find is a published description of the collection sites for a study of this and a couple other species: This is from: Walker, I., & Ferreira, M. de N. (1985). On the population dynamics and ecology of the shrimp species (Crustacea, Decapoda, Natantia) in the Central Amazonian river Tarumã-Mirim. Oecologia, 66, 264–270. So the water in the habitats used for collections in this study are barely tropical in temperature. The tank I keep them in ranges from 76-78, depending on ambient conditions and the efficiency of the heater. It could be a coincidence that I've had such success at this temperature and others have struggled at higher temperatures. On the other hand, my conditions differ in significant ways from their natural habitat. I've begun using just the water from my tap, which has about 150ppm TDS, 5-6 dGH, 2-3 dKH, and settles at about 6.5 pH. Nitrates are always undetectable in this tank due to some dwarf water lettuce and moss. In fact, the tank water has fewer nitrates than my tap, which has 5-10ppm depending on the amount of runoff from the farms outside my city. But I found it difficult to maintain conditions using acid buffers and the like and I am not investing in an RO system (and I don't like the accumulation of empty distilled water jugs when I try to replenish with those). Importantly, the shrimps never seemed to mind one way or another when I did these things. Maybe they have their limitations in terms of the amount of water hardness and pH, but my tap doesn't push it. The article I cited also mentions in passing that for part of the year, their habitat can be somewhat turbid and with a fair amount of water flow (but not quite hillstream conditions). For my part, they just have a sponge filter, so very little flow whatsoever. They've even survived a few days when my cat chewed through the airline tubing when I was on vacation, thus stopping the filter entirely. My take on the shrimps is that they are very hardy since they have survived much of my experimentation and mistakes. Maybe there's something essential that once satisfied, leaves you with a tough fish. I'm reminded of otos in that way; if you can keep your otos over a month or so, you'll have happy and healthy otos that are indestructible for years. I would estimate that about 50% of the surface area of the bottom of this tank has driftwood on it or just over it. The shrimps spend most of their time hiding in and under the wood. They also go into the moss and under leaves I have in there. I do wonder if other keepers have provided so much cover. It often means that I can look at the tank and see no shrimps, but honestly I no longer have to spend much time looking before I see one or two. After a water change or after tossing some ground up flake food in there, I often see several, sometimes more than 10 at a time. I think they're quite funny, really, with some of the crankiness (and harmlessness) that dwarf crayfish have. FWIW, I tend to feed mostly ground up New Life Spectrum community flake on the basis of gut analyses showing they seem to be aufwuchs eaters with some preference for tiny crustaceans and insect larvae. They also like frozen brine shrimp quite a bit as I believe I posted long ago. But they take pretty much whatever I put in there. I also think they may be killing some bladder snails, but I can't prove it. What I can say is there are usually several empty bladder snail shells on the substrate and I have on several occasions seen a shrimp eating out of one of the shells. Surely they would eat a dead one if they came across it, so I can't say for sure whether the bladder snails starve to death and then are eaten or if they are actually killed by the shrimps. Soon I am planning to put them in a bit larger tank, which would have the side effect of letting me get a grip on how many there are. If I could be confident that I have plenty, I would think about selling some to someone serious about providing for them.
  12. I've finally gotten back to one of the tanks I had used to breed mystery snails and it was time to get all the excess plantings out so I can convert it to a display tank. The tank had three crypt species that all developed extensive runners, which are what I'm offering up. But first, a warning: my not-so-smart self did not bother to sort these plants out as I took them out of the tank and separated them. The species are all very closely related so in some cases I just cannot identify them with 100% confidence. The wendtii "red" is the easiest to identify and I have more becketii than undulata, but those two are especially similar. I can do my best to give you just the species you want, but know going in that if you would be really upset if you planted the wrong one in your tank, then this might not be the best deal for you. On the other hand, if you can identify the species better than me you get a really good deal. And if you want a mix, this is perfect. Everything is bare root and there are two basic "sizes": Small, starter type plants with just a few stems that are only a couple inches long and slightly more developed plants with several more stems and are 6+ inches long. I have them organized in bunches of 2-4 plants each, mostly bunches of 3. You will probably want to separate them and plant separately in your tank. These tanks never had pest snails, but you may spot a limpet or two. The tank has no history of nasty algaes like BBA, staghorn, or cyanobacteria. The plants were grown with low to moderate light with a sand-capped soil substrate but minimal nutrients in the water column. The more different your tank conditions are the more likely you will experience the infamous crypt melt (which makes the small plants a smart bet). The bunches of the small plants will be $3/each and the larger plants $4/each. Shipping will be a flat fee of $7 in the US via USPS priority mail. The more you buy the more likely it is I throw in free extras and/or give a discount. There are roughly 20 bunches of plants, mostly of the small type. If you would like to buy them all, you can buy them for $30 shipped. Unless I get a deal today, shipping will likely occur after Thanksgiving. I also have a mature rosette sword, the dwarf Amazon sword species. It is wider than it is tall, mainly because it's only a few inches tall but about 6 inches wide with many leaves. You can have it for $5 or at a little bit of a discount if you want it along with all of the crypts.
  13. Decided to grab some pics and videos after a water change yesterday. Two babies: My estimate, based on taking photos of them with a dime nearby, is that the largest babies are about 8mm long now. I dug up some old studies with captive breeding of these and in those cases they were born at 3.5-5mm, so that checks out. This does suggest that they are very slow growers, though! Here's a video of the guy in the first picture (sorry for all the refocusing, my camera does not like trying to focus on such a tiny subject): And here's an adult grabbing some seaweed I added. I put this in for the neos I have in there, but the Euryrhynchus go nuts for it. I suspect that while their wild diet doesn't involve algae, the tiny crustaceans they eat have themselves eaten algae and plant material, so their captive diet probably needs some of these vegetarian components.
  14. Oh and I just thought I would add that it is believed that these snails and their close relatives go through an aestivation (like hibernation) period in their wild habitats, probably associated with seasonal changes. It's tough to say what kinds of things could trigger that reflex in a captive snail, but my longest-lived snail certainly has had some stretches of time with very low activity.
  15. Tough to say. It's not at all uncommon for a healthy mystery snail to just decide it's time to go immobile for a few days. So there's nothing diagnostic about the way it's acting in these 2 minutes. It obviously snaps back into its shell because it doesn't like the shrimps touching its body to see if it's food! It looks like there must be food out, but if there hasn't been food added for a while (like 2 days), I've noticed that my snails are much more likely to just clam up and wait for better times. In these situations, I generally just leave them be. Usually, they end up coming out and doing their thing. If you suspect the shrimps or something else about the place they are is stressing them out, you can consider picking it up and moving it to a low traffic part of the tank. If it really is sick, there's not much you can do. Of the snails of mine that have met their demise, several spent quite a long time just on the ground, often not fully retreated into their shell. If it dies, it won't be difficult to tell after a short time. It will not stay in its shell and its body won't be firmly attached. It will start to lose its color. Importantly, if you touch it, it will not react at all. Typically it will stink quite a lot if it has been a couple days. My usual practice if I have found one that has just died is to place it in the freezer for 24 hours. This gives me reassurance that if it was just barely alive when I found it, it will have slowly been lulled into a sleep state and then had its misery ended. Also makes it less likely that some dangerous bacteria or parasite brews in my household while I wait to take the animal to the garbage. But let's not jump to any conclusions! It's probably fine, I would assume.
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