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VickyChaiTea

Resources for Genetics?

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Hey all. Long time fishkeeper, new shrimp keeper. I decided I wanted to start breeding Neocaridina in my new 10 gallon. Long story short I got some shrimp but they're much lower grade than I was expecting and now I'm also questioning exactly what I'll get if I just have a tank full of a single color. (Will they breed true?) I'm going to replace these shrimp with better stock. They were supposed to be "Orange Sakura" but they're all brown and... all female. :I

 

So that lead me to looking for resources about genetics. What colors are dominant, recessive, etc. If colors will breed true or if I have to mix certain colors to achieve a desired color. But!! I literally cannot find anything.

 

I'm aware of that chart that shows colors coming from other colors but... it doesn't tell you if you need to be mixing anything to GET these colors. Or if they'll eventually breed into a different color or whatever. Just an arrow pointing from one to the other.

 

My personal goal WAS just to breed orange shrimp. I'm not interested in blues or yellows... MAYBE your standard reds. But my idea was to breed them then sell the offspring to my work.

 

So any resources would be extremely helpful!

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Hi @VickyChaiTea! I’m not sure if I’m completely understanding your question, so I’ll answer and let me know if I interpreted it wrong. The Neocaridina genetics chart shows arrows pointing to different shrimps indicating that those colors were derived from the previous color that the arrow came from. For example, in the process of trying to mass produce the red cherry shrimp to sell, someone got lucky and managed to create a genetic mutation that resulted in a cherry shrimp that had some red and some blue coloration to it. The breeder then selected/chose all the shrimp from that batch that had any bit of blue coloration and bred them over many generations and kept selecting for shrimp that had more and more blue, and less and less red. Over time it resulted in the production of a completely blue shrimp. 

 

The fact that all the arrows originate from a single color, such as the cherry shrimp, implies that the colors are genetic mutations that arose by continually breeding cherries and selecting for those that had desirable traits, i.e. different coloration. Some shrimp, such as green neos, can be produced by mixing orange and yellow shrimp, or you may be able to breed orange shrimp so much to a point where a genetic mutation is likely to occur producing a slightly more green shrimp. Sometimes genetics aren’t as simple as combining two colors to get a completely unique color, most of the time it’s just breeding a shrimp until you get a different color and selecting for that color over several generations. 

 

The same can be applied to the many dog breed we have. They’re all the same species and derived from wolves, but they underwent CENTURIES of selective evolution (driven by humans) to produce the many different physical traits (phenotypes) we see today, even though they’re fairly similar genetically. They may have started with wolves and then after breeding them noticed some babies that had more fluffy coats and smaller bodies, and they thought those would be better for human use so they bred more of those dogs. The trade off to selective breeding like this is that we’ve selected for traits that aren’t “natural” and normally would be selected against in the wild, which is why most domestic dogs can’t survive if they were placed in a natural forest. This is oversimplified of course, but I’m trying to relate it to shrimp genetics. Also, by selecting only a few individuals to breed and then breeding the offspring, you run into inbreeding, which is why every breed of dog has some sort of medical issue that they are predisposed to simply due to the genetics of that breed.

 

Back to shrimp, you may be able to combine two different colors to get a completely new color, but by diluting the genetic pool you’ll most likely get a lot of wild, brown-colored shrimp at first (evolution selects for traits that favor survivability and the brown color makes them camouflage better in their environment and avoid predation). However, if you notice a cool new colored shrimp from your breeding, you can take that shrimp out and others that look similar to it, breed them, remove the brown and less-colorful looking ones, and over many generations you may develop a new color of shrimp. It’s a lot of luck, dedication, and timing to produce new strains and colors of shrimp. I plan to do it myself, but only once I get large populations of the same shrimps so that I’m not throwing all my nice shrimp into a tank and possibly risk only getting less-colorful, wild looking shrimp and losing the good genetics of the parents. Hope that made sense. If not feel free to ask! 

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Long story short, based on your situation, if you want just orange neos and for them to produce mostly orange babies, I would suggest just buying orange neos from a reputable source and sticking with them. I say this because most Neocaridina are readily available and fairly cheap. Because they’re easy to breed you can generally find high quality neos online fairly easily. Most people here will suggest homebred shrimp above all else, which I agree to an extent, but there are also importers who have established good processes or have good sources through years of experience. My go-to online sources for shrimp are Flip Aquatics, Joe’s Aquatics, Blue Crown Aquatics, and BuyPetShrimp, all of which are importers that I have full confidence in. Flip Aquatics does a 30 day quarantine on all shrimp to screen for diseases and 100% guarantees live arrival. 

 

Not sure if you bought your shrimp from a LFS, but I’ve found the quality to be much better from online retailers, including hobbyists, and they’re also usually cheaper and healthier. That being said, since all neos are pretty common and readily available, I’d recommend looking for homebred shrimp (neos also tend to carry diseases much more frequently because of how they’re raised overseas and simply because their cheap cost usually means breeders won’t put as much money and effort into maintaining them). You can look on Aquabid for USA bred shrimp. They’re usually more expensive, but you usually get what you pay for if you find a seller with good reviews. Almost forgot to mention, but there are GREAT breeders here on Shrimp Spot that sell high-quality, homebred shrimp. They’re very passionate about the hobby, very knowledgeable, eager to help and provide info on what they do that made them so successful. I got shrimp from Shrimp Life and TGOE (the garden of Eder) and highly recommend them as well.

 

Unless you’re super into the idea of experimenting and working to produce your own color/pattern (me lol), I’d recommend just getting the color you want. Usually experimenting and cross breeding requires more tank space and attentiveness to select for specific qualities. Also, because you’ll be producing a lot of undesirable shrimp in the process of creating those first one or two new ones, you’ll have to find something to do with them. Most people won’t buy a shrimp that looks like a wild type. Personally, I don’t like killing animals unless absolutely necessary (to end pain and suffering for example), so I’m planning to have a display tank with small fish for all my undesirable/cull shrimp so they can live their lives without affecting my “good” shrimp and they might breed and produce a cool shrimp every once and a while. 

 

Sorry for the long post, I’m a vet student, so animals are my passion and I’m super interested in evolution and behavior so I just started typing without really thinking lol

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Thank you so much for the answer, guys. I had a few concerns but it seems my original intent was correct: get orange shrimp breed orange shrimp. I just had a low quality source unfortunately. I do intend to buy from a hobbyist honestly, if I can't then I'll buy from an online retailer.

 

I was getting discouraged, I started to hear things like my oranges would always eventually breed into a different color, etc. So thank you for your time!

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1 hour ago, VickyChaiTea said:

Thank you so much for the answer, guys. I had a few concerns but it seems my original intent was correct: get orange shrimp breed orange shrimp. I just had a low quality source unfortunately. I do intend to buy from a hobbyist honestly, if I can't then I'll buy from an online retailer.

 

I was getting discouraged, I started to hear things like my oranges would always eventually breed into a different color, etc. So thank you for your time!

 

There is a possibility that your oranges may throw reds, greens, or wild type shrimps that look more brown, but that depends more so on the quality of your source. If you get them from a poor source, the shrimp may not breed true, meaning you’ll get less oranges and more different colored babies. The problem with this is, someone may sell orange adults that look great, but they have poor genetics so they won’t produce as many full orange babies. This can make it difficult because shrimps that look identical may not be the same quality simply because of their genetics. 

 

Your thinking is what I would suggest as well. Try to find a reputable hobbyist first who has lots of reviews and shows pictures of their shrimp so you have more confidence that they have bred the shrimp enough so that the majority of the babies should look just like the parents (this takes a lot of time so the good breeders are those that have bred several generations). Not sure if @Shrimp Life is selling orange neos? If you are unable to find a hobbyist selling oranges that you can trust, I highly recommend Flip Aquatics. Not only do they do the 30 day quarantine that I mentioned, but he’s pretty popular on YouTube and now sponsored by some big companies. This means you can watch videos and see the actual shrimp you’d be ordering! Pictures can be a bit tricky and misleading in some cases, so seeing numerous videos of the shrimp made me feel pretty confident that what I’m seeing is what I’ll get (most of the time they’ve been nicer than how they look). Ordered many times from him and never had any DOAs.

 

Glad to help and good luck! 

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