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New and needing advice!


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Hi, new to the forum and hoping for advice and honest opinions.


Long experience of cold water community fish keeping but no hands on experience of shrimp.


I have a spare 45 gallon (170 litre) which I'm cycling with a spare canister filter seeded with media from one of my other tanks. No heater and tank temps here are currently around the 68f, can raise this but would prefer to not use a heater if possible.


Now I plan on planting it rather heavily with the usual cold water plants, Amazon sword, anubias etc plus grow a moss carpet over at least a third of the floor, sand substrate, some wood rock and driftwood. I fancy my hand at aquascaping.


but the real reason is to keep shrimp, preferably three different colour/type colonies that won't interbreed, happy in the natural temps I get here.


I have already done a huge amount of reading but it's easy to get lost in the detail. I know shrimp are sensitive so I do not want to stock the tank too soon, prepared to wait months if needed, to get the set up right.


Do I need to wait until the moss carpet is fully grown before introducing the shrimp?

Should I let the tank mature for a certain number of weeks or months after cycling is complete? Feeding with fish food to keep the BB going

which three types would folks recommend for cold Water?

How many can I introduce at a time?


Finally, do shrimp appreciate a strong flow from a filter? I have a prefilter sponge ready for the intake but yet to find out if I need to buffer the outflow to reduce the current, it's quite strong with an open pipe, enough to make a crater in the sand.


thank you in anticipation

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Hi and welcome to the forum! I’ll answer your questions based on my experience and from what I’ve learned through watching many shrimp youtubers and compiling things they all, or most, do similarly.


1. You don’t need to wait until the moss carpet is fully grown, but it would help to provide extra grazing area. My belief is that the more plants you provide, the more natural food sources and hiding places you’re providing for your shrimp. Less plants and driftwood means you may have to feed more or provide more light for algae and microorganism growth, but shrimps are natural scavengers and don’t need a lot of food to survive. The fact you’re planning on heavily planting the tank is much more than most shrimp breeders do from what I see and they’re still very successful. Your shrimp sound like they’ll do well based on the amount of plants you’ll be providing.


2. Just like fish, the longer you let the tank cycle, the better the chances of your shrimps surviving, thriving and reproducing faster. The easiest answer would be to get a freshwater test kit and check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. As long as the levels are low indicating the BB are filtering the wastes in the water your tank should be good for shrimp.


3. Water temperature isn’t actually as important for shrimp as they are for fish, to a certain extent. It’s actually recommended (from what I’ve heard) to not have a heater in the tank if it’s not needed because of the risk of them malfunctioning. Shrimp are most sensitive to drastic changes, so a rapid shift in temp of several degrees is more harmful than a gradual shift. Higher temperatures will increase the shrimp’s metabolic rate, meaning they’ll eat more, grow faster, reproduce faster, and die faster. On the other hand, low temperatures generally will slow the shrimp’s metabolic rate, so they’ll eat less, grow and reproduce slower, but will live longer, and I’ve even heard (not confirmed) that they’ll grow larger in low temperatures because they’re not being “pushed” into sexual maturity so quickly. So maintaining a consistent temp is best. 


On a side note to that, water hardness is the most important water parameter in determining which shrimp you can keep. Are you using tap water? If so, I’d recommend getting a GH and KH test kit and testing it. Neocaridina like hard water (high GH and KH) but are pretty tolerant of a wide range of parameters, and Caridina like soft water (low GH and little to no KH), but there are some Caridina species that like hard water (most tiger shrimps), some that’re fairly tolerant of a wider range of parameters (tangerine tigers and crystal shrimp), and most that absolutely need soft water. If you have hard water, you can put in 1 type/color of Neocaridina (red cherry shrimp, yellows, oranges, etc.), a Caridina species like most tigers except tangerine tigers, and possibly one of the other genus of shrimps that I’m not as familiar with, and they won’t interbreed. I currently have red cherry shrimp with my orange eye royal blue tigers, and I have Sulawesi cardinal shrimp with green jade Neocaridina and they’re all breeding (Sulawesis are very finicky and can be difficult to keep so I wouldn’t recommend them). 


4. Since you have a large tank, I’d recommend at least 15-20. Bigger tanks are always better because it keeps water parameters more stable and wastes don’t build up as fast, but the only issue with big tanks is that if you don’t have enough shrimp, the males can’t find the females and breed with them. When shrimps breed females molt and have a time window that they can be fertilized. They’ll release a hormone in the water that tells the male shrimps that there’s a female ready to breed so they go nuts looking for her. Problem is that she’ll actively hide and swim away from any male shrimp that tries to breed with her, so if the tank’s too big and you don’t have enough males the female may be able to hide and not get pregnant (shrimps can be weird sometimes lol). Rule of thumb I heard and agree with to an extent is you can comfortably keep 10 shrimp/1 gallon, so you could honestly add a lot of shrimp to your tank at once, especially because you have a lot of plants and a seeded canister filter (I use simple small sponge filters lol). Shrimp produce very little waste, and I’ve heard stories of shrimp tanks crashing because they don’t produce enough waste to sustain the BB in the filters, so I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that unless you’re thinking of adding several hundred shrimp at one time.


5. Shrimp actually prefer low flow. Their natural habitat is slow moving streams and rivers, and they’re not very strong creatures, so they may hide or cling to the plants in your tank if there’s too much flow. 


Hope that helps and isn’t too much for you to read 😅 again, this is just my opinion and what’s worked for me. Other people may do it differently and have the same or more success than me. If you have any questions or something that I didn’t explain well feel free to ask!



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Welcome to the hobby :D Neocaridina are the entry level shrimp that are quite hardy especially when you start with healthy quality stock and the right setup/parameters. You won't need a heater, but you will need to know your parameters, I presume your tank setup will be geared towards Neocaridina (popular beginner shrimp) You can keep various colors together but when breeding, they will produce pale or muddled/brown color babies. The way to avoid this with Neocaridina is to keep only 1 color instead of mixing. Shrimp can accept or tolerate parameters outside of their ideal, but they won't thrive or reproduce AS well as when you give them the prime target of parameters and setup. Shrimp do enjoy flow but not so much that they have to struggle against it,and yes you will need a prefilter as babies will get sucked into the filter. Months of cycling is not needed for Neocaridina. Just make sure its fully cycled. In a 45 gallon I'd suggest a minimum of 20 shrimp, but it depends on your goals or personal preference. 10 shrimp will be hard to see in a 45 gallon so you'll have to wait awhile before the colony grows. For tank setup I suggest watching a setup video for Neocaridina Shrimp on youtube. Start with testing your water and work from there. A few important tips- establish the ideal parameters, and cycle the tank, buy healthy quality shrimp (no import neos) do NOT use shrimp soil if your setting up for neocaridina(soil is meant for caridina/soft water environment)use inert substrate, have patience :D

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Oh I have oodles of patience!


A few pieces to answer. I have an RO unit at home and test kit so can tailor the hard tap water to whatever it needs to be and have a fresh water master test kit. Both used regularly for the other tanks, in my view if you can't keep fish in the nearest to perfect environment then you shouldn't be keeping them in the first place. Strong words I know but when I see goldies in bowls it breaks my heart.


The tank will most likely be cycled within another week if not sooner but I think I would rather plant it up and monitor it for a few weeks to feel safe.


I think I shall dig out a spray bar and see how the flow affect the plants, to ensure it is low and won't be detrimental to the shrimp.


Considering I'm just dipping my toe into the waters of shrimp, after reading your kind replies, I have decided to stick with red cherry for now and get some experience under my belt.


Last questions - if I started with 20, how quickly would they reproduce in the tank at 68f? Having experience of live bearers I don't want to end up overrun with shrimp in a short space of time!


And do shrimp stick to the bottom of the tank or can I provide mid to top level decor, say a bogwood tree with moss/plants for them to graze?


Thanks again guys for your quick replies!

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Awesome! Having an RO unit and remineralizing the water will give you the best results and keep water parameters consistent when doing water changes. Not sure if you found a remineralizer yet, but I’ve been using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ for my Neocaridina. I definitely agree with your statement. I’m a vet student and the hardest thing for me about the profession is seeing people who don’t take good care of their pets and knowing there isn’t much I can do to change that. 


If you get them as juveniles (most hobbyist breeders sell juvies because they ship and adapt better than adults) I’ve noticed they can start breeding as early as 2 or 3 weeks after receiving them. They grow fairly quickly and if conditions are ideal they can breed pretty quickly, and once one gets berried, the others usually follow pretty quickly. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about overcrowding happening too quickly, but when I got my first shrimp (also cherry shrimp) I had them in one of those small, long ADA bookshelf tanks and they overran the tank within half a year if I remember correctly. I moved them to a 30 gallon and they exploded and filled the tank in a year or year and a half I think. If you start with a good source, you can probably sell extras to a pet store or to any friends if that ever becomes an issue. 


They’ll pretty much explore anywhere around the tank where they can hang on to, so the more surface area you provide the better. If you were to put a tree with moss and plants they’ll definitely spend some time there grazing. 


Glad to help!

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I come from a veterinary background, didn't follow exactly in the family footsteps but animals are certainly in my blood! I now work for an animal charity and see cruelty and neglect cases all too often, mostly due to ignorance and folks lack of sufficient research before acquiring a pet.


Currently I don't remineralise for the community tanks, just mix tap and RO until Gh and Kh are suitable for the inhabitants, I will look into the salty shrimp remineralizer though, so thank you.


I shall enquire at my lfs around selling or passing on any extras if the time comes, I have not seen red cherry shrimp in there so maybe it will work - they are a local family run store and I'm all in favour of supporting that over the chain pet stores.


Now it's time to get planting! No doubt I'll be back with questions at some point, I will be sure to keep you updated!




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That’s awesome! You definitely don’t need to be a vet to make a difference in animal welfare and education. It’s definitely unfortunate that there are still so many mistreated animals that are punished for doing things that come naturally to them, but I’ve noticed a lot of popularity with “Pettubers” and I always see posts on Facebook about a dog or cat doing something funny, crazy or cute, so it seems that the US is definitely trending in the right direction with animal welfare.


No problem! Cherries are pretty hardy so your method may work for them as well, but when I was in college the city I was in had extremely high levels of chlorine and I heard that the water treatment plants don’t need to inform the public of many of the chemicals they put in the water, so the parameters of the tap can vary. Fish seem to be less sensitive to chlorine but shrimp absolutely can’t stand it. I lost some shrimp at first until realizing about my tap water, so I’ve stuck with RO and remineralizer ever since. It can be expensive, especially for a large tank like yours, so I would say it’s not necessary, but will benefit you much more if you decide to go that route.


I’m sure they’d love to take your shrimp, especially if they’re good quality. If anything you can ask for store credit or exchange for aquarium supplies as a way to support your hobby and save a little while helping your LFS 👍 definitely keep us updated! Hope all goes well!

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I just had to share this as it made me laugh out loud!


Decided to enter my set up on aqadvisor.com, for 100 CRS:


Aquarium filtration capacity 798%

Recommended weekly water change 0%

Aquarium stocking level 5%


After I finished laughing I suddenly thought - what if the BB just crash due to the lack of waste products to process?



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Lol yea shrimp produce very little waste, which can be awesome because you can have a bunch of shrimp in a tank and not have to worry as much about overstocking compared to fish. I have heard of that happening, but never experienced it for myself. Personally, I keep snails in every one of my tanks for several reasons. 1) they produce more waste than the shrimps and can help to maintain the BB. 2) they help to remove any extra uneaten food, dead plants, and dead shrimp that I may not see to keep waste levels down. 3) the shrimp also seem to like to eat the snail's poop so they also serve as an additional source of food for the shrimps to graze on. 


Not too sure if someone else on this forum has had experience with this or has solutions to be able to maintain the BB with a smaller population of shrimps? The only other thing I can think of is to occasionally overfeed to produce more of those waste products, but I feel that can be a bit risky. Hope this helps in some way! 

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I keep malaysian trumpet snails and ramshorn snails and they breed like crazy lol so I wouldn't recommend them. Nerites should be fine. In a larger and well-established tank like yours maybe the shrimp will breed so quickly that they'll populate fast enough to maintain the BB? However, I haven't heard of a tank crashing due to an issue like this so maybe it's not that common?

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I guess I shall soon find out! Tank is now cycled, so I'll be planting up over the next week. I think I'll then pop a few Danios or WCMMs in from another tank just to keep it ticking over before I buy the shrimp, they will be the babies but I'm sure they will keep the BB going.


Also need to move the tank, I've decided I want it next to where I sit of an evening so I can get to know the shrimp a little better!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well what a couple of weeks it has been!


I had the tank all planted, cycled and set up. Struggled to find RCS locally so was advised of a breeder who would ship them to me with an arrive alive guarantee, highly recommended etc etc.


So being the cautious type, I just ordered 10, to arrive on a specific day when I knew I would be home. I was very apprehensive at ordering to be delivered through the mail but it seemed the best option.


Lo and behold, a whole drama ensued. My step son called in a panic, saying his tank had been smashed (accident, long story) and his whole stock were in buckets, filter down for hours so no idea if it was useable. So at 9.30pm that night we drained the shrimp tank, dismantled it and rushed it over to him. Thankfully all the fish survived.


BUT the shrimp were due the very next day. And all I had was an old 5 gallon fry tank available. I stuffed the small HOB filter with media from another tank, used decor from the long lost shrimp tank, dosed with Seachem Stability and Prime and had a sleepless night.


The shrimp arrived on time, wonderfully packaged with a huge ball of java moss included, only 9 but all alive. Drip acclimated them and transferred them to the 5 gal. AND they disappeared for 2 days!


Now, almost a week later I have nine happy little guys and gals, to my utter amazement! Four have already moulted, that I can see. I believe I have three males and six females. The tank has thrown up a whole load of detritus worms (not planaria) and copepods and I have also added one nerite, mainly to make me feel more comfortable about the BB.


Parameters have stayed SO stable I have been testing twice a day as I don't believe the results. Same test kit with other tanks produces predicted results so I know it's reliable. 


Now the larger tank has gone, I'm thinking I'd like to transfer these guys to a smaller tank than that, primarily to have room for another tank to scape and perhaps try a different colour neo. But larger than the 5 gal, it's going ok but I can't have the plants I want and I understand 5 is the minimum anyway.


Phew, pass me a beer!





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  • 5 weeks later...

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