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My experiences with cherry shrimp (& copepods)


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Hi, I would just like to vent about the money I've flushed down the toilet on these shrimp. I know I'm probably not alone. :)


My challenge has always been getting them to breed and keeping the females alive until the eggs hatch. It's supposed to be as "easy" as dumping an odd number of mixed sexes into a mature tank, but it's never been that way for me. I managed to get one berried female in a 10 gallon tank with pygmy sunfish several years back, but it disappeared near hatching time; no sign of it or babies. Eventually, I couldn't justify the price of each shrimp relative to the short life span and unreliable breeding, so I gave up on them until I found a used 7 gallon 2-3 years ago. I maintained a healthy colony of <10 for several months, but still no breeding. I test the water during weekly changes and ammonia/nitrate/nitrate never rose about .5-.10 ppm. But perhaps that was enough. I bought more from time to time to hopefully encourage some breeding activity and lucked upon a berried female that gave birth in that tank, but I never got any other babies.


I took the colony of ~20 with me to a new place 6 months ago. My homemade water bottle filter fell apart about 3 months in, dumping detritus throughout the tank and spiking parameters. I lost about half the colony over time, but I had at least one mature male left to <4 mature females. I saw lots of dropped eggs, even after I got parameters back to normal. Then, they seemed to stop breeding at all.


I tried more hiding spots by adding cholla and hardy foxtail. They liked the scenery, but not enough to breed. About 2 weeks ago, I got 4 rilli's from a locally-owned place for a decent price. Two died, despite drip acclimation, and two females I owned for months died suddenly, too. I tested the water again, since I always test a few days before adding new stock, and nitrate and nitrate were in the low-mid-ranges. The fish hadn't been fed, nothing else had died beforehand that I could see and I never add pet store water to tank water, so can't explain how that happened.


A few water changes and everything was back to normal. The female rilli's lost their saddles after they shed, but no eggs. Mr. No-action is still thriving in the tank, so I figure the problem must be him. To top it off, there was a noticeable increase in shrimp waste floating throughout the water, far too much for 3 shrimp. Except, it's not waste, it's bugs. 😑 Copepods, according to my research, that could only have come from the rilli's.


After all was said and done, I had two mature, saddled females and one male who won't mate with them. I was thinking of giving up again on cherries until I spotted a few in a ghost shrimp tank today at Petco. No price attached. The associate said they were shipped in by accident, so he gave me all 5 cherries for $2.50 (!!!) Sign from above not to give up? I'll take it. But is there any way to get rid of the copepods?


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