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Critique my chemistry for sulawesi shrimp

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I have spent tons of $$$ trying to keep sulawesi shrimp and unfortunately I am still inexplicably drawn to them. I have tried a few different setups which ultimately ended up not being able to maintain the proper parameters for these shrimp.  I am thinking about trying one more time and I think this tank might be able to do it but I wanted to get some opinions from those who are successful before I spend the money.


pH: 8.4

dKH: 3.36 (converted from 60 ppm)

GH: 180

Ammonia: 0

Nitrate: 0

Nitrite: 0


The substrate is aragonite and I have just been doing water changes with tap because this tank used to have some fish in it. I have sulawesi mineral 8.5 on hand if needed but maybe I don't? The main problem my other tanks had was that I could not keep the pH up and GH and KH at the proper levels. Since this tank seems to be stable, I'm hopeful I might be onto something.

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What do you have in the tank...post pics please.

I kept my cardinals for 18 months before selling them off. I had crushed coral for substrate (I guess your aragonite is the same thing) and I had red lava rocks arranged in cave formations as the décor...nothing else except a sponge filter and hob.

I didn't have any plants at all. Over the 1st year I bred them slowly, and found that they had very

small batches of eggs, I got about 3 to 5 babies only. They hid constantly and only really came out at

nighttime. They didn't eat anything that other shrimps eat, just biofilm off the rocks and filter.

Eventually I put a small piece of moss in the tank to see what would happen, and un-intentionally added

a baby yellow neo who was in the moss to this tank. After I realized he could handle the high PH 8.6

I left him in there and slowly put some bits of algae wafer out for him to eat. What happened next blew me away...the cardinals started coming out more and were eating the algae wafer too!

What I learned from my experience was that they have some sort of symbiotic relationship with the big

Sulawesi Rabbit snails...some people say they eat the snails poop...gross, but I think it might be true

as they seemed to thrive after I added these snails. The snails also increased in population, 1 baby

around 2 months at a time.

So here's my parameters:

PH 8.4-8.6 the crushed coral and lava rocks keep it stable.

Tap water with conditioner no extra minerals, they seem to get what they need from the crushed coral which is full of calcium etc.

Heater set at 86F they like very warm water.

Sponge filter for biofilm, as well as the lava rocks.

HOB filter for increased filtration as they are susceptible to bacteria and need extremely clean water.

Sulawesi Rabbit Snail for company and some sort of symbiotic relationship.

Don't approach the tank quickly as they dart away, use a red bulb at nighttime if you want to see them

come out more.

Food is biofilm off the rocks/filter, but I did get them to finally eat some algae wafers, nothing else

there might be special food now for Sulawesi, but at my time there wasn't and people didn't know much

about these unique shrimps.

Neos can handle both the high PH and high Temp very easily, and can be a companion to them, but only a few.

Hope you can find something of value in my experience with them...I truly loved them!

I also kept Blue nose posos, the Red Cheeks and Starlight types, but wanted more than anything to try

the Harlequins, but no one had them.

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I have heard about the use of the rabbit snails to get the sulawesi shrimp comfortable but never about using neos. That's very interesting and I will definitely try it if I get the sulawesi shrimp again.  The tank is pretty basic and just has a sponge filter, some rock and a few floating plants like hornwort. What GH and KH do/did you have for the sulawesi shrimp? In previous attempts those were two parameters I also had trouble keeping stable and at the proper level.

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to be honest I never bothered to check GH/KH...yep Im one of those people who just leave the tank alone and if no one dies I just keep the tank nice and comfy for them.


I did not use RO I used straight tap water PH 7.6 here, but with the crushed coral and lava rock the PH goes above 8 very quickly. I used Kordon Aqua Plus for water conditioner and that was it.  Nothing fancy...as long as the water was warm they survived and bred.


I lost 10 of them right off the bat the first time I tried to keep them....couldn't figure out what I had done wrong, so went to the web and researched every (and I mean EVERY) inch of it for information on how to keep these alive.  What I found was as I did above, the less tampering with the tank the better.  Just make sure no ammonia spikes and that the water is warm, clean and high PH....


I do believe that when they saw the little yellow shrimp out in the open actively feeding and foraging, they felt there were NO predators around, and that made them comfortable enough to come out more often.  I could even sit in front of the tank and stare at them after that and they didn't run and hide.   I made sure I had enough cave structures with slate bridges for them to hang underneath (which they seemed to like to do a lot)   The babies were identical to the parents, just tiny replicas of them....soo cool!

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  • 3 months later...

So I have been researching this more and more lately and have seen some really varied parameters reported by people who keep Sulawesi shrimp. I have at least one person say they keep them in a GH of 9 which is somewhat close to my GH which is about 11. The KH seems to be generally near 4-5, mine is 3.


If anyone else has anything to add I'd love to hear what you have to say. IDK, maybe I need to take the GH down?

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It depends on which species of Sulawesi shrimp you are keeping. Cardinal shrimp from my experience can tolerate a wider range of parameters as long as the they are acclimated slowly. Find out what parameters your source is keeping them in and aim for that. The most important factor with them is stability and yes, they are are bolder when in numbers. They will become much bolder as your colony grows. 

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I keep my sulawesi's in 15 gallon tanks currently with ecocomplete substrate and salty shrimp sulawesi mineral 7.5 or 8.5 (different tanks). The temp is about 80-83. I use glasgarten bacter AE for biofilm and feed them snowflake food and CSF omnipro which they both readily eat. I have also been adding some glasgarten baby food as well and I assume they are eating it but it's harder to tell.

Currently I have cardinals, yellow cheek, yellow nose, harlequins, red orchid, 6 band blue bees, and a couple other species. I imported them a week ago so I don't know the long term success I will have but they are eating and today I saw 4 or 5 tiny babies in the tank and had less then 5 deaths I have seen in the last 5 days (of probably 800-1000+ shrimp).

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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  • 2 months later...

I keep a couple of wild type neos with my cardinals, they learn from them . I call them training shrimp. I keep my parameters slightly differnt than what most sights suggest. I keep the parameters

ph 7.8

temp 81 +/- 1°

tds 230

Kh 6-7

Gh 12

Everything else 0.

Stable water is most important not trying to match other water parameters. The guy I got min from breeds them and has thousands of them. He keeps his water at about ph 7.6 7.7 . Mine are out all the time now after getting used to tank, don't flinch from me at all. I use salty shrimp 8.5 but only mix it to make it the 7.8 and tds around 130 the rest of tds comes from substrate, rocks. Ect. Did have a problem with red lava rock I bought from a LFS that raised the tds to 1400, and killed about 10 of these shrimp, so the only volcanic stone I have now is from sulawesi.They eat snowflake food without learning. I also use GlasGarten bacter ae and GlasGarten shrimp dinner (they had to be taught to eat the shrimp dinner). They eat the slime trails of snails as well.I also use ecocomplete and black diamond 20/40 grit. If anyone is selling any sulawesi species in the spring I'm looking to get white orchid/starry night or harliquin or both or more hehe.

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