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Shrimp Food - Pros and Cons

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Hi Everyone,


I recently received my OEBT from Wyzazz (thank you very much!!). Before receiving these shrimps, I have ordered Shrimp King 5-in-1. When I added them in my tank, I did not feed them anything on the first day. The reason? They were intensely grazing on my large cholla wood and driftwood. The tank is matured and have tons of biofilm (you can actually see the biofilms). Anyways, on the second day, I tried feeding the Complete. I dropped one pellet (just to try) on the feeding glass. No one touched it except the snails. Yesterday I tried the Mineral. Again, the pellet is still untouched. I am beginning to think that they do prefer biofilm than commercial food. 


Well, this make sense since biofilms are their natural food. But, this can be bad for one reason. First, I have read a published paper about crustacean. There are three factors that affects the coloration of crustacean: genetics, food and background. For genetics, I think that they are pretty solid (I believe in Wyzazz's OEBT genetic pool). As for the background, I have dark substrate and low lighting. Food will be a problem as I just mentioned that they may not like commercial food. I read another published paper where they studied the effect of food in shrimp coloration ( I think they did the study using Cherry shrimp). Turns out that commercial food help aid on coloration while natural food did not do anything.


I have been reading published paper to help my shrimp keeping hobby (I have a background in science and engineering). I know that shrimp keeping is not like plug-and-chug then everything will workout, but rather trial-and-error. Anyways, I read about the use of probiotics in shrimp aquaculture. They mainly use probiotics to minimize bacterial infection and increase/advance gut action for shrimp. Anti-bacterial medication is heavily used in aquaculture, which is very detrimental. This is true for humans as well. Throwing pills on garbage or misuse of the drugs will cause genetic mutation in bacteria which will bring stronger strain. Anyways, I have been very curious about the use of probiotics as a natural remedy for bacterial infection for shrimp.


I have OEBT which has a weak immune system. I know that there are shrimp foods that have probiotics that are in the market already like Bacter AE and Magic Powder. I am actually interested in Bacter AE. However, as I furthered my search, I have stumbled on few complains about Bacter AE. Many have reported about A/N/N increase after using Bacter AE despite using less than recommended. A lot of people said that this is due to over feeding. This is true but the mentality behind it is wrong. Here are my reasons:


Amino acids, polysaccarides, xylanase, glucanase, amylase, protease, hemicellulase, Bacillus subtilis, Pediococcus acidilactici (Lactobacillus)


As you can see, these are the ingredients in Bacter AE. Amino acids and protease are nitrogen source. The rest besides these and Bacillus/Pediococcus are carbon source. My hypothesis is that all of these are "food" for the probiotics. Many people are forgetting that these are live organisms as well just like shrimps. They eat and produce waste as well. I do not know the ratio of the "food" to the bacteria. But I am guessing that bacteria count is way way lower that the "food." If this is true, this can mean few things: probiotics or bad bacteria are producing rapidly. If you see bacterial infection signs such as discoloration, then you have bad bacteria bloom. Lastly, as probiotics being organisms, this means that they can also be source of nitrogen. When they die, they will decompose and likely be consume by other bacteria.


Anyways, I just want to share information. I would likely try and add very very very tiny amount of probiotics from a pill for human consumption, which have less stuff and more probiotics. P.S. My tank has no bacterial infection just to be clear. I just want to enhance my shrimps' life if possible.


Thanks for reading. And feel free to leave comments and/or opinions.

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Overdosing Bacter AE is a valid concern. I've done it myself. Almost wiped out an entire colony. Interesting theory you have there. I know one of the strains in Bacter AE is bacillus subtilis...which is often found in probiotic supplements and yogurts as well as certain organic "insecticides". Not sure what other strains of bacteria are in there, maybe Lactobacillus Acidophilus? If that's the case, Bacter AE is pretty much just dried up yogurt with additives.

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Yeahhh, this hobby is a whole lot of trial and error, which is why I stopped buying new color variations of shrimp until I stabilize what I am currently breeding. Also commercial food will color up fish and shrimp due to the carotenoid pigments within the food. Most of the time its astaxanthin which is listed within the ingredients list, but there are other pigments including some for blue and green etc, but those are harder to procure within commercial fish food; the natural foods used within those studies may not be high enough in those to show a difference, but will still result in healthy shrimp. There are also certain amounts of pigments which are required in their normal diet for them to show their best colors at least within fishes. https://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/the-right-amount-of-astaxanthin-to-raise-colorful-fish . It probably applies to shrimp as well, but I haven't really looked into it as I know astaxanthin high foods would work for my red shrimp if I wanted to feed them it.


I stopped using bacter AE a long time ago because whenever I used it my shrimp would start dying a few days later shrimp. I used really small amounts, but now I simply avoid the stuff. I run bare bottom tanks for the most part with floating duckweed, btw so theres not too much of a buffer in ammonia spikes. Shrimp naturally have a low bioload which means that there won't be that many nitrate producing bacteria allowing ammonia levels to spike if they are suddenly given a larger abundance of food, so I am 100% sure over feeding can easily destroy a colony as most shrimp are kept in small tanks which prevent dilution effects from occurring and ammonia will not be converted very fast. The mentality surrounding bacter AE maybe wrong currently,  in my opinion it doesn't make that much of a difference for us because we know the end result, which is adding too much will destroy your colony and due to that risk people including me will shy away from that product. If shrimp are in a planted tank they can be fed more often due to the fact plants like to absorb ammonia over nitrates and nitrites, but the plants will also require other nutrients as well such as potassium and carbon if they are going to be running full speed basically.


Probiotics may or may not be good, I am relatively skeptical about those sort of items in general, but if you want to increase your lifespan of your shrimp my general tips are to basically perfect the basics; essentially change water occasionally, place them in a planted tank, keep the temperature relatively low to both extend their life span and slow down bacterial growth and put them in a large tank. Keeping the tank stable, healthy and clean should allow your shrimps to destress and have their natural immune system protect them and spare you from having to experiment with different probiotics, looking for various scientific articles and then doing guesswork. You can also look into tannins as well, which have a sort of time/history within the hobby based proof of using them. And if you really want to put some work into doing research I recommend looking to the shrimp work done by the germans as they are sooo ahead of us in my opinion. Check out Cory's video of him going to a german shop specializing in shrimp. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK5qptX1Ki0 the owners have written some books which if we are lucky may be translated to english or at least on a electronic edition so we can put it through google translate. 


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I've racked my brain trying to figure out why Bacter AE killed so many shrimps last summer and the ammonia spike had to be it. The spike came after I had done a rather large water change (40%). Despite matching GH and temperature of the change water, I hadn't taken into account the pH rise that happened afterwards. This was on a TB tank that had fluval stratum substrate. The buffering had started to wear off (due to cycling with a bit of KH in water) and my pH climbed to around 7 coming from 6.3. While the Bacter AE was causing this spike the whole time most likely, it was only a problem when NH4 was converted back to NH3. 


Needless to say, I use quite a bit less Bacter AE these days, usually when I see newborns scavenging around I'll add a very tiny amount (like 1/64th tsp per 10 gallons) with the filters off. I still believe it's a good product but you should be aware of the risks if supplementing your tank with it. I would be hesitant to use in neo tanks for reasons listed above. I only use it in soft water tanks that have a difficult time establishing biofilm naturally. I also only use controsoil substrate in my TB/Pinto tanks. I don't raise KH or temperature to speed cycling anymore, I just let nature takes it's course. I do use a lot of filtration in my tanks now. I also have way more than 10X turnover rates. For example I have a 9.1 gallon long running two Aquaclear 20s with double sponges and ceramic crammed in the media bay. When you have poor environment for establishing nitrifying bacteria, you have to go overboard with filtration and aeration from my experience. 

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Thats interesting, I didn't know that Bacter AE could do that and it makes sense if we dose a lot and have no filters or surface agitation, but most of us have at least sponge filters and are all dosing relatively low amounts of it. 

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Hi Everyone,


Sorry for my late response. I was busy due to work. First of all, I want to thank you all for your responses. 


In regards to astaxanthin, I know that they can help shrimp coloration to some extend. I almost bought this planning to make my own shrimp food. However, after further research, a lot of shrimp keepers reported that their shrimp get great coloration but the extensiveness faded when they stopped feeding with astaxanthin. Genetics definitely play the major role in coloration of the shrimp. I guess this is why a lot of breeders do culling 😃


The idea behind probiotics is to replace bad bacteria by good bacteria. Since probiotics are not pathogenic and are actually helpful in digestion, they are called good bacterias. The idea is that they will out compete bad bacterias in propagation. In the ideal world, pathogens will vanish and completely be replaced by probiotics. @bostonericThis is also part of my hypothesis although it was not mentioned. Since probiotics are aerobic, they do require oxygen. They are dormant when they are in-storage and activate when in-contact to moisture.


When you put a dosage of Bacter AE in your tank, you are introducing thousands, if not, millions of bacteria in your water. This process will suck up oxygen from the water (they will act like oxygen sponge). Here is another hypothesis: if most survive, this means that the tank has been robbed of oxygen -> kills shrimp. In addition, when most of them die, they will decompose and cause A/N/N spike -> kills shrimp. Also, increase in nitrate and lack of oxygen will trigger the activity of anaerobic bacterias under your substrate which can be pathogenic and can cause bacterial infection -> kills shrimp. 


I do know that most people failed miserably because they either over or under spent/acted. Some people will buy less quality material due to low budget while some people will buy luxurious material because they were told so, etc. I think it should be a balance as what you guys mentioned along with consistency and patient. The mentality should be "If I am one of the shrimp, what will I need in-order to survive up to my death age?" This is my mental model for my shrimp/fish keeping. 


This is a great thread!!! Thank you again.

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I use bacter ae in all my tanks.

I  never had problem , wiht deaths.

Maybe its a problem with the oxygen as wrote above.

I use airpump with sponge filters in all my tanks.

Dose it  after water changes, small amount, and where is population high i dose two time a week .

I saw huge baby population wiht this stuff..


i make a video .

In the first tanks, there are 6 crs 4 females 2 males, look the babies..



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