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Old 01-08-2014, 08:58 AM   #1
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So I'm thinking of starting a shrimp tank

I have a 5 gallon Fluval Spec V on my desk that previously housed a betta fish. Unfortunately we suffered from a severe ice storm and were out of power for almost a week in sub-zero weather. The majority of my fish died off, including the betta that once resided in this tank. I've always thought shrimp were really cute, and I'd like a new challenge, so I figured this would be a great chance to start a small colony. The only thing is, is I have no idea where to start. I'm not even sure what type of shrimp I'd like. I was thinking Crystal Red Shrimp, but I'm just not sure. I'd love it if anyone had some advice for me

Tank specs: Fluval Spec V, has a sponge filter, fine gravel substrate, planted with a moss ball and java fern, have some x-mas moss I can put in as well. Not too sure about my tap water parameters at the moment, haven't had time to do a test.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:58 PM   #2
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Bummer about the storm.. I was lucky, no power loss to mention, though it's like the Arctic cold now, which is no fun.

If you are new to shrimp, I'd advise not starting with crystals, lovely though they are. They are more sensitive, and less forgiving of mistakes, and usually do not do well with tap water either. Most keepers use RO water, mineralizing products for that water and one of the special shrimp substrates that acidifies the water, and those substrates can leach ammonia for months before they finish, and you can't have shrimp while they're leaching.

Cherry shrimp or almost any of the other colour variants of cherries, which are Neocaridina, would be easier & more likely to succeed for you, and most are happy in almost any tap water you might have, and any substrate too.

Feeding them is also simpler, they do well on almost nothing, and will breed, as a rule, quite well.

Cherry shrimp come in various colours. The wild form is mainly brown/clear, with hints of colour. From those, selection first gave us the cherry, a reddish or pinkish shrimp, then fire red, painted fire red, now there's even bloody mary.. each one is simply more intensely red than the one before. Females are larger and nearly always have more colour than the males do, but the redder variants have better coloured males.

Neos also come in yellow, orange, blues and green, though the green ones tend to fade and lose colour with age. You cannot mix the colours in one tank, as if they breed with another colour shrimp the babies are most likely going to revert to the wild colour instead.

You can keep them with Babaulti shrimp though, they won't interbreed, and Babaulti come in a nice green, also oranges and other shades. Similar looking, bit longer nose on them, same parameters and live babies.

Yellow Neos may or may not have a back stripe, and you may find you have to pay more for those that do have the stripe.. you might see it called a racing stripe. Only a variation, your choice if you want to pay more for it.

There are even chocolate Neos, a very dark, rich, brown, but they are fairly new and thus fairly costly as well. They descend from blue shrimp and don't always breed true.

Blue Neos also may have some varying colour offspring, not always blue, not always the blue of the parents, but that's part of the fun for some, selecting and culling the babies to get the colours they want in the future generations.

All the red shades and other colours were achieved by humans selecting the best colours from the many shrimp born. You might even get a new colour.. anything is possible.

Shrimp are super sensitive to ammonia and nitrites, and high nitrates, so keep an eye on the parameters. They will enjoy those plants you have, and prefer a few places to hide, but they mainly eat biofilm, plus bits of whatever you feed them. Feed only what they can clean up in a few hours, and not every day. A few times a week is fine, and they can go weeks without food if need be. Also fairly tolerant of cold temperatures, far more so than most tropical fish at least.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:00 AM   #3
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Oh my gosh, I never realized there were so many color variations. Do you have any suggestions on shrimp retailers in the GTA? I have a connection at Pacific Mall, but otherwise it's just the Big Al's near my house.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:51 PM   #4
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So you can get to the Markham area or close to it ? Try Shrimpfever. It's in Unionville, has a website. Tommy is a great guy, a font of wisdom about shrimp.

There's also a new one in the China ? mall just south of Pacific Mall, basically the south side of Steeles, about a block east from Kennedy. F & K Aquatics, I think is the shop name. Mostly crystal and bee shrimp but Frank is a super guy too, knows everything I think, great to talk with as well. Near the rear and to the left as you come from the front doors to that mall, but sorry, mall name just escapes me.

The Scarborough big Als, and the one near me in Mississauga, often have Orange Bee shrimp, which are not actually Bee shrimp at all. They're nice but don't have live babies.. they have larvae that need brackish water to live.

But they can't cross with Neos, so can be kept with Neos for colour variation. They sometimes have other shrimp.. might see the odd crystal there, or Bamboo or Vampires, both of which are much, much larger, filter feeders with big fans on the front legs to sift water for food. Very cool, but not like the dwarf shrimps.

If you haven't found it yet, you should join the GTAAquaria.com forum. Super forum, lots of good people, plenty of good shrimpers there too. I'm Fishfur there too.
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:33 PM   #5
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Awesome! Thanks so much for the info. I'm sure you'll see me on that forum soon enough
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