Hello New Friends!
I need some help identifying some freshwater shrimp I have acquired recently. I purchased these little dudes from AquaticArts.com back in June. All information I have been able to obtain about DESMOCARIS TRISPINOSA indicates they are peaceful tankmates for fish and snails alike. Perfect addition to a nano aquarium, right? No. Not peaceful. Not nice friends. These guys grew rapidly, and quickly became large enough to intimidate my male betta. Now Obelisk the Tormentor is not the most typical male betta. He's very chill with delicate sensibilities. I've had him for a few years and he's lived with many sizes of snail, dwarf crayfish, and amano shrimp all without incident. He never went after them for food, nibbles, and after a brief inspection of new friends, always left everyone alone. Well, these new guys were no different. I chose Obelisk as their tankmate because he's a nice dude. When the hover shrimp, aptly named Hive Fleet Gorgon, began to grow they started using their little claws to clip at his fins. Obelisk being the beta betta that he is, did not retaliate. I removed him from the tank for his safety and wellbeing. The 10 gallon tank with the hover shrimp also had 3 snail friends: Slifer the Skydragon (nerite), Slade Craven (mystery), and Yami (chopstick). I did not remove them from the tank because their shells would protect them. Or so I thought.
One of the shrimp became the big momma of the group, overshadowing her peers in size and color. She became known as Medusa. When the shrimp arrived they looked much like freshwater snowball shrimp, very transparent and without much color. Medusa became brown, then red, then red and less transparent. One day I came home to Medusa's corpse. Her legs and face had been chewed off, presumably by her brethren. The corpse of Slade Craven laid nearby her watery grave. Did they get in a tiff? There's no way Slade could have done considerable damage to Medusa. Did her hive take her down to declare a new queen? I did not know. Within 2 days they had consumed their former monarch.
Five members of Hive Fleet Gorgon remained. Hover shrimp are supposed to propagate in a freshwater aquarium environment. Despite having them for months I have yet to see any eggs. What I have seen are little shrimp friends. Now prior to the hover shrimp, some neocardina dwarf shrimp lived in this tank for less than 24 hours. My female betta, Stardust Dragon, who previously was also peaceful with her tankmates, obliterated 20 dwarf shrimp overnight. Yes I felt very bad. Yes I was very sad. No, Stardust and Obelisk have never shared a tank. I am not dumb dumb.
I believe 3 dwarf shrimp survived Stardust's massacre. She was moved to another tank where the amano shrimp lived. They are as big as she is and they have coexisted peacefull ever since. Not long after the hover shrimp were added some very tiny dwarf shrimp appeared in their tank. They either survived the genocide, or they were the progeny of the few survivors. I assumed they were original survivors since there were only 3 of them. Of these 6 dwarf shrimp that miraculously overcame Stardust, only 1 remains.
I now believe Hive Fleet Gorgon is responsible. Not long after I discovered the fresh corpses of Slade and Medusa, I came home to Yami (chopstick snail) looking very chewed and very dead. It looked like someone ripped him out of his shell and was chomping on his remains. The only possible culprit were the remaining members of the fleet. These "peaceful community inverts" became serial killers.
The limited data I can find on the internet about guinea hover shrimp indicate that they are a clear colorless creature to lightly golden colored creature. I haven't read anything stating they are brown or red, or murderous for that matter. I conclude that either hobbyists before myself are incorrect about the nature of the hover shrimp or these little warlords have been misidentified and are something else entirely. What I have read about the behavior of the "not true prawn, freshwater prawns" seems to fit them better. Any insight from my fellow water lovers is welcome and appreciated.
P.S. Do not fret, Slifer the Sky Dragon has been removed from the tank and placed with more friendly housemates so she would not meet the same gory end as her deceased roomies.