My Shrimp Adventure

Updated: Mar 18, 2019

I have always had a fascination with shrimp. Ever since I was a kid I have always loved them, I think it stems from the movie animated children's movie Shark Tale. Since saltwater tanks are a lot more expensive and harder to keep, I decided to start off with freshwater shrimp. After doing a lot of online research, I found out that the easiest freshwater shrimp to keep is Cherry Red Shrimp. These shrimp are really hardy, only grow to about 2" and breed really easily.

I started my shrimp adventure about a year ago. I got a small five gallon tank and eventually got about 15 shrimp in there. Unfortunately a few of them died right away. After about a week, I was only down to 9 shrimp. I was confused on why I had so many casualties in my tank. All of the water parameters were within the safe zones. I managed to keep those shrimp alive, but never got them to breed. When I went away to college last semester, I wasn't able to bring my tank. By the time I came home this winter, only 3 of the shrimp (all male) survived my parents lack of attention.

At this point I had to do a lot of work if I wanted to make them happy. I did a lot of cleaning on that tank and decided to also get a new 10 gallon tank to switch them into eventually. When I started this new tank, I wanted to get a carpet of live small plants. So, I went on Amazon and bought carpeting seeds. I planted the seeds and within a week, they were fully sprouted. I also bought a new sponge filter which is recommended for keeping shrimp since it is impossible for babies to get sucked up into the filter. To seed the new filter, I took out the sponge from their tank, and swished it around in the new tank. This released a lot of beneficial bacteria from the old filter into the new one. I then let the tank run for another 3 days then transported my shrimp into their new and bigger tank.

Now that the new tank was set up, I went to Petco and got 5 more shrimp, 4 of which were female and two of them were already pregnant. Everyone survived, until I woke up one morning and saw a dead shrimp outside the tank. It somehow managed to get outside of the tank and fall down onto the nightstand where the tank sits. It then dried up and passed. Of course the shrimp had to be one of the two pregnant shrimp. After searching the tank, I couldn't find the other pregnant shrimp, so I assumed that one passed away somehow also. Then a few days later when I was looking at the tank, I noticed a lot of pin-sized shrimp swimming around. After some research I discovered that it isn't uncommon for a shrimp to hide for a few days before and after giving birth.

This happened about a month ago, and since then I counted around 40 shrimp that survived and are nearly full grown now. Just the other day I saw a lot of baby shrimps again. So another one of my shrimp had successfully given birth. Within 2 months my tank has gone from 8 shrimp to now close to 100, assuming the same amount of baby shrimp survive. I am excited to see how this tank progresses.

The only aspect I am nervous about is being overrun by shrimp soon. My two thoughts are to see if any local pet stores will buy them off of me, or transfer some to my big fish tank. The issue that I have with transferring some to my big tank, is that there are a lot of predatory fish in that tank that would probably stress them out to the point of death. I also have three dwarf crayfish that are normally peaceful towards shrimp in there. However, there is always the chance of them being aggressive and territorial to the shrimp.

The only issue that I have with selling them back to a petstore is finding a store that would buy them. A lot of pet stores have direct relationships with their suppliers. So finding one that would actually accept mine will be difficult. Now, if I went down this route, I would also have money to buy new shrimp for my tank. The reason it is important to incorporate new shrimp in the tank is to keep the gene pool diverse. Multiple generations of inbreeding is not healthy for shrimp just like any animal. So by swapping out some old shrimp for new ones, it will make the line healthier and more stable.

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