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Crystal Red Shrimp: The Beginners Guide - UPDATED Feeding added

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  • Crystal Red Shrimp: The Beginners Guide - UPDATED Feeding added

    The Introduction

    As the popularity of Crystal Red Shrimps grows in Australia, people will seek places to find out more about their new hobby. It is time to do up a beginners guide for the keeping of these wonderful invertebrates. This information has been gathered by my own experiences and also from other breeders. Use these experiences to help with your own setup and hopefully be able to assist you in the right direction.

    The Basics

    Water Parameters

    The water conditions for these shrimp must be spot on as they are very sensitive to the nasties such as Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite. The rest you can be a little lenient with, however there are basic guidelines to stick with.
    The following parameters are recommendations but generally accepted

    pH: 6.0 - 6.5
    TDS: 120 - 165
    Temp: 21-24
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    GH: 3-5

    These are the most common water parameters I could find and is what I personally abide by. I believe the most important thing to remember is that STABILITY is the key. If you can keep things consistent and stable you will have far less issues than worrying about exact parameters. The easiest way to establish this is by using RO or Rain water, more on this in equipment. The issue with using chemical buffers to adjust the water (such as pH up/down) is that they can be easily overdosed. This in turn reduces the consistency and stability of the water. Which can lead to rapid changes to the water conditions in the tank. When refilling my tank water I actually use the drip method as lately my RO Water's pH has been slightly higher due to the tap water. It takes around 2 hours for a 9L bucket to empty into the tank, which ensures the adjustment is slow enough not to cause any stability issues (I use an I.V giving set to accurately measure the drops per minute. Joys of being a nurse and an ambo I have access to this wonder stuff).

    Copper is a nasty element that causes all kinds of issues for shrimp. It is highly toxic even in small doses and must not be included in our water supply. The easiest way to test for copper is with a copper test kit. There are many brands available but I personally use Sera Copper Test Kit (Cu), be careful that you do not pick up the Ca test kit as this is for calcium or the Cl as this is for Chlorine (althought it isn't bad to have a Cl test kit laying around). Other common brands are API and JBL. The easiest way to ensure no copper is in your water is with RO Water, as the membrane removes all heavy metals. Another great option if you do not have RO water is cuprisorb which is made by Seachem. This goes into your filter (much the same as purigen or macropore) to remove heavy metals and copper. With copper much like ammonia it is better to be safe than sorry. This is especially the case when 1 shrimp can cost more than the preventitive measure. As we always say in the nursing/medical field 'PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN A CURE!'

    Some shrimp foods to contain copper, however NORMALLY these are ok as they only contain a small amount of organic copper that will not break down into the water stream. I personally feed my shrimp Hikari Shrimp Cuisine which actually has small amounts of Copper Sulphate in it. I have no had any issues with copper or subsequent illness in my shrimp because of feeding this.

    As a final point on copper it is important to note than in humans copper is considered an important trace element as it works in conjuction with iron to produce healthy red blood cells and it also helps to produce energy. Now if this translates across to shrimp I am not sure, but for a major company such as hikari to include it in their shrimp specific food it must be there for a reason.

    Tank Setup

    This is another large area of contention. Some people prefer open landscape with minimal plants/caves to view the shrimp, some prefer plenty of hidey holes and plants. It is all up to the individual person and how they believe it best works for them. I personally prefer plenty of driftwood/plants to allow my shrimp to hide and graze. It is personal preference in the end, if it is working for you then why change.

    I believe it is important to use a shrimp specific substrate, I personally use Benibachi but there are others out there such as Up Aqua, Borneo Wild and Fluval Shrimp Stratum. There are also other substrates that are used due to their buffering capabilities such as ADA and Akadama.

    Each of these substrates will achieve different outcomes but most will have some form of the following; ph buffering and GH buffering.

    This is the early workings of my tank


    RO Unit/Rainwater
    I personally have an RO unit and it has been the best thing I ever purchased for my hobby, it allows me to control (with in limits) my water output. Unfortunately I live in Adelaide and our water is very hard and high pH, so the RO Unit does its best to bring these down. It is definately worth investing in an RO Unit or a Rainwater Tank to allow you to provide the best water possible for your shrimp. Keeping in mind 1 or 2 SSS quality shrimp can pay for an RO unit it puts it right into perspective.

    RO Unit and TDS Meter

    Filters are a dime a dozen, there are all kinds of filters that come in all shapes and sizes. I use a canister filter on my 40cm (an Eheim 2215) which has a sponge over the uptake tube to prevent shrimps from getting sucked up. I would recommend getting the best you can afford, look for any filter that has alot of biological filtration capacity as this is what allows bacteria to grow and prevent the nasties in your tank. People have had success using all kinds of filters and I am biased on canisters as I believe they offer best value for money. Below are some other examples that have been used with success,

    HOB (Hang on Back) Filter

    Sponge Filters

    MBF (Moving Bed Filter)

    UGF (Under Gravel Filter) I will post a link to an excellent article that was written by Estimative_Index on UGF filtration with shrimp tanks here.

    Heating and Cooling
    Heating tanks is as easy as picking the right sized heater for your tank, the cooling on the other hand is not so easy. It all depends on who you speak with as to what they recommend. I personally have a chiller, although as it is close to winter it is not currently connected. A chiller allows me to simply connect it to my cannister filter and it then automatically maintains my water at whatever temp I wish. Some people can not afford or simply prefer other methods to chillers and use things along the lines of fans blowing across the waters surface, bottles filled with ice (which then, when placed into the water defrosts and chills the water) and water changes.

    Within the aquarium hobby, we strive to maintain great water conditions to allow the shrimp the best of chance at survival and reproduction.Traditionally this is checked using test kits, however with the invention of the seneye unit it has become a whole lot easier. The seneye unit monitor in a real time setting: pH, temprature, Ammonia, Light and water levels. On top of this they are releasing a module that can test for Nitrates, Nitrites, GH, KH and Chlorine in the near future. If you have an issue it sends out an Email and SMS alert letting you know what the issue is.

    This is the end of Part 1, I will be writing up another post shortly on sexing, breeding and maintaining a healthy environment for our friendly little shrimp.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Penthrox; 28-04-12, 10:29 AM.

  • #2
    Well after water parameters, feeding is probably the next most important aspect. If they do not eat, they do not live! There are all types of food ranging from homemade, organic/fresh, shop made and commercial. Every person has their own preference and favourites, some swear by what they use and are not open to anything else, as where others (like myself) will try anything to get the best selection for their shrimp. I will break the food groups down into 4 groups above to give you a rough idea about the vast variety of foods that are available.

    Not all that prevelent in Australia but definately bigger overseas, some are so popular that they have been able to make a business out of it. These are not my recipes but ones I have seen that are popular. The main issue with homemade is most require a dehydrator and these can be costly.

    Recipe 1
    Spirulina Algae Powder
    Green Peas
    Commerial shrimp food (shrimp pellet or flakes)
    Agar Agar (a binding agent similar to gelatin, gelatine is made from bovines and clouds the water quickly)

    Recipe 2
    2 Cups of Green Beans
    2 Cups Peas
    Small Pinch of Parsley
    Small Pinch of Corriander
    1/2 K raw prawns
    1 Packet of Ocean Nutrition Special Mix
    1 Packet of Ocean Nutrition Bloodworms
    1 Tbls Garlic Powder
    2 Cups of Mixed Veggies
    Fresh OJ and Water for liquid
    1/2 Cup Algae Wafers

    I have not tried these recipes but I have heard good things, these are designed to be blended to a paste then dehydrated.

    These are just store bought fruit and veggies that are then used to feed our shrimp. Most people will blanch the veggies and most fruits are given a good wash. I will also copy a list I found of the calcium content per 100g for veggies and fruits. This isn't my list and it for America so we may not get all the veggies/fruits here but it is a good starting point none the less;

    Vegetables Calcium per 100 gram serving:
    Dill Leaves 208 mg
    Turnip Greens 190 mg
    Collards 145 mg
    Parsley 138 mg
    Kale 135 mg
    Watercress 120 mg
    Beet Greens 119 mg
    Chinese Cabbage 105 mg
    Mustard Greens 103 mg
    Chicory Greens 100 mg
    Spinach 99 mg
    Okra 81 mg
    Leaf Lettuce 68 mg
    Cilantro 67 mg
    Purslane 65 mg
    Endive 52 mg
    Swiss Chard 51 mg
    Broccoli 48 mg
    Cabbage 47 mg
    Rutabaga 47 mg
    Brussel Sprouts 42 mg
    Celery 40 mg
    Sweet Potato Leaves 37 mg
    Green Beans 37 mg
    Romaine Lettuce 36 mg
    Parsnips 36 mg
    Head Lettuce 32 mg
    Alfalfa Sprouts 32 mg
    Squash (winter, all varieties) 31 mg
    Turnip 30 mg
    Carrots 27 mg
    Kohlrabi 24 mg
    Sweet Potato 22 mg
    Cauliflower 22 mg
    Asparagus 21 mg
    Pumpkin 21 mg
    Squash (summer, all varieties) 20 mg
    Beets 16 mg
    Cucumber (with skin) 14 mg
    Red and Green Peppers 9 mg
    Tomato 5 mg
    White Corn 2 mg

    Fruits Calcium per 100 gram Serving:
    Seedless Raisins 49 mg
    Orange 40 mg
    Lime 33 mg
    Blackberries 32 mg
    Kiwi 26 mg
    Lemon (no peel) 26 mg
    Papaya 24 mg
    Raspberries 22 mg
    Sweet Cherries 15 mg
    Strawberries 14 mg
    Tangerine 14 mg
    Apricots 14 mg
    Grapefruit, White 12 mg
    Grapefruit, Red & Pink 11 mg
    Pear 11 mg
    Cantaloupe 11 mg
    Grapes 11 mg
    Mango 10 mg
    Watermelon 8 mg
    Persimmon, Japanese 8 mg
    Pineapple 7 mg
    Apple (with skin) 7 mg
    Cranberries 7 mg
    Banana 6 mg
    Honeydew Melon 6 mg
    Blueberries 6 mg
    Casaba Melon 5 mg
    Nectarine 5 mg
    Peach 5 mg
    Plum 4 mg

    I blanch my veggies in boiling water and then let them rest until cool before using a veggie clip to hold it to the side of the tank or weigh it down and place it into my petri dish.

    Shop Made
    There is one store I know of that supplies his own special blend is Exotic Aquatic. It is a special kale blend which forms a sinkable wafer (I think it's a wafer) which has been said to be quite popular within the community. This is the only store I am aware of that makes their own.

    Once again this all comes down to preference. I personally feed my shrimp with Hikari Shrimp Cuisine, Sera Shrimp Food and Ocean Nutrition Shrimp Wafers. There are many commerical foods available, in all shapes, sizes and costs. I will list up a few of the more popular of them to help you decide what is best. Many companies produce specific foods that increase growth, colour or strengthening the shell. Each company has their own brand and claims to go with the foods.

    Borneo Wild Range

    Benibachi Range

    Shirakura Range

    Sera Shrimp Natural

    Ocean Nutrition Shrimp Wafers

    How to Feed and How Often
    Many people have different views on the feeding pattern of shrimp. I personally feed once generally in the afternoon so I can watch them feed. I will place in what I feel will be eaten and leave it in overnight. Anything left in the morning I will suck out with my eheim vac. I feed using a Petri dish which is placed in the middle foreground of my tank. This serves two purposes, the first is that I can see them munching away and I really quite enjoy that. The second is that it keeps all the food in one place and I do not have to go searching around the tank for left over bits of food. I also use a Vegi Clip which I stick close to the bottom of the tank and it holds various bits of veg in place for the shrimp to munch on. Once again saves mess and allows me to position it so I can watch the show.

    Veggie Clip

    Petri Dish

    That wraps up feeding for now, I hope this helps and if anyone has anymore to add or wants to ask any questions please do so!


    Last edited by Penthrox; 27-04-12, 02:22 AM.


    • #3
      Saved for future guides


      • #4
        Saved for future guides.


        • #5
          good write up, sticky +1
          Last edited by Loach; 26-04-12, 05:39 AM. Reason: spelling
          "You wouldnt have that problem with a V8"


          • #6
            This is AWSOME!!! My first CRS is berried up and I am terrified as everyone says they are so hard to breed and so finicky. Thanks for helping me get a level head again and giving me the advice I need.
            12 tanks of various sizes, trying to cut back. MTS Anonymous Member - down to 7 now


            • #7
              btw- shrimp arent affected by nitrite. correct me if im wrong.
              "You wouldnt have that problem with a V8"


              • #8
                Great work Penthrox! I wish I read this before I started. Slowly getting back on track now.

                Chiller question - if there's no canister filter what type of chiller would work direct into tank?
                Last edited by Sprae; 26-04-12, 06:41 AM. Reason: Chiller question
                CRS, CBS, DAS, DRN & RCS in a Fluval Edge 23L


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sprae View Post
                  Great work Penthrox! I wish I read this before I started. Slowly getting back on track now.

                  Chiller question - if there's no canister filter what type of chiller would work direct into tank?
                  Awesome work penthrox!!!
                  TO answer your question sprae.... A powerhead can also run a chiller without a canister
                  Amateur Shrimpkeeper


                  • #10
                    Nice one mate! The more info the better.


                    • #11
                      Nice work on a clean easy to understand thread on CRS

                      It has become a stickie.
                      Would you like me to remove the 2 posts between where you saved spots? ( keep it cleaner)

                      Read this very helpful thread on BSS .
                      No pictures on your BSS advert? Then be prepared for it to be deleted ( read the rules )


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by foxpuppet View Post
                        TO answer your question sprae.... A powerhead can also run a chiller without a canister
                        I'm thinking of pluging it into my nano tank. No powerhead filter, just what came with my edge.
                        CRS, CBS, DAS, DRN & RCS in a Fluval Edge 23L


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sprae View Post
                          I'm thinking of pluging it into my nano tank. No powerhead filter, just what came with my edge.
                          then you would need to buy a power head to run it as they have minimum flow requirements.
                          Amateur Shrimpkeeper


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Graeme View Post
                            Nice work on a clean easy to understand thread on CRS

                            It has become a stickie.
                            Would you like me to remove the 2 posts between where you saved spots? ( keep it cleaner)

                            can you just insert them above the other posts?
                            Amateur Shrimpkeeper


                            • #15
                              Penthrox, you are a LEGEND!! Congrats mate for writing this - been desperately needed for a long time.

                              The only thing I'd like to suggest is perhaps add a comment about copper.


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