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New Shrimp Keepers Must Reads

  • Sexing Neocaridina dwarf shrimp

    If you're interested in breeding dwarf shrimp, there are a few requirements that have to be met. Your water quality should be high, the shrimp need to be well-fed and old enough to reproduce. The most important thing, though... you need to have males and females! 

    Easier said than done. How do you tell them apart when they're so small? If you're struggling to sex your Neocaridina shrimp, keep reading. There are plenty of easy indicators and you'll be able to tell them apart at a glance before you know it!

    sexing neocaridina

    Typical female Neocaridina characteristics

    Female Neocaridina shrimp have a few unique characteristics that you can use to identify them. Some are very conclusive (like the presence of eggs), while others provide a good indication but aren't 100% proof of female-ness on their own.

    • Size. As with many of the species we keep in our aquariums, female dwarf shrimp are considerably larger than males. You can easily tell them apart by size if there are no juveniles in the tank.
    • Color. This won't be of much use when trying to sex very high grade Neocaridinas, as both the males and females will often feature opaque coloration. In lower grades though (like regular cherries) you'll often see a large difference in color between females and males. The females are notably brighter and their colors are more solid, while males are more see-through and their coloration can be sparse.
    • Belly. Female dwarf shrimp carry their eggs safely tucked between their back legs (swimmerettes), where they are protected by their extended belly plates. This means they have a much rounder 'belly' than males, in which the body plates form a straight line to the tail rather than a curve. Their swimmerettes are also more well-developed and you are usually able to see them better than in males Additionally, females the first body plate is notably rounder: it almost forms a perfect circle. If you're not sure how to spot this in a shrimp, feel free to zoom in on the chart above!
    • Saddle. If a female's exoskeleton doesn't feature extremely opaque coloration, you might sometimes be able to spot a saddle. This yellowish spot behind the head contains the eggs before they are moved to the swimmerettes, which makes for a clear indication that a shrimp is female.
    • Eggs. Can you see greenish to yellowish eggs tucked between a shrimp's back legs? Congrats, it's definitely a female! Just don't confuse eggs with the dreaded 'green shrimp fungus', which is a parasite that also attaches to the swimmerettes and can be confusing for beginners. Eggs are relatively large and round, while fungus is thinner and more elongated.

    QUIZ TIME: In the photo below, based on the info you just read, which shrimp are female? Find the answer at the bottom of this post!

    Typical male Neocaridina characteristics

    We can be pretty short about typical male characteristics, as most identifying features were already discussed above. If you're looking for a male shrimp, look for the following: notably smaller than females, often (but not always) less opaque coloration, non-rounded belly which makes the back of the body appear thinner and no sign of a saddle or eggs. Some hobbyists also swear by antennae length, as males might have longer antennae than female, but this can be pretty difficult to spot.

    Quiz answer: The females in this photo are easy to spot. They are the four bright red, larger specimens! The female on the left is also saddled.

    the shrimp farm

  • Which shrimp species are best for beginners? | 4 best starter shrimp

    If you're just getting into shrimp keeping it can be a little difficult to figure out which type to start with. There are so many species! So many colors, sizes and different requirements to choose from. Some are difficult to care for and some are super easy. Luckily, The Shrimp Farm can help.

    Keep reading to find out the 4 best starter shrimp!

    Red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. Red)

    Red Cherry shrimp are probably the most popular dwarf shrimp among both beginners and more experienced shrimp keepers. And for good reason! This red Neocaridina variety is not too fussy about water values, very easy to breed and quite decorative. Colors can vary from a light pink to deep blood red and with smart selective breeding you can easily improve the intensity.

    Keep your Red Cherry shrimp in a fully cycled aquarium of at least around five gallons (19L). If you're interested in breeding your Cherries a single species setup with only shrimp is recommended. However, these shrimp also do well in peaceful community setups, as they breed very quickly and the occasional casualty won't damage the population at all. Provide your Red Cherries with plenty of hiding places, especially in community tanks, and feed a high quality shrimp food.

    You can find a full Red Cherry shrimp caresheet at The Shrimp Farm here.

    Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

    Amano shrimp are named after the late famous aquascaper Takashi Amano, who first introduce them into the aquarium hobby on a large scale. Though colorless and not too exciting to look at, these shrimp are among the most popular because they are pretty hardy, have a huge appetite for algae and make a great cleaning crew. They are a little larger than dwarf shrimp but still entirely peaceful and a great addition to any peaceful community tank. The only downside is that they are almost impossible to breed in the home aquarium: they hatch as larvae which go through a brackish stage where they need a very specific amount of salt. After that, they need to be returned to fresh water at exactly the right time.

    Keep your Amano shrimp in a heated and cycled aquarium of at least around ten gallons (38L). As with all shrimp, provide plenty of hiding places in the form of plants, rocks and driftwood. If there is plenty of algae for the shrimp to eat you don't have to supplement their diet all that much but be sure to always have some shrimp food on hand in case the algae run out.

    You can find a full Amano shrimp caresheet at The Shrimp Farm here.

    Blue Dream shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. Blue)

    Blue Dream shrimp are a blue Neocaridina davidi variety: basically a blue version of Red Cherries. Their care requirements are the same, they don't need very specific water values and their striking color makes them a great eyecatcher in any shrimp tank. Like all shrimp they also make a good cleaning crew that keeps the aquarium tidy by eating leftover foods and algae. They can be combined with small, peaceful fish species (provided there are enough hiding places) but show themselves more and breed more readily in an invert-only setup with snails and other shrimp.

    There are plenty more Neocaridina davidi varieties out there, all of them easy to care for and a great breeding project for beginners. Go for Blue Velvets if you're looking for a lighter blue color or maybe a bright Yellow! Just don't combine these shrimp in one aquarium; they do interbreed and any offspring will feature a brownish wild color.

    blue dream shrimp

    Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes sp.)

    Ghost shrimp are often sold as cheap food for larger fish species but can also make an interesting permanent addition to the aquarium. They are on this list because they are incredibly hardy and can tolerate bad water values a lot better than most other shrimp. A great option if you're just getting started!

    'Ghost shrimp' is a collective name for various shrimp species in the Palaemonetes genus, so be sure to buy from a reputable seller to avoid ending up with a huge aggressive river prawn or brackish variety. The Shrimp Farm sells Palaemonetes paludosus, which doesn't grow too large and should work fine in most cases. Keep your ghost shrimp in a cycled aquarium of at least around 10 gallons. A peaceful community should work just fine (though keep in mind ghost shrimp can be slightly more aggressive than dwarf shrimp). Ghost shrimp larvae are tiny and very vulnerable, so if you're interested in breeding and don't want the young to end up being eaten a single-species setup might be the best idea.

  • Understanding Temperature: In A Shrimp Tank

    Understanding Temperature: In A Shrimp Tank

     

    Fluval Thermometer Fluval Thermometer

    Understanding Temperature and how it affects your dwarf shrimp tank is often overlooked. What is the ideal temperature for a dwarf shrimp tank? That is Continue reading

  • Common Myths: Shrimp Keeping

    Common Myths: Shrimp Keeping

    Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp have become very popular in North America in recent years. With an ever expanding hobby will come growing pains. Continue reading

  • Shrimp Tank Water Changes

    Shrimp Tank Water Changes

     

    Shrimp Tank Water Changes Shrimp Tank Water Changes

    To fully understand how to do a water change on a shrimp tank you must first understand a shrimp’s anatomy. Shrimp have a layering formation Continue reading

  • Understanding Potential Hydrogen (pH)

    Understanding Potential Hydrogen (pH)

     

    pH in the aquarium hobby is a key and vital factor on all things from fish and plants to shrimp. Each species has its Continue reading

  • Understanding General Hardness (GH)

    Understanding General Hardness (GH)

    GH stands for General Hardness. General Hardness is a measure of dissolved minerals your water contains. Most of the minerals in your water will be Continue reading

  • Understanding Carbonate Hardness (KH)

    Understanding Carbonate Hardness (KH)

     

    In your aquarium you have what is called Carbonate Hardness otherwise referred to as KH. Continue reading

  • Understanding Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

    Understanding Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

     

    Total Dissolved Solids or Total Dissolved Salts as it is sometimes referred to is also known more commonly throughout the aquarium hobby as TDS for short. TDS is a Continue reading

  • Understanding Ammonia

    Understanding Ammonia API Ammonia Test Kit API Ammonia Test Kit

    Understanding Ammonia in the Aquarium

    When first getting into aquariums often the first thing you learn about or hear about is ammonia in the aquarium. Understanding Ammonia Continue reading

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