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Red Cherry Shrimp


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So, I finally got some red cherry shrimp. I’ve been wanting to try some for a month or two now. I kept missing them at the local fish store and finally broke down and ordered 20 via ebay.com. I was really a bit skeptical of mail order shrimp but after all, many of them wind up being mail order to the local fish store anyway. I was a bit concerned that 20 would be too many. I thought I’d split and put about 7 in our 5 gallon and 13 in our 10 gallon tank. The shrimp that I ordered were mostly juvenile. There was a range of ages for the shrimp.


They arrived yesterday in an insulated shipping box, small breather bag and there was extra paper to keep them from rolling around too much. There were some plants in with the shrimp. (They really need something in with them to cling to or they get more stressed.) The first observation is – WOW there was a lot of activity in the bag. They’re excited by their first view of light in a few days and are zipping around. The second observation is WOW there are 20 shrimp in THAT little bag!

I got a small plastic dish and emptied the breather bag into it. The breather bag started clinging to itself as it emptied and was hard to get the rest of the plants out. The shrimp were mostly transparent and very hard to see. I turned the bag inside out and found one shrimp still clinging to the inside of the bag. Set that down on the table and looked at all the activity in the bowl. The late arrival seemed to be moving around. There was one shell (?) which I think was the leftover molting of one of the shrimp. (I don’t think it was a dead shrimp, I believe it was an empty husk.)

At this point I noticed something squirm on the table. There had been another in the bag that I missed and was now stuck to the table! I carefully scooted it towards the edge of the table and off into the bowl. Next I started adding tank water and after about a half hour or more of letting them sit in a mix of bag water plus tank water I slowly netted them out and into the 10 gallon. When there were about 6 left in the bowl I stopped and started the acclimation process all over again for the 5 gallon tank. Got those 6 in and was cleaning up. I went to rinse out the breather bag and filled it with cold tap water when I saw ANOTHER shrimp that I missed in the bag(!?!?!?!) I netted it and plunged it into the 5 gallon tank. (I figured it would already be pretty stressed with no water for about an hour and then cold tap water….) It was slow leaving the net, but it did leave the net and go into the water.

Over night I was only able to see as many as 5 of the ones in the five gallon. I don’t know if any have died at this point. I can only find about 4 at a time at the most in the large tank. I’m afraid one or two smaller ones may have become dinner in the large tank though. (Dinner for our largest female platy – Billie).

Now, I’m wondering if 20 shrimp was enough to start colonies in each of these tanks and I’m considering getting some more. Which is kind of funny since my first thought was that 20 might be too many….

Today, they are starting to get a bit more reddish coloration than yesterday. Yesterday they were transparent with a little black spot near the head and thin black line down the back. I expect that when they breed some of the shrimplets will be eaten by the fish, but we have enough plant cover that I feel sure some will survive. I would just like to get a good colony established in each tank. Of course, I’ll update here when I decide whether to get more or not.

Update – 3-8-11

I’ve ordered another 30 shrimp to make sure there’s a lot of genetic diversity and plenty of numbers in each tank. They should be here Wednesday or Thursday of this week. I’m really looking forward to getting them in and acclimated.

Update 3-10-11

Wow, so by yesterday I was seeing more of the shrimp in the tank. (about 8 at one look through in the 10 gallon and 5 in the 5 gallon.) They seem to be getting less shy than they were at first. The second batch of shrimp arrived today (32). It was again hard to believe that there were so many in that small package. But there were…. All arrived alive (no heat pack in this shipment). It was an insulated box and our outside temperature was in the 40s today. I moved 10 of the new ones into the 5 gallon tank and 22 into the 10 gallon. So we have about 37 or so in the 10 gallon total and probably around 17 in the 5 gallon. (I haven’t seen any die at this point.) Getting them out of the bag again was a challenge. There was not much water and when I poured it into the little plastic tray I only managed to get a few of the shrimp in. The others I had to ease out by hand. (Cup my hand underneath it and let gravity pull it off the side of the bag and then into the water.) I’m really amazed that they all survived though I was concerned for the cooler weather… So I feel like at this point we have a good breeding colony in each tank and look forward to seeing shrimplets some time in the near future. (I still think that one of the first batch at least is berried in the 10 gallon, so we’ll see in another three weeks I guess.)

Update – 3-16-11

I’ve seen several molts in the last week especially in the smaller tank. I see an awful lot of shrimp swimming around today too. So, I think that some of the shrimp are breeding. (When the female is ready to have her eggs fertilized she releases a hormone that makes the males fly around to search her out.)

Update – 4-12-11

I’ve seen more molts in both tanks lately. I caught a good glimpse of 2 berried females in the 5 gallon tank and am still searching for baby shrimp in there. I feel sure it’s only a matter of time. I have seen numerous small shrimp in the 10 gallon tank that I feel sure were born in the tank. (Unfortunately the bigger tank has more potential predators…)

Update 5-8-11

The shrimpire is growing – I’ve seen several babies in the 5 gallon tank in recent days and last weekend I tried moving a male and female out to an outdoor container (rain barrel) to keep our platies company. Unfortunately we had a sudden cold spell down to about 36 degrees that killed the platies. There was a day in the low 60s and I was afraid the entire container was wiped out, but as I gazed into the barrel with a flashlight to survey the damage. Lo and behold there are the two red cherry shrimp! WOohoo…

So…. at this point I would be perfectly comfortable with keeping them in an unheated indoor container. (Note that they likely will not breed until the temperatures are above 70 Fahrenheit.)

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March 4, 2011 - 6:35 PM
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