Welcome back Patty Little Back with profiles on two more types of freshwater shrimp you may find interesting and consider adding to a peaceful community tank. These are species that we commonly carry in the retail store.
Cherry Shrimp, Neocaridina heteropoda, are named for their deep red, speckled coloration. They originated from Northeast Asia and this is not their color in the wild; they have been selectively bred to enhance the reds. Their natural coloration is reddish brown to brown to help them blend to their environment. Cherry Shrimp are common, colorful, cheap, and hardy. They are an ideal beginner shrimp as they may survive in conditions that many shrimp will not tolerate.
Cherry Shrimp thrive in a wide array of conditions. Ph from 6.0-8.0, soft or hard, temps from 72-84 will be tolerated with ease. They will eat about anything from flake and pellet to fresh and frozen offerings like spinach, spirulina, bloodworms and a variety of other offerings, but though healthy specimens will attack food with vigor, they do not need to be offered food every day. Overfeeding can cause health issues and fowl the water.
Cherry Shrimp only grow to be about an inch in length. Males are easily distinguished from females as they are significantly smaller and have less intense coloration. A small colony of 5 or 6 shrimp will give you good odds of having both sexes. These shrimp are known to be quite prolific and will breed regularly and produce fry which can be raised easily under good conditions and as long as no fish are present. Mature females will show a yellow-green “saddle”, which are actually eggs developing in her ovaries. The fertilized eggs are carried by the female under the tail for 2-4 weeks until the young shrimp hatch and disperse. The tiny shrimp babies are identical versions of the parents. Colonies of these shrimp are easy to establish and small species set-ups can be ideal to really get to know these fascinating little guys! Image referenced from Wikipedia Commons, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Two_red_cherry_shrimp.jpg
There are several different types of filter feeding shrimp that are available in the aquarium trade. One of the coolest, I think, is the Bamboo Shrimp, aka Fan Shrimp, Wood Shrimp, Asian Filter Shrimp, Mountain Shrimp, and Singapore Shrimp. This species, Atyopsis moluccensis, is quite attractive and bold in a predator free tank, a worthwhile addition though they can be a little pricey. They grow to 2.5-4 inches in length and at that size they can easily become a centerpiece member of your aquarium community. They are safe for docile tankmates despite their large size, as they are filter feeders.
Bamboo Shrimp occur in a varying range of colors, but are typically some shade of red, tan, or brown. A cream colored to yellow stripe runs down the center of the shrimp’s back, and thinner stripes line the flanks. The most appealing physical characteristic of these shrimp are the fan-like filtering appendages they use to collect food. The fine filaments open to collect tiny bits of food (as opposed to claws like most shrimp) which are swiped through the shrimp’s jaws. Feeding requires that the shrimp is able to sit in an area of current, so some keepers suggest that wood or some other furniture is placed in an area of moderate flow so the shrimp has a good place to perch and feed. Periodic feedings of liquid invert foods may be appreciated, but in great moderation so water quality does not decline.
Bamboo shrimp can live for several years under good conditions. They prefer Ph between 6.5 and 7.5, temps between 72 and 82F. These shrimp need specific conditions to breed and reproduction with this species is not something that will occur in a freshwater aquarium as the larvae need varying degrees of salinity as they mature before returning to freshwater as mature specimens. This species is captivating and if given the right conditions can be a real conversation piece for aquarists. A large planted tank with plenty of flow will be prime real estate.
I hope to blog on some other less common freshwater shrimp in the next installment of this series, tune in again!