How to Keep Your Algae-Eating Shrimp Aqualand inside info on Caridina japonica
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Algae-eating shrimp -- powerful little critters even at one-inch.
Origins: With a name like Caradina japonica, you have to suspect the algae-eating shrimps originally came from Japan. Different species came from different swamps. All these similar species like to eat algae.
Appeal: Plant-growing expert Amano-san popularized these hard working crustaceans in his series of incredibly beautiful books of natural aquaria. He extolled their well developed algae-eating talents. So effective were his mentions of the algae-eating shrimps that many people call them Amano shrimps. He recommended two per gallon.
Size: Algae-eating shrimps hit the market at one inch and grow to about two inches.
Foods: Obviously algae-eating shrimps eat algae. They also eat fish food (first). Don’t feed them anything if you want them to get rid of your algae. When they run out of algae, they will eat your plants. Add food at this point. They also munch on deceased fish. We’ve never seen them attack fish but would not put it past them. They do not like the blackish, furry algae.
Housing: If you need an algae eater for a small tank (or tank with small fish), put algae-eating shrimps on your payroll. Keep yours covered. We’ve watched them crawl out. They are not helpless out of the water. They run like a cockroach.
Out of the Water: Most shrimps go limp when caught in a net – not the algae-eating shrimps. They instantly crawl out of your net and drop to the floor. They can jump straight up about four inches. They flip laterally as much as a foot per flip.
Tank Mates: Algae-eating shrimps get along great with smaller fishes -- tetras, moons, corys, dwarf cichlids and others until the “others” grow large enough to scavenge your scavenging shrimp. Gouramis with their smaller mouths get along well also. We’ve never mixed these guys with ghost shrimps. They’re tough enough to turn them into real ghosts.
Temperature: Your average tank temperature works fine.
Temperament: Some people say algae-eating shrimps are shy. Others say they are nocturnal. We’ll just say they’re small and not stupid. If you provide a forest of hiding places, they will use them. In sparse tanks, they’re out front. They love to crawl on sponge filters. They like sorting thru the detritus they collect.
Décor and Plants: Algae-eating shrimp love java moss. They munch on it continuously. Otherwise, decorate to your taste, not to their taste.
Water: Unless you plan to breed them, don’t obsess over their water. Since they come from swamps, you know what you provide will usually be better.
Breeding: We don’t know how to breed the little rascals, but the Chinese have it figured out. Our last price list included 300-packs of three different species of algae-eating shrimp from Taiwan. Apparently brackish water affects the equation. Protecting the tasty babies from the adults also ranks high. Try making a breeding cage out of nylon netting. The babies should escape thru the mesh.
Last Word: When teamed
with otocinclus, algae-eating shrimp complete your algae-eating team.
Tyler Musialek, August 1, 2012
On your algae-eating shrimp page I noticed you said you do not know how to breed algae shrimp. It is very hard to breed and must slowly turn the water entirely saltwater and then the larvae are hard to keep alive because one must slowly change the water back
A: Sounds logical. I'll add your info to my algae-eating shrimp pages. LA
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