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Old 06-16-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default how i breed and care for my ghost shrimp

hey guys,
First off, I am posting to try to assist people who want to keep and breed these little guys. After putting a few in a community tank that I didn't doom to be cichlid snacks and watching them for a couple days, I started to research a little on Google and found really only one forum that is also found here to be much help.
Going to my local lfs was absolutely no help as no one there had any idea how to keep or how to breed them. so after a while I decided to just dive in... some people suggested that they could only be breed in large pools, others suggested 2.5 gallon tanks where a berried female is introduced and them removed after the eggs hatched. some suggested bare bottom tanks, some suggested rocks, fake plants, real plants, most people said they would die after 2 weeks for no reason... the list went on and on

I first tried a bare bottom 2.5 gallon with a few fake plants and a sponge filter... as suggested by many websites. I would introduce the berried females and take them out after hatching. fry would die within 1 day, female would die within 2. no good

I then tried gravel bottom, java moss, fake plants and sponge filter with daily 25% water changes. between ammonia levels, and whatever else same result. both tanks killed fry and adults.

I then tried creek sand, java moss, low flow power filter with sponge prefilter,
25% daily water changes and tried to feed fry baby brine shrimp. nope...

all 3 setups were cycled and stable. ammonia levels would spike, kill shrimp and it was over. I did exactly what several people reported to work. All in all I tried 6 different setups with no success and shrimp dying within 2 weeks.

THEN I GAVE UP and bought a 10 gallon aquarium and decided to just play around and grow whatever came out of the creek sand from behind the house.

I went and got enough creek sand to cover the 10 gallon bottom about 1 inch deep. I then placed a 50 watt heater into the tank and the fake plants, java moss, and homemade sponge filter from the 2.5 gallon and left the hood light on 24/7. Well after a couple of weeks I noticed all kinds of little critters swimming around in the tank. Red worms, little white worms, little plants and algae! I had fun just watching it brew in the slow flow current from the sponge filter. I tested the water and it was close enough to keep a snail, so i bought a mystery snail from the lfs. By the time I purchased the snail mind you, algae was running rampant as I had purposely placed it in front of a window that gets about 2 hours of direct morning sunlight. The snail was in heaven... eating and crawling all over the tank. well I noticed the sand looking stale, and had seen a crayfish in a tank at petco and was like... what the heck, if it eats the snail like so many say it will ill deal with it. Well the crayfish did what I hoped it would do.. started mixing the sand up and making a home for itself. I then added a piece of drift wood from the creek and enough java moss to blank the top half of the aquarium. A film of slim/algae had formed on the top of the water and was growing in the java, but my water was clear and the snail kept the glass clean. (snail and crayfish have never had a run in, and its been a year since this part of the story). well suddenly my ammonia started rising. to combat this i went to petco and bought some zeolite and carbon blend for 5 bucks and made my sponge filter a little bigger and just placed it under the sponge in the bottle I used for a housing. Knowing that the zeolite was only a temporary fix, I took a 20 ounce bottle poked holes in the top and filled it with fluval biomax and an air line and placed it into the tank. look up diyjoey on youtube and up and you will see what im talking about. I then removed the zeolite after a few days. i had bacteria growing on this new filter in days.

I added 20 ghost shrimp.....
Guess what happened. Not only did they make it... the females berried up in the tank. 27 days later, floating larva in the java moss and algae near the top of the tank. about 10 days later juvenile shrimp everywhere.

This was a year ago and it is still going strong. I remove about 30 shrimp a month and feed them as snacks to my cichlids.


at least a 10 gallon tank.
Tank heater
LOTS of java moss
a homemade biomax air filter with sponge prefilter
algae (and all the little micro organisms that come with it)
fake or real plants (i use fake because i am not getting into keeping real plants alive in a tank with such fragile little critters... try using the wrong fertilizer or additive and watch all your shrimp die)
I HIGHLY suggest snails!!! their poop actually feeds the bacteria the fry eat. I went so far as to have the lfs attendants give me all the small brown snails that everybody hates to me and infested my aquarium with them. guess who eats them.. the ghost shrimp

that's pretty much it and itll run you about 45 bucks.

i rarely feed anything in the tank, maybe some flakes every now and then and an algae wafer.

the most important thing I think I do is.... remember my 2.5 gallon starter tank? I have a homemade under gravel filter in it. I placed a layer of charcoal onto it, then a layer of fluval biomax and throw in some lettuce about once every 2 weeks. Everyday I do a water swap instead of a water change. What I mean is I run my 10 gallon water about 3 inches from the top and the 2.5 full. Everyday I take an old airline and syphon water out of the 2.5 into a clean jug, only used for this, about 1.5 gallons. I then place the jug above the 10 gallon tank and using the same airline, syphon the water into the 10 gallon tank until it is full. I then syphon water back out of the 10 gallon into the 2.5 gallon until it is full again. its like a manual sump I guess. the 2.5 gallon tank is a filter for me, but also, it DOES NOT KILL the bacteria the ghost fry feed on. it actually cultivates more bacteria for them to feed on and cleans my water. (water changes using tap water has chemicals that kills these bacteria... so you are really killing your food source doing water changes with it) all in all it is a little time consuming but you know what? my shrimp die of old age and I haven't bought any in over a year. they breed, eat, and seem happy in my 10 gallon tank. hope this helped.

BTW. this is my first post. I may be a junior member here but I have had 5 tanks running strong for 20 years. I have 2 cichlid tanks, a planted, and a community tank. all from 250 gallon down to 10.

Last edited by marcshrimp; 06-16-2013 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:56 PM   #2
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Excellent! Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:08 PM   #3
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I have a ghost shrimp carrying eggs now, and I think she will release the babies soon. I placed her in a breeder net since there are tetras and a filter. What else should I do?

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Old 06-23-2013, 11:18 AM   #4
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I don't really think you'll have much success with the babies. They will hatch as a free floating larva, Looking much like a mosquito larva if your familiar, hanging head down, no legs, just small swimmerets that cannot fight a current of any kind. Plus, they must have places to hide and a breeding net isn't gonna provide that. While in the "free floating" stage I find mine at different water levels and places in the tank throughout the day, but at night, with just the tank light, the are above the java moss hanging in the water. I am in no way trying to discourage you, but I would personally set up a separate tank for them. They will be easy prey for your fish. or just put a sponge over your filter intake and let them be born. Nature will find a way to make it. you never know
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:44 PM   #5
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well that's awesome! I just set up a 40 gallon breeder shrimp tank about 4 weeks ago and introduced some of my prego females and 4 males. I also added a blue lobster, 4 golden Inca snails, 4 amano shrimp, a plecto, flat catfish, and Malaysian trumpet snails (because substrate is sand). used the same filtration, except for 2 liter bottles, and she is running great. plants are java moss, and water sprite (oak leaf). 3 pieces of drift wood, that I draped the java moss over. dressed it up with a ceramic pot broken and strewn across the bottom. looks like you cut a section of a creek bed out. lol love cutting the lights out and watching all the babies swim out of the java and up to the night light I added for them. this time Im not doing water changes at all, just watching how it all plays out. I did use strictly river water this time, which is extremely cool because of all the bugs that came with it. I know this is frowned upon by some, but these little buggers live with all this crap in the wild, so what the heck. All that I really see in there are water fleas, which don't bother me, shows my water is clean. lol I did introduce some string algae accidently with the water, but the amano shrimp took care of that. all in all, water is clean, tests are great and infusia is swimming all in the water column. happy little baby shrimp and aquarium
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