How to increase shrimplets survival rate (1)

How to increase shrimplets survival rate?

by Michael

The question of shrimplets survival rate arises all of the time. I have seen countless posts on forums and Facebook groups where people had problems with that. Today we will approach the problem of keeping baby shrimp alive from all directions. I will try to explain what you really need to increase baby shrimp survival rate.

The most important thing to know is that you have to keep your water parameters in the proper range and make sure shrimplets have access to an abundant amount of food. Balance the feeding with powdered food. Provide additional natural food sources for biofilm, algae and give your shrimplets places to hide. These and some other tips you will learn here in details. 

Basically, shrimplets survival rate is dependent on a lot of different factors. What water parameters and temperature do you have them in? Are they feel comfortable and safe enough? What kind of fish do you have in the tank? How many shrimp do you have and what size is the tank? Do you have plants and/or snails? Etc.

As you can see, shrimplets do require some attention if you want to maximize your results. Without further ado, let’s start. 

Water Parameters

The first thing I should mention is that water parameters must be your number one priority. Therefore, make sure you have the correct parameters for the species you have. For example, in all my guides about shrimp, you can see “Quick Notes” about it and even more.

API test kit for shrimpYou need to be absolutely sure that you have the correct temperature and your pH, KH, GH, TDS are in the optimal range. Check your nitrates and copper level as well. API Master Test Kit (link to check the price on Amazon) can help you with that.

The point is that adult shrimp are hardier and can survive where baby shrimp cannot. Thus, if your shrimp colony does not increase in numbers this is probably the main reason.

I do not even remember how many times I have said on this blog that the most important thing for shrimp is stability. Shrimplets need a consistent environment to thrive. So, if your water parameters are really off or fluctuating all the time, do not expect to have a good shrimplets survival rate.

Note: When we are talking about consistency, do not forget about water changes. NEVER do too large and (or) frequent water changes. The bigger water change you do the more things come into effect.

I would highly recommend reading my series of articles about pH, KH, TDS, GH, Temperature, Copper, Nitrates. It will give you a deeper understanding of potential problems and how to avoid or fix them.

Besides, I would recommend looking at these three articles as well:

“How to Do and How Often to Do Water Change in Shrimp Aquarium”
“Dwarf shrimp and Molting problems. The White Ring of Death”
“Best Aquarium Test Kit”

Food for Shrimplets

The next step is ensuring that your baby shrimp are going survive is having the right food for them. Food choice must be your second priority. This is absolutely crucial for the growth and development of the young. Unfortunately, a lot of people (especially beginners) think that you can feed them as adult shrimp. Well, they cannot be more wrong.

There is a very high chance that the babies might not get to the adult food at all. Basically, there is no way a baby shrimp can get in there safe. They will be relentlessly pushed aside by bigger shrimp and will not get access to it.

Another problem is that shrimplets tend to stay in the place they had hatched for several days (hiding most of the time). So, if they do not find enough food there they starve to death rather quickly. Baby shrimp are very cautious and do not move around much as big shrimp do.  As a result, their chances of getting some food are not very high.

How can we avoid this problem? How can we decrease food aggression?

Powdered Food

The answer is simple – use powder food for you baby shrimp. Powder food will guarantee that all your baby shrimp will get their share. By spreading itself around the tank, tiny shrimplets can easily find food and feast without worrying about larger shrimp.

Bacter AEPersonally, I recommend Bacter AE. This stuff is simply amazing.  It is basically ground up and dried biofilm, like the stuff that naturally grows in your tank that the shrimp are constantly picking at. A lot of professional shrimp breeders use it. Bacter AE – link to check the price on Amazon. 

Frankly saying, I cannot praise enough how good it is. You can read my article “Top Food for the Shrimp – Bacter AE” and you will know more information about this product and how to dosage Bacter AE.

Tip:  You can add some solid food first to distract the adults. Therefore, the baby shrimp can find as much food as they need before the adults started finding it again.

Tip #2: Baby shrimp do not need a lot of food at a time but they need it fairly often (two to three times a week). DO NOT overfeed your shrimp. Ignore the manufacturer’s instructions and place a dose that is as small as possible into the tank. You can read it all in my article about Bacter AE.

Biofilm

Biofilm is one of the main food sources of shrimp in the wild besides decaying organic matters and algae. Therefore, it plays a big role in baby shrimp survival. Our task is to create a permanent food source (biofilm) for the baby shrimp. So, how can we get more biofilm?

In order to enhance and increase the biofilm production, you can add Indian almond leaves and alder cones to your tank.

For example, once the leaves are in the tank, a multitude of microorganisms will begin to colonize the leaves creating a biofilm. The Indian almond leaves are pretty large and have a really big surface area for biofilm for the baby shrimp.

Another great option is to use alder cones. Besides creating a biofilm, they give safe hiding spots and provide health benefits for the baby shrimp

Do not forget about driftwood. With time bacteria will decompose the wood and gradually turn it into the biofilm. This is a great way to keep your shrimp healthy and improve baby shrimp survival rate. 

Note: Lots of shrimp keepers noticed the fact that the baby shrimp prefer biofilm to other food most of the time.

Some aquarists say that you do not need food supplementation if you have good biofilm in your tank. Well, I do agree with this statement to some degree. However, by supplementing the food you prevent the adults from competing with the shrimplets for biofilm. 

You can learn more about it in my articles:
“Indian Almond Leaves and Alder Cones in a Shrimp Tank”
“Driftwood in Shrimp Tank”

Algae  

Although algae are a natural component of most aquatic ecosystems, almost all aquarist hate it and want to get rid of it as fast as possible. However, do not hurry!

According to the studies, biologists found different types of algae in 93% of shrimp stomachs. It is a big part of their diet, especially for baby shrimp. So, if you want to increase their survival rate do not remove it. Sure you can clean the front glass, but leave as much algae in the tank as you feel comfortable. After all, it is their natural food source.

Note: You can also give your shrimp algae wafers.
You can read my article “Types of Algae. Best Algae Eating Team”.

Community tank with Fish and Snails

There are hundreds and hundreds of questions about fish and shrimp compatibility. In my opinion, if you are serious about breeding shrimp and keeping shrimplets alive then this question should not even be on your mind. Almost all fish are opportunistic. It means that if baby shrimp fits their mouths they will eat it.

In most cases, it will be a huge challenge to breed shrimp with fish. However, it will be a completely another story with snails.

Shrimp and snails are best buddies. Snails will help you with overfeeding. They are like one of the best cleanup crew. Snails produce a lot of waste and their poop is beneficial for shrimp digestion. They will maintain the nitrogen cycle going. They will stir the substrates to prevent gas pockets.

It is just an all-around win for everybody. So, as you can see snails can also play their role in baby shrimp survival rate.

You can learn more about it in my articles:
Benefits of Snails for a Shrimp Aquarium
Сherry Shrimp in a Community Tank. Tips to Make it Successful

Filter for Baby Shrimp

Hands down, Matten filters and sponge filters will be the best filtration system for breeding shrimp and keeping shrimplets alive. These filters will give your shrimp everything they need to thrive.

They are absolutely safe for baby shrimp. You do not have to cover any intakes to prevent them from getting sucked up. They provide a huge surface area for your shrimp. The quality foam used on the filter is great for growing biofilm. It has a direct effect on the survival rates of baby shrimp.

Check out my article The Best Filtration System for Breeding Shrimp”.

Tip: If you are using HOB filters, do not put your intake next to the glass. It can crush shrimplets against the glass. Moved the intake away from the glass to prevent any random deaths.

Plants and Baby Shrimp

The last but not the least is plants. So, how can plants help us to improve the survival rate of our shrimplets?

Plants collect food particles flowing in the water. So it is a good source for microorganisms (biofilm) and algae. Therefore, babies have more foraging and grazing areas.

They will provide tons of places to hide. They create a natural environment for the shrimp.  In addition, plants will help you to absorb nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, heavy metals, food, decaying waste, etc.

Read more about it in my articles:
Top 5 Pros and Cons of having Plants in Shrimp Aquarium
Top 5 Plants for Your Shrimp Tank

Conclusion

Baby shrimp are more sensitive than the adults are require additional attention. Make sure you are setting up the proper tank for the shrimp. Check your water parameters, provide them with proper food and you will definitely promote a high survival rate for the babies.

If you want to know more facts about baby shrimp, take a look at my article Breeding and Life Cycle of Red Cherry shrimp”.

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