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 detail.
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.
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.
You 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?
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.
Personally, 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 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 enough 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.
Although algae are a natural component of most aquatic ecosystems, almost all aquarists 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.
Community tank with Fish and Shrimp
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:
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”.
11 thoughts on “How to increase shrimplets survival rate?”
Thank you, As usual very useful and well documented article.
Michael, thanks for Your dedication making many articles about this beautiful creature, the ornamental shrimps.
Thanks for the kind words 🙂
I recently found your website and is fantastic. Keep the good work.
Thank you, Fernando!
Hello! This is very helpful! I have a community tank with 8zebrafish, 2 guppies and about 10-15shrimps. Two of shrimps just recently have birth(?) to some fries, so I bought and placed tons of hiding places. However, I’m not sure how much ‘alot of hiding places’ are. So, according to you, how much is ‘a lot of hiding places’? (My tank is also full of plants (but no moss unfortunately)
Hi Claryssa Bianca,
I am glad if it is helpful!
Unfortunately, it is not possible to 100% guarantee the survival of baby shrimp in a community tank.
So, the more hiding places – the better. More plants – even better!
Therefore, if shrimplets do not survive, it means that they don’t have enough places to hide.
It is not like… well, they have 10 hiding places and now they are safe! It does not work that way.
Every tank set up is unique.
Thanks fir the article! I have 30-40 week old shrimplets in an established, planted species only tank. How old until you can consider yourself “out of the woods” where the ones that are alive will likely stay alive?
I would say 3-4 weeks.
I’ve got a newly setup aquascape, and yesterday bought 6 cardinal tetras and 2 Amano shrimp. Had also moved my two African dwarf frogs in. However after looking at one of the Amano shrimp she is definitely pregnant? I’ve been reading a lot about moving larvae to brackish water set up, but I just don’t have to means to do that! I’ve got lots of driftwood and plants and I think fair few hiding places, if I buy the powdered food you mentioned what’s likelihood of any shrimplets surviving? Also I bit worried as as the tank is fairly new I was told to do lots of water changes at the beginning? Thanks
It is not possible to breed Amano shrimp in freshwater and powdered food will not help.
You need to understand WHY you do water changes. We do not do them because everybody does.
By doing water changes we reduce nitrates and/or add new micro-elements into the water volume (mostly for plants).
I highly recommend reading my articles:
– How to Do and How Often to Do Water Change in Shrimp Aquarium
– Nitrates in Shrimp Tank. How to Lower them.