Shrimp farming / breeding

Requirements for shrimp farming

lshman000 / Pixabay

The most suitable place is an art aquarium. If the fish used for socializing swim around hectically, this will cause too much unrest in the aquarium. As a result, the shrimps retreat into densely planted parts of the aquarium and do not reproduce. A socialization with snails is possible. Young shrimp are tiny creatures. Even normally peaceful fish could find a taste for them.

Carrying females like to retreat into caves and under plants. Therefore the breeding tank should be sufficiently planted. Suitable are plants such as Bucephalandra, Anubias, Javafarn, or various mosses, which are attached to roots. Bundles of boiled autumn leaves are ideal hiding places and serve as a food reserve for the young animals. Add a few large stones and the interior of the pool is finished.

Water values, water temperature and size of the tank must be adapted to the special requirements of the shrimp species. If the values are not optimal, the probability of the animals reproducing decreases.

An increased concentration of pollutants in the tank can drastically reduce the animals’ ability to reproduce. Care must be taken to ensure that the water filter is working properly. Openings must be covered with fine-mesh fabric (lady’s stocking) to prevent the small animals from being sucked in. A varied diet and an optimal supply of vitamins and minerals increase the prospect of breeding success. Shrimp breeding is all about particularly bright, intensive colours.

Only healthy animals with these desired characteristics are used for breeding. Animals that are pale or washed-out in colour are removed from the breeding tank before they reach sexual maturity. Shrimps that are new to an aquarium need time to settle in. If everything is optimal, they feel comfortable and their first offspring will soon be here.

Different reproduction types in shrimp

In shrimp, a distinction is made between the specialized and the primitive reproductive type.

Common features
With the onset of sexual maturity, the females begin to produce eggs. They are stored in an egg pack. At the next moult, these eggs can be fertilized by a male. The female transports them into special abdominal pockets. With her hind legs, the mother constantly fans fresh, oxygen-rich water to the eggs. She constantly turns and moves the eggs and sorts out unfertilised or dead eggs immediately.

Specialised reproduction type

Shrimps of the specialised reproduction type can be bred without any problems. If males and females are kept together in one tank, offspring can soon be expected. The mothers release fully developed young shrimp. There is no larval stage outside the womb. If the tank is large enough, the young shrimp can stay with the adult animals.

After fertilization, the small shrimp develop within the next three to four weeks. Depending on the species, the female releases 20 to 50 young. Then the cycle starts all over again with the production of new eggs.

Primitive reproductive type

Here the breeding is much more elaborate and complicated. The female releases tiny larvae that need a special brackish water tank.
The fertilized eggs develop into tiny larvae. After 15 to 25 days, about 100,000 freshly hatched larvae are released into the river water. The tiny larvae cannot survive in fresh water. In nature, the current drives them into the sea. There they go through several larval stages in a multi-stage metamorphosis before they return to the rivers as young shrimps after 15 to 35 days.

For the breeder, this means that he has to place the pregnant female in an extra tank. Once the larvae have hatched in fresh water, he must take the female out again and salt the water. Once the young shrimp have developed, they are also transferred to the freshwater tank.
The second option is for the breeder to fish the larvae out of the tank and place them in a brackish water tank. The disadvantage of this method is that many tiny larvae have to be collected from the tank of the adults.

In both types, the young animals or larvae are on their own from day one. The adults do not take care of them any further.

Crossbreeding of shrimps

Some shrimp species can crossbreed with each other. This fact can be desirable or undesirable.

Some breeders purposefully crossbreed different species with each other. This creates shrimp with new colours or colour patterns. In existing shrimp strains, the colours can be intensified through targeted crossbreeding. Other characteristics are also influenced in this way.

For someone who breeds species-specific shrimp and has good breeding strains, an outcrossing of another species would be a disaster. The typical characteristics of a shrimp species would no longer be recognisable in their pure form.

To avoid unwanted cross-breeding, each species should be kept in a special tank.
For a hobby aquarist who simply enjoys his shrimp, this is not absolutely necessary. It doesn’t matter if there are a few shrimp swimming around in his tank that are not homozygous.

Food/feeding for young shrimp

Garnelen Babys
© Marco Ptak

Young shrimps of the specialized reproduction type like to feed on food remains and mulm or they graze mosses. The offspring stay for a long time in the place where the mother released them. If there is a lack of food, the animals starve.

The larvae of the primitive reproductive type feed in the first days on the food supply they carry with them. They do not require additional food at first.
If they are fed, both types are fed with powdered food, such as spirulina algae, moringa or juvenile shrimp food. The food is given with tweezers directly to the places where the offspring is sitting.

It is important that the small animals are well supplied with everything they need. They grow very quickly and shed their skin accordingly often. Sometimes this happens two or three times a day. Therefore their food should contain enough chitin from insects