Cull Shrimp are fancy shrimp that didn’t make the “cut” for breeding due to muted or missing colours or poor patterning. They usually have a little more colour than ghost shrimp but not always. They are an inexpensive way to try out fancy shrimp. Colours and types of shrimp will vary and are not represented by the image.
Being easy to care for, they are a great addition to a tropical community aquarium containing small, non-aggressive fish. Shrimp are not for the sentimental, their life spans just one year, but this makes them much more affordable. In an aquarium shrimp make your life that little bit easier. As a prominent scavenger, the shrimp will clear up any uneaten food as well as keeping algae levels down. Their cleaning prowess will keep the tank looking clean. They do this throughout the day and are always active and busy.
Though their lives are short, shrimp will molt regularly as they eat and grow, becoming too large for their previous shell. This can become fairly frequent, it all depends on how much they eat and how fast they grow. Once they have shed their old shell, they will be particularly vulnerable until their new shell hardens. While this should not be cause to worry, do not be surprised if your shrimp get damaged from boisterous fish.
Ensure that your tank has crevices or plants for molting shrimp to hide in. When you see a molted shell sitting on the sediment it is natural to panic and assume it is a dead shrimp, but with closer inspection its hollow interior should clearly identify it as a discarded shell. When a shell is shed you do not need to remove it from the aquarium immediately because they usually become food for other shrimp in the tank.
Given their small size shrimp can be kept in relatively small environments, 20 litres should be treated as a bare minimum but preferably larger. You can safely keep around one shrimp per litre, though bear in mind the number of other species you have in the tank.
An ideal aquarium would contain an abundance of live plants. Some popular examples are hornwort, cabomba and java moss. Shrimp will use debris from the plants as an additional food source, varying their diet and tidying your tank at the same time. However, make sure that the plants are hardy so that they can survive any nibbling from stray shrimp. Plants also provide areas for shrimp to hide in, particularly when molting but also when being harassed. Decorations and rocks can also be used to diversify the hiding spots available.
As bottom-dwellers, shrimp will spend a lot of their time on the sediment and are known to burrow. Sand or fine gravel reduces the likelihood of damage to the shrimp, and most importantly their sensitive antennae. A fine grain prevents food from sinking into the sediment as well, meaning that it sits on the surface waiting for scavenging shrimp.
Shrimp are peaceful creatures, but obviously this cannot be said about all tropical fish. A shrimp’s gentle nature and small size makes them prone to being eaten by larger tank mates. Consequently shrimp should only be added to a non-aggressive community of small fish. Some good tank mates could be:
- Characins such as tetras and hatchetfish
- Small barbs like the cherry barb
- Peaceful loaches like zebra and kuhli loaches
- Small catfish like those of the Corydoras genus
- Other aquarium shrimps with similar temperament
There is an extensive range of fish that should be avoided. A general rule of thumb should be to stay away from those who have a large enough mouth to eat a shrimp. Fish with a reputation of being hostile or territorial are also likely causes for the loss of your shrimp. Bettas are good examples of aggressive fish that are popular in the home aquarium, and should not be paired with shrimp.
A group of shrimps is not necessary, a single shrimp will function happily on its own. However it is fun to watch their interactions within a group.
Shrimp enjoy a light flow of water which can easily be generated by the filter outlet or an air pump. Generally the shrimp can cope with most conditions, provided that they remain consistent. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels need to be monitored, as well as any other potential pollutants. Overfeeding, overstocking and dirty filters are likely causes for levels to rise. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish and should be kept as low as possible. Nitrate is less toxic and is used by plants for growth, but should be maintained around 5-10 ppm. Regular water changes will help to control these chemical levels.
It is important to note that copper is very toxic to shrimp and should not be introduced into the tank. When adding medication into the water be sure to check its contents, as many contain copper.
Shrimp are easy to feed as they will greedily eat anything you present them with. This includes most shop bought foods such as flakes, pellets and algae wafers. Their broad diet makes them excellent tank cleaners as they will consume excess algae, plant detritus and any food left over from a fish’s meal. Watching a shrimp rise to the surface to grab a flake is particularly entertaining, but if you have a tall tank then sinking pellets will make it easier for them to grab some food before all of the mid-water fish take it. One algae pellet will easily fuel a tank containing many shrimp, any more and you risk overfeeding.
The food mentioned should be sufficient to maintain a healthy shrimp, but calcium supplements could also be added to ensure a strong shell is formed. Click for a full line of foods specific for shrimps at Rebel Pets.
You should pay special attention to them when they molt; this is when they are most vulnerable. You should expect them to shed monthly if they are well fed and feel secure.
With Shrimp and most other invertebrates, you should avoid anything with Copper (medications and ornaments) in the tank as it is toxic to most invertebrates. Be sure to check the labels as many fish foods and medication contain Copper (Copper Sulfate).
|Adult Size:||4 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Beginner – all levels|
|Minimum Tank Size:||20 litres|
|Temperature:||18 to 28°C|
|pH:||7.0 – 8.0|