Ok guys, vote for the questions that interest you.
I have a little treat for you. The first of many SKF "interviews" has been completed and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
@ShrimpFan is a blogger/shrimpkeeper based in the United States. His blog is available in our blogs section, You can also find it at http://shrimpfan.blogspot.com.au/. Great read if you have not read it before I suggest you check it out.
SKF- Hi ShrimpFan can you please tell us a little about yourself?
SF - I got into this hobby a while back. I believe around 2007 when I was still keeping bettas and breeding bettas. In my search for live plants to assist my bettas breed better, I visited a local guy who was selling live plants. I saw his beautiful his tank was and saw that he had such an amazing planted tank (prior to this I didn’t not know live plants and aquarium went together). After buying the hornwort, I went home and did an eBay search and found a live plant seller (aquatic magic). I was captivated by those marimo moss balls and saw that in one of the photos, the photographer had a Crystal Red Shrimp. The moment I saw that red and white shrimp I became instantly hooked. It really opened the flood gates I could say.
My blogger was a consummation of ideas between myself and the guy (now buddy) I visited FOR the live plants. We figured since shrimp keeping was pretty new, it would be a neat idea to blog about shrimping as a way to track our progress and share knowledge we’ve accumulated along the way. Personally, my blogger as grown to become my motivator for keeping up with the shrimping hobby. I find that writing about and taking pictures of my shrimps is a good motivating factor. It helps me unwind my thought processes and helps me maintain interest this slow paced hobby.
Question 1 - What is your weekly/monthly maintenance schedule?
SF - Ideally, I perform weekly water changes for all my tanks, but being that the past few months have been busy, I’ve only performed monthly water changes. I prep my water, age it for roughly 10hr+ and then perform the water change. Daily dosing involves dosing trace elements for my shrimps and plants. I only feed once, maybe twice, a week.
Question 2 - What is your favorite additive/products?
SF - Hands down, my favorite additives/products are the Shrimpy Daddy Revive Minerals and Vivace. I just adore those products because it really helped my shrimps gain that extra “gloss” and really added to the overall health of my shrimps.
Question 3 - What is your worst shrimp experience?
SF - My absolute worst shrimping experience has to be when I was a newer shrimp keeping and found success breeding Orange Eyes Blue Tigers (OEBT). Around this time, shrimping was getting big, and everyone was trying to establish themselves as either a breeder or provider for the shrimping world. Many new shrimps were coming into the hobby (Red Rili, Dream Blues, so on and so forth). I had a very healthy and happy colony of OEBT (massive size). I got really greedy and bought freshly imported Black Tigers and some Dream Blues. Being greedy and not having tanks cycled and ready, I figured well let’s toss them inside the OEBT tank being that they all share similar parameters requirements, it should work. Lord behold, the Dream Blues were carriers of that cloudy body bacteria. It completely decimated my OEBT colony. Not a single OEBT or BT survived. Dream blues were completely fine…. My greed lead to the downfall of my more precious OEBT tank.. That was nearly 6 years ago, I finally got over the loss and got back to keeping OEBT…
Question 4 - What are the biggest myths in Shrimp Keeping?
SF - Biggest myths… hmmm. I would have to say the biggest myths involves dosing ferts (macros, micros, traces) and injecting CO2. My personal belief is that all life forms requires some forms of trace elementals and nutrients to survive. Folks too quickly chalk up failures to this or that and really gave traces, macros, micros, and co2 a bad rep. They dose heavily, experienced bad results, and shoved it aside as bad. My philosophy is that less is more, and some is better than none. Do it right, do it smart, and you’ll experience success.
Question 5 - Unusual things that you use with your shrimps?
SF - Nothing really to talk about. I rarely do anything to my shrimps. I do have sort of a tinkering drive. I’m always messing around with equipment and modifying things to add to my shrimp tanks, but nothing directly related to my shrimps.
Question 6 - Can you give us tips on selective breeding? And how to improve the quality of our shrimps?
SF - My only real advice is never conform. If you have a preset goal, never divert from the goal and never conform because of any reasons. Example: I’m currently working really hard at selectively breeding my JRB. My goals are to breed for the best looking REDs, Red Legs, and great posture. What this means is I will not conform my standard when I see a really nice JRB with good whites and poor reds. Regardless of secondary characteristics, the first three must be achieved for the shrimps to not be culled. Create a goal, make it simple, and stick to it. Be aggressive. You’re working towards a goal, and if it’s selective breeding, then it doesn’t matter much if you have a super large colony. A colony of 10 extremely beautiful shrimps outweighs 1000 average looking shrimps. Lastly, remember that a single individual ugly shrimp can and will undo years of hard work. So cull, cull and cull. I cull 50% of my babies.
Question 7 - What do you think will be the next big thing in shrimp? Will it come from crosses or line breeding pure species?
SF - Great question!! If you were to ask me this 5 years ago, I’d tell you it’s all about line purity (gosh sound like Mr. Hitler) but honestly, it feels like folks today are all about mixing and matching. Years ago, the thought of mixing a tiger x crs was greatly frowned upon. Mixing was seen as a way to create mutts and muddle the lines and hard work of the original breeders. What’s the say… Mixing Yellow Neos and Red neos will result in brown neos? Such was the mindset of that time. But now… well now we’re reaching a point where breeding shrimps (especially mixing) has become a way for folks to express themselves. Similar to a painter painting his masterpiece, creating your own one-of-a-kind shrimp is a work of art and expressionism at its truest form. I think mixing is new and exciting. I believe it to be the trend now. Equally, I believe are those purist out there who still holds true the belief of perfecting a line and working towards a goal of having the best of the best (myself in this group). Now what I would love to see happening is a collaboration between the creators and perfectos. That would be an amazing sight to see!!
Question 8 - How do you mineralize and what WP do you aim for?
SF - I mineralize my water with Shrimp Daddy’s Revive Bianco mineralizers. Alfa and Beta for Bee shrimps, and Alfa, Beta, and Gamma for Tiger species. I pre-mix, and age the water inside my containers for 10hr+ before performing the water change. Parameters wise, for Bee shrimps, I aim for 6dGH, 6.0-6.2PH, TDS: doesn’t matter much as long as it’s not ridiculous, 0dKH, Temp: 74-76, depending on how hot the day is and how hard my fans are blowing. The rest of the parameters I don’t test.
Question 9 - What food enhances the welling being of shrimps and increase shrimplets survival rates?
SF - Honestly, I don’t subscribe to the idea that one food is better than another. Different different foods offers different things. In a hobby that is still very young, I find that the excessive amount of foods available to the market as a telling sign. How many brands can claim something and have it be true. My theory is most, if not all, foods contain the same ingredients. Some are even just repurposed foods from other pet industries. Ex: Snowflake is a soy husk based foods for horses. Barley is barley straw pellets and serves as an algaecide for rivers and lakes. Stinging Nettle leaves pellets is a parrot food. Etc… The key to increasing survival rates is stability and consistency. Don’t tinker with the tanks too much and don’t bother the shrimps too much. Imagine how scary it would be for your if someone 1000x your size kept coming at you and looking at you. HAH! Let nature be.
Question 10 - How often do you cull?
SF - Very often. For my JRB colony, I cull as much as 50% of my babies. Of course, the culls are moved to a separate tank whereas they continue to live and breed. Exceptional babies from the culled tanks that meet my breeding goals are re-introduced back to the main breeding tank.
Question 11 - What is your funniest shrimp experience?
SF - My funniest AND wildest shrimping experience would have to be with my Taiwan Bees. They LOVE to climb out and break the water surface whenever I perform my waterchanges. I have a little water pump that they always love to climb on whenever the water is newly drained and the conditions are moist enough to allow them to do so. I’ve recorded them doing this in the past. I laugh because I imagine them hanging out on the shaking pump and picture them sitting in a massage chair.
Lastly on behalf of SKF and its members, I wanted to thank ShrimpFan again.
Please vote for the questions that you would like to be asked. Thanks.