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How important is dietary consistency?


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I would like to start a conversation on whether the golden rule for shrimp keeping : "Shrimp don't like change" applies to diet and feeding as well?

I have received some great advice from Disciple and would like to find out what the consensus and experience is out there with different shrimp varieties.

In the natural habitat, the diet will be quite consistent in terms of micro organisms, leaf litter types, pollens, insects etc and I am beginning to think that I have been approaching my feeding of my colonies incorrectly. I feed my shrimp different foods in rotation everyday to make up for as much potential nutrient deficiencies compared to what they might find in nature as I am concerned that in the long term I might risk giving my shrimp a deficiency of some obscure mineral like Boron as example, so I compensate with ridiculous amounts of variety in foods. I need to stress that I do not overfeed.

I am wondering whether the shrimp might perhaps prefer the predictability of routine? As an example, only happening in my large 240l TB tank, everyday late afternoon, the shrimp start waiting at the food bowl area- approx 80 percent if my shrimp hang around the feed arena from about 5pm...

What are your thoughts and experiences?

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I disagree with the premise that a shrimps diet is "consistent" in the wild. Firstly shrimp are opportunists in that they will eat anything they come across. Dead fish, dead insects, leaves, algae, detritus, pollen, fruits, ect. Secondly these foods will vary from season to season, and even over the space of days or weeks. For example, during times of floods/heavy rains, most of the leaves, moss, plants ect. are washed out of the system. I'd suggest the shrimp then rely on algae growth and detritus. Alternatively smaller rainfalls may wash lots of leaves into the system. Pollen and fruit are seasonal. Algae growth is somewhat seasonal too - higher growth in summer with warmer temperatures and longer day length. There are many more examples. 

It's probably likely that most people provide a greater variety of food than is absolutely necessary to provide all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are required by shrimp. This is not a bad thing, but it's important not to get hung up on it and ignore other important factors that determine the health of our shrimp - water quality being the obvious example. 

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I used to feed a very wide range and variety of food both commercial and natural. Once I started feeding leafy greens and mulberry leaves my shrimp consistently left the commercial food which I had to siphon out each morning. 

My tanks are well established - 3 years plus- although they have had new substrate everything else remained the same - filters, mosses plants etc. I think now with the amount of biofilm in the tanks the shrimp show little interest in most foods except the mulberry leaves and shrimp snow - soya bean husks- my colonies are growing in large numbers and there are very few deaths so they must be getting reasonable nutrition from what is available. I have now stopped feeding vast varieties of commercial foods and cut back on  a lot of other natural foods.

i now have 3 staples in the tank all the time - I have an Indian Almond Leaf in each tank that is left there until only veins are visible, I have a mulberry leaf which again is left until only veins are visible - the leaf tends to get quite " mushy" after a few days and this is when the babies love it, and my final staple is a bit of snow which I end up siphoning out weekly and putting a fresh lot in - the shrimp like it best when it first goes in.

I use a commercial food about 3 times a week . I just make sure it is a good brand shrimp specific food - generally I end up having to siphon it out the next day but I always offer it hoping the shrimp will get some benefit from it.

i was feeding bloodworms once a week but I'm finding the shrimp don't seem to be interested in it like they used to so I feed it occasionally but not weekly. 

I used to feed cucumber, broccoli, spinach, lettuce but again the shrimp don't seem overly interested however I grow my own kale for them and offer that occassionly which they will graze on but not as much as the mulberry leaf which is their absolute favourite food.

i use Boss Baby powder mixed with a variety of crushed foods including spirulina for any tank with shrimplets in it - I use this daily.

i also use micronecton powder and BETA-G or Boss Mineral powder weekly after water change. 

I have high shrimplet survival rates now with this regime 

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Thank you for your replies guys. It is very interesting that all 10 of your tanks prefer the leaves and start shunning the processed food Ineke. I guess nature knows best...as far as variety is concerned, I might set up an experiment in one of my tanks to see what the result is, if there is any.

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Same experience as @ineke with my natives and cherries re shunning processed food, but I haven't tried a huge range of processed food yet. 

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