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my alternate approach to tank setup for my shrimp

Paul Minett

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Holistic Shrimp Keeping

After trying for 6 months to get a stable and healthy tank and failing dismally, I was using shrimp soil and following all the recommendations to keep shrimp everything was testing perfect but the shrimp were dying steadily.  I then changed approach in the 6 months fighting with the tank and doing many hours of research I developed the approach I have been using now for the last 6 months with great success, it involves following a few basic principles that are a little different to the normal shrimp keepers mantra of shrimp soil, Ro (reverse osmosis) water and re mineralise with salty shrimp minerals and you won't have a problem well I was basically following this and had a lot of problems.


What I feel is more important and my experiment has proven you don't need to spend a lot of money on expensive soils minerals and ro units to keep any shrimp, to prove my experiment I chose to use expensive high end shrimp that supposedly require very specific water conditions and you absolutely must use all of the above mentioned things or they will die. They have not only survived but are breeding happily.


What I know to be of high importance the tank water parameters you choose must remain very stable, you must provide a complete ecosystem for your shrimp if anything is lacking the system crashes, you must provide healthy food preferably fresh or commercial food that doesn’t go sour.


Shrimp are not as delicate as people make out they are mostly resilient and robust if you can put them in a bag and post them across the country with the posties using the parcel as a football and they arrive happy and healthy it puts that myth to rest but having said that any ammonia or sudden changes in the tank will kill them very quickly which is why they have the delicate reputation.


The recommended parameters for the Taiwan Bee shrimp and the Crystal shrimp are as follows Ph 5.5-6.2, gh 6, kh 0, tds 150 ammonia and nitrite 0, minimal nitrate. My tank parameters are ph 6.8, gh 7-8, kh 3-4, tds 130 rest as required yes they are similar but to a shrimp keeper they are way outside what is recommended according to the rule book at 6.8 ph and kh 3 my shrimp should have died within a week or 2 and the babies shouldn’t have survived as they should be kept at a ph below 6. The reason they recommend the levels they do is because they are hostile to all microbial life in the tank essentially creating a sterile environment that they then add in only the things that are beneficial to shrimp growth and health the problem this poses for us in Australia is we don’t have ready access to these products so we can’t make a balanced environment and the shrimp die.


I have setup my tank with normal aquarium gravel and pool filter sand no shrimp specific substrate as I found it gives a false sense of stability if it’s there you rely on it to make the water stable not make it stable yourself. I use rain water from a tank I then re-mineralise using readily available aquarium minerals to a level I have chosen. The tank is heavily planted with mosses and plants to provide biofilm for them to graze on and cover when needed.


The rainwater starts at ph 5.6 gh 1 kh 0 tds 10 I then in a 20 litre bucket add about ¼ teaspoon of reef builder ½ teaspoon of equilibrium which gives a ph of 6.8, gh 5-6 these are the important parameters as this is the levels in the tank by matching them the water that comes out is the same as the water that is going back in this provides the essential stability that you need to keep your shrimp happy. I also add azoo mineral plus and bio plus as described as well as flourish excel and stability to provide essential bacteria for a healthy biosphere these are added each week with the water change. I have been using this approach now for 6 months with great success the reason it works when everyone will tell you it should fail is it provides the essential things for healthy shrimp:

  1. Stable water conditions with a ph below 7 this ensures any ammonia produced will be in the form of ammonium which is harmless to shrimp it also reduces the effects of nitrites
  2. A diverse bacterial colony that shrimp require for a healthy existence.
  3. A robust and healthy ecosystem that provide food and shelter for the shrimp
  4. Diverse foods for nutrition and health

I feed my shrimp every second day from the following list:

Shelled peas, dried shitake mushroom, organic rolled oats, chia seeds, and commercial shrimp foods like snowflake, max growth etc 

Edited by NoGi
Fixed up formatting
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I have been watching Paul for a few months now and have to say the quality of his shrimp and the number of babies has been outstanding . I think more people are starting to keep their TB's outside the "normal" parameters with some success. I also think it should be noted that the key to successful shrimp keeping is stability regardless of the parameters they are kept in . The biggest problem I can see with shrimp being kept at different parameters is when it comes to selling them on the purchaser needs to be aware of the different water parameters . Having said that at least here most people do advertise what water parameters the shrimp are kept in.

Thanks for sharing Paul. A six month trial seems to be quite a good time limit given that shrimp usually only live 2 years on average.

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Really interesting to see a different approach.


Again, as Ineke said, have been seeing Paul's shrimp for the last six months and he is doing something right.


Comes down to stability and balanced systems.


Even if shrimp came from different parameters, if they are acclimatised slowly they should adjust, as long as the system they are entering is stable too!


Thanks for this Paul!!  :thumbsu:

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guys thanks for having a read, I  have moved some misch off too a couple of friends as well as one of my green project tb to tanks with lower ph etc with no issues and yes they were acclimatised slowly just in case, but I have also moved my tank ph around at times testing things with no ill effects to the shrimp have ranged it from 6.2 -7.4, when it comes time to sell a few buyers will be made aware of the parameters etc.

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Great write up Paul, very interesting read & after six months of keeping your TB in your WP, its obviously working. Not only are your TB living, their breeding.


Well done & thanks for sharing  :D

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  • 2 months later...

great read expesially for a newcomer to shrimp like me i used to keep tropheus and they where a pain but as soon as my 6ft was stable i had no bloat no deaths

and this is a perfect example of stability whitin a mini ecosystem.

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I was interested in how you remineralizer your water and had to google reef builder. So you use equilibrium to raise the gh and reefbuilder to raise kh. The reefbuilder site says it raises kh without raising ph, so how did your ph go from 5.6 to 6.8?

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well this makes me feel better about not using shrimp soil :)


and all my parameters are the same :)


nice work, was a good read

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