Why should you buy young/juvenile shrimp?
Upon reading the title of this article you might respond: "Yeah, why should I? If I can get fully grown, adult shrimp why would I waste money on juveniles?" Here is why. Most small shrimp only live between 1-2 years. That is their lifespan and there is nothing you can do about it. Most shrimp you buy are imported from Asia and are wild-caught, so nobody knows how old they are. For all you know, they could be dying the very next day after arrival, not because you did not give them the right care, but they are simply too old! Granted, the next-day-death scenario is a bit extreme but it delivers the message.
On the other hand, if you purchase juveniles from a reputable source, you can be sure that the animals will not be dying of old age. They are young, will grow quickly to adulthood, and they will spend their *entire* adult life in your aquarium. However, one has to be careful here, too. When shrimp are not fed sufficiently, they stop growing and can stay the same size for months. So the smallish shrimp that were sold to you as "juveniles", might just be starved, adult shrimp that have been sitting in the dealer's tanks for months! That is why it is important to buy from knowledgeable sources (you can "quiz" your dealer by using information from this website and see if he/she knows *anything* at all or if he/she is bull*****ing you)
Another advantage of purchasing young shrimp is that juveniles adjust better to new environments than adults and consequently your "sudden death" rate will be much lower. Also, shrimp tend to be imported in groups of same-sex animals (I have no idea why), so you might not be getting breeding animals because only one gender is present in your tank. Juvenile, tank-bred shrimp will not have that problem and you are more than likely to be of both genders if you buy sufficient numbers.
The only real disadvantage of young shrimp becomes apparent, when you have shrimp-munching fish or shrimp-sucking filter intakes in your tank. Smaller shrimp fit so much better into the mouths and intakes of these fish and filters than the adults; but then, you should not be having fish in your tanks that even *think* about picking on any size shrimp anyway or a filter intake that can suck in even newly hatched shrimp.
So the bottom-line is that, in a shrimp-safe tank, juvenile shrimp are the way to go. They live longer, will grow up quickly (if given sufficient food), will most likely breed for you, and will spend their entire adult life in your tank. What more could you ask for? Why on earth would you *not* want to get juveniles?
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