Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

A forum for discussing everything about the Supershrimp (Halocaridina rubra, Opae ula).

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Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

Postby jeffclist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:31 pm

I've been referring to this site for almost 2 years now on raising my favorite pets: hawaiian red shrimp! I bought about 200 of them back in 2008 and now have around 350 after tinkering around with the tank a bit. Once I get my new tank up and running, I'm sure they will reproduce much faster and I can then start introducing them to hobbyists in Massachusetts.

I have a few questions since I'm upgrading from 20g to 55g:

    Plankton: Is it worth it to culture some phytoplankton?
    Plants: Is it a good idea to diversify with some plants? Maybe java moss or mangroves?

Also - for those interested, my shrimp really started to breed when I gave them more dark areas and crevices and just left them alone for a while, I either got the idea from here or fukubonsai. Now it's really getting crowded and they've slowed down. They started breeding out of the blue and I would count maybe 30 larvae floating around, this was an average for a few months, now the average is about 5-20 larvae. Unfortunately I find that maybe 20+ berries are born and only about 12-15 make it through the following week. Any advice on this?
I've even given some shrimp out as gifts in small 5-3gal glass jars w/lids (desktop pets) with about 5-8 shrimp and w/rocks and plenty of algae. I told them to top off the water when low and open the lid every week to get fresh air. After a year I came to visit a friend and there is about 20 of them in there! I love these guys.

My tank: 20gal long, 60w flourescent, sponge filter, 1/2inch sand, ~30lbs rock (I drilled several 1/4in holes in most rocks to give them extra crevices and space)
Food: Spirulina: about 3-7 crushed, match-head size pellets per week
Temp: ~75F
Ph: ~7.8
Salinity: 1.015
Kh: at least 300ppm

Special thanks to Mustafa - without your site I would have been lost a long time ago.
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Re: Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

Postby ernopena » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:13 am

Good to hear you've had so much success with your Opae Ula. I wish I still had my tank setup. I had to give my tank to a friend in San Diego almost a year ago because I moved from LA to NYC. Once I move out of my Brooklyn dive loft, I'll setup a new 10 gallon tank.

As for your questions:

A. I tried this a while back. I had a neighbor with a reef tank, and he had a vial of blue-green liquid in his fridge that he said was a live culture of phytoplanktons that he would night-feed to some of his corals. I borrowed it a few times and added 2-3 drops into the tank during feeding time. Half of the feeding shrimp would swarm around the blue-green liquid as it hit the water. It looked like the shrimp liked it. Unfortunately I never followed up and found out where he got it.

B. Not once in any of my research have I ever seen plants as part of Opae Ula habitat. Java moss and mangroves do not grow in the Anchialine pools in Hawaii where opae ula live. It might look nice, but I never considered adding either to my tank. I stuck with cultured live rock only.

Lastly, I remember suggesting here that my success in getting my opae ula to breed were due to 4 things:
1. Proper water salinity and temperature. (I forgot exactly what they were. I have them written down somewhere)
2. Adequate food supply, which was twice weekly spirulina powder mixed into cold spring water and poured in, and algae growing on the glass wall of the tank.
3. Plenty of dark, interior space formed by live rock, for them to hide. In the wild, this is their natural habitat. It just doesn't seem natural to me to place them in a tank where they're out in the open with no place to hide. They need that, especially berried females.
4. Regular water changes. I know a lot of people say you don't need to, but I had great success in doing a 1/4 tank water replacement every month. I think it mimics their natural habitat, because water levels and salinity changes often in those pools, especially during rains. I think a surge of fresh brackish water with feeding mimics tropical rains bringing food to shrimp in the wild and triggers an urge to breed.

I'll post pics again once I get a new tank up and running. In the mean time, here are a few old pics of my tank back in 2007.







I would turn the air pump on for 10 minutes, 3 times a day. Contrary to what some might think, the shrimp didn't shy away from the air bubbles. Many, especially the male shrimp would jump into it and swim again the current. They seemed to enjoy it. I would run it even when there was larval shrimp present.
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Re: Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

Postby gr81 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:22 am

should I ask a question or two?
How did you drill holes to rocks? I'm afraid of metal residuals from driller in rocks (I found it contain some heavy metals).
Second, Is there some freshwater plant which can live in 1.012-1.015 salinity?
I would like a bit green in tank. Something small, not a few meter long mangrove :)
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Re: Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

Postby LiquidBee » Sun May 16, 2010 9:49 am

Just want to add my 2 cents in here.

I have tried adding Java Moss in the tank - they don't die right away, but they don't last either - after 5-6 month, they all died.

besides Mangroves, I'm not sure there is much option for plant
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Re: Plants, Plankton for halocaridina rubra?

Postby Mustafa » Fri May 21, 2010 11:54 am

The java moss actually does die right just takes a few months to *look* dead. Java moss (or any moss) can look green for a very long time although it's dead. There is really no plant that you can keep in a Opae tank at the usual salinities. Any reports of freshwater plants growing in "brackish" tanks that you find online are about tanks that are almost freshwater at the very low end of the brackish range. People are not all that scientific in their thinking so they talk about "brackish" as if it's just one single's really a very large range.
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