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Presented by Charles & Linda Raabe
Mactan Island, The Philippines
© 2008 All Rights Reserved

  The majority of the shrimp we keep are of the decorative and cleaner types, all of which I feel can have a place within our reef tanks, besides being functional in providing fish and tank cleaning services along with pest removal, they are very interesting to watch and add a nice splash of color to the reef.

Photo by Charles Raabe

  There are many species to chose from such as the peppermint and fire shrimps along with various anemone/clam hosting shrimp. One popular species deserves mention, the coral banded shrimp, far to often I hear of it being a "killer", which may be due to our misunderstanding their needs. They, as well as a good many other shrimp species are territorial. If other shrimp are kept within to small of a tank, there an be problems. There are other species available that are not much to look at but are very functional in their clean up service such as the Saron shrimp. Care must be taken with all shrimp types in providing good water quaility and no sudden changes. As with all invertebrates, having elevated nitrate/ammonia levels will cause them great stress and should only be introduced to an established, mature aquarium.

Commonly Kept Shrimp Species  -  A very well put together article detailing a great many shrimp speices.

Shrimp Profiles  -  Resources where you can learn all about the identification, care of and breeding of marine shrimp species.

Mantis Shrimp  -  From identifications to aquarium suitability, a very indepth site.

  Caridean shrimp can be distinguished from other shrimp-like creatures by the way in which the plate of the second abdominal segment overlaps both in front and behind. Shrimps have long muscular tails attac hed to the carapace and two pairs of nippers, the first usually stronger than the second. The size of the nippers varies considerably between species. Some shrimps have a claw almost as large as the carapace whilst others have slender and delicate ones. The carapace usually bears a rostrum, the length and shape of which can help to determine the species. The eyes are on mobile stalks each side of the rostrum and above the long antennae. The body ends with a tail fan composed of the flat telson and pair of uropods.

 Shrimp Anatomy -  Glossary and Illustrations of shrimp anatomy.

 Reproduction - Caridean shrimps mate prior to the female spawning. The male mates with the female after she has moulted and her body is soft. Turning the female onto her back the male applies spermatophores or sperm sacs close to the opening of the female's genital duct. The sperm sacs are shed from a pair of holes at the base of the last legs and the eggs from holes on the third legs. Within 24 hours the female spawns, releasing eggs which become f ertilised as they pass by the spermatophores. The female holds the fertilised eggs in a brood chamber under the abdomen glued onto hairs on the pleopods. The eggs remain attached to the female during incubation. Once developed the eggs hatch into zoeae which are released from the abdomen by the female. The zoea spends its life in the plankton, moulting as it grows through the various stages of larval development. Eventually the zoea settles on the bottom as a shrimp after its final larval molt.

  If you have shrimp or any other animal that is actively spawning in your system, I feel it is our responsibility to take the effort of trying to rear such animals and provide them back to the hobby. With the amount of animals that die within our care, the collection of wild specimens to replace them is a great strain on the wild reefs. You will most likely find that in doing so, you will greatly enhance the enjoyment of our hobby as well. For more information and help with any questions, please become a member of the Reef Stewardship Foundation.


Photo by Charles Raabe

Since I live on a fairly remote island, or at least one that does not have any reef equipment or something as basic as acrylic, I have had to improvise the building of a kreisel tank if I was to have any success at all with rearing shrimp and other larvae. As such, as you can see in the above photo, it was not all that difficult to do. I had a custom aquarium built at a glass shop that was initialy three compartments, the left one taking up half of the tank while the right side was divided into two other compartments. For the kreisel section, I used a piece of acrylic (had to buy a picture frame and cut it up) to form another divider to create a pump and aeration area as well as having a screen mesh installed.

Photo by Charles Raabe

  For the mesh screen, you can try other material such as micronfilters, but I have found that cutting up a simple pair of lady's nylonstockings works very well. I do not have a clogging issue and the larvae and copepod food can not pass through. The baffles shown are simply small peices of acrylic cut to fit snuggly and siliconed into place. The powerhead was the smallest one that I could find (50 litre per hour) since you do not need a strong flow to create a gentle circular current within the kreisel section.

Photo by Charles Raabe

  The above photo shows a bit more detail of the bubble trap I use on all tanks that require an airstone for aeration. For more details on how to construct one, please see my Air Stone Bubble Trap webpage.

  A few tips on creating your own Larval rearing station :

 - You can use any sized aquarium that you wish, although the smaller ones such as I have used are easier to work with and their needed water changes do not require a great deal of water, maybe a gallon at the most.
 - Get a small powerhead and one that has a flow valve since even with such a small powerhead, I have to turn to flow valve to just above the shut off point to get a nice gentle flow going.
 - Make the hole for the mesh screening as large as you can, this allows a much slower flow to go through the mesh which prevents any larvae from being pinned against the mesh by a higher flow rate. A small opening would force the water to blast through it.
 - Make the divider peice a bit lower than the top of the tank. If the mesh should become clogged, the water can overflow the top of the divider back into the pump area and avoid having the tank overflow and flood the house.

The Caridean Shrimp of the Central Visayan Islands - An ongoing project detailing those species found.

The Production and Use of Live Food  - A very indepth online book on how to culture your own live foods.

Breeding the Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp  -  Has to be one of the hardest species to attempt.

Breeding the Peppermint Shrimp  -  Great information on a fairly easy species.

Breeding the Fire Shrimp  -  A very well done article on this difficult shrimp species.

An Additional Fire Shrimp Article  - Includes a larval rearing system and other important information.

Breeding Mysid Shrimp  -  A great way to culture your own live food stock.

The Care & Breeding of the Harlequin Shrimp  -  My own article and attempts at breeding this species.

Breeding the Harlequin Shrimp  -  A nice short little article.

Please take a moment and consider supporting any of the projects listed within, Thank you.

This mirror is being hosted with the permissions of the original content creator for preservation and educational purposes.