Sulawesi Shrimp – Orchid and Six Banded Black Bee

May 18th, 2008

I recently had the opportunity to get a batch of the new shrimp from Sulawesi, Indonesia. It appears that these are starting to appear in import lists, which indicates that the shrimp farms overseas are starting to figure out how to breed them. With many varieties to choose from, the first one I wanted to try and breed was the Orchid Shrimp, shown below. Outside of one, none of these shrimp are scientifically described as anything other than Caridina sp.

Orchid Shrimp From Sulawesi
Orchid Shrimp

I chose the Orchid Shrimp because it has white marbled nicely throughout a red body. The one described species, Caridina spongicola (sold as Celebes Beauty Bee), may be even more striking, but I had read that it is more delicate than the others. Unfortunately for me, the Orchids didn’t ship very well either, and the one shown above is the only one I received. I’m hoping to get some replacements in a few weeks.

Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp From Sulawesi
Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp

Otherwise, I wanted one of the black shrimp that I had seen pictures of. Originally ordering one by the name of Power Blue Bee, I had to end up substituting for the Six Banded Black Bee due to availability, shown above. When I received the shrimp, they were nearly transparent, and I was a little bit upset. Overnight, the bodies have darkened up considerably, revealing the six light bars across their backs. One of mine was carrying eggs, so I’m hopeful that they will readily reproduce so that I can spread them around a little bit locally.

Overall, my first impressions of these shrimp are that they’re smaller than cherries, and much more timid. As you can tell from the pictures, they’re not hanging out in areas of the tank that are convenient to photograph. I have them in a 10G tank with crushed coral in a bag under the substrate, and 3M ColorQuartz sand. I’m keeping the temperature around 80 degrees. I made the mistake of using black sand, which makes finding the shrimp a bit of a bear. Otherwise, I’m glad that I went through with this order, and really hope to successfully breed them. I’ll be sure to update the website with their progress.

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Olive Nerite Snail Shots

March 2nd, 2008

I just wanted to share a couple pictures I took of the Olive Nerite Snails in my 40G aquarium. As mentioned in last week’s algae writeup, these snails are fantastic organisms to have in your aquarium as algae eaters.

Olive Nerite Snail

Here is a close-up shot of a Nerite Snail grazing on the glass. I imagine that this guy is scraping algae filaments from the glass that aren’t even visible to the naked eye.

Olive Nerite Snail
Taken 100mm/2.8 with 68mm Kenko extension tubes

Here’s a little bit clearer shot of the snail’s mouth and foot. Their antennae constantly move back and forth over the ground in front of them, and sometimes appear to just flow with the current of the water.

Olive Nerite Snail
Taken 100mm/2.8 with 68mm Kenko extension tubes

By keeping my nutrients balanced, and these snails in the tank, my tank is not algae free, but kept completely under control.

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New Sulawesi Shrimp

February 7th, 2008

For those of you like me, who haven’t heard the news, there is an exciting new group of shrimp coming into the hobby from Sulawesi, Indonesia. The shrimp are freshwater, but exhibit striking similarities to some marine types of shrimp, especially in their coloration. Most have yet to be fully identified, so they could go by a variety of names.

Caridina sp. “Orangedelight”

The Sulawesi region contains two ancient lakes, Lake Poso and the five-lake Malili system. These old lakes have allowed the species within them to evolve uniquely from their counterparts in surrounding bodies of water. The lakes themselves are a little bit more alkaline than what many of the shrimp we’re used to keeping live in.

Species TBD

From wklotz:

In the Towuti, Mantoano and Poso lakes you can find pH values between 7,4 and 8,2; appear to require the higher pH. the conductivity is at about 224 µS and the total hardness at about 6°DH.
The water temperature is rather stable at about 26,5°C. (80°F) Only in shallow water regions near the shore the temperature can rise to 29°C. (84°F) The Malili system lakes have relatively normal water parameters, with soft water and pH slight alkaline.

Species TBD

There are some problems, however with these shrimp. For starters, many of them have an adult size of 1cm, which would make them unsuitable additions to most people’s fish tanks. Additionally, while they have been kept successfully in captivity, they’re usually kept at a pH greater than 8.0 with no CO2 added, which is problematic for many planted tanks.

Species TBD

Finally, at least one of the species, Caridina spongicola, may not survive due to a possible interdependence with a freshwater sponge. It’s still unclear whether this is a firm requirement, but in the wild, C. spongicola appears to have descended from rock-dwelling shrimp that now use sponges for shelter, and their collected diatoms for food.

Caridina spongicola

That said, at least one member on the Shrimp Now thread have reported eggs forming and hatching when the adult reaches ~1cm in length. Some of the juveniles appear to be viable, so captive breeding may be a possibility.

Species TBD

Of all of the shrimp, Caridina sp. ‘cardinal’ seems to be the easiest to keep, with not surprisingly, the C. spongicola being the most delicate. Many folks report keeping multiple species in a single tank without concerns of interbreeding. It’s possible that this claim is made too early in the process to be conclusive.

Caridina sp. “Goldpowder”

It’s important that commercial shrimp farmers find a way to mass produce these shrimp, as wild collecting can not be sustainably done due to the narrow habitat in which they live.

From Kristina von Rintelen:

Imminent threats are habitat destruction due to canalization work in the outlet area for the hydroelectric dams of a large nickel mine operating in the area, and possibly aquarium trade, where Caridina is a well sought-after pet due its partially flamboyantly coloured species. The Malili lakes have recently received much interest from this side (Chris Lukhaup 2006, personal communication). Protective measures should be taken to ensure not only the existence of the two beautiful species but also to enable further research on the evolution of specialization and interspecific association in this ancient lake model system that can continue to improve our understanding of the origin of these traits.

Caridina sp. “Freshwater Cardinalshrimp”

These shrimp appear to be fairly shy shrimp, preferring dimmer light levels, and doing most of their foraging at night. The exception to that is the Caridina sp. ‘Caridina’ which people have reported as being fairly active.

Caridina sp. “Goldenbackline”

Similar to the Caridina spongicola possible dependence on sponges, some have speculated that the color of the substrate may also serve to keep different species more at home.

Caridina sp. “Sunghai Electric”

Finally, I do not recommend anyone currently buying these shrimp unless they are captive bred, or willing to breed and sell the shrimp themselves. The cost is probably a barrier for most folks anyways, as they’re currently retailing for $40-$45/shrimp from the U.S. online seller, Planet Inverts.

Information collected from the Shrimp Now forum. Also, from here. And here. Photos from Experienced shrimp breeders can purchase some of these from Planet Inverts.

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Dwarf Crayfish Babies

December 6th, 2006

Dwarf Crayfish baby

While away the AGA, my little brother, who was caring for my tanks, told me that he saw two of the dwarf cajun crayfish on top of one another. So, when I got back, I eagerly looked to see if the female had eggs, and she did! A few weeks later, I have really dwarf crayfish babies. Up close they look like translucent miniature versions of their parents. I estimate that they’re about one week old right now. Use the adult crayfish and java moss for scale on the baby below.

I’ve counted about 10 at any given time, but they’re so hard to see, that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I have many more than that.
Dwarf Crayfish adult and baby

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Dwarf Crayfish

October 26th, 2006

Last weekend at the Catfish Convention, I picked up two pairs of dwarf crayfish. They weren’t labeled so I don’t know their exact species, but I’m guessing they’re cambarellus shufeldtii. I was told that they’re pretty easy to breed, so I have them in a tank all by themselves with some wood and java moss, so we’ll see what happens. Thus far, they seem to be pretty timid creatures. If I get near the tank, you see a quick flurry of activity while they flee from wherever they were at to their new “hiding place.” Once there, they tend to stay perfectly still until I leave. I had a scare the night that I put them in the tank. I came back about 2 hours later and saw one of them laying sideways, motionless, and dead. It took me a second to see something behind it, chewing on the dead one. Infact, it wasn’t dead at all. It molted!
Dwarf Crayfish

If I do pretty well with these guys, I might try splurging for those fancy orange dwarf crayfish that are going around aquabid these days. Before I do that, I’m going to have to figure out how to sex the ones I have. The guy I bought them from showed that the males have an extra pair of legs under the tail, where the females do not. What seemed quite apparent at the moment, isn’t so obvious when I look at them after getting them home. If anyone has any pointers on this, please comment.

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75G – Updated Pictures

September 5th, 2006

I decided to snap a few updated pictures of my 75G tank today. I’m still figuring out all of this photography stuff, so bear with me as I try to get better and better pictures of my tanks.

75G - 09-05-2006
(Front/Angled view)
75G - 09-05-06 - Side View
(View from right side)

Nerite Snails - 09-05-2006

Apistogramma Cacatuoides Male -09-05-2006(Left – Apisto. cacatuoides, hovering over some anubias barteri, where his fry are swimming between the roots.)

(Right – Two Nerite Snails cling to one another. I don’t want to know what they’re doing!)

As you can see, the glosso is growing in quite nicely. The Rams have taken a particular liking to swimming in the open “glosso field.” That is, of course, when the female apisto. cacatuoides is not chasing them away from her fry.

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Wonder Snails – Olive Nerite Snails

August 30th, 2006

One of the more recent snails to the hobby, Olive Nerite Snails are the wonder snail when it comes to algae eating. They have been reported (and observed) eating green spot algae, green dust algae, fungus on wood, etc, etc, etc… These snails are actually brackish water snails, but do just fine in our freshwater tanks. Due to their salty nature, their eggs never produce any snail offspring. Also, their thick shells, and tightly sealed trapdoor often allow them to coexist with loaches. (Much to the loach’s dismay, I’m sure.)
Nerite Snails

The only downside to these snails is that they tend to produce lots of sesame-sized eggs throughout the tank (shown below). Their egg production tends to be more prolific when they are first introduced to the tanks. Perhaps they are still acclimating themselves from brackish to freshwater?
Nerite Snail Cleaning Wall

I’d recommend Olive Nerite Snails for anyone’s tank!

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