Essential equipment for keeping shrimp
The following is a list of what many shrimpers consider to be the standard requirements for shrimp-keeping:
Suitably sized tank
Get the biggest ones you can afford and have space to accommodate. You may only start with a few shrimp but if conditions are good they will breed and then suddenly you could be in an overstock situation. 30L is a decent size for a first shrimp tank. There are smaller tanks available but it can be hard to keep the water parameters stable in smaller volumes.
You can have a bare bottom tank in certain situations but some shrimp types need an active substrate to keep the required water parameters for Caridina types which need softer water with lower pH (See blog on setting up 1st shrimp tank)
Neocaridina types can manage with inert substrate as their requirements are for harder water with higher pH
Bare bottom tanks are ok for breeding tanks but can look a bit messy after a while.
Preferably sponge to protect the younger shrimp from being drawn into the filter inlets. Can be air- or power-driven. Some sponge filters even have a ceramic media chamber
Other internal and external filters can be used but the inlets must be protected by pre-filters or stocking.
The standard fish-keeping water quality tests are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH and these are just as important in shrimp-keeping but there are a few others that are needed so you can make sure the water has the best parameters for the types of shrimp you’ll be keeping.
TDS pen – for total dissolved solids which indicates any change in parameters quite easily and quickly
GH kit– monitors general hardness (Calcium and Magnesium) essential minerals for moulting
KH kit – monitors carbonate hardness (Carbonate and Bicarbonate) which buffers pH
If you ask for help in any of the groups these are the parameters that many members will ask for if there is a problem you are trying to solve.
See blog on water parameters for details
Heater & Thermometer
Some shrimp thrive better at high temperatures such as the Sulawesi shrimp and others fare better at lower temps
See the blog on water parameters for details
Decent water supply
Your tap water may be perfectly OK for some shrimp types but water companies are only obliged to make it safe for human consumption and sometimes that means it isn’t safe for shrimp e.g. chlorine and chloramine – so good dechlorinators are needed e.g. Prime
Some shrimp need RO water if tap water is unsuitable for their needs also some keepers prefer to know exactly what is in their shrimp water. There are many unknowns in tap water and even if you get a quality report from your supplier – it can change frequently and can be affected by external factors such as burst water mains and weather conditions.
RO water should have everything removed and have a very low TDS reading of less than 5 – ideally 0. It can be purchased from many LFS (Local fish/pet stores) quite cheaply or you can get your own RO/DI units and make your own if you prefer.
You are very lucky if your tap-water provides perfect parameters for your shrimp. Most of us need to adjust the water to suit the types of shrimp we keep. There are different products on the market, they are available as dry salts premixed to suit different types of shrimp or in liquid form and can be added to adjust tap-water and are absolutely essential if using RO water. Liquid ones are easier to mix, but are more expensive and so you get more bang for your buck using dry salts.
Salty Shrimp is a common one you’ll see mentioned though there are others available
Shrimp net/ glass catcher
You’ll need something to transfer your shrimp at some point – shrimp nets are good for when you have acclimatised your shrimp and are about to add them to your tank for the first time. Avoid adding any of the transport water as you don’t know what’s in it from the LFS or supplier.
If you are transferring shrimp within your own tanks you should know what the water quality is like and a glass shrimp catcher is ideal as the shrimp are less stressed using them – they cannot see them approaching as they are transparent and they transport a little of the water so that the shrimp isn’t exposed to the air.
Hopefully this list has given you an insight into what is required when setting out in shrimp-keeping.