Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm and Tours | Kona Hawaii › Forums › Seahorse Life and Care › Opaeula Shrimp Garden question
- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 5 months ago by Pete Giwojna.
December 24, 2008 at 3:03 am #1581samandsandysmomMember
Why is the garden not recommended for feeder shrimp?
Max and Ruby are doing great – Ruby got stuck in the water pump – her tail was in the small air intake hole and she was being buffeted around – I got her out – she is doing fine – guess I need to plug that hole –December 24, 2008 at 7:08 am #4555Pete GiwojnaGuest
It’s good to hear that Max and Ruby are still doing great! Be sure to screen off the intake for that water pump as soon as possible to make sure that a curious seahorse won’t get into trouble again.
The shrimp garden is not meant for culturing red feeder shrimp or Hawaiian volcano shrimp (Halocaridina rubra). Rather, the shrimp garden is designed for observation, as a demonstration of a living, balanced, self-sustaining, self-contained ecosystem. There is no filter or aeration of any kind in the shrimp garden — the macroalgae it contains provides all of the oxygen for the shrimp as a byproduct of photosynthesis, and acts as an algal filter that uses the nitrogenous wastes produced by the shrimp for growth. Bacteria grow on the decaying plant matter and, in turn, provide food for the shrimp. So no food or oxygen or nutrients are ever added to the shrimp garden — it is a balanced, self-contained ecosystem under glass, but only relatively few shrimp can be sustained in this system indefinitely without upsetting the delicate ecological balance.
Feeder shrimp are maintained in much larger numbers — dozens of them at a time and the shrimp garden is not suitable for sustaining large numbers of volcano shrimp or red feeder shrimp. It is not designed for raising or maintaining batch cultures of red feeder shrimp. In order to maintain the feeder shrimp and encourage them to reproduce, they need to be kept in a larger container with biological filtration and aeration to maintain good water quality, and they should be fed periodically with ShrimpGro, which is specially designed to meet all of their nutritional needs.
If you want to raise the feeder shrimp in any quantity, you’ll need a different type of setup, as described below, mom:
Red feeder shrimp or volcano shrimp, as they are sometimes known, prefer brackish conditions and breed best at reduced salinity (1.0145-1.0168) but they adapt well to full strength saltwater and will survive indefinitely is a marine aquarium. They are a perfect "feed-and-forget" treat for large seahorses! As a rule they don’t need a great deal of room. A simple sponge filter will do. The Care Sheet for the volcano shrimp is available online at the following URL:
Here is some additional information about these shrimp, including suggestions for feeding them, that may be of interest to those of you who are interested in keeping or culturing these colorful little crustaceans:
RED FEEDER SHRIMP from Hawaii (Halocaridina rubra)
* Excellent nutritional value
* Irresistible to all the greater seahorses.
* Feed-and-Forget — lasts forever in saltwater!
* Easy to enrich.
* Simple to gut-load.
* Can be cultured using simple techniques and the most basic setups.
* Reproduces slowly; difficult to build up a large population.
Specific gravity: 1.0145-1.0168; pH: 8.0-8.3
Temperature: 68° F – 73° F (20° C – 23° C)
These fabulous little feeder shrimp can be kept indefinitely in a spare 2-10 gallon tank, or even a clean, plastic bucket, that has been filled with clean saltwater and equipped with an airstone for aeration. Neither a heater nor a fancy filtration system is required. They thrive at room temp and reduced salinity (1.015-1.016), and all they require is an airstone (or a simple air-operated foam filter at most) to keep the water oxygenated, with perhaps a little coral rubble as substrate and a clump or two of macroalgae (sea lettuce, Ogo, Gracilaria) to shelter in. They’re easy to feed — they feed primarily on algal mats and bacteria — but they will accept vegetable-based flake foods and pellets such as various Spirulina products. They are filter feeders and can also be fed with yeast or commercially prepared foods for filter-feeding invertebrates. Many people find an easy way to feed them is to place a small piece of algae-encrusted live rock in their holding tank; once they clean it off, simply replace it with a new piece of algae rock. But if you want to culture them, I’d recommend ordering the special shrimp food formulated just for them when you order your feeder shrimp from Hawaii. It’s called Shrimpgro and is designed to meet all their needs and requirements:
These tiny red feeder shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) are native to Hawaii where they inhabit underground lava tubes. Brackish pools collect in the cracks, crevices and depressions in the lava below the water table, thus forming the habitat for the shrimp. The brackish water that fills these pools consists of intrusive seawater diluted by freshwater that percolates downward. Because of their lava-tube habit, they are sometimes called Hawaiian Volcano Shrimp.
Native Hawaiians call them Opa’e-ula, and they are unique among the several different species anchialine pond shrimp in being small, social, herbivorous shrimp that feed mainly on algae and bacteria. They are known to feed on insects that drown in the lava tubes. When conditions are favorable, they may feed en masse at the surface in swarms of countless individuals that turn the water red.
Halocaridina rubra look like miniature, bite-size Peppermint Shrimp, and all seahorses save the miniature species go absolutely nuts for them! They are very nutritious and eat a varied, omnivorous diet. They are perfect for seahorses in every way.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to culture these shrimp in any quantity, since they reproduce slowly and the females only carry 12 to 14 eggs. They spawn but 4 or 5 times and produce an average of only 5-10 larvae per spawn. The larvae hatch as free-swimming, yolked zoeae after a brooding period of 38 days. Larval development is abbreviated with four zoeal stages and one megalopial stage occurring before they reach the first juvenile stage. Duration of the larval stages in the aquarium is 24 to 27 days at 22 to 23 degrees C.
Like other shrimp, it is the complicated larval developmental period they undergo, with multiple zoea and megalops stages, that makes the larvae difficult to raise. However, it can be accomplished the same way other decorative shrimp such as peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) are raised. There is a very interesting and informative book that explains exactly how to go about raising such shrimp that I recommend you read. It’s called "How To Raise & Train Your Peppermint Shrimp" by April Kirkendoll and they can be obtained at the following URL:
You’ll find lots of excellent information on raising peppermint shrimp in April’s book that will apply equally well to your volcano shrimp.
Best of luck with your new Mustangs, mom! Here’s hoping that Max and Ruby continue to thrive in your 55-gallon aquarium as it completes the cycling process and matures.
Happy Trails & Happy Holidays!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.