Tag Archives: shrimp

The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

Lava Rock which is formed from the intense heat of volcanos has many hidden benefits for the aquarium that many hobbyist are not even aware of. This blog post on The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock will give an insight into how this rock really does help.

What are the benefits?

Lava Rock is perfect for providing the ideal living environment for your aquarium because it has beneficial denitrifying bacteria. This bacteria will improve your water quality by reproducing and then removing nitrates.

How does it work?

You only have to inspect the rock and you can see it is covered in tiny holes making it extremely porous allowing water to pass through and diffuse into the rock. So what does The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock really mean? An anearobic environment is created inside the rock as beneficial nitrifying bacteria consume all the oxygen in the water.  Within this anerobic environment inside the rock, denitrifying bacteria consume the nitrate and produce oxygen and nitrogen. We all know how nitrate in the aquarium is bad news for fish and shrimp so Lava Rock really is the most natural and best way of removing nitrate.

What do I do with it?

Lava is an attractive rock in its own right so not only is it beneficial, it is also ornamental too. They look very natural and stack very well indeed. Some people comment that it is like as if the rock has glue on it as it stacks together so well. It is so versatile and you can really have some fun playing around with different pieces and creating various shapes and constructions. It is popular for creating a cave effect (see picture below) making it a perfect refuge for certain fish and shrimp.

Shrimp love to forage on Lava Rock in search of bits of food that may have fallen into the holes. Shrimp also like to have a safe place to hide when they moult so creating them a cave with small pieces would be ideal for them. It really is true The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock!

The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock
The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

To grab yourself some Lava Rock please click here.

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion – the Ultimate Shrimp Hide.

A little bit about it…

What I love most about this Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion is that it not only does this hide give your aquarium a natural yet urban feel with the vibrant green, lush and thickly grown moss. The somewhat industrial looking pipes is this great little hideaway is ideal for your shrimp to feel safe and at ease in your aquarium.

Hand crafted into these robust grey ceramic tubes making it a perfect refuge for not only just shrimp however other small crustacians, dwarf crayfish and youngsters too.

Why is it so useful?

Moulting is an important time for all shrimp where they need a quiet, safe haven. Moulting is part of their natural growth cycle however this time makes them very vulverable to other fish as once moulting has taken place their new skin is relatively soft so they hide from anywhere between 48 to 72 hours to give their new shell time to harden. The Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion is the perfect place for them to be as if your shrimp are unable to moult in safety they can become stuck in their old shell and perish.

Sit back and watch as your shrimp make their way through the tunnels and hop onto the plush moss for a clean up and tidy.

Where do I put it in my aquarium?

The Shrimp Seclusion is all ready to go – simply place in the desired spot in your aquarium. I always think slightly nestled away amongst your aquatic plants to give a real indigenous look and feel and allow your shrimp to take their fortress.

How big is it?

Measuring just 8 x 8 x 5cm so ideal for both nano and larger aquariums.

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Freshwater Shrimp Seclusion

Tempted? Click here to go straight to the product.

Acclimatising Fish & Shrimp Properly

Making sure you acclimatise your fish and shrimp properly is essential. In fact, pretty much anyone who we have dealt with who has a problem with their shrimp have not acclimatised them properly – they’ve rushed it and it’s cost them and the shrimp dearly.

TMC Acclimatisation Kit

TMC have introduced a nifty device which means you no longer need to worry about getting it wrong. You drip feed the water in and take your time over it. You don’t guess, you get it right, each and every time. What I particularly like about the TMC Acclimatisation Kit is the simplicity and the fact that once you have invested in it, you can keep it for as long as you are in the hobby. Think about it – how often are you going to buy fish and shrimp in your lifetime? A LOT I suspect, so investing in this cool piece of kit means you won’t have to worry.

Interested? Click here for more info.

TMC Acclimatisation Kit

Freshwater shrimp additives….

The market is becoming very aware of shrimp additives and conditioners. Years ago, and I’m talking about 5 years, I took a punt and began selling shrimp conditioners and foods and to be honest it flopped. People just didn’t want to buy it. I was too early and ended up giving the stuff away – I was passionate but the rest of the UK market wasn’t. It was big in Europe but just not over here.

Ping forward 5 years and it’s a very different story. You only need to google the subject  to see. That’s a reflection of where the market is now. Fancy shrimp galore and now prices have come down, popularity increases. Supply and demand etc.

But the market has also been flooded with different additives that will effect shrimp in some way. And if you’re not careful you won’t know what to choose as you’re spoilt for choice. So just who should be buying these additives?

If you’re keeping Cherries, Tigers or Amano’s then I just don’t think you need to bother. Sure I could be telling you to buy it – that would be easy, but the bottom line is, those sort of shrimp don’t really need it. Additives like Genchem White Pellet,


will help improve white banding on Crystal Red Shrimp, but they won’t help Cherries or Tigers.

Genchem Polytase on the other hand


is excellent for higher grade shrimp (like Crystal Reds) that may be a little more sensitive due to their gene pool being much smaller and as a result their off spring could do with a little helping hand.

The message I am trying to get across is think about the sort of shrimp you have before committing to certain additives. And I’m not talking about foods (that’s a different subject).

The more ‘common shrimp‘ will need less attention and therefore don’t need some of the more exclusive additives. The more premium your shrimp, or the more you have paid for them, generally means they need a bit more looking after.

Shrimp lesson over :)

Ultimate Aquarium Algae Eaters

Algae is a massive issue in a planted aquarium and everyone suffers from it.

Some more than others. Those who have been in the hobby for a while will know the HUGE benefits of keeping shrimp in a planted tank, with particular reference to Amano Shrimp which are the LARGEST algae eating shrimp I am aware of. They’re SO HUNGRY for food is almost comical. Not only do they eat a lot, they’re big at roughly 3cm long.

Imagine this for a moment: The tank we keep them in has no algae left – they’ve eaten every last scrap and as a result we have to feed them shrimp food. We pop a few premium grade pellets in and within seconds they’re fighting over it. In the end, the largest shrimp wins and swims off the biggest chunk and eats it all to himself (greedy or what?!). The rest battle it out over the smaller pieces and in no time all the food is gone. Hopefully this demonstrates just how hungry these shrimp are for food. They will tirelessly eat algae 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Below is a wonderful picture of how good these shrimp are. The picture (from Tropica website) shows how efficient the Amano shrimp is when it comes to keeping a plant aquarium free from algae. The aquarium to the left had 3 shrimps, the one in the middle had none, while the one to the right had one shrimp during the start-up. They were all planted in the same way: 3 Anubias barteri var. nana and 3 Eleocharis parvula. The picture has been taken 3 months after the start-up.  A recommendation is 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water during the start-up of a new plant aquarium. Once a biological balance has been achieved in the aquarium, you can easily settle for fewer shrimps – e.g. 1 per 15 L water. However, if you have many fish that you feed, then we recommend that you maintain the population of 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water.


If this tickles your fancy, and you want a stress free way of keeping your tank algae free, then invest today in Amano Shrimp by clicking here. And if you want your order for (tomorrow) i.e. Saturday then you can – just make sure you order before 4pm today :)

Where do your shrimp sleep?

Shrimp are essential for all planted aquariums but they’re also part of the food chain.

I can’t count the number of customers who buy shrimp for the right reason, only to turn them into expensive fish food. Now you always have to be aware of the tank mates and if they are compatible for obvious reasons, so you must plan.

But you always have to remember that as shrimp are part of the food chain, they naturally hide. Provide them with somewhere to shelter where fish can’t get to them and you will find your shrimp will not only be happier but will breed more quickly and more often.

Our Shrimp Shelters are awesome for that. Not only are the covered in moss so they look natural, but the tubes are small enough for only shrimp to shelter in. What more could they want :)

To find other cool shrimp accessories click here.

Feed your shrimp like a King!

So we’ve got some rather cool looking foods in stock for shrimp. They really do look the business. Manufactured by Dennerle, these guys know what they are doing so it made complete sense for us to begin stocking them.

If you love your freshwater shrimp then Shrimp King might be just what you have been waiting for. Available in 7 different types they are:

dennerle shimp food king

the ultimate clean up crew…

a tank without freshwater shrimp is not complete in my opinion…

I would always have shrimp in any planted aquarium I have and so should you. They perform such a wonderful job of cleaning up and recycling everything in your tank and offer a buffer it terms of keeping excesses down. For example, in previous newsletters I’ve discussed the importance of water changes and by keeping your water clean, you reduce the amount of food available for algae. Anything in your aquarium that is breaking down produces ammonia, so leaves that are decaying contribute to this.

But if you have shrimp, they’ll be straight onto it. So rather than leaves rotting and producing ammonia, your shrimp will deal with it and compost it for you. As a result, there’s less food for the algae to consume and your tank is cleaner and healthier. It really is as simple as that. In terms of shrimp numbers you can literally have as many as you want. The tank which holds our cherry shrimp is 3x1x1′ and houses about 800 shrimp – they’re not cramped in anyway. I’m not suggesting you need that many but you do need a suitable amount (more than 10 for eg) for them to make an impact. To visit our shrimp page click here.

Crystal Red Shrimp Grade A

We used to stock Crystal Red Grade A’s a long time ago but demand just wasn’t really there. Since then, the hobby has come on some what and now I believe the demand is beginning to grow and hobbyists are prepared to invest in quality live stock. It’s always exciting to see shrimp arrive, packed in their little bags all clinging onto the filter floss, waiting for their new home.

Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) are growing in popularity due to their lovely colouration. The red and white banding on them is what makes them so very different to other shrimp and more importantly they really stand out in a planted aquarium. If you have ever seen Grade A or higher CRS you will know exactly what I mean. Today there are lots of different variants on the market of Grade A shrimps so the message I want to get across is what grade A represents and how you know if you are getting the ‘real macoy’. The best way to describe the banding on Grade A CRS is that you get a fairly decent white banding. By decent I mean, pretty good, far from perfect but the white stands out from the red and it looks reasonably solid. The higher the grade, the better the banding. Have a look at the picture below:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a Grade A CRS. If you invest in this type of shrimp from us this is what you will receive. You see how the white is fairly solid but not quite there. But don’t despair if you are looking to improve the white banding, then you can do so with Genchem White Pellet. We’ve been using this product on our CRS for 2 months now and the improvement is noticeable.

So are there any special requirements of CRS? Not especially but you have to make sure you treat them with a bit of caution. They are more sensitive than other shrimp because their gene pool is so much smaller than other shrimp such as Cherry or Tiger Shrimp. However we treat all of our shrimp the same way so don’t let it deter you. We feed them a broad range of foods and use the Genchem range of shrimp conditioners to get the best out of them. So if you’re thinking, maybe I should treat yourself today as you won’t regret it.You can see our CRS Grade A by clicking on this link.

If you’re looking for more information on grading and shrimp in general, I recommend having a look at Plantet Inverts.

Supersized Driftwood for planted aquariums

If you have a large aquarium you may find it difficult to source decent pieces of driftwood to create that special aquascape. It’s hard finding pieces that fit your particular tank, maybe because most pieces just don’t look very nice.

We are now stocking very large pieces that we are calling Supersized because they are ideal for large tanks – those which are 200L and over. The pieces are very special with wonderful shapes. Many have pockets in which you could place aquatic soil such as Florabase and then put a plant straight in. You can also tie moss to it very easily.

We recommend with all large pieces of wood that you soak them in a large bucket for at least a week. The reason for this is because of the tannins that will come from it. Now if you don’t mind water that turns a tea colour, then no need to soak, but if you do prefer a tank that is clear, then stick the wood outside soaking for as long as you can. Tannins will only come out for so long, and then it’s fine to put it into your aquarium. Saying that, there’s no harm in putting it straight into your tank and all our wood has been cleaned and is safe for immediate use.

The benefits of using driftwood in a planted aquarium are that it creates immediate impact – something that a plant only tank often misses. it also provides a centre point and your eye will naturally be drawn to it. Fish and shrimp seem to appreciate it too and in no time will shrimp be crawling all over it eating and cleaning as they go.

Shrimp Shelters

We’re a big fan of shrimp at Aqua Essentials and we’re now stocking some of the smallest and neatest shrimp shelters ever. These will keep your shrimp happy and safe too.

We often hear people who have purchased shrimp from us that they can’t seem to see where their shrimp go and wonder if they have just ‘disappeared’. The fact is shrimp will hide if they feel insecure and stocking shrimp with fish can make them feel very insecure – after all they are part of the food chain. However if you invest in a shrimp shelter, for very little cost you can protect your shrimp and ensure they are happy as soon as they land in your aquarium.

Not only that but these neat shrimp shelters look even better if you tie some moss around them and before you know it, you will have created their own little home :)

Freshwater Shrimp Molting

If you keep freshwater shrimp (and many of you do) you will have seen shrimp exoskeletons which are the shell of a shrimp. Molting is necessary for shrimp to grow and during this process, they can be very vulnerable. Their new ‘skin’ is relatively soft and therefore after they have shed their skin, they tend to hide for 48-72 hours so that they can allow their shell to harden up. Depending on how much the shrimp is eating there is a direct correlation between number of molts and food eaten.

However, not all molts go to plan. It is still very common for freshwater shrimp to die in a an aquarium when trying to molt and this can be for a variety of reasons but predominantly bacterial disease. The shrimp will attempt to molt but will not be able to shed its skin and it therefore becomes trapped and dies. Many hobbyists have often wondered about how this happens and why and chose to feed a wider range of foods to overcome the problem but it still didn’t have the effect hoped for. This can be easily overcome thanks to a wonderful new product…

Genchem Beta-G which is a unique powder that should be added to your shrimp tank every week. This will stop any molting problems in the future enabling your freshwater shrimp to grow at the speed they wish without any risks.

Economical too, you only need to use 1/5th of a spoon which comes with Genchem Beta-G, so expect this product to last a couple of years :)

Improving White Banding On Crystal Red Shrimp

If you’re passionate about Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) like us then you know all about banding and how the clearer the white banding is on the shrimp, and the fuller it is, the higher grade your CRS. Genetics play an important role within CRS and the better genes the parents have the higher the chance of having CRS with quality banding. But if your CRS doesn’t look quite as good as you hoped it to, is there anything that can be done?

You can help those ‘genes’ by providing an excellent diet in particular Genchem White Pellet which is a shrimp specific food designed for improving banding. We’ve been using this food for about 2 weeks now and have been very pleased with improvements so far. The white banding on our CRS is clearly more defined and it seems thicker and fuller. The CRS take readily to it as well, almost as if they know it’s going to improve their colour :)

Like all Genchem products they have more than one function and in this case by feeding Genchem White Pellet, it will help improve moulting.So this double fold effect is a win win. Your shrimps will improve in colour and the moulting is easier.

Saving Young Freshwater Shrimp

Shrimp breeding is on the whole pretty easy stuff. Give them the right sort of water parameters (by using a substrate), some time and plenty of high quality shrimp food and before you know it, your shrimp are pregnant, holding roughly 50 babies underneath them. They are wafted with O2 all day until they are ready to be released into your aquarium.

That day comes and it’s hard to see the shrimps as they are so small but what’s really sad is that the majority of these shrimp will not make it into adulthood for one simple reason – they won’t consume enough food as their immune system is not strong enough.

With a low immune system, young shrimp can become very weak, very quickly and as a result perish as they don’t have enough energy to eat. This doesn’t need to be the case anymore if you introduce Genchem Polytase. This simple and effective powder is designed to be dosed once a week and by doing this it strengthens their immune system enough for the young shrimp to pull through. You’ll be amazed and how many more shrimplets you see in your aquarium in a very short period of time.

You can use Genchem Polytase with any type of shrimp which you are looking to breed. Not only that but if you ever have nitrite or ammonia in your tank this product will also help reduce it. So it really does have a 2 fold effect.

For more freshwater shrimp products please click on this link.