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Amano Shrimp Breeding – Guide to Breed Amano Shrimp in Aquariums

Amano Shrimp welcomes you to the fascinating world of aquascaping. These magnificent freshwater shrimp have captivated hobbyists from time to time and their popularity seems to be increasing exponentially by each passing day.

Their exceptional ability in consuming algae in large amounts is second to none let alone their tranquil nature while in the aquarium.  In addition, Amano Shrimp have continuously displayed their busy-body personality much to the delight of captivated hobbyists world over.

These unique characteristics contribute even more to their sky-rocketing popularity and demand in the last one and half decade and still counting.

But how did these freshwater invertebrates get the name ‘Amano Shrimp’? Well, the name was derived from a well-known aquarium hobbyist, Takashi Amano. More often than not, Takashi Amano would use this type of shrimp in many of his setups, thus the name Amano Shrimp.

This same species of shrimp goes by different names such as the Japanese Swamp Shrimp, Yamato Shrimp, Caridina multidentata or Algae-eater Shrimp. The species is native to Japan and other parts of the Far East like Korea and Taiwan.

Amano Shrimp got their way into the aquarium hobby in the 1980s thanks to Takashi Amano. Since that time the biological control of nearly all species of algae started increasing gradually. In fact, it became effective with the help of various forums online spreading information about the exceptional ability of Amano Shrimp to consume large amounts of algae.

When distinguishing females from males, you need to have a keen eye and enough knowledge of their physical differences. Nevertheless, the identification process is as simple as taking a leisurely walk in a park. All you need is to look at the lowest stripe running along the main body of the shrimp.

Females are known to have a few dashes that look like a broken line at the tail. If you look further you will also notice the more elongated row of dots in the side, appearing in the form of a line on the body.

When it comes to identifying male shrimps, you will discover that they have the same line (just like that for females) but it is characterized by circular dots that are evenly spaced from each other. Other distinguishing features include the size whereby females are relatively larger than males.

Also, females will have the saddle (her embryonic eggs) right underneath the belly including loner pleopods located at their abdomen while the males can easily be identified with their flat and narrow tummies.

Upon seeing these shrimp in their habitat you will definitely get carried away with their ability to add visual appeal in their surroundings. And the good news is, they are fairly easy to take care or maintain. In this article, you are going to learn about the entire process of breeding Amano Shrimp starting from hatching the eggs to raising the larvae and transition to freshwater, all the way to raising shrimplets.

Breeding Process of Amano Shrimp

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Breeding Process of Amano Shrimp

Even though it is extremely difficult to breed Amano Shrimp in captivity,  it doesn’t mean you cannot achieve this feat so easily. All you need is some patience and determined attitude and everything will fall in place for you. However, mating Amano Shrimp is easy and here is how to go about:

You need to start the breeding process by acquiring not less than 10 shrimp. This number should have an even ratio of males to females to make breeding success.

Now that you know how to distinguish between males and females, it will be easier to come up with the right number for females and males just before initiating the breeding process.

Once the selected 10 shrimps are in the breeding tank, you should feed them and ensure that their surrounding is at a temperature ranging from 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25-26 degrees Celsius).

Under these fish tank parameters, you can rest assured that your Amano Shrimp will start mating provided that the conditions remain stable and safe.

Within a short time, eggs will become apparent in most of the female shrimp. A close observation will reveal swollen dorsal fins followed by the release of pheromones into the water in a bid to attract males for mating reasons.

Consequently, the males will mate with females and fertilize the eggs. Later, each female will lay between 1000 and 3000 eggs on their swimmerets just below the belly. From that moment and time, you should start planning for the hatching of the laid eggs.

Hatching the Eggs

Hatching seems to be one of the challenges faced by many aquarists. This is attributed to the fact that shrimp eggs rarely hatch at once. Probably this problem could be resulting from the presence of nitrate in tap water added into the tank.

To achieve uniformity in hatching, you will have to consider making the conditions in the breeding tank ideal for hatching. You can do that by simply providing a breeding tank with the right amount of water, a substrate, no salt, hiding place for female shrimp, darkened background, some light, heater, and an airstone. With all these conditions available you should expect good hatching during the night. After hatching, you may trap the larvae in a separate tank as in preparation for raising them.

Raising the Larvae

Raising the larvae requires you to get the tank conditions right for the sake of the newly hatched larvae. You will need a spare tank complete with an airstone (or a sponge filter) gently bubbling, a heater, black background and a source of light, preferably the LED.

Add salt at 30 grams for every one liter of water in order to offset the evaporation effects that might alter the concentration of water in the fish tank. Add some phytoplankton fertilizer to facilitate the growth of algae and microorganisms for the larvae to feed on. In addition, phytoplankton plays a very significant role in tank filtration to prevent water from getting too cloudy.

Cloudy water with phytoplankton may lead to the sudden death of larvae in the tank. That is why an airstone or a sponge filter is necessary to help in the removal of cloudiness in water. When conditions are perfect, you will only tell that larvae are growing as expected by their display of some reddish coloration.

In a period of two weeks, you will start seeing the positive results of raising the larvae. For instance, you may see some larvae that look like the baby cherry shrimp complete with a full set of limbs for swimming faster. This is the right moment to start the next important breeding process which involves the transition to freshwater.

Transition to Freshwater

It is prudent that you pay particular attention to the entire metamorphosis process taking place with the newly hatched larvae. This is very important, especially between day 40 and 45. At this stage, you will wake up to the full realization that most of your Amano Shrimp larvae are about to complete their transformation or metamorphosis circle.

The transformation takes them from when they were tiny eggs to hatching and eventually to actual developed Amano Shrimp. In the real sense, this is the moment they are regarded as tiny copies of the fully grown shrimp.

With your shrimp breeding experience, you can easily tell that these young Amano Shrimp can no longer withstand elevated levels of salinity. Another important sign that these tiny shrimps are ready for transfer to freshwater is their swimming ability.

Meaning that they only swim forward non-stop as opposed to larvae’s swimming ability in all directions. Certainly, you will enjoy watching these young Amano Shrimp swimming like crazy most of the time. This is a clear sign that they need to be taken to the main aquarium (with freshwater) to start their lives in a new environment.

The transition to the freshwater aquarium is a replica of their natural tendency of swimming out of their salty environment (salt water) upstream into their new environment in freshwater.

NOTE: Never do the transitions in haste from brackish water into freshwater. Instead, replace almost half of the saltwater with the aquarium water for at least one day. Doing so will help them get accustomed gradually to the new aquarium water conditions. From there, you may drain all the water from the bowl or tank for an easier transition into the main freshwater tank.

How to Measure Water Salinity?

You can measure the salinity of the aquarium water using a Salinity Refractometer (buy from Amazon).

This device is very easy to use and measures water salinity on two scales: specific gravity and parts / thousands. Use whichever scale you are comfortable with.

This Salinity Refractometer also features automatic temperature compensation, which makes the reading more accurate.

On top of that, this tool is made of very durable materials, so it will last you a long time.

A Sea Hygrometer (buy from Amazon) can also be used to measure water salinity.

Raising the Shrimplets

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Raising the Shrimplets (SourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

Raising Amano Shrimplets may sound like a challenging task but the truth of the matter is that these invertebrates are least demanding when in the aquarium.

After their transition into the freshwater tank, you can either keep them in a single species aquarium or keep them alongside the cherry shrimp (ghost shrimp).

Due to their hardy nature, you will not need to worry about providing them with much specialist care. But keep an eye on copper because any addition of copper in the aquarium is highly damaging to most of the invertebrates.

Otherwise, pay special attention to the Shrimplets when they are molting. This is the stage in which they are more vulnerable than any other time in their growth. When you feed them as required, expect to see them shed monthly while growing well.

Conclusion

Amano Shrimp are a favorite choice for most of the aquarium hobbyists across the globe. Their popularity is attributed to several reasons key among them being their capability to consume algae.

Furthermore, these shrimp are easy to maintain although breeding them remains a major challenge for hobbyists. Otherwise, they are quite amazing freshwater invertebrates for your aquarium.

Updated: October 5, 2019

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