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Showing Off Shrimp

Posted: March 24, 2014, 11:30 a.m. EDT


By David Lass

I am fascinated by little ornamental shrimp that are now in the hobby/industry, and I keep five or six different types. Purely by accident, I think I have discovered a good way to guarantee that the shrimp you have for sale in-store are out in the open and easily observed by potential buyers.

I use an outside filter in a heavily planted 50 gallon tank that has LED lighting. And in the tank I have a bunch of different shrimp—Amano, red cherry, yellow striped, red bees—and they are doing very well and reproducing like crazy.

Sponge
Shrimp congregate in large numbers on the foam due to access food getting caught. David Lass

One day, as I was cleaning the filter I noticed that there were some shrimp in it. Obviously, they had been taken in the filter input tube, most likely when they were pretty small. So I took a piece of square filter foam, about a 4-in. cube, and cut a hole in the middle of one side. Actually, I didn’t remove any of the foam, but rather just cut an "X” on one side that went almost through to the other. I then simply put the 4-inch cube of foam over the intake tube of the filter. As you can see from the photo, the shrimp congregate in large numbers on the foam, because this is where the extra food gets stuck. The shrimp simply hang out on the sponge and get their meals that way.

Some hobbyists might ask why not just use a foam air-driven filter in the tank instead of the outside filter. My answer to that is because I don’t like the amount of tank bottom a foam filter takes, especially in a planted tank. Besides, the piece of foam over the filter intake is a simple and somewhat elegant solution to the problem of the shrimp getting drawn up into the filter itself. It also has the other benefit that the shrimp get enough food, as it can be difficult to make sure they are getting enough food in a tank filled with other shrimp and hungry little fish.

A number of stores have told me that they sell their various shrimp by having a small tank (5 gallon or so) set up on the counter for each type of shrimp. Placing a small outside filter on the tank with a foam block over the intake will make it very easy for your customers to see the shrimp. It also will make it easy to ensure they are getting enough food, and to catch them when they are being sold.

There was a great book called "For What It’s Worth” that was published many years ago by Don Dewey when Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine was being published by him via his RC Modeling. It would be interesting if stores could submit some of their ideas on little shortcuts like mine with the sponge. Perhaps we could put them together and publish them here.

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