Help making 3.5 gal shrimp tank

Adam510

Hey so I have this 3.5 gallon tank with only 4 platy fry in it, and I know I can do a lot more with it and I want to get some shrimp in here, most likely cherry.
What should I do to this tank to get it habitable for some shrimp? Any help is very appreciated! (That’s a fake plant)
 

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ruud

Unheated, well-oxygenated tank with a moderate current. Considering your tank, I would suggest an airstone. Replace the fake plant with a big java fern, and you're done. Feed the shrimp some dedicated shrimp food. And refrain from serious tank cleaning; shrimp and shrimplets love biofilm.
 

Adam510

Unheated, well-oxygenated tank with a moderate current. Considering your tank, I would suggest an airstone. Replace the fake plant with a big java fern, and you're done. Feed the shrimp some dedicated shrimp food. And refrain from serious tank cleaning; shrimp and shrimplets love biofilm.
Really it shouldn’t be heated? And okay i have one of those but would that be enough current? I already have a filter that I thought was pretty good but maybe it’s too much current? And okay just the one plant?
 

ruud

64-70 degrees Fahrenheit is great
A cheap air-driven sponge filter would even be better, as you don't really need any other filter.
You have small java ferns and big ones :). A large (mother) plant fills up your tank considerably. It filters your water, creates oxygen, houses biofilm.
 

Adam510

64-70 degrees Fahrenheit is great
A cheap air-driven sponge filter would even be better, as you don't really need any other filter.
You have small java ferns and big ones :). A large (mother) plant fills up your tank considerably. It filters your water, creates oxygen, houses biofilm.
Okay, luckily I already have an extra sponge filter anyways so I can use that, and okay I’ll be getting some Java ferns then for sure :) what about Java moss? Or is that too much or not really what shrimp like
 

Akeath

Shrimp absolutely love moss. The shrimplets will eat the Infusoria that grows in it as one of the first foods they eat, I've actually had more shrimplets surviving with lots of moss in their tank.

Shrimp are a bit different than fish in that they tend to hang out on surfaces rather than swimming in the water column. A big mother plant would help with that, but if there's still more open water than surface areas after you add the plant you might consider adding some more decor like Cholla wood to create more usable space for the shrimp to climb on. You can tie the moss to the wood as well with cotton thread.

It can be hard to properly gravel vacuum in shrimp tanks without sucking shrimp up in the process. Having a netting rubber banded to your gravel vacuum to keep out shrimp can help with that, but it will also make it harder to vacuum up larger pieces of detritus. I've also tried just gravel vacuuming into a clear container and netting out stray shrimp afterward, but that's a bit more stressful on both myself and the shrimp.
To deal with the detritus issue I usually grow hardy carpet plants like Dwarf Sagittaria or Marsilea that will grow well in mulm and take some of those nutrients in. Those two will grow fairly well even in gravel, but if you want a higher maintenance carpet plant you might consider switching to an aquarium plant substrate like Eco-Complete. If you are going to change substrates it is much, much easier to do so before adding in shrimp, so whatever substrate you use just make sure you like it and won't want to change it down the road.

I agree that they like water with lots of dissolved oxygen, so a gentle air stone in addition to the filter would be good. Sponge filters are nice because they won't suck up shrimplets. The shrimp tend to like grazing on the sponge part of the filter, too.

I've kept my shrimp colonies heated in the low 70s. That would be the ideal, but they are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and parameters and should do alright in temperatures in the upper 60s. The main reason I like the suggestion not to use a heater in your setup is the size of your tank. Tanks of less than 5 gallons that are heated tend to heat up rapidly when the heater is on, causing big swings in temperature. Shrimp in general do not react well to swings in temperature or water quality. Cherry Shrimp would tolerate slightly cooler water much better than they would tolerate big temperature swings.

I also like to do slightly smaller water changes to keep things stable for shrimp as well - two 30% water changes per week rather than one large water change per week. Drip acclimating your shrimp is a good idea, too, so they can adjust to the new tank water more slowly. They will be nibbling on infusoria and algae between feedings, so I've always fed mine every other day. They really appreciate blanched veggies like Zucchini as treats, but you should remove any leftovers before 48 hours have elapsed so they don't rot and hurt the water quality. Mine especially love blanched organic zucchini rounds, and putting one is a good way to get a head count on the number of shrimp in the tank. You wouldn't believe how many come out of the woodwork. Pet stores don't carry many foods specifically meant for aquarium shrimp, but you should be able to find some online.
 

Flyfisha

I have to jump in and say for anyone who lives in a hot climate not to be afraid of keeping cherry shrimp in a warm temperature if that is what you have in your house. At high temperatures they eat more, breed faster , swim around more and have a shorter life span . However because they breed more often you will have as many or more shrimp in a hot climate. Yes cherry shrimp can live under ice in winter but they also do OK a 42 centigrade/107 F.
5C3B3D02-FDB7-49BC-92CE-E80ED1EC4939.jpeg

To answer your question Adam510 my tip is to have very well established filters in an established tank and not to over clean.
This shrimp was alive outside in 107 F green water.

41E112AE-648F-45A1-AC13-D80B7D4F1099.jpeg
 

Adam510

Shrimp absolutely love moss. The shrimplets will eat the Infusoria that grows in it as one of the first foods they eat, I've actually had more shrimplets surviving with lots of moss in their tank.

Shrimp are a bit different than fish in that they tend to hang out on surfaces rather than swimming in the water column. A big mother plant would help with that, but if there's still more open water than surface areas after you add the plant you might consider adding some more decor like Cholla wood to create more usable space for the shrimp to climb on. You can tie the moss to the wood as well with cotton thread.

It can be hard to properly gravel vacuum in shrimp tanks without sucking shrimp up in the process. Having a netting rubber banded to your gravel vacuum to keep out shrimp can help with that, but it will also make it harder to vacuum up larger pieces of detritus. I've also tried just gravel vacuuming into a clear container and netting out stray shrimp afterward, but that's a bit more stressful on both myself and the shrimp.
To deal with the detritus issue I usually grow hardy carpet plants like Dwarf Sagittaria or Marsilea that will grow well in mulm and take some of those nutrients in. Those two will grow fairly well even in gravel, but if you want a higher maintenance carpet plant you might consider switching to an aquarium plant substrate like Eco-Complete. If you are going to change substrates it is much, much easier to do so before adding in shrimp, so whatever substrate you use just make sure you like it and won't want to change it down the road.

I agree that they like water with lots of dissolved oxygen, so a gentle air stone in addition to the filter would be good. Sponge filters are nice because they won't suck up shrimplets. The shrimp tend to like grazing on the sponge part of the filter, too.

I've kept my shrimp colonies heated in the low 70s. That would be the ideal, but they are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and parameters and should do alright in temperatures in the upper 60s. The main reason I like the suggestion not to use a heater in your setup is the size of your tank. Tanks of less than 5 gallons that are heated tend to heat up rapidly when the heater is on, causing big swings in temperature. Shrimp in general do not react well to swings in temperature or water quality. Cherry Shrimp would tolerate slightly cooler water much better than they would tolerate big temperature swings.

I also like to do slightly smaller water changes to keep things stable for shrimp as well - two 30% water changes per week rather than one large water change per week. Drip acclimating your shrimp is a good idea, too, so they can adjust to the new tank water more slowly. They will be nibbling on infusoria and algae between feedings, so I've always fed mine every other day. They really appreciate blanched veggies like Zucchini as treats, but you should remove any leftovers before 48 hours have elapsed so they don't rot and hurt the water quality. Mine especially love blanched organic zucchini rounds, and putting one is a good way to get a head count on the number of shrimp in the tank. You wouldn't believe how many come out of the woodwork. Pet stores don't carry many foods specifically meant for aquarium shrimp, but you should be able to find some online.
Okay so do you think I should get a big Java fern and then some other Java moss too?
Im also very new to having aquariums and stuff so I don’t plan on switching substrates and getting to difficult with my tank, so I’m going to just keep it gravel, I’ll look into those plants you said I just don’t know if there sold in my city, Is there any other basic good carpeting plants that work in gravel?
And I won’t use a heater and I’ll use my spare sponge filter.
do they eat freeze dried shrimp brine? That’s what I normally feed all my tanks already and what I feed my platy fry.
but I’ll definitely give them treats like zucchini I like the sound of that.

Also how many shrimp should I get for this tank? If I want them to breed too.
I have to jump in and say for anyone who lives in a hot climate not to be afraid of keeping cherry shrimp in a warm temperature if that is what you have in your house. At high temperatures they eat more, breed faster , swim around more and have a shorter life span . However because they breed more often you will have as many or more shrimp in a hot climate. Yes cherry shrimp can live under ice in winter but they also do OK a 42 centigrade/107 F.
5C3B3D02-FDB7-49BC-92CE-E80ED1EC4939.jpeg

To answer your question Adam510 my tip is to have very well established filters in an established tank and not to over clean.
This shrimp was alive outside in 107 F green water.

41E112AE-648F-45A1-AC13-D80B7D4F1099.jpeg
Okay well I live in Canada and it’s cold here, so Idk if that changes peoples opinion on using a filter. And I won’t over clean because I know they like to clean the tank themselves and live off that.
 

Akeath

Yes, a big Java Fern and Java Moss should work well.

The Dwarf Sagittaria is pretty common where I am, main chain stores will sell it too. You might find it being sold under it's scientific name, Sagittaria subulata. If you can't find that Pygmy Chain Sword (aka Dwarf Chain Sword, Helanthium tenellum) is another of the easier carpeting plants that I see being sold a lot.

They'd likely eat the Brine Shrimp readily enough, but I would keep that as a treat and for their main food try something with a higher amount of veggies/algae in it. Platies actually do better with a some veggie matter in their diet, too, so you might try getting algae wafers/veggie wafers or veggie flakes that you can feed to everybody. You can feed the veggie based stuff as the main food for the Shrimp and give it occasionally to your Platies to round out their diet some.

10 shrimp would be good number to start a colony.
 

Adam510

Yes, a big Java Fern and Java Moss should work well.

The Dwarf Sagittaria is pretty common where I am, main chain stores will sell it too. You might find it being sold under it's scientific name, Sagittaria subulata. If you can't find that Pygmy Chain Sword (aka Dwarf Chain Sword, Helanthium tenellum) is another of the easier carpeting plants that I see being sold a lot.

They'd likely eat the Brine Shrimp readily enough, but I would keep that as a treat and for their main food try something with a higher amount of veggies/algae in it. Platies actually do better with a some veggie matter in their diet, too, so you might try getting algae wafers/veggie wafers or veggie flakes that you can feed to everybody. You can feed the veggie based stuff as the main food for the Shrimp and give it occasionally to your Platies to round out their diet some.

10 shrimp would be good number to start a colony.
Okay I’m going to get those plants then for sure. And I’ll look for either of the other carpeting plants in my few local fish stores. And okay I’ll look for that type of food and just feed both of them it and occasional shrimp brine. And okay I’ll get 10 shrimp, I’m not decided on cherry or the blue kind tho, does it matter which?
 

Akeath

There might be a bit of complication with getting blue ones because there are 3 different blue Dwarf Shrimp species in the hobby, and 2 of the 3 are a little more high maintenance, so you'll have to make sure you don't get the higher maintenance ones by mistake. Try and look out for the name "Neo" in the labeling of the shrimp to make sure you get the hardiest type of blue shrimp.

If they are labeled a common name for blue "Neocaridina" shrimp, like Blue Pearl or Blue Velvet, those are the same species as Cherries, just a different color. There's no care or hardiness differences, and either are a good beginner shrimp so the color would just be your preference

There are also some blue Shrimp called Blue Tiger Shrimp "Caridina" species that are actually a different species, and these are slightly less hardy than Neocaridina type shrimp. Blue Tiger Shrimp are striped, so you should be able to tell the difference that way.

There's also yet another blue shrimp called Blue Bolt, which are a paler blue (again, a Caridina type shrimp) that are pretty high maintenance and wouldn't be good for beginners.

If in doubt of which blue you are seeing, just get the Cherries.
 

Adam510

There might be a bit of complication with getting blue ones because there are 3 different blue Dwarf Shrimp species in the hobby, and 2 of the 3 are a little more high maintenance, so you'll have to make sure you don't get the higher maintenance ones by mistake. Try and look out for the name "Neo" in the labeling of the shrimp to make sure you get the hardiest type of blue shrimp.

If they are labeled a common name for blue "Neocaridina" shrimp, like Blue Pearl or Blue Velvet, those are the same species as Cherries, just a different color. There's no care or hardiness differences, and either are a good beginner shrimp so the color would just be your preference

There are also some blue Shrimp called Blue Tiger Shrimp "Caridina" species that are actually a different species, and these are slightly less hardy than Neocaridina type shrimp. Blue Tiger Shrimp are striped, so you should be able to tell the difference that way.

There's also yet another blue shrimp called Blue Bolt, which are a paler blue (again, a Caridina type shrimp) that are pretty high maintenance and wouldn't be good for beginners.

If in doubt of which blue you are seeing, just get the Cherries.
Okay well if I don’t know I’ll play it safe and get the cherries, but the place I’m going the guy knows his stuff and I’ll make sure he tells me which are which and I’ll only get the blues if I know there the neo kind. I’m not set on which ones I’m going to get since there both similar care I’m just going to see which I like more in person. Thanks for all of the help.
Is there anything else I should know as a beginner shrimp keeper?
Edit: can I keep red and blue together? Will they breed together?
 

Adam510

Hey so I got the shrimp and plants in.
I’m not a huge fan on how it looks but I was rushed and I’m not the richest so this is what we’re going with for now.
I got some subwassertang and spread it out over 3 places on some driftwood, and a pretty big Java fern.
I got 10 shrimp total, 5 cherry 5 blue neos because he said they’d be fine together and he didn’t have 10 of either in total.
Please let me know if I need to do anything else I’m stressing big right now.
 

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Akeath

If I were you I'd return one of the colors, because Neocaridina colors will interbreed to produce wild type brown offspring together. So if you breed blue Neos with Cherry Neos, you'll end up with bland brown ones in a few generations. If you want the colors to continue through the generation, you'll need to go with one color.
 

Adam510

W
If I were you I'd return one of the colors, because Neocaridina colors will interbreed to produce wild type brown offspring together. So if you breed blue Neos with Cherry Neos, you'll end up with bland brown ones in a few generations. If you want the colors to continue through the generation, you'll need to go with one color.
Well I made a separate thread for my current situation, but all of my shrimp sadly died…
I guess my tank wasn’t cycled properly or something…
Very sad and dissapointed and I’m going to try and get my tank set up and take more time this time before I buy more. :(
 

CHJ

I have to jump in and say for anyone who lives in a hot climate not to be afraid of keeping cherry shrimp in a warm temperature if that is what you have in your house.
Yeah I find neos were just fine in my desktop tank during the heat spells. Cards on the other hand are not hardy at high temp.
It was a shame to lose my Wangs as they were top notch and since Ellen is dead, there is no getting them any more. Best PRLs I have ever seen.
 

Adam510

Do
Yeah I find neos were just fine in my desktop tank during the heat spells. Cards on the other hand are not hardy at high temp.
It was a shame to lose my Wangs as they were top notch and since Ellen is dead, there is no getting them any more. Best PRLs I have ever seen.
Do you think mine could’ve died from high temps since I have a small heater in the tank? Sorry to hear about you’re passing though.
 

Akeath

I'm sorry about your shrimp. I doubt high temps would have killed them. They can thrive in temperatures up to 80 degrees without issue. Even if the water was above 80 degrees that would be unlikely to kill them outright, it may just lower their total lifespan if they are kept in temps higher than 80 long term.

Did you drip acclimate them to the tank? And is your tank fully cycled (which takes about a month with a good source of waste and a filter present in the tank)? Do have copper pipes or have you added medication or chemicals to the tank recently that aren't safe for shrimp and invertebrates?
 

Adam510

I'm sorry about your shrimp. I doubt high temps would have killed them. They can thrive in temperatures up to 80 degrees without issue. Even if the water was above 80 degrees that would be unlikely to kill them outright, it may just lower their total lifespan if they are kept in temps higher than 80 long term.

Did you drip acclimate them to the tank? And is your tank fully cycled (which takes about a month with a good source of waste and a filter present in the tank)? Do have copper pipes or have you added medication or chemicals to the tank recently that aren't safe for shrimp and invertebrates?
I did not drip acclimate them. Didn’t know that was a thing since I am still very new to owning aquariums, I left the bag of them floating in the water for about 30-45 minutes like I’ve done with all the fish I’ve bought in the past.
i guess the tank wasn’t cycled properly. The tank has been up and running for 3 weeks with 4 platy fry and a filter. I’m guessing the fry didn’t provide enough waste.
I also put live plants in the tank the same day I bought the shrimp.
And only thing I had been putting into the tank was a beneficial bacteria supplement.
 

CHJ

Do

Do you think mine could’ve died from high temps since I have a small heater in the tank? Sorry to hear about you’re passing though.
You sound like you have neos and not cards. My neos were happy summer or winter. The last one took more than 5 years to die. For the last 2 years I'd not see her for a week and assume she had finally died, then a week after that there she would be, on top of the java, picking away at it.
If your heater went crockpot you would have noticed the water was hot.
 

Adam510

You sound like you have neos and not cards. My neos were happy summer or winter. The last one took more than 5 years to die. For the last 2 years I'd not see her for a week and assume she had finally died, then a week after that there she would be, on top of the java, picking away at it.
If your heater went crockpot you would have noticed the water was hot.
Ya the water is pretty warm but my platies seem to be fine… I don’t have a thermometer I really wish I did but I checked for ammonia just now and it came back negative. I’m thinking my tank must’ve just not been cycled right. But I’m still confused on how all 10 die in a 5 hour span? Like even if my tank wasn’t cycled right would that happen? So confused
 

CHJ

Oh yeah, that could happen.
I tried an "Instant tank" experiment which lead to the death of several feeder ghosts, as well as a monster amazon sword.
My mistake was that after years of eco-complete, when I got play sand I didn't wash it.
 

Adam510

Oh
Oh yeah, that could happen.
I tried an "Instant tank" experiment which lead to the death of several feeder ghosts, as well as a monster amazon sword.
My mistake was that after years of eco-complete, when I got play sand I didn't wash it.
Oh so my Java fern and subwassertang can die now too?
 

CHJ

Oh

Oh so my Java fern and subwassertang can die now too?
I'm betting you didn't use unwashed play sand for your substrate like I did, so I'd say the odds are against that.
I myself, for whatever reason, can't keep subwassertang alive. It is a shame as I think it looks cool.
 

Adam510

I'm betting you didn't use unwashed play sand for your substrate like I did, so I'd say the odds are against that.
I myself, for whatever reason, can't keep subwassertang alive. It is a shame as I think it looks cool.
I just planted it on a piece of drift wood, And my Java fern is rubber banded near the bottom onto the wood also cause I heard they grow from the water and will eventually attach itself to the wood.
 

ruud

Java fern will survive cycling. I bet it even survives a nuclear bomb.
 

Adam510

Java fern will survive cycling. I bet it even survives a nuclear bomb.
Oh okay lol I won’t worry about it
 

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