My Experience With Petco Amano Shrimp

Discussion in 'Freshwater Invertebrates' started by -Mak-, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    The first time I noticed the label that said "Japanese algae eating shrimp" was when they were already all sold out. It was only 2 days after restocking, so I guess they go fast. Their scientific name was "Caridina japonica," which has been the outdated name for 11 years now. Oh well, trust Petco to mess that bit up.

    I was leery of "fake" amanos at first because of the wrong name and because of the general not so extensive knowledge from chain stores, but they did turn out to be correct. If you decide to get some from a chain store make sure you're actually getting amanos, as there have been stories of incorrect labeling and "fake" amanos being sold.

    I called in and the next time they restocked, I went in on the same day. They had perhaps 8 to 10 in one of the tanks, some were only about an inch, some nearing two inches. It would be ideal to not buy wild caught livestock but those are the only type of amanos readily available unfortunately. Petco's were also cheaper at $2.49 each, whereas online they are usually at least $4 not including shipping. I bought 3, all nearing 1.5 inches, so they have a bit of room for more growth. The Petco employee was super nice and helpful (one of many reasons why I prefer my local Petco to the local Petsmart) and he seemed pretty knowledgable.


    The main reason I got these guys was to help with algae in my 3 gallon high tech planted betta tank, and boy did they help. Before anything, I removed my betta and did an H2O2 and excel treatment to kill most of the algae and cyano I had. Very effective, but there was dead algae in lots of places and I knew it would likely be back without some sort of control.

    First when I got home after buying the shrimp I did a four hour drip acclimation for them. Seeing as they are A) wild caught, B) came from Petco, and C) are shrimp, I didn't want to risk losing any of them from a less extensive acclimation. I will admit I was almost sure one of them was dying during the acclimation, it wasn't moving like the other two, didn't respond when lightly pushed with my aquascaping tweezers, and didn't touch the crumbles of algae wafers I put in there. Even after I netted them out into the tank it was still sluggish and I was sure it would be dead by morning.

    But it wasn't. I counted all 3, alive and well, and I was super relieved. Here are some pictures of them hanging out in my tank:


    One even molted in the morning, which I take is a good sign.


    I removed the molt even though I know they may eat it or it will recycle minerals, because I wanted to preserve it, which after some playing around with the help of a toothpick and clear nail polish I did:


    Here's a before and after that pretty much sums up how effective they are in just a few hours:


    Same view, second pic just has an added stem of pearlweed.
    I will say they poop a lot. They poop every minute if they are eating, no joke, and they were constantly eating because of how much algae I had. I watched one for a solid 5 minutes and it pooped several times in that interval. You can see it on the wood in the 1st pic in my tank. Luckily they add very little to the bioload.

    So far it's been 24 hours and they haven't had any problems with the CO2, plant ferts, or hikari algae wafers (second to last ingredient is copper sulfate). I will update if any problems occur, and I will also update with my betta's reaction when he is added back in. Hopefully he doesn't attack them, they are nearly as big as he is!

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  2. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I purchased one at petco as well. I always thought all sold were generally wild caught. What shrimp do they use and sell as amanos? I'm wondering if there is a look alike.

    They are indeed such great cleaners. I think a single one would do in a 3 g by itself, but since your actually feeding them, it's fine.

    Edit: btw, my betta managed to kill one of them and it was noticeably larger than itself. I saw it harrassing the shrimp on occasion, but thought no big deal. I woke up one morning and saw the fish picking at the dead body.

    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  3. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    I think it's always just a simple case of mislabling, but colorless Malayan shrimps look similar to amanos, or even ghost shrimp may seem like an algae eater to the unaware.

    Do you think the shrimp died on its own and the betta tried to eat the body, or the betta in fact killed it to eat it? At least one of mine are going into my new spec III, but I really hope he does okay with the other two,

  4. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I do think the betta might of done it. I had it for a while and then moved it in with the betta. I don't know if they are capable of too much stress and thus dying, but that's my guess. I'm not excluding the possibility that something else might of cause its death. I was surprised myself when I found it dead, thinking no feaking way, because that amano was quite large.

    Just to be aware, Amanos like to dig around. I might be worried of them digging and uprooting new plants. I'm new to using aquasoil and plants, so maybe someone else can verify this.

  5. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Yeah, I've discovered that haha. I have some monte carlo and pearlweed floating around thanks to them, but the majority is still rooted. I'm using UP aqua sand, which is really more a soil substrate, so some is bound to come loose.

    I'll add my betta back in after my second tank is set up so they have a place to go if things don't go well.
  6. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    So far, I'm extremely impressed with these shrimp. I'm glad they've been able to survive the transition from Petco's tanks to mine. They're active, and the best part imo is they cleaned my bucephalandras. Buces are gorgeous plants but I wasn't able to enjoy them because of the algae. Now I can even see some blue shimmer on one of them that they are famous for.


    Before and after


    Definitely not opposed to buying amanos from Petco again.
  7. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Aaand a not so happy update....
    It seems two of them have decided to take a walk. Outside of the tank.

    I returned home this afternoon to see only one scavenging on the wood. I dropped a couple crumbles of algae wafers in, and the single one grabbed some and started eating, but the other two didn't show up. I thought okay, they're in the back, but close looking and moving stuff around revealed no shrimp. It's only 3 gallons and isn't super heavily planted, and even after removing the main wood I saw none.

    Once the lone shrimp finished eating it tried to crawl out of the tank. Mind you, this tank has a lid, save for a small opening for feeding and a place cut out for the HOB. The shrimp tried to crawl up the back corner where the HOB and heater are. I nudged it back in and it continued to try to get out. My immediate thought was CO2, but the drop checker showed green, at most lime green. CO2 had been off since last night. Betta is still not in the tank, and I don't think the other two could've died and both been eaten by the single shrimp. I could be wrong though. I did a small water change just in case. I then proceeded to search the floor in my room and outside of my room for nearly an hour. No sign of them. I also opened up the HOB and they weren't there. Lone shrimp is in the tank, perched on some floating plants, not doing much.

    So the lesson here is either shrimp are great at hiding and have the power of invisibility, or keep a lid over every single spot they could get out from.
  8. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I had this issue. My amano kept getting inside and hanging around the filter. He cleaned up the ceramic media pretty nice though. I don't think it's a food issue. They're just very active.
  9. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    I hope this is a giant misunderstanding and they show up later, but the fact that the remaining one tried to get out as well makes me wonder. Right now the singleton is diligently cleaning my floating stem plants (which will go in his new home) and shows no sign of any sort of scheming for another escape.
  10. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    Have you tried lifting out all the media out of the filter to check? They can be good at hiding. I read that they are adapted to crawl on land in their natural habitat, so I think it's in their nature to try an find other areas.
  11. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Third shrimpie is gone.

    Yup. The filter is very small, so there wasn't much place to look.

    Still no bodies anywhere. Needless to say no more shrimp will be going in this tank until I figure this out.
  12. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    Sorry to hear that. I hope you find them. They are probably not in the tank if you haven't seen them in a while. They move around too much not to get noticed eventually.
  13. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    I did end up finding two outside my room, one was in a bathroom and the other at the base of the stairs, downstairs :( Lesson learned. Shrimp tank being set up has a full lid, so if I do get more they won't be able to get out. This current tank is cycled, CO2 was off, well established, so I think they left in search of more food, since they did too good of a job with the algae, even though I was feeding them. Hopefully anyone reading this can learn from my experience!
  14. PiaelliottWell Known MemberMember

    What an interesting story to read. My first Amano shrimp was from Petco as well. I usually only buy animals from my LFS but I needed a large Amano because I didn't know how my keyhole cichlids would do with them. I had to double check too because of the weird labeling and picked 2 of the biggest ones. One vanished in the sink (horrible handling by Petco employee), so I took only one.

    I didn't acclimate because I thought the shrimp would freak out and die. She went swimming back and forth for a long time and honestly I hoped she would escape over night through a 1/2 in gap. She looked so creepy.
    Long story short, the shrimp colored up quickly, stopped swimming frantically and got two friends from my LFS. She has been berried several times and is about 2.5 in long. They do poop a lot but take good care of algae.
    Mine never try to leave and mostly hang out on the driftwood and rarely swim around only if I do water changes but then they are not frantic at all.

    Here is the Petco shrimp that was ghostly white when I bought her IMG_20170411_085158.jpg
  15. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    I was curious if you ever found them. It's unfortunate, but now at least you know and learned from it.

    I'm curious to see a picture of how it looks now, cause generally, amanos are supposed to look clear with a hint of hue to em.

    I know what you mean by the creep factor. Those mechanical legs gave me the heebie-jeebies.
  16. PiaelliottWell Known MemberMember

    This is actually a picture of how she looks now. When I bought her she was sort of whitish, looked like a ghost zooming around with the engine moving :)
    Maybe I find a picture of before.
  17. PiaelliottWell Known MemberMember

    This is not the PetSmart one but one of her friends shortly after I bought it. They were all kind of opaque but are now clear with a tint.

    Attached Files:

  18. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Wow, she looks almost blue-ish.

    Yeah, sometimes one learns the hard way.

    And agreed, I thought they looked very spidery when I got first got them, but I became used to it. Their faces are quite cute though haha

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