How do you clean substrate when you have shrimp?! An odyssey

EllRog

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Nowt wrong with that. ;) My apologies, I'm picturing you as a male clown now, so I won't get it wrong in future :) Also congrats on the new shrimp! My current method of letting buckets settle then checking for movement usually works and doesn't take hours, so give that a shot in the meantime. But it would be great if anyone has developed some better techniques for really making sure.
Can't you drop blanched vegetable in one corner, let them swarm it, then hit the free substrate like a woman possessed, then move said vegetable to hit the remaining corner? I never had shrimp long enough to get shrimplets so wouldn't know personally, just an idea you can correct me on lol
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I'm hoping that somehow it'll be easier once I've moved them over to the new sand substrate. Less likely for them to hide in the dips and valleys of the gravel, where the syphon just moves over the top of them while they hunker down, then get sucked up. I think that's how most of them get sucked up.

I'm making it sound as though hundreds are going through the tube each cleaning, but sometimes I get none, sometimes one or two. I did a really thorough clean today, and only sucked up one teeny invisible baby.
 

EllRog

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I'm hoping that somehow it'll be easier once I've moved them over to the new sand substrate. Less likely for them to hide in the dips and valleys of the gravel, where the syphon just moves over the top of them while they hunker down, then get sucked up. I think that's how most of them get sucked up.

I'm making it sound as though hundreds are going through the tube each cleaning, but sometimes I get none, sometimes one or two. I did a really thorough clean today, and only sucked up one teeny invisible baby.
Sucking up shrimp is a seductive procedure
 

seangee

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I'm hoping that somehow it'll be easier once I've moved them over to the new sand substrate. Less likely for them to hide in the dips and valleys of the gravel, where the syphon just moves over the top of them while they hunker down, then get sucked up. I think that's how most of them get sucked up.
That makes it much easier. I never clean my sand and never need to. As long as you have plants and don't overfeed the sand just looks after itself. In my shrimp tank I have malaysian trumpet snails to help with the task.
 

ClownLurch

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That makes it much easier. I never clean my sand and never need to. As long as you have plants and don't overfeed the sand just looks after itself. In my shrimp tank I have malaysian trumpet snails to help with the task.
That’s what I’m aiming for but there’s still shredded floating plant roots settling from the very first time I turned the hang on the back/front internal filter on.....becos I hadn’t put my tights on.
One for @EllRog there
 

Essjay

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I've always hoovered up baby shrimps. You just can't see them so you can't avoid them. I use the jug method for emptying the bucket. I have a couple of empty single portion cheesecake pots on standby, one of which has tank water in, and when I see a baby shrimp in the jug I carefully decant the water into one pot and use a pipette to remove it and place it in the pot of water. My record is 32 shrimps in one water change.

I have to hoover the sand because of the amount of nerite snail poop :sick:
 

PheonixKingZ

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That makes it much easier. I never clean my sand and never need to. As long as you have plants and don't overfeed the sand just looks after itself. In my shrimp tank I have malaysian trumpet snails to help with the task.
The only bad thing, is that the OP does not have sand, she has gravel.

If she had sand, and she didn’t have any sort of poop machine (pleco, nerite, etc.), she wouldn’t even need to touch it.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Can't you drop blanched vegetable in one corner, let them swarm it, then hit the free substrate like a woman possessed, then move said vegetable to hit the remaining corner?
I do clean the front left corner where I usually feed them first, since I can see well enough right there to shoo any little stubborn ones away, then drop in some shrimp cuisine and half an algae wafer. That usually brings over a load of adults, which does help, but I think the really teeny ones probably have a hide instinct? They're sometimes out in the open, but they don't tend to all come over for food, especially since it's more of a treat than their staple diet. They find plenty to eat on the plants, in the substrate and on the filter, so it doesn't draw them all, sadly.

I did drop in some blanched courgette last night, supposedly for the otos, but they ignored it and the shrimp feasted instead. :dunno:
That makes it much easier. I never clean my sand and never need to. As long as you have plants and don't overfeed the sand just looks after itself. In my shrimp tank I have malaysian trumpet snails to help with the task.
That's so good to hear, thank you!
The only bad thing, is that the OP does not have sand, she has gravel.

If she had sand, and she didn’t have any sort of poop machine (pleco, nerite, etc.), she wouldn’t even need to touch it.
Please read more closely. Seangee was responding to the fact that I said I hoped it would be better when I switch to sand. He knows I'm switching to sand, because he knows I'm tearing down tanks to re-set them up so I have a soft water tank for my otos, and a hard water tank for shrimp/guppies. He helped me pick a sand.

I don't expect you to know the full history, but I said in this thread that I'm switching to sand.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Ok...l must have missed that... :unsure:

How soon are you switching over to sand? If it is really soon, then there is no need to get another method for cleaning your gravel, as soon you will have sand.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I've always hoovered up baby shrimps. You just can't see them so you can't avoid them. I use the jug method for emptying the bucket. I have a couple of empty single portion cheesecake pots on standby, one of which has tank water in, and when I see a baby shrimp in the jug I carefully decant the water into one pot and use a pipette to remove it and place it in the pot of water. My record is 32 shrimps in one water change.

I have to hoover the sand because of the amount of nerite snail poop :sick:
That's actually really reassuring to hear! You're very knowledgeable and experienced, and still have this problem! 32 is pretty impressive! Must be a big tank, or a very thorough clean! Sounds like we have the same system too. It's a bit of a pain, but I couldn't just throw it out without checking, which I saw someone else say on a different forum when I googled this problem. They said that they breed so much, who cares if you chuck out one or two, or even five?

I care. I'd feel awful.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I did get the tiny dude back in the tank. I had to get a clean white bucket, add some tank water, then tip fish bag in. Fill fish bag from tank, tip into bucket a couple of times, just to be sure he wasn't trapped in the bag. Struggled to spot him, finally did and netted him, held net in tank to be sure I had him in the net, then let him into tank.

I've fed live daphnia that are bigger and much easier to see. I'm pretty good at catching fish, and I've never had this much trouble from a fish or shrimp. Even the loaches are easier.
 

Essjay

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The 32 was when I had the shrimps in a 50 litre tank with masses of hornwort threaded through branchy wood. With just pygmy cories and chili rasboras for company, lots of baby shrimps survived and the hornwort made it tricky to see what I was hoovering up.

After I had to close that tank (kitchen alteration and no room any more) I moved the occupants to my bigger tank and I hoovered up much less shrimps. But I got pearl gouramis earlier this year and the shrimp population has been declining, so after my betta died I decided to move the shrimps I could find into his tank. I managed to count 14 today, and some of them are berried females so no doubt I'll be back to hoovering up shrimplets again quite soon.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Ok...l must have missed that... :unsure:

How soon are you switching over to sand? If it is really soon, then there is no need to get another method for cleaning your gravel, as soon you will have sand.
I would have been switching over this week -the sand arrived today, looks great and I'm itching to use it- but my guppies are showing symptoms of worms, so new set ups are on hold until treatment for all the tanks is complete :( Sucks, but better to do it now than cross contaminate my clean set ups. Treatment means a fair amount of water changes and a few weeks for repeat doses to be sure they're all clear, so lots of gravel vac-ing in the meantime. Then I can crack on with it.

Plus it's always good to pick up tips and tricks from other hobbyists, you never know when you or someone else might need a hand with the same problem. :)


The 32 was when I had the shrimps in a 50 litre tank with masses of hornwort threaded through branchy wood. With just pygmy cories and chili rasboras for company, lots of baby shrimps survived and the hornwort made it tricky to see what I was hoovering up.

After I had to close that tank (kitchen alteration and no room any more) I moved the occupants to my bigger tank and I hoovered up much less shrimps. But I got pearl gouramis earlier this year and the shrimp population has been declining, so after my betta died I decided to move the shrimps I could find into his tank. I managed to count 14 today, and some of them are berried females so no doubt I'll be back to hoovering up shrimplets again quite soon.
Oh man, hornwort! I have it in my tank too, and it tends to get overgrown and dominate and need more maintenance than any of the other plants. I really don't like the look of it that much either, so if it were up to me, I'd take it out I think. Or at least most of it. but the shrimp seem to love it, they gather in there! So it stays. But it's not easy to clean around it and the other plants when they're packed full of shrimplets, so I get you. I've even been scared to trim it down because there were so many in there, didn't want to accidentally get one with the scissors.

I thought the guppies would eat the shrimp, and they might pick off the odd shrimplet that I don't see, but on the whole, they ignore them totally. Have even seen them eating the same algae wafer without a problem. But there are always guppy fry in there too so the tank is well fed. Maybe they'd eat more if they were hungrier or if they were gourami, lol.

I found a bunch of shrimp eggs stuck to the roots of a water lettuce when I cleaned today :( first time I've seen that, and I saw some males darting around the tank too, so I got worried about the water parameters, and rushed to do a 50% water change. Tested the water I'd pulled later on, and it was 0/0/5 still, five days after the last water change. I know males swim about when a female is ready to mate, but it seemed like a lot of 'em, then seeing the eggs worried me. Apparently first time shrimp moms sometimes drop eggs since they're inexperienced? Have you seen that happen? Left the eggs in the tank just in case. Shrimp have settled down now and otos seem fine, so I don't think it's the water.
 

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