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Shrimps and Crayfish

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Sera Guide for Caring Shrimps and Crayfish in Aquarium
  • n Shrimp and crayfish biotopesn Successful setup and maintenance

    Shrimps and crayfish

  • 2ContentsThe fascinating world of shrimps and crayfish ....................................................... 3Shrimp species .................................................. 4Crayfish species ................................................ 5Keeping shrimps and crayfish ........................... 6Community aquariums ...................................... 7Biotope aquariums

    A typical shrimp biotope ................................ 8A typical crayfish biotope............................... 10

    Plants................................................................. 12Location ............................................................. 13Bottom material and decoration........................ 14Technical equipment.......................................... 15Water conditioning............................................. 18Adding plants..................................................... 20Introducing the animals ..................................... 21Water care ......................................................... 23Feed according to nature .................................. 24Reproduction ..................................................... 28Treatments or care products and crustaceans? .............................................. 29Land hermit crabs ............................................. 30

  • 3Shrimps and crayfish are useful andextremely interesting inhabitants of ouraquariums. These animals are also fre-quently kept together with fish. Dwarfshrimps, in particular, have become moreand more popular during the last years.Shrimps such as the Amano shrimp(Caridina multidentata) are mainly kept asscavengers and algae eaters in our aquari-ums. Above all, they rid plants of annoyingalgae.

    Due to the splendid colors and the inter -esting behavior, it is a special pleasure todesign underwater landscapes only forshrimps and crayfish. Nano aquariums areparticularly well suited for this purpose.These are very small biotope aquariumsclose to nature.This sera guide provides support when set-ting up and maintaining the fascinatingworld of shrimps and crayfish.

    The fascinating world of shrimps and craysh

  • 4Shrimp speciesDwarf shrimps

    A crustacean group consisting ofmany small (often only up to 4 cm /1.6 in.) shrimp species that is verypopular among aquarists. Dwarfshrimps graze off algae and otherperiphyton from surfaces such asplants or rocks. The decorative andinteresting animals are usually verypeaceful and can be kept in largegroups. They can also be kepttogether with calm fish and otheraquarium inhabitants.

    Longarm prawns

    These shrimps have rather longclaws. Some species grow verylarge, therefore some of them mayalso eat fish and other crustaceans.Furthermore, their distinct territorialbehavior may cause fighting withother members of their own species.Smaller species such as the Pearl shrimp (Macrobrachium cf.banjarense) or the Riceland prawn(Macrobrachium lanchesteri) are usu -ally more peaceful and require lessspace.

    Fan shrimps

    These animals have long bristlebrushes at the ends of their first legpair that they can extend like a fan.They use these fans to filter floatingfood particles (herbal and animalplankton) from the water current. Fanshrimps like to sit on coarse or solidsurfaces where they can get a hold in the current.

  • 5Craysh species

    These colorful crayfish are consider-ably larger than the Cambarellusspecies, and they live longer up to8 years. They are usually peaceful.Due to their large claws they movesomewhat clumsily. Cherax specieslike to hide. Some species are noc-turnal, whereas other look for foodalso during daytime.

    Cherax species

    Dwarf craysh Cambarellus species

    Cambarellus species are well suitedfor keeping in aquariums. Fullygrown, their size is between 3 and 6 cm (1.2 2.4 in.). It is not advisableto keep them together with shrimps,since shrimps may be considered awelcomed snack. Plants are noteaten, therefore you can keep dwarfcrayfish in planted aquariums. Theirlifetime is between 1.5 to 2 years.Cambarellus species originate fromSouth America.

  • 66

    Keeping shrimps and crayshThere is a general rule for keeping, evenwith peaceful and sociable shrimps: Less ismore! Furthermore, in case of keepingmany specimens it is important to provideas many places to retreat as possible. Es -

    pecially while exuviating, crayfish andshrimp need shelters to protect their softbody.


    Crayfish and shrimps have a so-calledexoskeleton, i.e. an external skeleton. It isregularly replaced with a new one by exuvi-ation since it cannot grow. It is an excitingmoment when the crustacean leaves its oldshell, also named exuvia, and the new, softand flexible shell becomes visible. Afterbeing stretched to the new size, theexoskeleton hardens by chemical process-es and by depositing minerals such as cal-cium. Injured or severed limbs can bereplaced by and by with the exuviations.Exuviation problems are usually caused byunsuitable keeping conditions, wrong orinsufficient nutrition. You can prevent exu -

    viation problems with the special food forcrustaceans sera crabs natural and serashrimps natural.

    The skin (exuvia) after the exuviation

  • Be sure to select the animals very carefullyif you wish to keep crayfish or shrimps in acommunity aquarium. Surface fish (e.g.hatchetfish) or bottom-orientated fish (e.g.not too small armored catfish) are suitablefish for a community aquarium. Keepingthem together with very lively livebearers,clown loaches or cichlids is not advisable.As for the larger crayfish species, only therather peaceful Australian Cherax speciessuch as the Red Claw (Cherax quadricarina-tus) or the Yabby (Cherax destructor), if atall, can be recommended for keeping themtogether with robust fish species.


    Community aquariumsKeeping shrimps and fish together requiressome careful consideration. The danger isoften not caused by the shrimps but by thefish. Especially guppies and cichlids tend tonibble at their co-inhabitants.The same applies for crayfish. For keepingin community aquariums, mainly dwarfcrayfish such as the Mexican Orange dwarfcrayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis var.Orange) are recommended. Keeping larg-er crayfish bears the risk of them digging up the carefully set-up aquarium anddestroying the plants. Furthermore, partic -ularly aggressive crayfish might harass thefish. Larger crayfish should therefore bekept in a tank on their own. However, youmust bear in mind that keeping too manyanimals in insufficient space may lead toincreased aggression and cannibalism.

    Mexican Orange dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis var. Orange)

    Hatchetfish Armored catfish

    Recommendation for community aquariums

    Yabby (Cherax destructor)

  • 8Biotope aquariumsAn aquarium with shrimps andcrayfish is ideally set upaccording to their natural habitat brooks and smallrivers. Everything is in the cor-rect ratio for the correspondingbiotope, e.g. aquarium size,number and size of animals,number of plants, plant species,filter and light. This avoidscombining animals that do not

    harmonize due to their size,nutritional requirements and ori-gin. A natural biotope allows tooptimally adjust water qualityand maintain it permanentlywithout much care effort. seragives you the following biotopesuggestions:

    A typical shrimp biotope

    It is ideal to keep only one tothree shrimp species in a 60liter (15.8 US gal.) aquariumsuch as the sera BiotopNano Cube 60. AfricanGiant Fan shrimps andAsian Fan shrimps (pleaseadd just one of the twospecies) are suitable forkeeping them togetherwith dwarf shrimps. Addfive to, at the maximum,

    twenty animals in total. However,keep the number of larger ani-mals such as African Giant Fanshrimps low.

    Shrimps in the pictured seraBiotop Nano Cube 60:2 African Giant Fan shrimps

    15 Crystal Red Bee shrimps

    See page 12 for informationabout the plants, please.

  • 9Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

    African Giant Fan shrimp (Atya gabonensis)

    Crystal Red Bee shrimp (Caridina cf. cantonensis)

    Green shrimp (Caridina cf. babaulti var. Green)

    Bumblebee shrimp (Caridina cf. breviata)

    Asian Fan shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis)

    Red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Red)

  • 10

    Biotope aquariumsA typical craysh biotope

    You should add 6 dwarf cray-fish at the maximum in a 60 liter(15.8 US gal.) aquarium. Largercrayfish such as Yabbiesrequire an aquarium at least1.20 m (4 ft.) long for keepingone pair.

    Dwarf crayfish in the picturedsera Biotop Nano Cube 60:6 Mexican Orange dwarf crayfish

    See page 12 for informationabout the plants, please.

  • 11

    Cambarus manningi Yabby (Cherax destructor)

    Apricot crayfish (Cherax holthuisi)

    Rainbow crayfish (Cherax sp. var. Hoa Creek)

    Red Brick crayfish (Cherax sp. var. Red Brick)

    Red Claw (Cherax quadricarinatus)

    Mexican Orange dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis var. Orange)

    Asian Tiger lobster (Cherax sp. var. Tiger)

  • 12

    PlantsAccording to the natural habitat brooksand small rivers the number of plantsshould be limited. However, it is not advis-able to go entirely without plants as plantsbreak down pollutants. Furthermore, espe-cially juvenile crustaceans will find hide-aways and, due to the settling micro organ-isms, an excellent food source.

    Java fern, vallisnerias, moss balls and dif-ferent moss species such as Java moss areto be mentioned as especially suitable.

    The number of plants suggested here canbe altered according to your personal taste.For example, a background consisting ofJava moss can look extremely attractive.When scheduling the plant arrangement,please consider that the purchased plantsare not fully grown yet.

    6 Vallisneria1 2 Java fern2 3 Moss ballsJava moss according to taste

    Java fern(Microsorium pteropus)

    Moss ball (Cladophora aegagrophila)


    Java moss(Vesicularia dubyana)






  • 13

    Do not place the aquarium in direct sun-light. Otherwise, algae growth will be sup-ported, and the water will heat up toostrongly.

    The cabinet for an aquarium must be stableand horizontal. Matching sera aquariumcabinets are ideal.

    You should give some thought about theideal setup before starting to decorate youraquarium. A sketch in which you draw allrock constructions, roots and plants, is agood basis.

    Schedule enough hideaways. Caves areparticularly popular. You can very easilybuild them using slab-shaped rocks orlime rock with holes.

    Large plants belong to the back of theaquarium, otherwise they will obstructview. Small-growing and lawn-formingplants are suitable for the foreground.

    Suitable decoration material easily allowsto hide technical equipment (filter, heateretc.) inside the aquarium.



    Filter, heater, pump


    Java fern

    Moss balls

    Java moss

    Bog wood


    sera Biotop Nano Cube 60


    V1 V1








    H1 H1


  • 14

    Bottom material and decoration

    First distribute a sera floredepot long-timebottom gravel blend layer of approx. 2 cm(0.8 in.) where you want to add plants.During the initial phase, plants will be pro-vided nutrients needed for strong roots andgreen leaves. Cover it with a 5 cm (2 in.)layer of freshly washed, undyed, finelygrained aquarium gravel or river sand plus afew larger pebbles.

    If you do not want to use sand in the aquar-ium, it is important for keeping crusta ceansthat you always blend some sand in withthe gravel. The animals require single sandgrains or very small gravel bits for deposit-ing them in their sense of balance, the so-called statocyst.

    Bottom material


    Just like plants, bog wood are suitable aspasture and as structural elements. Theyprovide the shelter required by the animals,especially during the important period afterexuviation.

    Additional hideaways are very importantespecially if you keep aggressive crayfish orlongarm prawns. In such cases, rocks withholes or tubes are suitable. They provideeasily defendable shelters for the animalsuntil their exoskeleton has hardened.

    2 cm




    5 cm


    2 in



  • 15

    Install the technical equipment after youhave filled in the bottom material and thedecoration. This work is not necessary in case of thesera Biotop Nano Cube 60.

    Technical equipment


    With its complete plug-in equipment, thesera Biotop Nano Cube 60 is immediatelyready for use. The bioactive filter systemimmediately starts the biological pollutantbreakdown. This saves you weeks of bio-logical activation.

    1 Aquarium with bow front Polished glassVolume approx. 60 liters (15.8 US gal.)Dimensions: width 40.3 cm x height 46 cm x depth48.4 cm (15.9 in. x 18.1 in. x 19.1 in.)

    2 Aquarium cover with2.1 fluorescent tube T5 PL-18 W2.2 food opening2.3 fold-and-push mechanism3 4 chamber internal filter with3.1 net3.2 filter sponge for mechanical filtration3.3 1,000 ml (290 g / 10.2 oz.) sera siporax

    with 270 m (2,900 sq.ft.) filter surfacefor biological filtration

    3.4 sera heater 50 W3.5 sera flow pump STP 1000Includes:100 ml (3.38 fl.oz.) sera blackwater

    aquatan water conditioner50 ml (1.7 fl.oz.) sera filter biostart biocul -

    tures for biological pollutant breakdown

    The sera Biotop Nano Cube 60 is equippedwith a glued-on safety frame. Place theaquarium with its frame directly onto thecabinet. Do not use any additional mats.

    sera compact aquarium for aneasy start











  • 16

    A filter fulfills two important tasks in a cray-fish or shrimp aquarium. On the one hand, it purifies the water, on the other hand it creates a constant water flow that imitatesa brook. For example, fan shrimps can takeup their food only from a current. serainternal filters for small aquariums sera fil60 or sera fil 120 are ideal for the effectivemechanical and biological filtration. In con-nection with the biofilter medium sera siporax mini, they provide biologicallyclean water.

    The sera fil internal aquarium filters canbe extended with additional cartridges.


    The surface of

    one liter (one U

    S quart)

    sera siporax m

    ini has almost

    as much biolog

    ical break-

    down power as

    34 liters

    (9 US gal.) of c


    lter material

    Technical equipment


    sera siporax minifilter medium

    filter cartridge

    sera super carbonactive filter carbon

    filter cartridge

    filter sponge

    end cartridge

  • Light

    Shrimps and crayfish have no specialrequirements concerning light. Therefore,hoods with several lamps allow to chooseone lamp that specially takes the require-

    ments of the plants into account, e.g. thesera plant color. We recommend the seratropic sun in case only one lamp is used.



    Both crayfish and shrimps require a coveron top of the aquarium that prevents themfrom escaping, since they like to exploretheir closer surroundings and might leavethe aquarium to do so.

    Oxygen supply

    Just as in the fast flowing brooks of the natural habitats of these animals, high oxy-gen levels are also required in the aquariumwater, as this is important for both exuvia-tion and reproduction. It is achieved with anadditional pump apart from the filter, e.g.the sera air diaphragm pump in connec-tion with an air stone from the sera air set.

    Many shrimps originate from subtropical climate zones. Seasonal temperature varia-tions are therefore natural and can evenincrease breeding success. The optimaltemperature range is between 19 and 25C(66 77F), e.g. for Tiger, Bumblebee andBee shrimps. Amano shrimps even feel wellbetween 10 and 30C (50 86F). Most cray -fish require temperatures between 20 and

    27C (68 80F). The animalshave optimal growth rates atabout 25C (77F). The seraaquarium heater thermostatis recommended for heating upthe aquarium.


  • 18

    Water conditioning

    Crustaceans generally are even more sensi-tive to chemical water pollution than manyfish species. It is therefore necessary tocondition tap water. Always add seraaquatan or sera blackwater aquatan,specially developed also for crustaceans, tothe water every time you fill the tank, be itthe first filling or a partial water change.They will immediately bind the heavy metalions, clarify the water and neutralize toxicsubstances such as aggressive chlorine. It isadditionally recommended, e.g. during thebiological activation phase of if necessary,

    to use sera super carbon asan active carbon that reliablyremoves other toxic sub-stances from the water.

    Also consider the correct water hardness.The water hardness describes the concen-tration of dissolved alkaline earth metals.Soft water contains less of these ions mainly calcium and magnesium than hardwater. Most shrimp species have adaptedto rather soft water in their original habitats.

    Conditioning the water

    Filling in water correctly

    First place a shallow plate on the gravel asto avoid water swirling up the gravel and theunder gravel bottom substrate. Then pourthe lukewarm (24 26C / 75 79F) wateron top of it until the tank is filled by twothirds. The sera precision thermometermakes temperature control easier.


  • 1919

    For example, Red Cherry and Amanoshrimps require a carbonate hardness of 4 16dKH, Bee and Tiger shrimps an evenlower range of 2 10dKH. A carbonatehardness of 5 10dKH is therefore in anycase correct. Crayfish are usually adaptedto environments with slightly harder water. Ifyou need to lower the carbonate hardnessdue to hard tap water, you can do so byplacing sera super peat (peat granulate) inthe filter. This will also inhibit the growth ofharmful fungi and bacteria.You can check the carbonate hardness withthe sera kH-Test kit and increase carbonatehardness with sera KH/pH-plus if neces-sary.

    Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

    Red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Red)

    If in spite of all diligence the concentrationof pollutants should quickly rise strongly,sera toxivec will immediately prevent acute intoxication of the animals in theaquarium.

    Immediate help

  • 20

    Adding plantsNewly purchased plants should always bewatered in a separate tank for several days.Change the water several times whiledoing so as to remove excess fertilizer andpossible remainders of treatments andplant protecting agents. Furthermore, planting stem plants may cause some trou-ble as some of them can release harmfulplant substances when cutting them.

    Fertilize plants correctly

    1. Shorten the root tips slightly with a pair ofsharp scissors before planting (fig. 1),and remove rotten or frayed leaves.

    2. Dig a planting hole with your finger intothe gravel which has been prepared withsera floredepot (fig. 2).

    3. Carefully put the roots into the hole (fig. 3) and cover them with gravel. Pressthe gravel carefully and pull the plantslightly, so that the roots face downwardsagain.

    1 2 3

    Successfully keeping plants becomes easywith the finely adjusted sera fertilizationsystem. The sera floredepot bottom sub-strate provides the plants an optimal basisfor strong growth. Use sera floreplus as agrowth promoter during the first 4 6weeks. The faster the plants grow, thesooner they will contribute to the biologicalwater purification and supply the aquariuminhabitants with oxygen. Then start regularfertilization. Plants that take up their nutri-ents mainly via the leaves are fertilized with

    sera florena. Plants that take up the nutri-ents mainly via the roots are ideally caredfor by means of sera florenette A. Top upthe nutrients consumed daily with seraflore daydrops.


  • 21

    Now, finally, the aquarium is decorated andplanted; filter, heating and lighting work asthey should. The sera tests reveal goodwater quality.

    Feed only sparingly during this start-upphase (see page 24 ff., please).

    Pour sera filter biostart onto sera sipo-rax mini. Put the filter into operation.The biological breakdown within the fil-ter starts right away.

    Add sera bio nitrivec to the aquariumwater. This will start the biological pollu-tant breakdown in the aquarium.

    Add 10% of the animals on the next day(1st day).

    Add sera bio nitrivec (normal dose)each day for 10 days running. You willshorten the time in which the filter bac-teria become active by doing so.

    4th day: Add 30% of the animals.

    5th and 7th day: check ammonium andnitrite. sera toxivec quickly neutralizestoo high values.

    8th day: Add another 30% of the desiredanimals.

    10th day: same as 5th and 7th day.

    11th day: Add the final 30% of the desiredanimals.

    Introducing the animals


    The surface of

    one liter (one U

    S quart)

    sera siporax m

    ini has almost

    as much biolog

    ical break-

    down power as

    34 liters

    (9 US gal.) of c


    lter material

  • Transfer into a new aquarium means a cli-mate change for the animals. Switch off theaquarium light. Avoid bright light.

    1. Put the fish bag into the aquarium (open-ing on top) and make sure the bag floats.

    2. Open the bag and turn up the edges sev-eral times. The bag then floats open inthe water. Fill aquarium water (approx.the two- or threefold original amount ofthe bag content) into the bag in portionswithin the course of half an hour.

    3. After thirty minutes you can transfer theanimals using the sera fish net. Be sureto dispose the transport water into thesink!


    Introducing the shrimps and craysh



    Introducing the animals



  • 23

    Water careAquariums set up correctly require only littlecare. Successful breeders recommend tochange 30 50% of the aquarium waterweekly. This simulates rainfalls common innature, which then increase the readiness toreproduce. The changed water can besome degrees colder. However, you shouldalways condition the added water with seraaquatan or sera blackwater aquatan. Thelow tolerance of shrimps and crayfishregarding nitrate is another important rea-son for regular partial water changes.Elevated nitrate levels cause problems dur-ing exuviation. You can check the nitratelevel with the sera NO3-Test kit.

    It is advisable to siphon the forming sludgeoff with the sera gravel washer during thepartial water change. However, a smallamount of sludge should remain inside theaquarium, as shrimps especially juveniles like to use it as an additional food source.You should not remove the exuvia the ani-mals discard during the exuviation. Theycontain valuable minerals and are usuallycompletely eaten by the animals.


  • 24

    Feed according to natureBoth crayfish and shrimps areomnivorous animals, i.e. theyeat herbal and animal food.Their natural habitats mostlyprovide rather few plants butan abundant variety of leavesand wood that have fallen intothe water. This decomposingorganic material (debris andsludge) along with the microorganisms growing on it (fungi,bacteria, protozoans) and algae

    serve as an important nutrientsource. Anything the crusta -ceans can find and catch willadd to the diet: small organismssuch as snails, mussels, worms,sometimes even small fish, butoften also carrion or ripe fruit.Some of the crustaceans do noteven stop at cannibalism formeeting their protein require-ments.

    Most valuable ingredients

    sera has developed the inno-vative crustacean foods serashrimps natural and seracrabs natural for the vari-ous requirements of thecrustaceans. The valuableingredients and the carefulprocessing make thesefoods an ideal staple dietfor crustaceans. The uni -

    que nutrient composition resultsfrom the sole use of aquaticorganisms such as marine fish,Gammarus, Spirulina and marinealgae as protein and fat suppli-ers. The proteins they containare therefore characterized by an amino acid composition thatcan ideally be utilized by thecrustaceans.


  • 25

    The food becomes very easy to digest thisway, which prevents water pollution byundigested breakdown products.

    Particularly easy to digest

    Optimal supply

    Furthermore, this composition ensures anoptimal supply with essential omega fattyacids. High percentages of spirulina, marinealgae and numerous high quality herbs andvegetables provide the animals with impor-tant minerals, vitamins and trace elementssuch as the natural iodine of marine algae,which supports regular exuviation. Stingingnettle confirmed by numerous observa-tions is effective against inflammationsand increases the fertility of shrimps andcrayfish. Willow bark and alder cones

    provide a natural ballast substance source,furthermore these ingredients have anti-bacterial and fungicidal effects. Gammarusand green-lipped mussels make the foodvery attractive. Therefore it was possible togo without added flavors as is the case forall sera foods. Furthermore, sera wishes tobe even closer to nature by not using anyartificial dyes at all.

    Natural dyes

    Both foods contain exclusively the valuablenatural dyes from their ingredients, e.g. the strongly color-enhancing and vitamin-like astaxanthin from Haematococcusalgae. These components of the VitalImmune Protect Formula as well as theentire composition of sera shrimps natural

    and sera crabs natural, blended accordingto newest scientific findings, supporthealthy development (with regular, safeexuviation activity), brilliant colors, fertilityand vitality for crayfish and shrimps.

  • Feed according to natureIdeal shapes of food

    Due to the shape of both foods spherulesin case of sera shrimps natural and theunique rings in case of sera crabs natural the animals can carry the food to a shelterwhere they can eat without any stress.

    Smaller shrimps like to pick up a spheruleand bite off food particles with rotatingmovements. This is also how they graze offpebbles etc. in nature. In case of very smallor juvenile shrimps a sera shrimps naturalfood spherule is sufficient even for severalanimals. When a shrimp ate its fill, it willdrop the morsel so the next one can contin-ue eating.

    Crayfish prefer the loops of sera crabs na -tural. The crayfish actually carry out somekind of tug-of-war until they retreat to acalm corner with an entire ring or in caseof small species a fragment. The ringshape is especially easy to grab for theclaw-bearing crayfish.Both foods sink down quickly and keeptheir shape for at least 24 hours in thewater. Their taste and their ingredients arenot lost during this time. Therefore, the food optimally meets the natural nutritionalhabits of these animals, and the water is not unnecessarily polluted. We recom -mend feeding these wholesome foodsdaily. They are, by the way, also excellentlysuited for marine crustaceans, and they arealso readily accepted by catfish.


  • 2727

    Feeding in community tanks

    In community tanks where food of the seravipan product family (sera vipan, seravipagran, sera vipachips) is used, the crus -taceans will happily share the food with theother inhabitants. sera Spirulina Tabs arealso readily accepted. Therefore, no foodremainders will be left over in the aquari -um, and excess organic water pollution isavoided. However, you should feed serashrimps natural or sera crabs natural atleast once weekly also in a community tankas to fulfill the special requirements of thecrustaceans.

    Provide some variety

    You can occasionally feed scalded veg-etable bits (e.g. peas, zucchini, carrots) andleaves (e.g. oak, beech, walnut, Indianalmond) for adding some more variety tothe diet. In case of vegetables you must byall means make sure that they originatefrom unpolluted cultivation, as shrimps andcrayfish are extremely sensitive to pesti-cides. sera marin gourmet nori natural,easily digestible Nori algae also is anexcellent additional food when attached toa food clamp that makes it sink.

  • 28

    ReproductionIf you wish to breed shrimps you shouldalready take it into account when choosingthe shrimps. Some shrimps, such as theAmano shrimp, require saltwater for theirlarvae (primitive type), and therefore arerather unsuitable for breeding. Shrimps that can easily be bred in an aquariuminclude, e.g., Crystal Red Bee shrimps(Caridina cf. cantonensis), Red Cherryshrimps (Neocaridina heteropoda var.Red) and Tiger shrimps (Caridina cf. canto -nensis var. Tiger). The particularly easy-to-breed crayfish species include Florida lob-sters (Procambarus alleni), Mexican Orangedwarf crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensisvar. Orange) and Asian Tiger lobsters(Cherax sp. var. Tiger).Please consider the following advice forsuccessfully breeding shrimps or crayfish:Do not keep too many animals in too smalltanks. Always feed a high quality diet.Ensure proper water quality with a suffi-ciently high oxygen level, and carry outweekly water changes. Your animals willreward you with plenty of offspring.

    Especially the juvenilesrequire numerous suitableshelters as to prevent canni-balism. Please be aware that unde-sired cross-breeding among shrimpspecies may occur due to their sometimesclose relationships. Bee, Tiger andBumblebee shrimps should not bekept together as to prevent this fromhappening.

    Red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. Red)

    Tiger shrimp (Caridina cf. cantonensis var. Tiger)

    Mexican Orange dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis var. Orange)

    Crystal Red Bee shrimp(Caridina cf. cantonensis)

    Asian Tiger lobster (Cherax sp. var. Tiger)


    Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

  • 29


    Treatments or care products and crustaceans?Shrimps and crayfish are not yet as wellresearched as fish. Therefore, only little isknown about diseases and their treatment.Infections by viruses, fungi (e.g. fungal shell disease of crayfish) and microsporidiacan currently usually not be treated effec-tively. Therefore you should always main -tain best possible care conditions for theanimals. Animals that are fed a wholesomediet and live as stress free as possible in anenvironment according to their require-ments are considerably less sensitive todiseases. Furthermore, using sera black-water aquatan helps preventing diseasesor, in case of small injuries, accelerateswound healing. Always make sure the ani-mals are healthy when purchasing newones.

    Not all care products and treatments suit-able for the well-being of fish are toleratedby crayfish or shrimps. If a treatment in thecommunity tank becomes necessary, youcan safely use various products from thesera range. For example, the sera medProfessional treatments Protazol, Tremazoland Flagellol have been extensively testedon and considered safe for crustaceans.Furthermore, using sera ectopur is possi-ble without hesitation. The animals needsera fishtamin after a treatment. Thesevitamins strengthen the animals and ensurequick recovery.

    When crustaceans are present, youmust unfortunately abstain from the wellestablished reliability of sera med Pro -fessional Nematol und sera mycopur. Ifin doubt, the crustaceans should be re -

    moved from the community tank duringthe treatment and not treated along withthe fish. As an alternative, you may treatthe fish separately in a treatment tank.



  • 30

    Land hermit crabsLand hermit crabs do not live in water. Theyare interesting and easy-to-keep terrariuminhabitants. The crustaceans originate fromthe tropics and are active during dusk and night. They can best be kept in a groupof 3 5 animals, depending on the terrariumsize. The terrarium should not be smallerthan 50 x 30 x 30 cm (20 x 12 x 12 in.) at theminimum.

    Common terrarium ground, such as pinebark blended with sand, is suitable as abottom material. Land hermit crabs like toclimb. Therefore be sure to attach cocomats to the terrarium walls. In nature, landhermit crabs mainly live in lagoons and fre-quently take up salt and fresh water.Therefore, the crabs should have access toboth kinds of water. It is easy to prepare thesaltwater with sera marin basic salt richin natural calcium and trace elements inthe required amounts.

    Land hermit crabs are omnivores. The crabfood sera crabs natural is of course alsoideally suited for these terrestric animals.You can choose from different kinds of fruitand vegetable as well as salad or herbs(e.g. dandelion, dead-nettle or ribwort plan-tain) from unpolluted cultivation as an addi-tion to the diet. sera marin gourmet norias a treat provides the crabs with iodinethat is important for exuviation. These easi-ly digestible algae also contain plenty ofvitamins, highly unsaturated fatty acids andother important trace elements.

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    The animals enjoy an occasional piece of fishor meat. However, be sure to remove uneat-en food from the terrarium soon, as it wouldquickly start to rot. A bowl with sera crabsnatural can remain in the terrarium for alonger time as a depot.

    A specialty of land hermit crabs, to whichtheir name refers, is that they use an empty

    snail shell to live in. As this shellcannot grow, the crab switches shellsin regular intervals.Therefore, the crabsalways should have a

    selection of snail shells

    to chose from. You can purchase them asdecoration items, or you may find an emptyshell of a Burgundy snail.

    During exuviation, land hermit crabs leavetheir shell. During this time they urgentlyrequire shelters and a moist bottom groundinto which they can dig. As the animals orig-inate from the tropics they require a temper-ature of 25 30C (77 86F) and an atmos-pheric humidity of 60 80%. Depending onthe terrarium size, a normal light bulb anddaily spraying with water is sufficient.

    This guide gives you a first view into thefascinating care for crayfish and shrimps.Among others, you can find further informa-tion about the exciting shrimps and crayfishtopic in the book Garnelen & Krebse,issued by Christian W. Hofsttter. Theauthor, a biologist, knows the natural envi-ronments of the crustaceans and runs abreeding station in Venezuela.

    Kosmos Verlag121 pagesISBN 978-3-440-10471-2(available only inGerman language)

    You will find further advice on keepingshrimps and crayfish on the web sites ofthe author:www.garnelenzucht.de andwww.shrimp-pictures.com

    If you require special information, e.g. concerning keeping conditions of specificspecies, please contact your specializedretailer or breeder.

    We will inform you in detail about aquariumsetup and aquarium care in the seraguides How to set up an aquarium andAquarium care according to nature. Theguides are available from the specializedtrade or on the Internet on www.sera.de.

  • www.sera.de [email protected] natural aquariums



    GmbH D 52518 Heinsberg Germany

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