|Scientific Name||Neocaridina sp|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 Gallons|
|Water Parameters||62-82° F, KH 0-10, pH 6.6-8.0|
The BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is a mid sized ornamental shrimp kept in freshwater aquariums. They are live bearing shrimp that release young adults rather than larva, making them slower to breed. Their mid ranged cost makes them a bit less common however their coloration should be more than enough to justify their price over ghost or grass shrimp.
BlackBerry Bee Shrimp are easy to keep and will live in large groups with ease. The way they flock over pieces of food when fed is what gives them their name of Bee Shrimp. Bee shrimp do well when kept in both colonies of shrimp only or in a normal aquarium with other fish. As long as their tankmates do not try to make a meal out of them, the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is a great community tank member who will do an excellent job at keeping the tank clean.
When keeping shrimp it is important to know their short lifetimes. The BlackBerry Bee Shrimp will only live for around a year. During this time it is easy to get a second generation going even without specifically trying to breed them. As their young are released fully formed rather than larva they are far less subject to predation than most shrimp. This can create more shrimp than you want.
Things To Look Out For
Copper is a common shrimp killer. The BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is easy to kill when using water containing high levels of copper. They are not as quick to die as smaller shrimp like the Red Panda Shrimp but will not last long even with usually acceptable levels of copper. Testing for copper is highly recommended, especially with how hard this shrimp can be to obtain. This copper testing kit is extremely easy to use and comes with 90 tests, letting you keep your copper under control for years.
The test is very easy to use. Get the strip wet with the aquariums water and see if it changes color. If the strip remains mostly white then the tank is safe for shrimp. If the strip starts to turn any amount of peach you should reduce the copper levels before adding any shrimp to the tank.
Check your homes plumbingbefore starting the aquarium. If they are made of copper then you have a few options to try. By using cold water it is possible to leech a significantly lower amount of copper into the water. Doing this may be enough to remove the copper from your tanks entierly. Just be sure to let the cold water run for awhile to ensure the pipes have been cooled.
Another option is to add activated carbon to the tank and allow it to neutralize the copper over time. This is less ideal as the carbon will wear out and not be able to keep up with water changes. You can pre treat your water with activated carbon before performing a water change, but this is more work than getting water from a different source is.
As the tanks we keep shrimp in are typically under 20 gallons it is not too difficult to get monthly water changing water from other sources. Neighbors would be the best bet as you could get a decent amount of water and only have to carry it a short distance. Relatives who live in the same city can also help, however you would have to transport the water before bringing it into the house. Pet stores also sell water but this should be a last resort.
Nitrites are toxic to most aquatic creatures. Shrimp are more sensitive to them than fish are. To remove nitrites from the aquarium you will need to have an established colony of beneficial bacteria. This is done by keeping the aquarium up and running with a small amount of waste in it. People will often pick a very hardy fish to help them do this, one who can survive the lack of bacteria as the bacteria develops. Frequent water changes will also keep the nitrite levels down.
Strong sources of suction should also be avoided. Canister filters, powerheads and even some strong power filters can suck in these shrimp if they wander too near by. Even if the shrimp cannot fit into the filter they can be stuck against it and suffocate.
Warmer tanks will need more oxygen added to them. Cooler aquariums will dissolve water much more effectively than warm water, allowing them to get more oxygen when give them same amount of surface agitation as warm water tanks. Keep the aquarium at or below 75 degrees for an easier time.
BlackBerry Bee Shrimp Habitat
The BlackBerry Bee Shrimp makes its home in Thailand, living in highly planted areas with a lot of sunlight. This creates both bright areas and very dark areas underneath rocks and plants. This is the type of habitat we should create to keep the shrimp happy and colorful.
The more comfortable the shrimp is the more colorful they will be. This is due to them either hiding while in danger or showing strong colors to mate when they feel safe.
The main focus of invert tanks should be creating large amounts of surface area. This gives them more space to walk and increases the space algae and bacteria can grow.
Long flowing plants are excellent choices when keeping the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp. Large masses of greens create a difficult to swim in area that shrimp love to use as a hideaway. Short plants like moss balls will do fine in the same tank as the shrimp but do not offer much benefit other than aesthetics.
As the lighting in both our homes and our aquariums will not be as bright as the sun you should not worry about being unable to see the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp. When they hide in the wild they can be difficult to spot but even in our planted tanks we can easily see them through our softer lights. Do not reduce their hiding spaces to keep them in the open.
Inverts do best when placed in a long breeder tank. This gives them a lot more space to crawl around on the substrate and find fallen food or waste. It also reduces the amount of water higher in the tank that the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp will not be using.
When selecting live rocks choose long, thin, flat rocks. These will be sold cheaper as rocks are sold by pound, will take up less water volume and will create more space in the tank. A round rock will offer very little benefit while occupying the space that could be used for multiple thin rocks.
A simple way to think of it is you want volume for water and surface area for everything else.
Driftwood is a good choice for homes with a high pH source of water. As wood sits in the tank it releases tannins into the water, softening it and turning the water a slightly brown color. Think of the wood like a teabag. If you do not like the browning of your aquarium you can perform water changes to keep the color change minimal.
Avoid excessive cleaning in any aquarium. Removing and cleaning live rocks is a common way people slowly kill their tanks. Rocks and decorations will grow to house beneficial bacteria that is essential for turning fish and invert waste into less toxic materials.
Inverts are very easy to kill when kept with dangerous equipment. Do not keep them with any powerheads or canister filters, as these will suck in and kill the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp. Even if they learn to avoid the places they or their offspring will eventually wander too close.
Instead use softer means of filtration like under gravel filters and sponge filters. These will pull the debris into a single place, making it easy to either remove the sponge filtration medium or vacuum the gravel that is above the gravel filter.
Both under gravel filters and sponge filters will create areas that the shrimp can feed at. Place these filters near the front of the tank as we can expect them to spend a lot of time around the filters. No sense in hiding both the filters and the ornamental shrimp.
As we use weaker methods of filtration that will not agitate the waters surface an air stone will likely need to be used. Try to buy a large amount of airline tubing and have a distant location for the air pump, as an air pump will be much louder than any other piece of equipment. Mine is around the corner inside two boxes. This creates a lot of curves the sound has to escape from, making it nearly inaudible in a quiet room and silent if anything is on.
While shrimp do not bury themselves or make caves they do eat off of the substrate. Sand is difficult for them to eat off of and can be blown all around the tank as they pick at it using their claws. Bare bottom tanks are the easiest to keep and do not take up the water volume.
Gravel is easy for shrimp to eat from and can hold down plants easily. It is the best choice for substrate in an invert focused tank. It can also be very colorful which can complement the striped bodies of the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp
Feeding BlackBerry Bee Shrimp
How you feed your shrimp depends on the aquarium they are kept in. Remember to adjust if you add anything else to the aquarium or if more shrimp start to appear.
For a shrimp only tank:
The shrimp will need to be fed 2-4 times a week. Adjust the feeding as algae grows or food is left behind. While the shrimp will come back and eat food days later, leaving food in the tank will only increase the ammonia levels and put an excessive amount of stress on your beneficial bacteria colonies.
For tanks with fish:
Shrimp should only be fed sparingly, once a week if even at all. Keep an eye on how much food the fish miss and how the shrimp are behaving. If the shrimp are breeding they have an abundance of food and do not need to be fed.
What to feed them:
BlackBerry Bee Shrimp feed on mostly algae and waste in the tank. They will eat any larval or smaller life in the tanks, meaning it will be difficult to breed other things in the tank.
Feed the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp with algae wafers, sinking pellet foods or blanched produce. Produce can be one of the better choices, especially if you often have greens that go uneaten. Feeding large quantities is easy as a single zucchini will feed the shrimp far longer than it would last in the fridge.
Feeding bottom feeders like shrimp and cory catfish will make them less likely to scavenge for food until they are very hungry. Avoid frequently feeding the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp unless it is absolutely necessary.
Again be sure to remove any uneaten food within three hours of adding it to the tank, sooner if it is something that breaks down quickly.
BlackBerry Bee Shrimp Tankmates
This shrimp is not aggressive and will not attack anything else in the tank. As seen frequently they can live in large clusters, being surrounded by their own kind without devolving into fighting amongst themselves. The only things that will be in danger around the shrimp are larva and sometimes snails or clams.
Shrimps are creatures of opportunity and will quickly eat any dying fish. If a fish is being eaten by the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp it was likely past the point of return.
Good tankmates for the Blackberry Bee Shrimp include:
- Cory Catfish
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Hatchet Fish
- Thin Tetra fish
Avoid any large or aggressive fish like Koi fish, oscars or chichlids. The BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is commonly prey for fish. Keeping them safe from predatory fish is the main concern when choosing their tankmates.
Breeding BlackBerry Bee Shrimp
The gender of the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp cannot be seen during most of its life. The only times in which you can easily spot a female is when they are carrying eggs or their young.
When the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is carrying eggs or baby shrimp their bodies will appear a yellowish orange, often called a saddle. It is easily noticeable as they swim around the tank or when they are not on the substrate.
Unless you happen to pick out a female shrimp during this time you cannot be sure you have both genders of shrimp. This is why shrimp are usually bought in large batches. It is very unlikely 6 shrimp will all be the same gender. Even if your shrimp turned out to be 5 male 1 female you could easily have a stable population carrying on for multiple generations.
To encourage breeding among the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp you should:
- Keep the water parameters stable
- Make sure food is always available
- Provide plenty of hiding places
- Do not allow any predators into the tank
Always having food available does not mean feeding daily. Simply ensure the shrimp have enough to eat by following the normal feeding suggested in the feeding section.
Unlike many fish or some inverts the BlackBerry Bee Shrimp is very easy to breed in a stable tank. Choosing a breeder tank will give them the illusion of a bigger tank and allow for a larger population. Additionally it provides more wall space that can help create hiding places for the shrimp and their young.
Avoid using the smallest tank possible if you intend on breeding the shrimp. If they do not think there is enough room the shrimp will not breed.
The easiest way to ensure a large number of shrimp is to remove any female that is carrying young shrimp, placing them into an identical tank with the same water parameters as the old tank. This is easily done by taking some of the tank water from water changes and filling up a second tank with it, along with some clean water to help keep the water clean.
Once the female has given birth in a secondary tank you can return them to the main tank. The offspring do not need any help from their parents and will behave the same as normal BlackBerry Bee Shrimp. Add them to the desired tank when you think they are not large enough to be hunted.