Tips for buying shrimp.
So your new aquarium is planted, cycled and ready for the excitement of adding shrimp. A lot of people aren’t sure where to buy them from or how to have the best chance of healthy shrimp. I’ve seen a lot of people complain their shrimp died before they arrived or after a few days.
I’m adding new shrimp this week – so I thought it would make a useful topic to write about, today it’s about buying shrimp, next time it will be about acclimatisation and putting them in your tank.
Some of the things I do / have done and what to look out for.
First up – where to buy them from.
First batch – from a local aquatic shop (who got them via a breeder):
My first ever batch of shrimp (a few tiger and cherry shrimp) I ordered from a trusted aquatic shop attached to a garden centre. If you are buying them from a shop, some things you should consider:
- What is the health status of the fish/shrimp/plants in the shop. I’ve been into places like my local Pets At Home and seen some very sorry sights – half dead animals or high incidence of disease (or staff who don’t seem to be knowledgeable).
- Do you know what a healthy shrimp should look like? Watch some YouTube videos to get an idea of normal behaviours.
- Do you know what the type of shrimp is – are you being sold what you think you are (as some shrimp need different water parameters or are for more experienced keepers).
- Don’t get mixed up with names e.g. a Red Fire shrimp with a Fire Red Shrimp – one is saltwater the other is freshwater!
- Shrimp colour – some places actually feed shrimp food which changes their body colour – so without the colouring, your blue shrimp might actually be clear after a few days and never go blue again – and you will have been conned.
- How knowledgable about shrimp are staff?
The first aquatic shop I tried (attached also to a garden centre) had tanks of dead fish and when I asked staff if they were getting any shrimp in, the response was ‘no they don’t breed at this time of year’. I had read that shrimps will breed all the time given the right habitat – they don’t just mate a few months in the year. This is a Neocaridina shrimp we are talking about not a panda.
The next shop was the one I normally bought my fish from. The stock was healthy and the staff very knowledgeable. I asked which shrimp they could get in and learnt about Cherry types and colours and Tiger shrimps – so went for a few of those. As soon as they came in, the shop called and I went to pick up my new tank mates for the fish (at the time my shrimp lived with my fish). They looked healthy and just like I’d seen on the internet (bagged and taken care of nicely – and I saw the tanks they had kept them in at the shop).
So I was very pleased and they moved into the fish tank and produced lots of babies and were very happy.
Second batch onwards – I had them posted from a shop I found on the internet.
When I decided to start a planted tank just for shrimp – I wanted more choice, so I searched the internet and found two shops – both who specialised in shrimps.
I would never buy shrimp from a random eBay seller or person on a forum – there are sellers out there who breed shrimp properly and ship them with the greatest of care – but unless I knew them well, I personally would only trust a specialist shop.
Things to consider when using an internet shop:
- Wider choice of shrimp and products
- Usually very knowledgeable and can help you with your choice
- Usually well packaged
- Expect to pay around £10 postage and choose a delivery date (if you are like me, you will be excitedly waiting for the postman anyway and not likely to be out!!)
- A good shop will provide heat packs during the winter – although I have had a package of shrimp survive being left outside the door on a frosty day with a failed heat pack – they were icy cold.
- Good packaging is double bagged with a small amount of moss or something for the shrimp to cling to is often added – and the bags may be padded with polystyrene or similar to protect from banging around.
- Double check whether all shrimp will be put in one bag – you might not want them interbreeding if they are to live in tanks just for their own type – and you never know what might happen during their transit!!
- Don’t be afraid to buy through the post from a reputable place.
- Accidents happen – maybe the parcel was kept next to something cold, maybe a heat pack failed, maybe the shrimp got too hot or were handled badly in the post? Sometimes accidents happen that is out of the control of the seller.
- A good dealer will have a policy on what to do to get a refund if your shrimp arrive dead (usually take a video or photo of the packaging intact clearly showing shrimp that are dead – so they can determine if they really did arrive dead or died because of how you opened the bag for example)
- You usually have to tell the store within so many hours of them arriving or within the first day – so read the details and don’t just dive in, open the bags and realise you can’t claim if you see any dead.
- Order shrimp in smaller quantities – if you spend hundreds of pounds for one shipment – and that shipment goes wrong or there is a problem you can’t prove was the postal service, you could lose a lot of money.
Personally, I buy from Sharnbrook Shrimp most of the time, I’ve never had any dead shrimp on arrival and the quality of shrimp has been excellent. I’ve used a few other places for things they haven’t stocked and never had any dead shrimp or nerites arrive or problems with my on-line orders.