Shrimp-Why the delays, lady?? Quarantine procedure and treatment protocol
It has been a wonderful evolution within the Shrimp hobby, watching it grow by leaps and bounds and having many exporters offering tons of species for sale. Shrimp only became readily available in the hobby about 10 years ago, and with this rapid growth in overseas farming have come a few issues. Often the shrimp are a bit crowded, with higher organics, which result in a few health issues. I have seen more and more people preaching to buy only home grown shrimp, and you will notice that my stock list now specifies imported versus home bred. While it is true there are not any/known diseases transferrable from Shrimp to our fish, there are several diseases that have been becoming more prevalent that are shrimp specific. Because of these complications, ALL of my imported shrimp now go through an extended quarantine period. I am looking for things like white brushy appendages on the Shrimp’ rostrum (nose), Black or red spots on their carapace, molting issues because of ammonia burn (harder to see on a shrimp), and a green branchy growth infiltrating the pleopods. It is the responsibility of the seller to make sure these problems are noticed, addressed, and treated BEFORE selling their shrimp. Please, ask your retailers how long they have had their shrimp, and if they have seen any of these problems, as they are easy to miss and are contagious to other shrimp.
As expected, seeing these issues on a creature that is often .5″ or less upon importation can be difficult for even those of us with great eyesight. My strategy to make sure the shrimp are healthy is multi-faceted. They go into large tanks (generally 30g minimum, with 55g or 75g being a common size). This increased volume helps reduce the build up of organics, as well as makes it easier to do regular water changes without fluctuations of parameters that shrimp are so susceptible to. The larger volume also means that any trace levels of ammonia that may develop in a smaller tank do not occur, making the acclimation and adjustment period less stressful. I photograph many specimens from each tank daily, blowing up the photos to look for minor infestations or any abnormalities in the carapace. Tanks have almond leaves and alder cones, both of which release natural conditioners that aid in molting and provide surfaces for the shrimp to graze on.
If a tank has a shrimp with any noticeable infestation (most often it is Scutellaria japonica, a parasite that is brushy and white in appearance most often found on the rostrum, I will treat with Paraguard or Praziquantel then do a series of water changes. At this time, the quarantine period resets from the beginning. Only after their health has been established will I release them for sale. I hope that this attention to their health is appreciated, as I am trying my best to ensure healthy, viable, specimens for optimal success in your tanks! The new species should be available soon, definitely in time for the Aquatic Gardener’s Convention in DC this Spring, where I will also be vending.