How Many Shrimp Can I Add? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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How Many Shrimp Can I Add?

I have a 6 gallon that is, I hope, almost done cycling. When it's done I'd like to add a betta and a few cherry shrimp. I know the betta might eat the shrimp and I'm willing to risk it. I'm more worried about overstocking the tank. How many cherries can I stock with the betta? The tank dimensions are 10x10x16 high, if that helps. There is a large piece of drift wood, and hopefully, plenty of plants once they grow in.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 04:52 PM
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For a 6 g I'd do 3-4 cherry shrimp and give them as many hiding places as possible

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 05:20 PM
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It's really hard to overstock with shrimp, people keep 10+ per gallon. I'd add just a couple first though, to see if your betta is a shrimp killer. It's also a good idea to wait a while before adding them to get some good biofilm growth for them to graze on.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 07:11 PM
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They have a very low bioload. I have 4 in my 5gal, and could easily keep more, but I am happy with my 4. Just be sure to have lots of hiding spots and live plants are great for them.

They may hide a lot at first, but now mine are always out and about. My fish doesnt care about them, never even pays them attention, so the shrimp arent scared of going right by him, so they never really hide anymore. They are fun to watch though.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 04:43 PM
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As mentioned above, cherries have a tiny bioload. They are also prolific breeders and very good at hiding, given the right environment. I started with 6 (and a berried (pregnant) female and a bunch of juvies) in my 5 gal npt with my last boy; within 6 months I had about 20, then Alpha became blind and that population rose to too many to count (I could see more than 15 at any given time and more appeared during tank maintenance time). When I introduced Kappa, the number shrank significantly as his belly swole significantly. So how many you start with is up to you, how many you'll end up with is up to the betta and the shrimp.

If you want breeding (and keep in mind that your boy will see young cherries as a delicious snack, so each clutch will shrink a LOT from what you would expect to see in a predator-free environment) I would recommend getting 6-8 as the chances of getting males and females is greater. I special ordered mine at my LFS and the bag came with 6 adults, one of the females was berried, and about 10 juvies that were so tiny I doubt the shipper noticed when filling the bag (I only noticed them once I got them home!).
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 05:45 PM
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I am against dwarf shrimp like RCS in with Bettas; too stressful for the shrimp. But I do understand their appeal. Their bioload is so small that you can have 10 shrimp per gallon and the more you have the better for the shrimp.

I agree with Kittenfish about waiting. I suggest waiting at least a couple of months beyond cycling to add them. This gives the tank time to stabilize and develop the micronutrients/biofilm on which RCS feed. They are not "cleaner" shrimp but have very specific feeding needs.

PS: I had shrimp in with Bettas forever and have noted a tremendous change in behavior and fewer deaths once the Betta was removed from the equation.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 07:54 PM
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The actual max I think you could easily have in a tank that size with a betta would be up to your filter more than your tank, but assuming you are adequately filtered, you could probably do okay with 20 to 30 shrimp if you had enough hiding places for them all.

If you want to be serious about shrimp, I would recommend looking up how to make a java moss wall, and make one for three walls of your tank, leaving only the front for viewing, and continue the moss onto a piece of driftwood that crosses the tank and is set low enough that the betta cannot get underneath it. Then plant the remaining area (if there is enough left) with stem plants in the back and hairgrass in the front. With this setup your shrimp are likely to outbreed predation even if you have an unusually shrimp-hungry betta. You will also have extremely stable water parameters if you keep all your greenery healthy.
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