I have 3 ghost shrimp that are doing great in my tank. Stefon is a wimp and does not bother them at all. As long as you have some plants (live or fake) for them to climb on as well as some places for them to hide, they are happy! IMO, they are the cutest things EVER!
BTW, Petsmart carries them for 33 cents each!
I would wait at least a month before putting them into a tank. That way there will be more than enough waste buildup for them to feast on! Mine eat anything, but they prefer sinking shrimp pellets. :P
Amanos aren't hard to care for at all. I have yet to feed them as they seem to survive on fish waste and gunk buildup on ornaments and plants. Definitely not hard to care for. If you really wanted to go all out I suppose algae wafers would work, but I hardly see that as necessary.
They can be hard to find... My recommendation would be to go to your Local Fish Store and ask if they can special order them for you. That's what our store does when people want things that aren't available... Worth a try.
My betta kept trying to eat one of my female amano's eyes (because they look like pellets and bettas have an uncanny ability to stalk prey) until she became blind, constantly swimming around in panicked circles whenever anything brushed one of her antennas. I put her in my 29 gal and she's doing fine with her shrimpmates, she's probably still blind but you can't really notice a difference with the antennules that sprout over time or whatever.
That said, Amanos are great - they actually eat fish flakes once they learn to sense it. My amanos always compete with the other community fish for food, swimming upside down to the top of the tank to grab a flake before settling to the bottom to use their tiny feelers to shift and scrape tiny bits of food into their mouth. They do eat plants though, so you'll need to up your feeding schedule accordingly, or have enough/fast growing plants to regrow the eaten ones.
Also, if you prefer handling fish by hand like I do, you'll definitely want a net for these guys because of their telson reflex. It's okay if you don't know what this means, because I think it's more fun for everyone to learn the hard way. And they actually swim a lot, like fish with legs! I should've gotten a malacostraca tank instead of a fish tank, as they're so much more entertaining, and a lot less demanding.
Got to be honest, I saw some at my LFS the other day and they looked like aquatic spiders. Not my thing but great for anyone who wants one. Is the telson response similar to the so-called "tail flip escape," the telson being the fan tail of crustaceans?
Yup, it makes them impossible to catch! If you buy them (you should!! they actually are aquatic spiders in a very broad sense, so you know you're getting the real thing) make sure they're not the same as 'cleaner shrimp' (usually cheaper but afaik they're the same species, unless the store uses that name for ghost shrimp) and check the bag for moulting when you get home. I got a set of 3 a while ago and wasn't careful with a lil dude who moulted in transit, and he died shortly after, I guess those shrimp undergoing a moult tend to be easier to catch I guess.
Amano shrimp have an interesting way to spawn too; the females are usually pregnant too, at least at my LFS, constantly fanning their brood of eggs attached on undersides. These eggs will be released and hatch into tiny free-swimming larvae that you can barely make out with the naked eye if the female is stressed (i.e. having her eyes eaten out), but apparently won't make it to adult stage unless they're in brackish conditions. A convincing hypothesis I've read is that the reason for this is that the eggs are released in ocean-going streams/rivers, where they then flow to salt water where the larvae hatch. I'd really love to breed one of these guys some day, but oh well, at least my betta had a field day hunting all the eggs/larvae down.
Oh and the best part of amanos - according to a breeder, the transition between larva and adult shrimp is when they start swimming forward instead of backward!! That's the most adorable thing I've heard in my life.
Maybe it was because the amanos and ghost shrimp are clear/whitish. I don't know. One of them was moving around in the front of the tank at the LFS, belly to the glass and there was something about those legs wiggling that just did me in. o.O
I'd love to get to breed them! I doubt I can carve out enough free time out of my schedule, but we'll see.
All shrimp are bug-like - phylogenetically speaking, crustaceans are sister groups to hexapodans (insects) after all. Amano shrimp are just way bigger, so those weird undersea bug features stick out a lot more.
They feel weightless when they crawl on your finger, it takes a little bit of time to get used to the weirdness of the feeling. I'm still startled every time they pull their telson reflex on me though, when they're out of the water you hear a loud CRACK as they flop around while you scramble to rescue them, I swear they're breaking the sound barrier with their tails every time they do that.
I'll have to hang around my pet shop until someone buys one and the employee goes to get it out of the tank. That telson reflex does sound crazy, like they're backfiring or something. Do they have to be horizontal (normal) to pull that or can they pull it when they're upside down or at any other angle? Like, could they use it to propel themselves out of a net as you try to catch them?