This article was written by ShrimpBay, but applies to all shrimp importers/sellers in all countries.
Here at ShrimpBay we take every step to provide healthy disease free shrimp. Due to the new massive demand for shrimp, new businesses are popping up left right and centre. It is now all to common for new businesses to import cheap low quality shrimp from outside of Europe to sell at a reduced price. However as we have found, this has led to mass die offs and possible introduction of bacterial infection and disease into the UK shrimp scene. This is why it is so important that businesses only use quality and recognised shrimp suppliers. Even following these steps quarantine is absolutely essential!
When a shrimp is imported many factors will impact on the health of the shrimp. Unfortunately if a shrimp is 'damaged' its fate is generally sealed and will most definitely die within 30 days. To begin I will start with the basics. When a shrimp is imported from either Europe or even further afield it will have already gone through the stress of being taken from its original habitat (well an aquarium its already used to) and put in a bag usually with another two - three hundred other shrimp. These are then packaged with multiple other bags with anything up to 2000 shrimp per box. These shrimp will usually be in transit for 3-5 days. Businesses will usually expect a D.O.A (dead on arrival) rate of around twenty percent. When the shrimps arrive they are extremely stressed and the business owner will commonly experience deaths for the next couple of days. The reason businesses experience this is because of the sheer volume of shrimp they import.
At this point a experienced businesses will put the shrimp into quarantine for a week minimum and even more if imported from outside the EU. This is because the shrimp are already stressed and any shrimp sent out at this point will not survive further stress (although they may arrive looking healthy, it is very much the opposite). These shrimp will usually die over the next few days.
On top of this introducing a shrimp to multiple new water parameters in a short period of time will also cause fatalities. The 'lucky' few who may survive can experience issues such as infertility, infection and disease.
One big thing I have 'seen' (not literally) lately is the invisible killer; Infection and disease. Shrimp which are stressed and kept in poor conditions will commonly contract bacterial infections which can be passed onto their tank mates. This is often the reason someone with perfect water parameters will see one or two of their shrimp die off each day. Bacterial infections can even wipe out an entire population in less than 24 hours in extreme cases! A bacterial infection cannot be detected so most businesses will blame it on the customer’s water parameters. However these businesses will be experiencing the same issues and will commonly lower prices of the worse effected shrimp. This will allow for a high turnover for the seller with their customers experiencing the deaths while they experience the profits!
Disease is one of the most dangerous aspects from a seller importing. This related to the recent outbreak of EMS (Early Mortality Rate). This recently wiped out millions of shrimp from around the globe and unfortunately once a shrimp has been infected, the shrimp and their tank mate’s fates are sealed. Shrimp farms in Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, China etc have been severely affected by EMS and some seem to be taking drastic measures to sell on their shrimp to a business looking for a bargain price. The disease affects all shrimp from Cherry shrimp to Taiwan bees and from young to adults. Unfortunately businesses are taking advantage of the 'bargain' prices offered by desperate oversees exporters and raking in huge profits while 'exterminating' entire populations of shrimp in customers aquariums.
However please do not be put of keeping your own shrimp. If businesses follow simple guidelines we can all work together to increase the popularity of shrimp keeping in the UK. The difference we find between poor quality shrimp businesses and those at the top are, and always will be.. The hobby! Shrimp keeping is first and foremost a hobby, most sellers enjoy keeping their shrimp as much as the pride they get from being able to supply other people in the UK with these beautiful creatures. Information on quality shrimp sellers is all over the internet. The key is to do your research, find someone who has bought from that person and ask them about their experience. Remember paying slightly more for a healthy shrimp is still better than paying less for a dead one. HAPPY SHRIMPING!