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How to pick and selectively breed Crystal Shrimp.

Incorporating your own sense of beauty to create your own line of shrimp.

Some questions we will cover below:

  1. What is the most suitable environment for Crystal Shrimp?
  2. How to create a suitable environment for Crystal Shrimp?
  3. How to cycle a tank ?
  4. How to maintain a proper environment of a shrimp tank?
  5. How to raise Crystal Shrimp ?
  6. How to select the best Crystal Shrimp ?
  7. What does F1 F2 F3 F4… mean ?
  8. What is a Pure Line ? ( Pure Red Line, Pure Black Line )

What are the best conditions to keep Crystal Shrimp?

Crystal Shrimp is a type of pet that is very demanding of the water parameters. They are very sensitive to the different toxins that are present in the water, such as Ammonia, heavy metals, or other trace chemicals.

Below is the best suitable parameters per MK-BREED
PH : 6-6.5
GH : 2-4
KH : 1-2
Temp 73 ~ 78F

Best temperature for breeding 77F.  High temperatures will reduce the lifespan of the shrimps, lower temperatures increases the amount of dissolved oxygen, and higher temperature reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen.  Although keeping shrimps in lower temperature helps prolong their life, it’ll decrease their appetite and breeding rate.  The 3 most important parameters are PH, GH, and KH.  These 3 are the main deciding factors in establishing optimal parameters for the shrimps.  Maintaining stable parameters is one of the most important aspects in keeping shrimp.

How to setup a tank that’s suitable for Crystal Shrimp?

There are many ways to raise Crystal Shrimp, from the original wild bee shrimp that started in Japan and Europe, keeping of Crystal Shrimps has evolved over the past 10~12 years. Although there’s been many evolutions of methods, it always involves the 2 main factors, clear water, and suitable substrate.

Here is how MK-BREED keeps Crystal Shrimp:
Equipment :
  1. Tank: 40 Gallons or 20 Gallons
  2. Filtration: 2 canister filter Medium size, common type are Eheim.
  3. Media: Ceramic Ball / Bio Ball that comes with the canister filter
  4. Lighting: HQI or LED
  5. RO Filter

Products used while setting up:

  1. Substrate, 40g tanks use 2 bags of 9L, 20g tanks use 1 & 1/3 bag of 9l substrate.
  2. 35 grams of MK-BREED Z-Silver Powder ( nitrifying bacteria blend )
  3. 10 grams of MK-BREED Gold Powder ( micro organism powder)
  4. 10 pieces of MK-BREED LIFE BALL
  6. Moss or other aquatic plants

How to setup a tank that’s suitable for Crystal Shrimp?

We mentioned before the ideal parameters for the shrimps are PH: 6-6.5, GH 2~4, KH 1~2, Temp 73~78. After layering down the substrate and nitrifying bacteria, we fill the tank with pure RO water, adjust the water to the desired parameters, and enter the tank cycling stage.



What does cycling the tank mean ? Cycling is the waiting period for a tank to establish a nitrifying cycle. A nitrifying cycle establishes the good bacteria that breaks down ammonia and other harmful toxins in the tank.  A tank with stable parameter and established nitrifying cycle is the same as us living in a comfortable environment. Sun light, air, water and land is what we need to survive, and the same goes for shrimps.  If the water parameters are not stable, or nitrifying cycle is not established, it will be difficult for the shrimps to survive in a hostile environment.

How to maintain proper parameter of the tank?

In order to keep the water parameters stable, the most important aspect is routine water changes and maintenance.  MK-BREED changes 1/4th of the water once a week with RO water that has it’s GH adjusted with MK-BREED BLUE DIAMOND.  During water change, MK-BREED BLOOD DIAMOND is added to strengthen the microorganism and promote biofilm.  After completing the maintenance, check to see if the shrimp are active and feeding normally. Also check to see if the moss or aquatic plants are growing normally, this can be another way to check the parameters inside the tank.

How to raise Crystal Shrimp?

Life cycle of Crystal Shrimp can be broken down into 3 stages.

Baby stage: In this stage, the shrimp are about 0.1~0.8cm, right after the babies are born, they do not show much color, only slight white. The red parts slowly changes from clear to orange, and finally to red. The first 1~3 weeks after birth when the shrimp molts the most, averaging 4~7 times per week.  During the stage where they are 0.1~0.5 cm, they are unable to consume manufactured food. They get their nutrients from the biofilm and microorganisms in the tank. When they are 0.6cm, they will start consuming manufactured food. This is their weakest stage, and survival rates will be low if the tank does not have a healthy established cycle, plenty of biofilm, and proper GH to promote healthy molting.

Juvi Stage ( young adult ): At the stage, the shrimp are about 0.8~1.5 cm. This is when Crystal Shrimp feed vigorously and must take in large amounts of nutrients. If they are unable to take in adequate nutrients, they might end up smaller in size, have shells that are not thick enough or discolored, and can even lead to underdeveloped ovaries and cause infertility of the females.  It is important to feed the juvies sufficiently with high protein and amino acids to promote healthy growth and provide proper micro nutrients and proper GH to promote healthy molting.

Adult: Adult shrimp are 1.6cm and up, as the shrimp enter the adult stage, they are also entering the breeding age. At this stage, males and females will start to have a different appearance. Females will start to have a rounder body, preparing themselves to hold eggs. Males will start to have a longer and more streamlined shape, to reduce drag while chasing after females when mating.  Females will start to develop a saddle, when they are fully mature, a unique scent is released to attract males. The scent released is especially strong when the female molts after having a fully developed saddle, this will cause male shrimp to swim around rapidly in search of the female, also known as the “ mating dance “ During this stage, female shrimp require plenty of nutrients, minerals, and amino acids to promote healthy development and growth of the saddle, male shrimps also require plenty of nutrients to have enough energy to chase after the female during mating. The more well developed the saddle is, the more eggs it'll hold. This is also the last chance the shrimp have to increase their redness. A balanced diet will increase the likelihood that the best genes are passed onto the next generation.

Optimal male to female ratio of a breeding tank 

MK-BREED suggesting keeping a ratio of 1 male for every 3~5 females, the reason for the ratio is because:

  1. Prevents female death from being exhausted because of being chased by multiple males.
  2. MK-BREED believes that under the genetics principal of Crystal Shrimps, the thickness of the shell and size of body comes from the males, also size is passed on by males, so MK-BREED pays special attention in selecting quality males for breeding.

In larger scale breeding, the ratio is 10 males to 50 females, or 8 males to 30 females. 

9 traits that MK-BREED looks for while selecting shrimp.

  1. Thickness of the body shell
  2. Redness of the legs, solid red legs tip to tip
  3. Redness of head and red pattern
  4. Tightness of abdomen shell, no space between segments
  5. Pattern of the spots, large perfect circle shape
  6. Overall size of the shrimp
  7. Shape of the tail
  8. Color of the swimmers
  9. Color of the lips


 F1 F2 F3 F4 ……?

F1, F2, F3, F4, is a name we give to the offspring of shrimp that are born from parents of different blood lines. For example, the offspring from A and B will be called F1 ( unstable gene ). The offspring of F1 male mixed with A or B female is called F2 ( slightly stable gene ) F2 male mixed with F1 female or F2 female will be called F3 ( more stable gene ). F3 male mixed with F2 or F3 female will be called F4 ( stable gene ). 

Why is F4 the most stable?

The basic of genetic algorithms was first proposed by Professor Holland of the Michigan University in 1975,  It is based on the principle of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. So if genetic traits carried are what you desire, the characteristics shown on the organism is also optimal.

Using the genetic algorithm for selective breeding:

1:  Keeping the most desirable traits from the parents and passing it onto the offspring, not losing the traits in the offspring.

2. Mating: All genes are randomly selected between two of the most elite male and female generations and part of the genetic info is exchanged. With the accumulation of the desired genetic information, we hope to achieve superior offspring.

3. Mutation: All genes randomly selected from one elite female generation, randomly selected point mutation, by changing the value of this elite female generation mutation point, we look forward to a better mutation of a new offspring .

Upon completion of the above three methods, the desirable genes retained participate evolution produce new offspring of the next batch, and the remaining poor genes were eliminated, this method is called "Eugenics Strategy", which can guarantee the offspring will be better than the previous generation.  

Using this method, MK-BREED was able to pass on 57% of the most desirable shell pattern traits in the F4 generation.

What are PRL, PBL?

PRL : Pure red lineage

PBL : Pure black lineage

There’s 2 types of  "Pure Line Shrimp".  1st type is shrimp that are not mixed with any different types, does not produce any golden bee or colors that are different than the parents. 2nd type is shrimp that are not mixed with any different types, offspring produced are exactly the same as parents.  However, after many years of breeding and discussion, it is concluded among all the breeders around the world that type 2 is difficult to verify and therefore is not a true pure line.

The real fun in shrimp keeping starts when you start breeding the traits you love. MK-BREED’s suggestion for everyone, is learn how to successfully raise shrimp from baby to adults, followed by successful breeding and and finally selectively breeding the desirable traits.


Youtube video available thanks to SCAPE club




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