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First off thanks to Glenn and Aussie Tropical Fish and Shrimp FaceBook Group for allowing us to share this interview on our blog.
Glenn has been breeding ornamental shrimp for 5 years and is based on the Gold Coast of Australia. He breeds a variety of neocaridina and caridina shrimps, and is currently setting up tiger programs. He is renowned for and focuses mainly on neocaridina and produces some amazing colours such as Blue Dream and Fire Red variants. His Cherry Shrimp are highly sought after due to their pure and vibrant colours. He was also one of the four judges at the recently held 2015 Australian Shrimp Championships.
1. How long have you been in the shrimp industry for and what got you started in the industry?
I started with aquariums back in march 2003 with a pair of neon blue acaras whom my friend at a workshop convinced me to try breeding for my birthday. With shrimp I started around 2010, way before the shrimp craze in Australia happened. I saw a picture of a SSS Mosura Flower and a CRS and I was hooked for life. That was what did it for me, it was shrimp that I wanted to breed from then on. I maxed out my credit card buying shrimp when I first saw them in Australia and have been hooked ever since!
2. Can you tell us a little more about your shrimp breeding and grow out operations and how many tanks do you operate?
At the moment I have 10 tanks dedicated to caridina species and 20 tanks dedicated to neocaridina. I'm also setting up another system dedicated to tiger species and in the future would like systems for Australian natives and experimental crosses.
3. What are the main species that you are producing and selling at the moment?
I breed many variations of neocaridina davidi and caridina. My all time favourites are traditional Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) and Crystal Black Shrimp (CBS). My priorities usually change annually depending on the current Australian market. But its not what you think... I prioritise my breeding programs on what I think is taking a downturn due to quality as there are many mass breeders out there who have not considered maintaining the quality of the shrimps they have bred. I also prioritise my breeding programs on strengthening the numbers of shrimps that are lacking in popularity.
My main concentration for the past 5 years have been on the CRS, CBS and cherry shrimp varieties. While I still do all variations of Taiwan bees, my true love and passion lies in the crystals and cherry shrimps. Purely because of the challenges of creating a pure line crystal shrimp and the endless possibilities with the potential of the wonderful cherry shrimp. And then there is the odd whimsical programs when I have an idea for a cool new line or a new mutation.
4. How do you breed such beautiful, bight and pure colours in your cherry shrimp?
A very simple process of selectively breeding the best males and females with each other. A strict culling process is more important for the males than females as the females are late peakers and really only show their true colours after 6 - 8 months of age.
The process I normally follow is to cull any shrimp I find undesirable and then pick out all the males. Select the top 3 and let them remain in the tank. Water parameters are also extremely important and a high diet of natural and vegetable based foods is also essential for good colours.
5. How do you go about breeding a new colour strain of cherry shrimp?
First of all research is the most important aspect of breeding a new colour strain. Overseas breeders are normally 5 - 10 years ahead of us here in Australia so its always a good idea to see if anyone outside of Australia has done it and how.
In most circumstances for me I have had the odd mutation from a pure strain line and I then capitalise on this by line breeding them with the next best shrimp from the same line. I have done this with examples such as the blue dreams from carbon rilli and blue body red rilli. I am currently working on a green body and blue body orange rilli as well as the very challenging green cherry.
6. What are the ideal water parameters for keeping and breeding cherry shrimp?
While they have a very high range, I have found that the best water parameters are as follows
Ph 7.2 - 7.5. General Hardness (GH) 8-10. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) 150 - 250
7. What are your tips for successfully keeping and breeding cherry shrimp?
Less is more (keep the setup simple) and the more natural foods the better. Stability is also the key and water changes of 20% every 2 to 4 weeks works very well for me.
8. What do you like most about the shrimp industry?
The endless variations and genetic potential. We are always seeing new colours and patterns every year from shrimp enthusiasts and its always so exciting.
9. What do you like least about the shrimp industry?
The unwillingness to learn, to research and the ignorance from some traditional fish keepers. Shrimps are a completely different style of aquarium keeping and there have been many fish keepers who have bought high end shrimps from me, NOT LISTENING TO A SIMPLE TIP OR WATER PARAMETER INFORMATION I HAVE GIVEN THEM and expecting everything to be ok.
The other frustrating aspect of the industry are the shrimp breeders who have mass breed shrimps, not culling a single shrimp and selling hundreds to Australian shrimp enthusiasts for a huge financial gain. At the present moment I have found the yellow and sunkist cherries in Australia to have gone very far downhill in terms of quality and colour intensity. Finally, selling juvenile shrimps under the recommended size of 8 - 12mm. Recently a large number of breeders have been selling undersized shrimp and preaching it to be acceptable. Even at 3mm!
10. What positive changes would you like to see in the shrimp industry?
I would like to see much more educational information about shrimp keeping and a database of shrimp genetical information for crossing programs. I would also like to see a better camaraderie for shrimp breeders who will maintain pure lineages as many people are crossing shrimps to try and make new lines without maintaining and taking care of pure line stocks. If this trend continues we will not have pure CRS, Taiwan bees, tiger and cherry shrimps in Australia.
11. Where do you see the shrimp industry heading in the next 10 years?
The current trend is the pinto shrimp and their possible new lines such as the skunk zebra spotted head and galaxy lines. In due time, I believe many tiger caradinas will be used to create different line and patterned pintos. As for cherries we have purple and pink to go! I have no doubts larger shrimps and the strengthening of sulawesi shrimps will be a big topic.
12. Are there any high tech or innovative ideas that you believe would help the shrimp industry progress into the future?
Shrimps are actually very easy to keep. The only difficulty is the adjustment of shrimp keeping style in comparison to fish keeping. In terms of technology I cant think of anything that would make shrimp keeping easier. Its the education of shrimp keeping that is necessary. I have to admit a water parameter controller would be exceptional!
13. What are the greatest challenges to the shrimp industry at the moment and in the future?
Education and livestock access.
14. Are there any funny or embarrassing situations you can recall in regards to the shrimp industry?
My mother once spilt a whole cake into my Taiwan bee system and I had to do an 80% water change! There was not much sleep that night! I've also dropped the odd bag or two while packaging shrimp with the shrimpies all over the floor. Had to pick them up put them back into their tank and catch new ones.
15. What's you favourite fish, shrimp and plant species and why?
My current favourite fish is the akrawat multicolour endler which I bought from Joe Putta in Thailand. The variation of rainbow patterns is amazing! But generally I am a big fan of opthalmotilapia ventralis and geophagus. I've kept African and American and many other cichlids from geos to tangs and malawis as well as catfish and many others.
Shrimps... I would have to say I love them all but pure black line and pure red line shrimps have always been my all time favourite. Orange eye blue tigers third! As for plants I am not heavily involved with them but have a collection of mosses and rarer plants. My current favourites are the bucephalandras going around atm. I love the variety available in plants.
16. What's the most interesting fish, shrimp and plants that you have come across over your time in the industry?
The most interesting fish for me by far been the catfish and the variation of oddities out there. Shrimp wise, the chameleon shrimp is amazing and plants I would say all the different variations of aquatic mosses around the world.
A fascinating and in depth interview. Glenn makes some very interesting points and gives some great tips for keeping and breeding shrimp. A special thanks to Glenn for taking part in the interview and for taking time to answer the questions for our members. I'm sure it will be of benefit and interest to Aussie Tropical Fish and Shrimp members.
Glenn sent so many amazing photos to Discobee to share!