Keeping an aquarium and getting to know the quirks and foibles of all its inhabitants can be a challenge, even for those who have had display tanks before.
There is always something new to learn, and whenever you introduce a new species that you haven’t kept before, it is bound to cause some questions.
The term “berried shrimp” is one that many people who do not keep aquariums will be unfamiliar with, and it even sounds like a kind of food, rather than an animal you might be adding to your tank.
However, if you are going to have shrimps in your aquarium and keep them happy and healthy, you will need to know this term and recognize what it means – and what you need to do.
Whether you have just come across the term online or you are dealing with a pregnant shrimp in your aquarium, knowledge is power, so take as much time as you need to educate yourself and get to grips with what this is and how to handle it.
This will help to ensure that you keep all the inhabitants of your aquarium healthy and that you are prepared for the baby shrimp that will soon arrive!
What Is A Berried Shrimp?
The term “berried shrimp” is used to refer to a shrimp that is pregnant and carrying eggs; these will be carefully stowed on the underside of the female shrimp’s body, protected by her legs and transported around the tank with her to keep them safe from predators.
Where most fish and other creatures lay eggs, the shrimp retains them – external to her body, but kept close nonetheless. You may be able to see the eggs tucked there, especially if your shrimp swims close to the glass and displays her underside as she does so.
If you keep shrimps in your tank, it is a good idea to look out for berried shrimps, as you need to be careful when the eggs hatch or you might accidentally kill the babies through improper tank maintenance (e.g. performing water changes).
Baby shrimp are transparent and extremely tiny, so you may only know that they have hatched due to the sudden absence of eggs on the female’s belly. Being aware of the situation and keeping an eye on the mother shrimp is crucial.
A berried shrimp will probably continue to behave normally as long as the tank conditions are maintained and kept to a good level – and you will usually only see berried shrimps if they are kept in good conditions and feel happy and strong enough to be producing offspring.
If you notice one of your shrimps is carrying eggs, there’s a good chance you will soon have baby shrimp in the aquarium.
How To Take Care Of A Berried Shrimp!
There is very little that you need to do to take care of a berried shrimp; the female should be totally independent and will continue to take care of herself for the most part.
It is a good idea to avoid disturbing the tank unnecessarily, as stress or shock could upset the shrimp or damage the eggs, but on the whole, you can continue to act as normal. The mother shrimp will not need any extra care as a result of the eggs.
It is helpful, however, to ensure that the baby shrimps will have somewhere secure to hide, so if your tank is limited in caves and crevices, consider adding some rocks that they can duck among or beneath, or some more plants.
If the filter intake is accessible to the fish, consider covering it with a sponge or some other fine mesh temporarily, as the baby shrimps are likely to get sucked in when they hatch if it is left exposed, and this will kill them.
Some people recommend reducing feeding and water changes while the shrimp is carrying eggs, as water changes could shock the eggs (or babies when they hatch) and in some cases, feeding might cause a female shrimp to release the eggs and drop them.
However, this is fairly rare and usually only happens with first-time mothers, which are less experienced. Most berried shrimps should hold onto their eggs.
Can Berried Shrimp Swim?
Yes, berried shrimp can swim just fine, and carrying the eggs has minimal impact on their ability to move around the tank, find food, etc.
Occasionally, if a shrimp is carrying a lot of eggs (and particularly if it is a new mother), it may struggle to adjust to swimming, but on the whole, most shrimps manage fine and will continue to behave almost normally.
The eggs should not significantly affect the shrimp’s ability to move around because the shrimp does not use most of its legs to hold them.
Instead, they are held in place by the pleopods, which are part of the shrimp’s abdomen and are specifically designed for holding eggs. They do also help the shrimp to swim, but not to the extent that the shrimp will be unable to do so when they are otherwise occupied.
The pleopods will fan the eggs to increase the flow of oxygen over them, helping the young to develop. If you see your female shrimp is struggling to swim or has stopped swimming, there may be something wrong, and this will usually be unrelated to the eggs.
Berried shrimps should not stop swimming; in the wild, they need to be able to escape from predators, and the point of carrying the eggs is to protect them, not to make them stationary by preventing the female from swimming.
A berried shrimp is simply the term for a shrimp (of any species) that is carrying eggs on her abdomen, and if you look closely, you may be able to see them clustered there, held in place by the pleopods, waiting to hatch. The mother will probably keep them there for around three weeks before the babies emerge, and during this time, you should minimize disruption and keep the tank parameters as stable as possible. This will maximize the health of the babies and the mother, ensuring you get some baby shrimps to admire!