Amano Shrimp molt tentatively once every 35 to 42 days. Considering Caridina Multidentata are often kept in larger groups, it is sometimes challenging to determine precisely when molting occurs. It is particularly tough to identify which shrimp molted with all of them moving about in the tank.
Physically fit adult shrimps will molt every 3 to 4 weeks. Younger shrimps on the other hand will molt more often due to how fast they grow, perhaps every 1 or 2 weeks.
When they are younger shrimp molt more and as aftermath grow faster. Adults molt on a monthly basis. Since molting also helps to keep the shell healthy and free of pathogens.
Keep reading to find out all about how often amino shrimp molt and what you can do to make the process as safe and comfortable as possible for your shrimp.
Factors Affecting The Frequency Of Molting
Besides the age of the shrimp, trace elements and changes in pH may cause excessive molting in shrimps.
No matter how unfortunate it sounds, inevitably, every shrimp keeper will experience bad molts at some point in their fishkeeping life. Two leading reasons not only affect the frequency of molting but nearly all molting problems can be pinned on them: diet and water parameters.
All in all, you have to be the lookout for a good number of factors every 3-4 weeks if your Amano shrimp is an adult or more frequently if it is still young.
Lower pH levels will possibly cause the shell of shrimps to become soft. This is due to the fact that the shell of the shrimps is composed of calcium carbonate. This particular compound reacts with acid.
Higher pH on the flip side may increase the toxicity of other substances. That is if other chemical elements are present, their effect may be aggravated.
Presence of trace elements
Too much calcium leads the water to become hard, which is reflected by the high gH reading. As a consequence, hard water will affect the shell of the shrimp, by causing it to become more rigid.
This will induce a situation where it will take your shrimp plenty of energy trying to molt. It stresses them a lot and can even lead to expiration.
On the other side of the coin, they are also affected if put in a tank with relatively much softer water than what they are used to. This causes their exoskeleton to become too flexible and malleable.
The shell may therefore not crack at all or the underlying layer of the shell will be too fragile and the shrimp will die whilst molting or in a short while afterward.
You can add cuttlebone instead of calcium blocks if the water your shrimp resides in is soft. Due to their nature, calcium blocks dissolve a lot faster in soft water and may induce a calcium overdose.
Mineral stones are not recommended if your shrimp is in immediate danger because they do not degrade fast enough to make a difference.
Sex of the shrimp
The intermolt period slightly varies between the sexes.
Male shrimps have a marginally longer intermolt period than females. This is due to female shrimps having a relatively higher growth rate.
Water parameters are the various standards used to measure the quality of water and determine its suitability for a particular use.
One of the leading reasons for a molt gone wrong is possibly due to the water parameters not being adequately suitable for the species your shrimp belongs to. Even though Amano shrimp are relatively hardy and easily adaptable, they thrive most in these conditions:
- Water Temperature of 22-26 Degrees Celsius
- An Aquarium pH between 7.2 – 7.5.
- A Standard community tank lighting should suffice
General Hardness (GH) and Carbonate Hardness (KH) are the chief two water parameters you should check when making an attempt to pinpoint the source of bad molts.
In higher temperatures, the metabolism of shrimps becomes faster and they have more energy. This causes Some researchers to believe that it is easier for them to molt in warmer water that is around 25-26 °C.
An additional parameter mentioned time and again is Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). It is a simplification of less accuracy of the chemistry of the water and varies a great deal with your water supply depending a lot on your geographical location.
Although less usual, another probable cause for molting issues could be accredited to the diet of the shrimps. Their diet generally focuses on provision of calcium and protein.
It is instructed to shrimp owners to try giving their shrimp a balanced diet which includes algae wafers, vegetables that have been blanched, biofilm, and foods specifically made for shrimp. One popular choice is Shrimp King Complete.
Another recommended meal is snowflake food. Composed of soybean shells, snowflake food works by encouraging the growth of the vegetative part of fungi which is known as mycelia.
It is an excellent source of protein. On top of all that until it is eaten, it can be left in the tank. This is because it doesn’t pollute the water.
How To Identify If It’s Time For Molting?
There are some signals in the behavior of shrimp hobbyists are advised to look out for indicating that they may be primed to molt.
You may be wondering why you should care when your shrimp is shedding its skin.
However, if you keep reading you will find out how sensitive the whole process is. It may even be life-threatening if not performed successfully. Consequently, as an aquarist you should try your level best that your shrimp molts in a prosperous manner.
Just before molting, the shrimp may be spending loads of their time standing motionlessly or not moving too far. This may go on for around an hour or more. Sometimes, they will not even ingest food while doing this. Only slightly moving their antennae, they will remain utterly still.
If you notice a large number of shrimps behaving like this it is possibly a sign of an issue with the water quality. You should examine and adjust it as necessary.
It is probable that you will be able to return and see a fresh molt in a few hours, assuming there are only a low number of shrimps standing still.
After molting, shrimps are very soft and vulnerable. As a result, they will hide for a couple of days up until their outer shells have a chance to harden again. If you have a small population of shrimps, expect to see molts in the tank but no shrimp. Do not get too worried or frightened.
Beginner fish keepers are often alarmed that they have dead shrimp lying on the floor of the aquarium. It is understandable, no one would want their small companions to pass away.
These are presumed carcasses and often not shrimp that are indeed dead. In lieu, they are the shrimp exoskeletons that the shrimp have shed.
Dead shrimp tend to be pinkish in color, i.e., how cooked shrimp tends to look.
On the contrary, a shell will look almost exactly the same as a living aquarium shrimp, thus confusion arises. If observed closely, it is not too hard to determine whether your shrimp has succumbed or is just growing.
How Can Molting Go Wrong?
White Ring of Death
One of the most familiar and notable molting issues, the white ring of death is just what its name conveys. It is recognized by a solid white or clear line enveloping all sides of the body of the shrimp exactly behind where its head separates from the body.
While molting, a shrimp absorbs water for growing in size and breaks its present exoskeleton. It is intended to break at the top immediately behind its head. This lets it bend its body so it fits through the gap and then it briskly jumps out of its old shell.
Anyhow, this is when the problem arises. The shell sometimes splits all around the body instead of only at the top. This leads to the exposure of their body parts which are clear or white in color.
The shrimp now consists of two disjoint exoskeletons, making it much more gruelling for it to bend and jump out of the shell. This can cause them to get cemented in their molt, consequently get stressed, and within a handful of days die.
There is a slight possibility for the shrimp to escape from the outer shell and go on to live a long and joyful life. But again, that is highly unlikely.
Stuck in molt
If you are a fish keeper, you may notice that shrimps sometimes lie on their side: constantly twitching or motionless. This could woefully denote that they have gotten stuck somehow while trying to molt.
This could possibly be due to their shell breaking in an inaccurate place and thus they cannot break free from their previous exoskeleton.
Dolefully, not much is in your hands often in these types of cases. The shrimp may eventually rescue itself but keep in mind this does not always work out and therefore you should not get your hopes too high.
As a last resort, you may hold part of the old shell very carefully with tweezers to allow the shrimp some leverage, letting them to finally swim out to freedom. However, these fragile creatures must be handled with extreme caution.
This may be done if you have absolutely no other choice and your shrimp is truly stuck, basically not unless it is a life or death situation for your little buddy.
What Happens If A Shrimp Molts Too Much?
Amano shrimps are more vulnerable to something called osmotic shock when freshly molted shrimp grow by taking in more water.
The movement of water from a higher concentration to a lower one is known as osmosis. That is a place from where there is more water to a place where there is not as much water as the original place.
What this basically means is that if your shrimp is used to taking in relatively hard water and then you perform a water change with water that is a lot softer, the softer water will try to push its way into the shrimp’s body where harder water has already been absorbed.
This will cause an imbalance and may even cause their cells to expand to a morbid level.
But in the opposite case that is if your shrimp lives in softer water and you add harder water, it will cause the shrimp to take in more minerals more rapidly.
This may be life-threatening for your shrimp if it molts too often. If attention is paid, it is relatively simple to avoid osmotic shock:
You should stick to a schedule so that the shrimp have good stability for at least one week so rather than carrying out frequent water changes haphazardly.
You should try to match your tank’s water as closely as possible with water changes (TDS, temperature, etc.)
You should the new water slowly. The drip acclimation method may be used.
What Happens If A Shrimp Molts Too Little?
The shrimp will grow slower if it molts not so frequently. A healthy amount of molting for an adult Amano shrimp is every month or so since as they get older they grow at a decelerating rate.
However, at a younger age, molting has to occur more often to maximize healthy development and ensure that any hazard due to a tight-fitting exoskeleton does not occur.
A shrimp may face various barriers if it molts too little, the most significant getting too stressed by being stuck in a congested shell and as a result, dying. However, you are now somewhat acquainted with what your role could be to avoid such unfortunate events.
After reading this piece, you should now have some idea about the frequency of molting, the factors affecting it, and how you can prevent any hazards.
You are on the right track to ensure the utmost comfort of your Amano shrimp during the dangerous but necessary molting process.