Shrimp are often kept as pets in freshwater aquariums.
However, their pregnancy signs are often overlooked due to the lack of knowledge.
So, how would you know if your shrimp is pregnant?
How to Identify if A Shrimp Is Pregnant?
Detecting a shrimp pregnancy can be daunting, but it’s possible if you observe closely.
Given below are a few signs that can help you identify if your shrimp is pregnant.
1. Increased Body Size
Berried shrimp tend to be larger than their non-pregnant counterparts. It’s because they carry eggs in their abdomen.
The eggs in the shrimp’s abdomen will make the pregnant shrimp look bigger than the other female shrimp in the aquarium.
2. Change in Color
Berried shrimp also exhibit a color change.
It’s due to the eggs inside their abdomen starting to take on color, which shows through the shrimp’s translucent exoskeleton.
Changes in color during gestation are common and resolve after delivery.
However, in some instances, the change of color can be permanent.
3. Visible Eggs
As the shrimp’s pregnancy progresses, you can see small clumps of eggs through their skin.
Depending on the shrimp species, the eggs have different colors.
However, they sometimes appear as small white or yellow dots inside the abdomen.
4. Change in Behavior
Female shrimp with eggs in them exhibit different behavior than those without eggs.
They will spend more time grazing and searching for food because they need to consume more nutrients for the eggs.
There will also be a change in the behavior of male shrimp.
Male shrimp will follow the female shrimp with eggs to assert dominance and fertilize the eggs.
If you observe fighting between male shrimp, you can conclude that the female shrimp is carrying eggs.
5. Berried Look
Once the male shrimp completes fertilization, the female shrimp will move the eggs to the lower part of her body.
Due to the new position of the eggs at the base, they no longer resemble a saddle. They take on the appearance of berries.
This is why the pregnant shrimp are called “berried shrimp.”
6. Fanning of Legs
Observing the shrimp’s leg movements is another way to identify if a shrimp is pregnant.
Berried shrimp tend to fan their legs more frequently than non-pregnant shrimp.
The eggs need oxygen supply, and fanning helps provide the required oxygen.
7. White Spots on The Tail
Another sign to look out for is the presence of white spots on the shrimp’s tail.
These spots are tiny eggs that the male shrimp has fertilized.
They usually occur when the female shrimp is close to giving birth and can indicate imminent delivery.
The white spots can appear in clusters or scattered across the tail.
8. Looking for Cover
The berried shrimp will look for a suitable place in dense vegetation.
Female shrimp will release their babies in a hidden location to ensure their safety and access to food.
So if you observe a shrimp taking cover, it’s preparing to give birth.
How Long Does the Shrimp Pregnancy Last?
The length of the shrimp pregnancy varies depending on the shrimp species.
Some shrimp species have a shorter gestation period than others.
Generally, the average duration of shrimp pregnancy is around 30 to 40 days.
During this time, it’s essential to ensure the berried shrimp has access to a nutritious diet to support herself and her developing eggs.
Keeping water conditions stable during this period is essential.
A sudden change in water parameters can adversely impact the egg’s development and create challenges for the shrimp.
Providing proper care and nutrition during pregnancy is crucial for the healthy development of eggs and the successful delivery of the young ones.
Pregnancy Stages of Shrimp
Shrimp pregnancy has different stages, just like most aquatic creatures.
Understanding these stages can help you prepare for the arrival of baby shrimp.
Given below are the different stages of shrimp pregnancy.
Stage 1: Development of Eggs
The female shrimp will develop eggs in their ovaries during the first stage.
They will have visible patches containing eggs, typically in shades of yellow, red, or green.
These patches will be located behind their head, where the ovaries are found.
Female shrimp carry their eggs in a saddle-shaped structure that typically changes color from vibrant to darker tones during pregnancy.
Stage 2: Movement of Eggs
The second stage is marked by the downward growth of the saddle toward the tail curve.
In this stage, the female shrimp transfer the eggs from the ovaries to the legs.
They take cover when they are ready to fertilize the eggs. They often hide in caves or plants until they find a mate.
The female shrimp wait one to three weeks while releasing pheromones to attract a male shrimp for mating.
Once a healthy male shrimp arrives, mating takes place.
Stage 3: Berried Stage
After mating, the shrimp enters the “berried” stage of pregnancy, where the female shrimp moves the eggs from the saddle to the tail.
The female shrimp will fan her legs to provide more oxygen to the eggs for their healthy development.
When you observe this behavior, it’s essential to transition from using a filter to an aerator.
While both devices purify the water, aerators increase the water’s oxygen levels while reducing drainage.
Related: Do Shrimp Need an Aquarium Heater?
Stage 4: Hatching of Eggs
The gestation period for shrimp usually ranges from 30 to 40 days.
Each cycle can result in 20 to 50 offspring depending on the shrimp species.
Baby shrimp, also known as fry or shrimplets, need proper care and nutrition for healthy growth.
Maintaining stable water conditions during this stage is crucial since the fry are vulnerable to changes in water parameters.
How to Take Care of Berried Shrimp?
It’s essential to create a comfortable and secure environment for your pregnant shrimp.
Given below are a few tips for creating the ideal conditions for berried shrimp.
1. Set up A Separate Tank
In some instances, male shrimp display aggressive behavior toward the pregnant female shrimp.
It generally happens due to an overpopulation of males inside the tank.
So using two tanks can separate the male and pregnant female shrimp.
You can also use a tank separator to divide the male and berried shrimp.
2. Maintain Stable Water Parameters
Maintaining the ideal water conditions in the tank can enhance the likelihood of a successful shrimp pregnancy.
The recommended temperature range for keeping a pregnant shrimp is between 70°F to 75°F (21°C to 24.4°C).
The recommended pH level is 6.5 to 7.5, and water hardness should be 6 to 8 dGH.
3. Create a Stress-Free Environment
Stress is a significant issue for berried shrimp. It can be fatal for their shrimplets.
Shrimp often get stressed because of bad tankmates.
So keeping the shrimp in a tank that is exclusive to them is highly recommended.
Most fish aren’t compatible with shrimp. So do your research before introducing any tankmates for the shrimp.
Besides stressing the shrimp, incompatible tankmates can also prey on the shrimplets.
Related: Can You Keep Rainbowfish with Shrimp? | Can You Keep Goldfish and Shrimp Together? | Can Guppies Live with Shrimp?
4. Provide a Well-Balanced Diet
Algae and biofilm can be served as a staple food for shrimp.
It’s essential to feed commercial shrimp food to berried shrimp since they contain the minerals and vitamins required for the healthy development of eggs.
Avoid overfeeding your shrimp because excess food can cause water pollution and adversely affect your shrimp’s health.
5. Perform Regular Water Changes
As with any aquarium, regular water changes are necessary to maintain cleanliness in a shrimp tank.
It’s especially crucial for berried shrimp since they are more sensitive to poor water quality.
To maintain a healthy environment, aim to change 10% to 20% of the tank water once a week.
A proper filtration system will also ensure that the tank water remains clean.
You can use a test kit to check the water quality and maintain stable water conditions.