We have been approached by aquarists who would like to start breeding Sulawesi shrimp and snails and request guidance during their first steps. While it is always best to speak with an experienced Sulawesi keeper in person, it is not always possible. You can follow our own story as we begin our Sulawesi adventure at Ostrava Zoo. Take this as an inspiration, these are not guidelines!
— Please note that it is strongly recommended to gain experience with less demanding species before starting with Sulawesi. This is even more important if you want to keep shrimps. First, start with the more common Neocaridina or Caridina species, move on to the Caridina cf. cantonensis type, and when you can keep them healthy and reproducing, you can start with the "easy" Sulawesi species. You must provide the specific conditions and give the best of your abilities. More on this later. —
Ostrava Zoo can rely on skilled and experienced fish breeders. Some of our team members have personal experience with Sulawesi fish and snails, others successfully keep Caridina cf. cantonensis shrimps in their home aquariums. We already breed Oryzias sarasinorum, a critically endangered Sulawesi ricefish, but this will be the first time we've added invertebrates from this island to our collection as well.
The focus of our work is on the breeding of endangered fish, with most species being kept in a facility outside of the visitor area. Here, our freshwater room is already full of tanks. But at the top of the central rack we found space for six Sulawesi tanks, each with the same dimensions: 55 x 50 x 25 cm. Bottom area is the key factor in keeping invertebrates, and low tanks (only 25 cm) can be more easily lit to promote algae growth. LED light is installed above the tanks.
We have decided to use fine sand (for snails) or crushed black lava rock on the bottom. Lava rocks are in each tank to provide hiding places and grazing surface. There is an air-driven sponge filter in each tank, with the ability to add a further filter unit later if required. We have little heaters ready to turn on: the temperature of the water in the unheated tanks is 27°C. We have installed the tanks three months ago, so now they are ready for their inhabitants.
But before we get shrimps and snails, we will check the water parameters again. This topic is key to the successful maintenance of Sulawesi's invertebrates, so it deserves another article later…