Aquatic animals need several nutrients in order to stay healthy. For example, in order to develop their bones well, fish need a lot of calcium since their bones mainly consist of calcium phosphate. Aquatic animals that have external skeletons, like shrimp and crabs, often undergo a molting process, which requires a lot of calcium in order for them to develop strong shells. Calcium is also important in any freshwater tank in order to minimize the rise of pH levels, and it is especially important in a planted tank as it allows for healthy grow of your aquarium plants.
How to increase calcium in your freshwater shrimp tank
There are two ways to supply your shrimp with their much-needed calcium: adding it directly to your tank by means of water remineralization, which they will then absorb through their gills, or adding by feeding them calcium through their diet.
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Mineral Sources of Calcium For Aquarium Water
There are many different ways to supply your shrimp, snails and inverts with their needed calcium through their water. From mineralization supplements to eggshells, here are the best ways to give your shrimp their daily dose of calcium.
1. Water Remineralizers for Shrimps
Water mineralization is the process of adding and enriching your tank’s water with minerals, which are then used and acquired by your shrimps, helping them to develop harder, stronger shells. You can find plenty of liquid and salt-based water re-mineralizers specially suited for shrimp:
2. Cuttlefish Bone
Cuttlebones are used as a calcium supplement for many pets, including shrimps, since they are mainly composed of aragonite, a carbonate mineral and a natural crystal form of calcium carbonate. They will dissolve in water, and allow your shrimps to ingest them.
3. Calcium Blocks
Calcium blocks are pure mineral blocks that will dissolve in your aquarium water much faster than cuttlebone, allowing them to affect your shrimps’ growth hormone much faster. They also don’t cloud the water, which is a huge benefit. SunGrow Shrimp Mineral Rocks are especially made for shrimp and provide both calcium and magnesium.
4. Wonder Shells
Wonder shells are a great way of adding minerals, like magnesium and calcium, to your shrimps’ tank. This helps your shrimps with stress and health, and also helps purify the water. They are extremely easy to use, so they are definitely a good choice for beginners.
Making your own calcium supplement for shrimp
You can also easily make your own DIY calcium for shrimp using only 3 materials that you’ll easily find at home:
- Acid (vinegar, citric acid from lemons, etc…)
After cleaning your eggshells well, put them into a container and add your acidic substance of choice. After a while, your eggshells will start to dissolve and release CO2. Once dissolved, remove the inner membrane and add the eggshells to a grinder, and finely grind them until powder-like. You now have your DIY mineral source of calcium! (1 eggshell = around 2.3 g calcium).
Pro tip: To clean your eggshells well, boil them in hot water for 10 minutes in order to kill any harmful bacteria before throwing them in your aquarium tank.
Top shrimp food with calcium
In some cases, water calcium supplements aren’t sufficient for your pet shrimps. They will need a more concentrated calcium supplement, ones that they can take through their diet. Those will vary from pearls to numerous different vegetables.
1. Mineral Food Pearls and Granules
Mineral pearls and food granules such as GlasGarten Mineral Junkie Bites and Fluval Shrimp Granules include many minerals that are crucial for your aquatic pet’s healthy development and life and that prevent mineral deficiencies that cause holes and underdevelopment of the shells. These small pellets are the best calcium supplements for young shrimplets who may not be able to munch on larger food yet.
2. Hikari Crab Cuisine
Hikari Crab Cuisine is a formulation of nutrients that help your shrimps develop a stronger, stiffer shell. It is highly nutritious and has a phenomenal taste that shrimps enjoy and love. It also has natural and high levels of color enhancers, which will help enhance true colorations in red cherry shrimp.
3. Mineral Food Sticks
Shrimp King Mineral Food Sticks and Mini Veggie Sticks are tiny nutrient sticks containing calcium, made out of many vegetables, including seaweed, spirulina, carrots, squash, spinach and the best kelp. They sink to the bottom of the tank fast, which allows it to be more accessible to your shrimps.
Other calcium rich foods for shrimp
You can also provide your shrimps their required dose of calcium by feeding them fresh, healthy vegetables and kitchen scraps. There are many vegetables that are a natural source of calcium:
- Kale (137 mg/100gm)
- Spinach (99 mg/100gm)
- Green beans (44 mg/100gm)
- Broccoli (40 mg/100gm)
- Zucchini (211 mg/100gm)
And many more. Just make sure that you blanch your vegetables by briefly boiling them and then quickly cooling them down in order to kill any potential harmful bacteria before adding them to your shrimp tank.
In conclusion, calcium is a very important mineral in your shrimps diet since it helps greatly with its growth and development.
It is vital to use the correct quantity of each calcium supplement, and measure your water’s parameters in order to ensure you’re using the correct supplement.
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