CareThe Sulawesi Red Line Shrimp is known from the hard, bio-film covered substrates of Lake Towuti, and to a lesser extent in the adjacent Lake Mahalona. These bodies of water form part of the Malili system of freshwater lakes, five individual lakes that are, in part, connected to each other by a riverine system and which drain via the Larona River towards the west into Bone Bay (also known as the Gulf of Boni). In the clear, sunlit shallows, these shrimp typically dwell inbetween small rocks/pebbles, and in the deeper waters they colonise larger rock formations. Sulawesi Red Line Shrimps have a very attractive colour and pattern, and many are surprised to learn that these are a freshwater species. However, they require a very specific set of unusual, stable water parameters if they are to thrive, and as such, are suitable for advanced aquarists only. The aquarium should be biologically mature, with crushed coral or coral sand mixed into the regular substrate, which will help to maintain a high pH. Alternatively, some people like to keep a small bag of aragonite in the filtration system for this purpose. For best results, Reverse Osmosis (RO) water should be used, and re-mineralised with specialist freshwater minerals to the desired hardness (one manufacturer even produces special "Sulawesi minerals" which will take the water to a specific hardness and pH). Filtration and water movement should be gentle, and great care must be taken with water changes, as these shrimps are so delicate, and extremely sensitive to swings in water chemistry. We would suggest you change around 10% at a time, on a regular basis. Some aquarists like to prepare the fresh water in a bucket containing some aragonite, a heater, and some form of gentle aeration, such as an airstone or small powerhead. Test this water prior to making a partial water change, to ensure the parameters match that of the main aquarium as closely as possible. The aquarium water should be maintained at a steady temperature, somewhere between 27-29 deg C. This is warmer than the average tropical aquarium, and it must be noted that these shrimps will not fare well below 27 deg C. Some aquatic plants may be included in the set up, but take care not to overplant, as these shrimp prefer hard substrates to explore; indeed, the tank is best aquascaped with plenty of rocky structures and crevices that the shrimps can congregate upon and between. Because an established tank with plenty of bio-film cover is essential, these shrimp must never be added to newly cycled aquaria, as they simply will not survive. Many aquarists have had very good results with setting up a tank and gradually introducing some small fish, then after some months when the surfaces are coated with natural bio-film and aufwuchs, the fish are moved to another aquarium, and the shrimp carefully acclimatised to the mature setting. Of course it is essential to keep nitrates to a minimum through regular partial water changes so that these are negligible when the shrimps are introduced. It may be difficult to source fish that are suitable in size (i.e. do not pose a threat to the shrimp or any shrimplets) and which also enjoy the same specialist conditions. Some of the fish currently exported from the same habitat include a plethora of medium sized gobies, and unfortunately, these would prey upon the shrimps. A very good choice of tankmates would be some of the peaceful Rabbit/Elephant Snails (Tylomelania spp.), a fascinating livebearing species which inhabit the same ancient lakes. Sulawesi Red Line Shrimps are gregarious and non-aggressive, and should be maintained in colonies of 6 or more (10+ is better). They are not shy and will spend a great deal of time in view, constantly foraging on the rocks and other bio-film covered surfaces, using their bright white chelipeds to pick at the surfaces. If Tylomelania snails are present, they will even sit on the snail's shells, picking at the bio-film that has formed on them (the snails do not mind). It is important that the shrimp are not fed too much protein as this can cause health problems (see feeding section, below). Acclimatise very carefully, using the drip method over a couple of hours, keeping the temperature stable. Unfortunately, as with other species from the Malili lakes system, Sulawesi Red Line Shrimps are at great risk from the pollution of nearby nickel mining, as well as from introduced/invasive species such as Nile Perch and Flowerhorn Cichlids. These shrimps may also be seen on sale as Matano Red Line Shrimps or Red Line Bee Shrimps. Not suitable for beginners, and even experienced aquarists should have test kits and a TDS meter on hand for ongoing responsible maintenance of this species.
FeedingSulawesi Red Line Shrimps are best fed just once per day, and only with an amount of food that they can finish within a couple of hours. Excess feeding can cause premature death and/or result in water quality problems. In a mature setting (as recommended for the shrimps' wellbeing), the odd missed day of feeding will be fine, as there will be plenty of natural foodstuffs for them to scavenge upon. Offer shrimp pellets/granules, algae wafers, crushed green flake, and vegetable matter. Avoid feeding protein-rich foods.
Sulawesi Red Line Shrimps have bred in the home aquarium. Reproduction takes place in freshwater, and there is no larval stage. The female carries up to 30 eggs which are released as tiny shrimplets that immediately assume a benthic lifestyle. The young are miniatures of the adults and show a fair degree of red striped patterning at a very early age.
|Distribution||Endemic to the Malili Lake System, South Sulawesi, Indonesia: widely distributed throughout Lake Towuti, and found in fewer numbers in Lake Mahalona.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Mature females are slightly fuller bodied and may be seen carrying eggs.|
|Maximum Size||2.5cm (1")|
|Water Parameters||Lake Towuti has quite an unusual set of water parameters. The lake is freshwater with a high pH (>8.0) but a low TDS (<80) and GH (6 deg).|
|Temperature||27-29 deg C (81-84 deg F)|
|Compatibility||Specialist community; Species-only tank.|
No special requirements - but tank lights should be switched on and off gradually to avoid shocking the shrimps.