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Care and Breeding of Freshwater Inverts

Snails and shrimp are now more popular in the hobby — some home aquarists are even breeding them.

By Mike Hellweg |

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For many generations, aquarium freshwater invertebrates only included snails — usually ramshorns, pond snails or mystery snails. But in the past several years, a mini revolution has taken place. You can now find a dozen or more species of freshwater inverts in almost any fish store, and many specialty shops will carry more than a dozen varieties of shrimp, plus crayfish, crabs, snails and more. I’ll take a look at some of the more commonly available invertebrates and discuss how to care for and breed them.

Invertebrates are successful animals that have been around for hundreds of millions of years, some of them virtually unchanged since before the first dinosaurs appeared. Part of this success comes from the fact that they are adaptable, and most species are generalistic or opportunistic feeders and breeders. This means that aquarists should never release aquatic invertebrates (or fish for that matter) into the wild, accidentally or on purpose. In some parts of the country, entire genera or even entire families of aquatic invertebrates (especially snails and crayfish) have been banned due to their potentially invasive abilities. Check with your local fish and wildlife department before keeping anything new, and make absolute sure that nothing ever escapes.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the October 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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