Caribbean Dwarf Filter Shrimp (Micratya poeyi)
Micratya poeyi is a filter shrimp species belonging to the Atyidae family. It is native to most of the Caribbean Islands including Costa Rica, Cuba, and Jamaica. It lives in fast-flowing coastal rivers and streams that have a rocky substrate. This shrimp is very rare in the aquarium trade although attempts are ongoing to breed it commercially in Germany.(2019)
Caribbean dwarf filter shrimp has a cylindrical body of black-white or red-white striped coloration. The shade of color may vary according to the age and health condition of the shrimp. The male shrimp are usually 2-3 cm in size while the females grow up to 3-5 cm. The female shrimps are also more intensely colored than males. This shrimp has bristles on the frontal side which help in filtering the water to gather some food. It uses the fans to collect small size food particles and micro-organism suspending in the flowing water. It has an average lifespan of 2-3 years depending on environmental conditions such as food source availability, water pollution, etc.
Behavior and Compatibility
Micratya poeyi usually stands under the filter outflow and collects food out of the flowing water. It is a peaceful shrimp that can do well in a community tank with other harmless shrimp such as, Caridina and Neocaridina species. Since this shrimp is gregarious, it is best to have at least 2-3 specimens in a tank to prevent stress on the shrimp.
pH: 6,0 – 8,0
Hardness: 0-5 dGH
It can live in a wide range of pH and hardness. However, the aquarium must have a strong current and a high concentration of oxygen. The shrimp needs perching spots in the line of water flow to feed. Plants, driftwood, or stones help to create such perching spots. The water should not be too clean, or the shrimp would not find anything to eat. The aquarium must have an existing biological activity to provide proper water parameters by filtration. It is best to have a few plants as they will support the growth of microscopic organic matters which will provide food to the shrimps.
Micratya poeyi relies on the water current to feed. It captures microscopic food such as plant debris, algae, and other planktonic matter with its specialized claws. It accepts all kinds of commercial fish foods, live foods, and algae wafers in powder form. For supplementing the diet, you can add powdered or crumbled food to the water current. If it doesn’t get adequate food, the shrimp will start scraping the aquarium substrate, which is a sign of starvation and bad health condition. In this case, it is crucial to provide some microscopic food sources to prevent certain deaths.
Breeding Caribbean dwarf filter shrimp in a home aquarium is extremely difficult if not downright impossible. The temperature and pH requirements are flexible, but the ideal conditions are 24° C and 7.2 pH. The aquarium must also have high aeration. The female shrimp which have spawned successfully carry multiple red-colored eggs under their body. The larvae which hatch from the eggs need saltwater for survival and development.
After hatching in nature, larvae flows to the sea with the current. They go through several stages of development in seawater before reaching the post-larval stage (miniature versions of adult shrimp). In this stage, they reach around 1 cm in size and forage near the bottom water levels. Once the larval stage is complete, they start an upstream migration in the freshwater rivers due they need a freshwater environment to survive and breed. M. Poeyi reaches sexual maturity around 5-6 months after reaching the juvenile period.
Due to the breeding cycle requires two phases in both freshwater and saltwater environment it is fairly hard to breed in home aquariums. It requires special care and a prepared tank to maintain the conditions for each phase.
Image Source: https://www.aquaportail.com/