Detailed Diagrams of lsymata amboinensis larval stages

moretor1

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Hello All, I am in need of some photos or diagrams of shrimp larval stages.

I am considering taking a shot at breeding these guys but need more information on their life cycle to be certain about some ideas i have. Is there anywhere i can get high quality information on them that isnt an article from 1940?

My current idea could be realistically be accomplished with a 3-6 thousand dollars if i can convince a family member to let me annex their garage or basement... (or perhaps a wealthy patron who loves conservation and wants to be first in line when i get a blue shrimp ;););))
You Know You Want To Bbc Three GIF by BBC
 

MnFish1

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Hello All, I am in need of some photos or diagrams of shrimp larval stages.

I am considering taking a shot at breeding these guys but need more information on their life cycle to be certain about some ideas i have. Is there anywhere i can get high quality information on them that isnt an article from 1940?

My current idea could be realistically be accomplished with a 3-6 thousand dollars if i can convince a family member to let me annex their garage or basement... (or perhaps a wealthy patron who loves conservation and wants to be first in line when i get a blue shrimp ;););))
You Know You Want To Bbc Three GIF by BBC
Which shrimp are you planning to breed. The articles from 1940 are probably as accurate as today for the life stages, though not the husbandry?
 
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moretor1

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Ok the photo does look very similar, do you perhaps know if all lysmata go through similar life cycles?

The 1940's article was handwritten and not entirely clear as almost every diagram was labeled "lysmata intermedium" and the author would guess what species it belonged to

I was mainly looking at skunk cleaner shrimp but fire reds might be tried at the same time

Ideally I'll want at least 6-12 clutches as I'm curious about what minor changes could be made to improve survivability.

I will probably custom make a long multisectioned kriesel tank out of Acrylic or a psuedo-kriesel in a series of 10 gallon tanks, whichever ends up being cheaper tbh
 

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You may be able to find the diagrams of the development in the paper linked below, but it's behind a paywall:
For breeding them:
If the larvae are in a normal reef tank, they'll die. Survivors in cases like this do happen occasionally, but the odds are ridiculously low - given that skunk cleaner larvae remain pelagic for 3-5 months, their odds are essentially nonexistent.

To rear these guys, you'll need a larval rearing tank and some live foods: Artemia (brine shrimp), rotifers, and phytoplankton together will give the best survival results, but only the Artemia (and phyto to culture them with) are necessary.

For a really simple larval rearing setup, see the thread below:
For the complicated methods that might yield slightly better results (chapters 5 and 6 are the important ones for larval rearing purposes):
Supporting info for the feeding:
Some general aquaculture tips/info (it's oriented for fish, but a pretty much all of it is applicable to inverts - including shrimp - too):
______________________________________________________________________________________
General Summary:

Anyway, that's my species specific advice for this, now here's my general advice.


A quick summary:

-Setup a little, simple tank.
(The larval rearing tank).

-Add the larvae.

-Add the larval food and enough phytoplankton to tint the water green.
(The phytoplankton helps dim the lighting so it's not too bright for sensitive larvae, it makes it easier for the larvae to see the feeders, and it gut-loads the feeders so they're more nutritious when eaten).

-Adjust feeding as needed as the larvae grow; you typically should start feeding regular fish food in addition to the larval food around settlement.


Now the details - sorry, it's still a bit disorderly (I'm working on it).
______________________________________________________________________________________
Larval Rearing Tank:

The larval rearing tank should be setup prior to the eggs hatching if possible, and you should be prepared to move the eggs/larvae into it. Ideally, you'd be able to move the eggs into the larval rearing tank immediately before they hatch, but - if you don't know exactly when they'll hatch or if they've already hatched - you can also collect the larvae after they hatch and move them into the larval rearing tank (sorry, I haven't written up about larval collection methods yet - I'll probably get around to it eventually).

Anyway, for a simple larval rearing tank, all you need is:

-A small tank filled with saltwater (kreisel tanks are ideal, but not necessary)

-An airline/air stone/gentle sponge filter (for flow/oxygenation)


Depending on individual circumstances, you may also need:

-A heater (or chiller, though these would rarely be needed for anything other than temperate/coldwater species; these should be sectioned off from the larvae - such as with a 40 micron or smaller mesh - to prevent injuries to the larvae and to keep the feeders where the larvae can get to them)

-Light(s)*


You don't want standard tank filters, skimmers, uncovered pumps/powerheads etc. - those are not pelagic larvae safe.

The size of the larval rearing tank may vary depending of the species you're working with, but, generally speaking, you want it to be pretty small so you can easily keep the proper densities of feeders and phytoplankton.

For an example of a simple larval rearing setup:
*A quick note on lighting for the larval rearing tank:
Some species require lighting, others don't; running a light that's bright enough to ensure the larvae can clearly see the feeders in the tank without being overly bright is generally a safe option. A 12 light:12 dark or 14 light:10 dark lighting schedule is generally suggested; some people also run dim "night lights" in the room away from the tank for the larvae.

If you see larvae headbutting the wall of the tank, that's a sign the light is reflecting off the tank wall and attracting the larvae, causing "head-butting syndrome" where the larvae ram into the wall often until they die - if you see this, you'll need to blackout the tank, but I haven't seen this be a big issue for most people, especially not when they're using the "green-water" method and tinting the larval rearing tank's water green with phytoplankton.
______________________________________________________________________________________
Feeding:

Much like human babies need special foods, larval fish also need special foods to survive. For larval fish, those foods (which I'll refer to generally as "feeders" after this) are things like live rotifers, Artemia (Brine Shrimp), and copepods, but each species of fish has specific food needs. Most larval fish need their feeders to move in specific ways in order to entice them to eat, so live food is typically a must.

As a note, some larval fish hatch with a yolk sac that they feed off of, but the yolk usually only lasts about two days - after those two days, the larvae need feeders or they'll starve.


Anyway, for a feeder to be useful in the rearing of larval fish, they need to:

-Be the right size for the fish to eat

-Be enticing to the fish

-Meet the larvae's nutritional needs at the time they're offered to them

-Be offered in the right quantity and density (for example, when rearing Ocellaris Clownfish using rotifers, the ideal density of rotifers for rearing the larvae is ~10 rotifers per mL, but you can't just put the larvae in a 1 mL tube and expect it to have enough food to eat; you need a reasonable density in a reasonably sized tank - also, some species [such as some cuttlefish, which are actually invertebrates rather than fish] may not eat if the feeder density is too high; so too low of quantity/density, and the fish starve, but also too high of density and they may starve)


In addition to these requirements, you (the aquarist attempting to rear the larvae) must be able to supply enough of the required feeders consistently throughout the duration for which they may be needed - this typically means that you will need to be culturing the feeders (and the phytoplankton needed to culture them) yourself to ensure that you always have enough of them on hand.

A lot of people run into feeder issues their first few times breeding, so having a backup plan in place to ensure that you can quickly obtain more of the right feeders (or their needed phytoplankton) quickly in an emergency is also a good idea.

Typically, feeders are best when gut-loaded (i.e. fed something - typically phytoplankton - immediately before they're offered to/eaten by the larvae) - the green-water rearing method (i.e. where the water in the larval rearing tank is tinted green with phytoplankton) is generally a useful, easy way to gut-load the feeders.

Now, to discuss more about the points above.


The right size feeders:
-Larval fish can typically only eat feeders that are approximately 20% of the size of their gape; this means that the smaller the larval fish are, the smaller their feeders need to be. To say it another way, if the feeder is too big, the fish can't eat it.

-Some feeders are the right size at specific life stages, but not at others, so you may frequently need to sieve the feeders to ensure you're offering the fish the right size of feeders.


An example to help explain sieving:

Adult Parvocalanus crassirostris copepods get up to 400 microns, whereas stage 1 Parvocalanus nauplii are about 40 microns. This means that the Parvocalanus nauplii should be ~1/10 the size of the adult pods - the stage 1 nauplii are a good size for a lot of small fish larvae, but the adults are too big.

So, to make sure you're only offering the stage 1 nauplii, you could take a 45 micron sieve and pour the Parvocalanus culture into it - the stage 1 nauplii at 40 microns are small enough that they would fall through the sieve's 45 micron holes, but the other stages (including the adults) would be too large to fall through. This lets you collect only the stage 1 nauplii to offer to the larval fish.

Similarly, as the larval fish grow, they can begin eating larger feeders (say, 120 microns, for example), so you can use larger sieves (say 130 microns, for example) to ensure that you keep offering only the feeders which are small enough for the fish to eat (the sieve's size is the maximum size the feeders could be when you offer them to the fish).

Now, while I used copepods for the example above, sieving is useful/needed for things like Artemia nauplii [A.K.A. Baby Brine Shrimp/BBS] as well, since adult brine shrimp are much larger than baby brine shrimp. Again, it's all about controlling what size of feeder you are offering to the larvae.

Typically, when the larvae are ready to settle they're also ready to start being weaned onto "normal" aquarium feeds like frozen foods and pellets, but these also need to be offered in appropriate sizes (Otohime and TDO Chroma Boost pellets, for examples, are available in a wide range of sizes, including sizes that are appropriate for most newly settled fish).


Larval nutritional needs and changes (Bottlenecks):

As mentioned, larval fish have special food needs. Some species need rotifers, others copepods, others Artemia, etc.

For some species, though, those needs change at different points of their larval development. This means that a feeder (such as rotifers) that meets their nutritional needs at one point in their development (such as immediately after hatching) may not meet their nutritional needs at another (such as 15 days after hatching). So, you may need to switch what is being fed (such as switching from rotifers to Artemia nauplii) to the fish at or slightly before that point in order to meet their new/changing nutritional needs.

We refer to these points as "bottlenecks," as the number of larvae that survive beyond these points without a change of feeders is typically very low or zero.

We typically find out about these bottlenecks by - unfortunately - watching them happen. This can be incredibly disheartening, but the good news is that once we have identified a bottleneck (days 2 and 3 post hatch are common bottleneck days, and there's often another bottleneck after about 2-3 weeks), we know to adjust something (typically the feeding) to account for it with the next batch and try to get larvae surviving through it.

Remember, every attempt gets us one step closer to successfully rearing the species - don't give up!
______________________________________________________________________________________
Settlement:

Some species need sand, rock, dark areas, specific colors, specific chemical cues, or other oddly specific things to settle on/in (from what I've seen, inverts are usually a lot more picky with this), so it may help to have a ledge or cave (PVC should be fine for this, if it's even needed, which I honestly kind of doubt) and a little sand in the larval rearing tank just in case the fish need it.
______________________________________________________________________________________
Final notes:

Since marine aquaculture is still a developing field, any information you can gather is helpful for both you and others.

With that in mind:

-Watch for developmental bottlenecks and issues with your rearing methods - some species may require fine-tuning things like the lighting, flow, broodstock (parental) diet, etc. Fine-tune your larval rearing process, and if you can't get past a certain bottleneck, you may need to start looking at things other than the larval foods.

-Observe and note information about the larvae (things like how big the eggs are, how big the larvae are, when the larvae settle, when coloration comes in, etc.) and the larval behaviors (stuff like if they are attracted to light, how they react to light, if they are attracted to certain colors, what feeders they eat and what what sizes of feeders they eat at what days post hatch, what kind of substrate they prefer to settle on, are they cannibalistic, etc.).

Any information you get can bring us closer to success.


Finally, this last link gives a bunch of info on rearing difficult species and some ideas about trying to troubleshoot problems with the rearing:
If you have any questions, please ask - I'll help when I can.

I hope this helps - good luck, and keep us updated!
If you've got questions on other species (such as the Fire Shrimp, Lysmata debelius), then I'm happy to help where I can.
 

MnFish1

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Ok the photo does look very similar, do you perhaps know if all lysmata go through similar life cycles?

The 1940's article was handwritten and not entirely clear as almost every diagram was labeled "lysmata intermedium" and the author would guess what species it belonged to

I was mainly looking at skunk cleaner shrimp but fire reds might be tried at the same time

Ideally I'll want at least 6-12 clutches as I'm curious about what minor changes could be made to improve survivability.

I will probably custom make a long multisectioned kriesel tank out of Acrylic or a psuedo-kriesel in a series of 10 gallon tanks, whichever ends up being cheaper tbh
No - I don't know more than the article:)
 
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moretor1

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You may be able to find the diagrams of the development in the paper linked below, but it's behind a paywall:
For breeding them:

Supporting info for the feeding:
Some general aquaculture tips/info (it's oriented for fish, but a pretty much all of it is applicable to inverts - including shrimp - too):

If you've got questions on other species (such as the Fire Shrimp, Lysmata debelius), then I'm happy to help where I can.
Do you know of any studies that have tried other main sources of protein other than artemia?

My main concern is that as if brine shrimp are far too large to be a suitable feeders, especially for the early instar larva.

is 2cm a good figure for when they've reached their adult stage? If so that would mean even in their largest larval form, they would need a food source no larger than 400 micron (going by the 20% rule). Nauplii are born at ~200-500micron

Although i would argue that planktonic organisms might have a much smaller preference for their food choices as they dont have nearly the mobility of finned fish

The linear size ratio between predators and their optimal prey is 1 : 1 for a dinoflagellate, 3 : 1 for other flagellates, 8 : 1 for ciliates, 18 : 1 for rotifers and copepods, and - 50 : 1 for cladocerans and

At such a small size and fragile stage of their life cycle wouldnt it make sense for them to prefer foods more relatively in line with copepods??

What if the more appropriate ratio was something along the lines of 3%-10% of size? at 3-4mm for newborn lysmata that would mean a feeding stock in the ~90-400micron range

From the way it looks to me the current attempts to raise lysmata amboinensis is the aquatic equivilent to trying to raise turkeys by trying to feed live chickens
 

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Do you know of any studies that have tried other main sources of protein other than artemia?

My main concern is that as if brine shrimp are far too large to be a suitable feeders, especially for the early instar larva.

is 2cm a good figure for when they've reached their adult stage? If so that would mean even in their largest larval form, they would need a food source no larger than 400 micron (going by the 20% rule). Nauplii are born at ~200-500micron

Although i would argue that planktonic organisms might have a much smaller preference for their food choices as they dont have nearly the mobility of finned fish



At such a small size and fragile stage of their life cycle wouldnt it make sense for them to prefer foods more relatively in line with copepods??

What if the more appropriate ratio was something along the lines of 3%-10% of size? at 3-4mm for newborn lysmata that would mean a feeding stock in the ~90-400micron range

From the way it looks to me the current attempts to raise lysmata amboinensis is the aquatic equivilent to trying to raise turkeys by trying to feed live chickens
I think someone else mentioned phytoplankton?
 

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Do you know of any studies that have tried other main sources of protein other than artemia?

My main concern is that as if brine shrimp are far too large to be a suitable feeders, especially for the early instar larva.

is 2cm a good figure for when they've reached their adult stage? If so that would mean even in their largest larval form, they would need a food source no larger than 400 micron (going by the 20% rule). Nauplii are born at ~200micron

Although i would argue that planktonic organisms might have a much smaller preference for their food choices as they dont have nearly the mobility of finned fish



At such a small size and fragile stage of their life cycle wouldnt it make sense for them to prefer foods more relatively in line with copepods??

What if the more appropriate ratio was something along the lines of 3%-10% of size?

From the way it looks to me the current attempts to raise lysmata amboinensis is the aquatic equivilent to trying to raise turkeys by trying to feeding live chickens
Ah, yeah, good note for me to include in the future: the 20% gape rule only applies to fish - inverts seem to vary pretty drastically on preferred food sizes depending on species (some cephalopods, for example, can take down prey that's basically their same size shortly after hatching despite having ridiculously small mouths by comparison). Shrimp and other macrofauna crustaceans like crabs seem to generally prefer fairly large feeders.

Rotifers (enriched and unenriched) have been tried - they work for a few days (until the shrimp hit their second Zoea stage), then show some increased mortality rates compared to Artemia (so feeding Artemia from the get-go actually shows increased survival unless you switch from rotifers to Artemia around day 3 post hatch).

Apocyclops panamensis copepods have also been tried with full mortality before day 6 post hatch.

Phytoplankton by itself has also been shown to be insufficient and would result in full mortality before day 6 as well.


Anyway, there may well be a more appropriate food out there for them than Artemia nauplii, but even with Artemia being used as a first feed for them, they show over 90% survival rates through the first zoea stage.

(All of this info is in the links I've shared above except for the 20% gape rule thing.)




Also, to clarify here, these reports I've shared are the successful attempts at rearing these - so these have been aquacultured all the way from broodstock to egg to adulthood again successfully a number of times before using these methods.
 
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moretor1

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Ah, yeah, good note for me to include in the future: the 20% gape rule only applies to fish - inverts seem to vary pretty drastically on preferred food sizes depending on species (some cephalopods, for example, can take down prey that's basically their same size shortly after hatching despite having ridiculously small mouths by comparison). Shrimp and other macrofauna crustaceans like crabs seem to generally prefer fairly large feeders.

Rotifers (enriched and unenriched) have been tried - they work for a few days (until the shrimp hit their second Zoea stage), then show some increased mortality rates compared to Artemia (so feeding Artemia from the get-go actually shows increased survival unless you switch from rotifers to Artemia around day 3 post hatch).

Apocyclops panamensis copepods have also been tried with full mortality before day 6 post hatch.

Phytoplankton by itself has also been shown to be insufficient and would result in full mortality before day 6 as well.


Anyway, there may well be a more appropriate food out there for them than Artemia nauplii, but even with Artemia being used as a first feed for them, they show over 90% survival rates through the first zoea stage.

(All of this info is in the links I've shared above except for the 20% gape rule thing.)




Also, to clarify here, these reports I've shared are the successful attempts at rearing these - so these have been aquacultured all the way from broodstock to egg to adulthood again successfully a number of times before using these methods.
awesome, i've had a chance to skim over the thesis by tziouveli and have a general idea of the process.
From the sucessfull attempts you have seen what has been the average survival rate? From what i have heard only 2, sometimes 3 survive due to cannibalism. Have any attempts to rear in very large tanks (~300gal+) been made yet? I would almost definitely include macroalgae in the rearing tanks but do you think there would be a difference between chaeto, gracilaria hayi, or caulerpa?

Is enriching the broodstock artemia standard practice?
i might ask algae barn if they have nutritional profiles for their products, i'll buy some exotic pods if i have to but enriching artema is always an option

edit:i dont know why i keep thinking its artemia
 

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From the sucessfull attempts you have seen what has been the average survival rate?
For professionals (not hobbyists), good survival rates for these could range basically anywhere from ~50-80% depending on a number of factors, including the kind of tank used, broodstock diet, larval diet, etc. Honestly, 50% survival is respectable; anything above 70% is really good; 80% or higher is incredibly high.

(Edit: To add, even for a professional, 30-50% would not be anything to be ashamed of; those are still good numbers, just not great).

For hobbyists, any surviving at all to settlement is considered an accomplishment to be lauded. If you can get in the range of ~10-30% survival, that would be a seriously great start.
From what i have heard only 2, sometimes 3 survive due to cannibalism
Cannibalism is pretty common for a lot of species - I haven't heard of this being a big issue with these guys myself, but I know @DaJMasta has tried to rear these shrimp before, so maybe they'll have some insight on that (and on some other points) for us.
Have any attempts to rear in very large tanks (~300gal+) been made yet?
Generally speaking, unless you're working on a commercial scale, you don't want to use such a large tank for larval rearing - it's really difficult and expensive to keep such a large tank appropriately stocked with enough appropriately sized feeders and phytoplankton. Smaller tanks allow for more control over the amount of food in the tank, the stocking density of the larvae, etc. - so smaller tanks are generally preferred (again, exceptions for commercial endeavors which have tons of money and breeding pairs to work with).
I would almost definitely include macroalgae in the rearing tanks but do you think there would be a difference between chaeto, gracilaria hayi, or caulerpa?
I'm not sure on this one - it's not standard practice to include macroalgae in aquaculture tanks unless needed for feed or to provide specific chemical cues for settlement. Some people might use them as a refugium to help keep nutrients in check, but that would make the larval rearing tank substantially more complex than most hobbyists would likely be comfortable with.
Is enriching the broodstock artemia standard practice?
Newly hatched Artemia can't eat for ~12 hours post hatching, but after that, yes.

It's pretty much always a good idea to enrich the feeders (that's what the phytoplankton is for in large part both in the feeder culture and in the larval rearing tank). Each species has their own ideal enrichment levels and some of those may require other forms of enrichment than just phyto (this is where you may see things like Selcon being used), but with Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, they've seen good results from phyto blends like Algamac 3000 (reportedly a Schizochytrium species); so a good phyto blend should work fine.

My usual recommendation for enrichment is a blend of at least Isochrysis/T-Iso, Tetraselmis, and Chaetoceros (or Thalassiosira), but again, what's best varies from one species to another. I know the thesis linked has some good info on what nutritional profile to look for for these shrimp hidden somewhere in there.
 
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There are a lot of questions going on here so I'm not going to attempt to go through and answer tons of things, and while I think making rearing attempts is a laudable and fun thing, doing so without experience will probably be a lot of expensive trial and error with little to no results. While these are being raised commercially, I don't think their methodology/equipment is public and I don't know if it would be suitable for a hobbyist sized operation. I also don't know what they're survival rates are - given the price and the limited availability, I wouldn't be surprised if it was single digit percentages - and this is very common even in commercial operations. I believe I remember hearing some early production figures for aquacultured yellow tangs being around 1% survival rate from hatched eggs and that beginning to be commercially viable. In the wild, usually around 1% is normal to reasonable sized young adults, but this is mostly due to predation.

I've been making attempts with various lysmata shrimps for about two years now, amboinensis, dibelius, and wurdemanni, and their development seems to be pretty similar. About as far as I've gotten is ~30 days, which I believe is somewhat close to settlement, but never had any settle out. I believe the final settled size is much closer to 1cm than 2cm - they do get lanky as the larvae develop, but most of the growth is metamorposis and thickening of the body, so they have very little overall length when they first settle. Collecting spawns shouldn't be a difficult thing, a pair of adult shrimp can keep each others' eggs fertilized and they will release the new larvae the night of their molt, very shortly after dark. The larvae are pretty phototactic, so you should be able to lure them to a collection area with a dim light (provided the rest is blacked out), and while they're not terrible swimmers, you want to limit the flow rate in your collection vessel because they will eventually get tired and/or tangled in each other if held there for long.

My methods have been generally to collect, transfer to a new rearing vessel within a few hours (usually using 3 gallon brute buckets nowadays), and feed immediately. My feeding includes atermia nauplii as of late but also sieved copepods to keep out the larger adults (stronger swimmers) at least until the population in the bucket ages into them. I do add some phyto to the vessel, but adding too much lets the copepods and brine shrimp grow to be adults, which is maybe a worse food source for the larvae.

Lysmata larvae capture their food by grabbing onto it under their swimming legs and then pulling it apart - I've seen them grab onto brine shrimp eggs before, so I don't think it's particularly motion motivated nor do I think they're adept hunters. I've also seen couple-week-old larvae hold onto an entire adult brine shrimp (nearly their size) and presumably eat it. While I haven't seen direct predation between larvae (they usually bump into each other, untangle, and swim on their way), I do see in later stages of growth some larvae missing limbs. It seems like larvae can often survive for a while after that, but it could be evidence of cannabilism at least after they start to get lanky.

I haven't been super comprehensive on documenting my attempts, but there's a little info on early ones here: https://wamas.org/forums/topic/98716-skunk-cleaner-shrimp-spawning-log/page/2/ As for pictures of larvae, I've got a few videos and things, but I think the old drawings do a reasonable job of showing the zoea stage changes. They look very little like, in my opinion, what you actually see by eye or under a microscope, but if you can get the light right to see the development of their fins, legs, and such, they do a good job differentiating between things. For skunk cleaners, they're nearly entirely clear with a yellow dot at the center for the first few days. After a week or so you can sort of see little red flecks under a microscope but not so much by eye, and you can see a different, wider division in their tail and then their eyes stalk out a bit. After about two weeks they start to look lanky, with long legs with paddles growing down from them, and they get to be somewhat better swimmers. They get more long legs, some more fin development, and some changes in the rostrum area as time goes on, as well as a little more color (exclusively red from as far as I've got) as they get older, but their body doesn't dramatically increase in size much. At virtually all stages of development that I've seen, they swim towards the light, but too bright a light or too many light sources makes them swim in confused looking tight spirals.

EDIT: Looks like I posted a couple videos of various shrimp in development in the first couple of weeks. Here's some lanky 15 day olds:
 

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While these are being raised commercially, I don't think their methodology/equipment is public and I don't know if it would be suitable for a hobbyist sized operation. I also don't know what they're survival rates are - given the price and the limited availability, I wouldn't be surprised if it was single digit percentages - and this is very common even in commercial operations. I believe I remember hearing some early production figures for aquacultured yellow tangs being around 1% survival rate from hatched eggs and that beginning to be commercially viable.
Ah, yeah, this is a good point to consider - my data is primarily professional aquaculture lab-based data, not commercial data.

While labs may see really good results, the methods used aren't always cost or labor-effective enough to make the commercial side plausible (i.e. using lab methods could bankrupt a commercial endeavor), and they're methods are often difficult to the point of being well beyond the skills of the average hobbyist (plus, the labs are typically maintained by groups of people who - in addition to being trained professionals and knowing what they're doing - also have a lot of time they can dedicate to each facet of the process).

Commercial production (which typically has much higher survival rates than hobbyist production) does often have lower survival rates than lab cultures, and with some particularly difficult species (such as Anthias or some Chromis) survival rates can be as low as 3-5% even for labs (Edit: assuming they have any survive to settlement, that is).


So, to really reinforce this point:
while I think making rearing attempts is a laudable and fun thing, doing so without experience will probably be a lot of expensive trial and error with little to no results.
OP, I'd try culturing these guys in a small-scale, hobbyist setting that won't break the bank first - see if you can get any to settlement, learn from your mistakes/improve upon your methodology as you go, get more familiar with the process and with what to watch for/try, and once you get a decent number to survive, then I'd say try breaking into the commercial-scale operation.

That way will likely save a lot of money, frustration, and heartbreak.
 

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A follow up on that last bit: I thought it important to mention specifically because you mentioned both a budget, an expensive setup, and the potential for renting space for it, and I think I can articulate why that reads as a red flag to me.

Raising up larvae seems like a clear but complex puzzle - they have to be suspended in the water, they can't get eaten, they need to eat appropriate foods, they need the right water parameters, and then eventually if you've got all the parameters right, they may settle. If they don't, you need to change your methods a little and try again - iteration to hone in on successful elements of the process. And this isn't fundamentally a wrong view on it, but the more subtle reality is that every single step of the process isn't well understood (especially in publicly available literature) and needs iteration and experience (skill development) to even get to the point of usability let alone improving on the method.

How gently do you have to handle larvae? How do you keep other organisms out of the larvae you transfer into a rearing vessel? What is a workflow of hatching artemia nauplii that you can reliably maintain and count on for a continuous supply of them? How do you keep a culture of ____ copepod going for the months needed to cover the duration of a single settling period? Do curved sides/corners count for much with the larvae you want to work with? Do the larvae need high, medium, or low flow.... and how much even is any of those? Does adding phytoplankton to the vessel help them feed, improve the nutrition of the food, or just make the prey and unwanted organisms grow faster? How do you manage evaporation and salinity if you've got half a dozen buckets with creatures in them? Do they need light over the rearing vessel? Can that light be on 24 hours? Do I have to black out the sides of the vessel (can it be clear so I can see them and actually get a good count/check of their health?)

Very, very little has a sort of default answer, and while this is part of the appeal, it means that you're in a literal sea of variables that no one fully understands how they all effect things and every one needs to be selected for, trialed, and documented before you can really start getting results with it. With all this complexity and so much of it coming from things you really will just have to learn by trying (since there are so few people and places that teach it), so shelling out a bunch of money early on for equipment that may or may not be important and with expenses that you are now expecting to make a return on in the nearish future is a very difficult thing to recommend.

So my recommendation: Get a pair of shrimp in your display, develop a method to catch the larvae, start some live food cultures in advance of catching them to get some experience with them, and when those things are starting to feel comfortable and you get a spawn, catch them and give it a try in an inexpensive setup (used tank, bucket, trashcan, etc.) You'll get regular chances with a single pair and if you're trying to monitor their health, behavior, and water parameters, you should have a good amount of data to start iterating after a few attempts, and if you're documenting what you're doing, you'll start to see patterns in what seems to be working.
 
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There are a lot of questions going on here so I'm not going to attempt to go through and answer tons of things, and while I think making rearing attempts is a laudable and fun thing, doing so without experience will probably be a lot of expensive trial and error with little to no results. While these are being raised commercially, I don't think their methodology/equipment is public and I don't know if it would be suitable for a hobbyist sized operation. I also don't know what they're survival rates are - given the price and the limited availability, I wouldn't be surprised if it was single digit percentages - and this is very common even in commercial operations. I believe I remember hearing some early production figures for aquacultured yellow tangs being around 1% survival rate from hatched eggs and that beginning to be commercially viable. In the wild, usually around 1% is normal to reasonable sized young adults, but this is mostly due to predation.

I've been making attempts with various lysmata shrimps for about two years now, amboinensis, dibelius, and wurdemanni, and their development seems to be pretty similar. About as far as I've gotten is ~30 days, which I believe is somewhat close to settlement, but never had any settle out. I believe the final settled size is much closer to 1cm than 2cm - they do get lanky as the larvae develop, but most of the growth is metamorposis and thickening of the body, so they have very little overall length when they first settle. Collecting spawns shouldn't be a difficult thing, a pair of adult shrimp can keep each others' eggs fertilized and they will release the new larvae the night of their molt, very shortly after dark. The larvae are pretty phototactic, so you should be able to lure them to a collection area with a dim light (provided the rest is blacked out), and while they're not terrible swimmers, you want to limit the flow rate in your collection vessel because they will eventually get tired and/or tangled in each other if held there for long.

My methods have been generally to collect, transfer to a new rearing vessel within a few hours (usually using 3 gallon brute buckets nowadays), and feed immediately. My feeding includes atermia nauplii as of late but also sieved copepods to keep out the larger adults (stronger swimmers) at least until the population in the bucket ages into them. I do add some phyto to the vessel, but adding too much lets the copepods and brine shrimp grow to be adults, which is maybe a worse food source for the larvae.

Lysmata larvae capture their food by grabbing onto it under their swimming legs and then pulling it apart - I've seen them grab onto brine shrimp eggs before, so I don't think it's particularly motion motivated nor do I think they're adept hunters. I've also seen couple-week-old larvae hold onto an entire adult brine shrimp (nearly their size) and presumably eat it. While I haven't seen direct predation between larvae (they usually bump into each other, untangle, and swim on their way), I do see in later stages of growth some larvae missing limbs. It seems like larvae can often survive for a while after that, but it could be evidence of cannabilism at least after they start to get lanky.

I haven't been super comprehensive on documenting my attempts, but there's a little info on early ones here: https://wamas.org/forums/topic/98716-skunk-cleaner-shrimp-spawning-log/page/2/ As for pictures of larvae, I've got a few videos and things, but I think the old drawings do a reasonable job of showing the zoea stage changes. They look very little like, in my opinion, what you actually see by eye or under a microscope, but if you can get the light right to see the development of their fins, legs, and such, they do a good job differentiating between things. For skunk cleaners, they're nearly entirely clear with a yellow dot at the center for the first few days. After a week or so you can sort of see little red flecks under a microscope but not so much by eye, and you can see a different, wider division in their tail and then their eyes stalk out a bit. After about two weeks they start to look lanky, with long legs with paddles growing down from them, and they get to be somewhat better swimmers. They get more long legs, some more fin development, and some changes in the rostrum area as time goes on, as well as a little more color (exclusively red from as far as I've got) as they get older, but their body doesn't dramatically increase in size much. At virtually all stages of development that I've seen, they swim towards the light, but too bright a light or too many light sources makes them swim in confused looking tight spirals.

EDIT: Looks like I posted a couple videos of various shrimp in development in the first couple of weeks. Here's some lanky 15 day olds:

I was not aware that amboinensis or debelius were being bred in captivity on a commercial scale.

Are there any available for purchase in the us? If anything, I think captive bred broodstock would give the larvae a better chance of survival to adulthood
 

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anything, I think captive bred broodstock would give the larvae a better chance of survival to adulthood
It probably wouldn't, but it potentially could. The reason I say it probably wouldn't is because sometimes with aquaculture, you successfully rear the larvae, but because of different conditions (such as inadequate/incomplete nutrition) while they were larvae, there are lasting deficiencies in the adult specimens. Wild-caught specimens may be less likely to have these issues. Not all species face this issue though.
 
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A follow up on that last bit: I thought it important to mention specifically because you mentioned both a budget, an expensive setup, and the potential for renting space for it, and I think I can articulate why that reads as a red flag to me.

Raising up larvae seems like a clear but complex puzzle - they have to be suspended in the water, they can't get eaten, they need to eat appropriate foods, they need the right water parameters, and then eventually if you've got all the parameters right, they may settle. If they don't, you need to change your methods a little and try again - iteration to hone in on successful elements of the process. And this isn't fundamentally a wrong view on it, but the more subtle reality is that every single step of the process isn't well understood (especially in publicly available literature) and needs iteration and experience (skill development) to even get to the point of usability let alone improving on the method.

How gently do you have to handle larvae? How do you keep other organisms out of the larvae you transfer into a rearing vessel? What is a workflow of hatching artemia nauplii that you can reliably maintain and count on for a continuous supply of them? How do you keep a culture of ____ copepod going for the months needed to cover the duration of a single settling period? Do curved sides/corners count for much with the larvae you want to work with? Do the larvae need high, medium, or low flow.... and how much even is any of those? Does adding phytoplankton to the vessel help them feed, improve the nutrition of the food, or just make the prey and unwanted organisms grow faster? How do you manage evaporation and salinity if you've got half a dozen buckets with creatures in them? Do they need light over the rearing vessel? Can that light be on 24 hours? Do I have to black out the sides of the vessel (can it be clear so I can see them and actually get a good count/check of their health?)

Very, very little has a sort of default answer, and while this is part of the appeal, it means that you're in a literal sea of variables that no one fully understands how they all effect things and every one needs to be selected for, trialed, and documented before you can really start getting results with it. With all this complexity and so much of it coming from things you really will just have to learn by trying (since there are so few people and places that teach it), so shelling out a bunch of money early on for equipment that may or may not be important and with expenses that you are now expecting to make a return on in the nearish future is a very difficult thing to recommend.

So my recommendation: Get a pair of shrimp in your display, develop a method to catch the larvae, start some live food cultures in advance of catching them to get some experience with them, and when those things are starting to feel comfortable and you get a spawn, catch them and give it a try in an inexpensive setup (used tank, bucket, trashcan, etc.) You'll get regular chances with a single pair and if you're trying to monitor their health, behavior, and water parameters, you should have a good amount of data to start iterating after a few attempts, and if you're documenting what you're doing, you'll start to see patterns in what seems to be working.
I definitely won't be renting anywhere to set this up lol
I have plenty of family who would let me use some space

Ideally the plan was to find ways to automate the feeding schedules
the original plan was to use large (slightly modified) cone bottomed tanks for culturing Artema or pods and automatically controlled valves to slowly drain into the larvae tank and provide a consistent, constant flow of food

The reason I wanted to go large was more or less the ease of engineering the feeding as ideally I could do it from a large tank using the head pressure instead of figuring out what kind of pump to use that won't crush the food
 
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moretor1

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Also I see a lot of mentioning larvae collection which leaves me wondering, why not move the broodmother into the larval rearing tank a night or two before hatching?
Speaking from my experience raising freshwater shrimp but isn't it fairly simple to judge how far along the eggs are?
For freshwater shrimp it's usually 1-3 days after visible eyes have formed
 

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Also I see a lot of mentioning larvae collection which leaves me wondering, why not move the broodmother into the larval rearing tank a night or two before hatching?
Speaking from my experience raising freshwater shrimp but isn't it fairly simple to judge how far along the eggs are?
For freshwater shrimp it's usually 1-3 days after visible eyes have formed
Yeah, if you know when they're going to hatch, moving the broodstock into the larval rearing tank slightly before hatching is a valid plan.

For Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, the eggs hatch at ~13 days (probably give or take a couple of days for different temperatures). So, day 12 would probably be the day to move the ovigerous (berried; i.e. pregnant) shrimp to the larval rearing tank.

The adult shrimp may eat some of the young, though, so you probably want to pull them out after the larvae hatch.
 

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