Last updated 10/24/14
I purchased my first batch (10) of opae-ula1 on 9/6/14 with thoughts of putting them in tiny glass jars with covers to create closed ecosystems. I had seen one in my dentist’s office and was intrigued. However, after doing some research on the web, I learned that these tiny environments are unnatural and cruel. I placed them in a rectangular half-gallon-sized glass container with a couple of lava rocks.
On 9/13/14, I purchased two additional batches (20) and added one into the container. I placed the second batch in a quart-sized glass bowl shaped like a wine glass.
After watching Christine Ha’s YouTube video, “Opae’Ula Care (Hawaiian Red Shrimp/Halocaridina Rubra)” (published 7/3/14), I decided to get a small tank.
On 9/18/14, at the local Petco in Honolulu (on South Beretania St.), I purchased a 5-gallon Fluval Chi, almost exactly like Christine’s. This model apparently addresses complaints about the original. It has (1) a stronger LED, (2) a filter unit that rotates for easier cleaning, (3) a partial hood cover to slow evaporation. Instead of little stones for the well on the filter, a little plastic dome is included. This kit did not include a planter for use on the bottom of the tank. I didn’t plan on using it, so this was fine.
I added Christine’s fix for the intake holes on the bottom of the filter that could suck in the tiny shrimps. I cut a thin strip of filtering foam to fit over the row of holes, on the inside. It’s held in place by the pressure of the closed hatch.
For substrate, I used a bag of small black stones (from Petco), about an inch thick. I added a couple of lava rocks and a bunch of small coral pieces that I picked up at the beach. I boiled the coral before placing them in the tank.
I also filled the tank with brackish water, using Christine’s formula of bottled water from the local department stores and Instant Ocean Sea Salt (from Petco), a quarter cup to a gallon of water. I used a cheap (less than $3.00) floating glass hydrometer to measure specific gravity between 1.005 and 1.0102. The range on the gauge just happens to be the top set of hash marks.
After an hour or so, I placed several shrimp in the tank to see if the setup was okay. They seemed fine. I left them overnight. The next morning, seeing that they were alive and well, I placed the remaining shrimp in the tank.
The tank is on the end of my desk, next to a south-facing, closed, opaque glass jalousie window. The room is air-conditioned so temperature isn’t a problem.
1 Also spelled opae’ula, opae ‘ula, and opae ula.
2 From “Crash-Proofing,” Fukubonsai.