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Seeing a pregnant shrimp is wonderful! Not only does this confirm that the shrimps are feeling good in your aquarium, it will also happen that you will see tiny shrimps, nice!
Have you noticed that your shrimp is pregnant? This what you need to know about the pregnancy of a shrimp.
A female shrimp will usually molt and then start to get a saddle on her back. These are eggs in the ovaries waiting to be fertilized. She will release hormones in the water, and you will notice the males going like Formula 1 drivers in your aquaruim, swimming up and down and never sitting still. That's the male shrimp responding to the hormones and he will try and find that female and mate with her. Usually the female shrimp wait for her eggs to be fertilized at a higher place.
Mating happens very fast. It looks like the shrimp are fighting. To fertilize the females, the male shrimp will try to press its belly against the female's belly. The process takes a few seconds at the most. Once the mating proces is over, the egg's from the saddle will go down to the belly of the shrimp.
After mating you will not immediately see eggs, but they are on their way. Between 6-8 hours later you will see the eggs hanging under the belly of the pregnant female. Sometimes this can also take a little longer, but usually 6 to 8 hours. Almost all pregnant females have dark colored eggs at the beginning of the pregnancy.
Sometimes the eggs are difficult to see, this depends on a number of factors such as the color coverage of the shrimp (the better the coverage, the less visible the eggs are) and the age of the shrimp. The older they get, the more eggs will fit under the belly. The eggs are often dark orange-ish, brown or transparent.
What we noticed is that relatively young shrimps give birth to about 5 to 15 shrimps while older shrimps can give birth to at least 20 to 30 small ones.
The average pregnancy period is about 3 to 4 weeks. Eventually when the shrimps are born it will be hard to spot them. If you see that a pregnant shrimp is no longer pregnant at once, it could be that she gave birth to baby shrimp (which you cannot see yet).
Below you can see a number of photos that clearly show the eggs. In the first photo you can even see eggs on the left shrimp and again an egg mark behind the head.
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