My first interview (Online)

I have been into shrimp keeping for approximately 3years and it has always been an ever-learning hobby to me (and I believe many other hobbyist around the world). It is because of this point that has been keeping my passion ongoing..

Past hobby which I did not give me the sense of 'always learning something new' but when it comes to shrimps.. There are always changes and unpredictable situations to handle and learn.. This hobby also lets me get to know more friends around the world as well as to keep this hobby with an open heart so that it will be more pleasant..

It has been great honor to be asked by Mr Jürgen Mörs for an interview which has been posted on his German website ~ Bienengarnelen ~

Here is the link: Bienengarnelen - Interview with Alvin Chan

(Interview was done via email in English but was translated to German. Thank you Ulli Bauer for assistance on tough wordings)

For those who don't understand German, here is the actual questions and answers in English..


1) Alvin, you're a breeder from Singapore. How long work you with shrimp?

It has been 3 years since I started shrimp keeping. I started out sometime in 2009 (end) where I am keeping a very small nano tank (IQ3 cube) which has an internal overhead sump filtration and first shrimp that was kept are cherry and some low grade CRS/BDS. Within a month, I change away my IQ3 cube into a GEX tank of dimension 60x30x30cm.. But somehow I am not satisfied with the tank size and within 2 months, i changed to an 'aquascape' CADE tank of dimension 60x45x45cm.. When I started the CADE tank, I wanted to prove other shrimp hobbyist wrong and I did a rockscape planted shrimp tank.. Shrimps seems fine with all those rocks until approx 6 months later, i went to test my GH and realized that it was actually in the 14dgh to 18dGH range… After this, I had a discussion with my family and decided to get myself a decent shrimp rack.. I am very lucky to have a god-father who is into shrimp keeping as well and because he has extra rack, he actually gave me my first 6 tanks rack running by overflow sump system. Been using that rack for nearly 2years before I gotten another rack from another hobbyist who is stopping this hobby and also made up my mind to change the rack which my god-father gave me for a new one.

2) Alvin, how much have you aquariums with shrimp?

At the moment, I have only 2 racks and they are all for shrimps. I am not keeping any other livestocks like fishes.. Guess my passion are only with shrimps and also with some rare plants.. Total tanks I have right now are 3 tanks with dimension of 120x40x30cm (these tanks are partitioned into 3) and also 3 tanks with dimension of 120x45x35cm (these tanks are partitioned into 2).. So based on these information, I have 15 partitions to be playing around.. But I am sure I will be upgrading soon if chance arise for more tanks.. Hahaha...

3) What have a soil you in your aquariums ?

Right now you can say that I swear by ADA New Amazonia at the moment. I have tried using GEX soil, Benibachi soil, but still feel that ADA Amazonia soil are one of the better ones. To me, it might be the nutrients in Amazonia soil which is beneficial to my shrimps..

4) What are the values you get water for the shrimp?

It has been at least a year since I go into details to measure my water parameter in tank. I have given up on testing for PH unless I see problems with my shrimps or their breeding, if not.. i would not be testing them at all.. I only do regular TDS checking (mainly because its easier to just place the TDS Pen into the water and read the digital reading then to do a liquid test.. hahaha..) and also maybe GH test once in awhile to ensure that the GH is between 3dGH to 6dGH.. So in summary, I only test my TDS and GH…

5) If the water for the shrimp out of the home pipe, or you are changing the water ?

I am using a 6-stage RO DI system for my water change as well as water top up.. Whether the water is for water change or just top up, they are directly connected to an auto top up system on all my tanks. So I wouldn't need to be waiting for the water to fill as it will just fill up to the respective set level.

6) What minerals do you use and what impact they have on the water and the shrimp ?

Hmmm… I believe the initial set up is very important if you are saying about minerals. As I believe in putting a layer of Old Sea Mud Powder or Mineral Powder at the base of the tank before I lay my soil. In a way, these powders will be slowly seep into the tank's water and mineralized the water for at least 6 months. After that I would just do weekly sprinkle of either one of the powder to further enhance the mineral contents in the tank.. Also because I am using RO DI water, water which actually goes into my tanks during water change are actually 0dGH and TDS0~10… So in a way, I would need to 'remineralized' the water right? Well, I am more of an extremist when it comes to this.. All I will do is to use Mineral Supplement liquid for GH and TDS (from Mosura Mineral Plus or similar) and dose direct into the tank while it is topping up water. As for purely TDS increment, I will be using Mosura TDS Up but the same thing is that I will just scoop from the pack and put directly into the tank instead of mixing with tank water and slowly adding to the tank.. Its actually quite surprising that shrimps are very hardy if the parameters are right in their range.. Guess my shrimps are very used to the way I am doing all these..

7) Alvin, what filters you use in your aquarium and tell please specify the function of the filter?

In my set up now, I am only using canister filters for all my main filtration purpose. Each tank/partition have a minimum of 2 canisters inline together to filter the water. My reason for putting inline canisters is to give the tank lots of area for nitrifying bacteria to grow thus increasing my bioload as well as stabling the tank much better.. I have 3 tanks which have 3 canisters inline together and those tanks are very low in nitrate levels.. If I am not wrong, when I actually added in a 3rd canisters to the line, the last canister actually have grown more anaerobic bacteria which actually breaks down nitrate.. To me, what filtration is not really that important but the tank has to have a good circulation of flow (for preventing dead spots and ammonia spike on that area) also to have a high concentration of oxygen..
Secondary filtration per tank/partition will be air driven sponge filters and K1 media.. By using air driven sponge filters gives bacteria another place in the tank to grow and the output of air (oxygen) to the water is additional benefits to the shrimps as well as the tank.. As for my K1 media which they are DIY will assist to siphon water from dead spot area in the tank and since the K1 moving media is able to grow nitrifying bacteria too, then its another bonus.. I know its kind of overkill, but I wouldn't risk expensive shrimps in a tank which is under-filtrate and I would prefer to go over instead of under..

8) Which shrimpfood get shrimp?

Shrimp food is really greatly dependent on how the keeper/breeder feels over it.. There is always lots of talk about what food for shrimps, what nutrients for shrimps, but overall, I think its a good mix of food for them which actually helps in their growth, color, health.. I rely on commercial shrimp food and try not to use home-process food, firstly I am afraid of pesticide on vegetables, these can wipe out the whole colony in just a night..
Most of my shrimp food are imported from Japan direct.. I have used food from LowKeys (Japan) and Hakata/Nishiki Food, both of these food are very good in my views. They are in pellets form but when you drop into your tank, they will soften and breaks down into powder which becomes food for the shrimplets as well.. To some it might be a little messy and also cannot be removed if overfed, so caution is to be held by the keeper/breeder on how much to feed. Other wafer-like food are also fed based on my liking..
Next is powder food.. I do add in powder based food once in awhile but I always have an issue on how much to feed and it always tends to overdose too much.. This is not good so I minimize my powder food feeding to maybe once a week only.. I do like to feed spiralina powder and also some commercial shrimp powder food which i will just mixed the 2 up into a paste and add into the tank for shrimps to eat.

9) They have in Singapore for shrimp championships for the best breeder?

Shrimp competition is not held in Singapore due to the lack of avid hobbyist. It is still a growing hobby and needs a lot of education on how to do a proper set up in order to see a good community. My main motive of doing up my own blog is not only to show my shrimps but also to show people how to do a proper set up, what I am doing might not be the best set up but I believe it would be good enough even for sensitive shrimps.

10) What are the amount of prize money for the top shrimp?

Since shrimp competition is not held in Singapore, I am unable to share what is the prize money available. But if you are talking about the price of a competition grade shrimp for PRL or PBL, you will be surprised that prices can go up to SGD$5000 or more for a single piece which portray good coloration, defined body features, no mutation, etc… But I am still in the midst of trying to breed out some good quality shrimps and I have yet to reach those standard (hope in another 2-3 years I can achieve the level where Japan and Taiwan have reached)

11) Alvin, who is the best Bee breeder in Singapore ?

This I do not know.. A lot of local breeders are actually in their own group or keeping for their own pleasure.

12) What is your favorite shrimp?

To me, I love to keep all cardina shrimps. But if I really have to pick one, I would choose Pure Red Line (or CRS).. It takes lots of effort and time to really selectively breed out a good quality piece, and it is this which actually keeps my passion going and challenging..

13) Tourists who travel to Singapore. What a good aquarium shops there it ?

For tourist who is coming by Singapore, there are 3 must-visit aquarium shops
1. Clementi 328 (Clementi Florist & Aquarium) - 328 Clementi Avenue 2 Singapore 120328
2. Green Chapter - 565 Macpherson Road #01-00. Singapore 368234
3. PetMart - 151 Serangoon North Avenue 2 Singapore 550151

Thanks Alvin for the interview..

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Welcome to the world of 'poisonous' shrimp keeping where you will deeply fascinated..

Name: Alvin (Singapore)
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