Gammarus Shrimp (Hyalella Azteca), also known as scuds, are freshwater amphipod crustaceans naturally occurring in slow-running rivers and lakes measuring approximately 1 cm. They are often found in slow runs over Chara weed, providing a staple preferred food source for trout and other river fish.
These small invertebrates can also be a great food source for aquarium fish. In fact, they are readily consumed by many different species of aquarium fish. They provide a great source of protein and roughage to aid digestion and are also one of the best natural color-enhancing food for fish. Trout heavily fed on scuds are known to be well-fattened and the most colorful. Therefore, they are one of the best types of fish food.
In an aquarium environment, uneaten scuds are known to survive in many freshwater aquariums with the adequate substrate or filtration media, providing an occasional opportunistic treat for the fish in the future. In addition, scuds are beneficial in maintaining stable water chemistry as they aid in processing uneaten fish food and decomposing fish waste. They are known to prolong the use of aquarium filter as they feed on the debris on the aquarium filter.
Eliminating an established colony of scuds in an aquarium can be difficult without changing the aquarium filter and washing the gravel. Juvenile scuds can be cultured and fed to smaller fish and fish fry. By simply providing aeration, food, and a dark environment, scuds will readily reproduce to provide a constant source of nutrition-rich food.
Gammarus Shrimp Culture
For a successful Gammarus Shrimp culture, providing a dark aerated environment is crucial. Raising the scuds in such an environment can be achieved by providing a water flow or shallow water with a large surface area. Their diet varies widely as they are omnivorous feeders and are not very picky eaters. Breeding these amphipods is simple, yet it has a few basic requirements.
First of all, it is important to provide a source of cellulose to breed them effectively. Adding dried Alder leaves and green water is beneficial. Clean water, good aeration, and slightly alkaline water rich in calcium will achieve the highest yield in a scud culture. The optimum temperature for a Gammarus culture is 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH of 6.8 to 7.5.
If looking after a live culture is inconvenient, dried Gammarus is a great alternative to live scuds. The dried shrimp also adds quality nutrients to your fish’s diet, aids in digestion, and enhances the coloration of your fish. They can be fed to many different species of freshwater and saltwater fish.