Mycelium Magic That Will Change Your Shrimps Lives Forever
Now, this could potentially be the holy grail for a lot of you guys in regards to shrimp keeping because it makes such a huge difference.
Let’s start by telling you what Mycelium is for all of you will have seen it at some stage or another so you can call this a dormant awakening if you like.
Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungi, and it can grow on any organic matter that has started to decay and typically you will have seen it on bread that has started to go off or cheese that’s going too far into the smelly feet section.
If any of you guys have ever been in a damp forest in the fall chances are you will have been surrounded by it. Mycelium itself looks like the whites thread spreading out like a root system and is often found in rotting bark.
For any of you out there that watch Star Trek, you will be aware of the spore drive used to propel the ship along the mycelium network, now that might be far-fetched (Link that explains how the Star Trek the spore drive works In theory) but what if I told you Mycelium make up the largest living organisms on earth with some of them reported to be as large as 6 kilometers across!
Amazing right, what if I told you they were able to join with other Mycelium networks to form a new Mycelium network!
Whats also amazing is that the spores are literally everywhere, you probably have breathed a few into your lungs today and or eaten the fruiting body of Mycelium at least once this month.
What is the fruiting body you say ..mushrooms, of course, You guys will remember a few months back I did a YouTube video called Shrimp Versus Mushrooms (I will add the video to the bottom of the page)
Well, I was shocked by the reaction of the shrimp in that video because the first piece of mushroom I added to the tank got a lot of attention and it was raw !!
Every other piece of food I have added to the tanks in the Shrimp Versus series required some type of processing before the shrimp would eat it, take Nettle as an example if I place a raw fresh leaf in the tank right now .. the shrimp might go to it but they wouldn’t eat it for a few days.
It seems decomposition is needed of some sort in every other food and the shrimp can sense this but it was different with the mushroom. To understand this fully you have to understand how shrimp have evolved.
They are by nature omnivores which means they eat everything plant and meat but underlying this is they are primarily detrivors which means they eat decaying matter or is it possible they are eating what is decaying that matter, this is where mycelium comes in and that is the connection.
For me, that day giving them Mushrooms must have been like pure ecstasy for them ,
think of your most favorite food ever and then me handing it to you right now and let’s just say you haven’t had a meal for a few days, how would you feel ? you would literally rip my arm of right?That is the reaction I saw.
But there is more to it !!
What if I told you shrimp crave for this something all the time?
I have often seen this craving miss placed as cannibalism especially when another shrimp molts, we have all seen it a female molts and it sends the males and other shrimp in the tanks crazy.
I used to think only male shrimp danced because they could sense a female had just molted and was ready to be mated with but I was wrong.
Female shrimp also start to do this dance and I know this for sure because I have seen berried shrimp do this dance and they are looking for something. They are sensing the same thing the male’s sense and that sends them into a frenzy…
What has this got to do with Mycelium I can hear you all say well a few months back I found a research paper that suggested that Mycelium is actually in fact made up of 10% Chitin.
Why Is Chitin Important?
Chitin Is important because this is what a shrimps exoskeleton is made up of. Now, what If I told you I have found a way to recreate this in a shrimp tank environment, would you be interested?
I am not claiming to be the first one to ever to come up with this idea because when you know what I am about to tell you then you will realize there are people that already know about this.
Some professional breeders gave up this information when asked because they understood the importance of promoting the hobby, I call these the good guys, but some people when questioned about it kept this secret to themselves out of greed.
What we can do though guys is forget the negative people that are self-centered with greed because they will just eventually fall to the side.
Back on Topic
Before I go into detail about how you can do this for yourself I would like to give props to my good friend Dennis Anderson The owner of Pure Nordic Shrimp Food because we were researching this same topic at the same time without knowing it.
Once we shared what we both knew with each other we came to some conclusions, we both then set about testing our theories out pretty fast.
To be honest, the results came in very fast, I was expecting to wait a week or so to see any growth but I was seeing it just after two days, this is a testament to just how good shrimp are at cleaning up an environment
We also both agreed to share what we knew for the good of the hobby.
How to Make Mycelium balls
I want to forewarn you that these balls I am about to tell you how to make need to go in a tank at startup because they can initially make the water look bad and foam up.
To get around this if you have a tank already set up I would suggest letting the Mycelium balls soak in a bucket of tank water for a week before adding them.
Let’s get started.
What you will need is a growing medium, I used dried crushed leaves, Pure Nordics Nords Snow, Nordsnow is soya hulls and other goodies.
Then you need a mineral source, I used Pure Nordic White Stix and I added two mineral balls to give it some weight so it would all sink.
I also added the bacterial powder in the form of Borneowild Enlive.
You could also use something like BT-9 from Masura or SL-Aquas Millione powder.
Give that all a good mix up but do not powder it all you want it to be is course.
Next, take a pair of woman’s tight and boil them in your Kettle, this will clean them and kill any other bacteria that might be present.
(I will get pictures of this up as soon as I can to make it easier for you to visualize what I am doing)
Next cut of the foot section this is going to be our little bag to hold all of our mycelium growing media.
Place the foot of the tights into a mug and pull it over the rim, now add your media.
The first ones I made were small like a golfball size but the latest ones are big like the entire mug gets filled with this medium.
Once you have filled this up tie the top closed shut with an overhand knot or two, and then add them to the tank and that is them ready.
After two days I noticed a lot of Mycelium growth and the shrimp are never off them, I needed to do a water change a few days later because the tanks were getting a foam on the surface but since then everything has been great.
I do notice a large increase in baby shrimp population as a result of this which will be very evident in the videos I make in the future.
I hope you guys have learned something and it would be awesome if you could give me your feedback because I would like to share success stories in the future.
Best of luck to you all.
Happy Shrimp Keeping
Oh and here is that Shrimp Versus Mushroom Video