2023 marks my 16th year keeping shrimps. Although my hobby has evolved into a business, I still love every essence of shrimp keeping. While MADSHRIMP have been busy with many new segments like wild fishes and captive plecos, we are also constantly sourcing for the best lineage of shrimps straight from the breeders rather than traders.
I was having a chat with one retired shrimp breeder in Taiwan the other day where we had several good discussions and would like to take this opportunity to share some insights on purchasing high grade shrimp these days.
One topic which we discussed about is whether purchasing a RFT with intense coloration is better than purchasing one with good pattern on its body. Red Fancy Tiger in short RFT, has genetics very similar to our Pure Red Line (PRL).
Firstly, PRL and RFT are both shrimps without pinto genes in them, this means that they are not crossed with Taiwanbees like your Black King Kong, Wine Red or Blue Bolt to intensify their colors. The colors of the shrimps are improved based on solely just culling and perfecting the same line.
Secondly, most breeders will work on the coloration of the pure shrimps first, as the base color would be the hardest to work on. Another reason would be that the pattern of the offspring is one trait that is quite hard or almost impossible to stabilize, hence working on the colors would be a better option. When the coloration of the shrimp has been intensified and stabilized, the breeder will then work on the pattern slowly while maintaining the coloration.
In the past where a good PRL can go for more than $1,000SGD, most season hobbyist would usually go for a good lineage with a culled pattern. This means that the shrimp will have very thick white shell with deep red coloration, but its pattern can be banded on side and hinomaru on the other side. Because of the odd pattern, the shrimp is being culled by the breeder and sold at a much cheaper price than one that has a perfect pattern. The cull shrimp still carries the genetic of good coloration but will still spawn offspring with proper and perfect pattern.
Back to the question on whether purchasing a RFT with intense coloration but lesser tiger stripes is better or one that has nice tiger stripes but poorer coloration? My personal view would be the intense coloration is the one to go for. Similar to PRL, the lineage in due time will produce one with fancy stripes and still have an extremely high chance of maintaining the color.