AquaPetZ: Which species, variations and grades of shrimp do you keep?
Chris Lukhaup: This changes nearly every week because a lot of people send me animals to photograph, some wholesalers send me animals to determine and also I sometimes bring animals from my expedition. At the moment I have some species from my last Hong Kong and China trip in my tanks and always some nice crystal red.
AquaPetZ: You now produce specific diets for shrimp, how do you have the idea? Tell me more about these shrimp foods. Where can we find for sale?
Chris Lukhaup: I always wanted a good and natural shrimp food because good food is essential for a good growth, keeping and survival of shrimps. Information on how to feed shrimps was not there when i started with shrimps. Over the years we have been able to learn more and more about what they like and what they need. In this case I work together with Dennerle and Bernhard Ehmer now. Dennerle is responsible for the distribution and Bernhard Ehmer is a specialist when it comes to shrimp food. He knows a lot of ingredients and understands mixing them. We wanted to have a shrimp food that is based on natural ingredients without any chemical stuff. The ShrimpKing Concept is my creation but Bernhard developed the food and Dennerle has the power to distribute it. At the moment you can buy it in Europe and on the internet.
AquaPetZ: We know you are a good friend of the great aquascaper Oliver Knott and are doing a project together. Which project is this?
Chris Lukhaup: At the moment I am working on a huge project with Oliver Knott. We are Aquascaping 50 Aquariums for a book. I am sure that Aquascaping is a new trend we should put an eye on. I for shure will support this!
AquaPetZ: What equipment do you use to take fantastic shrimp´s photos?
Chris Lukhaup: Well, I've been sitting in front of aquariums for years, observing and studying the inhabitants.
If you consider the photos I've taken over the years you'll see that they continuously get better. This is not only because my equipment is constantly improved. Of course, the equipment is important, but without a trained eye, patience, the necessary knowledge and the ambition to keep getting better even the best of equipments is not really going to get you good photos. Of course you can photograph shrimp then, but I like to search for pictures that are out of the ordinary.
I have decided to keep my equipment up to date, also the light technology. I consider the light the most important aspect of aquarium photography. I've found my optimum solution with a softbox.
At the moment I work with a Canon 5 D Mark II which I use for habitat photography and filming, and of course with my Canon 7 D, a really great cam. Naturally I also use a macro lense and some extension tubes. In addition, over the years I've found the best camera parameters ( z.B. white balance, shutter speed etc.) for photos of aquariums and aquatic animals.
However, I can only speak for myself, and describe my way to do things. There are great aquarium photographers who work in a different way and their work is awesome.
AquaPetZ: How you take photographs of shrimps?
Chris Lukhaup: There are some rules I follow regarding taking pics of inverts. When people send me stuff to photograph or when I bring things from my trips I usually wait some days ( 2–3 ) until the animals adapt in my photo tank. Then I feed them well so they are more relaxed. About 4 or 5 hours before the shoot i have a water change about 80 % so the water is very clear. This is very important as you can see a big difference on the photo between "used" water and clear new water. A mayor issue for me is also that on a photo the shrimp need to be clear visible, that means that I like to see the shrimp immediately and without a lot of distraction around. The more important is the eyes are sharp and that there needs to be a dynamic in the pic. The best is if the shrimp looks at you in a active way. Meanwhile i use a tripod for nearly all of my pics and also a cable to take the pics. The difference is visible.
AquaPetZ: What substrate do you use in your shrimp aquariums and what filtration system do you use?
Chris Lukhaup: I decided to use sand and gravel because in 95 % of the shrimp habitats I find exactly that substrate. There are many ways to filter a shrimp aquarium. I usually use Dennerle and Eheim Filters but I have seen nearly all filter systems on shrimp aquariums around the world so in this case I have to say that the water parameters are more important then what type of filter is used.
AquaPetZ: Each keeper has your own method and workarounds to improve animals color, breeding even life. Do you have these workarounds?
Chris Lukhaup: I think as for color you need to select always the best animals. Therefore you need to be patience and invest a lot of time in it. Of course light also plays a role in this matter. In Asia the breeders have a lot of light on top of the shrimp tanks. I tam sure this improves color also. There are some minerals and also the new shrimp salt that was developed by the Logemann Bros. that improve breeding of Sulawesi shrimps a lot. With this salt that is specially made for Bee Shrimps and Sulawesi shrimps you can improve not only keeping the animals also some species that have been very difficult to keep ( like Caridina woltareckae,C.spinata etc ) are now a lot easier to breed. The water Parameters are very important as well. In most of the habitats in southern China,where most of the Caridina species come form, there have been very similar water parameters. ph around 6.5 ,Conductivity 40 -120 microsiemens and temperature from 16 to 22 degrees celsius.