I stumbled across Eros a while back when visiting a large-scale shrimp breeder and was wowed by the effect it had, enthuses Nathan Hill.
The breeder added a dozen drops to an aquarium heaving with Crystal reds, and within seconds the tank had more movement than a zombie apocalypse.
The point of Eros is to encourage moulting that in turn encourages breeding, with the shell-shedding stage being essential in the process of female shrimp fertilisation. It also promotes berrying. Eros also claims to come with other benefits such as inhibiting fungus growths and preventing enteritis.
What was much harder was finding out exactly what is in it, especially when some users report no shrimp activity, while others swear that Eros drives their spineless inhabitants into a frenzy. The bottle claims a 'special blend of ingredients', which instantly got my investigative heckles up.
My first instinct was that it might contain Ecdysone or 20-hydroxyecdysone, which are known moulting sex hormones in arthropods and insects. However, pursuing this line of enquiry drew a blank. Nobody seems to use this stuff for shrimp breeding anywhere.
Hauling out some shrimp contacts and pulling in a few favours from those in the commercial shrimp rearing industry in the Far East, I made a few more enquiries and eventually got the low down — a mixture of chitin and acetone. Acetone is neither acid nor basic in property so shouldn’t affect the pH of the water. However, when I added some to a sample of water the acid level did increase with pH moving from 8.1 to 7.8, though only for a short time.
That all figures seeing as when shrimps moult their shell the chitin starts to degrade and release into the water, acting as a trigger for other shrimps to follow suit. So in effect, the chemical simply simulates the chitin release of a mass moult, encouraging others to do the same.
It works, and it works well. I am on the fence regarding the acetone, as putting what is basically nail varnish remover to a tank has never seemed a good idea to me. But although the product contains acetone, it is in trace levels so is totally safe, and shrimp even produce low levels of acetone naturally, as part of their life cycle.
Price: £24.99 for 31ml. More info from sharnbrookshrimp.co.uk
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