Malaysian Rainbow ShrimpBy jbeining75. Part of: The Real Algae Eaters: A Series on Freshwater Algae Eating Shrimp
The third addition to the real algae eaters series are the Malaysian Rainbow Shrimp. Other common names include Malaysian Shrimp (named for where they are native to), Rainbow Shrimp (named for their unique body coloration), or spear shrimp. The Malaysian Rainbow Shrimp has been assigned the scientific name of caridina sp. Rainbow.
The Malaysian Rainbow Shrimp is a very hardy and inexpensive shrimp species that can be relatively easily kept in most aquarium settings. Like most shrimp they will thrive in a planted tank that includes either real or fake plants. As with most shrimp they are very temperamental to ammonia and nitrite buildup so a live or real planted tank that will further stabilize the water perimeters is ideal. Ideal water range for the Malaysian Rainbow shrimp is pH ranging from 6.2 – 7.4, and a temperature of 70-80 degrees F. Soft to hard and slightly acidic water is commonly preferred by this species of shrimp. However with this being said they like most freshwater shrimp will adapt to various levels in a freshwater aquarium as long as stable nitrites and ammonia are provided.
In the aquarium setting these species of shrimp will often grow to length of 1 inch. They will live slightly longer than the common ghost shrimp, ranging up to around 1 year if properly kept in ideal tank conditions. Due to their small size and non aggressive behavior they can be safely and happily kept at around 2 Malaysian Rainbows per gallon of tank water. Tanks mates should include smaller tetra and less aggressive smaller species. Larger cichlids and more aggressive smaller fish like most killies and barbs should not be kept in the tank with the shrimp as the shrimp may be viewed as food and devoured at first chance. The coloration on the Malaysian Rainbow Shrimp is quite brilliant. They are natural color shifters and have developed this trait for defensive mechanisms in the wild to successfully blend in to ward off predators. Their bodies normally are a transparent color like the ghost shrimp while hanging on plants. As they move to a piece of driftwood or darker color décor they will quickly shift their body colors to a darker red-brown to blend in with the piece of wood. The Rainbow shrimp when normally swimming can be viewed with many blue, yellow, or green spots on them, hence the name Rainbow Shrimp. Naturally in an aquarium setting the Malaysian Rainbows will filter feed from the bottom of the substrate and off of leafy plants where they hang. They will readily devour green hair algae and brown algae in the tank if nothing else is available. As with most shrimps once they have a taste for food they may lose their taste for algae.
In conclusion, the Malaysian Rainbow Shrimp is a great addition to any planted community tank where water perimeters are stable enough to permit shrimp to thrive. They are relatively hardy shrimp and with a life expectancy longer than the ghost shrimp they are a great choice. Their adaptability to most water conditions and brilliant coloration are two more great reasons they have become extremely popular in the planted tank community.
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