Crystal red shrimp
Crystal red shrimp

Crystal red shrimp

Common name: Crystal Red Shrimp, Red bee shrimp
Scientific name: Caridina sp. "Crystal Red"
Size: 1 – 1.5 inch / 2.5-3.5cm
Temperature: 70°F-78°F / 21- 26°C

General info

The crystal red shrimp does not appear in the wild. It is a line bred version of the bumble bee shrimp. Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki of Japan discovered a red version of bumble bee shrimps among the offspring of black bumble bee shrimps. Only a few shrimps displayed this red color and he line bred them to create the shrimp we know today. He then trademarked the name crystal red shrimp to be used for this mutation. The shrimp quickly became popular worldwide.

The strain has since been further refined by different breeders and there are different qualities/classes of crystal red shrimp. These are SS, S, A, B, and C. SS shrimps have very defined red stripes on a pure white body while C class shrimps have random red stripes/blotches on a transparent body. The classes in between are different stages between SS and C. S is for example are red on an almost pure white body that has some transparent areas and not very defined stripes.

Crystal red shrimps are more sensitive than most other shrimps. This is believed to be due to very small genetic variation present in these shrimps (due to having originated from only a few shrimps).  Special care must be taken when transporting and moving these sensitive shrimps and this is one of the reasons behind their high price.

A healthy crystal red shrimp is active. If your shrimps are less active than usually you should check your water values/quality.

Aquarium and Care

Crystal red shrimp are best kept in a planted aquarium In a planted aquarium, the shrimp can find places to hide and will have the opportunity to always find something to eat. The shrimps will usually leave healthy plants alone and eat only debris and algae, because most plants are not soft enough for them to eat even if they tried. They do however sometimes snack on moss and riccia. Open areas in the aquarium are ok but not necessary. Avoid strong filtration.

Crystal red shrimp can be kept with most types of small and friendly fish that have the same water preferences as the crystal red shrimp. This shrimp needs the aquarium (or at least a part of it) to be dark for at least a few hours per night. Do not use water preparation chemicals or parasite killers in a tank containing crystal red shrimp since it may kill them. Change water in your tank at least once a week. Changing 25-35% of the water each week is ideal and you should only use dechlorinated water. Examples of dechlorinators are Amquel+ and Novaqua.

The water temperature is best kept between 70°F-78°F / 21- 26°C and the pH between 6.2 - 7.2. The shrimps show better color in the lower part of that temperature span. It is important to make sure that the pH-value does not drop too low. Too acidic water is dangerous for shrimps as it weakens their alkaline shells. Too acidic water can create micro pits in the shell of the shrimp and this makes the shrimp more susceptible to disease. This is the reason why shrimps kept in alkaline water have shinier shells than shrimps kept in acidic water. Make sure to maintain nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels as close to zero as possible.

Feeding crystal red shrimp

They need a varied diet containing a lot of vegetable matter but some meaty food is also good. They can for instance be fed sinking algae wafers and flake food that sinks to the bottom. It is important to frequently feed these shrimp as they don't do well if they have to go part of the day hungry. It is also a good idea to have some moss and riccia in the tank. The shrimps are able to eat these plants and that gives them a permanent food source and makes sure they never have to go hungry.

Always leave the moulted shells of your shrimps in the tank so they can eat them and get the calcium back.

Crystal red shrimp sexing

They are hard to sex and crystal red shrimp sexing is never 100% sure. The males are thinner the tail section is larger on fully grown females than on males.

Breeding crystal red shrimp

Crystal red shrimp can be bred in much the same way as cherry shrimp and common bumble bee shrimp but are more sensitive and pickier in regards to water quality. Breeding this shrimp species requires a larger aquarium than many other small shrimp species. I recommend at least 20 gallon since they are hard to trigger to breed in tanks smaller than that. The temperature is best kept between 70°F-74°F / 21- 23°C. They can be bred at higher temperatures as well but they breed more frequently and the spawnings result in more surviving fry at lower temperatures. Avoid using too hard or too soft water when you breed crystal red shrimp. The pH-value is not very important as long as extremes are avoided. A pH of 7 usually gives a good result. Keep near perfect water quality if you want to breed Crystal red shrimp.

Plants are not needed to breed crystal red shrimp but are still recommended since they make these shrimps easier to breed and provide the shrimp with a more stable access to food. I have talked about this earlier. Keep the light on in the tank 10-12 hours a day. Too much light stresses them and too little isn't good either.

It is very important to feed a good varied diet if you want to breed Crystal red shrimp.
If you meet these needs your Crystal red shrimps will most likely breed. The eggs hatch into fully developed tiny shrimp. The eggs take longer than most shrimp eggs to hatch. The young grows slow and have a higher mortality rate than most other small freshwater shrimps.