Malaya Shrimp
Malaya Shrimp

Malaya Shrimp

English name: Malaya Shrimp
Scientific name: Caridina sp."Malaya"
Origin: Malaysia
Size: 1 in to 1.2 in / 2.5 cm to 3 cm
Water temperature: 74-84°F / 23-29 °C
Recommended pH range: 7.8 - 8.0
Behaviour: non-aggressive
Difficulty: medium
Breeding rate: medium

Introduction to Malaya Shrimp

The Malaya shrimp is a fairly new introduction to the hobby. It can be difficult to obtain through shops, but this will hopefully change soon. The Malaya shrimp is known chiefly for its reproductive habits; unlike most shrimps kept by aquarists the Malaya shrimp has a larval stage.

Geographical origin and habitat

As the name suggests, the Malaya shrimp hails from Malaysia. The Germans where the first to start importing this shrimp and it can still be difficult to obtain outside Germany. As more and more hobbyists start breeding it around the world, it will hopefully become less difficult to get hold of.   

Physical appearance

This shrimp can show several different colours, including blue, green, red, brown and gold. It is sometimes erroneously sold under the name Caridina babaulti which is a similarly looking shrimp.

Keeping Malaya Shrimp

Try to resemble the tropical Malaysian environment in the aquarium and keep the water temperature at 74-84 °F / 23-29 °C. The water should be really alkaline, from 7.8 to 8.0. Always keep the levels of organic waste really low. If you encounter a problem with water quality, it is safer to let the shrimps be without food for a few days while you sort out the problem than to have them live in increasingly unsound water.  

Feeding Malaya Shrimp

The Malaya shrimp is not a fastidious eater in aquaria and you can feed it a long row of different foods. Keeping it on a varied diet will decrease the risk of nutritional deficiencies. You can for instance combine prepared foods like shrimp pellets, wafers and flakes with blanched lettuce, spinach, zucchini etc. Occasional meaty treats of a suitable size, e.g. bloodworms, will be greatly appreciated.
Do not feed your Malaya shrimps more than what they will consume in 2-3 hours. If they seem reluctant to come out and search for food, give them more hiding spots in the aquarium and feed them when the lights are out in the evening.

Sexing and breeding Malaya Shrimp

Sexing Malay shrimp is quite straightforward, since the females grow larger and plumper than the males and have a darker and fuller coloration. Many females have white lines running down the back and across.  Females also have a curved underbelly, whereas males have a straight one.

Unlike most other shrimps kept by hobbyists, the Malay shrimp has a larval stage. Most shrimps in the hobby with this type of reproductive cycle only breed in brackish water, but not the Malaya shrimp.

A pregnant female Malaya shrimp will hold roughly 50 eggs (shrimps with no larval stage tend to produce a much lower number of offspring per batch) which hatch after roughly two weeks. The emerging larval will eventually develop into miniature shrimp.

You don’t have to get any special food for the larvae and tiny shrimps; they will eat the same food as their parents as long as it is small enough to devour.