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The Shrimp Farm, Aquariums  Dealers, Bloomington, IL



  • Shrimp caresheet: Tangerine tiger shrimp (Caridina serrata var. "Tangerine tiger")

    Interested in keeping tiger shrimp but not quite ready for the challenge of red tigers or orange eyed blue tigers? Tangerine tiger shrimp have all the beautiful color but lack a lot of their cousins' fussiness. Perfect for anyone looking for an easy breeding project or an extra pop of color in their tank.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about tangerine tiger shrimp care and keeping this bright orange dwarf shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Caridina serrata var. "Tangerine tiger"

    Common names: Tangerine tiger shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: China

    How to keep the beautiful tangerine tiger shrimp in your freshwater aquarium #pets #aquatic Hover over image to pin to Pinterest

    Setting up a tangerine tiger shrimp aquarium

    Tangerine tiger shrimp requirements

    Because tangerine tiger shrimp are a relatively sturdy variety, you don't need a large aquarium to keep them. Experienced aquarists can go for a tank of at least 5 gallons, while a 10 gallon would be a good option for beginners.

    As with all shrimp and fish, the tank should always be fully cycled before you introduce any livestock. You can use a sponge filter or other shrimp-safe filter type: as long as it has an intake guard it should work well. A heater can be used if the room your aquarium is in isn't heated consistently.

    Be sure to include plenty of decorations in your setup, as shrimp need hiding places in order to feel safe. They will also gladly use any decorations as foraging grounds.

    Tangerine tiger shrimp water quality

    As mentioned in the introduction, tangerine tiger shrimp are not nearly as fussy as some other tiger shrimp types. They can take a wider range of water values and temperatures, which makes them a little more suitable for beginners. That being said, any traces of ammonia or nitrite are still fatal, so keep a close eye on your water values by testing regularly using a liquid test kit.

    Regular aquarium maintenance is needed to keep nitrates down. Live plants can help stabilize water values and will be appreciated by your shrimp, so be sure to add a few! Even if you have a black thumb and are worried about keeping plants alive, there are plenty of easy species out there that should work.

    pH: 6.5-7.5

    Temperature: 65-75 °F

    kH: 1-2

    gH: 3-6

    Total Dissolved Solids: 150-250

    tangerine tiger shrimp Photo by TJ Kelly

    Tangerine tiger shrimp tankmates

    Because tangerine tigers breed very quickly, there are some options when it comes to tankmates if you don't mind losing the occasional fry. As long as you stick to peaceful fish that can't fit an adult shrimp into their mouth the colony should multiply quickly enough to compensate for any losses.

    Peaceful fish species that can be kept with shrimp include Otocinclus catfish, dwarf Corydoras catfish and very small schooling fish like microrasbora.

    If you're serious about breeding your tangerine tiger shrimp, it's a good idea to skip the fish altogether. Even the most peaceful species might eat a few shrimp here and there! Go for harmless invertebrates like snails or any shrimp species that doesn't interbreed with these Caridinas.

    tangerine tiger shrimp Photo by TJ Kelly

    Tangerine tiger shrimp diet

    Like all shrimp, tangerine tigers naturally feed on biofilm and any other edible things they can find. This means they need a varied diet to thrive. Feed a high quality shrimp food as a staple and supplement with fresh blanched veggies, frozen mosquito larvae and leaf litter. You can even grow some algae in the tank to provide a constant source of snacking! This is ideal when you go away for a few days and won't be able to feed your shrimp.

    Some sources report tangerine tigers can be a little more assertive during feeding time than other Caridinas. If you're having issues with your tangerines hogging all the food be sure to break it up into tiny pieces so everyone gets their share.

    Breeding tangerine tiger shrimp

    Breeding tangerine tigers is a breeze, especially compared to other types of tiger shrimp. Tangerine tigers breed much quicker, which means it's easier to build a large colony. Healthy females will almost constantly be carrying eggs, which produce tiny versions of the adults that don't go through a larval stage. No extra care is needed; the fry can immediately fend for themselves.

    If you keep your tangerine tiger shrimp with other dwarf shrimp, keep in mind that they can interbreed with other Caridinas. This means you shouldn't combine them with popular species like Crystal Reds unless you know what you're doing. Interbreeding can result in beautiful colors but might also yield less than perfect results! If you want to keep your tangerine tiger line pure, don't combine them with other shrimp from the Caridina genus. Neocaridinas like cherry shrimp are a safe option.

    Buying tangerine tiger shrimp

    Tangerine tiger shrimp are a relatively recent addition to the shrimp hobby, which means they can still be a little hard to find. They can also be on the expensive side, especially if you buy from fish stores that aren't specialize in shrimp.

    The Internet is a great place to buy your tangerine tigers (and other shrimp). There are many fellow hobbyists out there who might be able to sell you a few shrimp and you can also buy from established online stores. The Shrimp Farm sells tangerine tiger shrimp and ships them straight to your doorstep with live arrival guarantee! You can buy your tangerine tigers here.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Orange rili shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. "Rili")

    By now most aquarists will probably have heard of red rili shrimp, which are loved for their fascinating mix of translucent patches and bright red coloration. But did you know there is also an orange rili shrimp? The perfect variety for anyone looking to add an intense pop of color to their tank!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about orange rili shrimp and keeping orange rilis in your own aquarium.

    Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi var. "Rili"

    Common names: Orange rili shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: Taiwan

    Keeping Orange Rili Shrimp in your aquarium: everything you need to know #aquariums #pets Hover over image to pin to Pinterest

    Orange rili shrimp requirements

    Orange rili shrimp are a Neocaridina variety like the beginner's classic red cherry shrimp. Their care is similar to that of their red cherry cousins, which means they are equally easy to keep and a wonderful choice if you're just getting started.

    To keep orange rili shrimp succesfully, all you really need is an aquarium of at least 5 gallons, a filter, a heater (optional) and some decor and hides. Filter-wise, anything that isn't too powerful will work, but if you're not going for a sponge filter be sure to go for a filter guard. You don't want shrimp to get sucked in there! A heater can be used if the room temperature isn't stable; even though orange rili shrimp are quite sturdy, they don't respond well to sudden temperature swings.

    When it comes to decorations, some basic easy aquarium plants will work but you can go as crazy as you want to. Shrimp logs, driftwood, rocks, artificial plants - all will be appreciated and used to hide in and forage on.

    orange rili shrimp Photo by Soo Jin Park

    Orange rili shrimp water quality

    Orange rili shrimp are quite hardy, which means they can handle a relatively wide range of water values. That being said, though, they still should never be introduced in an uncycled aquarium. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic to all aquatic life including rili shrimp, so make sure your aquarium is fully cycled before you introduce any shrimp.

    Do regular (weekly) aquarium maintenance to keep your orange rili shrimp happy and healthy. Perform a water change to bring nitrate levels down and be sure to match the new water to the old before adding it back into the tank. Use a liquid test kit instead of test strips, which might not always be accurate. And always remember that stability is the key to succesful shrimp keeping!

    pH: 6.2-8.0

    Temperature: 65-85 °F

    GH: 4-8

    KH: 3-15

    Total Dissolved Solids: 150-200

    orange rili shrimp Photo by Kristin Rousseau

    Orange rili shrimp tankmates

    Like most other Neocaridina varieties, orange rili shrimp are prolific breeders. This means it's usually not too much of a disaster if the population takes a hit here and there and allows you to consider some tankmates for them. Do keep in mind that most fish unfortunately just have too much of an appetite for shrimp - only go for the tiniest and most peaceful ones, like microrasbora.

    If you want to minimize the risk of any shrimp or fry being snatched by hungry tankmates, avoid fish altogether. Peaceful invertebrates like nerite snails and Caridina shrimp such as the popular crystal red shrimp make better choices as they are 100% rili shrimp safe.

    Orange rili shrimp diet

    Like all dwarf shrimp, orange rilis are naturally omnivores that feed on biofilm, algae and any other organic matter they can find. In the aquarium biofilm grows on all surfaces but there usually isn't enough "gunk" in there to keep an entire colony of shrimp well-fed. You'll need to offer some extra food in the form of a high-quality staple as well as all kinds of snacks to add variety.

    Ebita breed is one of the many brands that works well as a staple. For variety, think out of the box: algae tabs and frozen foods are fine, but you can also consider more unusual homemade options like dried nettle leaves, blanched veggies or even unflavored/unsalted nori (dried seaweed).

    Breeding orange rili shrimp

    As with all Neocaridina shrimp, breeding orange rilis is not much of a challenge. This makes them a great option if you've never bred shrimp before: even beginners can pull this off easily enough. Just make sure your orange rili shrimp colony contains both males and females (females will be larger and more intensely colored). Keep the shrimp healthy, stress-free and well-fed and you should start seeing the females become saddled in no time.

    Once the eggs are moved to the swimmerettes (back legs) it will be about 30 days before they hatch into tiny baby shrimp. These can stay in the main tank with their parents and are able to fend for themselves from day one. That's it!

    Buying orange rili shrimp

    Although rili shrimp have been around in the shrimp hobby long enough to become relatively popular, many aquarium stores only carry the red variety. Orange rili shrimp (as well as carbon rili shrimp) might be a little harder to find. Luckily, many hobbyists keep and breed these shrimp and some online stores also sell (homebred) orange rilis. The Shrimp Farm sells orange rili shrimp and ships them right to your doorstep with live arrival guarantee - you can order your shrimp here!

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Fishbone shrimp

    So your Neocaridina shrimp are thriving, your Crystal Reds and Blacks are breeding like crazy and keeping your Taiwan Bee shrimp alive is a piece of cake. You're ready for the next step in the shrimp world. Fishbone pinto shrimp are a relatively new addition to the hobby, and definitely a spectacular one! Though not the easiest to keep and breed they make up for it with their spectacular coloration and pattern.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about fishbone pinto shrimp and keeping these beauties in your aquarium!

    Scientific name: None - hybrid of Caridina cf. cantonensis

    Common names: Fishbone shrimp, fishbone pinto shrimp, pinto shrimp

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    Origin: South East Asia

    fishbone shrimp

    Fishbone shrimp requirements

    Fishbone shrimp aren't the best beginner choice. If you're looking to get into shrimp keeping for the first time, why not look into getting an easier species like red cherry shrimp? They are less expensive and a lot hardier.

    If you have some shrimp experience and are ready for the next step, be sure to go for at least a 10 gallon aquarium. After all, the larger the tank, the smaller the chance of any issues caused by bad water quality.

    Make sure the filter you use is 100% shrimp safe to prevent any fry from being sucked in. A sponge filter should work well. You can use a heater to keep the aquarium temperature stable, although some shrimp keepers prefer heating their entire room to a suitable temp.

    Like all shrimp, fishbone pintos like having some decorations and hides in their tank that they can retreat to while molting and eat biofilm off. Try adding some kind of moss and a few shrimp tubes to keep your fishbone shrimp happy.

    Fishbone shrimp water quality

    The key element to keeping your fishbone shrimp colony healthy is water quality as well as stability. These shrimp are heavily selectively bred and can be quite vulnerable to bad water values, so stay on top of your water tests at all times (use a liquid test kit instead of strips).

    Most importantly, your tank should always be fully cycled without any traces of ammonia and nitrite. Nitrates should be kept low as well by doing regular water changes. Add the new water very slowly, using the drip method for example, to avoid sudden swings in water values.

    Because fishbone pinto shrimp can be pretty particular about water values, many aquarists prefer to use RO (reverse osmosis water) and a pH-lowering substrate. This basically allows them to create their own water values and be 100% sure there are no unwanted substances in there.

    pH: 5.8-7.4

    Temperature: 62-76 °F

    GH: 4-6

    KH: 0-4

    Total Dissolved Solids: 100-200

    Fishbone shrimp tankmates

    Most fishbone pinto shrimp keepers and breeders can probably agree that a single-species setup is the way to go for these shrimp. At their price point and fragility you can't afford to lose any fry and certainly no adults. A few snails should be fine if you're sure they're disease-free and shrimp safe.

    Fishbone shrimp diet

    As with all dwarf shrimp, a fishbone pinto's favorite food is biofilm. This organic substance grows on any surface in the aquarium, which means your fishbones will appreciate it if you don't clean your tank too intensely. A few patches of algae are like a shrimp feast!

    Supplement their diet using a high quality shrimp food and additions like leaf litter. Be sure to remove any uneaten foods within a few hours; you don't want anything rotting and spoiling the water.

    Breeding fishbone shrimp

    If you're interested in keeping fishbone pinto shrimp, you can choose to produce them yourself through selective breeding. This option does take quite a bit of time, so if you want to enjoy your fishbones now you're probably better off buying a starter colony.

    So how are fishbone pintos produced? Crystal red/black shrimp or Taiwan Bee shrimp are crossed with tiger shrimp like the orange eyed blue tiger (all are Caridina cf cantonensis). This produces Tibees. To produce your fishbone shrimp you cross these Tibees back to a Taiwan Bee shrimp to produce TaiTibees and then breed selectively to get to the desired color pattern that makes the shrimp a Pinto.

    When breeding fishbone pinto shrimp, keep in mind that their breeding rate can be slower than that of 'regular' non-hybridized shrimp. Taiwan Bee shrimp can be fragile and breeding two of them together might result in loss of all fry, which means you should always be careful about which shrimp you decide to breed.

    Buying fishbone shrimp

    Fishbone pinto shrimp are relatively new in the shrimp hobby and they are still on the rare and expensive side. You probably won't find these in your local fish store, but luckily there are some online sellers you can buy from. The Shrimp Farm sells black fishbone shrimp with live arrival guarantee; you can easily order your fishbones here.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Vampire shrimp (Atya gabonensis)

    Their name might sound intimidating, but vampire shrimp are actually extremely peaceful creatures. They are filter feeders that use small fans to catch food particles, which makes them one of the most fascinating shrimp species out there but also not the easiest to keep alive and thriving.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about vampire shrimp care and keeping vampire shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Atya gabonensis

    Common names: Vampire shrimp

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    Origin: West Africa/South America

    Vampire shrimp requirements

    The most important thing to keep in mind when figuring out vampire shrimp care and requirements is the fact that these are shy filter feeders. They need access to floating particles, as regular shrimp foods are too large for their fans. They also prefer to spend a large portion of their time in hiding, especially during daytime.

    So how do you set up your aquarium in such a way that allows your vampire shrimp to stay well-fed and happy? First off, size is important. With an adult size of up to 6 inches, these shrimp are rather large and they need plenty of room. Go for at least a 20 gallon aquarium; larger is better. A strong filter or even an extra powerhead is a good idea, as the strong flow blows particles around the tank and allows your vampire shrimp to catch them.

    Because vampire shrimp love plenty of cover, make sure your tank is heavily decorated with plenty of plants, caves and hides. A sand substrate seems preferable, as gravel can damage their delicate fans.

    Vampire shrimp water quality

    Although vampire shrimp obviously aren't a fan of very clear and clean water, this doesn't mean they don't need high water quality. As with all shrimp and fish, your aquarium should always be fully cycled before you even consider adding livestock. Ammonia and nitrites should always be at 0 and nitrates should be kept under 20 by doing regular water changes.

    Relatively hard water seems preferable, although few sources report exact water values beyond just the pH value.

    pH: 6.5-7.8

    Temperature: 75-85 °F

    Vampire shrimp tankmates

    Vampire shrimp are large enough to be left alone by most fish and have a very peaceful temperament, which means there are some options when it comes to tankmates. Do choose wisely, though, as they are shy and don't like to be bothered.

    Small, peaceful fish and inverts are probably your best options. Other shrimp are an especially good option: your vampire shrimp will love to forage alongside bamboo shrimp, which are also filter feeders. Amano shrimp, dwarf shrimp and snails should also work well.

    Vampire shrimp diet

    With picky eaters like these it's very important to pay close attention to their diet. As discussed earlier it's important to provide a large tank with a strong water flow so your vampire shrimp have access to plenty of yummy particles.

    There are a few ways to keep your vampire shrimp well-fed; a combination of these is probably ideal. First off, regularly give your filter sponge a good squeeze inside the tank. This is normally a big no, but vampire shrimp will love to feed on the gunk that is released. Second, try to find some (algae) tabs that dissolve quickly. This is also normally considered a nuisance, but fan shrimp will flock towards the particle cloud. A third food option is baby shrimp food and any other tiny food options you can find. Release the food near your vampire shrimp and they'll happily gobble it up!

    Breeding vampire shrimp

    As with many other shrimp species, like Amano shrimp, breeding vampire shrimp is quite the challenge. They hatch in salt water, pass through a larval stage and gradually need to be switched to fresh water. Any mistakes can quickly cause all of the young shrimp to die off, but if you're up for a challenge: it has been done.

    If you'd like to know more about breeding vampire shrimp this breeding report might prove helpful.

    Buying vampire shrimp

    Vampire shrimp aren't the most common shrimp out there. They aren't even the most common fan shrimp: bamboo shrimp seem to be a bit more widely spread in the hobby. If your local aquarium store doesn't carry vampire shrimp, try asking them to order a few for you or search for a seller online.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Cardinal shrimp (Caridina dennerli)

    Most shrimp keepers know them but few have actually tried to keep them: Sulawesi shrimp like Caridina dennerli (also known as the cardinal shrimp). They have a reputation for being difficult and can definitely be a challenge, but their color and fascinating characteristics make them more than worth the extra effort.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about cardinal shrimp and keeping this uncommon species in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Caridina dennerli

    Common names: Cardinal shrimp

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    Origin: Lake Matano, Sulawesi, Indonesia

    By DirkBlankenhaus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

    Cardinal shrimp requirements

    If you're looking for an easy species to start with, Sulawesi shrimp most likely aren't for you. Although cardinal shrimp are among the easiest of the Sulawesi species, they're still only suitable for experienced shrimp keepers. If you're new to the hobby, why not consider something a little easier?

    Cardinal shrimp can be kept in aquariums of at least 5 gallons, although it's probably a good idea to go for something slightly larger to make sure your water values stay stable. Equipment-wise, you'll need a filter, heater and possibly an extra air pump to make sure the water is well-oxygenated.

    Most Sulawesi shrimp keepers prefer to set up their aquariums in a way that mimics the lakes these shrimp naturally occur in. For cardinal shrimp that means a dark, carbonate rich substrate, rocks, driftwood and possibly a few plants. A porous rock type that has plenty of surface area for algae to grow on works best.

    Because this species can be quite shy, it might be a good idea to not overdo the decorations and go for a relatively weak light.

    Cardinal shrimp water quality

    Keep in mind that cardinal shrimp might be a bit more fragile than you're used to. They also need higher temperatures and different water values (most notably a higher pH). Reports on the water values in Lake Matano vary, but if your tap water values aren't too extreme it will probably work. If not, you'll have to consider using reverse osmosis water for your cardinal shrimp tank.

    As with all aquarium inhabitants, never introduce cardinal shrimp into an uncycled aquarium. They are very sensitive to bad water quality and the presence of ammonia and nitrites, so keep a close eye on things using a liquid water testing kit. Keep nitrates low by doing careful regular water changes. Don't change too much water at once and add the new water in slowly to prevent shocking your cardinals!

    pH: 7.5-8.5

    Temperature: 77-86 °F

    Cardinal shrimp tankmates

    Because cardinal shrimp are among the more expensive and fragile species, it's a good idea to avoid fish tankmates entirely. After all, you wouldn't want to lose precious fry to a hungry tankmate!

    Because many Sulawesi shrimp tanks are set up as biotopes, the most popular tankmates for cardinal shrimp are various species of Sulawesi snails from the genus Tylomelania. You can also mix multiple species of Sulawesi shrimp in the same tank, as they aren't known to interbreed and most prefer similar water values.

    Cardinal shrimp diet

    Their diet is one of the more difficult aspects of cardinal shrimp care. These shrimp are naturally detritus feeders that don't always respond as strongly to food as other shrimp species. The key to getting these Sulawesi shrimp to eat seems to be to feed very fine or powdered foods. Recommendations vary from spirulina powder to micro-organism based foods like Shirakura Chi Ebi.

    It's a good idea to avoid "over-cleaning" your cardinal shrimp tank. Although uneaten foods should be removed as much as possible to prevent water quality issues, you should try to leave algae alone in some places so the shrimp can graze whenever they want.

    Breeding cardinal shrimp

    Cardinal shrimp are probably the easiest Sulawesi shrimp to breed and you should usually be able to succesfully raise the young. Pregnant females will carry around 15 red eggs between their swimmerettes (back legs). If all goes well, these will hatch into tiny copies of the adult shrimp after around 20 days. Make sure there's plenty of food available for the fry.

    Buying cardinal shrimp

    Cardinal shrimp are the most common Sulawesi shrimp in the hobby but that doesn't mean you'll find them easily. Some specialized aquarium stores might carry these shrimp or be able to order a few for you, but in most cases you'll have to search for them online.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Pinocchio shrimp (Caridina gracilirostris)

    They may not be the most common shrimp in the hobby, but the appropriately named Pinocchio shrimp (Caridina gracilirostris) will definitely be a fascinating addition to your aquarium. If provided the right care, that is: there are quite a few myths out there about their care that you are best off avoiding.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about Pinocchio shrimp care and keeping this red-nosed shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Caridina gracilirostris

    Common names: Pinocchio shrimp, pinokio shrimp, red nose shrimp, Rudolph shrimp, rhino shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy to intermediate

    Origin: Indo-Pacific region

    Caridina gracilirostris.JPG Own work, Public Domain, By Oorenotsoo -Link

    Pinocchio shrimp requirements

    Sources can be quite unclear on Pinocchio shrimp requirements. Some list them as fully freshwater while others mention the possibility of brackish. In some cases a 5 gallon minimum tank is recommended while other sites say you need 20+ gal to keep them happy.

    So which guidelines are true and which aren't? First off, and most importantly, these shrimp are not a freshwater species. They require brackish water and will perish sooner or later if you keep them in your freshwater tank. Practical Fishkeeping mentions 10 grams of salt per liter, which is around 38 grams per gallon and comes down to a specific gravity of 1.007-1.008. That being said, these shrimp naturally inhabit estuaries and can probably take a relatively wide range of salinities as long as the specific gravity isn't too low or high.

    We couldn't find a definitive answer on tank size, but it's probably a good idea to go for a setup of 10 gallons or larger just in case. Add plenty of hiding places in the form of shrimp flats, decorations and live plants; although most plants won't do very well in brackish tanks, there are definitely still a few options.

    Pinocchio shrimp water quality

    As discussed above, Pinocchio shrimp need brackish water. Like all other shrimp they also require their aquarium to be filtered and cycled, as any traces of ammonia or nitrite can quickly become deadly. Nitrate is less harmful but still a problem in large amounts. Do regular water changes to keep it below 10. Always keep a close eye on your water values using a liquid test kit.

    Important to remember: when doing top-offs in a brackish aquarium (refilling what has been evaporated), don't use brackish water. Instead, slowly add fresh water or you'll gradually increase the salinity of your tank as salt doesn't evaporate.

    pH: Sources don't agree. Some mention 6.5-7.5 while others insist on more alkaline water. 7 and up should probably work well.

    Temperature: 72-80 °F

    Salinity: Brackish, specific gravity likely between 1.005-1.010.

    Pinocchio shrimp tankmates

    Tankmate options are a bit limited for Pinocchio shrimp for two reasons: their need for brackish water and their small size. With a maximum size of around 1.5 inch these shrimp aren't the largest, which means they can easily fall prey to hungry fish.

    Brackish invertebrates are probably the best (and safest) choice. Try Nerite snails from the Clithon genus, Hawaiian volcano shrimp (Halocaridina rubra) and some ghost shrimp varieties. The tiny bumblebee goby might work; although it's carnivorous in nature it's probably too small to eat adult shrimp.

    Pinocchio shrimp diet

    Like most aquarium shrimp, Pinocchio shrimp aren't picky eaters at all. They are omnivores that naturally eat anything they can find. In the aquarium they'll enjoy picking at algae and biofilm, although you should supplement their diet with shrimp foods as well as extras like frozen foods or blanched veggies.

    Breeding Pinocchio shrimp

    Breeding Pinocchio shrimp isn't the easiest task. Like multiple other shrimp species including the very popular Amano shrimp, they go through a larval stage. Although the larvae should theoretically be able to survive and moult succesfully in brackish water, they are still very fragile and can be difficult to keep alive.

    Your aquarium is likely not "dirty" enough to supply the larvae with the microscopic foods they need. To solve this problem, you can try raising them in "green water" (with lots of floating algae) or feed commercially available microfoods.

    Buying Pinocchio shrimp

    Pinocchio shrimp definitely aren't the most common species in the hobby. Although European aquarium stores often seem to carry them, you might have trouble locating them if you're in the US. As with many rarer shrimp species the Internet is your solution: you should be able to find sellers online, or maybe a hobbyist willing to trade or sell a few of their own stock.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Ninja shrimp (Caridina serratirostris)

    As if shrimp weren't cool enough already, this one can do a magic trick: it changes color! Caridina serratirostris, also known as the ninja shrimp, can vary in color from orange to black depending on the circumstances. Not the most common shrimp out there, but definitely worth a try if you can find it.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about ninja shrimp and keeping this fascinating Caridina variety in your own aquarium.

    Scientific name: Caridina serratirostris

    Common names: Ninja shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: Indo-West Pacific

    Ninja shrimp requirements

    Because ninja shrimp are dwarf shrimp that stay very small, they don't need a large aquarium to thrive. A setup of at least 5 gallons should be enough to keep them happy and healthy, although something slightly more spacious (like a 10 gallon) is easier to keep clean and might be preferable if you're a beginner.

    As with all shrimp and fish, a ninja shrimp aquarium should always be filtered (and fully cycled - see below). You don't need a large or very powerful filter, just something to house the beneficial bacteria that keep your aquarium safe. A sponge filter should be fine; steer clear of anything that has an intake large enough to suck up shrimp. You'll also need a heater to keep the water stable and at the right temperature.

    Ninja shrimp aren't picky when it comes to decor, but they do appreciate plenty of hiding and foraging spots. Live plants like Java moss are always a plus. You can also include shrimp tubes, rocks and driftwood to imitate their natural habitat.

    Ninja shrimp water quality

    Water quality is the key to succesful shrimp keeping and this is no different for ninja shrimp. As mentioned above, never introduce any shrimp (or other livestock) if your aquarium isn't fully cycled yet. Keep your water quality high by doing regular water tests with a liquid test kit, topping off any water that has evaporated and doing water changes when needed.

    An important note: unlike many other dwarf shrimp, ninja shrimp like their water pretty toasty. They naturally occur in relatively warm areas and won't do well in an unheated aquarium. Make sure you get a working heater (preferably with thermostat) and check your thermometer regularly to make sure temps are still where they're supposed to be.

    pH: 6.5-8

    Temperature: 75-80.5

    Ninja shrimp tankmates

    Most shrimp keepers will know the drill by now: don't keep shrimp that you value greatly with any but the most peaceful and tiny fish species. Pygmy Corydoras and other microfish won't be able to fit adult shrimp into their mouths and should be fine. If you get larger fish you'll have to accept the possibility of them eating the occasional shrimp.

    If you want to keep things completely shrimp safe, go for an invert-only setup. Snails and other shrimp species that won't interbreed with your ninja shrimp (like cherry shrimp from the Neocaridina genus) should work well.

    Ninja shrimp diet

    Ninja shrimp are scavengers that will consume anything edible they come across. In the wild, they live off microfilm, decaying organic matter and algae. This makes them a great aquarium cleaning crew, but keep in mind that our fish tanks might be too clean to sustain an entire population.

    To make sure your ninja shrimp don't go hungry, regularly offer high-quality shrimp foods and other snacks they love (try fresh blanched veggies and leaf litter).

    Breeding ninja shrimp

    Information on breeding ninja shrimp is quite scarce and I was unable to find any succesful breeding reports. The process is likely similar to breeding Amano shrimp: the fry go through a larval stage before turning into 'actual' shrimp. To make matters even more difficult, they also  require brackish water in these first stages of life, after which they should slowly be acclimated to freshwater.

    Amano shrimp breeding teaches us that any errors quickly lead to dead fry, but it likely can be done if you can figure out the correct salinities.

    Buying ninja shrimp

    These shrimp are not common in the hobby and some sources state they have never been imported to both Europe and the US. Luckily, this is not true: you should actually be able to find them if you do a bit of searching. Try asking if your local aquarium store can order some from their wholesaler or approach different wholesalers yourself to see if they can help you out.

    the shrimp farm

  • Shrimp caresheet: Blue bee shrimp (Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee")

    Looking for a stripey shrimp but don't want to go for regular ol' crystal reds? You'll love Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee", also known as the blue bee shrimp. Although they're not far removed from Caridina cf. cantonensis and might even interbreed with this genus, they are definitely not the same. They're also a lot less common in the hobby!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about Paracaridina sp. and keeping this fascinating dwarf shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee"

    Common names: Blue bee shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: China

    Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" appearance

    This is a relatively small dwarf shrimp with a maximum size of around 0.8 inch. Contrary to what its name suggests it's usually not actually blue, but brown with narrow vertical white stripes.

    Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" requirements

    Blue bee shrimp requirements are pretty similar to those of crystal red & black shrimp. You'll need an aquarium of 5 gallons or more; if you're a beginner, it's a good idea to go a little larger than the bare minimum as it'll be easier to keep things stable that way.

    Your aquarium should always be filtered and fully cycled (more about water quality can be found below). Try a sponge filter or something with a filter guard, as you won't want to lose any fry from this uncommon shrimp variety. You'll also need a heater if ambient temperatures aren't stable, as (dwarf) shrimp don't respond well to sudden temperature swings.

    Like all shrimp species, blue bee shrimp are prey animals that will do best when provided with plenty of hiding places. Hides don't have to be fancy or complicated: some live plants, shrimp tubes and other decor should be enough to keep your blue bees stress-free and happy.

    Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" water quality

    Good water quality is the key to healthy (blue bee) shrimp! Most importantly, never introduce any livestock if your aquarium is not fully cycled yet. No idea what that means? Thoroughly read this article before you even consider heading out and getting your shrimp.

    Keep a close eye on your water values using a liquid test kit (drop tests are known to be inaccurate), making sure ammonia and nitrite are always at 0. Nitrates should ideally be <10 and can be kept low by doing regular water changes and adding live plants.

    pH: 6.0-7

    Temperature: 68-77 °F

    Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" tankmates

    Stick with the safest options for this small dwarf shrimp by keeping your tank invert-only or choosing only the most peaceful fish tankmates. All fish that get the chance to fit a shrimp in their mouth will gladly do so, which means microfish like Corydoras pygmaeus are your best bet if you don't want to lose any fry.

    Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" diet

    Like most dwarf shrimp, blue bee shrimp are omnivorous detritus feeders with a preference for plant material. This means that in the aquarium they'll spend a large portion of their day foraging for leftovers, dead plant matter and algae/biofilm. You can supplement their diet in all sorts of ways: leave algae to grow in a few places, feed a high quality shrimp food on a daily basis, offer fresh blanched veggies once in a while and toss some leaf litter or cholla wood in your tank as a permanent source of shrimp snacks.

    Breeding Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee"

    Breeding Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee" should be similar to breeding Caridina cf. cantonensis. These shrimp breed in freshwater and are pretty prolific.

    To answer the question many might be asking: yes, there are reports of Paracaridina and Caridina shrimp interbreeding. Although they are from different genera, they are very similar and taxonomy might be inaccurate. So be warned, if you don't want your blue bees to cross with your Caridina shrimp, don't keep them in the same tank. If you do want to experiment, most sources discuss cross breeding with Caridina cf. cantonensis, which might work.

    Buying Paracaridina sp. "Blue bee"

    Blue bee shrimp are a relatively new and uncommon addition to the shrimp hobby, so don't expect to come across them at your average aquarium store. If you want to keep these shrimp you'll likely have to search for a seller online. Fellow hobbyists might be able to help you out and there are also various online stores out there that sell (imported) blue bee shrimp.

    the shrimp farm

  • Shrimp caresheet: Black rose shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. "Black rose")

    Looking for a shrimp that's as easy to keep as a cherry shrimp and as jet black as the more fragile black king kong Caridina variety?

    Let us introduce you to: black rose shrimp. Easily one of the most spectacular Neocaridina davidi varieties, it makes a great choice for beginners who aren't ready for more difficult shrimp but still want something unusual.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about keeping black rose shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi var. "Black rose"

    Common names: Black rose shrimp

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Origin: Taiwan

    Black rose shrimp requirements

    Black rose shrimp requirements are similar to those of other Neocaridina davidi varieties. To get started, you'll need an aquarium of at least 5 gallons, although more is better in most cases and lessens the chances of water quality issues. Cycle your tank so it's shrimp-safe; a sponge filter or any other type of filter with a filter guard works well for this. A heater is not a must but still recommended in most cases, because it keeps the water temperature stable even if room temperatures swing.

    Decor-wise, you can keep it simple or go all out as long as you provide at least some hiding places. Live plants work very well and will really be appreciated by your (baby) shrimp as hides and foraging spots. There are also plenty of shrimp tubes and caves on the market that provide shelter. Even something as simple as a moss ball can help your shrimp feel safe!

    Black rose shrimp water quality

    Even though black rose shrimp can be classed as one of the hardier dwarf shrimp varieties, they still require high water quality. Never introduce black rose shrimp into your tank if you're not sure whether it's completely cycled. Avoid any sudden swings in water values in temperature and keep nitrates low (<10 should be fine). Remember that stability is more important than getting the water values exactly right.

    You can keep your water quality high by performing regular aquarium maintenance. Do weekly water changes, test the water even when nothing seems wrong and remove anything that might cause issues immediately (leftover food, dead tankmates, etc.).

    pH: 6.2-8.0

    Temperature: 65-85 °F

    GH: 4-8

    KH: 3-15

    Total Dissolved Solids: 150-200

    Black rose shrimp tankmates

    Black rose shrimp are a good choice if you're interested in keeping your shrimp with some tankmates, as they breed relatively quickly. Do keep in mind that no fish is entirely shrimp safe, which means some fry can always end up disappearing. If that's not an issue to you, you can consider small and peaceful microfish species.

    Dedicated breeders usually prefer to keep their tanks free of fish and go invert only, dwarf shrimp only or even single species with their tanks. This helps prevent any stress, overcrowding or competition for food and thus helps guarantee the highest survival rates possible.

    Black rose shrimp diet

    Like most shrimp, black rose shrimp are bottom feeders that will happily consume almost anything. They have a particular love for biofilm, but because our aquariums are usually too 'clean' to contain enough of it you'll have to feed them a little extra.

    Use a high quality shrimp food and add some variation by letting algae grow on decorations/one of the aquarium panes, feeding blanched veggies, tossing in some leaf litter or offering one of the many other 'homemade shrimp foods' you can choose from.

    Breeding black rose shrimp

    Breeding black rose shrimp is similar to breeding the popular red cherry shrimp: very easy. Neocaridina davidi varieties are quite prolific and if you have breeding age shrimp of both sexes the females should be pregnant almost constantly.

    Since you can't really see their saddle, you won't know for sure whether a female is carrying eggs until they are fertilized and she moves them to her swimmerettes (back legs). She keeps them there for around 30 days, continuously supplying them with fresh water until they hatch into tiny baby shrimp. You can feed the babies using a powdered food but unless your aquarium is squeaky clean they should be able to find enough food on their own.

    If your black rose shrimp aren't breeding, be sure to check if you have both males (usually smaller) and females. Keep a close eye on your water values and make sure you're feeding a proper diet that contains plenty of calcium to prevent failed molts.

    Buying black rose shrimp

    This selectively bred variety of Neocaridina davidi is pretty new in the shrimp hobby and you won't be able to find them in many places yet. You can ask your local aquarium store whether they can order them for you, but if you want to know exactly where your shrimp come from it's a better idea to just buy online from a seller who breeds their own shrimp. The Shrimp Farm sells homebred black rose shrimp with live arrival guarantee; just click here to start your own colony.

    the shrimp farm

  • Shrimp caresheet: Panda shrimp (Caridina cantonensis var. 'Panda')

    Panda shrimp are a bee shrimp variety appreciated by aquarists for their bright coloration. Although they definitely aren't the easiest dwarf shrimp to keep they are worth a try for the more experienced shrimp keeper. With the right care they can thrive and be a real eyecatcher in any shrimp collection.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about panda shrimp and keeping panda shrimp in your own aquarium!

    Scientific name: Caridina cf. cantonensis var. "Panda"

    Common names: Panda shrimp, black panda shrimp, black king kong panda

    Difficulty level: Intermediate to hard

    Origin: Spontaneous mutation

    panda shrimp

    Setting up a panda shrimp aquarium

    Panda shrimp requirements

    Although panda shrimp definitely aren't the easiest Caridina cantonensis variety to keep, it's possible to keep them happy and healthy as long as you strictly follow their care guidelines.

    For most dwarf shrimp an aquarium of at least 5 gallons is recommended, but things are a little different for pandas. Larger setups are more stable, which comes in handy with these fragile shrimp. An aquarium of 10 gallons (preferably even more) is a good idea, especially if you're worried about water quality.

    Your aquarium should always be fully cycled. Use one or multiple sponge filters or any other type of gentle filter with a filter guard. A heater is also recommended: these shrimp do well at room temp but a heater protects them from sudden temperature fluctuations.

    As with all shrimp, pandas need plenty of hiding places to feel safe. Try adding some easy aquarium plants like Java fern and a few shrimp hides to help keep your panda shrimp happy.

    Panda shrimp water quality

    In order to keep your panda shrimp healthy, water quality should always be high. Any traces of ammonia or nitrite can be deadly, so check your water values very regularly using a liquid test kit to verify the cycle is still stable. Stay on top of your water changes, as nitrates can also damage the shrimp in higher quantities. Be sure to match the new water to the old and don't change too much water at a time.

    As Planet Inverts describes, although neutral pH and relatively high temperatures are preferable for panda shrimp, these conditions are also appreciated by pathogens. These vulnerable shrimp can easily fall prey to infections, which means it might actually be better to go for a slightly lower pH and temperature. That way there are less pathogens to worry about and the shrimp population is safer.

    In short: water quality and stability is everything. Keep it in mind at all times if you want your pandas to thrive.

    pH: 6-7.5

    Temperature: 62-76 °F

    GH: 4-6

    KH: 0-4

    Total Dissolved Solids: 100-200

    Panda shrimp tankmates

    I think most aquarists can be brief about this: no fish with your panda shrimp. It's just too much of a risk; with their fragility and slow breeding you really don't want to lose any fry.

    There are a few invertebrate tankmate options. You can try small snails if you're sure they're not carrying any diseases. Other (dwarf) shrimp can also work as long as they don't interfere with your breeding program. Neocaridinas like cherry shrimp are 100% harmless, don't interbreed with Caridina cantonensis and should combine well with your pandas.

    Panda shrimp diet

    All aquarium shrimp naturally feed on biofilm that grows on rocks and other surfaces. In the aquarium their diet should be supplemented with a high quality shrimp food. To add some extra variety you can also feed things like fresh blanched vegetables, frozen foods and much more, although pandas are often said to be a little picky when it comes to food.

    Be sure to remove any uneaten foods from the aquarium after a few hours to avoid issues with your water quality.

    Breeding panda shrimp

    Breeding panda shrimp is definitely not the easiest thing, although they are not as difficult as some of the other Taiwan bee varieties out there. Keep in mind that breeding panda shrimp to other panda shrimp might not result in success, as the offspring can be too weak to survive. Figure out your breeding goals beforehand and choose which shrimp to breed your pandas to accordingly. Other Taiwan bees and Caridina cantonensis species should work well.

    In essence, the breeding process is the same for all dwarf shrimp, pandas just aren't as fertile. Females (which are larger and more brightly colored) carry small eggs between their swimmerettes for around 30 days. The fry, which look exactly like tiny versions of the adults, don't need extra care but high water quality is very important to keep them alive.

    Buying panda shrimp

    Panda shrimp are not too easy to breed, which means they aren't the most common shrimp in the hobby. Your local aquarium store usually won't carry them, but you might be able to obtain some from a fellow hobbyist or from an online source. The Shrimp Farm sells panda shrimp and ships them right to your doorstep! You can order your shrimp here.

    Keep in mind that panda shrimp look similar to Crystal Blacks. Make sure you don't buy the wrong shrimp! Pandas have intenser coloration and a black face, whereas CBS often have less opaque colors and a their face isn't colored.

    the shrimp farm

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