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crystal shrimp

  • Shrimp caresheet: Crystal black shrimp (Caridina cf. cantonensis)

    Most shrimp keepers know crystal red shrimp, but are you also familiar with their less common cousin? Crystal black shrimp, also known as black bee shrimp, are named after the black bands that cross their white bodies. Like crystal reds they were selectively bred from bee shrimp. Their bright black and white colors are sure to liven up any aquarium and they make a great breeding project that can even yield a little profit!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about crystal black shrimp care and keeping crystal black shrimp in your own aquarium.


    Scientific name: Caridina cf. cantonensis

    Common names: Crystal black shrimp, bee shrimp, CBS

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    Origin: South East Asia


    Crystal black shrimp care & info: keeping Caridina dwarf shrimp in your aquarium #aquatic #pets Hover over image to pin to Pinterest

    Setting up a crystal black shrimp aquarium

    Crystal black shrimp requirements

    As with most other freshwater shrimp you don't need a large aquarium to keep crystal blacks. Keep in mind that they are quite sensitive and don't react well to bad water values, which means a larger aquarium is better especially if you're a beginner. An aquarium of at least 10 gallons is easier to keep stable than smaller setups.

    Like all aquariums a crystal black shrimp tank should be fully cycled and established before any inhabitants are introduced. You need a filter to cycle the tank; most shrimp breeders prefer sponge filters, as these create a gentle water flow and can't suck up tiny shrimp fry. Although crystal black shrimp can handle room temperatures just fine it's still recommended to use a heater to prevent any temperature fluctuations.

    Crystal black shrimp love plenty of hiding places in the aquarium, especially when they're vulnerable during molting time. Shrimp flats and live plants make great hides while also providing a place for nutritious biofilm to grow, so be sure to incorporate a few in your crystal black tank.

    Crystal black shrimp water quality

    As discussed earlier, crystal black shrimp are a little more sensitive than most common dwarf shrimp. Their ancestor, the bee shrimp, naturally occurs in fast-flowing, clean waters. Selective breeding has made crystal blacks even more sensitive; this especially applies to the higher grades.

    All this means you have to keep a close eye on your water values if you want to keep these shrimp alive and happy. The water should be relatively soft and acidic and always free of ammonia and nitrites. Regular aquarium maintenance is a must, as crystal blacks are also quite sensitive to nitrates. Do regular, small water changes to keep the water values where they should be. A liquid test kit allows you to check the water values while a thermometer should be used to make sure the temperature is still correct.

    pH: 5.8-7.4

    Temperature: 62-76 °F

    GH: 4-6

    KH: 0-4

    Total Dissolved Solids: 100-200

    Crystal black shrimp tankmates

    Although there are some options out there when it comes to tankmates for your crystal red shrimp, most breeders prefer keeping them in single species setups. This ensures no fry fall prey to hungry fish and the shrimp feel safe at all times.

    If you do want to keep your crystal blacks with some tankmates and don't mind the fact that you likely won't get as much offspring, be sure to still choose carefully. Only go for small and very peaceful tankmates like Otocinclus or Pygmy Corydoras or even stick to just inverts. Snails should work well and you can also try other dwarf shrimp species as long as they don't interbreed with your crystal blacks. Shrimp from the Neocaridina genus can co-exist with crystal blacks just fine.

    Crystal black shrimp diet

    Crystal black shrimp are omnivores that thrive on a varied diet. They naturally feed on biofilm that forms on rocks and plants but in the aquarium their diet should be supplemented. There are many high quality shrimp foods out there that can be used as a staple and the possibilities for added variation are endless. Your crystal blacks will love frozen foods like mosquito larvae, fresh blanched veggies, algae pellets and even strange things like dried nettle leaves. Botanicals like Indian almond leaves and cholla wood are also a welcome source of food.

    Because crystal blacks are so sensitive all uneaten foods should be removed after a few hours. Any leftovers can quickly start rotting, which is disastrous for your water quality and can damage the shrimp population.

    Breeding crystal black shrimp

    Crystal black shrimp make a great breeding project and you shouldn't have too much trouble getting your crystal blacks to reproduce. As long as their requirements are met these shrimp should pretty much constantly produce fry! The females, which are larger and more brightly colored, carry the eggs between their back legs (swimmerettes) for around 30 days before releasing tiny babies that don't need any special care.

    Like crystal reds, crystal black shrimp come in various color patterns that vary in rarity and determine their "grade" or "quality". A crystal black shrimp with more white and more opaque coloration falls into a higher grade, which affects the price.

    Buying crystal black shrimp

    Crystal black shrimp are unfortunately a little less common than their crystal red cousins, which is a shame because they feature the same fascinating patterns and are just as interesting to keep and breed. Because they are less popular they are also a little more difficult to find, which means your local aquarium store might not carry them. Luckily there is always the internet - you can buy crystal black shrimp from fellow hobbyists or at online stores. The Shrimp Farm sells crystal black shrimp and ships them right to your doorstep! Order your crystal blacks here.

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  • Shrimp caresheet: Crystal Red shrimp (Caridina cf. cantonensis)

    Undoubtedly one of the most popular species in the dwarf shrimp hobby today is Caridina cf. cantonensis var. 'Crystal Red', also simply known as the Crystal Red shrimp. Selectively bred from the humble Bee shrimp, Crystal Reds are appreciated for their bright red and white coloration and make a great choice for any shrimp keeper - beginner or expert.

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about Crystal Red shrimp care and keeping Crystal Reds in your aquarium!


    Scientific name: Caridina cf. cantonensis var. 'Crystal Red'

    Common names: Crystal Red shrimp, (Red) Bee shrimp, CRS, Crystal shrimp

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Origin: South East Asia


    Caring for Crystal Red Shrimp #aquatic #pets Hover over image to pin to Pinterest

    Setting up a Crystal Red shrimp aquarium

    Crystal Red shrimp requirements

    A large aquarium is not needed to keep Crystal Red shrimp: a setup as small as 5 gallons (19L) can be enough to sustain a reasonably sized colony. Keep in mind, though, that these shrimp are quite sensitive and larger tanks are easier to keep stable than smaller ones. Beginners especially might want to go for something around 10 gallons (38L) to make things a little easier.

    Like all aquariums, a Crystal Red shrimp tank needs to be filtered. For smaller tanks, a sponge filter might be a good option, as it gently filters the water and can't accidentally suck up any baby shrimp. To keep an eye on your water values and cycle you're also going to need a liquid water test kit. A heater is recommended; although these shrimp do well at room temperature, a thermostat heater can prevent any sudden fluctuations in temperature and help keep things as stable as possible.

    Shrimp are naturally prey animals and naturally spend most of their time foraging. They will appreciate some plants and other decorations to hide in and eat algae and aufwuchs off.OM NOM NOM

    Crystal Red shrimp water quality

    Crystal Red shrimp have more demands when it comes to water values than many other dwarf shrimp. They are a little more fragile, not in the least due to extensive selective breeding, so skipping water changes is out of the question if you want to keep them alive and healthy.

    Like all shrimp and fish, Crystal Red shrimp should never be introduced into an uncycled aquarium, as they are extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. They don't cope well with high nitrate values either, so keep up with your water changes and perform water tests frequently to make sure the water values are still where they're supposed to be. Apart from being in the right range, water values and temperature should be stable at all times, as sudden fluctuations can quickly prove fatal.

    Like their Bee shrimp ancestors, Crystal Red shrimp do best in relatively soft and slightly acidic water. They don't appreciate very warm water: keep temperatures between 62-76 °F (16.5-24.5 °C).

    pH: 5.8-7.4

    Temperature: 62-76 °F (16.5-24.5 °C)

    gH: 4-6

    kH: 0-4

    TDS (Total Dissolved Solids): 100-200

    Crystal Red shrimp tankmates

    Like all dwarf shrimp, Crystal Reds are quite vulnerable and shouldn't be combined with any but the most peaceful tankmates. Most shrimp keepers actually choose to set up a Crystal Red-only tank, especially for the higher and more expensive grades, but you could add other compatible shrimp species or harmless tankmates like snails.

    Caridina-cf-cantonensis-red-bee

    Crystal Red shrimp diet

    Crystal Red shrimp diet is similar to that of most dwarf shrimp. They are omnivores that naturally spend most of their time foraging and eating anything they can find. In the aquarium, they'll feed on algae and aufwuchs; because an aquarium environment is too clean to contain enough food to sustain them you'll have to supply additional options regularly.

    You can feed your Crystal Reds once a day, though some variation in feeding frequency is a good idea. Because they are omnivores they will accept a wide range of food: try offering a high quality shrimp food as a staple and adding some variation with blanched vegetables and frozen foods like bloodworms.

    Important! As discussed earlier, Crystal Red shrimp are very sensitive. Never offer more than they can consume in a few hours and remove any uneaten foods timely to prevent problems with water values.

    Breeding Crystal Red shrimp

    Breeding is what it's all about for most Crystal Red shrimp keepers: producing high grade shrimp can be very rewarding and some even make a little money off selling their home bred Crystal Reds.

    As long as water parameters are where they're supposed to be at and all other care requirements are being met, Crystal Red shrimp are not difficult to breed at all. Females will quickly start carrying eggs, which hatch after around 30 days to reveal tiny versions of their parents. These tiny shrimplets don't need extra care, though some shrimp keepers choose to feed powdered baby shrimp foods. Once the shrimplets have grown a little you can determine their grade and pattern and decide what you want to do with them.

    If you're unsure whether a Crystal Red shrimp is male or female, compare its size to the other shrimp. Females will be larger than males. Their belly section will also be larger and more curved in order to protect their eggs while they are developing.

    Crystal Red shrimp grading

    Crystal Red shrimp have been selectively bred into many different color patterns. Depending on color distribution and intensity a shrimp can fall into different grades, which influences price and 'quality'. Generally speaking, a Crystal Red shrimp with more white and more opaque coloration falls into a higher grade.

    Everything you need to know about grading Crystal Red shrimp can be found in the Crystal Red shrimp grading article.

    Buying Crystal Red shrimp

    Crystal Red shrimp are relatively popular and you should be able to find them in most aquarium stores, although quality often varies and shrimp might be graded and named incorrectly.

    You can also buy Crystal Red shrimp online from The Shrimp Farm with guaranteed live arrival.

  • Grading Crystal Red Shrimp

    Crystal Red (and Black) shrimp popularity is ever-increasing: this bee shrimp variety is relatively easy to keep, a large tank is not necessary and breeding them can be a fun and even profitable project.

    If you're getting started with your own Crystal Red shrimp colony, the various different grades and color patterns might prove rather confusing. Why are some very expensive and others much cheaper? What defines a 'high quality' Crystal Red? Keep reading for everything you need to know about Crystal Red shrimp grading! Continue reading

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