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Grading blue dream shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. "Blue Dream")

Of all the color varieties of Neocaridina davidi out there, blue is probably the most confusing to beginning shrimp keepers. There is a bunch of different blue varieties available, some with multiple common names (blue dream, blue fairy, blue jelly, blue rili, blue velvet... ahhh!). On top of that, each separate variety can be found in various hues and levels of color coverage,  which affects the shrimp's desirability and the price it can fetch.

Is your head spinning yet? We're here to help. This article discusses the various grades of blue dream shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. "Blue Dream"), which should hopefully help you identify your shrimp as a blue dream and determine where it falls on the scale.


Note: this article only discusses blue dream shrimp grading. If you're looking for more information on how to keep your blue dream shrimp happy and healthy, have a look at the full caresheet for this variety here.


Grading blue dream shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. "Blue Dream")

Like all Neocaridina davidi varieties, including the immensely popular red cherry, the blue dream shrimp was created through selective breeding of a brownish wild type shrimp. The resulting blue specimens are not created equal: they can vary from a deep, dark and opaque blue color to light and splotchy, as well as everything in between.

Shrimp with entirely opaque coloration are more difficult to produce than ones with translucent patches. The process involves continuous selective breeding and removal of all but the best colored shrimp. Why would a breeder do this? Well, it's simply a matter of preference. The shrimp hobby as a whole views more opaque, evenly and deeply colored shrimp as more visually pleasing and therefore as more desirable. In short, they're considered a higher grade/higher quality. Since these shrimp are harder to come by than their less nicely colored counterparts, they fetch a higher price.

So how do you know where your blue dream shrimp falls on this scale? The chart below can help you figure out the grade of an individual shrimp or your colony as a whole.

Wondering what grade your blue dream shrimp are? This handy chart is here to help!

(Article continues below chart.)

How to determine blue dream shrimp grade

  • There are no clear definitions. First off, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no real clear agreement on blue dream shrimp grading yet. We've attempted to put together a system based on community feedback, but individual preferences vary. We're not attempting to impose a standard here, just trying to clear things up a little!
  • Opaqueness & even coloration determine grade. A top grade blue dream shrimp should be a deep and even blue all over. Even the tips of its legs can't show any translucent patches. Black head coloration is generally considered less desirable than an even blue color with no hints of black.
  • Rusty trait. Some blue dream shrimp can look like they've "rusted" on top. This trait can occur in all grades and most shrimp keepers agree it doesn't affect grading.
  • Hues can vary. Some blue dream shrimp show hints of purple, others are nearly black. Yet others feature a much lighter color. Hue does not impact grade and a purplish shrimp can be top grade just like a blueberry colored one.
  • Female vs. male shrimp. In Neocaridina shrimp, gender can really affect a shrimp's grade. Males are generally smaller and lower in grade, which splotchier color. Only in the highest grades are the males generally relatively equal to the females in color.
  • Personal preference matters. If you're looking to breed blue dream shrimp to sell, you'll often want to aim to produce specimens that fall into the higher grades. After all, they are considered better quality and fetch a higher price. Are they technically better, though? They're not. "Low grade" shrimp are just as healthy, or even healthier (due to lower levels of inbreeding) than high grade ones. In the end, the most important factor is what you think looks best!
Blue dream shrimp Quiz time! Based on what you just learned, what grade is this blue dream shrimp? The answer can be found at the bottom of this post.

Buying blue dream shrimp

Blue dream shrimp are a relatively popular Neocaridina davidi variety. Although not all aquarium stores will carry them, some will, or they might be able to order a few for you. An easier way to obtain your starter colony is to buy online. The Shrimp Farm sells high quality, homebred blue dream shrimp and ships them right to your doorstep with live arrival guarantee. You can get your colony here!

Quiz answer: This is a medium grade blue dream shrimp. Note the striped and not fully opaque legs!

the shrimp farm

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