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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.

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