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sulawesi shrimp

  • Shrimp caresheet: Blue leg Poso (Caridina caerulea)

    Want to dive into the world of Sulawesi shrimp? The Indonesian Sulawesi lakes contain a wealth of fascinating and amazingly colored freshwater shrimp species, but unfortunately most of these are not easy to keep and breed at all. There is one exception, though. If you want to avoid the fussiness of cardinal shrimp and other fragile Sulawesi species, the blue leg poso (Caridina caerulea) might be the shrimp for you!

    Keep reading for everything you need to know about Caridina caerulea and keeping the blue leg poso in your own aquarium.


    Scientific name: Caridina caerulea

    Common names: Blue leg Poso

    Difficulty level: Intermediate

    Origin: Lake Poso, Sulawesi, Indonesia


    Caridina caerulea appearance

    While not as colorful as some other Sulawesi shrimp, Caridina caerulea is still a real stunner. It can easily be recognized by its long, blue rostrum, clear to blueish body and bright orange antennae.

    Keep in mind that the common name blue leg poso is used for two very similar shrimp species: Caridina caerulea (which has two blue spots on the tail) and Caridina ensifera (orange tail spots and a more orange body). Care for these is pretty much the same.

    Caridina caerulea requirements

    Although we wouldn't describe the blue leg poso as an 'easy' or 'beginner' shrimp, they are a little more forgiving than most other Sulawesi species. If you haven't kept shrimp before, it's a good idea to get some practice with a less demanding variety. The ever-popular cherry shrimp is a good option for first-time shrimp keepers.

    Try to go for at least a 10 gallon aquarium, as larger setups will be easier to keep stable. A filter is necessary to cycle the tank; sponge filters or anything with a filter guard to protect baby shrimp should work well. A heater is also a must, as Caridina caerulea naturally occurs in warm waters and won't respond well to lower temperatures.

    Decor-wise, it's important to keep in mind that all Sulawesi shrimp are relatively shy. Although you should see the blue leg poso out in the open a lot more than many of its cousins, it still prefers a relatively dark setup with a few hiding spots. Live plants and other surfaces where algae and biofilm can grow are always a plus.

    Caridina caerulea water quality

    Probably the most important and challenging aspect of Sulawesi shrimp care is water quality. These shrimp do not respond well to fluctuating water values and any traces of ammonia, nitrite or copper. Never introduce any livestock in an aquarium that hasn't been fully cycled. In fact, it's probably a good idea to let your tank mature a little longer than usual for Caridina caerulea.

    The Sulawesi lakes are known for their relatively alkaline water, which means a pH above neutral is the way to go. Hardness should be medium.

    pH: 7.5-8.5

    Temperature: 77-84 °F

    Caridina caerulea tankmates

    An invert-only setup is probably the way to go here, as fish might prey on shrimp fry and cause unneccessary stress. Caridina caerulea can be kept with other Sulawesi shrimp and snails like the popular rabbit snail, which also naturally occurs in Sulawesi. If you're not too concerned about matching the exact geographic location, you can also try black devil snails or even hardy Neocaridina varieties. Just be sure to keep temperatures on the lower end of the spectrum if you go this route.

    Caridina caerulea diet

    Sulawesi shrimp like Caridina caerulea seem more dependent on micro-organisms and biofilm as their food source than many of the other dwarf shrimp we keep. They don't always seem attracted to "regular" shrimp foods. To keep them healthy and well-fed, consider feeding very fine foods and leave algae to grow on surfaces like rocks. You can also dose a product that enhances the growth of biofilm in your tank. It might look a little gross, but your shrimp love it!

    Breeding Caridina caerulea

    Breeding Caridina caerulea is easier than you'd expect from Sulawesi shrimp. As long as their requirements are met, these shrimp should breed relatively easily. The fry doesn't go through a larval stage, which means extra care isn't needed as long as there's plenty of nutritious biofilm and algae present. So if you want to breed your Caridina caerulea, all you have to do is keep them happy and healthy and things will work out on their own!

    Buying Caridina caerulea

    Despite the fact that breeding Caridina caerulea is relatively easy, they aren't very common in the aquarium hobby yet. You probably won't find them in your average aquarium store, although you could try asking the staff to order a few for you. Other than that, you'll probably be most likely to find this species sold online.

    the shrimp farm

  • 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


    Caridina-dennerli.jpg
    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.

    the shrimp farm

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