Crystal Red Shrimp Care
& Other Soft Water Shrimp
Crystal Red Shrimps (scientific name: Caridina sp.) is a bred variant of Bee Shrimps. They are exactly the same species, the only difference is in color. This color is bred through selective breeding. The Bee shrimp is a very hardy shrimp, because it has not been inbred as much.
Crystal red shrimp should not be mixed with normal bee shrimps because they are the same species and will readily interbreed, resulting in less red shrimps down the line. With that said there is a lot of mixing going on today to improve the gene pool of the crystal reds. My experience has been when a black bee shrimp and a crystal red shrimp are bred, the babies are half crystal reds, and half black bee shrimps.
The crystal red shrimp is especially sensitive because of a smaller gene pool. In fact the world's crystal red shrimps all have the common ancestors from a breeder in Japan who found 3 redder variants in his thousands of normal bee shrimps. These 3 redder shrimps were then bred, and their redder offsprings were selected and bred again. After many cycles he finally arrived at the crystal red shrimps that you see today.
Ok so now that you have an idea of how sensitive crystal red shrimps are, let’s get on to the water conditions
There should be no ammonia or nitrite present in your crystal red tank. If you do not have an already cycled tank, do not even think about it.
Optimum Temperature: 71 - 76
Optimum pH: 6.2 to 6.9
Sponge filters are the best since they do not pose a danger to baby shrimp.
Low alkaline to almost neutral pH is good for shrimps because invertebrate shells are alkaline in nature. Acidity is harmful to shrimp shells as it reacts with its alkaline nature, causing “pits” shrimp shells are not as shiny because of these pittings.
However, if your water condition is less than perfect, it will be BETTER to have a moderate to low pH because at low pH, nitrogenous waste is less toxic.
I use water from a reverse osmosis machine (or bottled water if you don't have one) mixed with 1/4 tap water. This adds in minerals that might be lacking in the water.
Keep up with water changes! Crystal Red shrimp are HIGHLY prone to nitrate poisoning and they need good water to maintain good health and molting. I do weekly 25% water changes twice a week.
They should be fed a varied diet. I feed mine tropical fish flakes. Making sure there are no copper additives in it. Organic spinach and dead maple leaves that have dried out. I soak the leaves for a couple of days to get all the tannins out. Also make sure you get them from a area that has no chance of being contaminated.
They should be constantly active, searching for food. Climbing from plant to plant, mine especially like to graze around the sponge filter. If a large proportion of your shrimps starts keeping still and not behaving or eating as normal, check the water!
Shrimps molt on a regular basis. This is a process where they shed their outer shell so they can grow bigger. They can also seen eating these shells. At first glance it looks like cannibalism, but this is very nutritious for them.
I prefer a light covering of a dark color gravel. This seems to show them off the best. Leave the lights on approximately 12 hrs a day Make sure you don't use any chemicals in the tank. A dechlorinator is fine and necessary if you have city water, but this should be mixed before adding the water to the tank.
Breeding for Crystal reds is very easy in my experience. If the conditions are right, they will breed when they are mature enough (approx. 6 months old).
These shrimp are just a little more work than other shrimp or fish, but believe me they are definitely worth it.
Crystal Red Grades
Crystal Red comes in grades of SS, S, A, B and C. The standard crystal red grading convention is as follows:
Highest Quality SS
Lowest Quality C
Everything is the same, care and grading wise, for the crystal black shrimp, orange eye blue tigers, Super tigers.
Snowball shrimp & yellow shrimp care is basically the same, but the ph is normally higher. Between 7.0 - 7.8
Snowball shrimp & yellow shrimp care is basicxally the same, but the ph is normally higher. Between 7.0 - 7.8