Ultimate Guide to Crystal Red Shrimp Care, Breeding & Grades

Crystal Red Shrimp Care Breeding Grades
Crystal Red Shrimp Care Guide

An Introduction to Crystal Red Shrimp

A lot of shrimp species are available there for your fish tank, which will make it difficult when you are ready to select one of them.

Crystal Red Shrimp is a strong contender. In a home aquarium, these dwarf shrimps are an excellent sight. Though it is small in size, their patterns and colors make them stand out from others.

Among breeders, this shrimp species is an exclusively favorite. With a view to produce the highest quality individuals often aquarists extensively breed them.

To get some though you don’t require to be a breeder, on their limitless search for food everyone will enjoy watching them scuttle around your aquarium.

A tank’s conditions should be perfect to keep them successfully without any issue. While maintaining and caring for Crystal Red Shrimp, we will explain everything from basics to advance you require to consider .

Level of Care:Intermediate
Color Form:White and Red
Lifespan:18-24 months
Size:1.2 inches
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons
Tank Set-Up:Freshwater with caves and plants
Compatibility: Peaceful community or Species tank
Table of Facts and Stats


For freshwater tanks the Crystal Red Shrimp is a most popular species of dwarf shrimp. They are a very small species however are still packed with beauty.

Their actual scientific name is Caridina cantonensis var. ‘Crystal Red’. Rightly speaking they are a color variant of the Bee Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis), which is a member of the Atyidae family.

In some Asian regions it is simply called Red Bee Shrimp. They were first selectively bred in Japan and this color variety was formed there, but nowadays they are bred around the globe.

As they were created by humans, you will not find any Crystal Red Shrimp in the wild environment but the Bee Shrimp is native to Taiwan, and is useful to know when setting up your fish tank.

You have to be aware of grading while buying these beautiful shrimps. To indicate the quality of a shrimp this rating or grading method is used.

Grade goes up with opacity and whiteness and this is the general rule of thumb. The higher the grades the thicker white stripes on an opaque red, while Low grades are mostly a translucent red.

The price of a shrimp increases with the number of grades. You can pick some shrimp that fall into your budget. Therefore shrimp grading is useful . They will all look great irrespective of grades.

Their grades range from grade-C to grade-SSS, and as you raise the grade then the price could range from $5 to $15 per individual shrimp.

In home aquariums Crystal Red Shrimp have a very short lifespan. If they are healthy and fit then you can Expect them to survive for 18 to 24 months. So they require some excellent care to achieve the 2-year mark.

Typical Behavior

For any of their aquariums the Crystal Red Shrimp are harmless and won’t cause any issues. On the other hand there can be a problem though, as these shrimps are so small they’re quite vulnerable.

Particularly choosing the right tank mates is very important; we’ll discuss this later.

These shrimps spend the majority of their time walking across surfaces in search of food at the bottom of your aquarium.

By the way what is molting? Molting is a procedure where shrimps shed their old shell with a view to grow a stronger one. All shrimp regularly molt. They have to do this in some intervals because their shell does not grow with the rest of them.

After the process of molting, the shrimp will be vulnerable. The reason is it takes some time for their newly grown exoskeleton to harden and develop. To avoid damage they can probably hide during this period.

Don’t try to move them. Keep your eyes on them.

You will notice it’s shedded shell placed on the substrate. However you need not to panic. At first sight you might think it’s a dead shrimp, but when you look closer you can say it is an empty casing.

Remove the old shell because it will pollute your aquarium as it decays. Sometimes to have nutrients your shrimp will eat their old shell.

Their Appearance

These shrimps are one of the most wonderful species you must have for your aquarium. For a reason they are selectively bred.

They are stripy white and red but, as we said earlier, this may differ based on their grade.

There are a total of six grades: A, B, C, S, SS, and SSS.

In grade C the ‘Low quality’ shrimps are almost red, with a few thin white stripes on their body. The ‘high quality’ shrimps are almost entirely white with smaller red stripes on their body.

Grades are also influenced by the strength of your shrimp’s color. A powerful, opaque red is more desirable than a translucent red.

Mosura are the SSS-grade shrimps which are almost entirely white colored. They are the highest quality Crystal Red Shrimp. They just have bold red patches on their tails and heads.

It is simple to find out why this species is classified as dwarf shrimp; when fully grown they only reach 1.2 inches length. Particularly it makes those shrimps vulnerable to being eaten.

Still they possess all the features of a ‘classic’ shrimp. They are just shrunken down.

This includes some pleopods (swimming legs) under their abdomen, a telson at the end, long antennae, and pereiopods (walking legs) under their carapace.

Crystal Red Shrimp should be easy to mate. The female shrimps are 10 to 30% bigger and on the abdomen they have larger scales. Ovaries of a female are visible in their head and back when they get ready to lay eggs.

Tank Conditions and Habitat

Always try to recreate the conditions your aquatic pets would be used to in the wild while you’re trying to design a tank for an aquatic pet. It means that they’d want exact living conditions in captivity.

Crystal Red Shrimp only able to exist through the selective breeding of Bee Shrimp. Even they don’t have a natural habitat.

But, the habitat of the Bee Shrimp can be taken as a model because they are closely related to each other.

This would be Taiwan’s streams and freshwater rivers, which Bee Shrimp is native to. As the conditions are perfect, so many shrimp farms have been set up along these rivers in Taiwan.

Here the waters here are slightly acidic and warm. In these rivers and streams, the slight flow of water makes sure that there’s plenty of oxygen and pollutants are flushed away.

The riverbed would be covered in debris and densely planted to act as a shelter as and when required.

In your aquarium, if you can create similar conditions, then the Crystal Red Shrimp should live a happy and long life.

Tank Conditions

If you compare this species with most other shrimp, they are relatively more sensitive to poor water conditions. Crystal Red Shrimp are much smaller and inbreeding in shrimp farms leaves your shrimps much weaker.

Therefore it should be your top priority to maintain the right water conditions. Check the water parameters by using a water testing kit every week.

To keep the temperature between 71°F and 77°F use a good quality heater. The pH of your tank should be between 5.8-7.4.

The bottom of the aquarium should be layered with some soft and sandy substrate as this will minimize the scratch. Apart from this, you can scatter around different debris and rocks to make hiding spaces and caves that the pet shrimps can use as their shelter.

Plants play an important role in the tank, ensuring that your tank has densely planted spaces. Again grass will also be helpful. Dwarf Hairgrass is a great option.

To constantly clean the tank water a filter is required. The outlet of your filter should generate enough current through the tank, you don’t require an air/water pump. General aquarium lighting is also fine.

What Size Aquarium Do They Want?

These shrimps are very small. However, in their planted aquariums the shrimps enjoy having enough space, so a 10-gallon tank is minimum for them. It would be better if you can provide more space.

The water conditions of huge tanks are easier to maintain. It becomes essential since your Crystal Red Shrimp are sensitive to changes in their day to day environment.

How Many Shrimps Can Be Kept Per Gallon?

Since Crystal Red Shrimp only grows to be 1.2 inches, each shrimp only requires a few gallons to themselves . Ensure that you have a decent-sized aquarium in the first row though.

Tank Mates of Crystal Red Shrimp

You have the choice between having a peaceful community or a species tank.

The small size of Crystal Red Shrimp lets you fit many in the aquarium, so they are well suited to a species tank. They are actually attractive and keep your tank interesting.

The species tanks are particularly common While keeping high rated individual shrimps.

Another best option is a community tank because you shall have activity in all aspects of the tank. You should pick tank mates very carefully.

Big fish see Dwarf shrimp as snacks to eat them. You should pick some peaceful, small species which will leave the shrimps alone.

There are a lot of options, you could try Cherry Barbs, Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios, Guppies or, Otocinclus, to name a few.

Also, you can keep your Crystal Red Shrimp with some other invertebrates species. A majority of shrimp species make nice tank mates, because they have few track records (almost nil) for attacking other shrimps.

Generally snails are harmless. Therefore it could be a good option for your tank.

How to Keep Crystal Red Shrimp Together

From the above points we have alluded to the fact that for a species tank these shrimps are excellent to keep. They will live happily and they show no aggression towards each other.

The males even don’t quarrel with one another. You don’t have to worry about the ratio of males to females in the aquarium.

Particularly, this is helpful for any fish keeper who is looking to breed Crystal Red Shrimp because you can keep a lot of the shrimp in a single group.


Since Crystal Red Shrimp are omnivores, they will be animals and plant matter. Their majority of time is spent scavenging around for prey.

Calcium helps them to develop and grow their exoskeletons strong. So, it is an essential component of what your shrimp eat.

Their food might consist of plant detritus, small insects, algae and larvae in the wild. This is a very simple and easy diet to prepare for your little shrimps at your home.

In order to ease the strain on your shrimp’s digestive systems, try to purchase the highest quality foods possible.

One of the healthiest options are Frozen foods because these foods have a high nutrient content. Bloodworms would be a perfect choice.

Again you may provide your Crystal Red Shrimps dried foods. It is also a convenient choice. You can use algae wafers and sinking pellets.

The main problem with dried foods is that during the manufacturing process they lose a lot of their nutrients, therefore ensuring to supplement the shrimps with other things.

Providing green vegetables is a best option. It provides nutrients and varies the diet. Also, you can provide leftovers from your kitchen such as cucumber, zucchini and broccoli.

Another great option you could try making some homemade fish foods with the vegetables.

Your shrimps only require to be fed once a day. They don’t need much food because they are so small. These shrimps also spend the entire day scavenging for food.

These shrimps are very sensitive creatures, so overfeeding might be an issue. Too much eating can cause major problems, however leftover food can release and decay pollutants too.

You have to provide only a little amount of food that your shrimp can consume in a few hours. If you notice any unconsumed food on the substrate, remove that food before it can decay. Using Vacuum gravel cleaners may help with it.


Crystal Red Shrimp are highly sensitive creatures which require a good quality tank to stay healthy and fit. Usually these shrimps don’t respond well to sudden alterations in their tank environment.

The sensitivity of these shrimps generally comes from the intensive inbreeding techniques that occur in the shrimp farms.

You have to keep your aquarium as clean as you can. Using an aquarium filter can easily handle this day today, however you should wipe away any excess algae and perform regular water changes.

Also don’t forget to keep clear the substrate of your aquarium. This means getting rid of unconsumed food sat on the surface or removing the discarded shells from molting.

Using a water testing kit every week will help you to find out various issues so quickly before they can have adverse effects on the shrimps.

If chemicals are required to be added to your aquarium water (for instance medications), always check that the added chemicals don’t contain copper. It should be mentioned on the bottle. Copper is known as toxic to virtually all fish tank invertebrates.

Disease will be the least of your worries if you keep your aquarium clean, however just like any other aquatic pet Crystal Red Shrimp can get ill.

This could be through fungal outbreaks, parasites, or bacterial infection. Often these are placed in an aquarium with new stock from a pet store. So my suggestion is to quarantine your new additions.

Even though your shrimps aren’t ill, some common fish diseases can be carried by them that will spread around all your community.

Pathogens like poor water conditions. Therefore a healthy tank setup will keep the shrimps at bay.

If they enter into your aquarium, the infected individual should be isolated and treated, there are a lot of available medications ( without any copper).


Crystal Red Shrimp is amongst the most common breeds to be included in breeding aquariums. The Aquarists enjoy trying to generate the top grade of shrimps they can.

With a view to have a little income, shrimps that are high-grade can be sold from your home.

This species is very easy to breed. If your aquarium conditions are perfect, then the shrimps will start mating with small encouragement.

It’s your main duty to monitor the water parameters and keep the aquarium clean. Not only do poor conditions of an aquarium adversely affect the shrimp’s health, but they’ll be less likely to mate too.

Ensure that you own a mix of male and female shrimps in the aquarium. Females have bigger scales on their abdomen and are slightly larger . Luckily, males won’t fight. So, if you have space in your tank then you can have lots of shrimps each sex in the aquarium.

While they are ready to mate, the female shrimps will release pheromones into the tank’s water, which will attract your male shrimps.

Females will be carrying their eggs around the tank until they hatch the eggs after about 30 days. The little baby shrimps will be born fully formed. They are relatively much smaller than their parents.

The baby shrimps are able to look after themselves, however if you want to help them develop, specifically you can feed them some foods which are made for baby shrimps. Usually these come in the form of powder.

Before you can grade them, you’ll have to wait for the shrimp to get a bit bigger. Allows the patterns and colors to come through.

Are Crystal Red Shrimp Suitable for Your Aquarium? (Summary)

The secured and safest option might be to design the tank around your Crystal Red Shrimp in order to provide them perfect conditions. You can’t add your shrimps to any kind of poor environment.

Definitely it is the case if you have aggressive or large fish because these Crystal Red Shrimps wouldn’t survive too long. They want peaceful, small tank mates if any at all.

One of the hardest parts about caring for these shrimps is maintaining and balancing the accurate water conditions, only because there is little space for error.

Having some experience is great, but even beginner aquarists can be successful in this field if they are willing to put in the effort needed for keeping the aquarium clean. This won’t take up a lot of your time.

It is very rewarding to keep Crystal Red Shrimps. You will soon be able to know why this great species has become so popular among aquarists.

Why do you prefer to have Crystal Red Shrimp in your tank? Let us know in the comments section below…


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of FishCampRehab.com, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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