Are you looking for the perfect aquarium pet? If yes, you should consider the blue velvet shrimp. Many people are surprised to learn they can keep shrimp as pets. Nonetheless, not all shrimp make excellent housemates.
Blue shrimp is among the few exceptions, courtesy of its striking appearance, and it is easy to care for. You are in the right place if you plan on getting this crustacean as a pet or want to know more about it. We have your back on the necessary information about the blue shrimp and how to take care of it.
Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi
Common name: blue shrimp, blue velvet shrimp, blue jelly shrimp
When talking about blue shrimp, you should realize there are two variations: blue dream and blue velvet shrimps. The blue dream shrimp is a derivative of the carbon rili and has a darker shade of blue. The blue velvet or blue jelly shrimp originates from the red rili.
You can distinguish the blue dream shrimp from the blue velvet shrimp by checking the coloration. The latter is lighter and may have red outlines. Additionally, a blue dream shrimp won’t have red offspring, whereas the blue velvet shrimp can.
In the Wild
The blue shrimp is a species of freshwater dwarf shrimp native to China and Taiwan. It prefers the clean, temperate waters of these parts, which promote its thriving. This shrimp spends most of its time nesting on aquatic plants like algae and Java moss, where it gets its food.
This critter has a lifespan of 1-2 years. The duration depends on factors like quality of life, health, and genetics. Sick individuals or those living in poor conditions may fail to make it to the first year.
The Appearance of the Blue Velvet Shrimp
This crustacean is a peaceful underwater dweller. It thrives in established aquariums, where it clears algae and leftover food. Blue velvet shrimp are typically blue in varying shades: different colors can punctuate their bodies depending on their diet, health, light intensity, and genetics.
The color is due to the presence of blue light-reflecting iridophores, or having bluish flesh but lacking melanophores. Color changes indicate something is wrong with the shrimp, unless it is genetic. It may also be sick if you notice dots or cloudy white spots on its body.
The blue shrimp is a dwarf species, meaning it is relatively small. The largest females grow to a maximum length of 2 inches (5 centimeters), though the average size is 1.6 inches (4 centimeters). Males are smaller, at 1.25 inches (3 centimeters) long.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Care
After looking at the appealing attributes of the blue velvet shrimp, it is understandable if you want to get one. This bottom feeder does not require much courtesy because of its hardiness. Let us look at the crucial things to remember when keeping a blue shrimp as a pet.
Food and Diet
Feeding is a critical part of taking care of the blue velvet shrimp. This bottom feeder is an omnivore and survives by scavenging; thus, feeding it is hassle-free. If the aquarium has other inhabitants besides the shrimp, it can survive by eating food remnants that drop to the bottom. It also eats dead tissue and waste from its aquarium mates, including algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
You should feed it once a week if there are other species in the fish tank. If this crustacean solely occupies the aquarium, you should feed it 2-3 times a week. The good thing is that shrimp eat regular fish food.
You should be careful when feeding shrimp, as a slight mistake can lead to their death. Avoid food with high copper or copper sulfate composition, as these compounds are toxic to them. Moreover, overfeeding or underfeeding blue shrimp can be lethal.
The algae indicate how well you are feeding your aquatic housemates. An overgrowth of algae shows you are overfeeding the shrimp, while the lack of the plant suggests underfeeding. It is advisable to develop a feeding schedule for your fish tank inhabitants’ healthy development.
The best foods for shrimp include plant-based fish flakes, dried autumn leaves, kale, and zucchini. Also, feed them mosquito larvae and brine shrimp for their protein needs.
Recommended Tank Size
Before bringing the beautiful crustacean home, you should have its habitat ready. The good news is that it does not require a complex place to stay. A 5- to 10-gallon fish tank will work fine. Nevertheless, if you can get a bigger tank, the better, especially if you want to house many individuals. Also, a large tank translates to effortless management of the water parameters.
You set up the tank the same way as a regular fish tank. Fill the base with your preferred substrate before adding other add-ons. Start with gravel and follow up with sand. The sand helps the shrimp access food, as it won’t sink into inaccessible spots like between the stones.
Some aquarium enthusiasts recommend dark sand to help with getting the darker hue. The drawback is that it will be harder to spot the critters. The best move is to have them in the dark sand when they’re young for a deeper color, then later shift them to a tank with light sand for a perfect display of their impressive shade.
For starters, you can use a fish bowl, particularly if handling a few shrimp. The downside is that you have to clean the bowl regularly for it to be fit for the crustaceans.
Proper Water Parameters
Getting the proper water parameters is tricky, and many hobbyists mess up. The blue velvet shrimp resides in fresh, temperate waters. The aquarium’s water temperature should range from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 to 28 degrees Celsius. Nonetheless, this shrimp is highly adaptable and can thrive in water temperatures of 62 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (17 to 29 degrees Celsius).
Higher temperatures are better, as it hastens their metabolic process. The outcome is fast growth, development, and breeding. The downside of the increased metabolism is a reduced lifespan. So, it is best to have the temperature at optimum levels.
The water pH should be neutral, from 6.5 to 7.5. However, they can handle slightly acidic or basic environments, stretching the pH range to 6.2 to 8.
Water alkalinity and hardness are other crucial parameters when keeping a blue shrimp as a pet. Typically, hard water favors them due to the presence of minerals like calcium, which strengthens their exoskeleton. The water should have TDS, KH, and GH values of 400, 8, and 20, respectively, on the higher side of hardness. The ideal value range should be a TDS of 150 to 200, a KH of 2 to 4, and a GH of 6 to 8.
Ensure the copper levels are low, as a high content of this mineral is lethal to shrimp.
What Do Blue Velvet Shrimps Need in Their Tank?
You should set up the aquarium to meet your tastes, especially in terms of decorations. Add lights, rocks, and other things to bring out its personality. The extras serve several different purposes besides decor.
You need plants like water sprite, guppy grass, water wisteria, and hornworts. Java moss is another popular plant option for tanks. These plants grow fast and increase the surface area for biofilm attachment. The shrimp feed on the biofilm. Moreover, the plants contribute to the tank’s aesthetic appeal. Take care of the plants to keep them in excellent shape.
Rocks, driftwood, and figurines provide shelter for the shrimp when necessary, like after molting. Also, install lights to brighten up the aquarium and its surroundings. A filter is a must-have accessory for cleaning up the water.
On cleaning, the frequency depends on the species in the aquarium. If you only have blue velvets, you attend to the tank once a week. You should routinely clean the tank if it is home to other species, especially the ones that produce a lot of waste. Clear large food remnants 2-3 hours after feeding the aquarium inhabitants.
You must change the water in the tank. For a small tank of less than 10 gallons, you change 10—15 percent of the water. Change around 20% of the water in larger aquariums. Ensure the water you are adding meets the required parameters.
Common Potential Health Problems
Blue shrimp, like other pets, are prone to various health problems, which can affect their quality of life. Vorticella, a protozoan, is one of the most common parasites that plague blue shrimp. It thrives in freshwater and may settle on algae, rocks, or animals—in this case, shrimp.
It has a white, hairy appearance, which you may mistake for a fungus. The white growth is mainly on the crustacean’s head, and it might spread to the rest of the body with time. You should promptly address this parasitic situation. If left unattended, the vorticella may cause full-scale mortality in the aquarium.
Shrimp worms are parasites that anchor themselves under the shrimp. They can distress the shrimps, as evident from symptoms like color change, weakness, and death in severe cases.
Scutariella japonica is another parasite that affects shrimp. Many people confuse it with vorticella due to its white appearance. The two are different, with Vorticella being translucent and Japonica being opaque with a solid white color and being a flatworm.
Scutariella japonica mainly attaches itself to the head and gills of the crustacean. It is a harmless parasite, though it affects the shrimp’s appearance. Nevertheless, a large population of this flatworm can overwhelm the blue velvet shrimp, leading to its death.
Bacterial infections are severe and hard to detect. The chitinolytic bacterial disease is a regular condition affecting blue velvet shrimp. The causative organism may be Pseudomonas spp., Vibrio spp., and Spirillum spp., among many others.
This bacterial infection targets the outer organs, with symptoms such as spots or membrane erosion. Shrimp can also catch fungal infections, though they are rare.
You should consult your vet if you notice anything abnormal with your blue velvet for fast action, which can save them.
Behavior and Temperament
When you peep into the blue shrimp aquarium, you will notice that it is calm, social, and playful. It interacts well with other shrimp; hence, breeding is a walk in the park. Hardly will you see it attacking other tankmates; such behavior indicates something is wrong, mostly feeding.
Playful and freely moving shrimp signify their healthiness. Gloomy and aggressive shrimps may be sick.
Tank Mates and Compatibility
The blue shrimp can share its tank with other aquarium pets due to its calm and peaceful demeanor. However, the tankmates should be smaller fish or those that don’t prey on shrimp. It interacts well with other blue shrimp or dwarf shrimp species.
Best Tank Mates
You can introduce other species into the aquarium if you are targeting diversity. The tankmates should be compatible with the blue jelly shrimp in terms of living conditions. Additionally, they should be small to reduce the chances of predating on the dwarf crustaceans.
The bristlenose pleco is an excellent companion, as its temperament and behavior are similar to the blue shrimp’s. It is a bottom feeder, calm, and small; thus, it won’t cross paths with the blue velvet. It is a hardy aquarium pet, so it is great for people who are just starting out with aquarium pets.
Freshwater dwarf shrimp like the red cherry, blue tiger, ghost, blue golf, and barbaulti are also excellent tankmates.
The following are other aquarium pets that can share a tank with the blue shrimp:
- Small tetras
- Cory catfish
- Malaysian trumpet, rabbit, mystery, and white wizard snails
You need a bigger tank to introduce other species for peaceful coexistence. Avoid large and aggressive fish, which can attack or eat your aquarium pet, such as large plecos, cichlids, goldfish, and angelfish.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Breeding
Breeding blue velvet shrimp is effortless, as this bottom feeder is social with other members of its species. Shrimp reach sexual maturity at 3-5 months, though some individuals may delay up to the sixth month.
The females carry a cluster of up to 50 eggs under their tails, which are typically 1.2 millimeters long but can be larger if the female is big. The location under the tail is crucial, as the shrimp constantly fans her tail to supply oxygen to the eggs.
The eggs hatch after 25 to 30 days, and the babies appear like miniature shrimps. They will mature sexually after 4-6 months, and the reproduction cycle continues.
You need a sponge in the filter to prevent sucking up tiny shrimp babies. Furthermore, you should provide sufficient food and control diseases for effective blue shrimp breeding.
The blue velvet of blue jelly shrimp is an excellent aquarium pet that you can have as your housemate. Despite being tiny, it is radiant, courtesy of its unique bluish appearance.
This article gives you a deeper insight into this crustacean and gives you an idea of how to care for it if you get one. It is easy to keep due to its hardiness and few feeding demands. Keep an eye out for any changes in the appearance of this aquatic pet to determine its health. In addition, the tank should be clean for it to thrive.