Crystal Red Shrimp: Appearance, Lifespan, Size, Diet, Care, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

If you’re an aquarium enthusiast looking to add some stunning and unique creatures to your tank, Crystal Red Shrimp might be the perfect choice.

These dwarf shrimp, also known as Caridina cf. cantonensis, are famous for their striking appearance and eye-catching coloration.

This blog post will explore everything you need to know about Crystal Red Shrimp, including their appearance, lifespan, size, diet, care requirements, tank mates, breeding process, and more.

Whether you’re a seasoned shrimp breeder or a beginner fishkeeper, this guide will provide the essential information to care for Crystal Red Shrimp in your aquarium successfully.

Overview of Crystal Red Shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp is a stunning variety of Bee Shrimp originating in Taiwan. They are instantly recognizable by their “candy cane” bodies of contrasting white and red stripes, making them stand out beautifully in a heavily planted tank.

Regarding care, Crystal Red Shrimp prefer acidic water with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. They are omnivorous and feed on algae, biofilm, and tiny bits of food in the aquarium. It is essential to provide a variety of foods to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Regarding tank mates, it is best to keep Crystal Red Shrimp with other invertebrates that are similar in size. They can also be kept with certain species of small fish as long as there are plenty of hiding places for the shrimp.

Breeding Crystal Red Shrimp requires a separate spawning and nursery tank. The female shrimp will carry between 30 to 50 eggs, which will hatch after a month. It is essential to remove the parents once the eggs are laid to ensure the survival of the fry.

With their captivating appearance and interesting breeding patterns, Crystal Red Shrimp is a popular choice for shrimp enthusiasts looking to add a touch of beauty to their aquariums.

Appearance of Crystal Red Shrimp


Description of their color variations and grading

Crystal Red Shrimp are known for their striking color variations and grading, which can vary based on the intensity of their red and white patterns. Here are the main color variations and their corresponding grades:

  • C-grade: These shrimps are predominantly red, with only a few thin white stripes. They are considered the lowest quality and least desirable grade.
  • B-grade: Shrimps have less white color than higher grades, although some coloration is still uneven. However, noticeable bands of color are beginning to emerge.
  • A-grade: This grade features at least 75% red shrimps with thin white bands or spots. They are considered beginner-grade and relatively easy to obtain.
  • S-grade: This grade showcases shrimps with a red carapace and a white abdomen, with red bands along the side of their bodies. The red coloration is more pronounced compared to the A-grade.
  • S+ grade: Shrimps in this grade have a red carapace and translucent white stripes along a white or faded red abdomen. The red coloration is more intense compared to the S-grade.
  • SSS-grade: This is the highest grade and the most desirable. These shrimps are almost entirely white, with bold red patches on their heads and tails. Their white coloration dominates, giving them an exquisite appearance.

It’s important to note that the grading system can vary slightly depending on the source or breeder.

Physical characteristics and size

Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis) are a dwarf shrimp species known for their vibrant red and white coloration. These shrimp have a unique body structure, with five pairs of walking legs attached to their cephalothorax and five pairs of swimming legs attached to their abdomen. Their thick carapace protects their cephalothorax, and their tail has a fan-shaped appendage called a uropod.

The males are smaller and thinner, while the females are larger and rounder. Crystal Red Shrimp are graded based on the coloration of their shell, with higher grades having solid white and red segments with clear separating lines.

Lower-grade variants may have patchy or translucent coloration. They are excellent algae cleaners and can be kept in a community tank with suitable mates.

Lifespan of Crystal Red Shrimp

Typical lifespan in captivity

Crystal Red Shrimp have a typical lifespan of 1-2 years in captivity with excellent care. However, it is essential to note that their lifespan can be affected by various factors such as water quality, diet, and genetics. Maintaining optimal water parameters, including pH levels and steady temperatures, can help promote the longevity of these shrimp.

Providing a well-balanced and varied diet, including algae wafers, shrimp pellets, and blanched vegetables, is also crucial for their overall health and lifespan.

Additionally, avoiding overcrowding and selecting suitable tank mates can help minimize stress and prevent any potential aggression or predation that may impact their lifespan.

Factors that can affect their lifespan

Several factors can affect the lifespan of Crystal Red Shrimp in captivity:

  • Water Parameters: Crystal Red Shrimp prefer slightly acidic and soft water conditions. Fluctuations in pH, temperature, and water hardness can stress the shrimp and shorten their lifespan.
  • Water Quality: Crystal Red Shrimp are sensitive to substandard water conditions. Poor water quality, high levels of ammonia or nitrites, and pollutants in the water can be detrimental to their health and lifespan.
  • Tank Mates: Choosing suitable tank mates is crucial for the well-being of Crystal Red Shrimp. Aggressive or predatory tank mates can injure or eat the shrimp, leading to a shorter lifespan.
  • Diet: Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is vital for the health and longevity of Crystal Red Shrimp. A lack of proper nutrition or overfeeding can impact their overall health and lifespan.
  • Genetics: The quality and genetics of the shrimp also affect their lifespan. Selecting healthy and high-quality shrimp from reputable breeders can increase the chances of a longer lifespan.

Aquarists can help promote a healthier and longer lifespan for Crystal Red Shrimp in captivity by ensuring proper water conditions, tank mates, diet, and genetics.

Diet and Feeding

Omnivorous diet of Crystal Red Shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp have an omnivorous diet, but their main food source is algae and green bacteria. They will also eat biofilm, particulate matter, and tiny live prey. In a well-established aquarium, they will scavenge for food on the substrate and pick bits of microscopic prey out of plants.

It is important not to overfeed them, as they can find their food in the tank. Outside food, such as algae flakes and commercial shrimp foods, should be given in small amounts and crushed into a powder. Live prey like daphnia and micro worms can also be provided occasionally.

Recommended foods and supplements

Crystal Red Shrimp are omnivores who eat various foods to meet their nutritional needs. Providing them with a balanced diet for optimal health and coloration is essential. Here are some recommended foods and supplements for Crystal Red Shrimp:

  • High-quality shrimp pellets: These contain essential nutrients and proteins suitable for shrimp.
  • Vegetables: Boiled vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, and cucumber can be given as a supplement to their diet.
  • Algae wafers: These wafers provide a good source of fiber and help maintain their digestive health.
  • Protein-rich foods: They will also benefit from occasional treats of frozen or live foods like daphnia, brine shrimp, or bloodworms.
  • Mineral supplements: Adding a mineral supplement, such as a calcium or iodine supplement, to their diet can support their molting process and overall health.

Remember to provide small amounts of food that can be consumed within a few hours to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.

Feeding schedule and portion control

Feeding schedule and portion control are crucial for the health and well-being of Crystal Red Shrimp. These shrimp are omnivores, mainly feeding on algae, biofilm, and tiny live prey. Here are some guidelines to ensure proper feeding:

  • Feeding Frequency: Provide outside food once every 3 days to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.
  • Portion Control: Give very small amounts of commercial shrimp food or algae flakes crushed into powder form. Half of an algae tab per feeding is sufficient.
  • Live Prey: Occasionally offer daphnia larvae, brine shrimp, or micro worms as a protein-rich treat.
  • Natural Food Sources: Allow the shrimp to scavenge for food in the tank, as they will find algae and bacteria independently.

Remember, not overfeeding is essential, as excess food can pollute the tank. Keeping the environment, monitoring the shrimp’s feeding habits, and adjusting portions are vital.

Tank Requirements and Care

Ideal tank size and water parameters

When setting up a tank for Crystal Red Shrimp, it is essential to consider the ideal tank size and water parameters:

  • Tank Size: Crystal Red Shrimp can be kept in a small nano-style tank, with a minimum of 10 gallons recommended. Larger tanks, such as a 20-gallon tank, can comfortably house up to 10 shrimp.
  • Water Temperature: The water temperature should be between 68 – 77 °F.
  • Water Hardness: The ideal water hardness for Crystal Red Shrimp is between 4-6 dGH.
  • pH Level: The pH level should range from 5.5-7.0 for optimal conditions.
  • Oxygenation: Ensuring the tank is well-oxygenated is essential for the health of Crystal Red Shrimp. Utilizing air stones and large leafy plants can help increase oxygen levels in the water.
  • Filtration: A sponge filtration system is recommended to protect the shrimp and any potential offspring.

Creating a suitable environment with the right tank size and maintaining proper water parameters will contribute to the overall health and well-being of Crystal Red Shrimp.

Temperature and pH levels

It is essential to maintain the appropriate water parameters in their tank. The recommended temperature for these shrimp is 68° to 77° Fahrenheit, with a preferred range above 70 degrees. This will provide them with a comfortable and stable environment.

Additionally, the pH level should be maintained between 5.5 to 7. Monitoring and regulating the pH levels is crucial to prevent any fluctuations that could harm the shrimp.

By maintaining these water parameters, you can create a suitable environment for the shrimp to thrive and ensure their overall health and longevity.

Substrate, plants, and decorations

When setting up a tank for Crystal Red Shrimp, the choice of substrate, plants, and decorations is crucial to creating a suitable environment for their well-being:

  • Substrate: Crystal Red Shrimp prefer soft sand substrate, as they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank. Soft sand provides a comfortable surface for them to move around and forage.
  • Plants: Dense natural vegetation is highly beneficial for Crystal Red Shrimp. Plants serve as a source of food and also provide shelter. Adding a variety of plant species, such as tall plants in the rear, fine-leafed plants in the middle, and ground-cover plants, creates a visually appealing and functional tank for the shrimp.
  • Decorations: While there are no specific requirements for rocks or decorations, it is essential to maintain a natural and aesthetically pleasing tank. Creating an underwater landscape with rocks, driftwood, and other decorative elements allows the shrimp to explore and feel secure in their environment.

Overall, the goal is to replicate a densely planted forest stream, which is the natural habitat of Crystal Red Shrimp. By providing a suitable substrate, a variety of plants, and visually appealing decorations, you can create an ideal tank for these beautiful shrimp to thrive.

Filtration and maintenance tips

  • Choose the right filtration system: Crystal Red Shrimp require a sponge filter for their tank. This provides gentle filtration and avoids sucking up any small shrimp or eggs. Other filters can be too strong and harm the shrimp.
  • Cycle the tank with biological filtration: Give the tank time to establish beneficial bacteria before adding shrimp. This bacteria will help break down waste and keep the water clean. A water test kit monitors ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Perform regular water changes: While Crystal Red Shrimp don’t require frequent water changes, cleaning the tank every two weeks is still essential. Use a gravel vacuum to remove debris and perform a 25% water change to maintain water quality.
  • Provide suitable tank decorations: Crystal Red Shrimp appreciate a planted tank with plenty of hiding places. Add live plants, driftwood, and rocks to create a natural environment. These decorations enhance the aesthetic appeal and provide shelter and hiding spots for the shrimp.
  • Prevent algae growth: Crystal Red Shrimp are sensitive to poor water conditions, which can lead to algae growth. Use an algae scraper to remove algae from the tank walls and decorations regularly.
  • Monitor for signs of diseases: While Crystal Red Shrimp are generally hardy, they can fall victim to diseases and infections. Watch for signs such as white spots, lesions, or changes in behavior. Consult a vet if you suspect any health issues, and avoid using medications with copper, as it can harm the shrimp.

Tank Mates for Crystal Red Shrimp

Compatibility with other aquarium species

Regarding compatibility with other aquarium species, Crystal Red Shrimp can be successfully kept with certain fish and invertebrates. They are peaceful and non-aggressive, making them suitable tank mates for various species.

Some compatible tank mates for Crystal Red Shrimp include Zebra Danios, Harlequin Rasboras, Cardinal Tetras, and Dwarf Cory Catfish. Choosing small and peaceful fish is essential, as larger or more aggressive fish may prey on the shrimp.

Other invertebrates of comparable size make ideal tank companions. These may include other dwarf shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, and Cherry Shrimp.

Assassin and NeriteSnails are generally considered to be harmless.

Providing plenty of hiding places and ample space for all tank inhabitants to coexist peacefully is crucial.

Breeding Crystal Red Shrimp


Importance of selecting suitable breeding pairs

Selecting suitable breeding pairs is crucial for successfully breeding Crystal Red Shrimp. When breeding these shrimp, choosing pairs with desirable traits such as rich red color and defined white bands is essential. This can be done by selecting shrimp from higher grades and matching them based on their phenotypes. Breeding with lower-grade shrimp may result in offspring not meeting the desired standards.

In addition, selecting healthy and disease-free shrimp is essential to ensure the best chances of successful breeding. Proper selection of breeding pairs is key to achieving and maintaining the desired traits in future generations of Crystal Red Shrimp.

Breeding process and behavior

If you have a mixed group of males and females, your shrimp will breed easily independently. However, this can be risky if you run a community tank, as the fish will prey on the fry.

You should use a spawning and nursery tank lined with Java Moss or Hairgrass for safe breeding. The temperature should remain at 75°F until spawning occurs.

Male shrimp will climb underneath the female to copulate. Once the eggs are produced, the female will carry them in her rearmost pair of swimming legs. You should lower the temperature below 74°F once she has spawned. Females can carry between 30 and 50 eggs at a time, but unfortunately, only a few will survive.

After about a month, the eggs hatch into tiny versions of their parents. At this point, the parents should be removed. Juvenile shrimp find food on their own and do not generally need anything else. But if you want to give them extra, you can crush shrimp flakes into a fine powder.

The juveniles will undergo several molts before they reach maturity. After each molt, their colors will look brighter and more solid. It takes about 4 months for the shrimp to mature, after which they can be accurately graded.

Common Health Issues and Diseases

Potential diseases

In addition to being sensitive to ammonia, Crystal Red shrimp are prone to various diseases and infections.

Shrimp’s health can be severely affected by bacterial infections, typically due to inadequate water conditions. These infections lead to internal bleeding, inflammation, and other distressing symptoms. The challenge with bacterial infections is their tendency to remain unnoticed until it becomes too late.

Fungi can also affect shrimp. Various kinds of fungi can cause harm to shrimp, often manifesting as a white fuzzy layer covering the shrimp’s body.

Lastly, there are instances of parasitic infections. Particularly, parasitic nematodes, like Scutariella Japonica, can develop and propagate within the shrimp’s head. Once these nematodes penetrate the shrimp’s body, they can flourish and reproduce. Similarly, Vorticella, another widespread parasite, resembles fungal growth.

Most of these illnesses can be easily treated, but it is recommended to seek advice from a veterinarian if you are unsure which medications to use. Avoid using copper medications, as they can harm invertebrates like the Crystal Red shrimp.

Prevention and treatment options

  • Water quality: Maintaining pristine water conditions is crucial for the health of Crystal Red Shrimp. Regular water changes, careful monitoring of pH, temperature, and other parameters, and a good filtration system are essential preventive measures.
  • Disease prevention: Quarantining new shrimp before introducing them to the main tank can help prevent the spread of diseases. Avoid introducing fish or plants that may carry harmful bacteria or parasites into the tank.
  • Stress reduction: Minimizing stress is key to keeping Crystal Red Shrimp healthy. This includes providing them with suitable tankmates, avoiding sudden changes in temperature or water parameters, and creating a calm and stable environment.
  • Medication: In case of illness or disease outbreak, it is crucial to identify and treat the affected shrimp promptly. Various shrimp-specific medications and treatments are available, from antibiotics to antiparasitic agents. Consulting with a veterinarian or experienced shrimp breeder is recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Natural remedies: Some shrimp keepers prefer to use natural remedies such as Indian Almond leaves or herbal extracts to support the overall health of their shrimp. These remedies can help promote good water quality, boost immune function, and create a favorable environment for the shrimp.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Maintaining optimal water conditions and taking necessary precautions can help keep your Crystal Red Shrimp healthy and thriving. Regular observation and proactive care are key to catching any issues early and providing appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crystal Red Shrimp

Are Crystal Red Shrimp compatible with other fish?

They can be kept with small, non-aggressive fish such as Zebra Danios, Harlequin Rasboras, Cardinal Tetras, and Guppies.

What does Crystal Red Shrimp eat?

Crystal Red Shrimp are omnivores that feed on algae, biofilm, and green bacteria. They can also be supplemented with small live prey or specialized shrimp pellets.

How often should I feed Crystal Red Shrimp?

Crystal Red Shrimp should be fed small amounts of food daily. They are scavengers and can also find their food in the tank, so avoid overfeeding to prevent water pollution.

How long do Crystal Red Shrimp live?

Crystal Red Shrimp have a relatively short lifespan of up to 2 years. Providing them with a suitable tank environment and proper care can help maximize their lifespan.


Taking care of Crystal Red shrimp may appear to be difficult initially, but it gradually becomes simpler once you grasp the fundamentals.

If you remain well-informed and maintain consistency, everything will be in order.

We strongly suggest trying out these shrimp. They are gorgeous, and the visual impact they bring to a freshwater aquarium is something that you must experience firsthand!