Crystal Red Shrimp - Planted Tank Mates
crystal red shrimp on plant

Crystal Red Shrimp


Crystal Red Shrimp are without a doubt extremely eye-catching and one of the most popular Caridina species around.  It started with Hisayasu Suzuki who found a red shrimp in his black batch and selectively crossbred a true-breeding strain in the 90’s, and the rest is history.  Their red and white stripes vary in pattern and intensity, creating different grades and profiles.  The “candy cane” like bodies stand out in tanks, especially with bright green vegetation, dark shaded areas or white backgrounds.  You can easily breed them in species only tanks or keep them with selective nano fish but with some limitations.  Known to be very sensitive to water changes, they’re more challenging than the popular Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina) species.

Crystal Red Shrimp

Water Parameters

Crystal Red Shrimp are considered intermediate to advanced level shrimp.  They’re peaceful algae eaters and feeding is easy, but they require very stable water parameters.  Your tank needs to be well established and changes in water parameters require minimal change.  Unlike Neocaridina shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimps prefer softer acidic waters under 7 PH, generally between 6.2 – 6.8.  This PH should not fluctuate much either.  While they can handle cooler water temperatures, breeding will slow down unless they’re in the mid 70’s.  You can keep them at room temperature without a heater, but be wary of your house getting too cold or too hot. Water hardness should be kept low, generally under 6 dGH.  Carbonate hardness is also low, generally around 1-2 kGH.  These are not difficult water parameters to obtain, but the key is stability.  Minimize change.

Maintenance and Care

Crystal Red Shrimps themselves are not difficult creatures, but their maintenance can be.  A consistent routine is required to keep things under control.  Having a water test kit is a must.  Although they don’t produce much bioload, you should alway test nitrates.  This will help determine if you’re over-feeding or if there’s an imbalance in your tank.  Besides regularly testing all water parameters, another maintenance requirement is your keen observation.  What type of algae is in your tank and is there too much?  Are the shrimps gathering in a corner and showing inactivity?  Do dead shrimp have a white ring around their body, also known as the “ring of death?”


Since their water requirements are so demanding, it’s not recommended to use tap water.  Instead, use R.O water and treat it to the preferred parameters.  Products like shrimp salts are specially formulated to treat R.O water and provide it with some hardness and acidity.  It also promotes good bacteria and plant growth which is a plus for shrimp.  The idea is to use R.O or distilled water which has been stripped of all minerals and bring it to the desired parameters.  The reverse process of treating tap water is not recommended as mineral content ranges so dramatically depending on your location.  Crystal Red Shrimps are so sensitive to water conditions and changes, it’s best to be in control of what you put in.

Shrimp Salt – available on Amazon

Contrary to what feed labels recommend, shrimps don’t require a lot of food.  They really only need to be fed once a day.  Provide enough food that gets consumed in a span of 2-3 hours.  Anything more than that will lead to waste and spikes in your nitrate levels.  One of the best recommendations is to provide high quality food, and a variety of it.  Mix it up and include fine powders for baby shrimp, pellets to promote calcium and protein, and the occasional blanche veggie treat.  They require a balanced diet, especially for molting.  Speaking of molting, leave the molted shells in the tank.  It’s a sign that they’re growing and it’s a good source of calcium for shrimps to graze on.  By all means, never leave dead shrimp in the tank for consumption.  Decaying bodies can lead to water contamination and disease.

Crystal Red Shrimp feeding on Almond Leaves – available on Amazon

All Things Considered

Keeping Crystal Red Shrimp requires you to be observant and exercise good judgment.  Try not to panic if things seem a bit off.  Remember that stability is key, so reacting with a large water change can be harmful.  Be proactive with very small and frequent water changes, or none at all.  Sometimes, topping off with R.O. water is enough for the week and nothing else is required.  Some breeders with species-only tanks will admit to not doing water changes at all.  It depends on the conditions of your tank, what you stock and how you treat it.  This will take a lot of practice and patience, but once you find that steady balance, Crystal Red Shrimps are a constant joy.

Crystal Red Shrimp – available on Amazon


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