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freshwater-shrimp-species

Freshwater Shrimp Species

If you ask any aquarium hobbyist about the most amazing creatures known for their many different colors, their answers will take you by surprise.

All of them will tell you that freshwater shrimp are revered for their beautiful colors, size, and ability to add some vibrancy to the aquarium.

Freshwater shrimp come in all colors except purple. So, don’t be surprised to come across these aquatic animals in colors such as red cherry, crystal red, black, wine red, blue, and many more.

This great diversification does not just end in their physical appearance, but also they extend to their hardiness.

While some shrimp are extremely difficult to raise, others are easy to manage. Learn more about all common and least common freshwater shrimp species in the following sections.

Freshwater Shrimp Species

Below is a list of our popular freshwater shrimp that you are likely to encounter in an aquarium habitat:

1. Crystal Shrimp (Bee Shrimp)

crystal-red-shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cantonensis
  • Water Temperatures: 65 – 76 F
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 5.5 – 7.2
  • KH Level: 0 – 10 dKH
  • TDS: 130 – 300
  • Cared Level: Moderate
  • Min Tank Size: 2 Gallons
  • Gestation Period: 30 Days

Crystal Red and crystal black Shrimp are commonly referred to as CRS. These beautiful invertebrates have been selectively bred world over to meet their growing demand. Unlike the other species of freshwater shrimp, the Caridina are characterized by their strong , solid coloration.

Actually, the crystal red and black shrimp are one of the most popular species for nano planted aquariums. But what you need to know is that these shrimp are very sensitive to any changes in their habitat. For instance, their nano tank should be at least 5-gallons in capacity to maintain their required parameters. Any changes in the kH, gH or TDS can be lethal to their well-being.

These shrimp need a well-established biofilm in their tank. meaning that you need to find enough time to plant and set it in any way possible.

Given that red crystal and black shrimp are expensive to maintain, you are hereby required to house them individually rather than in a community tank. But you may also house them in the same aquarium with more peaceful tank mates.

The main reason why a community tank is not a good option for these shrimp is that they are not tolerant of large water changes. Any change more than 10 to 20 percent can become unfavorable and consequently kill them. Also, nitrites pose a huge threat to them because they are toxic even at lower levels. So, ensure that all tank conditions are per the requirements for the survival of red crystal and black shrimp.

2. Cherry Shrimp

red-cherry-shrimp

Red Cherry Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina davidi
  • Water Temperature: 68 – 78 °F
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH Level: 6 – 12 dKH
  • TDS: 200 – 500
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Min Tank Size: 2 Gallons
  • Gestation Period: 30 Days

Cherry Shrimp have become popular among aquarium hobbyists due to their hardy nature and bright colors. Unlike other freshwater shrimp species, cherry shrimp are easy to maintain and care for. These inverts can do well in peaceful community fish tanks provided that there is no tank mate with aggressive behavior towards them.

This species of shrimp thrive best when kept in an aquarium environment with water temperatures between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures are ideal for their survival. This is because such temperatures encourage them to breed and grow faster. But keep in mind that higher temperatures can be lethal to your cherry shrimp due to less amount of dissolved oxygen.

On the other hand, lower temperatures discourage this species of shrimp from breeding and growing faster. In fact, you can lower your tank water temperatures to slow their growth when it is necessary to do so.

Feeding these little invertebrates is usually easy. Since they are omnivores, cherry shrimp can feed on algae and leftover fish food. You can also use the idea of supplemental feeding in case you decide to keep a shrimp only aquarium. Otherwise, cherry shrimp shrimp are quite colorful and active freshwater inverts that you can easily raise regardless of your experience.

Cherry shrimp are available in a wide range of colors:

  • Red Cherry Shrimp
  • Yellow Cherry Shrimp
  • Blue Dream Shrimp
  • Black Rose Shrimp
  • Fire Red Shrimp
  • Snowball Shrimp
  • Blue Pearl Shrimp
  • Green Jade Shrimp
  • Blue Velvet Shrimp
  • Orange Pumpkin Shrimp
  • Red Sakura Shrimp
  • Red Onyx Shrimp
  • Blue Diamond Shrimp
  • Blue-Green Emerald Shrimp
  • Chocolate Shrimp

Each type of cherry shrimp can be classified with different grades, depending on the intensity of their color.

3. Amano Shrimp

amano-shrimp

Amano Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina multidentata
  • Water Temperature: 64 – 84 °F (18 – 29 °C)
  • Size: 2 – 3 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 8.0
  • KH: 0 – 10 dKH
  • TDS: 130 – 400
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Min Tank Size: 5 Gallons
  • Gestation Period: 30 Days

Amano shrimp are easy to care for because they are hardy. These beautiful freshwater shrimps are social animals that prefer being in groups of three or more. It’s amazing to watch these little invertebrates scuttling around together, swimming around, hiding among tank plants and scrambling for food with fish before swimming off to a far corner of the aquarium.

As it stands out, Amano shrimp are excellent algae eaters known so far, and that’s why most of the aquarium hobbyists keep them. A few of this shrimp species in your tank will ensure that all the nasty algae are gone before you notice it.

Most of them are wild-caught because the young ones need to go through the saltwater or brackish stage before undergoing a metamorphosis stage. Afterward, the young shrimp will not be able to survive in the saltwater environment. Their favorite meal consists of golden algae and phytoplanktons when they are in their larval stage

4. Tiger Shrimp

tiger-shrimp

Tiger Shrimp (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cf. cantonensis tiger
  • Tank Water Temperature: 65 – 76 °F ()
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Levels: 6.0 – 7.2
  • KH Levels: 1 – 6 dKH
  • TDS: 130 – 300
  • Care Level: Moderate

It is easy to tell the Tiger shrimp from other species. These little inverts are characterized by their clear bodies which have thin vertical stripes. They are almost similar to Crystal shrimp in hardiness and maintenance although their appearance differs greatly.

Tiger shrimp feed mainly on biofilm and detritus, just like most of the other freshwater shrimp. In addition, they enjoy feasting on shrimp pellets as well as blanched vegetables. Caridina species breed in the same way as for Neocaridina with their young shrimplets looking so similar in terms of their sizes.

Tiger shrimp come in many different colors. The common ones being the orange-eyed blue tiger (popularly known as OEBT) which has some variations of deep blue color with stripes on the body including orange eyes. Also, there are black tigers, royal blue OEBT, orange-eyed tigers, tangerine tigers, blue tigers, galaxy tigers, and super tigers.

5. Blue Bolt Shrimp

blue-bolt-shrimp

Blue Bolt Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cf cantonensis
  • Tank Water Temperature: 65 to 75 °F
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 5.5 – 6.5
  • KH Level: 0 – 2 dKH
  • TDS: 90 – 130
  • Care Level: Difficult

Blue Bolt Shrimp, Black King Kong (BKK) and Wine Red Shrimp are from the same family with slight genetic mutations, having very different coloration.  These freshwater aquarium shrimp are gorgeous and stunning. Even though they are difficult in taking care of, these shrimp have what it takes to be in your aquarium. They have a striking coloration that makes them the most sought-after among different species of shrimp.

The Wine Red shrimp share some resemblance to the Black King Kong in terms of patterns on their bodies. The two species are solid in color with a small triangular pattern on their backs with a few white stripes patterns. Actually, the striped pattern is a reverse of the Crystal shrimp which have white heads, unlike Wine Reds and BKK that have red and black heads respectively.

All these species of shrimp can be housed in the same aquarium environment without losing their body coloration. However, they are expensive whereby one can be forced to part with over $ 100 for one shrimp.

6. Pinto Shrimp

Pinto Shrimp

Pinto Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cantonensis Pinto Bee Hybrid
  • Water Temperature: 65 to 74 °F
  • Size: 1 inch
  • pH Level: 5.5 – 6.5
  • KH Level: 0 – 2 dKH
  • TDS: 90 – 130
  • Care Level: Difficult

Pinto shrimp are revered for their classic solid coloration among the Caridina shrimp. You can see a lot of them in white stripes, spots, and triangles while a handful comes in red and black versions. Most of their patterns are divided into zebra, fancy and spotted head.

Pinto shrimp are difficult to maintain but their beauty is what makes them special. You will always spot them in fancy patterns such as cloud, skunk, fishbone, galaxy and spotted head. A good number of Pinto patterns breed true but the rest provide opportunities for breeders to develop their own strains.

Just like most of the other Caridina shrimp, Pinto shrimp are not tolerant to large changes in tank water. These shrimp are extremely delicate and can get wiped out by variations in aquarium parameters. As such, you need to keep an eye on them all the time because they are very expensive to maintain as well as buying them.

7. Bamboo Shrimp / Wood Shrimp

bamboo-wood-shrimp

Bamboo Shrimp (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

  • Scientific Name: Atyopsis moluccensis
  • Water Temperature: 70 – 78 °F
  • Size: 2 – 3 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.8
  • KH Level: 2 – 7 dKH
  • TDS: 130 – 320
  • Care Level: Moderate

These are some of the most beautiful and amazing species of freshwater shrimp that you can think of. Their ability to camouflage and feeding in a strong current is on another level altogether. Bamboo shrimp like to stay on decorations that match their appearance, especially when they are in their aquarium habitat.

Most of the time these shrimp wave their fans around, occasionally running them across their mouths. Some of their specialized fans trap small particles in tank water around them. These tiny particles are part of their diet.

Bamboo shrimp prefer a habitat that has plenty of hiding places as well as the cover. This is their only way of defending themselves against their aggressive tank mates. Most importantly, they fit seamlessly into most community fish tanks that house more peaceful tank-mates.

With their level of care being moderate, Bamboo shrimp can feed on small particles hanging loosely in tank water. This is because they are filter feeders and can be seen eating all the time. In this case, these shrimp need some extra care.

8. Ghost Shrimp

ghost-shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Palaemonetes paludosus
  • Water Temperature: 65 – 80 °F
  • Size: 2 inches
  • pH Level: 7.0 – 7.8
  • KH Level: 1 – 8 dKH
  • TDS: 200 – 500
  • Care Level: Easy

Ghost shrimps are hardy freshwater invertebrates that are easy to take care of. Most of the aquarists refer to them as glass shrimp and are mainly used as feeders. When they are drip acclimated, Ghost shrimp can thrive well just like other species of shrimp.

Given that they are used primarily as feeders, you should expect 25 – 75 percent of them to die when introducing them to your aquarium. This is due to the fact that they live in deplorable conditions that eventually cause them to die prematurely. Regardless of that fact, these shrimp are the easiest of other species when it comes to taking care of them.

Much to your surprise, Ghost Shrimp do well when kept in the same tank with Betta fish. These shrimp are too large for the bettas to feed on them, making them the best option for being tank mates.

In most cases, these shrimp graze at the bottom of the aquarium for leftovers missed by their tank mates (fish). On top of that, they require supplemental feeding to enable them to grow healthy and strong.

9. Pinokio (Pinocchio) Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina gracilirostris
  • Water Temperature: 75 – 80 °F (24 – 27 °C)
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Levels: 7.0 – 8.0
  • KH Level: 3 – 5 dKH
  • TDS: 200 – 500
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Min Tank Size: 2 Gallons
  • Gestation Period: 30 Days

The Pinoko shrimp has many different names such as Rudolf, Red Nose or Red Skunks Shrimp. Although these shrimp look gourgeous, they are not very popular in the aquarium hobby. The shrimp has an elongated rostrum (nose), which has the capability to regenerate itself if broken.

Unlike other shrimp species, Pinokio males are much larger and colorful than females. Breeding these shrimp in aquarium is very hard, because the fry require a strong planktonic or biofilm culture to survive.

They are a great choice for nano planted tanks because are extremely effective in cleaning up and eating algae. It is worth noting, that Pinokio shrimp are scavengers, climbers and jumpers. It is recommended to keep a lid on your aquarium to prevent them from escaping.

In less established aquariums, you should feed them algae, spirulina and high quality flake or pellet dry food. It can be kept with other shrimp, but keep in mind that Pinokio shrimp will not tolerate low temperature.

10. Indian Whisker Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Macrobrachium lamarrei
  • Water Temperature: 65 – 80 °F
  • Size: 2 – 3 inches
  • pH Levels: 7.0 – 7.8
  • KH Level: 1 – 8 dKH
  • TDS: 200 – 500
  • Care Level: Easy

Indian Whisker Shrimp are almost similar to Ghost shrimp but the difference comes in their aggression. These shrimp are very aggressive especially to fish such as bettas and others. Another difference emerges in their physical appearance.

Ghost shrimp are identified by their two dots located on their tails with red bands on the claw arms. But the Indian whisker shrimp have none of those physical attributes. Instead, they are known for their faint blue tint including longer claws that keep on growing as they become older.

Besides these subtle variations in appearance, the two little inverts look identical. More often than not, they are sold interchangeably as one species. Another striking difference, however, is that the young Indian whisker shrimp will barely survive in freshwater while those for ghost shrimp will thrive to maturity in such an environment.

11. Vampire Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Atya gabonensis
  • Water Temperature: 75 – 84 °F
  • Size: 3 – 6 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH Level: 2 – 5 dKH
  • TDS: 120 – 350
  • Care Level: Moderate

Vampire shrimp are a perfect choice for your community tank. They are naturally friendly and can make great tank makes despite their spooky name. Often times, these shrimp get mistaken for crayfish due to their thick bodies until their claws reveal their hidden to be fans.

These aquatic creatures grow to about 3 inches in length when raised in an average aquarium environment. Some have been known to grow twice that size although that is just a mere claim.

Vampire shrimp are filters, thus a good choice to be housed in the same tank with your fish. It doesn’t mean that they only need a tank habitat with suspended tiny particles or high flows, but they can thrive quite well in any freshwater aquarium.

Despite their large sizes, these shrimp are somehow skittish. This means they prefer spending most of their time in hiding or simply hanging out in high flow areas. Therefore, it’s recommended that you place a large decoration in areas with high flows as a way of creating the right habitat for these little invertebrates.

These shrimp are extremely rare because they are wild-caught rather bred in captivity. So, you can only order them online unless you can find them in your local fish store. Their moderate care level comes about as a result of them being skittish and filter feeders. While the young ones thrive in brackish or saltwater conditions, the adults prefer freshwater habitats because they cannot withstand a lot of salinity.

12. Caridina Babaulti

caridina-babaulti-shrimp

Caridina Babaulti Shrimp(sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

  • Scientific Name: Caridina babaulti
  • Water Temperature: 75 – 80 °F
  • Size: 1 inch
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.5
  • KH Level: 0 – 8 dKH
  • TDS: 130 – 300
  • Care Level: Easy

Caridina Babaulti shrimp are famous for their vertical zebra-like stripes running across their bodies. They are similar to the cherry shrimp whereby they come in a wide range of colors such as yellow, red, green and brown.

These species of shrimp feed mainly on decaying matter (vegetation). This means their presence in a planted fish tank exposes them to their favorite meals.

In addition to that, they prefer feeding on balanced vegetables to keep them healthy and strong throughout. Apparently, Caridina Babaulti are the latest addition to the shrimp keeping aquarium hobby. This should tell you that very little is known about them.

These adorable and colorful aquatic creatures can be kept in the community fish tank inhabited mainly by peaceful fish or neocaridina shrimp. However, they tend to be shy and easily intimidated in the presence of other aquatic animals.

Surprisingly, these shrimp can easily interbreed with other species of Caridina, which is why they should be kept with neocaridina dwarf shrimp in the same aquarium.

13. Tibee Shrimp (Tiger Bee)

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cf. cantonensis
  • Water Temperature: 65 to 78 °F
  • Size: 1 t- 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.5
  • kH Level: 1 – 6
  • gH Level: 3 – 6
  • TDS: 130 – 300
  • Care Level: Moderate

Tibee Shrimp comes as a result of cross breed breeding Tiger shrimp and Taiwan Bee shrimp. Also, they are a crossbreed of Crystal shrimp and Tiger shrimp. Crossing the named species of shrimp and Taiwan Bee shrimp is done on a deliberate attempt to produce a stronger Taiwan Bee shrimp. Apart from that, this cross-breeding is carried out to increase the population where Taiwan Bees shrimp are less.

The Taibee shrimp obtained from breeding Tiger and Taiwan Bees are crossed back to produce another Taiwan Bee Shrimp for the next generation after the first one. This is a way of producing more Taiwan Bee shrimp. The significant aspect of cross-breeding these inverts is to come up with hardier breeds thanks to the superior Tiger shrimp genes.

On the other hand, a crossbreed between a Crystal shrimp and Tiger shrimp can result in what experts call “Fancy Tigers”. These new breeds are characterized by their bold and opaque coloration with a striped and mottled pattern of the Tiger shrimp.

14. Green Lace Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Atyoida pilipes
  • Water Temperature: 72 – 80 °F
  • Size: 2 – 3 inches
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.8
  • KH Level: 3 – 10 dKH (5 preferred)
  • TDS: 130 – 300
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Min Tank Size: 10 Gallons
  • Gestation Period: 30 Days

Green lace shrimp is quite popular, though it is also rare. They require very similar water conditions to bamboo shrimp. These shrimp should be only introduced in well-established aquariums, which already has quite a bit of microfood floating in the water column.

Green lace shrimp are filter feeders, therefore it is required to have at least a moderate level of water flow, so the shrimp can filter out its food from the water more effectively. In well established fish tanks there is no need to feed them, though you can supplement their diet with powdered flake food or algae powder.

Breeding green lace shrimp can be challenging, because their eggs will only hatch in brackish or salt water. Though there is very few information on the breeding condition.

These dwarf shrimp are very peaceful, so it does not threat to any other inhabitant. These shrimp will usually place themselves in high flow areas or will pick at the substrate – always looking for food.

15. Snowball Shrimp

snwoball-shrimp

Snowball Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis var. White
  • Water Temperature: 65 – 85 °F
  • Size: 1 – 3 inches
  • pH Level: 6.3 – 7.8
  • KH Level :3 – 7 dKH
  • TDS: 150 – 300
  • Care Level: Easy

Snowball Shrimp is ideal for beginner aquarists or anyone looking forward to raising a shrimp that is easy to take care of. Its striking appearance and hardiness make this species survive in almost all tank conditions. This explains why they are a better choice for beginners.

Snowball Shrimp are reputed for their ability to tolerate fluctuations in tank water conditions more than other species. In addition, they can thrive best in a wide range of water parameters. These shrimp are also easy to breed and multiply into a big colony in a short time.

When it comes to eating habits, Snowball shrimp are not that picky like other species. They can survive off algae and detritus although occasional supplemental feeding is required to keep them happy and healthy.

16. Cardinal Shrimp

cardinal-shrimp

Cardinal Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Caridina dennerli
  • Water temperature: 77 – 85 °F
  • Size 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 7.5 – 8.5
  • KH Level: 2 – 8 dKH
  • TDS: 200 – 400
  • Care Level: Easy

Cardinal Shrimp are native to the lakes of Sulawesi in Indonesia. These fascinating dwarf shrimp are the easiest to take care of although they are one of the most difficult species of shrimps to keep alive.

Their amazing colors make them more attractive and desirable to be in your aquarium. As a matter of fact, Cardinal shrimp are famous for their ability to adapt to the tank conditions easily. And are commonly available for anyone looking to start keeping shrimp for the first time. They do well in hard water conditions with a slightly higher pH and warm temperature with a lot of biofilms.

17. Bumble Bee Shrimp 

  • Scientific Name: Caridina cf. breviata
  • Water Temperature: 70 – 80 °F
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • pH Level: 6.0 to 7.2
  • KH Level: 2 – 7 dKH
  • TDS: 150 – 350
  • Care Level: Moderate

Bumblebee shrimp got their name from their characteristic striped coloration. These dwarf shrimp may not be the hardest species when it comes to taking care of them, but they are really picky to water parameters. They are a great addition to any aquarium, being a really good cleanup crew.

Most of them are very sensitive to nitrites and ammonia, hence the need to keep them in pristine conditions. Don’t confuse their name with Bee shrimp or with the saltwater Bumblebee shrimp (know as Gnathophyllum americanum or Striped Harlequin) because these are different species of shrimp. These little aquatic invertebrates can do well alongside the Red Cherry shrimp because they require similar tank water conditions to survive.

Conclusion

There you have it! From the list above, you can easily make a choice of the species of shrimp that you can keep comfortably. Even though most of them are colorful and lively, their upkeep could pose some challenges to you unless you are experienced or ready to give them your time.

Otherwise, shrimp are amazingly beautiful and will keep your aquarium clean as well as adding some liveliness to their tank mates.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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