Keeping and Breeding Red Crystal Shrimp: Everything You Need to Know

Keeping and Breeding Red Crystal Shrimp: Everything You Need to Know

Red Crystal Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis var. "Red Crystal") is a selectively bred freshwater shrimp species highly prized in the aquarium hobby for its vibrant red coloration and ornamental value. They belong to the Caridina genus and are a variation of the Bee Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis), which also includes other popular variants like Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) and Crystal Black Shrimp (CBS).

Keeping Red Crystal Shrimp, a variety of Caridina shrimp, requires attention to water parameters, diet, and tank setup. Here's a comprehensive guide:

Tank Setup:

  1. Tank Size: Start with at least a 5-gallon tank, but larger tanks provide more stability.
  2. Substrate: Use buffering substrate like ADA Amazonia to maintain stable pH and provide essential minerals.
  3. Plants: Include live plants like Java moss, Anubias, and moss balls for grazing and hiding spots.
  4. Filtration: Use a gentle filter to prevent shrimp from getting sucked in. Sponge filters are popular choices.
  5. Water Parameters: Maintain stable conditions:
    • pH: 6.0-7.0
    • Temperature: 68°F-74°F (20°C-23°C)
    • GH: 4-6
    • KH: 0-2


  1. Varied Diet: Offer a balanced diet including:
    • Algae: Allow algae growth for grazing.
    • Specialized Foods: Provide shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables (like zucchini or spinach), and quality shrimp food.
    • Occasional Treats: Offer treats like boiled spinach, spirulina, or calcium-rich foods like cuttlebone.
  2. Feeding Frequency: Feed small amounts once a day or every other day. Adjust based on observed consumption.

Water Changes and Maintenance:

  1. Regular Water Changes: Perform weekly water changes of around 10-20% to maintain water quality.
  2. Water Conditioner: Use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines.
  3. Monitoring: Regularly test water parameters to ensure stability.

Tank Mates:

  1. Species Compatibility: Avoid aggressive or predatory tank mates.
  2. Shrimp Safe Fish: Consider small, peaceful fish like small tetras or dwarf rasboras.
  3. Solo Setup: Keeping Red Crystal Shrimp alone or with other shrimp species is ideal.


  1. Slow Acclimation: Drip acclimate new shrimp to prevent shock from sudden changes in water parameters.
  2. Quarantine: Quarantine new shrimp to prevent introducing diseases to your main tank.

Observation and Care:

  1. Behavioral Observation: Monitor shrimp behavior for signs of stress, disease, or molting issues.
  2. Remove Molts: Remove molts promptly to prevent ammonia spikes.


  1. Ideal Conditions: Provide stable water parameters and ample hiding spots for successful breeding.
  2. Separate Breeding Tank: Consider a dedicated breeding tank to protect offspring from predation.

By following these guidelines and providing a suitable environment, diet, and care, you can successfully keep and breed Red Crystal Shrimp in your aquarium. Regular maintenance and observation are key to their health and well-being.

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