Crystal Red Shrimp (Cardinal cf. cantonensis) Care | Complete Guide|

Have you ever heard that hard-earned things add value? Crystal red shrimp is the best example for this statement. Crystal red shrimp is a popular and wonderful species due to the colors and patterns. Do not worry, this article explains how to care for crystal red shrimp in detail. In the end, it will not be hard and difficult to rear crystal red shrimp.

Crystal red shrimp is one of the popular man made species of dwarf shrimp. This species is known by several names. Bee shrimp (red) and crystal shrimp are some of them. This species scientific name is Cardinal cf. cantonensis. They are white and stripy red in color. But this coloration can be varied based on the grade they obtains. 

Are crystal red shrimp hard to care for?

Crystal red shrimp care is moderately hard. If you like to add this shrimp to your collection, you have to provide significant attention to care for them. Crystal red shrimp is a sensitive one and they should have perfect conditions to live healthy and happy. Therefore, you have to create the safest aquarium for them.

When rearing crystal red shrimp in your aquarium, maintaining the preferable water condition is the hardest one that you have to achieve. But one little change can be killing your fish.But as a fish keeper, if you put an effort to care for this shrimp, definitely you will succeed even though, as a beginner.

crystal red shrimp care

Is crystal red shrimp hardy?

No, they are not hardy. Crystal red shrimp are very sensitive and they should have perfect conditions to live healthy and happy. One little change of the conditions can critically influence their health. Therefore, you have to provide significant attention to care for them.

How big do they get?

Like another dwarf shrimp, Crystal red shrimp grows about 1.2 inches in size. But you should provide better conditions to reach this full size . Even if they reach their maximum size, relatively they are small. Because of this, there is a risk to be prey for other large fish.

How to care for crystal red shrimp?

Generally, crystal red shrimp is a small, sensitive animal in the aquatic world. Therefore, if you wish to rear crystal red shrimps in your aquarium, you have to provide perfect conditions to them and you have to create the best aquarium for your crystal red shrimps.

Also, you should keep in mind, they are not able to face rapid changes in the environment successfully.

Filter system

Do not forget to put significant effort into keeping your aquarium clean. A proper filter system acts a vital role to clean your tank. A sponge filter is recommended for crystal red shrimp tanks. But filter installation is not enough. You have to change water regularly. Also, you can wipe up the excess algae that grows in your tank. 

Substrate

Clear substrate is the important thing. To achieve this, you can remove uneaten foods that are on the surface. Also you should remove discarded shells that release from shrimp malting process

Water quality

To generate a happy shrimp, you have to maintain preferable water conditions. The water testing kit is an important tool. This tool has the ability to help you to identify water quality issues immediately. 

However, if you keep water quality in optimum level, you can prevent many diseases. On other hand you should verify the chemicals such as copper do not contain in the water. Because copper is toxic to all aquarium invertebrates including crystal red shrimp.

You should try to keep them in a large tank. Because you can stabilize and maintain the tank conditions easily. 

Diseases

Like other aquarium fish types, crystal red shrimp also gets diseases through fungal outbreaks, bacterial infections, and parasites. Most probably these are introduced by newcomers. Therefore, you should quarantine the newcomers in a separate tank at least for 1 week.

Pathogens spread quickly in poor water conditions. If you recognize unusual behaviors, loss of appetite and of any shrimp, remove them from the main aquarium. Then start the treatment.

How often do crystal red shrimp molt?

In the juvenile stage, they shed or molt every week. But when they gradually grow, this molting process will tend to slow down. Adult shrimp molts every four to six weeks.

Generally, all types of shrimp including crystal red shrimp molt regularly. Molting is a process by which shrimps shed their tight-fitting exoskeleton (old shell) to grow a new and large exoskeleton to live in. In their short lifespan, they have to face a rapid growth rate. To survive and allow growth, they have to shed or molt their old shell.

shrimp molt

How long does crystal red shrimp live for?

In a home aquarium setting, they have a short lifespan.  Normally, the average lifespan of around 18 months. But if you provide excellent care for them, they can increase their lifespan up to 24 months.

Water quality for crystal red shrimp

They are more sensitive to water conditions than other shrimps. Therefore, you should maintain a preferable water condition for keeping a happy and healthy shrimp. You should make sure your tank is free from ammonia and nitrate.

Normally, this type of shrimp has a very low bioload. But there is a probability of the water being sour quickly by tank mates. Because of these reasons, you have to monitor the following water parameters regularly by using a water testing kit. Also change 30% of water every week helps to keep the thing optimum level

pH levels 

you should maintain the pH level of water between 5.8 to 7.4.

Water temperature  

the preferable range is between 62-78 Fahrenheit. If you can maintain the temperature above 70 Fahrenheit, it is better. Because this level is recommended.

Water hardness 

you should keep water hardness in between 0-4 kH (carbonate hardness) and 4-6 gH (general hardness).

tap water

Adding tap water is very risky. It is not recommended. Because most of the tap water contains chlorine that is added to purify the water. But high levels of chlorine can kill your red shrimp. Hence if you need to add tap water, use dechlorinate chemical to remove chlorine from it. 

ParameterIdeal level
pH level 6.5- 7
Water Temperature22~24 °C
Water HardnesskH – 3~4, (Carbonate hardness)gH – 4-6 (General hardness)
TDS – Total Dissolved solid150-200 
shrimp water quality

How many shrimps per gallon

Crystal red shrimp is very small in size. The best number of crystal red shrimps to keep in a one-gallon tank is 2-5. Rear a small number of shrimps at the beginning is better

How to grade crystal red shrimp

If you wish to buy a crystal red shrimp, you have to highly consider their grades. Grades is a rating that is used to distinguish the quality of the the shrimp. Strength of the color distribution and intensity are the criteria that base to define the grades of crystal red shrimp. Shrimps that belongs to low grades is translucent red. Mostly, shrimps of high grades has thick white stripes on an opaque red.

Low-quality crystal red shrimps are in grade C. These shrimps are entirely red and have a few thin white stripes. But the appearance of high-quality crystal red shrimp is opposite to the low-quality shrimp. Shrimp that belong to high-quality grade is mostly white and has smaller red stripes.

C -grade

The coloration of C-grade shrimps is very similar to the original crystal red shrimp. Their body is entirely red in color and has few thin white stripes. The color of shrimps that belong to C grade is not very opaque. At present, these shrimps are not popular.

B -grade

This grade crystal red shrimp has a white color more than C grade. But relatively they are still blotchy. The actual band of color is starting to appear but they are not perfect.

A -grade

This grade’s red coloration is the best selection for beginners. They are relatively nice opaque colorations. Comparatively, defined bands develop more than B grade, but it is far from the higher grade.

S -grade

When comparing above mentioned grades, S grade crystal red shrimps have nice opaque coloration with more white. Also, compared with A grade, they have a clearly defined middle red band than A. 

This grade shrimp has less red coloration than grade S. Because of that, the quality of grade SS increases. The coloration of S grade’s band is shaped like a dot. This dot is called Hinomaru.

SSS -grade

This is the highest grade of crystal red shrimp. They are mostly white in color. Shrimp scores within the SSS grade and the price is defined by their exact pattern and coloration.

Feeding

How to feed crystal red shrimp?

These Crystal red shrimps are omnivores and they eat both plant and animal matter. If you closely observe them, you can see they are always scavenging and seeking food, even though they have been fed. They are the best filter feeders.

They have the ability to catch floating foods. When you feed them, you should provide calcium-rich foods to them, because calcium helps crystal red shrimps to grow and develop strong exoskeletons.

In wild, they eat small insects, larvae, algae, and plant detritus. You can easily create this food at home. The balanced diet is an easy part of crystal red shrimps’ care.

crystal red shrimp feed

What does crystal red shrimp eat?

They have omnivorous behavior. Because of that, they eat both plant and animal matters. In the aquarium, you can feed them with live, frozen, freeze-dried, and commercial shrimp foods. Further, you can provide bloodworms, insect larvae, flakes, sinking pellets, and wafers.

In addition to that, you can add algae and green vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, and broccoli. 

How long can crystal red shrimp go without food?

It will depend on the availability of algae and other foods in the tank. If there are only bacteria to feed and no algae in the tank, shrimp can live one week or maybe 2 weeks. But shrimp can live around a month in the well matured non-crowded tank with algae.

When to feed?

You should feed your shrimp daily. It is recommended to feed them once a day and do not put in much food. Because they are small and they spend the entire day seeking and scavenging the foods.

How much to feed?

Crystal red shrimp is small. Because of that, you should provide the amount of food that can be finished in a few hours. As discussed earlier, this type of shrimp is very sensitive. So, do not let them overfeed. Remove uneaten foods, because it can deteriorate the water of the tank.

Do they eat algae?

Yes, they eat algae and you can feed them with algae. Because they are omnivores and they eat both plant matter and animal matter and also algae.

Breeding of crystal red shrimps

How often do they breed?

Crystal red shrimps have the ability to breed every 6 weeks.

Crystal red shrimp male and female

Male shrimp has longer antennas and a straighter belly. Female shrimp are a little bit larger than male and have rounded underbelly to carry the eggs and shorter antennas.

crystal red shrimp breeding

How do crystal red shrimp breed?

  • Take a separate breeding tank and add male and female shrimp in to it. Number of the pairs depends due to space of your separate tank.  
  • Verify that you remove all other fish and install a sponge filter.
  • You can breed crystal red shrimps in the home aquarium. If you maintain the water condition in the tank perfectly, your shrimps start the mating with little encouragement.
  •  You should keep the tank clean and maintain the preferable water parameters.
  • Further, you should verify that there is a proper mixture of female and male shrimp in your tank. You can keep many males in the same tank because they do not show aggressive behavior.
  • Feed them well using
  • When the female is ready to mate, she releases pheromones into the tank. This is a tip to attract the male fish.
  • Then female shrimps will lay eggs and carry them under the abdomen. After about 30 days eggs will hatch.
  • You can use powdered shrimp foods to feed baby shrimps. 

breeding age

When they are 4 -5-week-old, they will reach adulthood. At this point, they have the ability to breed.

Why crystal red shrimp dropping eggs?

Female crystal red shrimps tend to drop their eggs due to the stress and fluctuating water conditions. You can still save these dropping eggs by using an egg tumbler.

Tank mates of crystal red shrimps

Generally, crystal red shrimps are peaceful species. You can add them to peaceful communities and species tanks. But because of their size, you have to select small and peaceful species as their tankmates. If you pick aggressive or large fish species as tankmates, your shrimps will be a prey of the large fish. So, you should be very careful when you choose tank mates. Those are the good tank mates for crystal red shrimps.

  • Zebra Danios
  • Neon Tetra
  • Otocinclus
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Guppies
  • Bamboo shrimps
  • Amano shrimps
tank mates

Crystal red shrimp diseases

DiseasesymptomsTreatment
VorticellaThis looks like fuzzy white fungus growth on the shell, especially the head and the tip of the nose.Step 1: Put a teaspoon of aquarium salt into a cup of clean water. Do not use tap water.
Step 2: Bath your shrimp for 30 sec or 1 minute.Step 3: Repeat these two three times
Bacterial infectionPinkish flesh – Loss of eggs or antennae·       Holes in the carapace – Extreme loss of color·   Unexplained multiple deathsTreatment 1 – 80% water change·       Treatment 2– Add hydrogen peroxide H2O2 (3%) to the tank. Dosage is 1ml / 4l (the situation is drastic use: 2ml/4l). Use this once a day for 5days.·      
Treatment 3 – UV light (this treatment is only work, if the bacteria is water borne). Effective duration is 5 days.
ParasiteThe damage the internal organs of your crystal red shrimp, therefore, they are weakened.·       Loss their appetiteTreatment 1 – Put a teaspoon of aquarium salt in a cup of clean tank water. Do not use tap water.·       Bath your shrimp for 30 sec or 1 minute.·       Repeat these two three times·     
Treatment 2 – “No Planaria”Follow the instructions of the package. Do this treatment in 3 days.
Fungal infectionsDevelop a cloud like white growth on their body Use API Pimafix, 5ml per 10 gallons of tank daily.·      
Continue it 7 days. After 7 days, change the 25% water in your tank.  

Related questions

Can crystal red shrimp live with cherry shrimp?

You can keep CRS with cherry shrimp. But there are some preconditions that you need to consider. These are water parameters, tank preparation, feeding, and crossbreeding. In this case, you should maintain and use optimum conditions for both shrimps.

These water parameters are recommended for community tanks where CRS and Cherry shrimp live together. Here you give priority to the crystal red shrimps. Because they are more sensitive.

Can red cherry shrimp breed with crystal red shrimp?

Normally, the genus is representing the first part of the scientific name. The general rule is, you can crossbreed between two species that belong to the same family. Red cherry shrimp is Neocardinia davidi and crystal red shrimp is Cardina Cantonese.  Here, both species have separate genus. Therefore, you cannot crossbreed or interbreed these two namely Neocaridian and Caridina.

Can I keep Crystal red shrimp and betta together?

Keeping the betta fish and crystal red shrimp in the same tank is not the best idea. Since crystal red shrimp is small. Because of that, crystal red shrimp can be a food of betta fish. Betta fish are highly concerned about their territory and try to protect their territory.

In community tanks they may become aggressive. But if you need to keep them in the same tank, try to buy the biggest shrimps from the Aquarium shop. And also, you should provide more hiding places for the shrimp. 

Can I keep Crystal red shrimp with guppies together?

You can keep crystal red shrimp with guppies. Because both species are peaceful and small in size. As a result of this, they can share the same tank.

Can I keep Crystal red shrimp and Amano shrimp together?

Amano shrimp is also a peaceful shrimp variety. Therefore, you can keep your crystal red shrimp with Amano shrimp. But you should consider the sensitiveness of the crystal red shrimp.

Can keep Crystal red shrimp and blue velvet shrimp together?

Crystal red shrimp can live with velvet shrimp. But you should highly examine the preferable water parameters of both species. 

Do Crystal red shrimp always try to hide?

Normally, crystal red shrimp hide when they feel a threat. Because of that, you should avoid aggressive tankmates. Another thing is after molting, they will hide until they grow their new shell. Because in molting period they are highly vulnerable.

Why are my crystal red shrimp dying?

There are many reasons:

  •  Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Parasite infection
  •  Poor water conditions
  • Predatory pressure
  • Injuries (because of sharp ornaments)

Why are Crystal red shrimp not active?

In this case, you should make sure, whether the water parameters meet the preferable levels or not. Because they are very sensitive to their conditions.

Another thing is, if they are molting, they will not be active. Because after molting they are very vulnerable and have high possibility of damaging their soft bodies. Therefore, they tend to hide until growing their new shell. 

If not, it can be a viral, bacterial or parasite infection. Thus, you should clearly observe and check whether there are any symptoms or not. After disease diagnosis, please start the treatments immediately.  You can use a separate tank to give treatments for them. 

Why Crystal red shrimp is not eating?

There are two reasons for this. The first one is that there is a problem with your water parameters. It causes stress on your shrimp. Therefore, you should check and verify it. Another thing is that there is more than enough food in your aquarium. Therefore, you should provide foods that they can finish within a few hours. 

Why are Crystal red shrimp turning into pink?

It is the symptom of bacterial infection. The shrimp flesh becomes a pinkish color and as a result of this, you can look your shrimp-like pink. In this case, you have to separate your shrimp and start treatments.

Why are Crystal red shrimp turning into yellow?

They can look yellow due to the poor water condition. As a result of the uncomfortable water parameters, they tend to stress. Further, you can increase their coloration by providing a balanced diet.

Credit to : Jadren Aquatics

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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am Researcher in water and environmental chemistry. I am passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.