A Comprehensive Guide to Crystal Red Shrimp Care and Breeding

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Ready to explore a magical world? Let’s journey into the realm of Crystal Red Shrimp, these incredibly vibrant freshwater invertebrates that are sure to fascinate aquarists. We’ll uncover their unique history, amazing colors and learn how best to care for them so they can thrive in captivity! Get ready. Let us begin!

Key Takeaways

  • Crystal Red Shrimp require knowledge of their unique grading system, size, lifespan and breeding process for optimal care.
  • Creating the ideal environment involves maintaining proper water parameters & setting up a tank with compatible tank mates and decorations.
  • Breeding CRS requires understanding their gender & mating behavior to provide them with the right conditions for successful reproduction.

Species Overview

Scientific NameCaridina cantonensis ‘Crystal Red’
Common NamesCrystal Red Shrimp, CRS
OriginOriginated from wild black and white bee shrimp in Japan
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan1.5 years
Tank LevelBottom to Mid
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature Range68°-74°F
Water Hardness0 – 4 dKH
pH Range6.2 – 6.8
Filtration/Water FlowModerate
Water TypeFreshwater
Difficulty to BreedEasy
CompatibilitySpecies only for breeding
OK, for Planted Tanks?Yes

Understanding Them

Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) (Video from our YouTube Channel), or crystal shrimp, are a selectively bred dwarf species of freshwater red bee shrimp originating from Southeast Asia. Their exquisite pattern and shades make them desired by aquarists who like keeping Crystal Reds in their tanks. They have become very popular since their introduction in the United States in the early 2000s. These little creatures come with their own individual grading system based on the number of red stripes found on its body. Something that is sure to attract even more attention from those keen to find suitable CRSs for home aquarium settings.

Speaking, males attain up to 1 inch while females can grow up as large as 1 ½ inches maximum when full grown at maturity – often living one or two years depending upon the environment provided and care given by owners this type requires sensitive water parameters due, unlike hardier cherry shrimp varieties which have also been subject to selective breeding resulting in miniscule baby shrimps during reproduction phases making it an interesting addition into any tank-based setup!

Origin And Habitant

Crystal Red Shrimp, which have been crafted through a process of careful selective breeding from Bee Shrimp found in Taiwan’s freshwater rivers and streams, don’t naturally occur anywhere. Creating the right environment for them is key to making sure they thrive with ideal water parameters and slightly acidic waters being optimal conditions. This kind of shrimp has evolved over time due to generations upon generations of such specialized breeding practice.



The Crystal Red Shrimp with its vibrant red and white stripes stands out among other freshwater shrimp species. Males of the breed are typically smaller in size, while females have wider tails suited for carrying eggs. This distinct coloring gives a unique contrast to planted aquariums when accompanied by an added boost from algae wafers as well.

Shrimp of this particular type have become quite sought-after due to their eye-catching colors and pattern that make them appear different compared to any other variety found within rivers or ponds. The flashy shade offered by these invertebrates really brings life into any tank they inhabit, making them one of the most beloved breeds available today!

Grading System

The categorization of Crystal Red Shrimp is founded on the intensity and symmetry of their hue, with higher tiers having more vivid colors and designs. In order to progress the quality grade level across a CRS colony, aquarists should only breed shrimp that possess desirable coloration patterns.

This grading scale can range from B grade at its lowest point all the way up to SSS grade. Each individual will have their own patterning intricacies that impact pricing as well as grade value. Surprisingly enough, the grade is determined by the amount of white, not the amount of red.


Crystal Red Shrimp belong to the family of Caridina, which encompasses other popular shrimp varieties such as Bee, Crystal White and Tiger.

The Crystal White is identified by the females having a minty blue-green color near their egg holding sections. Tiger shrimp are bred to be darker. They are also known as orange-eyed tiger shrimp due to the color of their eyes. Crystal bees are rare and also the most delicate. They are inbred to develop their features and command high prices.

There are also crystal black shrimp that exhibit the same characteristics but offer a black instead of a red. The same rules grade them.

This diverse group of freshwater shrimp is acclaimed for its unique colorations and designs. CRS can interbreed with various other types from the same species, but doing so may lead to discoloration into brown instead of their natural black or red hue. All in all, these vibrant colored shrimp make up an exciting part of this aquatic ecosystem!

Average Size

Crystal Red Shrimp are a tiny but impactful addition to any aquarium. Males reach up to 1 inch in size while females can get as large as 1.5 inches, making them an ideal choice for aquarists with limited space due to their dwarf shrimp species status. However, the amount of room they require should not be underestimated since it is necessary for ensuring their health. Too small of tanks could lead to negative results down the line.


Crystal Red Shrimp can have a long life (for a shrimp) of 1.5 years if they are provided with the right water conditions and care. Factors such as their diet, stress levels, and especially water quality all contribute to how well these shrimp do over time. When healthy, one will see this species being brightly colored while also actively swimming around. Signs that they’re thriving is when molting happens every 3-4 weeks.

Creating The Ideal Environment

Having the appropriate environment is vital for your Crystal Red Shrimp’s health. Unlike Neocaridina species, they need specific water parameters to survive. By keeping accurate conditions of temperature and pH levels while equipping the aquarium with plants and compatible tank mates, you’ll craft a suitable habitat for them to live in.

It is essential that you remain consistent when setting up their home. This will lead to healthy, thriving shrimp. There are many things to consider, such as:

  • Knowing the difference between Neocaridina and Caridina shrimp
  • Getting your water parameters right
  • Proper tank setup
  • Feeding
  • Keeping stress low

Let’s look at the differences between Neocaridina and Caridina first.

Neocaridina Vs Caridina Species

Both Neocaridina and Caridina genera include a variety of freshwater shrimps with unique color varieties, though they have different care requirements. Neocaridina species are generally more hardy and easier to take care of. For example, the more forgiving Cherry Shrimp, which belongs to the neocaridina species is widely popular.

Cardina shrimp, on the other hand, are harder to care for and more specific on parameter requirements. When it comes to Crystal Red shrimp from the caridina species, accurate water parameters are essential for its survival. Knowing that water parameters are critical for success, let’s talk about what to target when maintaining their environment.

Water Parameters (Water Values)

For optimal growth and reproduction, Crystal Red Shrimp should be housed in an aquarium with a pH level of 6.2-6.8, temperature ranging from 68-74°F and hardness between 4-6 GH. It is necessary to constantly monitor these water parameters since sudden changes can negatively affect the shrimp’s well lbeing due to their sensitivity levels towards it.

TDS is the biggest concern we have after this. These shrimp should be kept at a TDS of around 150. If your tap water source is higher than that, you will need to use RO water and remineralize to get the TDS to the correct range. Always use a TDS meter to measure your tap water source and your RO output.

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Since these shrimp are comfortable at room temperature, you should be able to get away without a heater unless your area experiences cold winters. Water changes are a must if nitrates start getting high. You should keep nitrates lower than 20PPM for these shrimp. Anything higher should call for a water change.

Tank Setup And Decorations

To create the perfect environment for Crystal Red Shrimp, aim for a tank of at least 10 gallons in size.

You should consider a buffering substrate so the water parameters can stay stable. A great substrate to use would be fluval stratum. This substrate is also great for planted tanks.

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Speaking of which, plants are a must for shrimp. Mosses are one of the best plants you can consider, as it’s great for shrimp to breed and forage in. Carpeting plants are also great for aquascaping and using the active substrate. Floating plants or plants that suck up nutrients like Hornwort are ideal to keep your nutrient levels low.

Decorations such as driftwood and rocks will give them spots to hide and graze on algae within the aquarium. You can use additives like Bacter AE to increase the growth of biofilm when your tank is establishing. For driftwood, consider a low tannin variety like Manzanita for ease of use and better control of tannins.

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For filtration purposes, you can install a sponge filter that is safe around these creatures while ensuring good water quality remains stable over time. However, it’s not the prettiest. You can install a hang-on back filter or even a canister filter as long as you put a sponge on the intake.

By having all of this set up correctly, you can rest assured your red shrimp are getting everything they need from an enriching habitat without feeling stressed or unsafe.


Providing Crystal Red Shrimp with a varied diet plays an important role in their overall health and well being. In its natural habitat, it mostly consumes algae, plant detritus and microorganisms. For successful aquarium care taking they require more than this, such as commercial shrimp food supplemented by blanched vegetables to satisfy their omnivorous tendencies. Keep the portions measured since too much of anything can damage water quality, which inevitably affects them.

Having plenty of biofilm is a must as these shrimp need to eat constantly and too much supplemental feeding will pollute the tank. This can be accomplished by having lots of available surface such as plants, rocks, and driftwood where biofilm can grow on them.

Biofilm is even more of a necessary food source when it comes to breeding. The more surface area for biofilm the better!

Social Behavior And Tank Mates

When setting up a crystal red shrimp aquarium, it is important to be mindful of the tank mates you choose for your peaceful CRS. They can thrive in community tanks if other non-aggressive creatures are included – their small size and docile nature mean they won’t pose any harm to them. Nearly every fish will attempt to eat your shrimp, which means if you want to breed them, it’s best to keep them in a species only tank.

Possible Tank Mates

Clown Killifish Display

Crystal Red Shrimp need to be provided with appropriate tank mates. These could include other compatible shrimp, such as Cherry or Dwarf varieties. However, keep in mind that these shrimp species will attempt to breed with each other. To avoid cross breeding either only keep one type of shrimp or mix with shrimp like Amanos that will not breed with them.

When it comes to fish, there are only three fish I would consider 100% safe in my personal experience. I haven’t seen many shrimp getting eaten with the following fish. In fact, I’ve never see a clown or octo eat any shrimp I’ve kept with them:

Snails are also great too. Snails like nerites and Malaysian snails are compatible. Avoid large snails like mystery snails, as their bulk can create some issues with your shrimp.

You also have some micro rasboras that can live with these shrimp. However, there is a chance they could pick or attempt to eat your adult crystal red shrimp.

Tank Mates To Avoid

How To Increase Goldfish Life Expectancy

When selecting tank mates for your Crystal Red Shrimp, it is important to be mindful of fish that may be too large or aggressive. Cichlids, goldfish, and barbs should all be avoided as they can easily prey upon the small creature.

Creating an environment in which your shrimp feel safe and secure means choosing creatures with similar temperaments who are not much larger than them. This way, there will likely also exist harmony within the aquarium itself.


Breeding Crystal Red Shrimp can provide a great challenge for any aquarist, whether they be beginners or seasoned veterans. By focusing on the water parameters, tank layout, and behavior of these shrimp, hobbyists will be well equipped to nurture their colonies efficiently. It’s also important to understand the mating rituals involved if you are looking for success with breeding crystal reds! I’ll also supply a video from Soo Shrimp Breeders that breaks down how to breed these shrimp in a short amount of time. I’ll have more details below in our blog post:

Preparing The Tank

When breeding Crystal Red Shrimp, it is important to create the ideal tank conditions. Ensure that water temperature remains at or below 74°F as higher temperatures can have an adverse effect on shrimp reproduction. Having a planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and grazing areas will increase your chances for successful mating events. This also helps provide baby shrimp somewhere safe to grow up in.

Many shrimp keepers do not keep a separate breeding tank since you can breed them in a display tank. Also long as you don’t have any fish that will eat the young, you should be fine breeding them in your tank. This is why species only tanks are key if you want to breed shrimp!

Identifying Gender And Mating

Knowing the distinctions between male and female Crystal Red Shrimps is essential when attempting to breed them. Male shrimp are slimmer and smaller, while females possess wider tails in which eggs can be carried. As noted above. When a female sheds her exoskeleton, pheromones spread across the water, attracting nearby males who will then commence mating activities with her. Keeping an eye on your shrimp’s behavior so you’re able to identify their gender correctly facilitates successful breeding for this species of red shrimp.

Caring for Babies

It is important to take care of the offspring you have bred from Crystal Red Shrimp. When they hatch, baby shrimps come into this world with all their features ready and these should be given specialized shrimp food for adequate nutrition. Carefully observe how your young red shrimps develop. This will affect the quality of your CRS colony significantly if done well. Powedered foods are your friend when it comes to dealing with baby shrimp. Don’t underestimate it!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of shrimp are crystal shrimp?

Crystal shrimp, which are selectively bred from Bee shrimp and can be identified by their bright red and white coloration, make an excellent pet choice for any enthusiast of the species. Commonly referred to as ‘Crystal Red,’ these shrimps have become increasingly popular amongst keepers across the world.

Are crystal shrimp easy to keep?

Crystal shrimp, although expensive and requiring certain needs to be fulfilled in order to thrive, make great pets for those with some aquarium experience. They are quite active but will not turn aggressive when their environment is suitable. However, given their care requirements, there are better alternative shrimp to keep, such as cherry or amano shrimp, that are more forgiving on parameters and considered beginner shrimp.

Where do crystal shrimp come from?

Crystal Red Shrimp, with their striking red and white stripes that add stunning beauty to a planted tank, are a species native to Taiwan. These captivating crustaceans offer an interesting aesthetic for aquariums of all sizes.

What is the highest grade of crystal shrimp?

Crystal Red shrimp, selectively bred from the Bee shrimp variety, is esteemed as the highest grade of Crystal shrimps due to its abundance in white coloration.

What is the ideal tank size for Crystal Red Shrimp?

For maintaining a little school of Crystal Red Shrimp, it is best to have an aquarium that holds at least 10 gallons or more. You can hold a lot of shrimp in a shrimp only tank. As many as 10 per gallon, but you shouldn’t buy to stock as their numbers will increase over time due to breeding.

Closing Thoughts

Crystal Red Shrimp are truly captivating creatures that can bring beauty and excitement to any aquarium. By understanding their unique characteristics, providing the proper environment and care, and selecting compatible tank mates, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a thriving CRS colony.

As you embark on your Crystal Red Shrimp journey, remember that diligent care and attention to detail are key to their health and happiness. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the stunning world of these remarkable shrimp!

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