The Crystal Red Shrimp is a subspecies of the Crystal Shrimps, having an eye-catching red and white “bee-like” pattern. Due to this, they are sometimes also referred to as Red Bee Shrimps.
It is said to be the most sought-after among the Crystal Shrimp varieties because of its rare colors. It is sometimes mistaken for Red Cherry Shrimps because of the similarities they share.
This variety is liked by many because of its tiny size. But the appearance is not the only reason why Red Crystal Shrimps have been a favorite among many fishkeepers.
Caring for them is easy, and their diet is quite simple as they are generally scavenging. So, even if you decide to buy it at this moment, just a quick read of this guide will help you sort out all their needs.
|Crystal Red Shrimp|
|Scientific Name||Caridina cf. cantonensis var. ‘Crystal Red’|
|Other Common Names||Red Crystal Shrimp, Red Bee Shrimp (Japan), CRS|
|Lifespan||1.5 to 2 years|
|Max. Length||1 to 1.5 inches|
|Experience Needed||Invertebrates & Shell-fishes|
Habitat & Origin
They do not have any particular place of origin. This is because they came as a result of cross-breeding of mutated Black Bee Shrimps that had red & white colors.
Having said that, these mutated varieties were first seen and then bred, in Japan by Hisayasu Suzuki. So, we can say they originated from captivity in Japan.
But if we consider the origin of Bee Shrimps, then it is SouthEast Asia, more specifically Taiwan. Some varieties are also found in freshwater streams in Hong Kong (southern China). (reference)
They are strictly freshwaterbeings but the waters they thrive in are a bit acidic. However, their habitat also has abundant plants. Thus, oxygen level is high in the water.
By the way, the Caridina cantonensis varieties are considered Least Concern (LC) in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (reference)
Considering they are a variety of Bee Shrimps; they are very small. They don’t go over 1.5 to 2 inches in size when fully developed into adults. That is why they are also sometimes referred to as dwarf shrimps.
Author Tip: If you are getting them, make sure to properly check for breeding techniques. This is because it can be complicated when differentiating between a big one and a small one, as they are quite small naturally.
Moreover, it is not the only pattern seen in them, they also come in thick bands, and sometimes spots or tiny speckles. The size and the dominance of color vary, with some having more red than white, and vice versa.
Structural Traits of Body Parts
Just like other shrimps, Crystal Reds are decapods. So, they have a total of ten pairs of appendages for all types of movement, all of which are connected to the main body segments (cephalothorax).
Each segment of its cephalothorax is equally divided to have a single pair of appendages. This cephalothorax has a hard carapace protecting it, as it is quite soft like a muscle.
The legs that are used for general movement and walking are called pereiopods, while the other five pairs used for swimming are called pleopods.
The carapace is made up of chitin (similar to keratin present in nails of humans) and holds up all walking and head attachments together in place.
Their appendages have different names according to their function. The front walking pair is called chelipeds, which have a claw-like structure at their tips. They look like the “hands of the shrimp” and are used for grabbing, eating, or digging into something.
The tail section, which is also known as the uropod, has a dual fan-like structure at the end. This helps them accelerate while swimming, and also helps them swim in reverse.
On their head, are two protruding eyes, with a beady-like appearance. They come out from the sides, complemented with numerous thin antennae and a pair of antennules (thick antennae).
In addition to all that, their mouth has maxillipeds, which are just basically mandibles attached to a pair of specialized appendages, used for eating.
Grading Crystal Red Shrimp
Based on the sharpness of their patterns and the brightness of their colors, Crystal Red shrimps are classified into different grades: SSS, SS, S, A, B, and C.
The SSS is the highest quality, with the brightest colors and with a white area covering almost 75% of the body, while the remaining (carapace & abdomen region) is red.
The SS has a head and tail fully white, while the rest of the body has a red band or spots.
The S has a full red-colored body and semi-transparent white stripes across the abdomen area.
The A grade is 75% red on boys, with thin bands and spots of semi-translucent white.
And finally, the B and C grades are the lowest, with red covering the entirety of the body and the rest having tiny specs of translucent white. The patterns in B grade are barely distinguishable as compared to A grade.
Shrimps generally don’t live long, and this species is no exception. They will live for approximately 18 to 24 months if they are kept in pristine conditions.
Note- They are quite sensitive to their environment. They will die substantially quicker if proper conditions are not met.
Even though both the female and male look alike, there are some characteristics that will help you differentiate between the two-
- The female Crystal Red Shrimp is a bit bigger than the male (about 20-30%), in overall size.
- The scales on the female are also bigger, in the abdomen section.
- During the breeding season, the eggs are almost visible through the carapace inside the females. It is mostly present in the abdomen, and some near the head area.
The Crystal Red Shrimps are found all across the globe. It is bred and sold in many countries, but for authenticity, people tend to go for imported Asian ones.
Their price depends upon their grade, with SSS being the most expensive, while the C grade is the cheapest of them all.
|Quick Care Facts|
|Social Temperament||Peaceful and Harmless|
The best thing about Crystal Red Shrimps is their diet. They are scavengers, and you will see them looking for food 24/7. Even if you forget to feed them for a couple of days, they will survive somehow, but it is not recommended.
Having said that, they are omnivorous in nature. Thus, the list of what they eat is long, and for fishkeepers, it brings a plethora of options for scavengers.
In general, they are filter feeders and will continuously look for remnants of leftover food, and parts of plants, and feed on algae, small insects, and even microorganisms.
The food that is mostly given to them in captivity is-
- Commercial shrimp food
- Fish Pellets
- Fish Flakes
- Vegetables- Blanched carrot, zucchini, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and cucumber.
- Frozen food- Bloodworms, Microworms, etc.
- Calcium-rich food & supplements
Quick Tip: Give them food once a day and the feed should be consumed within a few hours, as they are slow eaters. Scoop out the leftover food as it may cause a change in water parameters.
The Crystal Red Shrimps are very peaceful and friendly, unlike their cousins; lobsters and crayfish. They like to live in big groups on their own. Plus, they can also be kept solitary. However, it is not advised that you do so.
You will see them scavenging for food at the bottom of the tank (substrate) or hiding in holes and crevices. You may also see them scraping off algae from the tank walls.
The best time to see them in action is during communal feeding. If you put a big piece of vegetable in front of them, you will see them swarm it and feed on it for a couple of hours.
Your Crystal red Shrimp will molt someday, which is basically shedding their exoskeleton and making a new one.
This is a natural phenomenon that happens in all crustaceans. During this period, they are quite vulnerable as their bodies are very soft and quite prone to damage.
Additionally, you can separate the individuals in a different tank that has already molted, just to keep them safe for a few days.
It will take a week or so for them to regenerate a new hard exoskeleton. During that time, you can give them calcium-rich food and supplements to aid their regeneration.
You may also see the shrimp eating their exoskeleton after shedding. Don’t be alarmed, this is good for them as it gives them calcium and other minerals required to grow a new one.
Crystal Red Shrimps are quite easy to breed. If you have a group of males and females, they will automatically start making babies, given the water parameters are suitable.
There is no particular time of the year for their breeding. They do, however, breed every 5 to 6 weeks.
If good conditions are met, you will get babies every 2 to 3 months, and a lot of them. In the wild, the survival rates of babies are low, but in captivity, they are high because there are no natural predators.
Spawning of eggs
Female shrimp will begin producing eggs fairly quickly if temperatures are kept between 75 and 78 °F and a healthy diet is maintained.
The female will spawn about 30 – 50 eggs, and store them in the abdomen. They use their hind pair of swimming feet to keep them in place.
You can also separate the pair into a different tank, with plants like Java Moss, Weeping Moss, and Dwarf Hairgrass. This helps with spawning and breeding and serves as a safe spot for the babies to hide.
Hatching & Rearing of Babies
Once the eggs have been spawned, you should then maintain the temperature just below 75 °F. This will ensure the eggs incubate properly and hatch in time.
It takes about a month or so for them to hatch. The babies resemble tiny versions of their parents.
By the way, it is a good choice to transfer the parents to a different tank once the eggs hatch, as they might feed on their babies.
The juvenile shrimps are able to scavenge for their food, but you can also provide them powdered food if you wish.
It will take numerous molts for the juveniles to mature into breeding adults. And after every molting process, their colors appear brighter and brighter.
However, it will take about 4 to 5 months for them to acquire the proper colors and patterns, after which they can be sorted based on the grading parameters.
Author Tip: If you already possess high-grade shrimps such as SSS or SS, you can breed them at home and make some profit for yourself by selling them to the market. Many people do it and it doesn’t take much effort to do so.
Are They Prone to Diseases?
The Crystal Red Shrimps are more sensitive compared to the original Crystal Shrimps. This is due to the fact that they are selectively bred. This has led to a weaker immune system and made them more susceptible to infections.
Having said that, there are a few things to look out for even if you maintain proper hygiene and good tank conditions.
Nematodes such as Vorticella & Scuteriella can infect them. The former looks like a fungal mycelium on the fish’s body, while the latter can infect the brain and live inside it for a long time. Both of these are deadly to shrimp.
There are also bacteria that can infect them, causing massive irreversible damage to their metabolism. Most of them can be cured, but can still destroy the shrimp’s life. Some can cause hemorrhaging and bleeding inside, which is quite painful.
Fungal infections aren’t uncommon either. They look like cotton-like growth on the exoskeletal surface.
You should always transfer your shrimp to a separate tank if you detect anything suspicious. Treating them with antibiotics can cure them, but it takes time to heal completely.
Pro Tip: Don’t use copper-based chemicals to treat the shrimps as it is deadly for them.
Tank Size Requirements
You should consider at least getting a 10-gallon to keep a group of Red Bee Shrimp, with a population of five to six.
However, if you want to keep a group of ten to twelve shrimps, you should try to get at least a 20- or 25-gallon tank.
Their natural habitat has a lot of vegetation. Thus, you must provide them with a lot of plants, so they feel more at home.
A few good choices are-
- Dwarf Hairgrass
- Java Moss
- Anubias Nana
- Amazon Sword
- Water Wisteria
- Hygrophila Polysperma
- Marimo Moss Balls
Quick Tip: Keeping a few moss balls can be a good idea as it can provide resting places for the shrimps. Plus, it also provides food for them.
Light intensity should be kept moderate. This will ensure proper algal growth for the sake of the shrimps. If it is too bright, algae will grow uncontrollably, and if it’s too low, the growth will be scarce. So, keep an eye out for that.
If it is too bright then algae will grow uncontrollably, and if it’s too low the growth will be scarce. So, keep an eye out for that.
You can use fluorescent lamps or tubes with a cool daylight color to imitate the natural white sunlight.
The substrate should be fine & sandy. They spent most of their lives on the bottom surface. If the substrate is soft, it won’t hurt them in any way.
However, try to avoid using Aragonite sand as it can increase the pH of the water substantially. This is not good since they like to stay at neutral pH.
All kinds of décor can be used; it is all a matter of the preference of the owner. Big rocks with crevices can provide shelter for them.
Pieces of hollow logs of wood can also provide hiding spots. And, it also adds to the aesthetic value of the tank by giving it a more natural feel.
Keeping a good filter can prove to be useful. Shrimp feed continuously and excrete frequently. A good filter will make sure the nitrate and nitrite levels don’t spike.
Alongside that, an air pump or a couple of air stones will help keep the water rich in oxygen.
Keeping suitable water parameters can help keep your shrimp healthy and happy. The table below contains all the specifications you need for your tank.
|Water Temperature||62 °F to 78 °F (70 to 75 °F is advised)|
|Minimum Size||10 gallons|
|Water Hardness||4 to 6 dGH|
|pH Level||5.8 to 7.4 (6.5 to 7.0 is recommended)|
|TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)||100 to 200|
|Nitrate||< 20 ppm|
|Water changes||25 – 30 %; Bi-weekly basis|
You can use monitoring equipment to keep an eye out for any kind of altercations to these values. You can use chemicals and buffers to maintain the pH and hardness of the water. The filters will help you maintain low nitrogen levels.
Given the size of the Crystal Red Shrimps, it can be difficult to find compatible tank mates for them. It is recommended to keep only small and peaceful fish species with them.
Many fishkeepers do not even bother keeping other fishes or invertebrates with them. However, if you wish to keep other creatures with them, consider the following to be an option:
- Other dwarf shrimp species
- Bamboo Shrimp
- Amano Shrimp
- Cherry Shrimp
- Smaller Tetra Varieties
- X-ray Tetra
- Bloodfin Tetra
- Cardinal Tetra
- Neon Tetra
- Zebra Danios
- Chili Rasbora
- Oto Catfish
- Nerite snails
- Ramshorn snails
- Assassin snails
Frequently Asked Questions
There can be a variety of reasons –
- It may be getting older. Shrimp colors tend to become dull as they age.
- It may be the time for their molting. During this time, their exoskeleton appears dull.
- Different lighting conditions can affect how the colors reflect from their body, through the water.
- They may have contracted some kind of parasite, or maybe fallen sick due to unhygienic tank conditions.
Does Crystal Red Shrimp require a heater in captivity?
Having a heater is not a necessity to keep them, but it can help if we want to keep the water temperatures between 62 °F to 78 °F.
However, the requirement for a heater depends upon where you live. If you live in a cold region, you will require a heater for your shrimp. If not, then you are good to go.
Can Crystal Red Shrimp & Cherry Shrimp be kept together?
Yes, they can be kept together peacefully. Both of them are freshwater and have similar dietary requirements. Their appearance also goes quite well together.
Having said that, make sure to keep water parameters more inclined towards the Crystal Red Shrimps. The reason is that they are much less resilient than Cherry Shrimps. So, Cherry Shrimps can tolerate changes but the Crystal Red Shrimps cannot.
Verdict: Are They Worth Buying?
Cherry Red Shrimp are considered among the most beautiful shrimp varieties for many fish enthusiasts. One reason being the charming color, and the other reason being how rare it is.
And as mentioned, shrimps are not picky about their eating habits, especially if they are as small as Red Cherry Shrimps.
They are also algae eaters, so they will keep your tank clean. This can save you the hassle of cleaning your tank more frequently, and even eliminate the need to install an expensive filter.