Crystal Red Shrimp: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding, & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Crystal Red Shrimp are a captivating and attractive species that appeal to aquarists across the community. They have beautiful patterns and bright colors, which is why they add life and vibrancy to the aquarium.

However, keeping them happy and healthy isn’t something a beginner can just try. There are certain requirements and conditions that are a little ordinary and complex.

However, if you are keen to learn everything about raising your Crystal Red Shrimp, then we are always ready to help you.

This care guide covers all the care instructions for these magnificent shrimp, as well as their habitat, water requirements, diet, breeding, tank mates, and many other aspects.

Make sure to read up on the entire article before you buy Crystal Red Shrimp so that you can be better prepared.

Species Summary

Crystal Red Shrimp have the scientific name Caridinacantonensis, and they belong to the Atyidae family, from which the different species of shrimp also come. They are also a product of selective breeding and are also considered the crowning jewel of the species of dwarf shrimp.

Life Span1.5-2 years
Color FormRed and white
Care levelIntermediate
CompatibilityPeaceful community or multi-species tank
Size1-1.2 inch
Tank SetupFreshwater with plants and caves
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons

These shrimp aren’t found in the wild, which is why they are highly sought after by aquarium owners. If you are looking to get them for your aquarium, it is worth mentioning that you will have to be very careful in order to keep them healthy and happy.

Since Crystal Red Shrimp are reproduced through selective breeding, they aren’t as resilient as other species of freshwater shrimp. Most aquarists and experts believe that they are a mutation of the Black Bee Shrimp.

However, we still consider Crystal Red Shrimp as a separate type of shrimp, which is why we have set aside an exclusive care guide to help you understand everything better.


Typically, Crystal Red Shrimp live up to 18 months when they are raised in the aquarium. You can help them reach their full potential by providing them with quality care and water conditions.

Since they are selectively bred, they are quite sensitive to changes in the water parameters. If they aren’t kept in the right conditions, they can die early and quickly.


Crystal Red Shrimp are eye-catching and appealing invertebrates that bring a splash of color to your aquarium. They have a similar appearance as other species of freshwater shrimp in terms of body shape. They have a strong tail that also contains swimmerets, several legs, and numerous antennae.

The uniqueness of their appearance is with regards to their coloration. These shrimp have various color patterns. Most of them have shades of red and white, and the two colors are arranged in stripes or have varied patterns.

Thanks to the variety in their patterns, Red Crystal Shrimp have a grading system. The grades depend on the amount of white color that they have. The whiter they are, the higher they are graded, and the more expensive they are.

The lowest grade is known as Grade C, and shrimp in this category have more red than white, with only a few spots of white scattered over their bodies. Moreover, Grade A and S shrimps have more even striping. The cream of the crop includes Grade SSS shrimp, which have white coloration with a few splashes of red.

There isn’t a lot of difference between male and female Crystal Red Shrimp. You can distinguish them from their size and abdomen. The female species are considerably larger and have a deeper abdomen with a wider tail, which allows them to look after their young.


Fully grown Crystal Red Shrimp measure only 1 to 1.5 inches, and due to their tiny size, they are known as dwarf shrimp.

Due to their small size, it is quite difficult to distinguish sizes between different specimens. Therefore, you also need to evaluate the breeding methods when you buy them.

Crystal Red Shrimp Care

As we mentioned above, taking care of Crystal Red Shrimp is a lot of responsibility. Most aquarium owners are surprised due to this fact, but this happens due to a simple reason.

Due to several years of selective breeding, these shrimp are highly sensitive to poor water conditions. Therefore, you have to maintain and preserve a high-quality and carefully managed environment in order for them to thrive and stay comfortable.

The important thing to remember is that you need to understand what these shrimp need, and you will gain more comprehension as you spend some time looking after them. This should be your main principle while you are caring for them.

Let’s have a look at the more detailed aspects of caring for Crystal Red Shrimp.

Tank Size

Since Crystal Red Shrimp are dwarf species, they can thrive in nano tanks and small aquariums easily. You can keep a small group of them in a tank as small as 5 gallons only. 

However, we would still recommend you to keep them in a tank with a minimum capacity of 10 gallons. When you keep them in larger tanks, you will find it easier to maintain the tank conditions and also clean the aquarium.

Due to their sensitivity, you would need our helpful guide from time to time if you want to keep them healthy.

Water Parameters

Since Crystal Red Shrimp are found in the wild, most aquarists adopt the water parameters from their ancestors, i.e., the Bee Shrimp. These shrimp are native to mountain river streams in Vietnam and China.

Therefore, they live in cooler waters, and you can replicate those conditions in the tank as well.

Moreover, the river streams are clean, have a neutral pH, and have a low hardness as well. You need to maintain the perfect conditions in the aquarium, but there is a little leeway for their water parameters.

The first thing you need to know is that these shrimp are highly sensitive to ammonia and nitrate levels in the water. These shrimp have a low bioload, but the water can become quite dirty if you have a multi-species tank.

Therefore, you will have to check the water conditions regularly and also perform partial water changes almost every week. Ideally, replace at least 30% of the water to maintain stability in the tank.

For starters, you can adjust the water temperature between 62°F to 78°F, with the sweet spot lying around the 70s. Moreover, set the pH levels between 5.8 and 7.4 and the water hardness between 0-4 kH.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Since they don’t have a natural habitat, you can model the aquarium environment for Crystal Red Shrimp after forest streams with dense vegetation. They thrive best when surrounded by natural vegetation. Not only do plants provide them with organic matter to eat, but they also act as sources of shelter.

These shrimp are also a suitable choice for aquascaping tanks. Their food of choice is dead matter plant detritus and aquarium algae that are formed inside the tank, so they don’t attack plants.

Therefore, you can fill up the aquarium with a wide range of live plants of various species. Ideally, you should add tall plants at the back, plants with fine leaves in the middle, and multiple ground-covering plants.

These shrimp don’t require a lot of open space for moving around and swimming, so you can create a landscape the way you like it. Plus, you don’t have to think too much about the substrate and rocks in the tank, but it is better if you add sand at the bottom.

Since they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, Crystal Red Shrimp will be able to move comfortably on the sandy substrate. 

Apart from decorations and accessories, you would also need to add a sponge filtration system. These are the safest options for the shrimp and their offspring. Also, you should cycle the aquarium with biological filtration before you add them to the aquarium.

Best of all, Crystal Red Shrimp have a low bioload, so they don’t produce a lot of waste. A standard quality filter that is suitable for the tank is fine.

Common Diseases

As you already know, Crystal Red Shrimp are highly sensitive to high levels of ammonia and nitrate in the water. Apart from this, they are also prone to quite a lot of infections and diseases.

Bacterial infections take a heavy toll on their health, and they are mostly caused by poor water parameters. If you don’t keep a check on the water conditions, the infection will cause them to bleed internally.

Apart from this, it can also cause inflammation and a host of other painful symptoms. The biggest problem is that you often don’t notice that your Crystal Red Shrimp are infected until it is too late. The same goes for fungal infections.

There are several types of fungi that harm the health of these shrimp. Luckily, you can detect fungal infections with the presence of a white and fuzzy film over their bodies.

As if these aren’t enough, your Crystal Red Shrimp are also susceptible to parasitic infections. These are caused by the growth of parasitic nematodes in their heads, particularly the Scutariella Japonica. Once these nematodes take over their body, they start to reproduce and thrive.

Another type of parasitic nematode that invades their heads is Vorticella, which looks a lot like fungal growth. Most of these diseases can be treated easily, but you should consult with a vet before using any medicines you aren’t sure of.

Most importantly, avoid any medication that contains copper as an ingredient because it is extremely toxic for several invertebrates, including the Crystal Red Shrimp.

If you have to administer a copper-based medicine to another species in the tank, make sure to isolate them beforehand. Once the infected creatures are well, you can put the shrimp back in the aquarium.

What Do Crystal Red Shrimp Eat?

Crystal Red Shrimp are omnivores, and they also like to scavenge food in the tank. Therefore, they are quite low-maintenance when it comes to their diet. While other parts of their care are quite complex, the one thing you can manage without any difficulty is their diet.

They spend a lot of their time scouring the aquarium to look for algae, plant detritus, and microorganisms to feed on. They are known as filter feeders, which makes them catch any floating food as they swim around the tank.

Although they are scavenging species, you have to make sure that they get fed daily. Therefore, you can give them commercial shrimp food to supplement their diet and fulfill their nutritional requirements.

The food comes in the form of either pellets or powder, which makes it easier for them to eat up when you put it in the tank.

Apart from commercial shrimp food, you can also feed them algae wafers, especially if your filtration system works too well and doesn’t let any algae survive in the aquarium.

If you feed your other aquatic species with natural food and blanched vegetables, you can give your Crystal Red Shrimp vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, peas, romaine lettuce, and zucchini as well. Just like other species, make sure that you don’t overfeed your shrimp.

Behavior & Temperament

Crystal Red Shrimp are quite peaceful and easygoing species, and they don’t exhibit any signs of aggression. This is why they also get along with other peaceful species of invertebrates, including other shrimp, snails, and even fish.

They spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, and they aren’t concerned with what goes on at the top layers of the aquarium.

As mentioned above, they spend most of their time searching for food, as well as crawling along the substrate, looking for plant matter among the vegetation, and also engaging with other shrimp in the tank.

Crystal Red Shrimp Tank Mates

Just like several aspects of their care, finding suitable tank mates for Crystal Red Shrimp can be quite challenging. The biggest challenge is looking for cohabitants that won’t try to eat the shrimp.

Since they have a small size and come in various bright colors, they are easily detected by larger species of fish. Therefore, you should steer clear of any fish that can attack or eat them. You can keep them with other shrimp, such as the Amano and Bamboo Shrimp.

The one thing to remember while choosing suitable mates for Crystal Red Shrimp is that the cohabitants should also be comfortable with the water conditions; otherwise, at least one of the species will be stressed and more likely to fall ill.

Since you have already gathered that Crystal Red Shrimp aren’t as hardy as other species, you can’t keep them in water conditions that they don’t thrive in. Otherwise, you might risk them falling seriously ill and even dying.

This is another reason why most people prefer to keep these shrimp on their own, and it is the best and safest way to keep these critters happy and comfortable. If you are interested in breeding them, you can keep these shrimp together.

Crystal Red Shrimp do fine when they are with their own kind. If you are looking to keep them on their own, make sure to keep a large enough group in the aquarium.

The best part is that the males of this species don’t fight with each other, so you won’t have to worry about the male-to-female ratio in the tank.

Some of the suitable tank mates for the Crystal Red Shrimp include:

Also, you can keep different types of snails in the tank with your Red Shrimp. Just like them, the snails are also harmless and keep to themselves in the aquarium, which is why they might make perfect tank mates.

However, they also scavenge for algae and organic matter in the aquarium, which is why you might have to feed them commercial food and blanched vegetables as well.

Some aquarists also consider keeping Crystal Red Shrimp and Cherry Shrimp together, and this is completely alright. However, there is a slight chance that they will mate together and produce a crossbred species, which might not be as appealing.


Breeding Crystal Red Shrimp in captivity is quite easy. Although they don’t have a long lifespan, they can breed without any external intervention. Therefore, you can easily reproduce them without having to purchase any new ones.

They are more likely to breed when the water temperature is set closer to 78°F. You should feed them with a well-balanced diet, and the females will start filling up with eggs in no time.

Once this happens, the female shrimp will release pheromones that indicate to males that she is ready for breeding. They will lay their eggs and carry them within her abdomen. The swimmerets on their bodies are used to continuously fan the eggs.

The eggs hatch in roughly 30 days. At this point, you should isolate the fry and add a sponge to the filter to increase the likelihood of their survival. You can feed them with powdered shrimp, but they will get to scavenging pretty quickly.

Within four or five weeks, Crystal Red Shrimp grow up to reach adulthood, at which point they can engage in the breeding process.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, we are big fans of Crystal Red Shrimp, and they are fascinating species that are fun to keep in the tank. However, their care is a little complicated and tricky at first. As long as you know what needs to be done, you will have no trouble raising them at all.

We would encourage you to get Crystal Red Shrimp for your tank as soon as possible. Not only will you get to learn a lot about shrimps, but you will also gain a lot of respect for these invertebrates.