Crystal Red Shrimp Stats Infographic

Wondering why Crystal Red Shrimp are making such a splash? Aquarists often favor freshwater shrimps to add ambiance to their community tanks. And there are few shrimp species more beautiful and peaceful than the Caridina Cantonensis.

But as mesmerizing these crustaceans are to observe, they’re just as demanding in their care routine. If you’re thinking of adding CRS to your home aquarium — it’s best to bring your A-game. Here you can read our detailed and meticulously structured species guide to help you through your fishkeeping journey. All you need to do is stick with us as we break down what Crystal Red Shrimp requirements are.

Crystal Red Shrimp Facts and Figures

Family Atyidae
Care Level Intermediate
Average Lifespan 1 to 2 years
Maximum Size 1 1.5 inches
Diet Omnivores
Breeding Type Oviparous
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons

Getting To Know the Crystal Red Shrimp

Crystal red shrimp care guideSometimes we get questions from our readers asking why we always talk about the origins of an aquatic species. The short answer is: Knowing the background of a species can help you sustain its future.

How? That’s simple. Caring for a species in captivity requires mimicking its natural habitat as closely as you can. The more you know about its origins, the better equipped you to pull that off. So, let’s take a few minutes to get to know the CRS.

Origins

Legend has it that the Crystal Red Shrimp resulted from the selective breeding of a peculiar-looking red shrimp. And the man who made it all possible was Hisayasu Suzuki, a breeder from Japan.

Mr. Suzuki bred standard Bee shrimps, but when he ran into a red Bee Shrimp, inspiration struck. He tried to single out the color mutation of the red Bee Shrimp and was rewarded for his efforts about three generations of shrimps later.

By 1996, Mr. Suzuki had patented his extraordinary-looking red shrimps and named the species “Crystal Red Shrimp.” The look of Crystal Shrimps was refined further until it included a striking combination of white with red stripes.

Once the CRS hit the US markets in the early 2000s, the species shot to fame and has remained in demand since then.

Appearance

The existence of CRS is no fluke. The species was bred and cross-bred into reality because of its unique coloring. And here’s the thing: the red and white look of Crystal Shrimps can vary depending on their grade. The species is classified into six grades (C, B, A, S, SS, and SSS), with C being the lowest.

Low-grade CRS have very little white, whereas the high-quality ones are just the opposite. The SSS-grade shrimps have mostly white bodies with a few red stripes. What’s more, the opacity of color can also fluctuate according to the grade. For example, translucent red shrimps will generally belong to the higher grade categories.

Crystal Reds are much smaller than standard shrimps, which is why they’re also referred to as a dwarf shrimp variant. However, this doesn’t stop them from looking perfect miniature shrimps.

The species have all the features of the shrimp family. For instance, they have delicate antennae, walking legs, swimming legs, and of course, the fanned-out telson (or tail). Males of the species are generally smaller than females, and they also lack scales on their abdomen region.

Temperament

Crystal Red Shrimps make model citizens of community tanks. They’re docile, non-aggressive, and like keeping to themselves. However, their passiveness, mixed with their diminutive size, can sometimes spell trouble for the species.

Prospective fishkeepers need to carefully pick out the species’ tank mates to ensure they’re not harmed or, worse, devoured.

Crystal Red Shrimps are bottom-dwellers and like scouring the tank substrate in search of a food source. What makes them even more fun to keep is that they sometimes form little groups with other shrimp mates in the tank.

Like all crustaceans, CRS also experience molting. The species shed their exoskeleton to grow a new one to accommodate their growing size. They’re particularly vulnerable during this time and can be easy prey for predatory fish or opportunistic feeders.

Crystal Red Shrimp Care: What Does It Involve

A dwarf shrimp species like the CRS can be a little tricky to care for because they’re so tiny and vulnerable. These crustaceans require top-notch water and tank conditions, along with suitable tank mates to survive. Here’s what you can expect in caring for the species.

Tank size

Crystal Red Shrimps are pretty easy-going in terms of tank room requirements. Since Crystal Red Shrimp size isn’t a concern, fishkeepers can house them in a tank as modest as 5 gallons.

Nonetheless, experts advise housing CRS in 10-gallon tanks because bigger tanks are easier to monitor and control with regard to water conditions. As diminutive as this prawn species is, they have big water parameter needs. You’ll discover more about this as you read below.

Water Conditions

As we stated right in the beginning, the survival of an aquatic species in captivity depends on realistically recreating its natural environment. You’re probably confused at this point, thinking about how the CRS came into existence.

It’s true that Crystal Reds were created through selective breeding, which doesn’t have much to do with being raised in the wild. But, here’s the twist. The ancestors of the species — the Bee Shrimps — are found in the wild and have a natural habitat.

Bee Shrimps are native to the streams and rivers of Taiwan, and that’s what aquarists should keep in mind when creating suitable tank conditions for the CRS. Bee Shrimps inhabit waters that are temperate, somewhat acidic, and have a low to medium flow. And of course, as with all flowing water bodies, the water is also highly oxygenated.

Best Water Parameters for the Crystal Red Shrimp

So what does all that mean for hobbyists looking to raise Crystal Reds in captivity? The species will thrive in water temperatures ranging from 71 to 77 degrees F. Additionally, your tank’s pH and water hardness levels must stay between 5.8 to 7.4 and 0 to 4 dH, respectively.

As always, you’ll also require a water-testing kit to stay on top of tank conditions. Additionally, you’ll also need a water filter to clean the tank and create enough movement. Air stones can also help keep the tank’s oxygen levels up to suit the species.

Finally, it’s best to opt for sponge filters for CRS tanks to ensure the shrimps or any offspring they might have don’t get sucked in the device.

Habitat

When setting up tank habitat for the Crystal Red Shrimp species, fishkeepers need to focus on three things: substrate quality, aquatic plants and structures that provide narrow caves or crevices.

Let’s start with the substrate. Remember that CRS are bottom-dwellers and like scraping through the substrate in search of food. For that reason, these dwarf shrimp do best with sand substrate. Nothing jagged or edgy, like gravel, is suitable for these guys.

Aquatic plants not only provide Crystal Reds with a secondary food source, but they also provide a type of shelter the species utilize to steer clear of troublesome fish. In a single-species setup, you can opt to add a combination of ground-covering, medium-sized, and tall plants to make the crustaceans feel secure. The species are pretty small anyway and don’t mind not having too much room to swim.

You can also add smooth rock structures that’ll provide the shrimps hiding holes for molting times. These are especially vital in community tanks where the shrimps are vulnerable to being attacked or eaten without hard shells.

Diet

Crystal red shrimp habitatCRS fans will be happy to learn the species are omnivorous. That means there’s no shortage of Crystal Shrimp food options and, even better, the shrimps aren’t picky about what they eat. We’ve mentioned this dwarf shrimp species has a tendency to munch on aquatic plants and the algae generated by them. However, that doesn’t do away with the need to feed them.

Bee shrimp diet in the wild revolves around plants detritus, algae, insects, larvae, etc. In captivity, you can feed them high-quality pellets (fortified with calcium) to ensure they have enough calcium in their bodies to grow new shells when they’re molting.

Additionally, try to opt for reputable brands to ensure other dietary needs are met and their digestive system isn’t overtaxed.

You can provide the species with protein by giving them occasional treats of frozen food. The CRS are especially fond of bloodworms. Vegetables like zucchini or cucumber can also be added to the CRS diet for variety and added nutrients.

Feeding Time

Note that feeding time for the Crystal Reds should be confined to once a day. Overfeeding these shrimps isn’t a good idea, considering they’re always scavenging the tank substrate for snacks.

Plus, overfeeding will also result in more waste which can upset the delicate balance of the tank’s water parameters.

Aquarists should also ensure to scoop out any leftover food from the tank asap to avoid water pollution and the presence of bacteria.

Vital Stats of The Crystal Red Shrimp

If you’re thinking about starting small with a few pairs of Crystal Red Shrimp and then adding more, you’ll need information about the species’ size, growth rate, etc. That’s where this stats section can prove to be of help.

Lifespan, Size, and Growth Rate

The average Crystal Red Shrimp lifespan ranges from one to two years under near-perfect tank conditions. This stats doesn’t take into account aggressive fish attacks, disease incidence or other accidents.

You’re about to learn why Crystal Red Shrimp are classed as dwarf shrimps. The species will touch approximately 1 to 1.5 inches upon full maturity. If you’re not sure how big that’ll be in real life, take a good look at the first joint of your index finger.

Crystal Reds are tiny, but their vivid coloration actually helps them be more visible in a fish tank. When you’re out purchasing these crustaceans, it’s best to rely on reputable aquariums. Doing so will help increase your chances of landing high-grade specimens that’ll be able to achieve their maximum length.

CRS are incredibly fast-growing, and baby Crystal Reds will only need about five weeks to achieve their full size. That means buying a smaller tank with the intention of upgrading to a bigger one isn’t a viable plan for this species. Our advice is to go for a 20-gallon tank from the get-go.

Health Considerations

Crystal Red Shrimps are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in water conditions. They’re also very susceptible to ammonia and can experience stress or internal organ damage with high ammonia concentrations.

Aside from that, CRS can also contract infections due to sub-par water conditions. These include bacterial infections, which can develop quite suddenly and have devastating consequences, like internal bleeding. Fungi is another concern with this species, which generally appears as white fuzz on the shrimps’ bodies.

Being a freshwater aquatic species, CRS are also vulnerable to parasitic worms like Vorticella. Parasitic worms (aka nematodes) are nasty and can latch onto the shrimps as hosts while sucking them dry for nutrients to survive.

Thankfully, all of the above conditions are treatable and controlled by a quick visit to a qualified aquatic veterinarian. The best way to avoid such problems is to always keep an eye on your tank’s water conditions and only introduce new additions to a tank with CRS after proper quarantine techniques.

Breeding Crystal Red Shrimps in Captivity

Crystal red shrimp dietCrystal Red Shrimps are not too difficult to breed in captivity, but the species does require a little nudge to get the process started. Start by sexing the CRS to differentiate the male and female pairs you want to breed. Thanks to sexual dimorphism, you can easily tell the difference between male and female CRS. Females are larger than males and have curved underbellies.

Raising the water temperature of your tank to 78 degrees F can trigger breeding. During this time, feed the shrimps a high protein diet and, if all goes well, you’ll be able to see the female shrimps swelling with eggs in a few days.

The next step of the process is fertilizing the eggs which is where the male Crystal Reds come in. CRS are oviparous, which means the female will lay the eggs and carry them under her tummy until they’re ready to hatch.

CRS eggs take approximately 30 days to hatch. After that, you’ll see little shrimplets in your tank. You can feed the baby shrimp powdered shrimp food and watch them grow in no time.

Appropriate Tank Mates for Crystal Reds

Considering the size of Crystal Red Shrimps, it can be extremely tricky to find the right tank mates. Aggressive and semi-aggressive species are out of the question, and even opportunistic feeders pose a threat to the CRS.

If you want to give your Crystal Reds a completely safe environment, a single-species tank is your best bet.

However, if you have your heart set on a community tank, you can opt for species like Zebra Danios, Guppies, or Neon Tetras as companions for Crystal Red Shrimps.

Conclusion

Crystal Red Shrimps are suitable for intermediate-level aquarists that are more adept at surveilling and controlling tank water conditions. The species are quite forgiving in terms of diet or habitat requirements, but they’re very sensitive to changes in water conditions.

  • Crystal Reds are much smaller than standard shrimps, which is why they’re also referred to as a dwarf shrimp variant.
  • The species have all the features of the shrimp family. For instance, they have delicate antennae, walking legs, swimming legs, and of course, the fanned-out telson (or tail).
  • CRS are docile, non-aggressive, and like keeping to themselves. They’re bottom-dwellers and like scavenging the substrate for food.
  • Experts recommend housing Crystal Reds in 10-gallon tanks to make controlling the water conditions easier.
  • The species will thrive in water temperatures ranging from 71 to 77 degrees F. Additionally, your tank’s pH and water hardness levels must stay between 5.8 to 7.4 and 0 to 4 dH, respectively.
  • Aquarists hoping to keep CRS should also invest in a top-notch sponge water filter, a water-testing kit, along with an air stone for maintaining oxygen levels.
  • Tank habitat for Crystal Red Shrimp should include a sand substrate, aquatic plants, and smooth rock structures that provide the species with hiding places during molting.
  • The species are omnivores and aren’t picky about what they eat. They can be fed pellets (with calcium fortifications), frozen foods and vegetables. CRS only require feeding once a day because the species also rely on plant detritus and algae for sustenance.
  • The average lifespan of the species ranges from one to two years. They can reach 1 to 1,5 inches (their full length) in approximately five weeks.
  • CRS are vulnerable to ammonia fluctuations, bacterial and fungal infections.
  • The species can be bred in captivity, although aquarists will need to trigger breeding by raising tank water temperatures. CRS are oviparous, and the female will carry the eggs under her belly until they hatch.
  • Suitable tank mates for the Crystal Red Shrimp include Guppies, Neon Tetras, and Zebra Danios.

Crystal red shrimp moltingThere’s no doubt that the bright and colorful presence of Crystal Red Shrimps will beautify your aquarium. Nonetheless, maintaining the proper water conditions for this species is crucial and laborious. But if you’re an intermediate-level aquarist, you’re likely all equipped to bring home this species now!

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