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Crystal Red Shrimp Care & Info

Looking to get into the shrimp hobby or expand your aquarium shrimp collection? If you’ve never kept crystal red shrimp, consider them for your next project. These dwarf shrimp are Caridina cf. cantonensis varieties, also known as red bee shrimp. Their candy cane pattern adds a great splash of color to your aquarium and the lower grades of this species are suitable for beginning aquarists!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about keeping crystal red shrimp in your own fish tank. 

Name (common, scientific)Crystal red shrimp, red bee shrimp, Caridina cf. cantonensis var. ‘Crystal Red’
Minimum tank size5 gallons
Minimum group size5
Temperature‎62-76 °F
Difficulty levelIntermediate
Crystal red shrimp in the aquarium

Crystal red shrimp aquarium

One great feature of most aquarium shrimp is their size. They don’t need a large tank at all and they’re actually one of the only animals that can be kept in aquariums as small as 5 gallons in volume. That being said, if you’re a beginner then you might want to go for something a little larger, like a 10-gallon. The larger the aquarium, the easier it is to keep stable. Important when it comes to fragile creatures like dwarf shrimp!

A crystal red shrimp tank should always be fully cycled, preferably using gentle filtration in the form of a sponge filter or something that has a filter guard to prevent sucking up baby shrimp. The pH should be on the lower side. Room temperature works, but be sure to add a backup heater if temps are prone to fluctuation due to open windows and drafts. Stability is key to healthy shrimp.

Shrimp are group animals and you should start your crystal red colony with at least about 5 specimens, although 10 would be ideal for genetic diversity. They’ll take care of the rest: if conditions are favorable they will breed readily.

Be sure to provide plenty of hiding places in the form of live plants and shrimp tubes. Fry and molting shrimp like to retreat until they feel strong enough to join the rest of the colony and the shrimps’ red and white coloration looks gorgeous against lush green aquatic plants;

Crystal Red Shrimp Tankmates

You can keep your crystal red shrimp with a limited number of fish species depending on how safe you want to keep things. With plenty of cover and if you don’t mind losing a few fry here and there, you could go for small schooling fish. Corydoras catfish and other small, peaceful species also work but there’s always a chance they’ll snack on baby shrimp.

If you want 100% shrimp safety for maximum breeding success, skip the fish. You’re better off sticking to only crystal red shrimp. You could also go for other inverts like other shrimp species and snails, though be sure to check whether your shrimp of choice won’t interbreed with the crystals. Nerite snails, Amano shrimp, Neocaridina shrimp and Thai micro crabs are all fully shrimp-safe.

Caring for Crystal Red Shrimp

How sensitive your crystal red shrimp are will mostly depend on their ‘grade’. Higher grade (= more opaque coloration) dwarf shrimp have been more extensively selectively bred, which results in more decorative but weaker shrimp. High-grade crystal reds will therefore quickly perish if you let your water values get out of control.

Regardless of grade, all shrimp tanks should receive weekly maintenance consisting of a water change (~20% works well) and a gentle cleaning. Add new water in very slowly to prevent shocking the shrimp and always be sure to match temperature and pH.

Crystal red shrimp are omnivores that will eat anything they come across but mainly consume plant matter and biofilm (which grows on all aquarium surfaces in a mature tank). They’ll spend their days foraging and grazing. Don’t forget to supplement their diet, though: there are plenty of high-quality shrimp foods out there, and you can also feed blanched veggies and (thawed) frozen foods. Remove uneaten food within a few hours.

Crystal red shrimp colony in the aquarium


A well-planted crystal red shrimp tank provides hours of entertainment and makes a beautiful natural addition to your home. These are not the easiest shrimp to keep in the aquarium, though, especially not the higher grades.

If you’d rather leave the set-up and maintenance to an expert, contact us here and we’ll get your shrimpery installed!

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Marijke Puts

Hey! I'm Marijke, FantaSEA's resident blog writer. I'm a full-time pop science author, part-time PADI diver and snorkeler, and have been keeping fish since I was a kid. When I'm not writing fish care guides, you can usually find me underwater or trying to figure out how to fit more tanks into my house.

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