15 Different Tropical Aquarium Caridina - Rare & Common
Caridinas are freshwater Shrimp from the family Atyidae, and there are currently 281 different species of Caridina Shrimp. They are very peaceful omnivores but very greedy, especially for food. These Shrimp can range from 1cm to 7.5 cm in body length. Caridina Shrimp are relatively hard to keep and care for and can be somewhat expensive. It is practically impossible to identify these Shrimp to the species level. Caridina Shrimp is defined by having chelipeds with bristles on the fingers' tip, which are used to scrape detritus during feeding and filter tiny aquatic organisms.
Caridina Shrimp comes in various colours and patterns. Most are selectively bred for aquarists' desired look; blues, blacks, and reds are just a few of the many colour varieties available. Bee Shrimps, Crystal Shrimps, Tiger Shrimps, and all of their blends make up most of the Caridina species we see in the hobby today. The words "bee", "crystal", and "tiger" represent the markings and patterns that the Shrimp possess. Within each of these kinds of patterns are also many different colour morphs and gradings to define the Shrimp's exact appearance.
Caridina Shrimp is widely distributed in subtropical and tropical waters in Taiwan, Asia, Africa and Oceania. They inhabit lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and ditches with moderate flowing water and Stoney substrate. You will also find them in lakes and streams with a very slow current and almost stagnant water with muddy or sandy substrates. All Caridina habitats are covered in dense vegetation and leaf litter.
A majority of Caridina species are peaceful non-aggressive Shrimp that appear to be active all the time, making them enjoyable to watch, especially when they are tumbling their eggs or sifting through the substrate. Sometimes you may even see a pecking order within the colony where the largest Shrimp will let everyone else know who the boss is. Some Caridina species have been somewhat aggressive and have even killed baby fish, although this is quite rare.
In the aquarium
Caridina Shrimp require very soft water, with a pH of 7 or less and temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The Ammonia and the Nitrite should ideally be zero and the Nitrate below 25ppm.
Having Plants and Decor in your Shrimp tank will help them to thrive. Not only will it provide them with hiding places if they ever feel threatened or sites for them to chill in, but it will also offer biofilm for them to graze on. It will also reduce nitrate levels in your aquarium from the naturally produced bioload, keeping your water cleaner for your Shrimp in between water changes.
Mosses are great for baby Shrimp to hide in and graze on. Woods such as driftwood and cholla logs provide hiding places, food as they break down and surfaces to graze on.
Leaves are also a good thing to have in your tank as they provide many benefits depending on what you're using. Leaves like Guava Leaves, Indian Almond Leaves and Oak Leaves give biofilm surfaces to grow and food as they rot. Indian Almond Leaves provide tannins that are highly beneficial to Shrimp. Mulberry Leaves are an excellent food source in themselves. Mulberry Leaves are naturally high in vitamins, minerals and proteins essential to Shrimp and are great to put in your tank if you plan on going anywhere for a few days.
You can house Caridina Shrimp with many fish, providing they are not larger species that will happily prey on your Shrimp. Other Dwarf Shrimp, such as Neocaridinas, are ideal tankmates as they will not pose a threat and will not be able to breed with your Caridinas. Aquarium Snails also make excellent tankmates for your Shrimp.
supplying your Shrimps with good quality food is essential. Shrimp food is advised as the staple of their diet, offering them variations to add protein. However, make sure you give them a couple of days off a week from food as this will give them time to clean their tank up, grazing on the biofilm and algae.
The Breeding of Caridinas can somewhat vary depending on the species. Some Caridinas such as the Crystal Red Shrimp, The Panda Shrimp and Blue Bolt Shrimp as examples can be relatively simple to breed as long as their water conditions are correct and you have both males and females. On the other hand, you have Shrimps such as the Amano Shrimp, which can be challenging to breed as brackish water is required to get the babies past the post-larval stage of development. Which if your looking for an exciting project, these would be perfect.
Most Caridinas carry between 20 to 60 eggs in their pleopods for around 30 days and then give birth to live miniature versions of themselves. In contrast, you have Sulawesi Shrimp that, although they are relatively easy to breed, have a much lower breeding rate and fewer eggs than others. You then have the likes of the Amano Shrimp that can lay up to 2000 eggs after a 4-5 week gestation period.
The best advice would be to research several Caridina Shrimp species and then choose a particular species that suits your requirements.
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