Crystal Black Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis) Species Profile & Care Guide
Crystal Black Shrimps are a beautiful and popular species of small peaceful freshwater Shrimp. These Shrimp are scavengers and will eat pieces of algae and decayed vegetation. It would be best to keep these Shrimp in groups of at least eight individuals, preferably more.
The species is very peaceful and can be kept with other aquarium inhabitants such as different Shrimp, snails and fish as long as they do not predate Shrimp. Crystal Red Shrimps will moult quite regularly while growing and breeding; this signifies that they are excellent and healthy.
These Shrimp thrive in soft water with an active substrate, plenty of plants, and many hiding places. However, these Shrimp need a bit more care and attention than other Shrimp such as Neocaridina. Crystal Blacks have specific requirements, so they are more suited to a more experienced hobbyist.
Crystal Black Shrimps have a deep black base colour contrasted with white stripes. The colouration makes Crystal Black stand out in most tanks. However, the numerous different grades and colour patterns might be confusing even for some experienced shrimp breeders. Over time, a grading system has been invented to separate Crystal Black Shrimps with different intensities of colour, size, and number of white patches.
The higher the grade, the more sought after the Shrimp are, and the higher the price is for breeders. The qualities in order from least to most desirable are C, B, A, S, S+, SS, and SSS. Generally speaking, the more white coverage they display and the better opacity they show, the higher the grade. Therefore, if you plan on keeping and breeding these Shrimp, you will need to familiarise yourself with the grading system. These differences can make it delightful for hobbyists who would like to experiment further to find new things.
|Scientific Name||Caridina Cantonensis|
|Other Names||Crystal Bee, CBS|
|Aquarium Level||All Levels|
|Best kept as||Groups 8+|
|Lifespan||1 - 2 years|
|Temperature||62 - 76 ℉ (16.7 - 24.4 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||4 - 6|
|KH||0 - 4|
|TDS||100 - 200|
Natural Habitat of the Crystal Black Shrimp
Crystal Black Shrimps are freshwater Shrimp that originated in south-east Asia in the early 90s, but they were known as Bee Shrimps back then. A man from Japan discovered them and selectively bred them, resulting in the black colouration, and they are now known as Crystal Black Shrimp.
Because these Shrimp were selectively bred, they don't have a natural habitat; however, you can work out their living conditions based on the Bee Shrimp as they are so closely related. The Bee Shrimp is endemic to Taiwan in Southeast Asia, where they inhabit streams and subtropical rivers covered with leaf litter and shaded by overhanging trees.
Other Caridina of interest
Crystal Black shrimps will happily graze on Algae and biofilm, but be sure to supplement their diet with good quality dried food such as sinking pellets, algae wafers, and flake food. They will also happily eat small frozen foods such as mini-bloodworm and daphnia. You can also offer some vegetable matter in their diets, such as blanched broccoli, spinach, or courgette.
It is beneficial to add some dried Indian Almond leaves, Oak leaves or Mulberry leaves to your aquarium. The biofilm will grow on these as they slowly die, which will produce a brilliant food source for the shrimps as well as maintaining a low pH in your aquarium.
Sexing the Crystal Black Shrimp
Sexing Crystal Black Shrimps can be somewhat tricky until they reach maturity. Female Shrimp have slightly larger tails and display a "saddle" formation on the upper body, behind the head, where eggs accumulate before fertilisation. When the Shrimp are fully grown, the males will be smaller, and the females will have a rounder body.
Breeding the Crystal Black Shrimp
Crystal Black Shrimps frequently breed in the home aquarium if the water conditions are good. When female Shrimp are "berried" or have eggs ready for fertilisation, the saddle shape will appear more noticeable, and eggs will appear beneath her abdomen. You will usually see the female Shrimp tumbling her eggs underneath.
Unlike some Shrimp species, the young will not go through the larvae stage; instead, they are born as mini replicas of the adult shrimp.
On hatching, the shrimplets will be coloured white and Black, just like the adults.
It would be best to cover the intakes of power filters with fine sponges or gauze to prevent the tiny youngsters from being sucked in and causing unnecessary deaths.