One of the most popular shrimp in the hobby is the Crystal Red Shrimp, sometimes called the Red Bee Shrimp. Its coloration and difficulty is what makes this a sought after shrimp for serious breeders and novices alike. Pictures do not do the Crystal Red Shrimp justice. Once you see this species in person you will realize why so many shrimp hobbyists are in love with the Crystal Red Shrimp. Its coloration is unlike any other shrimp in the hobby. I highly recommend that all shrimp hobbyists at some point acquire this species. Please read the parameters and conditions that the Crystal Red Shrimp prefers before you decide to acquire this shrimp. Over time a grading system has developed and some grades of the Crystal Red Shrimp have become very expensive. Click the link below for more detailed information on the grading of this species.
The Crystal Red Shrimp is in fact a red mutation of the wild Bee Shrimp. In 1996, Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki of Japan discovered one of his Bee Shrimp had red stripes instead of black. He bred this species with other Bee Shrimp to produce more of the red variety. Slowly other breeders selectively bred the Crystal Red Shrimp to produce different grades and intensify the coloration. However, the Crystal Red Shrimp is not a beginner's shrimp. You must have prior experience with other hobby shrimp in order to step into the realm of the Crystal Red Shrimp. The care and nature of this species requires much more attention to detail, not to mention the expensive price that this shrimp carries. You do not want to make a mistake due to inexperience with the Crystal Red Shrimp and have it cost you a lot of money.
The Crystal Red Shrimp prefers soft acidic water. Clean water is also a must as with all shrimp in the hobby. However, the Crystal Red Shrimp may be the most vulnerable shrimp when housed in dirty water. Water changes are a must for this species. Temperature should be lower than 80F and the pH should range from 6.2 to 6.8, gH should be between 4-6 and kH should be between 1-2. It is very important that the Crystal Red Shrimp be housed in specific conditions. Extremes in either water parameters mentioned should be avoided. It cannot be stressed enough how delicate this shrimp is. As you approach higher grades of this species, water parameters become even more important.
Sexing the Crystal Red Shrimp can be difficult at juvenile stage. Once females reach adulthood you can then tell the difference between sexes, or at least which are females. Females are easy to identify as they are larger and also have a curved underbelly. I do not believe that the difference in coloration is enough to truly sex this species. Instead look for size difference and more importantly the underbelly. The saddle of a female Crystal Red Shrimp may be virtually impossible to see due to the red coloration. You may however be able to see the saddle since it is a browning color. Photo of a pregnant Crystal Red Shrimp female below. Notice the curved under belly.
The Crystal Red Shrimp is not as difficult of a species to breed like some believe. Like all hobby shrimp, the Crystal Red Shrimp can breed just as readily as most other Caridina species. It will also produce just as many offspring given that the water is clean and the parameters are suited for this species.
The babies of the Crystal Red Shrimp are colored just like their parents just after hatching. However, the grading of the offspring cannot be performed until they grow more. You will see the red/white coloration in the Crystal Red Shrimp Offspring but not any detailed features/patterns which can differentiate between grades.
Unfortunately the Crystal Red Shrimp is a severely inbred species. Obtaining higher grades means that breeders will produce offspring from the same genetic strain. Due to the overbreeding the Crystal Red Shrimp can be more delicate and succeptable to diseases as well as slight changes in water conditions.
The Crystal Red Shrimp comes in many different grades and grading termanologies as well. Prices increase as the grade is "higher". Sometimes the price of a high grade Crystal Red Shrimp is shocking. Reports of €2000 for a single shrimp have been reported. There are many guides for different grading for the Red Cherry Shrimp.
The Crystal Red Shrimp is not too different from other algae eating shrimps. It is a scavenger and an algae eater. Feeding is best done once a day. Only feed an amount of food that the shrimp can finish within 2-3 hours maximum. It is not good to feed in excess and have food sitting for too long. Overfeeding is a known cause of death and can also cause water quality issues. Remember that shrimp are scavengers in the wild. They will eat whatever they find and are not used to a constant food source 24/7. Not feeding for one or two days is fine and will not harm this species at all. Sometimes I will not feed for a couple of days in order to let the shrimp cleanse their systems and keep the water clean at the same time.
Hobbyists like to keep this species' sufficient in iodine and nutrition, but at the same time do not to spoil the water since Crystal Red Shrimp are sensitive to nitrate. The foods commonly used are pre-made Crystal Red Shrimp food, spinach, bloodworm, seaweed, and algae wafer. There are several different brands of Crystal Red Shrimp food as well as different sizes of the food and even powder food for young. Shirakura, Mosura, and Biomax are some of the more popular brands. There are also breeders that mix their own food using many different ingredients.