Crystal Red Shrimp are an extremely fragile breed of shrimp that arose from a mutation of the black bumble bee shrimp in Japan. Though they require very specific care, with the right knowledge you can successfully keep these rare and beautiful shrimp as an aquarium pet.
Water Requirements For CRS
These fragile but beautiful freshwater shrimp require very specific water conditions. The optimum temperature for success is 70-78°F (22-25°C). Since CRS require slightly harder water, the general PH should be slightly acidic and range from 6.2-7.2. Plant substrates are available that are filled with natural buffers that stabilize the PH at 6.8 without clouding the water and work ideally for a heavily planted aquarium. CRS cannot handle any nitrites or ammonia and levels must be kept at 0 ppm, while they can survive with under 20 ppm of nitrates. In order to maintain this balance, crystal red shrimp require a 30% water change every week. Frequent low water volume changes are much more effective than infrequent large volume changes in combatting nitrites and ammonia. Always use de-chlorinated water only. A checklist and testing strips should be stored near the aquarium for frequent use.
Adding Your Shrimp
Crystal Red Shrimp are too fragile to be added directly to the tank. After you are certain the water parameters are correct, pour the bag of shrimp and accompanying water into a large bowl. Create a siphon using airline tubing and a rubber band and place a kink in the tube with the rubber band allowing 1 drop of aquarium water into the bowl per second. Allow this to happen for 20-30 minutes with close monitoring. After 30 minutes, carefully scoop the shrimp into a soft mesh net and transfer, keeping a hand across the net to prevent shrimp from jumping out.
Feeding Your Pet Shrimp
CRS are omnivores and require a balanced diet of fresh vegetables and processed foods. Along with pellets and specialized freshwater shrimp foods, you should provide boiled zucchini and spinach. Be sure to remove uneaten food as it will help maintain the necessary PH and nitrite levels. Leftover food can make the water toxic for shrimp. As shrimp molt and leave behind their shells, it provides calcium for them, so let the empty shells remain. With proper nutrition your shrimp will thrive and develop their beautiful red and white markings.
Keeping CRS In A Planted Aquarium
Moss and other small plants provide not only beauty to your tank, but also hiding places and fun interactions for your shrimp. You must be careful though that whatever plants you use do not affect the delicate PH balance required for raising healthy shrimp. Be especially cautious of fertilizers and CO2 pumps, as these can make a toxic environment and kill your shrimp. Remember that CRS should be kept in a species specific tank. They are too fragile to tolerate tank mates and don’t do well with other species.
Though Crystal Red Shrimp are more fragile and more difficult to care for than other kinds of shrimp, with proper knowledge they can be excellent pets. Make sure you follow the checklist on water requirements and test regularly. With the right care and dedication, CRS may just be the beautiful shrimp you are looking for.