Caridina sp. "Crystal Red"

This profile has been created with the use of information from both other Invert sites [See CUDOS] and by me. The images are of my livestock and the bottom image was constructed to be used as a flyer for those who wish to keep these great little critters!

'B' grade CRS

Common name: Crystal Red Shrimp, Red bee shrimp
Scientific name: Caridina sp. "Crystal Red"
Size: 1 – 1.5 inch / 2.5-3.5cm
Temperature: 70°F-78°F / 21- 26°C

General info

The crystal red shrimp does not appear in the wild. It is a line bred version of the bumble bee shrimp. Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki of Japan discovered a red version of bumble bee shrimps among the offspring of black bumble bee shrimps. Only a few shrimps displayed this red color and he line bred them to create the shrimp we know today. He then trademarked the name crystal red shrimp to be used for this mutation. The shrimp quickly became popular worldwide.

The strain has since been further refined by different breeders and there are different qualities/classes of crystal red shrimp. These are SS, S, A, B, and C. SS shrimps have very defined red stripes on a pure white body while C class shrimps have random red stripes/blotches on a transparent body. The classes in between are different stages between SS and C. S is for example are red on an almost pure white body that has some transparent areas and not very defined stripes.

Crystal red shrimps are more sensitive than most other shrimps. This is believed to be due to very small genetic variation present in these shrimps (due to having originated from only a few shrimps). Special care must be taken when transporting and moving these sensitive shrimps and this is one of the reasons behind their high price.

A healthy crystal red shrimp is active. If your shrimps are less active than usually you should check your water values/quality.

Aquarium and Care

Crystal red shrimp are best kept in a planted aquarium In a planted aquarium, the shrimp can find places to hide and will have the opportunity to always find something to eat. The shrimps will usually leave healthy plants alone and eat only debris and algae, because most plants are not soft enough for them to eat even if they tried. They do however sometimes snack on moss and riccia. Open areas in the aquarium are ok but not necessary. Avoid strong filtration.

Crystal red shrimp can be kept with most types of small and friendly fish that have the same water preferences as the crystal red shrimp. This shrimp needs the aquarium (or at least a part of it) to be dark for at least a few hours per night. Do not use water preparation chemicals or parasite killers in a tank containing crystal red shrimp since it may kill them. Change water in your tank at least once a week. Changing 25-35% of the water each week is ideal and you should only use dechlorinated water. Examples of dechlorinators are Amquel+ and Novaqua.

The water temperature is best kept between 70°F-78°F / 21- 26°C and the pH between 6.2 - 7.2. The shrimps show better color in the lower part of that temperature span. It is important to make sure that the pH-value does not drop too low. Too acidic water is dangerous for shrimps as it weakens their alkaline shells. Too acidic water can create micro pits in the shell of the shrimp and this makes the shrimp more susceptible to disease. This is the reason why shrimps kept in alkaline water have shinier shells than shrimps kept in acidic water. Make sure to maintain nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels as close to zero as possible.

Feeding crystal red shrimp

They need a varied diet containing a lot of vegetable matter but some meaty food is also good. They can for instance be fed sinking algae wafers and flake food that sinks to the bottom. It is important to frequently feed these shrimp as they don't do well if they have to go part of the day hungry. It is also a good idea to have some moss and riccia in the tank. The shrimps are able to eat these plants and that gives them a permanent food source and makes sure they never have to go hungry.

Always leave the moulted shells of your shrimps in the tank so they can eat them and get the calcium back.

Crystal red shrimp sexing
They are hard to sex and crystal red shrimp sexing is never 100% sure. The males are thinner the tail section is larger on fully grown females than on males.

Breeding crystal red shrimp
Crystal red shrimp can be bred in much the same way as cherry shrimp and common bumble bee shrimp but are more sensitive and pickier in regards to water quality. Breeding this shrimp species requires a larger aquarium than many other small shrimp species. I recommend at least 20 gallon since they are hard to trigger to breed in tanks smaller than that. The temperature is best kept between 70°F-74°F / 21- 23°C. They can be bred at higher temperatures as well but they breed more frequently and the spawnings result in more surviving fry at lower temperatures. Avoid using too hard or too soft water when you breed crystal red shrimp. The pH-value is not very important as long as extremes are avoided. A pH of 7 usually gives a good result. Keep near perfect water quality if you want to breed Crystal red shrimp.

Plants are not needed to breed crystal red shrimp but are still recommended since they make these shrimps easier to breed and provide the shrimp with a more stable access to food. I have talked about this earlier. Keep the light on in the tank 10-12 hours a day. Too much light stresses them and too little isn't good either.

It is very important to feed a good varied diet if you want to breed Crystal red shrimp.
If you meet these needs your Crystal red shrimps will most likely breed.
The eggs hatch into fully developed tiny shrimp.
The eggs take longer than most shrimp eggs to hatch.
The young grows slow and have a higher mortality rate than most other small freshwater shrimps.

Grading Overview
The grading of the Crystal Red Shrimp has sometimes created more confusion than concrete answers. Not only are there many different grades but there are also several different color patterns, features, terminologies and other factors which can dictate one grade from the next. Being well educated with the grading of the Crystal Red Shrimp is very important if you decide to acquire, keep and breed this species.

There are numerous factors which can dictate the grade of a Crystal Red Shrimp. One of the most important factors is the intensity of both the white and red coloration on the specimen. If the white coloration is not full and shows signs of transparency then this can downgrade a specimen. When obtaining Crystal Red Shrimp from another breeder it can sometimes be common for a specimen to lose its fully opaque white coloration when newly arrived and also if it is an older specimen. It is recommended to purchase non-adult Crystal Red Shrimp if you do not want to risk potential color loss in adults after shipping. Adult Crystal Red Shrimp can be very picky when being introduced to a new environment.

Color patterns are also a very important factor when grading a Crystal Red Shrimp. Patterns like Hinomaru, Tiger Tooth, No-Entry Hinomaru, Mosura and more can dictate one grade from the next. At the bottom of the page is a guide to the common features/terminologies which are associated with certain grades. It is highly recommended that you are well educated with the grading terminologies of Crystal Red Shrimp if you decide to keep this species.

Please note that there of course has not been an "official" Crystal Red Shrimp Grading Guide. This version was created in order to help hobbyists better understand the grades and their respective terminologies that are associated. As more information develops on this ever changing Crystal Red Shrimp species this page will be updated.

SSS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The SSS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp has the most white coloration out of all of the grades below it. It is sometimes refered to as a "Mosura" grade Crystal Red Shrimp. It follows the typical rule in Crystal Red Shrimp Grading that the more white coloration the higher the grade. However, there are many features which can make one SSS grade specimen considered even higher grade than another SSS Grade. One SSS Grade can be higher than another dependent upon features including the different red patterns on the head, eye coloration, leg coloration and even antennae coloration. As the grading gets higher there are more factors which can make a single specimen more prized than another of the same grade. Please read about the grading terminologies located on the bottom of the page.

SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp has more red coloration than the SSS Grade. The additional red coloration is located on the mid portion of the body, typically on the top. The SS Grade is usually given when there is a "Hinomaru" which is a red circle on the back which in fact signifies the sun in the Japanese flag. There are different varitiations of the Hinomaru including a No-Entry Hinomaru which is a white line through the red circle, and a Double Hinomaru feature which occurs when there is a second red circle on the body typically right at the end of the back at the tail. In the various photos below you can see the different types of SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp. Please read about the grading terminologies located on the bottom of the page.

S Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The S Grade Crystal Red Shrimp has even more red coloration than the SS and SSS Grades. The additional red coloration is located more along the sides of the body versus the SS Grade which has red mostly on the top portion. The S Grade Crystal Red Shrimp is a more popular grade due to the lower price and also because it is considered to have a more even white/red coloration. Some do not prefer the majority white coloration that the SS and SSS grade provide, let alone the high price they can demand. The S Grade can also be ranked as S+ given certain characteristics like solid red and white coloration as well as special features including Tiger Tooth and V-Band. The grading of Crystal Red Shrimp from S+ grade and below is very dependent on color solidity. Nice fully opaque white and red coloration can make the difference between an A Grade and S Grade. It is very important to inspect each specimen thoroughly. Please read about the grading terminologies located on the bottom of the page.[/spoiler]

A Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The A Grade Crystal Red Shrimp is a more popular grade for beginners in the Crystal Red Shrimp breeding arena. The A Grade has characteristics of blotchy and transparent red coloration and poor solid white coloration as well. A lack of any special features/patterns is typical of an A Grade specimen. The distribution of the red and white coloration can differ where some can have three white bands and some can have four white bands. The A Grade is a great beginner grade and are very inexpensive compared to higher grades. As stated before, it is important that you inspect each specimen well because an A grade can be improperly labeled as an S grade if not careful.

B Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The B Grade Crystal Red Shrimp is typical of poor distribution of red and white coloration with an almost complete lack of any fully white bands. Some would say it is an ugly grade but I suppose it is in the eye of the beholder. This is another great beginner shrimp and also a great shrimp for breeders who are interested in practicing selective breeding. The irony is that it can sometimes be hard to find low grade Crystal Red Shrimp like the B Grade since not many people are fans of its pattern/coloration.

C Grade Crystal Red Shrimp

The C Grade Crystal Red Shrimp is typically where it all started. The very first Crystal Red Shrimp looked closely like this. Over time the white coloration was bred out and became more prevalent than the red coloration. You can see how the red coloration is almost 100% with very little white except for a coulple of strips. This is almost exactly what the red colored variety that Hisayasu Suzuki first discovered in his batch of wild Bee Shrimp looked like. Very little recognition is given to this grade given the fact that it is the origin of the mainstream Crystal Red Shrimp. There have been attempts to breed the red 100% with no white but lately it has not been as popular to do so.

Grading Terminology & Features

Mosura "Flower": A Flower-like pattern on the side of the head of a SSS Grade Mosura. Exactly where the "flower" term originated from is unknown as it does not seem to resemble a flower too much. Found in SSS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

Mosura "Crown": A half-circle Crown-like appearance located around the top and sides of the head. Found in SSS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

Double Hinomaru: Instead of one circle there are two. A large circle in the back (with no-entry sign) and another small circle towards the tail. Found in SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

No-Entry Hinomaru: Occurs when a white dash appears in the middle of the red Hinomaru circle. The white dash gives the appearance of a No-Entry sign commonly found in traffic signs. The white dash can go all the way through the sides of the circle or can be contained inside as well. Found in SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

Hinomaru: Hinomaru is when there is a distinct Red Circle in the middle section of the Crystal Red Shrimp top back portion. Hinomaru means "sun disc" in Japanese and is symbolic of the red circle which symbolizes the Sun in the Japanese Flag. There are also different variations of Hinomaru as stated above, i.e. Double Hinomaru and No-Entry Hinomaru. Found in SS Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

Tiger Tooth: The Tiger Tooth marking is located on the lower half of the middle red section of an S+ Grade specimen. There are two red downward dashes. In between those two dashes is a white "Tiger Tooth". There must be a white portion between the two red dashes in order for the Crystal Red Shrimp to be considered to have a Tiger Tooth. If the area between the dashes is clear then it is not considered Tiger Tooth. The lack of a second red band would in fact create a V-Band instead. Found in S+ Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

V-Band: The middle red section is shaped as a pseudo "v" shape signifies V-Band. Found in S+ Grade Crystal Red Shrimp.

- Wikipedia
Images by: Sicklids