Breeding Neocaridina heteropoda Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp in recent years have become very popular. These small creatures are fascinating to watch and several brightly colored variations are becoming available. Neocaridina species are some of the easiest shrimp to keep and breed.

Their size is one to two inches, and colors range from red, blue, yellow, green and white. The wild version is mostly brown or clear, while the bright color variations were bred from mutations in captivity. The species originates from Taiwan and other areas of South East Asia. Their diet consists of fine particulates of organic matter, algae, and micro organisms living in the bio film that cover the substrate, rocks, wood, plants and whatever else is in the water.

Neocaridinas can adapt much easier than other freshwater shrimp species to a wider range of water conditions and are comfortable living in moderately soft to hard water. Like all shrimp however, they are sensitive to copper, ammonia and nitrate. Clean water is essential and good biological filtration is extremely important. They can be kept with most any fish as long as they do not end up being a meal. If the aquarium is full of very active fish the shrimp will stay close to cover. By themselves or with very peaceful and slow moving fish the shrimp will spend much more time out in the open.

Sponge filters are ideal for freshwater shrimp because of the sponges large surface area for nitrifying bacteria that will prove excellent biological filtration. The adult and baby shrimp love to forage for food that collects on the sponge pores. Shrimp do not like a very strong current but do not survive for long in stagnant water either. Sponge filters connected to an air pump or power head provide a happy medium of a slow to medium flow rate and good aeration.

Breeding is simple. If the water is clean and stable, the shrimp should breed continuously without any encouragement. Females are a bit larger and more colorful than the males. You can see the eggs of the female under the tail where she constantly fans them to keep them clean and aerated. Within three weeks the eggs hatch into miniature versions of the adults, (in other shrimp species the young are in a larva stage). Within 8 weeks the young are able to reproduce as adults.

Their small size has made them popular for nano tanks, but if you want to allow them to breed and become a good size colony, then 10 to 20 gallons minimum is required. The different color morphs will interbreed so in order to keep the color strains intact they should be kept separate.

Follow the basic care requirements and you will have many hours of enjoyment observing the antics of these invertebrates.