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Shrimp Species

Last Updated: 2/15/17

Shrimp Species

For more/better information and photos, be sure to check out the shrimp links.

See the algae-eating animals comparison table to see a comparison of the various algae-eating shrimp.

There are many other freshwater shrimp species about which I know very little. If/when I learn more information about those, I will add them to this page. There are brief mentions of other species of shrimp under the link to Frank Greco's page. If you are interested in rare beautiful shrimp, check out his site.

If you came here first, be sure to see my main shrimp page for general information, links, etc. I am NOT a shrimp expert.

I have been told by a "shrimp expert" that everything on this page is inaccurate. I do not wish to provide incorrect information so I asked him to be specific so that I could repair any errors on this page. He never responded and has continued to tell people that my site is inaccurate. Please, if you can help to improve the validity of this page with information, I would appreciate it. I certainly do not know everything. I got most of this information from other web sites and from my experiences. I did not just make it up but can never be sure that what someone else said years ago was or is true. As far as I know, the information on my site is accurate but I am sure there are errors that I would absolutely correct if I knew about them. Thanks.

Thanks to "Mr. Cichlid" who, on 1/2/10, gave me some suggestions for amendments to this page. I incorporated some in and used others as quotations.


Brine Shrimp

Guess what? Brine shrimp do not live in freshwater aquariums or ponds. I am mentioning them here because they are propagated to feed fish, especially fry. Because they live in brackish water, they cannot survive in fresh water for more than a few hours. One strain of brine shrimp is sold as "Sea Monkeys" to children. They live an average of 50 days if kept properly.
To learn more about brine shrimp, visit this link: Brine Shrimp Direct. Another brine shrimp link is Livebrineshrimp.com.


Bumble Bee Shrimp

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Not recommended
Survive in cold ponds: No
Plant eating capacity: Low to Moderate
Algae eating capacity: Moderate

Bumble bee shrimp only grow to an inch long and eat algae. Bumble bee shrimp belong to the family Atyidae. The standard bumble bee shrimp is Caridina breviata. A mutation of the similar bee shrimp, Caridina cantonensis, is the crystal red shrimp. Bumble bee shrimp have light black stripes down their backs like bumble bees. They prefer temperatures in the low 70's F and slightly acidic water.

Bumble bee shrimp will eat fish food, soft moss, vegetable matter, and soft algas. One keeper reports that they prefer fish food and do not eat much algae. They are active and peaceable. Bumble bee shrimp are supposed to be easy to breed on a diet of fish food. Unfortunately, they only live to about 15 months of age. Neocaridina species are similar to bumble bee shrimp in many ways. My local fish store had some bumble bee shrimp for sale for about $2 but they were very small, about the size of adult brine shrimp. At that size, even small fish might eat them, or they could get sucked into the filter intake. Bumble bee shrimp breed in freshwater and are moderately prolific. For more information on bumble bee shrimp including the crystal red, see the links section.


Clam Shrimp

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Yes
Survive in cold ponds: Yes

Clam shrimp (Conchostraca) are interesting little shrimp that look like 0.5 inch clams. They prefer warm, shallow waters. One species is Cyzicus mexicanus.


Fairy Shrimp

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Yes
Survive in cold ponds: Depends on species

Fairy shrimp, or Anostraca, show up occasionally in ponds or can be bought. They swim with their many appendages waving above them, as if they are doing the back float. There are about 25 species, including the very well known brine shrimp (see above) which prefers brackish water. Most species can produce either live young or leave eggs, which upon drying completely, hatch when again wet. These species are often used to feed fish. Maximum lengths are less than an inch. A few species include Branchinecta paludosa and Eubranchipus vernalis. There are in fact some arctic species like Artemiopsis stefanssoni.


Red Cherry Shrimp

One of my red cherry shrimp in my 20 gallon tank on 12/28/03.

Red-cherry shrimp in my 20 gallon tank on 12/28/02. This is another photo exactly a year earlier! They were different shrimp.

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: No
Survive in cold ponds: No
Plant eating capacity: Low
Algae eating capacity: Moderate to High

I bought two red cherry shrimp for my 20 gallon tank on 12/27/02. The store said they grow to 3 inches but mine were both under half an inch long. "Mr. Cichlid" says that red cherry shrimp are Neocaridina heteropoda. They are known for being prolific breeders. "Mr. Cichlid" says, "There are four other colour variants of this species in the hobby. The first is the wild form. Secondly, there are yellow cherry shrimp which appear in the hobby from time to time. Finally, there are black cherry shrimp and blue cherry shrimp that are only available from specialist breeders in Germany and Taiwan at the moment."

They seemed to vanish so I bought two more tiny ones on 12/7/03. They too were long out of sight on 3/25/05 when I bought two more and two "assorted algae-eating shrimp" of unknown species. The next day, one red cherry shrimp was doing what they do, and one was dead. I think the store clerk beat them up too much; it took him a long time to get them. I made no note of when the remaining red cherry shrimp were last seen but it was probably late 2005.

Here are two nice photos of red cherry shrimp that L.C. sent me on 10/2/05 and 10/3/05.
A large, very red cherry shrimp with a smaller one, quite a color variation by age.
About seven cherry shrimp of various sizes and colors

Dan wrote an article about red cherry shrimp and sent it to me on 7/30/07. You can read the article here.

On 1/2/08, Ben sent this photo of a few cherry shrimp and a ton of their tiny little babies!
Cherry shrimp


Red-Fronted Shrimp

One of my red-fronted shrimp in my 20 gallon tank on 1/4/03.

Here is another photo of one of my red-fronted shrimp on 3/1/03. I took the photo because the shrimp had turned milky for some reason. Maybe it was going to molt.

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: No
Survive in cold ponds: No
Plant eating capacity: Low
Algae eating capacity: Moderate to High

I bought three "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Shrimp" from my local fish store on 12/27/02 for my 20 gallon tank. They were clear with a long pointy red "thing" sticking out of their heads. I believed they were red-fronted shrimp. Most sources cite their scientific name as Palaemon scarletti but it in fact is probably Caridina gracilirostris. Shrimp names are always being updated. They will grow to about an inch long. One was found dead on 2/23/03 of unknown causes. As of 12/9/03, I thought only one was left. A year later, I still saw him on occasion. He vanished after that. Red-fronted or red-nose shrimp are brackish shrimp. While they can live in freshwater as mine did for a few years, they require brackish water in order to breed.


Scuds

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Yes
Survive in cold ponds: Yes
Plant eating capacity: Low
Algae eating capacity: Low

Scuds (Amphipoda) are not true shrimp. These crustaceans grow to half an inch and look a little like fleas. They swim on their sides and eat plant and animal debris. Gammarus and Hyalella are two kinds. Scuds avoid light, and fish like to eat them. A bad side is that they are often intermediate hosts for tapeworms and other parasites of larger animals like fish and frogs. They like lightly brackish water. I added some to my big pond but, since the pond was so large, I never saw them again after the release.

Drawings of a scud can be seen at this water bug site (the original site is gone so this is an archived version, and the photos for some reason were not saved in the archived version). Here is another photo at troutnut.com.

Ben sent a bunch of scud photos to me on 8/10/07.
Scud
Scud
Scud
Scud
A bunch of scuds
Scud

In the summer of 2007, I had a lot of scuds in my 20 gallon tub pond. I wondered how they go there (no new animals or plants were added to the pond in years).

On 1/8/08, when I got a few plants at the fish store, I found a young ghost shrimp and scuds in with the plants. I put them in my 5 gallon tank (which only had one dying paradise fish who was too weak to try to eat them). They did not live for very long.


Seed Shrimp

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Yes
Survive in cold ponds: Yes
Plant eating capacity: Low
Algae eating capacity: Moderate

Seed shrimp or Ostracoda only grow to 0.1 inch in size. They look like clams and often have pretty colors. Some 150 species scavenge the algae and mud in North American ponds. Some species lack males; females lay unfertilized eggs which hatch and grow. A few species include Cyprinotus incongruens, Eucypris virens, and Cypridopsis vidua.

On 9/29/07, I examined some water from my 20 gallon tub pond under the microscope. It had a lot of what seemed to be really large daphnia that were not daphnia. Under the microscope (after they had sat for a day in a cup and calmed down), I could see they were enclosed in a shell and had little hairy appendages around the edges. They were seed shrimp. They were pretty neat. This pond had no added animals at the time.


Tadpole Shrimp

This is one of the best photos I have ever gotten! It is of a triops or tadpole shrimp. Margy sent the photo on 8/16/07 for identification. She says it was found in the Playa West of Willcox, Arizona.

Survive in aquariums: Yes, for a few months
Survive in warm ponds: Yes, for a few months
Survive in cold ponds: Depends on species (no for most commonly-sold species)
Plant eating capacity: Zero (carnivores)
Algae eating capacity: Zero (carnivores)

The tadpole shrimp or triops is a unique predator. One species is Triops longicaudatus. Like salt water brine shrimp, these freshwater shrimp only breed in temporary waters. The eggs must dry up completely and then re-wet to hatch. They look like extinct trilobites except they are only about an inch long at full size. They will eat anything they can catch, no matter the size. They especially like to eat each other. It is a wonder that they ever breed! You can buy them at some pet stores and through some catalogs. They sure look funny in a pond, zipping around very fast. Mine was the king of the pond for a month in 1997. I called him "the beast from hell" because he ate the dozen or so tadpole and fairy shrimp that hatched with him in a container; he looked nasty; and he swam in the pond in such a way to generate fear. The last tadpole shrimp he ate was 90% of his size, and I saw it in his mouth! They only live two months or so. A few arctic species of tadpole shrimp exist such as Lepiduros arcticus.

Here is a page on triops: My Triops

On 1/27/09, William said (grammar corrected), "Awesome website! I stumbled upon it when I Googled 'crustacean aquarium.' All around good info. I just found one error. On your section for triops, you say that they have zero plant-eating capacity; triops are actually not picky eaters! The little guys will eat just about anything; I feed mine peeled carrots, and they thrive! In their naupilar stage I feed them powdered algae, little guys love the stuff."

Triops - 1147 KB, mpg movie.
This is a video of the triops or tadpole shrimp in an aquarium at the National Aquarium in Baltimore on 7/20/10.


Tangerine Shrimp

A tangerine shrimp in my 20 gallon tank on 9/26/07.

On 9/18/07, I bought two "tangerine shrimp" and added them to my 20 gallon tank. They did not say what species they are. I did a search on the internet and only came up with recipes for marine shrimp with tangerines (hence tangerine shrimp). My guess would be that they are a more orange variation on the cherry red shrimp as they are similar in size and appearance. One person told me in early June 2009 that he thinks the tangerine shrimp are "Mandarin orange shrimp" or Caridina propinqua which the next person below also suggested.

"Mr. Cichlid" says, "They are bright orange when stressed. They tend to fade to a brown with an orangish tinge when happy, as Harry's has done. Like Amanos, they are fully freshwater shrimp as adults but their larvae develop in the sea."

Harry was kind enough on 10/1/07 to let me know that my tangerine shrimp are Caridina cf propinqua. They are related to Caridina propinqua, the mangrove hairy- handed prawn from Singapore. He sent these links:
Photo of tangerine shrimp
Mangrove hairy-handed prawn

I saw at least one of my tangerine shrimp a number of times since putting them in the tank. I saw one on 10/6/07.

On 12/29/07, I saw both tangerine shrimp at the same time for the first time since I put them into the tank. They looked well. I took a photo of the two of them:
Two tangerine shrimp

On 1/8/08, I added two more tangerine shrimp so I then had four tangerine shrimp. There were no other shrimp in that tank.

This photo from 1/13/08 shows I think two of the tangerine shrimp at the bottom (as well as a panda cory and a female longfin albino bristlenose pleco). I can see one shrimp for sure but am not sure if that was another right above him/her or just some red rocks.:
20 gallon tank photo showing tangerine shrimp

I took this photo on 10/11/08 which is one of my better shots of a shrimp:
Tangerine shrimp

These photos are from 3/26/09. I had two tangerine shrimp left.
Two tangerine shrimp
Two tangerine shrimp - a baby panda cory is partially blocking the one on the left

As of 1/13/10, there was still at least one tangerine shrimp in there so they lived quite a while. The tangerine shrimp were last seen sometime in early 2010 so they are all presumed dead.


Wood Shrimp

Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Not recommended
Survive in cold ponds: No
Plant eating capacity: Low
Algae eating capacity: Low for surface algae, high for suspended algae

The wood shrimp is a great shrimp. Wood shrimp are Atyopsis species such as Atyopsis moluccensis and may also be called Singapore shrimp, bamboo shrimp, flower shrimp, or rock shrimp. They are unique in that they grow up to three inches, live longer than most shrimp, and are filter feeders. They have two pairs of feathery appendages to collect suspended algae and microorganisms. Wood shrimp need temperatures in the mid-70's F to mid 80's F and cannot tolerate cold. Our local aquarium store had them in a 200 gallon completely planted tank at 80 degrees F. This was an ideal home for them. They will not do well in small tanks without a lot of suspended foods. Wood shrimp are so named because they blend in with driftwood. They have a dark stripe down their wood-colored body. They can change colors within the brown, yellow-brown, and orange-brown area of colors to match their surroundings. Wood shrimp are freshwater as adults but larvae need saltwater in which to develop.

One aquarist had 6 wood shrimp in a 150 gallon tank and provided the following information. Some of the tank statistics include 83 degrees F; web/dry filtration, UV sterilization; live and fake plants, rocks, driftwood; pH 6.9, GH 4, KH 1; 7 discus, 6 angels, 10 cories, 1 dwarf pleco; 33% weekly water change, 5% mid-week water change; feeds flake, spirulina disks, and live foods. One of the shrimp was larger and a deep and bright orange. This one stood on top of the other shrimp and traveled all over the tank, and was therefore, most likely a male. At least three of the duller shrimp carried eggs that were bright red-orange under their bodies. The females fanned the eggs which faded in color as they matured. The shrimp were elusive but females with eggs seemed to more vigorously and boldly ate off things growing on the driftwood.

Nancy sent this photo of a shrimp to me on 8/19/06. She was told it was a wood shrimp but neither one of us is that sure about that. It looks a bit like the rainbow shrimp I used to have but larger. What do you think? "Mr. Cichlid" says it is definitely a wood shrimp.
Nancy's shrimp

On 11/25/16, I got three wood shrimp for my 50 gallon tank. As I write this, it is three days later, and I have not seen them since I got them! The tank is heavy with java moss. I finally saw all three wood shrimp at once on 1/14/17. They all made it!

Photos of my wood shrimp:

Three wood shrimp in drip acclimation the day that I got them, 11/25/16.
Wood shrimp on 11/29/16.
Wood shrimp on 12/5/16.
Wood shrimp on 12/5/16.


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