30 October 2007

Brief History of Crystal Red Shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp (also known as CRS in short) is a variety of freshwater crustacean of the genus Caridina. It is exactly the same species as Bee Shrimp; the only difference is in color. Not only has it gained popularity in Japan, it is greatly sought after by aquarium hobbyists around the world.

In 1991, Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki of Japan started breeding normal bee shrimps, which are banded with black stripes. He noticed a single red bee shrimp in a batch of about a thousand shrimps and was fascinated by it. This first red bee died but three generations later, he discovered 3 red bee shrimps among the thousands he had bred. After many cycles of selective breeding from redder offspring, he finally arrived at the true red bee. In 1996, he named it "Crystal Red" and has been awarded a patent for this recessive red mutation of the normal bee shrimp. Since then CRS has been further refined by the founder and other breeders to produce specimens with larger white patches and intensified red.

Of the shrimp species, CRS is the most sensitive to fast changes of water parameters due to a smaller gene pool. In fact, the entire world's crystal red shrimps shared common ancestry from the original 3 bee shrimps. Hence, maintaining a proper environmental condition is utmost importance for keeping and breeding – CLEAN (ammonia/nitrite free) water, soft neutral to acidic pH (between 6.2-6.8), and temperatures in the range of 22-28C.

CRS is a fairly small shrimp, growing to about 2.5 cm in adulthood. Probably due to its size, it is not a particularly great algae consumer; preferring soft mosses, flake food and vegetable matter. However, it is very active but remains quite peaceful towards other tank mates. The average lifespan is about 1.5 to 2 years but the gender is hard to differentiate, especially during juvenile stage. Between the ages of 4.5 and 5 months with a size of at least 2.2 cm, it is ready to reproduce in tank. As CRS can crossbreed with normal bee shrimp as well as bumblebee shrimp and tiger shrimp, which are also of the Caridina species, it is highly recommended not to keep them in the same tank.


Anonymous said...

What a comprehensive and informative write-up about CRS! Highly recommended to all aquatic beginners and those who want to know more about the history of CRS and how to keep them.

Anonymous said...

Although mine have been breeding at a pH of 7.8 / GH of 8 / Temp 24.5°C, with some variation in time. It is probably worth mentioning that not all stocks are so sensitive. Like most shrimp, they are hardy little creatures. With the additional fish food and cooked+frozen carot once a week, the adult females are almost continiously berried.
The troubles will start when you have a stock wich has been selected for generations solely on color...

Emorsso said...

Hi there,

The lower the grade, the less sensitive. Long term wise it is not good for the Crystal Red Shrimps.