I. Difficulty and Parameters
The relative difficulty of shrimp species and groupings: from 1 (Easiest) to 4 (Hardest).
|C. Cantonensis CRS/CBS||68-74F||6.0-6.6||80-180||0-2||4-6|
|C. Cantonensis "Taiwan Bee"||68-74F||5.6-6.2||80-140||0-1||4-6|
|C. Cantonensis "Tiger"||64-74F||7.0-7.4||80-220||4-8||6-10|
|C. Cantonensis "OEBT"||64-74F||7.2-7.4||80-200||4-8||6-10|
|Halocaridina Rubra (Opaes)||60-85F||7.0-8.2||80-400||0-10||4-14|
Please note these are an estimate, and conditions will vary even within a particular species based on how inbred the stock is. Acclimation to a new environment as well as genetic diversity will improve your shrimp hardiness and fertility.
II. Relative Shrimp Sizes
These are an approximate average-size comparison:
|---------------------------||(Caridina multidentata, i.e. amano shrimp)|
|---------------------||(Caridina Serrata, i.e. tangerine tiger)|
|-----------------||(Caridina Cantonensis, i.e. crystals, bees, tigers)|
|---------------||(Neocaridina Heteropoda, Neocaridina Palmata, i.e. cherry, pearl)|
|----------||(Sulawesi Caridinas, i.e. cardinal, cheek, harlequin, malawa)|
|-------||(Halocaridina Rubra, i.e. opae ula aka volcano shrimp)|
III. "Species" (Categories) Overview
Neocaridina heteropodas include Red (Cherry) Shrimp, Yellow Shrimp, Orange (Pumpkin) Shrimp, Chocolate Shrimp, Black Shrimp, and Rili (half color half clear/blue) variations of these colors. Grading of these species are categorized as: Cherry < Sakura < Fire < Painted Fire, determined by the solidity and opaqueness of that particular coloration.
N. heteropodas are the most prolific and easy-to-keep freshwater dwarf shrimp species and tolerate a large range of water conditions. Because they are easy and prolific, n. heteropodas are also the cheapest shrimp. If you're just starting out, these are the species to get.
Neocaridina palmata include Blue Pearl, White Pearl, and Blueberry Shrimp (cf. palmata). N. palmata will interbreed with N. heteropoda. There have been mixed accounts as to the hybridization of the two species, some reporting fertile success, while others reporting a weakened and infertile offspring.
Though not as popular, n. palmata are as prolific and easy-to-keep as their cousins the n. heteropoda, and will also tolerate a large range of water parameters.
Caridina cantonensis can be further divided into two subcategories: Bees and Tigers. A popular conjecture is that long ago, the C. cantonensis split off into two streams, leading to the Bee and Tiger morphs. Bees and Tigers will interbreed if forced to (confined in a small breeder box), but when kept in a larger tank, they will only seek out their own kind.
Bees include the (1) Wild Orange Bee; (2) Crystal Red Shrimp (CRS) and Crystal Black Shrimp (CBS); and (3) "Taiwan Bees" including the Wine Red Shrimp -> Ruby Red Shrimp, Panda Shrimp -> Black King Kongs, Snow Whites -> Blue Bolts. The origin of each variety's specific mutation is unclear, but it is commonly known that CRS and CBS have been bred for specific patterns (grades) in Japan since early 1996, whereas the "Taiwan Bees" have been bred under different conditions in Taiwan. Thus, CRS/CBS and other Taiwan Bees require moderately different water parameters, with the Bees being the more sensitive of the two.
Tigers include Regular Tigers; Super Tigers; Orange Eye Blue/Black Tigers (OEBT); Red Tigers. Tigers, Super Tigers, and Red Tigers all retain their wild-caught forms. Only the OEBTs are a selectively bred mutation. Please note that the Tangerine Tiger is not of c. cantonensis, but of c. serrata.
Caridina serrata include the Tangerine Tiger, Aura Blue, and Apple Green variations. Although coloration are similar to other species, c. serrata can be distinguished by dark dots along the body of the shrimp. Also known as "Tupfel" shrimp, this variety has gained much popularity and is being selectively bred in Germany.
Caridina babaulti include Green, Brown, Blue, and Malaya shrimp. Babaulti shrimp coloration can vary drastically depending on the substrate, hues may vary and change from green-brown-blue on a single shrimp.
Only two variations are commonly available under this genus, the "Princess" bee, and the newly found "Blue" bee in 2008. Crosses between paracaridina and caridina cantonensis have been achieved, though the success of these hybridizations are still unclear.
Sulawesi is the origin of a large array of caridina species, and the most recent entrant to the aquarium hobby. These shrimp hail from ancient lakes spanning over 50,000 square miles found on Sulawesi Island in Indonesia.
Commonly known in Hawaii as volcano shrimp or opae ulas, these shrimp are famed for their longevity (up to 20 years). Halocaridina rubras only breed in brackish water. They are a low form shrimp unlike the other species, and have a larval stage between hatching and becoming a full shrimplet. Found in brachialine pools, these shrimp are extremely hardy and tolerant of shifts in water parameters and temperature.