Neocaridina heteropoda sp. red

Neocaridina heteropoda sp. red or Red Cheery Shrimp (RCS) is a common if not compulsory (next to Yamato Shrimp - Caridina japonica that is) fauna to be added in the planted tank. Some hobbyist even dedicate special tanks for these caridea.

RCS is easy fauna to keep in your planted tanks (plural since I know that most nature aquarium hobbyist have more that 1 tank haha) and from internet literature, quite easy to breed as well. RCS have no intermediate plankton stage, so they hatch as miniature version of the adults. I personally have no experience breeding this species since most of my RCS are juvinile although they are molting like crazy these few weeks.

Smaller than the Yamato shrimp, RCS grows to only about 1/2 inch, can tolerate wide range of water condition as long as it is not in the extremes. This is also true temperature-wise. Sexing this species is harder when they are in the early juvinile stage but after they grow a bit you can quickly identify the males and females. Females are full red in color with a distinct white/yellow/cream line running along their back ( the left one in the picture above). Males are smaller and have less coloration, stripes of red but if the conditions are ideal, they can be quite full as the females.

These hardy shrimps are widely used in new setups since one of their major diet is algae. Feasting on the brown diatoms that appears in new tanks as well as other various types of algae, RCS do also eat leftover fish food, provided they are not part of the menu, if you know what I'm saying ^_^.

I bought my first batch of RCS about a month ago (5 of them) and later on added 5 more. Since the addition, along with a Yamato and Otto in my tank, algae have been in check. My observation is that they are more active in groups, so get as much as you can. Hobbyists recommends that you get juviniles, not full adults when you buy from your LFS simply because they are young and acclimatizes better. With proper conditions, they will grow and mature in your tank. You wouldn't want to get an old shrimp today only for it to die tomorrow right?

A planted aquarium is recommended as a home for RCS because these guys tend to do better in moderately planted tanks rather than bare bottom tanks since they are scavengers. The more places they can crawl onto, the happier they are. Size of the aquarium doesn't really matter much as long as it has some space, a 1ft nano should small enough. I recommend a 2ft x 1ft x 1ft tho since the setup cost is almost the same as a 1ft nano but since there's more water volume, changes in the water condition is less drastic. As always, in this hobby, bigger is always better. So, go with a setup that you can afford.

Avoid mixing RCS with fishes that have mouth large enough to eat the shrimps if you want to keep the population numbers. Puffers and loaches are known culprits of RCS population demise. Most smaller fishes would not mind sharing the tank. If you wish to expand the population, it is worth the trouble of having them in their own tank and cover the filter inlet with filter sponge. The babies are so tiny the filter will suck them in and other fishes will snack on those poor babies. Other threats include ammonia, nitrite spikes and copper. Copper have been proven to be lethal to RCS and also higher amounts of other heavy metals. So, if you plan to keep RCS, dose them ferts in smaller amounts.

As for myself, right now its just happy sailing with my batch of RCS. Growing and maturing each day, I see molting almost every week in my 5 gal tank. Feeding them algae wafers and occasionally blanched cucumber. Hoping to get some breeding going on soon and probably introduce some more RCS from other sources to prevent in-breeding. I'm thinking about rescaping the tank (or get a new tank all together) since I got some plants leftover from my nano and my teenie tiny holding tank is getting crowded...well, "To the planning room Wonder Boy!!" ^_^

1 comment:

  1. I just started a species 6" nano tank with RCS only. Fauna is Glosso and E Tenellus. 1 week from setup date, everything fine. I actually only transplanted my 3rd generation RCS over and 3 are already pregnant and holding eggs.

    My experience with RCS, is they tend to turn redder when there's moss; as moss tend to produce more brown diatoms. When keeping shrimp only tanks, you actually save on feeding. I haven't added any supplementary food into my tanks ever since I started.

    Water changes are only done when I 'feel' the water viscosity is 'sticky' or the colorization has turned a slight yellowish. Somehow over time, you'd be able to tell.