By: Leah Luzano
Formally known as Caridina Japonica and now Caridina Multidentata, the Yamato or Amano Shrimp is the hardiest and one of the most functional beauties in the shrimp world. They are originally from the Yamato River in Japan (hence the name Yamato Shrimp) and from other rivers and ponds of Japan Taiwan and Korea. They were introduced into the aquarium world by Takashi Amano (hence the alternate name Amano Shrimp) who realized their functional potential to control excessive algae growth in a planted aquarium.
Yamato Shrimp are transparent with black eyes and reddish brown spots and a white stripe down their backs with a cute fan tail. They are very calm and peaceful and as long as there are no predators in your tank they are not shy. Females are usually larger and have bigger skirts on their tails to make room for holding eggs. They can grow up to 2 inches long and can live for several years. They feed on any type of algae, fish food, flake food, spirulina, and delicate plant leaves. Mainly they are scavengers by nature and will relish dead plants and dead fish.
Yamatos are great for beginner shrimp-feverists and for Beginner Planted Tank Hobbyists. They are very hardy and can withstand a variety of different tank conditions and they control overgrowth of algae in your tank. The only downside or beginners with Yamatos is they are difficult to breed. Yamato larvae need salinity in the water to survive and grow. In the wild they are usually found in rivers that have connections to the sea or other salt water bodies. When larvae are born they are washed downstream into the brackish water areas where they mature and find their way back to the freshwater when they are adults. For intermediate Shrimp Breeders It is very exciting and rewarding to have success in breeding Yamatos. We will address Yamato breeding in a separate post.
If you are interested in introducing Yamatos into your tank there are several basic things you need to take into consideration. Yamatos should be kept in a tank that is at least 10 gallons and they are better off in tanks that have a plant density of at least medium to heavy. Avoid soft plants such as Cabomba and Myriophyllum unless you want them to be eaten by your Yamatos. They must have places to hide such as dense areas of plants, rocks or driftwood to offer protection after they molt. Water harness and temperature are not a big deal as long as they are between 6-10 dGh and 18-27 Degrees C – A constant happy medium of both is always ideal. PH levels should be more alkaline around 7.5-8. Also long as your gH and kH is in check there shouldn’t be any problems with molting for this species. Also avoid adding anything that has copper into a tank with any shrimp, it is poisonous to them.
Yamatos are very popular in the aquarium world and there is no question why. They are not only beautiful and blend into any kind of aesthetic tank setup because of their earthy and transparent colored bodies, but they also play a big part in helping hobbyists with keeping their tanks clean and free of algae. Not only are they great for beginner shrimp keepers but a great challenge to intermediate shrimp-feverists who would like a bit of a challenge when it comes to breeding. Try them on for size, whatever your level of experience may be, you will not be disappointed.