Shrimp are popular aquatic pets that come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Among the many shrimp species, neocaridina and caridina are two popular choices for aquarists. While these two species may look similar at first glance, they have distinct differences. Neocaridina shrimp are usually the easier species type to take care of, as it does not require too much precise water conditions. Caridina shrimp on the other hand need specific conditions to thrive.
One of the most significant differences between neocaridina and caridina is their water parameter requirements. Neocaridina is very hardy and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions. They can tolerate a pH range of 6.5 to 8.0 and a temperature range of 15–30 °C (59–86 °F). On the other hand, caridina shrimp require more specific water parameters to survive. The soft acidic water and the pH should always be between the range of 5.5 to 6.5. Caridina shrimp also like slightly cooler water, and do best in the temperature range of 21–23 °C (70–74 °F). As you can see, in terms of water conditions, caridina shrimp are needier than neocaridina shrimp.
Appearance is probably the most important thing when buying shrimp. Every shrimp keeper wants to have the most beautiful shrimp, and this factor is what makes people crave certain shrimp colors. There are a lot of neocaridina shrimp colors to choose from, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, and even white shrimp. The same could be said for caridina shrimp. These species are slightly more unique in terms of appearance because there are way more multi-color shrimp options to choose from. Popular types like red crystal, boa, or blue bolt shrimp have multiple colors on their bodies.
Moving on, both species are pretty much the same when it comes to dietary requirements. Neocaridina and caridina shrimp are both omnivorous species and can eat things like algae, fish flakes, wafers, blanched vegetables, certain fruit, and even deceased tank mates. Shrimp can also easily become spoiled, and stop eating algae if there is better food present. If you want to buy shrimp for algae reasons, be sure to not overfeed these species, since shrimp will not touch algae, and simply feast on other delicious meals provided to them.
Neocaridina shrimp need a more basic setup than caridina. Firstly, neocaridina can live in aquariums as small as 5 gallons and can survive easily and thrive with proper filtration, lightning, and good water conditions. Some people argue, that shrimp do not need a filter, since they produce very little waste. This might be true, but it is always good to have a filter in an aquarium, since it brings only benefits, like circulating the water and catching all the poop and other particles in your tank. Neocaridina shrimp also don’t need a specific substrate, but lots of aquatic plants would be beneficial for these species.
When it comes to caridina shrimp, they need more precise tank conditions to thrive. As mentioned before, caridina shrimp can only live in slightly acidic water. This can be achieved by using distilled water in an aquarium or having certain pH reducers in an aquarium. Having a RO water setup or active substrate in an aquarium can also be a practical way to reduce pH to a certain level. A good substrate like Fluval Stratum is designed for reducing pH and can be a good option for caridina shrimp. In terms of aquarium size and other things, caridina shrimp can also live in tanks as small as 5 gallons and need good filtration and lighting to thrive. The tank should also be heavily planted to create lots of hiding places for shrimp.
Shrimp molt regularly, shedding their exoskeleton to grow larger. Neocaridina shrimp tend to molt the same amount as caridina shrimp – every 3 or 4 weeks. When molting, shrimp are vulnerable to predators, and the water quality should be carefully monitored to prevent any issues. Caridina shrimp require more specific water parameters during molting. It is recommended to use additional shrimp mineral additives when using distilled or reverse osmosis water. This will definitely help your caridina shrimp to molt easier and without any significant problems.
Both neocaridina and caridina shrimp are prolific breeders and can quickly populate a tank. Both species usually breed every 3-5 months, and the process starts when a female develops a saddle on the top of her back, which indicate males breed with her. After some time, the female will appear with eggs in her pouch. The eggs can hatch within 2-3 weeks and slowly become darker. There might be instances where a female shrimp can drop her eggs, and that can be the reason for lack of motherhood experience, improper water parameters, or stress
To summarise, both neocaridina and caridina shrimp are amazing species, that deserve a lot of attention in the aquarium hobby. Neocaridina shrimp is essentially easier creatures to take care of, while caridina can appear more challenging and expensive, but the coloration of caridina shrimp is more impressive!
Written by Jaime Douglas, theaquariumkeeper.com