Crystal Black Shrimp

Crystal Black Shrimp: The Jewel of the Aquarium

Crystal Black Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis), often abbreviated as CBS, are a captivating species in the aquarium hobby, prized for their striking coloration and peaceful nature. Originating from the clean streams of southern China and Hong Kong, these dwarf shrimp have become a popular choice among both novice and experienced aquarists. This article explores the allure of Crystal Black Shrimp, their care requirements, breeding tips, and their role in the aquatic community.

Description and Appearance

Crystal Black Shrimp are characterized by their vivid black and white banding. They belong to the same species as the more commonly known Crystal Red Shrimp, with their color being the primary distinction. The intensity and clarity of their black bands contrasted against translucent or white areas make them a visually appealing addition to any tank. Their size, typically reaching about 1.5 inches in adulthood, makes them ideal for smaller aquariums.

Habitat and Care

In their natural habitat, CBS thrive in cool, slightly acidic water with a good flow, mimicking these conditions is crucial for their health in captivity. They prefer temperatures between 62 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 24 degrees Celsius) and a pH range of 5.8 to 7.4. Soft, clean water is essential, and many breeders use reverse osmosis water re-mineralized with specific shrimp products to achieve the ideal parameters.

Aquascaping for CBS should include plenty of hiding spots and a substrate that supports a biofilm for grazing. Plants, driftwood, and leaf litter not only enhance the tank’s aesthetics but also provide crucial cover and supplementary nutrition as they break down.

Diet and Nutrition

Crystal Black Shrimp are omnivorous scavengers that feed primarily on biofilm, algae, and decaying plant matter in the aquarium. However, their diet should be supplemented with commercial shrimp foods, blanched vegetables, and occasionally protein-rich treats. Balanced nutrition is vital for their health and coloration.

Breeding and Genetics

Breeding Crystal Black Shrimp can be both rewarding and challenging due to their specific water parameter needs and genetic variability. They are less prolific than some other shrimp species, but under optimal conditions, a female can produce 20-30 eggs per cycle. The genetics of CBS can result in a variety of patterns, and selective breeding can enhance these patterns over generations.

Community Tank Compatibility

Crystal Black Shrimp are peaceful and non-aggressive, making them excellent candidates for community tanks with other small, non-predatory fish. However, their small size and slow movement can make them targets for larger fish. Tankmates should be chosen carefully to avoid any potential predation.

Conservation and Sustainability

As with many specialized aquarium species, the popularity of CBS poses questions about sustainability and conservation. Responsible breeding practices and adherence to ethical trade standards are crucial to ensure that wild populations are not threatened. Aquarists are encouraged to purchase CBS from reputable breeders who prioritize the health and welfare of their shrimp.


Crystal Black Shrimp are more than just an attractive addition to the aquarium; they are a window into the complexities of aquatic ecosystems. Their care requires attention to detail and a commitment to maintaining pristine water conditions, but the reward is a thriving, beautiful display. Whether you are drawn to their striking aesthetics or their serene demeanor, Crystal Black Shrimp offers a unique and gratifying experience in the world of aquarium keeping.

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Kevin Urrutia
Kevin is the founder of Voy Media Kevin is an avid outdoorsman and nature lover; when not in the concrete jungle of New York, he can be found trying to explore a real one. He is currently an editor at Guide To Money, a finance blog that teaches you how to save money, make money, and live well.