It was love at first sight, years before I had been in love with keeping Koi carp and back in 2009 I had to give up the 3000-gallon pond that I had hand dug and all my wonderful Koi for a new life In Norway to start the very well paid job that I had been offered.
My absolute favorite koi at that time was the Kohaku which is a red and white fish like the one in the picture on the left.
These beautiful fish came in many beautiful grades just like our shrimp and you can see where my connection with them to shrimp comes from.
I had been in Norway for a year and in 2010 when I stumbled across these wonderful shrimp in a small pet shop near where I lived.
My jaw dropped when I first saw them and I quickly asked the pet store assistant what they were and where they had come from?
Needless to say, the assistant really didn’t know much about them and they were just a part-time weekend helper that knew more about the cat food than the animals in question.
I understood that they could be kept in freshwater which I had ample experience in so I
decided to buy them all and in this store they were scattered amongst a few fish tanks and small betta bowls.
The reason for me buying everything was because I had visited 5-6 petshops that day and none of them had shrimp so I knew this opportunity might not come up again.
As it turned out these shrimp were so rare at that time specifically here in Norway that nobody really knew much about them or really the best way to keep them.
You see I had originally intended to buy some small fish for my new Nano tank that I had set up the month prior so I had somewhere to keep them.
Space was tight in the little apartment I had been renting but I wanted something to keep me interested in the aquariums and to take my mind off my job.
In total, I think I got around 15 specimens so I rushed home and drip acclimated them to there new tank.
Even back then I knew all about drip acclimation and the proper way to acclimate animals to new environments.
Years before this I had known about Cherry Shrimp and Amano shrimp but I had never seen a Crystal Red Shrimp and I could not believe how beautiful they were, in fact, I found it hard to believe they were real.
And this is where my real shrimp addictions started.
Before I go into more detail on my history with Crystal Red Shrimp I think we should talk about where they came from and their own History.
Crystal Red Shrimp are a Caridina species of freshwater dwarf bee shrimp that originated in south-east Asia in the early 90s.
They are a morph of Crystal black shrimp, through selective breeding, by Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki he developed them into a red and white variety.
Mr Suzuki a master Sushi chef and was known for his culinary delights, he was also known for having Shrimp Tanks in his small restaurant.
I am sure at the time they must have been of some great interest to his customers.
And I often wonder about it being a sushi place were the crystal red shrimp ever on the menu ?haha .
These awesome little shrimp then became super popular in Japan because of this coloration which also just happens to be the same colors as the Japanese national flag which is red and white.
Even one of the gradings of the Crystal Red Shrimp is named after the Japanese national flag which also goes by the common name of Hinomaru. Hi no maru (circle of the sun).
Mr. Suzuki also has the patent aka trademark for Crystal Red Shrimp and I do believe this is why a lot of other vendors and sellers etc call them Red Bee Shrimp well at least in Japan anyway.
The original morphs of the shrimp can be found in the foothills of HongKong and other areas of China.
The preferred habitat of the Crystal Black Shrimp are small tannin-stained streams littered with leaves from trees that overhang them, from inspection a common leave is the bamboo leaf.
Other things to note are the substrate is a mixture of sand and small rocks with small patches of moss.
My early days in keeping these shrimp were strewn with mistakes and loss of life, the first mistake I made was not researching them enough and my biggest mistake was treating them like fish.
Specifically, on water changes, I used to do 50% water changes at a time with unaged water, if you are not familiar with this term all it means is you letting the water sit for a while to warm up.
This also allows The waters Ph to stabilize because mains water has a much higher Ph than water that’s been allowed to stand and come to an equilibrium.
This followed by deaths of which most were berried females, I did, however, manage to get some young to live for a while but I really didn’t understand much about what they needed and how to provide it for them.
Shrimp are specialized and will continue to be until we fully understand them more, until then we can only share our experiences.
Eventually, I did figure out that water changes were a massive part of the problem and it took me years to finally come to a conclusion on what was best for them and me.