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Caridina shrimp habitats

caridina - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 4/2019 vom 15.10.2019


An expediti on to the natural places of origin in India

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A watering place frequented by elephants .

Freshwater shrimp hailing from India have been an integral part of the aquarium hobby for a long time, however, not much information is available regarding their care. Most habitat descriptions are vague at best, and keeping these shrimp is based on mere assumptions, unclear information from dealers, forums, etc. My friend Andrew Rao and me decided to collect more data about Indian shrimp so more people may have the chance to learn about them and to keep them more successfully. ...

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Caridina cf. babaulti “Green“ from Jorai River

During our expedition to North Bengal in the Indian state of West Bengal, we looked up the following shrimp in their habitats:

• Green babaulti (Caridina cf.babaulti “Green“)
• Rainbow babaulti (C . cf.babaulti “Rainbow“)
• White-backed Shrimp (C . sp. “White Backed“)
• Rocket Shrimp / Green longnose (C. hodgarti )
• Zebra shrimp (C. cf.babaulti “Zebra“)
• Chocolate Macrobrachium (M. assamense )
• three diff erent crab species , an unidentifiedMacrobrachium and aBrotia snail (probablyB. costula ).

We went on our trip during the onset of winter, so the temperatures in all the locati ons we visited were quite low. However, we may safely assume that the rivers always have a comparatively lower temperature due to the current.

Day 1: Barobisha District, North Bengal, Jorai River

On our first day, we reached a habitat ofCaridina cf.babaulti “Green“ andCaridina hodgarti in the late afternoon. In this place, the water is pristi ne, with a moderate flow. The river has lots of plants, most of them belonging to the generaVallisneria, Cabomba andHygrophila. Macro algae are also present. The shrimp like hiding in the giantvals and vast groups of Cabomba. The riverbed consists of coarse sand and rounded, smooth rocks.

We also foundCaridina hodgarti at the first location.

The green long-nose shrimpCaridina hodgarti are very sensitive, and change color in accordance with their stress level. Green means they are happy, if they turn yellow, they feel a bit stressed, and if they turn red they are in a very fragile condition. Please keep that in mind when you purchase them!

A tank with a volume of over 30 liters (8 US gal) is preferrable, ideally with sponge filtration. Once sett led, they will eat dry shrimp food. The females carry comparatively large eggs and release miniature shrimplets, which are colorless in the beginning. They don’t need brackish water to develop. The deep greenCaridina cf.babaulti “Green“ will also do well in a tank that size and with a good filtration and plants

We discoveredMacrobrachium assamense on the fi rst two days.

The first location on the second day of our expedition .

Along with the shrimp we found some specimens of the beauti ful pipefishMicrophis deocata . They prey on shrimp eggs, so they stay relati vely close to the places where the shrimps live. There are also quite a few other fi sh species in this habitat, for example litt le chameleonfish (Dario dario ), the torrent minnowsPsilorhynchus balitora andP.sucatio , small cyprinids likeDanio danio , minnows (Oreichthys crenuchoides ), several catfish species (Pseudolaguvia muricata, P. riberoi, Amblyceps mangois and Hara jerdoni ) and blue perch (Badis badis ).

We also found quite a few long-arm shrimp of the speciesMacrobrachium dayanum and M. assamense as well as some crabs. Most of these fi sh and inverts prey upon the adult shrimp or the small shrimplets.

Day 2: Jorai River, 2nd spot

The second spot – frequented by large elephants, which drink water here – was 20 km from our base camp. In this spot we also foundCaridina hodgarti , together withC . cf.babaulti “Zebra“ andC . cf.babaulti “Rainbow“. The water here is crystal clear with a somewhat higher fl ow than at the previous spot. The most predominant plants are Cryptocoryne spiralis, Vallisneria and red Aponogeton. The riverbed consists of round gravel, mixed with coarse sand. We found quite a few accumulati ons of leaf litt er, but the shrimps stayed mostly inside and near the plants.

Zebra and Rainbow shrimp will do nicely in a planted tank with 30 liters (8 US gal) or more and a good fi ltrati on. Red Zebra shrimp are quite rare, but do exist. We found Rainbow shrimp in various colors: blue, orange and red. The shrimplets of both these freshwater variants don’t need brackish water to survive

like sittng in the plants of Jorai River .

We didn’t find any pipefish here, but there were quite a few other fish: catfish (Olyra longicaudata ), eels (Pillaia indica and Mastacembelus armatus ) and the Indian perch Badis assamensis. Besides snakeheads (Channa quinquefasciata ) and several minnows (O. crenuchoides ) we also came across longarm shrimp (Macrobrachium assamense ), some crabs and snails of the speciesBrotia costula .

On our way, a very clean area called our attenti on, apparently little frequented by humans. We spontaneously decided to come back later in the afternoon.

We found three shrimp species in this area withCryptocoryne spiralis ,Vallisneria and redAponogeton .

Zebra shrimp can also be found in Jorai River .

Day 2: Jorai River, 3rd spot

We reached the spot again at around 3.30 pm. The current was noticeably weaker. Therefore, oxygen may be deficient in some areas, andVallisneria roots have started to grow out of the water in a spiraling form here and there. In the stagnant water, algae grow in many spots. The riverbed consists of rocks and fi ner sand.

The jungle on the second day of our expedition .

The small mountain stream on the 4th day .

Here we foundC. cf. babaulti “Zebra“ andC . cf.babaulti “Green“ as well as pipefish (Microphis deocata ) and Frail Gourami(Ctenops nobilis ).

Day 3: Sankosh River.

This day took us over 40 km away from our camp since we wanted to study the Indian White-backed shrimp, a still unidentifiedCaridina species. Their basic color is mostly maroon to orange, however, there are also very few blue and black variants, maybe 20 among the 500 shrimp we collected.

We reached this spot at around 11 am, and the sun was right on top of us. The water is not clear due to rotting weeds,Eichhornia and also because the river flows near farmland. Here the shrimp are at risk since pesticides may seep into the water. The predominant plants areVallisneria andCabomba , growing in the muddy riverbed.

The attractiveCaridina sp. “White Back“ are very easy to keep and breed readily in a tank of an appropriate size with a good filtration. The shrimplets resemble the adults and survive in fresh water.

40 km away from our base camp we found Whitebacked shrimp .

Here we found lots of fish: dwarf catfish (Hara jerdoni ) and frogmouth catfish (Chaca chaca ), an unidentified goby of the genusGlossogobius , two pufferfish (Leiodon cutcutia and Carinotetraodon travancoricus ), eels (Monopteros cuchia ), several minnows (Oreichthys cosuatis and Pethia canius ) and blue perch as well as honey gouramis (Trichogaster chuna ), longarm shrimp (M. peguensis ) and snails of the species B. costula

Day 4: Mountains

That day we went up in the mountains, around 1,100 ft above sea level. We stopped near a small stream and found aMacrobrachium along with a purely black crab. There were no plants in the water, but the riverbed is overgrown with terrestrial plants. The temperature at 3.15 pm was only 12.0 °C/53.6 °F. The only fish we found here were the loachesSchistura inglisi


pH: 6:65
TDS: 59 ppm
GH: 2-3
KH: 0-1
NO3 : 0.50 mg/l
NO2 : 0.02 mg/l
Temperature at 4 p.m .: 18 °C/64.4 °F


pH: 7.06
TDS: 109 ppm
GH: 4-5
KH: 0-2
NO3 : 0.61 mg/l
NO2 : 0.04 mg/l
Temperature at 10 a.m.: 20.1 °C/68.2 °F


pH: 6.61
TDS: 72 ppm
GH: 3-4
KH: 0-1
NO3 : 0.1 mg/l
NO2 : 0.02 mg/l
Temperature at 3.40 p.m.: 18.0 °C/64.4 °F


pH: 7.31
TDS: 118 ppm
GH: 5-6
KH: 1-2

Karte: © Olya –

Photo: © snowing12 –