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Blue tiger shrimp Caridina cantonensis

Caridina Blue Tiger Shrimp

The Caridina blue tiger shrimp, also known as the blue tiger shrimp, is one of several subspecies of tiger shrimp. The first word of the term for these shrimp comes from their scientific name, Caridina cantonesis sp “blue.” While the standard tiger shrimp is yellow with black stripes, the caridina blue tiger shrimp is much more striking with a body and stripes in shades of blue. Caridina blue tiger shrimp are rare in comparison to many other types of fish kept in aquariums, making them one of the more expensive options. They also require greater care than some other species so be sure to do your research before you buy.

The caridina blue tiger shrimp is the result of selective breeding. It was originally discovered as a mutation in south-east Asia where tiger shrimp are native. Experts then worked to breed the shrimp with this unique colouration and accentuate the feature.

Appearance

Not the be confused with blue pearl shrimp, the blue tiger shrimp is relatively unique in appearance due to the blue found throughout its body. When combined with the orange eyes of this species, the combination truly catches your attention. As with a typical tiger shrimp, this subspecies has black vertical stripes, but depending on the intensity of the blue, they may be hard to see.

Although all caridina blue tiger shrimp are blue in colour, there are multiple grades of this colouration that vary in terms of darkness and/or intensity. Some possible grades include Light Blue, Dark Blue, and Semi-Dark Blue. There is not a major difference between grades other than the colouration variations so the ideal grade becomes a matter of personal preference. Most blue tiger shrimp will appear to be regular tigers when they are born, slowly developing their colour as they mature. In some cases, they will be born with blue colouration and in this case, they will typically be a more intense blue when they reach maturity.

Blue tiger shrimp Caridina cantonensis

Image: Stunning photo of the blue tiger shrimp used under the Creative Commons Licence 

It is fairly easy to distinguish male and female caridina blue tiger shrimp from each other. Females tend to be larger and will have an underbelly that is curved. This underbelly works to defend eggs from potential damage during pregnancy. Some people familiar with the species have noticed that females tend to have darker coloration, but this is not always the case. The underbelly and size are the key determining factors and a well-trained eye can quickly sex a blue tiger shrimp.

Looking at the saddle is a common method of sexing other types of shrimp, but this can be challenging with caridina blue tiger shrimp due to their dark colour. The saddle refers to the small undeveloped eggs within the ovaries. The term comes from the eggs’ location along the shrimp’s back right behind their head as it resembles the saddle placed on a horse.

Blue Tiger Shrimp Breeding

Not all offspring of blue tiger shrimp are also blue in colour. All offspring of this subspecies do, however, have the characteristic orange eyes. If the children of caridina blue tiger shrimp do not have the blue colouring, then they may be referred to as blonde tiger shrimp or orange eyed tiger shrimp. Experts don’t know what proportion of blue tiger shrimp offspring are blue but do know that non-blue offspring are able to produce blue tiger shrimps.

Breeding this particular species yourself can pose a challenge due to inbreeding. In order to maintain the desired blue colouration, blue tiger shrimp are constantly bred with each other within a small gene pool. This inbreeding has led to an increased risk of disease susceptibility as well as vulnerability when in poor-quality water.

Mating will occur very quickly. The male latches onto a female shrimp, then deposits his sperm, and finally releases her. When the male deposits his sperm into the female, the eggs are still in the saddle region. The female’s eggs will only leave their ovaries in the saddle and travel to their undercarriage after sperm have been deposited, at which point they become fertilized.

You can typically tell when the baby shrimp will be hatching soon in one of several ways. Sometimes a saddle will begin to appear when the eggs will hatch shortly. You can also sometimes see tiny eyes on the baby shrimp and this will indicate that the hatching will occur within a few days. Hatching occurs quickly and the babies latch onto any surface, such as moss, once they leave the egg. You are not likely to actually see your caridina blue tiger shrimp hatch as the females typically hide during this process.

Ideal Water Conditions

When caring for a blue tiger shrimp, you will want to set up your aquarium so the water meets the same parameters needed for other types of tiger shrimp. These shrimp prefer soft freshwater and a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. If you have hard water, you can buy a water softener or RO to accommodate your shrimp. The water should ideally be between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 Celsius). You must ensure that the water is always clean due to the species’ vulnerability from inbreeding causing minimal genetic diversity.

Diet And Feeding

Once you become used to feeding caridina blue tiger shrimp, it is simple. You can feed them algae waters, blanched spinach, and other similar items. Many shrimp owners will opt for specialized foods since the species is delicate and expensive. It is always ideal to feed the shrimp once daily and be sure to not give them more food than they will be able to finish within two to three hours. The food should not sit too long as it can lead to problems with the water quality. Overfeeding your blue tiger shrimp may also cause them to die.

Due to the fact that blue tiger shrimp are naturally scavengers, they are not used to constantly having access to food. This means that you can skip a day or two of feeding without any serious harm. They will also graze on any algae that grows naturally on plants or rocks within your tank. If your tank doesn’t have enough naturally growing algae, you can supplement it with algae wafers or the other food items mentioned above.

Blue tiger shrimp aren’t as readily available as many other shrimp species, so try a dedicated shrimp specialist or ask your retailer if they can help you source them.

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