The Red Orchid shrimp

February 22, 2012

Scientific name:

Caridina glaubrechti¹

Official common name: (accepted by ESA)

Red Orchid shrimp

Unofficial synonyms:

Brown Camo shrimp


The species name glaubrechti is a dedication to Mattias Glaubrecht, “who initiated the current research on endemic species flocks from the ancient lakes of Sulawesi, and who also collected several shrimp specimens”.¹


C. glaubrechti is a lacustrine species endemic to Lake Towuti, Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is found mainly in the western part of the lake.¹

The image below show the distribution of the species within the lake.¹


C. glaubrechti is found on hard substrate (rocks and wood), specifically preferring smaller rocks in shallow water. It is still found at depths greater than 3m and on larger rocks, however.¹


(20 – 25mm)


C. glaubrechti is primarily brown, with several white bands and patches all over the body, including the pereiopods and uropods. The body colour ranges from red to brown, and becomes less intense when the shrimp is stressed. The carapace is slim and terminates with an elongated, slender rostrum that curves upwards. The tailfan bears a white spot on each endopod and exopod.



Due to the delicate nature of these shrimp, I recommend only experienced and skilled aquarists attempt to keep this species.






  1. von Rintelen, K. & Cai, Y., (2009). Radiation of endemic species flocks in ancient lakes: systematic revision of the freshwater shrimp Caridina H. Milne Edwards, 1837 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Atyidae) from the ancient lakes Of Sulawesi, Indonesia, with the description of eight new species. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 57(2): 428 – 432


Chris Lukhaup



Caridina morphology

July 4, 2011

The following image shows the general morphology of shrimp of the Caridina genus.


The cephalothorax is the fused head and thorax of the shrimp, containing organs such as the heart.


The carapace is the section of the hard chitinous cuticle that covers the cephalothorax, protecting its soft tissues.


The rostrum is the region of the carapace that extends past the eyes and projects ahead of the shrimp like a beak.


The eyes of a shrimp are used to sense light and changes in light. They are compound eyes, and are usually stalked.


The antennae are paired appendages used to sense the surroundings. These are found on the antennal spines.


The antennules are small antennae found on the antennular peduncles.


Maxillipeds are appendages afore the pereiopods that assist in feeding.


Pereiopods are the legs of the shrimp. The hind three pairs are used for locomotion, whereas the front two pairs are more concerned with gathering food. These front legs often bear claws (known as chelae) or fans, and are known as as chelipeds.


Pleopods are the ‘swimmerets’ of the shrimp, and are used for swimming. Females also use the pleopods for carrying eggs when brooding.


The abdomen is the lower section of the body of the shrimp, which contains the digestive tract and reproductive organs.

Abdominal somites

The abdominal somites are the hard segmental plates of cuticle that cover the abdomen, protecting the tissue underneath but allowing for movement.


The tailfan of a shrimp is simply its paddle-like ‘tail’, consisting of the telson and a pair of uropods that flank it. The tailfan allows the shrimp to steer whilst swimming with rhythmic fanning of the pleopods. It also allows the shrimp to propel itself extremely quickly in ‘flicking’ motions by bending its body at the abdomen and straightening it. This is known as the caridoid escape reaction.


The uropods have two sections: the endopod, which is closest to the telson, and the exopod, which is furthest from the telson.


The telson is the extension past the abdominal somites.


  • “The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2009 57(2): 343-452
    K. Rintelen
    Y. Cai”:

Diagram showing Caridina species morphology.

Caridina spongicola and Caridina woltereckae

June 11, 2011

A few new pages up, including the following!

Caridina spongicola and Caridina woltereckae are two species that are very often confused and mislabelled. Although similar, these species can be differentiated.

Morphological differences:

C. spongicola is generally smaller than C. woltereckae, with a shorter rostrum. The rostrum of the second species extends beyond the scaphocerite, whereas it does not in the first. C. woltereckae also has more striking colouration, with stronger purple-red and more thick white. A less practical, yet reliable, way of differentiating between the species is by the number of eggs the female carries. In C. spongicola, the female typically carries between 12 and 18 eggs, whereas in C. woltereckae this number is typically between 19 and 29.

Below are images of the two species for comparison. The first image is of C. spongicola and the second is of C. woltereckae.

Distribution and habitat:

Both species are endemic to Lake Towuti of Sulawesi, Indonesia. However, C. spongicola has so far only been found in the outlet bay, whereas C. woltereckae is widely distributed within the lake. This is presumably due to their ecological niches. C. spongicola appears to be in symbiosis with an undescribed species of sponge which occurs only in the outlet bay of Lake Towuti, thus restricting the distribution of this specialised species. The shrimp does not appear to feed on the sponge itself, and so it is not a parasitic relationship, but rather a commensalistic or mutualistic relationship. On the other hand C. woltereckae is a typical hard substrate dweller.


  • “The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2009 57(2): 343-452
    K. Rintelen
    Y. Cai”:

The majority of information!
Image of Caridina spongicola.

  • “Chris Lukhaup”:

Image of Caridina woltereckae.

C. dennerli profile update!

June 9, 2011

Updated my C. dennerli page 🙂


Matano Blue Dot shrimp

Scientific name:

Caridina dennerli


The species name dennerli is a dedication to the German company Dennerle, which funded research into the species of the ancient lakes of Sulawesi.


C. dennerli is a lacustrine species endemic to Lake Matano, Sulawesi, Indonesia. The image below show the distribution of the species within the Malili lake system.


C. dennerli is found on hard substrate, specifically on, under or between rocks. It can be found in shallow water to a depth of about 10 metres.


20 – 25 mm

My water parameters:

Temperature 29°C
pH 7,5
General hardness
Carbonate hardness
Total dissolved solids 262 ppm
Electrical conductivity 570 µS


C. dennerli is a very striking shrimp, and could easily be mistaken to be a marine species. It appearance is primarily red, ranging from a deep black-red to bright red, with a covering of blue-white spots. The antennae and antennules are white, as well as the conspicious chelipeds (front legs used for feeding). 


C. dennerli is a moderately timid species. It will often be out in full-view in the aquarium, foraging for food, but will often retreat at any sign of movement from outside of the aquarium. In my experience wild-caught specimens are more prone to this than tank-bred specimens.


C. dennerli species is extremely delicate and sensitive. I recommend only experts in shrimp keeping try this species. It is my opinion that wild-caught specimens should be avoided completely due to their fragility and the environmental impacts.


Whilst, wild-caught C. dennerli rarely accept food other than algae and biofilm present in an established aquarium, tank-bred specimens will usually accept a range if allowed to become used to it.





  • “The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2009 57(2): 343-452K. Rintelen

    Y. Cai”:

Image of C. dennerli distribution.

Information on habitat of C. dennerli.

Assistance in appearance description.

  • “”:

Image of C. dennerli in natural habitat.

Caridina cf. cantonensis page added.

May 2, 2011

No pictures yet, but guide well on the way.

To add: White Bee, Orange Bee, Tiger, SuperTiger, Blue Tiger, Black Tiger, Tigerbee, Red Tiger…

Many people get confused with this shrimp as there are so many different forms it can take. I hope this guide will explain this shrimp in detail.

Wild phenotype (Bee)

The wild phenotype exists in the wild in southern China and Hong Kong.

Across its body it has broad black bands and irregular white bands, and its ‘head’ and ‘tail’ typically have an orange tinge.

Black Bee phenotype

The Black Bee shrimp is the result of artificial selection of the Bee shrimp to achieve thicker black and white colouration. This shrimp has grading systems identical to those of the Red Bee shrimp.

This strain has a much greater proportion of white than the wild Bee and has a more regimented pattern. Most Black Bee shrimp have an orange tinge on their head and tail.

The term ‘Crystal Black’ is used synonymously with ‘Black Bee’, as well as just ‘Bee’ (rather ambiguously).

Red Bee phenotype (Crystal Red)

In the wild Bee shrimp population an uncommon recessive allele existed for red colouration rather than black. Individuals that had two of these alleles expressed the red colouration and were selected for breeding to create a pure stable strain of red Bee shrimp (hence the name Red Bee). These were then artificially selected for a higher proportion of white and deeper, thicker colouration. Those with a higher proportion of white are considered of a higher grade.

The first Red Bee shrimp were low grade and similar in appearance to the wild Bee shrimp, and it is these shrimp that were copyrighted as Crystal Red shrimp. It is for this reason that the term ‘Crystal Red’ is only suitable to describe pure low graded Red Bee shrimp, whereas the term ‘Red Bee’ can be used for any grade of this phenotype. Despite this, the terms are used synonymously.

Gold Bee phenotype

The origin of the Gold Bee shrimp is unclear, and many speculate that it is a hybrid between the wild Bee shrimp and a similar species, such as the Tiger shrimp or the Orange Bee shrimp. This shrimp is artificially selected for higher white proportion and thickness and is thereupon graded. This shrimp is often used to breed higher graded shrimp in Red and Black Bee shrimp, although this usually compromises the quality of the white (yellow tinges; transparency).

This shrimp is also called the Snow White shrimp, although this typically refers to individuals with higher quality white colouration.

Taiwan Bee phenotypes (Shadow Bee)

The term ‘Taiwan Bee shrimp’ encompasses a small group of shrimp that express new phenotypes due to the presence of two recessive Taiwan Bee alleles: the Wine Red shrimp, the Red Ruby shrimp, the Panda shrimp, the King Kong shrimp and the Blue Bolt shrimp (and other Bolt colour variations). This allele is a new mutation that supposedly arose in Taiwan, hence the name. Many speculate that the mixing of Gold Bee genetics with Red and Black Bee genetics somehow resulted in this mutation, as Taiwan breeders notoriously mixed Gold Bees with Red and Black Bees. There is also speculation that Tiger shrimp genetics are involved.

 Black Taiwan Bee phenotype

The Panda and King Kong shrimp are both black and white, and are the same strain.  They are differentiated by the proportion of white colouration. In simplified terms, a large amount of white indicates a Panda and a small amount of white indicates a King Kong shrimp. Their non-’Taiwan Bee’ parallel is the Black Bee shrimp.

Occasionally, green-tinged and blue ‘Black Taiwan’s are produced in populations.

Red Taiwan Bee phenotype

The Wine Red and Red Ruby shrimp are both deep red and white, and follow the same convention as above, with Wine Red replacing Panda and Red Ruby replacing King Kong. They are also often referred to as ‘Red Panda’ and ‘Red [King] Kong’. Also, recently, ‘Wine Red’ and ‘Red Ruby’ have been used to indicate deeper red colouration and brighter red colouration respectively. Their non-’Taiwan Bee’ parallel is the Red Bee shrimp.

The red colouration of these shrimp does vary, and can even be two-toned.

(Blue) Bolt phenotype

The Blue Bolt shrimp ranges from white with blue cheeks to a full-body blue colouration. Their non-’Taiwan Bee’ parallel is the Gold Bee shrimp.

As there is a graduation from pure white to pure blue with these shrimp, it is disputed as to at what point the shrimp is no longer considered a ‘Snow White’ shrimp but a ‘Blue Bolt’ instead. Red Bolt shrimp are now being bred, and other colours are rumoured.

This phenotype in particular suffers from inbreeding as it is the most recessive of all Caridina cf. cantonensis.


PRL means Pure Red Line. A common misconception is that this shrimp is a new strain. It is not. This shrimp is simply the Red Bee strain but with the absence of Gold Bee mixing for a number of generations, hence it is pure Red Bee. This prevents yellowing and transparency of the white colouration in the phenotype.

Caridina caerulea Update!

April 18, 2011

Updated the Blue Morphe page!

Currently keeping.


Blue Leg shrimp, Caridina ensifera ‘Blue’, Blue Poso shrimp

Scientific name:

Caridina caerulea


The species name caerulea (“blue”) is derived from Latin caeruleus, which means ‘blue’. This refers to its colouration.

The former species name ensifera (“sword-wielder”) is derived from Latin ensis and ferre, which mean ‘sword’ and ‘to carry’ respectively. This refers to the elongated rostrum of the species.


25 – 30 mm

My water parameters:

pH 7,5
KH 3
dGH 7
TDS 220 ppm
29 ºC


C. caerulea is a understated and beautiful species. Although they may appear dull in appearance next to the many striking species from Sulawesi, a closer look shows it too has strong colours. Its rostrum, pereiopods and uropods have a blue colouration, whereas its antennae and antennules are a vibrant red. C. caerulea also has a habit of changing its body colour, ranging from steel blue to pink-orange.


Unlike most Sulawesi shrimp, C. caerulea is not a timid species. It will not retreat when the tank is approached.


Compared to most Sulawesi shrimp, this is a forgiving species, which I highly recommend to those considering trying Sulawesi shrimp. I find it will adapt to and breed in a wide range of alkaline conditions unlike most Sulawesi species. However, it is unlikely the delicate shrimplets will survive unless provided the optimum parameters.


Caridina caerulea is a wild lacustrine species endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is found exclusively in Lake Poso.


Sexing Caridina caerulea is generally quite easy. The most obvious sign in adult shrimp is the obvious green/blue saddle present in the female shrimp. Female shrimp also often have a deeper and more curved ‘underbelly’ for carrying eggs in.


Caridina caerulea has no larval stage; juveniles are born assuming a benthic lifestyle. Reproduction takes place entirely in freshwater. The eggs take about 18-20 days to hatch. Breeding this shrimp is not the difficult part. The difficult part is raising the offspring. In the optimum conditions, this can be achieved with very little effort. In less perfect conditions, the juveniles will literally vanish. I assume they have difficulty shedding their exoskeletons, resulting in death. The juveniles are also often physically fragile; as the water in their natural environment is still they are not used to enduring currents. Do not use filters that create strong currents!

Juveniles will graze on microorganisms and algae in the aquarium. They tend to enjoy grazing on the aquarium glass where algae thrive.


This species was originally known as C. ensifera var. ‘Blue Morphe‘. This is due to the fact Lake Poso is occupied by another similar species which has brown-red colouration on its body rather than red. This was believed to be an example of polymorphism, and that they were in fact the same species, just different morphs. It has since been discovered that they are distinct species. At the time, the other species was known as C. ensifera var. ‘Red Morphe’, and is now officially described as C. ensifera.

Image by Frank and Carsten Logemann.

C. longidigita

March 20, 2011

It appears that the new ‘Blue Poso’ shrimp is indeed Caridina longidigita. To avoid any further confusion, I will be changing all references to C. caerulea to ‘Blue Morphe’ shrimp within my blog articles and further posts.

Due to the lack of images on the internet, it is impossible for me to determine the normal colouration of C. longidigita, but it has been reported that very few show this blue colouration. (Perhaps it is due to stress afterall?). Below is an image of this species.

One of the few available images online of C. longidigita.

“Longidigita” literally means “long fingers”. This is a reference to this species unusually long front pereiopods, with which it makes unique wide sweeping movements when foraging.

Yet another interesting Sulawesi species!

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