|Scientific Name||Neocaridina davidi|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 Gallons|
|Water Parameters||62-82° F, KH 0-10, pH 6.6-7.2|
The Blue Velvet Shrimp is a somewhat more rare version of the Neocaridina davidi shrimp. They are slightly smaller than your average shrimp and have an amazing color. Unlike some of the other shrimp the Blue Velvet Shrimp does not have special grades. This mean no matter the seller they should come with the same bright blue color.
Blue Velvet Shrimp are easy to care for and will breed when kept in a stable environment. They are a good choice for both beginners and shrimp enthusiasts when it comes to clean up crew members as a single pair will bring their population up to capacity within a year.
These shrimp will sow no aggression towards anything else in the tank. The only thing they may eat that you would not want them to is fish babies when they are still in larval form, however just about anything will eat larval creatures.
Blue Velvet Shrimp will live for just over a year. To keep them long term you will need to have them breeding. Buy at least 6 for a good chance of getting both males and females, as they do not change gender.
Things To Look Out For
Like most inverts the Blue Velvet Shrimp will be Killed by trace amounts of copper in the water. Even if a tank has been housing fish for years it may have too much copper to hold any shrimp.
Luckily it is very easy to test an aquarium for copper. A cheap copper testing kit is all you need. This one comes with 90 tests and is very easy to use. Having so many tests is important, as you can test while lowering copper, during water changes and after using medicine on fish. Simply wet the test strip and look for the color change. anything slightly peach or more colorful is too much copper.
Copper enters the aquarium through medication and copper water pipes. Many fish medications will use large amounts of copper to treat fish. If you have treated fish recently without doing any water changes the copper levels should be much higher than usual.
If you have copper pipes in the home your options are fairly limited. Use cold water, letting it run for awhile before collecting it, to reduce the amount of copper leeching into the water. Hot pipes, as well as new pipes, will leech a lot more copper than cold ones. If this is not enough to get the copper down then you will either need to get water from another source or treat all incoming water with activated carbon. Carbon will neutralize some of the copper in water, making it safer for shrimp. The problem with using carbon is it will lose effectiveness over time, making you buy more for new water.
Nitrites can quickly poison the Blue Velvet Shrimp. Any tank they are being brought into should have an established colony of beneficial bacteria. These build up over time as waste breaks down in the tank. If your aquarium is fairly new perform frequent water changes to remove the nitrites manually.
Strong Suction is the last major thing to worry about. Powerheads and canister filters can easily suck in the shrimp, either trapping them against the intake or shredding them in the propellers. If you wish to use these in a shrimp aquarium try lowering their flow rate to reduce the strength of suction.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Habitat
These shrimp are typically farm raised/from breeders. They are well adjusted to living in the home aquarium. Their closest relatives lived in slow moving waters with dense plants. They thrive when kept in aquariums with a similar setting.
Unlike other shrimp the Blue Velvet Shrimp coloration does not give them away as much. They do not need to hide their colors when stressed out but will still show better coloration when kept happy.
The main two focuses of a Blue Velvet Shrimp aquarium are surface area without sacrificing water volume and hiding places. Simply put we want thin objects like flat rocks or decorations to create a lot of crawl space for the shrimp without taking up too much water space.
Long, flat rocks will dramatically increase the space the shrimp is able to walk without reducing the amount of water in the tank. they are also much easier to create rock formations with than rounder rocks and cost less as most rocks are sold per pound.
The reason we want more water in the tank is to provide more stable conditions. Pollutants are measured in ppm or parts per million, with the million being the water. The more water there is the lower the ratio will be.
Long flowing plants will also create more places for the shrimp to crawl, but do not grow as much algae as rocks would. Plants to allow for shrimp to climb up into the higher levels of the tank and look in all directions unlike rocks. If the plants are dense enough they can keep out fish, making the plants both a place to climb and a place to hide. Remember the Blue Velvet Shrimp will want to hide from fish, even if they are in a shrimp only tank or their fish tank mates are not aggressive.
Tips on hiding spaces
Decide early on if you want to focus on the Blue Velvet Shrimp being out of sight or not. When setting up shrimp tanks I try to create a lot of hiding spots that are easy to see from out side of the aquarium. This helps the shrimp feel safe without making the tank feel empty with all the shrimp hidden from sight. If this does not matter to you then focus on surface area and aesthetics.
Remember to use the aquarium glass as large walls. While they are glass they still work the same as a large rock in the eyes of a shrimp. This makes it easy to lean a lot of rocks against the glass and use it, and the water holding the tank down, as support.
Here we can see a large number of similar shrimp crowding around the wood in the aquarium. While they are fine crawling on the gravel most shrimp well spend their time on or around something other than the substrate.
Wood is less common in aquariums due to its price and the way they leech tannins into the water. Wood will also lower the aquariums pH, which can be a good thing depending on your water source. The tannins will slowly turn the water brown, like a tea bag changes waters color. This has no effect on the waters livability and will not bother the Blue Velvet Shrimp. Many owners love the tint that tannins give their aquariums. Performing water changes will remove some of these tannins.
Do not remove or excessively clean any of the shrimps habitat. Cleaning off live rocks or decorations, especially with cleaning solutions, will kill the beneficial bacteria that aquariums need. Removing these bacteria will cause spikes in both ammonia and nitrites, as there is nothing or much less bacteria left to remove them. The only time you would want to remove and clean something is if it develops a slime algae.
Filtration: Under gravel filters and sponge filters are the best choices for the Blue Velvet Shrimps filtration. They are strong enough for smaller aquariums, create large collections of debris the shrimp can feed from and do not have any risk of harming the shrimp.
Sponge filters will draw the debris into a cylinder of filtration medium, which can be removed, rinsed with aquarium water and returned. They are incredibly easy to keep running and do not need much new filtration medium over their lifetime.
Under gravel filters draw the debris into the gravel. This means you cannot use sand or forgo substrate if you want to use an under gravel filter. They are cleaned by siphoning off the gravel just above the filter. They are also easy to keep running but more difficult to remove debris from.
As the Blue Velvet Shrimp will spend a lot of time around the filters keep the filters in sight. Hiding the filters means hiding the shrimp.
Aeration: As we do not use strong sources of water flow with shrimp there is not going to be enough surface agitation to keep the tank oxygenated. They will need an air stone and air pump or some way to keep the waters surface constantly moving. It is not the bubbles that air stones produce but the bubbles popping at the surface, moving the water that promotes gas exchange.
Substrate is important. Gravel is the substrate of choice for just about any invert. The Blue Velvet Shrimp will have a much easier time searching for food in gravel than it will sand. The small rocks are easy for them to turn over with their small claws, allowing them to pick the gravel clean. Consider an orange gravel to compliment your Pumpkin Shrimps natural color or something darker to create a powerful contrast.
Sand is ok but is more useful for sand sifting creatures or things that burrow. It is usually more expensive than gravel and more difficult to keep clean. Skipping substrate is known as a bare bottom tank. They are easy to clean but cannot absorb any nitrates and do not grow much beneficial bacteria. Bare bottom tanks should have water changes more frequently.
Feeding Blue Velvet Shrimp
How you feed your shrimp depends on what is kept with them. Typically shrimp will be in either a shrimp only tank or a normal aquarium.
For a shrimp only tank:
Feed the Blue Velvet Shrimp Two to four times each week. Remove any un eaten food after three hours. When keeping shrimp alone watch the algae in the aquarium. If it is growing rapidly then you are over feeding the shrimp. If the algae is receding you may need to feed them more, as they are eating algae faster than it can grow.
For tanks with fish:
Feed the Blue Velvet Shrimp once a week at most. When kept with fish shrimp can often survive off of the missed fish food, fish waste and algae growing in the aquarium. They are bottom feeders and are used to living without getting any specific food. This may be less true depending on the fish to shrimp ratio. Again keep an eye on the algae growth.
What to feed them:
Blue Velvet Shrimp will eat just about anything that is fed to the tank. You can use:
- Meaty foods | Frozen fish
- Prepared Foods | Flakes, pellets
- Algae wafers
- Blanched Produce
The main thing to focus on is not over feeding shrimp. They are the clean up crew members, so their waste is not typically cleaned up. Over feeding will damage the water parameters of the aquarium. This will result in excessive algae growth or ammonia spikes the bacteria cannot handle.
When keeping large numbers of these shrimp using blanched produce is often one of the better options. It is much cheaper to use a sliced veggie than half a bottle of shrimp food. Many pieces of produce can be used without blanching, but doing so removes most debris from the produce and stops the enzymes from acting in the aquarium.
Using produce also allows us to control which nutrients our shrimps get.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Tankmates
Blue Velvet Shrimp are harmless to just about anything in the aquarium. They can eat larval or smaller creatures but will not harm snails, baby shrimp of small fish. They will choose to flee if anything shows any amount of aggression towards them.
Focus on keeping the shrimp with smaller, non aggressive fish to ensure their safety. Even the most peaceful fish will eat the Blue Velvet Shrimp if it fits in their mouth.
The most common fish people like to keep that should be avoided are tiger barbs, chiclids, loaches, oscars and koi fish.
Good tankmates for the Blue Velvet Shrimp include:
- Other Shrimp
- Cory Catfish
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Hatchet Fish
- Thin Tetra fish
Blue Velvet Shrimp Breeding
The only difficult part about breeding the Blue Velvet Shrimp is getting both genders. They do not change gender and it can be quite difficult to see the gender differences.
Female Blue Velvet Shrimp will have a yellow dot behind their heads. With other shrimp this is usually a saddle but for these it is more just a dot about the size of their eye. This can be seen in the video guide below.
Do not buy as many female as possible and count on getting a male. Males are just as rare as female. Buying 4 females and hoping the remaining 2 have one males is a bad choice. Instead getting one female and ending up with five males is a much better outcome. There is no fighting for females among these shrimp.
When the female shrimp is comfortable and ready to breed they will release a pheromone attracting male shrimp. They will then fetilizie the eggs, which hatch weeks later.
To encourage breeding among the Blue Velvet Shrimp:
- Keep the water parameters stable
- Make sure food is always available
- Provide plenty of hiding places
- Do not allow any predators into the tank
Over feeding is the main reason shrimp stop breeding. As their water gets worse and worse they will eventually stop breeding and even start dying. Even with water changes if the substrates are full of nitrates then over feeding will quickly pollute brand new water.
This in depth guide is a great way to see exactly what it is you are looking for when breeding the shrimp.
Once the female has been fertilized she will carry her young until they are fully formed., fanning her legs over the baby shrimp until they are released. The new shrimp will look like miniature Blue Velvet Shrimp and will grow quickly, being able to breed within several months.