Rili Shrimp Care Guide

Scientific NameNeocaridina davidi
Minimum Tank Size10 Gallons
Water Parameters62-82° F, KH 0-10, pH 6.6-7.2

The Rili Shrimp is a mid sized shrimp available in multiple different color sets. They are easy to care for, will breed easily and make for a great clean up crew. The hardest part about owning these shrimp is getting your hands on them. Despite being so easily captive bred they are often out of stock from online sellers and seldom carried by local fish stores. If you do see them and can get a female I suggest, provided you have a tank ready for them, pick them up on site.

Rather than having precise conditions to follow, the Rili Shrimp has several things their aquarium should not have. Most issues are easy to fix but are often fatal when ignored.

Rili Shrimp will live for just over a year. To keep them long term you must keep them breeding to create the next generation of shrimp.

Things To Look Out For

Copper in the water kills Rili Shrimp. Inverts are typically killed by even trace amounts of copper being in the aquariums water. Aquariums that have been keeping fish for years can have a copper issue that simply doesn’t matter until you add inverts.

Thankfully it is easy and cheap to test for copper. This copper testing kit is cheap, effective, has 90 tests and is easy to use. All you need to do is wet the strips and see if the color changes. If the color turns from white to a peach like color then the water has too much copper to house Rili Shrimp. If the strip remains white you can skip over this copper removal stuff.

Copper usually enters the home aquarium through the water pipes water is taken from. Many homes will have copper pipes which will leech trace amounts of copper into the water. This is not a bad thing normally but for the Rili Shrimp it means the water may be uninhabitable. Newer pipes are much more likely to leech than older pipes.

To reduce the copper from copper pipes try running cold water for a few minutes before using getting aquarium water. Cold pipes are far less likely to leech anything into the water. After doing this you can test the water again to see if it has kept the copper out of your water.

Medicines frequently use copper in their ingredients. If you have a sick fish remove them from the tank before treating them with medicine so that you do not accidentally kill any inverts in the tank.

If your aquarium still has too much copper in it you can get water from another source like neighbors, family or even pet stores. Copper can also be neutralized by activated carbon. If using carbon you will need to buy more carbon as it ages and loses effectiveness.

Nitrites, a product of bacteria breaking down fish waste, are more toxic to the Rili Shrimp that the fish in the aquarium. Be sure your beneficial bacteria has aged to include a second type of bacteria, one that removes nitrites and makes them into far less toxic nitrates. You can have your water tested at various pet stores for free. If the water shows 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and any number of nitrates then the bacteria is in a safe state for the Rili Shrimp.

Strong sources of suction Like powerheads, canister filters and over flow boxes can put the Rili Shrimp in danger. Try to avoid or reduce the flow of these objects to keep the shrimp safe. Even if the intake is covered the shrimp can get stuck against the strong suction and die.

Rili Shrimp Habitat

Rili Shrimp originate from the freshwater sources in the eastern hemisphere. The ones we own will have been bred in captivity and are well suited to live in the aquarium. Despite this they will still desire the homes of their ancestors, slow moving waters with lots of rocks and plants.

It is important to keep the Rili Shrimp in an enviornment that suits them. stressed shrimp will reduce their colors to avoid predation. With shrimp as colorful as these that is a big issue we want to avoid. Instead make them comfortable so that they promote coloration and seek mates.

Plants are one of the more optional yet beneficial choices for Rili Shrimp aquariums. They will provide a lot of space for the shrimp to crawl and can keep fish from swimming into heavily planted areas. Additionally plants will absorb nitrates from the water to feed itself. This reduces the frequency of water changes, keeping the same water in the tank for longer and can help save on the use of activated carbon.

There are two main ideas when we are making the aquarium for our shrimp.

  • Create a lot of surface area for the shrimp and algae
  • Make hiding places that do not obstruct our view of the shrimp

Tall plants create a lot of vertical space while rocks will create horizontal space. Avoid small, round rocks as these do not make much space but do use a lot of water volume. Thin, long rocks will allow you to create a lot of different areas for the Rili Shrimp to live and allow for more beneficial bacteria/algae growth. Rocks are sold by weight, making thin rocks better for just about any aquatic need. Think of it as a cube vs a box. A box has a lot of usable space while a cube is just a big bulky object. The box is lighter and cheaper. There will rarely be a need to buy the cube, or in our case the round rocks.

Tips on hiding spaces

Rili Shrimp are meant to be on display. But shrimp want to have a lot of hiding spots. To satisfy both of these you should make your hiding places visible from the outside while still hiding the shrimp from things inside the aquarium. The easiest way to do this is by using the aquarium glass as a wall and creating a cave that you can look into through the glass. Think of it as an art farm. The shrimp are protected from any aggressive tankmates, real or imaginary, but we can still see them going about their day.

They will not always be in hiding but you should still try to make them as visible as possible.

Wood is less frequently used but still a great substitute for rocks. Rocks will leech off minerals and harden the water, increasing the pH. Wood will release tannins, lowering the pH and turning the aquarium slightly brown. The brown tint does nothing but can be aesthetically pleasing to the aquarium owners. IF you want wood but no brown tint you may have to do more frequent water changes. It depends on how quickly the wood releases tannins. Wood releases less of these as they age inside the aquarium.

Never remove rocks, wood or decorations from the tank to clean them. An exception to this would be slimy oddly colored algae. By cleaning off the tanks environment we remove the beneficial bacteria. If you use any amount of cleaning solution to do so then it is likely the returned item will poison the rest of the remaining bacteria. A reduction in bacteria can easily result in an ammonia spike, killing off everything in the tank. This is hard to see coming as the fish and shrimp will not react to rising ammonia levels.

Equipment Recommendations

Filtration: Use either sponge filters or under gravel filters for the Rili Shrimp’s aquarium. These produce very little suction. In the smaller aquariums the Rili Shrimp is kept in this should not affect the water quality.

These filters will also create a debris packed area, great for shrimp grazing. Be sure to keep the filters in sight so that the shrimp are not hidden when they eat from these filters.

Aeration: trong filtration will usually disturb the waters surface, promoting gas exchange which puts oxygen in the water. Sponge and under gravel filters will not do this. Unless you are moving the waters surface some other way you will need an air pump and air stone combo. The bubbles they produce burst at the top of the tank and promote gas exchange.

I highly advise you buy additional airline tubing and hide the air pump. They are very loud no matter how much you spend on them. Put them inside a box and put the box inside another box. This will cut down on the noise dramatically.

Substrate is important. The three main choices for substrate are sand, gravel or crushed coral. You can also use no substrate, known as a bare bottom tank.

Sand is more expensive but can absorb a lot of nitrates. It proudces a more stable aquarium but does not benefit the Rili Shrimp directly. Water changes will remove more nitrates than the sand will hold, making its nitrate absorbing more of a fun fact than somehting useful.

Gravel and crushed coral are easy for the shrimp to pick up and eat from. They have a lot of surface area to promote beneficial bacteria and are usually the cheaper option. It is very easy to bury plants under gravel and their roots have no issue sticking to small rocks or crushed coral.

Bare bottom tanks are the cheapest and very easy to clean. They act as a 5th wall, producing some surface area for bacteria and algae growth. Standing rocks and keeping plants in place is much more difficult with no substrate.

Feeding Rili Shrimp

When keeping Rili Shrimp you will either have a shrimp only tank or a tank with other creatures that you feed regularly. Depending on this you will do one of two things.

For a shrimp only tank:

They will not be able to find missed scraps of food or fish waste when kept alone. Algae growth is unlikely to support more than one or two shrimp. This means you should feed the Rili Shrimp Two to four times a week. Remove any uneaten food after three hours to stop it from breaking down in the water. Reduce feeding if they are unable to eat what you feed them within three hours.

When feeding shrimp keep an eye on the algae growth. If it is growing rapidly then your are over feeding. If the algae is receding then you are not feeding the shrimp enough and they are over hunting the algae.

Feed them two to four times a week, removing any uneaten food three hours after you add it to the aquarium. Keep an eye on the algae in the aquarium. If the algae is growing quickly then feed the shrimp less. If the algae is receding feed the shrimp more. You want the algae to be relatively constant. Excess waste will grow algae while feeding too little will have the shrimp out hunt the algae growth.

For tanks with fish:

Feed the Rili Shrimp Once a week at most. Unless you have a lot of shrimp the missed foods and waste created by the fish should be enough food for the shrimp to get by. Again keep an eye on the algae growth. too much and the whole tank is being over fed. too little algae and the shrimp are eating algae faster than it can grow.

What to feed them:

Rili 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

For large numbers of shrimp blanched produce is absolutely the way to go. They are much cheaper than prepared foods and come in gigantic sizes relative to the shrimp. A single piece of produce can easily feed a large number of shrimp for a week. A packet of prepared algae wafers would be much more expensive while not giving the shrimp as much nutrition ad fresh produce.

Overfeeding is very dangerous to shrimp. They will stop eating waste and produce their own waste. This can create much more waste than the beneficial bacteria in the aquarium can handle. Excessive waste will turn into either ammonia or nitrites depending on how strong the bacteria is. If it is not reduced to nitrates you can expect he shrimp to die if they continue to be over fed.

Rili Shrimp Tankmates

The Rili Shrimp does not harm other fish, inverts or even each other. Even multiple males will not fight over females. Instead the Rili Shrimp will run away from any sort of confrontation. This makes them ideal for peaceful tanks but also means even the weakest semi aggressive fish can bully and eat the shrimp.

The only Thing to avoid is anything that will eat the Rili Shrimp.

Some people believe that shrimp can form a group and ambush fish, killing and eating fish. This is not true. Shrimp will eat dead or dying fish. If a fish is allowing itself to be eaten it is likely dead or well past the point of return.

Good tankmates for the Pumpkin Shrimp include:

  • Snails
  • Cory Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Mollies
  • Hatchet Fish
  • Thin Tetra fish

Particularly bad tankmates are:

  • Loaches
  • Oscars
  • Koi Fish
  • Tiger Barbs

Rili Shrimp Breeding

The only difficult part of breeding Rili Shrimp is having both genders. The gender of these shrimp can only be seen when they are ready to breed or after they have bred.

Female Rili Shrimp will show a yellow dot near the back of their head when they are ready to breed. Once fertilized their eggs will move to their underbelly and are easily visible. If the shrimp are not trying to breed there is no way to tell them apart.

Do not buy as many female as possible and hope on one or two shrimp being male. As these shrimp are kept in large numbers there is not a greater amount of either gender. getting one female and 5 males will still give you a lot of shrimp within their one year lifetime.

Baby Rili Shrimp will look like miniature adults and will eat the same foods. They are easier for fish to eat, but as they skip larval state they will not be eaten by other shrimp. This makes them have a much higher survival rate than egg releasing shrimp and fish.

This video is very in depth about their siblings, the blue velvet shrimp. Both these and the Rili Shrimp breed the same and are of the same genus. It shows great visuals that can help you spot female shrimp.

To encourage breeding among Rili 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

Keeping food available and over feeding are not the same thing. Do not feed the shrimp so much that their water quality falls. If you want to feed them excessively to make sure they breed you will need to clean the tank and perform frequent water changes. Keep in mind a lot of their food is very small and will get stuck in gravel, caves and various hard to reach places.

After breeding the female will keep the young just below her torso, faning them frequently with her legs. This keeps the baby shrimp oxygenated. The baby shrimp will be released within a few weeks.

To ensure higher survival rates you can remove the female and place them in a second aquarium to give birth. This will keep the miniature shrimp safe from any fish that may be in the main tank. If the main tank does not have fish in it this is not necessary.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.