Blue Tiger Shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

by Michael

The freshwater genus Caridina contains a lot of species, which have become extremely popular in shrimp keeping hobby in last years. One of them is Blue tiger shrimp. Therefore, now, more than ever, we need to have a detailed guide on how to keep, breed, and feed these amazing shrimp.

This is a spectacular shrimp. The blue body, flanked with dark black tiger stripes and orange eyes, sets this shrimp apart from the pack and is sure to catch the eye of onlookers.

So have you got an eye for shrimp and blue tigers in particular? Are you already asking yourself what it would take to keep and breed Blue tiger shrimp as your tank occupants?

Whatever your questions are, as long as it concerns Blue tiger shrimp and how they can be properly kept and bred, you will get all the answers you need by going through the information that will be provided in this guide.

Quick Notes about Blue Tiger Shrimp 

Name Blue Tiger shrimp
Common Name: 
Blue Tiger Shrimp, Orange Eye Blue Tiger, OEBT
Scientific Name Now – Caridina mariae 

Until 2014 – Caridina cf. cantonensissp. “Blue Tiger”

Tank size (optimal) 5 – 10 gallons (~40 liters)
Keeping Moderate
Breeding Easy – Moderate
Size 2.5 – 3 cm (~1 – 1,2 inches)
Optimal Temperature 19 – 24°C  (~65°F – 75°F)
Optimal PH 7.2 – 7.4 (6.5 – 8.0)
Optimal GH 6 – 8 (4 – 10)
Optimal KH 2 – 4 (1 – 8)
Optimal TDS 180 – 220 (100-300)
Nitrate Less than 20 ppm
Diet Algae eater/omnivore
Temperament Peaceful
Life span 1-2 years
Color Form Blue (color grading)

Blue Tiger Shrimp and Taxonomy Problems

Their origin is in Southeast Asia (China). However, to be honest, nobody knows for sure, how they came to this hobby. It is absolutely clear that the Orange eye Blue Tiger Shrimp has been specifically bred for its eye and body coloration and does not appear in the wild. Nonetheless, besides the fact that Blue tiger shrimp started appearing in the shrimp keeping hobby in early 2007, we do not have any information who created this line and how it was done.

Actually, Biologists also have a hard time when it comes to classification these shrimp. For example, they found that Caridina cantonensis shrimp from different streams are genetically highly differentiated and each stream always has its own unique groups, even though some of the streams are separated only by a few kilometers, indicating very limited gene flow across streams. 

For a long time, “Tiger” and “Bee” shrimp have typically been considered to represent phenotypic variants of a single species – Caridina cantonensis.  In 2008, Wang concluded that Caridina maculata and Caridina venusta together represent the ornamental bee shrimp. However, new research by German team Werner Klotz and Thomas von Rintelen suggested otherwise.

In 2014, Klotz & von Rintelen renamed Blue tiger shrimp from Caridina cantonensis to Caridina mariae (Klotz & von Rintelen 2014). According to them, Blue tiger shrimp (Caridina maculata) can be distinguished from congeners by its striking colour pattern which consists of a semi-transparent body with a dark brown to blackish blotch on the lower portion of the carapace, a series of similarly-coloured stripes on the posterior part of the carapace and first six abdominal segments, and a lack of dark markings on the tail fan.

Blue Tiger Shrimp Description

Beyond their blue coloration, blue tiger shrimps can be identified with black stripes that run across their body laterally. Their vertical lateral stripes make them very similar to ordinary tiger shrimps. But while baby blue tiger shrimps look everything like the usual tiger shrimps, they do become more distinguished due to the dark blue coloration that emerges when they begin to mature.

Blue Tigers that start developing their color when they are smaller generally are a darker blue as adults compared to individuals that start developing their color later.

Blue tiger shrimp do not bread true. It means that even from the same batch of eggs, they will not be the same color. That is why, although, they are predominantly blue colored creatures, they can also turn out to be orange in some cases.

It is very unfortunate that coloration is not always passed to all offspring. Thus, if you somehow happen to breed orange colored shrimps, do not worry much as it occasionally occurs.

Even more, sometimes you can get Royal blue tiger shrimp out of ordinary blue tiger shrimp, and vice versa. From Royal blue tiger shrimp, you can get blond, light blue, dark blue colors.

Note: Dark blue tigers are generally most expensive and preferred by most shrimp keepers. Nonetheless, because they do not breed true, the color does not indicate quality or health and good genes pool.

Interesting: There is a theory that orange eyes mean that they are nearly blind due to many generations of interbreeding (mutation) or because in the origin they do not have a lot of light and mostly rely on their senses.

You can read more about “Culling Shrimp. Selective Breeding” right here.

Blue Tiger Male and Female Difference

The females are visibly larger (up to 1 – 1.2 inch or 2.5 – 3 cm) than the males (0.8 – 1 inch or 2 – 2.5 cm). Their underbelly looks more curved than their male counterparts, and they seem to be contrastingly darker in terms of colors.

In some cases, the saddle of a female Blue Tiger Shrimp may be virtually impossible to see because of the dark blue coloration.

So when you are breeding, watch out for the different sizes because if they are all the same you may just be dealing with a particular gender. It is very important that you have this sorted out on time because you need a good ratio of males and females to breed successfully.

You can read more about “Shrimp Gender. Female and Male Difference” right here.

Feeding Blue Tiger Shrimp

Blue Tiger shrimp are not picky eaters. On the contrary, they are pretty aggressive eaters.

Like most freshwater shrimp, Blue Tiger shrimp are scavengers and omnivore. They will eat just about any food they manage to find. Therefore, in a well-established aquarium, your blue tigers will hunt find enough supply of food (algae and biofilm) by themselves.

However, in order to keep them healthy, it will be a good idea to supplement them with common shrimp foods such as Bacter A.E., the varied range of Dennerle Shrimp King, Ebi Dama by Shirakura or the Glassgarden Shrimp Dinner Food Pads, etc.

Expect them to feast their way through algae wafers, blanched  Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce, Carrots, and Spinach. They are also good at eating mosquito larvae.

Important: It is very easy to feed shrimp and even easier to overfeed. I will not get tired of repeating that overfeeding shrimp is the guaranteed way to kill them. That is why, if you are new to this hobby, you should NEVER forget this rule.

You can feed them just once a day (or once in 2 days if you have a matured tank), making the keeping process both inexpensive and highly convenient. Actually, by doing so, you will give them enough motivation to clean your aquarium.

Feed them in rations that would last them up to 3 – 6 hours max when eating. After that, depending on the food, it is better to remove the uneaten part from the tank to prevent messing up the water quality and potential parasite contamination. As a matter of fact, I will stress it out again, this is the main reason why many blue tiger shrimp do not make it eventually.

Blue Tiger Shrimp Habitat

Aquariums that contain a couple of hiding places are much preferred by Blue tiger shrimp. Provide them with driftwood and some plants (like Java Moss) to make them happy.

In addition, driftwood and plants will increase the surface area. The more surface area you have in your tank, the better it is for your shrimp.

Keeping Blue Tiger Shrimp

First of all, your tank must be fully cycled. Blue tiger shrimp cannot survive during cycling – period. As all dwarf shrimp, they are very susceptible to ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Be very careful about it.

Unlike many other Caridina species, Blue Tiger Shrimps do not require active (buffered) substrate. Actually, they prefer the inert substrate. In case you do not know, the inert substrate is a substrate, which does not change water chemistry (PH).

You do not need to make a thick layer of substrate (about 1 inch is good enough). A thin layer does not allow a build-up of toxic gas (hydrogen sulfide) in the substrate.

Because of the inert substrate, lots of shrimp breeders keep Blue tiger shrimp in the higher pH of about 7.2-7.4. However, it is also a well-known fact that Blue tigers can tolerate more acidic pH.

They are good at living healthily in relatively hard water (General hardness 6 – 8). Carbonate hardness (KH) 3-5.

Blue tigers do not need warm temperature. Room temperature will suit them fine. So, there is no need for a heater (unless you have huge temperature fluctuatioins in short period of time).

Regarding filtration, sponge filters are the best option (because of the surface area). I would highly recommend using Matten filters for any shrimp tank.

Last but not least, Blue tiger shrimp are not a good choice for tap water. You need to use RO/DI water remineralized with Salty Shrimp GH/KH+.

Tip: Blue tiger shrimp are social. They need a group of at least 6-8 to feel comfortable.

Acclimatizing Blue tiger Shrimp

Before you add them to their new home, please acclimatize them slowly in a container over a period of several hours.

Important  

Blue tiger shrimp does not tolerate the pollution of the water, the reason is that they are susceptible to diseases, which is probably from the inbreeding to keep the colors blue as much as possible. However, it does not mean that you need to do big water changes every week. Big water changes can cause molting issues.

You can read more about “How to Do and How Often to Do Water Change in Shrimp Aquarium” right here.

Breeding Blue Tiger Shrimp

Blue tiger shrimp is not very difficult because they have no larval stage after hatching. Once they have adapted to their environment (and if water parameters suit them well), you will see berried (eggs under the abdomen) females.

The female will keep the eggs for the entire time necessary for incubation (depending on the temperature it can range from 28 to 36 days). You will see it fanning its eggs regularly with pleopods.

After that, the female will release up to 30 – 40 fully developed shrimplets. At hatching, the young of this species are born as tiny replicas of the adults — not more than 2 mm in length and are perfectly independent. They will resemble normal tiger shrimp, with their blue coloration becoming darker and more intense as the young mature.

I have already said that Blue Tiger Shrimp does not breed true. Therefore, be ready that some baby shrimp will have the blue coloration but some will not. The non-blue shrimplets are simply known as the Orange Eyed Tiger Shrimp or sometimes called Blonde Tiger Shrimp.

Unfortunately, nobody knows the exact ratio of blue vs non-blue baby tiger shrimp. However, Common sense tells us that breeding the blue species will produce a higher ratio of the blue offspring.

Note: If you are using hang on the back (HOB) or canister filters you will have to cover intake, as baby shrimp can be pulled into it.

Blue Tiger Shrimp Tank Mates

Blue tiger shrimp are undoubtedly peace loving and non-aggressive creatures when they find themselves inside a tank environment. But if you want to keep and breed them in community tank you need to be sure that they have lots of places to hide and there are no aggressive fish in your tank that can predate on shrimp. Otherwise, their chances of survival are minimal.

It is not advisable to keep them with other Caridina species (for example, Crystal (Red, Black or Golden), White Bee, or any other Tiger of different colors). It should be avoided because of the risk of hybridization.

In addition, Blue tiger shrimp are very aggressive eaters. For example, they can even outcompete Neocaridina (Red cherry shrimp) for food. Therefore, do not keep them together. On the other hand, you can keep them with Amano shrimp, which are also aggressive eaters and will not be bullied by Blue tiger shrimp, simply because they are way bigger. Nonetheless, if you do not worry about one shrimp colony outcompeting the other then, by all means, do it.

Snails (for example, Rabbit snails,  Nerite snails) can be the best tank mates for Blue tigers, simply because they are extremely beneficial for any shrimp tank. For example, they will break down the food for the shrimp. Their poop is beneficial for shrimp digestion. Snails will keep the nitrogen cycle going because they produce a lot of waste. They will stir the substrates to prevent gas pockets. Also, these snails will never overpopulate your tank.

Conclusion

Blue tiger shrimp is a great species to keep but is on the more expensive side due to its rarity. Also because of the price, I would say that they are not beginner shrimp. However, it becomes pretty easy once you understand the principles of shrimp keeping.

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