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

Tangerine Tiger Shrimp – Detailed Guide Care, Diet, and Breeding

Even though the Tangerine Tiger Shrimp (Caridina serrata) was one of the first known shrimp species described in the scientific literature, it is still a poorly known species.

Although Tangerine Tiger shrimp are not very common in the aquarium trade, they are still one of the best dwarf shrimp you can wish for; they are peaceful, hardy, and easy to care for.

Personally, I think that Tangerine Tiger shrimp are some of the most underrated shrimp in the aquarium hobby.

Therefore, if you are interested in keeping Tangerine Tiger shrimp as an aquarium pet or want to learn more about these interesting creatures, this care guide will tell everything you need to know about them.

Quick Notes about Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Name Tangerine Tiger Shrimp
Other Names Tupfel Shrimp
Scientific Name Caridina serrata
Tank size (optimal) 10 gallons (~40 liters)
Keeping Easy
Breeding Easy (a high order shrimp).
Size 2.5 – 3 cm (~1 – 1,25 inches)
Optimal Temperature 20 – 24 °C (68 – 74 °F)
Optimal PH 6.0 – 7.5 
Optimal GH 4 – 8   
Optimal KH 0 – 4
Optimal TDS 100 – 200 
Nitrate Less than 20 ppm
Diet Algae eater/omnivore
Temperament Peaceful
Life span 1 – 2 years
Color Form Semi-transparent with a yellow, blue, purple, or greenish tint

Note: Sometimes the Tangerine Tiger Shrimp are also called `Neocaridina serrata’ for a population from the Lam Tsuen river, in the central New Territories (Hong Kong). However, this is a mistake. Biologists examined these species and came to the conclusion that they are Caridina cantonensis (Blue bolt shrimp). 

Natural Habitat of Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Caridina serrata species was first found and described from Hong Kong Island in 1860. Since that time, these shrimp have not been found anywhere else. They are endemic to Hong Kong and have locally confined distributions.

The Tangerine Tiger shrimp inhabit small slow-moving streams or rivers both in the mountains and in the plains.

Note: Due to pollution, collection for the aquarium trade, and urbanization of Hong Kong Island, this endemic species is seriously threatened and should be regarded as an endangered species.

Description of the Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Tangerine Tiger shrimp have a very interesting and attractive color. Although in the aquarium trade, we can often see yellow/orange variations of these shrimp, they have way more color variants.

Their translucent bodies can acquire a blue, purple or even greenish tint.

Note: Wild-types of Caridina serrata are more being brown or colorless. It helps them blend into their environment, which makes it harder for predators to find them. All these fancy colors were bred, and slowly brighter colors came out until eventually, we get to the strains.

In addition to dark irregular stripes, their bodies are covered with lots of tiny dots that make them look really fascinating.

Another distinguishable feature of this species is that Caridina serrata has a very short rostrum if we compare it with other shrimp species.

Like all dwarf shrimp, Caridina serrata usually grows up to 2 – 3 cm (~1 inch).
Once a proper aquarium is set up and optimum living conditions are met, Tangerine Tiger shrimp can reproduce and live up to 1.5 – 2 years.

The Behavior of Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Tangerine Tiger shrimp can make a wonderful and rewarding pet for a shrimp keeper.

They are completely harmless and will not bother anybody in the community tank. They are not territorial and prefer to be in large groups.

Even more, the bigger the shrimp colony, the safer they feel and more confident they act. It makes Tangerine Tiger shrimp perfect for keeping with other types of freshwater fish, shrimp, or snails in your aquarium.

Feeding Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Tangerine Tiger shrimp are opportunistic omnivores. They use their specialized chelipeds to consume leaf litter, algae, detritus, etc. As scavengers, they are not picky eaters. These shrimp will eat just about any food they manage to find on the bottom of your tank.

In a well-established tank, they usually can find enough supply of food (algae and biofilm) by themselves.

Nonetheless, in order to keep Tangerine Tiger shrimp healthy, it will be a good idea to supplement them from time to time with common shrimp foods such as Bacter A.E. (read more about it), the varied range of Dennerle Shrimp King, Ebi Dama by Shirakura or the Glassgarden Shrimp Dinner Food Pads, etc.

Make sure to add some blanched zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, carrots, spinach, and

leaves to their diet. Indian almond leaves would be a great choice because of their outstanding qualities and properties

Tangerine Tiger shrimp are very adaptable when it comes to feeding and you should not have problems with that. On the contrary, do not overfeed them!

Feeding Rules and Overfeeding

Important: As a general rule, it is very easy to feed shrimp and even easier to overfeed them. I will not get tired of repeating that overfeeding shrimp is the guaranteed way to foul the water and kill them.

That is why, if you are new to this hobby, you should NEVER forget this rule.

You can feed Tangerine Tiger shrimp just once a day (or once in 2 – 3 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 as well.

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 parts from the tank to prevent messing up the water quality and potential parasite contamination.

You can read more about it in my articles:

How and What to Feed your Shrimp.
How Often and How Much to Feed Shrimp

Indian Almond Leaves and Alder Cones in a Shrimp Tank.
How to Blanch Сucumbers and Zucchini for Shrimp, Snails and Fish the Right Way.

Do not forget that calcium plays a huge role in any shrimp. Therefore. I highly recommend reading my article “How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium”.

Are Tangerine Tiger Shrimp Plant Safe?

If you have planted tank, you will always find Tangerine Tiger shrimp actively searching through the plants and grazing on them. Do not worry, they do not eat healthy plants. However, they will eat dying, rotting, or decaying plants.

Caring and Keeping Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

Care for Tangerine Tiger shrimp is pretty easy. These shrimp are undemanding, easy to keep, and perfect if you are just getting into the shrimp hobby.

The most important factor in keeping your Tangerine Tiger shrimp healthy is a stable nitrogen cycle. Always keep in mind that shrimp are sensitive to ammonia and nitrates.

Tank size

Taking into account their small size, Tangerine Tiger shrimp do not need a large tank. Ideally, a 10-gallon tank (40 liters) will suit them perfectly.

Of course, they can live and thrive even in smaller tanks. However, in this case, you will have to be in constant control over your water parameters because all dwarf shrimp prefer consistency and in small tanks, everything can go wrong very fast.

Therefore, if you are new to the hobby, in my opinion, you should plan on housing them in a tank of at least 10-gallons.

Water Parameters

It is a well-known fact that most Caridina species are finicky when we are talking about water parameters. Luckily, this is not the case with Tangerine Tiger shrimps.

They are probably the hardiest of Caridina species and can handle a wide range of water parameters in the tank. 

Temperature: The optimal temperature should be in the range of 20 – 24 °C (68 – 74 °F). However, they can tolerate lower or higher temperatures as well. According to multiple studies, the temperature is one of the factors affecting their growth, survival, and breeding patterns. Higher temperature will increase their metabolism and breeding rate but will reduce their lifespan.

pH:  Tangerine Tiger shrimp will appreciate water with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, in the range of 6.0 to 7.5. It makes them a great choice for any Neocaridina or Caridina tank setups.

Hardness: Tangerine Tiger shrimp will feel best in the water hardness between the ranges of 4 – 8 GH and 0 – 4 KH.

Important: Check your water parameters and do small water changes. Be consistent in your water quality. Dwarf shrimp do not like big and sudden changes, they can have huge molting problems (like “The white ring of death”) because of it.

Type of Water and Minerals

If you want to create ideal conditions to keep and breed Tangerine Tiger shrimp, I would definitely recommend a good quality type of water (RO/DI).

A reverse osmosis system is an efficient, economical way to produce high-purity water. But this water does not have any minerals, so we have to define all water parameters (pHKHGH, and TDS) manually.

Luckily it is easy to do with shrimp re-mineralizers. Nowadays, there are many good products on the market, for example, Salty shrimp products (GH/KH+ or GH+, read more about it).


Active substrate can play an important role if you need to keep your pH less than 7.0 (neutral).
Note: Active substrate means that it alters (in our case lowers) water parameters (pH).

In this case, you can use substrate like ADA Amazonia aqua soilFluval Plant and Shrimp StratumAkadama-Bonsai soil, etc.
If you do not plan to breed them at their best rate, it is still possible to use sand or gravel (inert substrate) for Tangerine Tiger shrimp tank.


Personally, I would always recommend using sponge filters or matten filters for any shrimp tank setup. They are cheap, easy to maintain and clean, provide a lot of surface to graze on, and absolutely safe for the baby shrimp.

Read more about it in my article “The Best Filtration System for Breeding Shrimp”.


Considering the fact that Tangerine Tiger shrimp species live in streams and rivulets, aeration is also highly recommended.


Light is not important for the Tangerine Tiger shrimp. Lighting should be adapted to the needs of plants in your tank.


This is not necessary but your Tangerine Tiger shrimp will appreciate all types of leaves, rocks, woods, PVC pipes, etc. in your tank. It will give them some places to hide. In addition, they provide a lot of surface area for the algae and biofilm.

You can read more about it in my articles:

Driftwood in Shrimp Tank.
Top 5 Pros and Cons of having Plants in Shrimp Aquarium.

Important: Before putting them into your tank do not forget to carefully acclimate them (read more about it) as all invertebrates. Do it very slowly. In general, 2 – 3 hours will be good enough.

Be careful with chemicals like copper (read more)Crabs, shrimp, and crayfish do not tolerate copper-based medications.

Basic Tank Equipment (links to check the price on Amazon)

Sexing Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

There are few indicators that give away the sex of the Tangerine Tiger shrimp.

  1. The larger shrimp are females. Males are smaller.
  2. Due to the fact that females carry eggs, the underside (abdomen) of the females is wider, it goes down to protect the eggs. Males Sexy shrimp are thinner.
  3. The presence of the saddle or the eggs. Females have longer pleopods since they have to carry the eggs.
  4. Females usually have the most marked colors compared to males.

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

Breeding Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

The Tangerine Tiger shrimp are pretty prolific and can breed very quickly. You only need to set the right conditions for this to happen. As I have already said, your water parameters must be stable and ensure that there is enough food in the tank, especially during the breeding period.

Caridina serrata is a fully freshwater species with an abbreviated larval development lacking planktonic stages. Depending on the temperature, Tangerine Tiger shrimp become sexually mature in 3 – 4 months.

In nature, breeding is mainly restricted to the wet season, as water temperatures rise at the start of the summer monsoon. In the aquariums, we do not have these limitations and can breed them all year round.

Females molt prior to mating and release a certain chemical substance into the surrounding water to attract males. This signals the males that the female is ready to spawn causing the male shrimp to swim in frenzied circuits around the tank, seeking her out.

The number of eggs produced per female depends on the size of the female itself. In most cases, it ranges from 30 to 40 eggs.

The female will keep the eggs under their tail for the entire time necessary for incubation (depending on the temperature it can range from 4 to 5 weeks). You will see it fanning its eggs regularly with pleopods.

At hatching, the young of Caridina Serrata are born as tiny replicas of the adult Tangerine Tiger shrimp. Although, they are very small (about than 2 mm in length), they are completely independent. Tangerine Tiger shrimplets have the same feeding preferences.

Do not worry about their coloration at this stage. It will become more intense as the young mature.

You can also read my article “How to increase shrimplets survival rate?”.

Tangerine Tiger Shrimp and Suitable Tankmates

Keep in mind that Caridina Serrata will crossbreed with most Caridina species (except Amano shrimp). As a result, you will get either some new color patterns and variations or lose color and return to the wild-type coloration that will make you cull them.

That is why, if you want to keep the line, the ideal situation for the Tangerine Tiger shrimp is a species tank or any community tank with Neocaridina species.
Note: They can be kept together with Neocaridina shrimp without the risk of interbreeding.

Due to their peaceful nature, it makes a lot of sense if Tangerine Tiger shrimp are kept together with tank mates that are equally quiet, peaceful and can share the same water parameters with them.

Tangerine Tiger shrimp are compatible with:


Keep Tangerine Tiger shrimp away from most types of crayfish and freshwater crabs. Even small African Dwarf Frogs can and will try to catch the shrimp whenever it is possible.

In Conclusion

Tangerine Tiger shrimp is a truly amazing and fascinating species. They are very social, peaceful, undemanding, hardy, and easy to breed.

All these features make them perfectly suitable even for beginners looking to keep ornamental pet shrimp. All in all, they will be a great addition to any tank.

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