Mixing Neocaridina Shrimp: Colors and Crossbreeding

If you’ve considered setting up a shrimp tank, you’ve probably thought about keeping cherry, dream blue, or yellow shrimp.

These species come in eye-catching colors and belong to the Neocaridina genus, a type of small freshwater shrimp. Those interested in shrimp keeping might be wondering whether mixing Neocaridina shrimp is a good idea.

Unfortunately, keeping several Neocaridina species in the same tank leads to crossbreeding, meaning that the offspring may have an unattractive, brownish color.

However, many people have started crossbreeding different Neocaridina species to produce shrimp with new color combinations (like those with stripes, called rili shrimp).

This article will discuss everything you need to know about crossbreeding Neocaridina shrimp and color mixing. Read on to learn more.

mixing neocaridina shrimp


What Colors Do Neocaridina Shrimp Come In?

When found in the wild, Neocaridina shrimp boast a brownish hue. This pigmentation helps the shrimp escape predators and blend in with their surroundings.

However, tanks are a safe, predator-free environment, and shrimp breeding has produced multiple species with alluring pigmentation, from red, orange, and yellow, to blue, green, and black.

For example, three of the most popular Neocaridina species are the red cherry, the green jade, and the blue dream shrimp.

The red cherry species is known for its bright red pigmentation, which complements freshwater tanks full of green plants and dark gravel.

On the other hand, the darker green hue of green jade shrimp stands out in tanks with lighter gravel or substrate.

Many shrimp keepers go for the red cherry or blue dream species since they breed quickly, require little upkeep, and feature a striking deep blue color.

With the popularity of these colors, these shrimp are fairly easy to sell at good grades.

Can You Mix Neocaridina Shrimp Colors?

Nearly all Neocaridina species are prone to crossbreeding. As a result, the different types will mingle and produce offspring that differ in color from the original species.

But when you maintain optimal conditions, you can selectively breed shrimp with a unique pigmentation.

Most Neocaridina species have similar characteristics and require the same conditions to thrive in freshwater tanks.

Since they belong to the same genus, two or more Neocaridina types can cohabitate in a single tank without difficulty.

Can Blue Shrimp Breed With Cherry Shrimp?

Both blue and cherry shrimp belong to the Neocaridina genus, meaning they can peacefully live together in a freshwater tank.

Both types are relatively low-maintenance, and the main difference is their color.

Inbreeding is a common occurrence with these shrimp, and the offspring typically has a brownish pigmentation.

Although breeding red shrimp with their blue counterparts usually produces brownish offspring with green undertones, there are instances where that’s not the case.

Some shrimp breeders have found that keeping Red and Blue Shrimp together leads to fry that leans toward a shade of red or blue.

Note that it’s more common to get reddish shrimp since the genes that result in the blue pigmentation are very challenging to isolate.

It’s more likely to find offspring that mix the two colors. So, for example, you might find that the fry has orange bodies with blue tails.

Remember that red shrimp won’t breed with species belonging to different Neocaridina families.

They’ll only reproduce with Neocaridina davidi shrimp. Keeping them with Neocaridina zhangjiajiensis species such as the blue pearl shrimp will yield no results.

Can Red and Yellow Shrimp Breed?

The yellow and red variants belong to the same Neocaridina genus, and when they crossbreed, they produce offspring that features a pale color.

Additionally, mixing two species that have been selectively bred could also lead to variants that have a brownish hue. This is the color most Neocaridina davidi species have in the wild.

Yellow and red cherry shrimp aren’t demanding species, so the two can coexist in a freshwater tank as long as you maintain optimal water quality.

If the water is clean and filtered, 10 liters should be enough to sustain an entire colony.

It’s best to pick one species and pair them with shrimp from a different genus.

For example, the best tank mates for yellow shrimp are emerald dwarf rasbora, coral red pencil fish, and celestial pearl danios.

How Do You Get Rili Shrimp?

Red Rili shrimp is a sought-after variant due to its unique color pattern.

You can selectively breed Rili shrimp from the red cherry variant, and the fry will feature the distinctive Rili design with bright red heads, tails, and transparent bodies.

Red Rili shrimp require little maintenance and can adapt to different water conditions.

Although you can keep them in hard and soft water, it’s recommended to house them in hard water. Also, maintaining a pH of 8 or higher helps intensify their pigmentation.

Before introducing the shrimp to the aquarium, ensure it’s fully cycled. Also, minimize ammonia and nitrate levels to keep the Rili shrimp in perfect condition.

Finally, only feed the shrimp two to three times a week since overfeeding may lead to death.

Red Rili shrimp breed rapidly, so your colony will grow in no time. Female shrimp carry eggs for approximately one month.

The fry feeds on biofilm until they fully develop, so they must be kept in a well-maintained tank.

Red Rili shrimp is a strain of Neocaridina davidi, so avoid mixing them with other Neocaridina species to prevent crossbreeding and losing their signature pigmentation.

Tips for Mixing Neocaridina Shrimp to Get New Colors

Unless you take good care of your shrimp, mixing Neocaridina shrimp will cause the fry to revert to their natural greenish-brown color.

To keep the fry healthy and get new colors, place lots of plants in the tank and maintain optimal water levels.

It’s also a good idea to introduce unrelated shrimp regularly to prolong the colony’s life span.

When you add new batches to a tank or aquarium, you prevent trait depression with new fry. Trait depression includes color loss, a lower survival rate, a higher risk of physical deformities, etc.

Fortunately, interbreeding or introducing unrelated shrimps keeps the fry healthy and minimizes the risk factors.

For best results, start with mixing 10 to 15 Neocaridina shrimp. As the shrimp breed, remove the adults with the dullest color first but don’t remove the fry since shrimp display their brightest colors in adulthood.

Moreover, remove unwanted shrimp one to two times a week to preserve the color brightness of newer generations.

In Summary

Many people are reluctant to try shrimp keeping because they believe mixing Neocaridina shrimp is impossible, but that’s not true.

Mixing different species from the same genus is challenging since crossbreeding often results in fry with a dull brown color.

But with a bit of patience, dedication, and maintenance, you can encourage the shrimp to grow and reproduce, filling the tank with brightly colored fry.

In addition, if you monitor the tank and remove unwanted shrimp regularly, your colony will stay healthy for a long time.

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