New Sulawesi Shrimp

February 7th, 2008

For those of you like me, who haven’t heard the news, there is an exciting new group of shrimp coming into the hobby from Sulawesi, Indonesia. The shrimp are freshwater, but exhibit striking similarities to some marine types of shrimp, especially in their coloration. Most have yet to be fully identified, so they could go by a variety of names.

Caridina sp. “Orangedelight”

The Sulawesi region contains two ancient lakes, Lake Poso and the five-lake Malili system. These old lakes have allowed the species within them to evolve uniquely from their counterparts in surrounding bodies of water. The lakes themselves are a little bit more alkaline than what many of the shrimp we’re used to keeping live in.

Species TBD

From wklotz:

In the Towuti, Mantoano and Poso lakes you can find pH values between 7,4 and 8,2; appear to require the higher pH. the conductivity is at about 224 µS and the total hardness at about 6°DH.
The water temperature is rather stable at about 26,5°C. (80°F) Only in shallow water regions near the shore the temperature can rise to 29°C. (84°F) The Malili system lakes have relatively normal water parameters, with soft water and pH slight alkaline.

Species TBD

There are some problems, however with these shrimp. For starters, many of them have an adult size of 1cm, which would make them unsuitable additions to most people’s fish tanks. Additionally, while they have been kept successfully in captivity, they’re usually kept at a pH greater than 8.0 with no CO2 added, which is problematic for many planted tanks.

Species TBD

Finally, at least one of the species, Caridina spongicola, may not survive due to a possible interdependence with a freshwater sponge. It’s still unclear whether this is a firm requirement, but in the wild, C. spongicola appears to have descended from rock-dwelling shrimp that now use sponges for shelter, and their collected diatoms for food.

Caridina spongicola

That said, at least one member on the Shrimp Now thread have reported eggs forming and hatching when the adult reaches ~1cm in length. Some of the juveniles appear to be viable, so captive breeding may be a possibility.

Species TBD

Of all of the shrimp, Caridina sp. ‘cardinal’ seems to be the easiest to keep, with not surprisingly, the C. spongicola being the most delicate. Many folks report keeping multiple species in a single tank without concerns of interbreeding. It’s possible that this claim is made too early in the process to be conclusive.

Caridina sp. “Goldpowder”

It’s important that commercial shrimp farmers find a way to mass produce these shrimp, as wild collecting can not be sustainably done due to the narrow habitat in which they live.

From Kristina von Rintelen:

Imminent threats are habitat destruction due to canalization work in the outlet area for the hydroelectric dams of a large nickel mine operating in the area, and possibly aquarium trade, where Caridina is a well sought-after pet due its partially flamboyantly coloured species. The Malili lakes have recently received much interest from this side (Chris Lukhaup 2006, personal communication). Protective measures should be taken to ensure not only the existence of the two beautiful species but also to enable further research on the evolution of specialization and interspecific association in this ancient lake model system that can continue to improve our understanding of the origin of these traits.

Caridina sp. “Freshwater Cardinalshrimp”

These shrimp appear to be fairly shy shrimp, preferring dimmer light levels, and doing most of their foraging at night. The exception to that is the Caridina sp. ‘Caridina’ which people have reported as being fairly active.

Caridina sp. “Goldenbackline”

Similar to the Caridina spongicola possible dependence on sponges, some have speculated that the color of the substrate may also serve to keep different species more at home.

Caridina sp. “Sunghai Electric”

Finally, I do not recommend anyone currently buying these shrimp unless they are captive bred, or willing to breed and sell the shrimp themselves. The cost is probably a barrier for most folks anyways, as they’re currently retailing for $40-$45/shrimp from the U.S. online seller, Planet Inverts.

Information collected from the Shrimp Now forum. Also, from here. And here. Photos from Experienced shrimp breeders can purchase some of these from Planet Inverts.

35 Responses to “New Sulawesi Shrimp”

  1. Holy G Says:

    Wow I like the black one. I wonder if they are as easy to breed as my other shirmp in the tank.

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Some folks have had success breeding a few of these, but I don’t know which ones.

  3. Tennessee Mom Says:

    They are all beautiful and I hope someone can find a way to breed them. Any idea what the grass is that is in all the pictures?

  4. guitarfish Says:

    I’m not exactly sure what the grass is in these pictures. I guess it could be hairgrass trimmed extra short, but I’m not sure. I’d like to know myself.

  5. twicebirth Says:

    the grass in those pics are mini hair grass, Yes those shrimps can breed in captivity.

  6. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks twicebirth. Do you know the species on the mini hair grass? It appears too short to be E. parvula, unless it’s trimmed.

    Have you bred these shrimp yourself?

  7. twicebirth Says:

    Those hair grass is sp. I got from Japan and once a long time was found in gold fish market Hong Kong.
    Yes, I’ve bred Sulawesi shrimps and hight lavel of CRS also.

  8. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for the update twicebirth! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that hair grass. If you ever see a source for it, I’d appreciate you letting me know.

    Do you know which Sulawesi shrimp you’ve bred? Have you found that they’re pretty much all the same in terms of difficulty, or are some more difficult than others? (For example, some report that the C. spongicola are more difficult/sensitive than the others.)

  9. twicebirth Says:

    The breeding of Sulawesi shrimp is quite easy than CRS and easy to take care the baby than the hight lavel grade of CRS too.

    I know some one who keep the same sp. mini hair grass. Some time he had to spend to the market but not to much.

  10. Sulawesi Shrimp - Orchid and Six Banded Black Bee-- Guitarfish Says:

    […] recently had the opportunity to get a batch of the new shrimp from Sulawesi, Indonesia. It appears that these are starting to appear in import lists, which indicates that the shrimp farms […]

  11. Chris Lukhaup Says:

    Hello @ all,

    that is not a grass..that is Cladophora aegagrophila.
    Chris Lukhaup /

  12. Tennessee Mom Says:

    You mean the stuff I already have in my tanks.. marimo balls? I didn’t realize it looked so good, I need to take a closer look (and get a better camera!).

  13. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for stopping by Chris! Wow, it just shows how small these shrimp are if that’s Cladophora aegagrophila. Thanks for confirming.

  14. silane Says:

    The price of these shrimps have dropped to a unbearable low, that is about $US3. Not many are keeping them or even trying to keep them as like before, words of high death rate has spreaded.

    Personally, I have glad that species I like, Karidinal is able to breed in captivity.

    I made a night shot video on their feasting which can be found here:

  15. guitarfish Says:

    Hi Silane. What part of the world are you from where they’re only $3? The price still seems quite high ($10-$15 wholesale, $20-$35 retail) for most of these shrimp that I’ve seen on importers lists.

  16. HsuPi Says:

    We export price is US$ 2/pc. Shipping 48hrs, DOA less than 5%.

  17. HsuPi Says:

    If you need, we also can give you the best price & quality Cardinal shrimp.

  18. xindaa Says:

    Hi HsuPi:Where are you from,I need Cardinal shrimp.I am from China.

  19. fw help - MyFishTank.Net Freshwater Saltwater Aquarium Fish Forum Says:

    […] idea of what all is out there. Do your research if you decide to get any of the Salawesi Shrimp. New Sulawesi Shrimp– Guitarfish __________________ Yup, I’ve got tanks. […]

  20. Be Says:

    Hi!. HsuPi I’d like to know how can I buy shrimp from you too!…

  21. Sherry Says:

    I was looking up this shrimp as a group I am a member is selling them.

    Re the grass. Having both riccia (which I thought it was at first) and the Cladophora aegagrophila but in ball for, – that confused me as it didn’t look like either but both (I had seen it grown under high light set up in Chinatown store on wood). But never as a foreground.

    Here is a link for more information. I tried to atatch the ball onto wood but it never did attach. Here is interesting conversation (The Krib group) on the subject – maybe two different types as from one person’s experience his ball algae would never adhere but his friend’s would? Best Sherry

    Has anyone here had any experience with using the algae Cladophora aegagropila in aquascaping?

    It’s a dense, green thread algae with very slow growth. If I’m not misinformed, Tropica has recently started selling it and it’s becoming quite popular in Denmark. It’s used stretched out in the foreground of the tank to form a lush, green carpet – much like Riccia in Amanos tanks. The difference being that Cladophora stays in place and doesn’t need constant pruning since it grows very slowly. And to my eye, it’s at least as beautiful.

    (more at link)

    The type of Cladophora (whether it’s a different species or just a different form is open for discussion) that forms these balls doesn’t seem to want to adhere to a substrate. I have them sitting on driftwood, sitting on the substrate and tucked into the branches of Anubias. They have never attached in any of these situations. And as Tom mentioned, they don’t seem to be very tasty. I have good algae eating crews in my tanks, and the balls have remained untouched. I can’t think of any negative aspects of this algae!

    Because of my positive experience with algae balls, I became interested when a friend’s tank developed a beautiful growth of Cladophora on a large piece of driftwood. He watched this develop over quite a long period, and the algae never climbed off its perch to infest other parts of the tank.

    Eventually, he sent me some to play with. Unlike the algae balls, this form does attach to wood. But like the algae balls, it is very slow growing, and has shown no sign of being ill-behaved. It is clearly different from the algae ball type, with shorter filaments that develop into a shorter, velvety mound. I actually have both sitting touching each other, and neither invades the space of the other.

    I don’t think this type competes well with fast growing plants. I have not been able to establish it in my high light/fast growth tanks, but only in my moderate light/no CO2 tank which houses only ferns, mosses and Anubias.

    Maybe if I were to transfer it already attached to a piece of driftwood it would do better, but I’ll need to wait until it has grown more before I try that, and as I said, the growth is slow. Maybe next year.

    I think this type has a better chance of being used as an effective foreground plant, if you got it to colonize a flattish piece of driftwood
    across the front of the tank, it would fill the same roll as Riccia covered rocks, and could be easily lifted up to shake/brush off mulm.

  22. TrentonDevl Says:

    Anyone ever find a good source for these shrimp? HsuPi, are you still there? I think there are still quite a few of us who’d be interested if you’re still available for biz?


  23. guitarfish Says:

    Just for everyone’s knowledge, I believe HsuPi is a wholesaler who only deals in the thousands of shrimp. I’m still looking for a good dealer in the U.S. for these shrimp. Preferably someone who’s breeding them inside the U.S.

  24. HsuPi Says:

    Yes, I had the cardinal shrimp.If you will more details about price list and stock list,please email to our mail address :

  25. narodnaya Says:

    just for ur info ; in indonesia (jakarta) this shrimp cost only 1$ dan goes below that if u buy more than 100….

  26. Cardinals - Page 2 Says:

    […] of sulawesi shrimps in Indonesia has dramatically dropped below $1.00 for wholesale. check Kris’ guitarfish site, or any website of freshwater tropical fish farm from Indonesia, virtually every farm has sulawesi […]

  27. rainbowdarter Says:

    had made enquiry from indonesia breeder…cost about 1500 indonesia rupiah. Yup about US1.00 dollar.
    hope to get few hundred of different species from Yasmine.

  28. JS Says:

    Has anyone ordered from Yasmin and received the shrimps?

  29. Igor Says:

    Is it possible to buy Cardinal shrimps and have them shipped to Canada?

  30. Bobbitoblaze Says:

    Did anyone order from yasmine?

  31. Bobbitoblaze Says:

    Well I notice it’s an old post bit yasmine e mail is no longer valid. Has anyone four a relible US seller feel free to contact me with the info

  32. FionaTan Says:

    How do I breed these shrimps? I am a beginner hoping to rear these beautiful shrimps. Can anyone please guide me along? Thanks 🙂

  33. uggs Says:

    The next time I read through a blogs, I really hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I’m sure it’s my choice to read, but I definitely assumed you may have something great to share. Most I hear is often a couple of whining about something you can solve if you werent too busy looking for attention.

  34. winegavel Says:

    These are very relevant points that I will try out, I am glad I ran into it. Thanks.

  35. ezmay Says:

    was wondering if any of these really cool shrimp have made it to australia as id love all the colours and heaps for my 4ft tank