Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp 101: Care Guide & Breeding Guide 2022

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: June 13, 2022

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is a type of freshwater shrimp found in the rivers and lakes of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. They are a popular food item in the region and are also exported to other parts of the world.

They are one of the world's most underrated species of shrimp and are a great alternative to the more commonly eaten shrimp species. But if you're interested in trying them, you'll have to go to Indonesia, as they are unavailable in most other parts of the world.

Sulawesi Shrimp care requires a little more attention than some other freshwater shrimp species, but if you're up for the challenge, they are worth it.

Species Summary

Scientific name:Caridina dennerli
Common name:Cardinal shrimp, Sulawesi shrimp
OriginSulawesi Island, Indonesia
Size:Up to 1 inch long
Tank size:5 gallons
pH range:7.8-8.2
Temperature range:78°-88°F
Feeding:Omnivorous, will eat most types of food
Breeding:Easy
Care Level:Moderately difficult
Nature:Peaceful
Life Span:1-2 years
Compatibility:Excellent
Diet:Algae, plankton, small insects, worms

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Habitat

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are found only in the freshwater streams and rivers of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. They are not found in salt water and cannot survive in too acidic or alkaline conditions.

Sulawesi is located in the eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago and comprises four main islands- Sulawesi, Buton, Muna, and Banggai.

The Sulawesi shrimp are found in both the fresh and brackish water of these islands and can tolerate various water conditions. They prefer slightly acidic water with a temperature range of 78-88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Appearance

The shrimp's body is a reddish-orange color, with a few black spots. The antennae and legs are also black.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Appearance

The shell is transparent, and you can see the internal organs and muscles of the shrimp. They have two pairs of claws, one larger pair, and one smaller pair.

They get their name from the bright red cardinal-like color on their tails.

The entire shrimp is covered in tiny bristles, making them a little prickly to the touch.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Size & Growth Rate

When you first purchase a Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp, it will be around 1/2"-1" long. The size of the shrimp varies depending on the age and sex of the shrimp.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Size & Growth Rate

Male shrimp are usually smaller than female shrimp, and young shrimp are typically smaller than adults.

The average growth rate for a Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is about 1/2" per month.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Lifespan

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp live slightly longer than most other types of freshwater shrimp. The average lifespan of them is up to two years, although some shrimp have been known to live up to 3 years in captivity.

That isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, but it is still a decent lifespan for a freshwater shrimp.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Behavior & Temperament

At first, Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are shy and will spend most of their time hiding. However, they will become more active as they get used to their surroundings.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Behavior & Temperament

When stressed or frightened, they release a black ink that can stain water and surfaces.

They are very active shrimp and are best kept in a tank with plenty of room to swim. Over time, your Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp will become more trusting of you and start coming out of their shells.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Breeding

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are a difficult species to breed in the home aquarium.

To breed them, you will need to provide them with a tank of at least 20 gallons. The tank should be heavily planted and have a lot of hiding places for the shrimp to hide. The water temperature should be around 78°F, and the pH should be approximately 7.8-8.2.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Breeding

To encourage breeding, you can provide your shrimp with a diet high in vegetable matter.

They will usually breed after being in the tank for a few months. The eggs will be deposited on the underside of leaves and will hatch in about 2 weeks.

Once the eggs have hatched, you will need to remove the fry to a separate tank so they can be appropriately raised.

The good news is that they are not as difficult to breed as other shrimp species. Following the proper breeding conditions can increase your chances of successfully breeding them.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Care

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp care is a little bit more complex than some of the other freshwater shrimp species. But if you're up for the challenge, they are worth it.

Thus, they don't make the best beginner shrimp and are better suited for more experienced shrimp keepers.

Here are some of the things you need to know to care for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp properly:

Tank Size

Because they are smaller shrimp, they can be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons. But for optimal care, keeping them in a tank that is at least 20 gallons is recommended.

Many owners of this shrimp-like keep them in a planted tank, as they enjoy the algae and other plants that grow in the tank.

Water Parameters

When you're caring for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp, it is important to maintain the following water parameters:

  • pH: The pH should be between 7.8-8.2
  • Temperature: The temperature should be in the 78°-88°F
  • Hardness: The water hardness should be around 6-8 dGH or less.

If you can keep these water parameters within the ranges listed, your shrimp should be happy and healthy.

With their easy breeding habits, you may find a lot of baby Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp in your tank. If the water parameters start to get out of range, you will need to take action to correct them.

Water Changes

It is essential to perform water changes regularly to keep the water parameters stable. A weekly water change of 30-50% is recommended.

Filtration

To keep the water parameters stable and the tank clean, it is essential to use a good quality filter. A filter with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration is best.

Some of the famous Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp filters are:

  • Aqua Clear 70: These filters are great for tanks up to 70 gallons. They have a three-stage filtration system that helps to keep your tank clean and your shrimp healthy.
Aqua Clear 70
  • Fluval C4: This filter is perfect for tanks up to 55 gallons. It has a five-stage filtration system that helps to keep your water clear and your shrimp healthy.
Fluval C4

  • Eheim 2217:This filter is great for tanks up to 220 gallons. It has a three-stage filtration system that helps to keep your tank clean and your shrimp healthy.
Eheim 2217

Heater

If your tank is kept in a room below the recommended temperature range for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp, you will need to use a heater to keep the water at the correct temperature.

Some famous heater brands for shrimp tanks are:

  • Aqua-Tech: This heater is perfect for tanks up to 100 gallons. It has a built-in thermostat that helps to keep the water at the correct temperature.
  • Hydor Theo: This heater is perfect for tanks up to 300 gallons. It has a digital thermostat that helps to keep the water at the correct temperature.
Hydor Theo

Lighting

Aquatic plants need light to grow, and Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp enjoy the presence of aquatic plants in their tank. To provide your shrimp and plants with the light they need, you will need to use a good-quality aquarium light.

Some famous aquarium lights are:

  • Sunpod LED: This light is perfect for tanks up to 20 gallons. It has a built-in timer that helps to keep your tank light schedule on track.
  • AquaticLife T5 HO: This light is perfect for tanks up to 55 gallons. It has a six-tube design that provides plenty of light for your plants and shrimp.
AquaticLife T5 HO

Other Tank Accessories

In addition to a filter, heater, and light, there are other tank accessories that you may find helpful when keeping Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp.

CO₂ System

A CO₂ system helps provide plants with the carbon they need to grow. It also helps keep the water's pH in the correct range.

CO₂ System

Aquarium Substrate

A good quality aquarium substrate will help to keep your tank clean and your shrimp healthy. Using an inert substrate that doesn't release any toxins into the water is recommended.

Aquarium Decor

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp enjoy the presence of aquatic plants and decorations in their tank. You can use various decorations to create a fun and inviting environment for your shrimp.

Now that you know the basics of keeping Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp, you can start setting up your shrimp tank. Be sure to keep the water parameters within the recommended ranges and use a good quality filter, heater, and light to provide your shrimp with the best possible environment. With a bit of care and attention, you can have a beautiful tank of Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp that will bring you hours of enjoyment.

Cleaning The Tank

In order to keep your Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp thriving, it is essential to clean the tank regularly. A weekly water change of 30-50% is recommended. In addition, you should clean the filter regularly and remove any uneaten food or waste from the tank. By keeping the tank clean, you will help to ensure that your shrimp are healthy and happy.

Common Potential Diseases

The Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is a hardy shrimp that is not prone to many diseases. However, there are a few diseases that you should be aware of in case they occur in your tank.

  • Bacterial Hith: Bacterial hith is a bacterial infection that can cause lesions on the shrimp's body. The symptoms of this disease include red lesions on the body, loss of appetite, and discoloration of the antennae.
  • Viral Hith: Viral hith is a viral infection that can cause lesions on the shrimp's body. The symptoms of this disease include red lesions on the body, loss of appetite, and discoloration of the antennae.
  • Fungal Hith: Fungal hith is a fungal infection that can cause lesions on the shrimp's body. The symptoms of this disease include red lesions on the body, loss of appetite, and discoloration of the antennae.
  • Parasites: Parasites are tiny creatures that can attach themselves to the shrimp's body and suck their blood. The symptoms of a parasite infestation include loss of appetite, weight loss, and discoloration of the body.

If you suspect your shrimp have parasites, you should treat them with a deworming medication.

Treatment And Medications Of Diseases

Several different treatments and medications are available for the diseases that can affect Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp.

Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Bacterial Hith: Copper-based medications are generally effective in treating bacterial hith.
  • Viral Hith: Copper-based medications are generally effective in treating viral hith.
  • Fungal Hith: Fungicides can be used to treat fungal hith.
  • Parasites: Deworming medications can be used to treat parasites.

By knowing the common treatments for the diseases that can affect Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp, you can help to ensure that your shrimp stay healthy and happy. By using a combination of good water quality, regular tank cleaning, and proper medication, you can help to keep your shrimp healthy and thriving.

Food & Diet

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are omnivorous and will eat a variety of different foods. They prefer to eat a diet high in vegetable matter, but they will also eat protein-based foods.

You can provide your shrimp with a healthy diet by providing them with various foods. Some good food options include:

  • Vegetables: Raw or cooked vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, kale, spinach, and broccoli make a good diet for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp.
  • Fish: Small fish such as guppies or minnows can be fed to your shrimp.
  • Worms: Live earthworms make a good diet for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp.

By providing your shrimp with various foods, you can ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to thrive.

You can also give your shrimp freeze-dried bloodworms or brine shrimp for snacks.

Diet Foods To Avoid

There are a few foods that you should avoid feeding your Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp. These foods include:

  • Uncooked Meat: Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria that can make your shrimp sick.
  • Fish feed: Fish feed is high in protein and can cause nutritional deficiencies in your shrimp.
  • Salt: Excessive salt can be harmful to shrimp and can cause dehydration.

By avoiding these foods, you can help to ensure that your shrimp have a healthy diet.

Tank Mates

Let's be clear; Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is not the best tank mate for just any shrimp. They can be quite aggressive and not get along well with other shrimp species.

However, they make great tank mates for fish and other invertebrates.

Some good tank mates for Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp include:

  • Guppies: Guppies are hardy fish that can withstand the aggression of Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp.
  • Cichlids: Cichlids are large, colorful fish that can hold their own against aggression.
  • Other Shrimp: Other shrimp species will not fare well against the aggression of Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp and will likely be killed.

Knowing the suitable tank mates for them can help ensure they live a long and healthy life in your aquarium.

Advantages Of Having Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp In Your Tank

There are several advantages to keeping Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp in your tank. These shrimp are hardy and can withstand a wide range of water conditions. They are also very active and will bring much life and color to your aquarium.

Additionally, Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is a peaceful shrimp species that will not get along well with other shrimp species. They make great tank mates for fish and other invertebrates.

Lastly, Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are difficult to breed in the home aquarium, but with the right conditions, you can increase your chances of successfully breeding them. Following the proper breeding, requirements, ensure that your shrimp will live a long and healthy life in your aquarium.

Disadvantages Of Having Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp In Your Tank

One potential disadvantage of keeping Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp in your tank is that they can be aggressive and will not get along well with other shrimp species. Additionally, these shrimp are a difficult species to breed in the home aquarium. Following the proper breeding conditions can increase your chances of successfully breeding them. However, if you do not follow the appropriate breeding conditions, you may not be successful in breeding them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp make a great addition to any tank and will bring a lot of life and color to your aquarium. Knowing the suitable tank mates for them can help ensure they live a long and healthy life in your aquarium. Additionally, these shrimp are hardy and peaceful species that will not get along well with other shrimp species. Lastly, they are a difficult species to breed in the home aquarium, but with the right conditions, you can increase your chances of successfully breeding them.

Thank you for reading!

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