You will know why this shrimp was named a panda shrimp when you lay your first glance at this shrimp. These shrimps aren’t an original species and result from a cross between the crystal white shrimps and crystal red shrimps. Hence the similar color to the real panda makes this one of the most sought out shrimps right now.
In this detailed article, you will know about the origin of the panda shrimps, diet and feeding, habitat, setting up the tank, required equipment, breeding, and other essential tips to keep panda shrimps in your tank.
So let’s begin with the origin.
As already mentioned, panda shrimps are the result of cross-breeding of crystal white or crystal red shrimps. So being the cross of caridina species, these shrimps also fall under the same family. Tracing the original species, we can know that these shrimps are native to Taiwan and Hong Kong. This is why they are also popular as Taiwan bees. In the wild, they reside in the small tannin-stained rivers and streams of Southern China.
A decade ago, the panda shrimps weren’t considered for beginner shrimp hobbyists as they were harder to maintain. But the recent addition of genetic pools and more crossovers among the caridina has made them relatively easier for anyone to keep. Nevertheless, you will require adequate knowledge of these shrimps to keep them fat and thriving.
There are several variations of the panda shrimps. An easy way to distinguish these panda shrimps is by their appearance. Shrimps under the panda shrimps can be white, blue, and black. And several of them have different patterns in their colors, which is why each has a separate name.
How Big Can Panda Shrimps Get?
The adult panda shrimps will reach up to a maximum size of 2 inches in length. The females are larger than males. An adult male will reach about 1.5 inches whereas the females grow up to 2 inches.
There are several other shrimp morphs in the Panda shrimp category.
Some other morphs in panda shrimps are:
- Black King Kong Panda Shrimp
- Black Panda Shrimp
- King Kong Ghost
- Red Ruby or Golden
- Blue Bolt Mosura
- Blue Panda Shrimp
Water Parameters For Panda Shrimp
Though these shrimps can flourish in other freshwater shrimp’s water parameters, they need an optimum water parameter to be in their best habitat. So, let’s cover the preferred water parameters required for panda shrimps.
- Water type: Freshwater
- Temperature: 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 – 22 degrees Celsius
- PH Value: 5.5 – 7.0
- GH Value: 3 – 6
- KH Value: 0 – 2
- TDS (Total Dissolved Solids): 90 – 120
Many expert shrimp breeders do not recommend using direct tap water for keeping shrimps in the aquarium. Instead, use RO/DI water which stands for Reverse Osmosis De-Ionized water. The RO process will remove up to 90% of contaminants from the water. And, the De-Ionizing will remove all the mineral ions from the water. Thus, you will have clean water free from minerals, allowing you to re-mineralize the water with the right amounts required for your shrimps.
Here’s a remineralizer that will provide your shrimps with the essential minerals and supplements.
You might have noticed that the optimum temperature for panda shrimps is relatively lesser than other freshwater shrimps like cherry shrimps and ghost shrimps. These fore mentioned shrimps’ optimum temperature is around 77 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (25 – 27 degrees Celsius), whereas the panda shrimps have 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 – 22 degrees Celsius). Thus, you might want to think twice before keeping the dwarf shrimp and caridina species together.
The same applies to the PH, GH, and KH values. These discrepancies in water content necessarily don’t stop you from having these shrimps together in a community tank but are not the preferred optimum water parameter for panda shrimps.
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Tank Size and Setup For Panda Shrimps
Take into consideration that a larger tank will be a healthy choice for your shrimps. In a roomier aquarium, your shrimps will have enough pasture to graze on, which means that your shrimplets will find it perfect for thriving.
Further along, you can add other shrimps and tank mates if you consider building a community tank.
For starters, get at least 10 gallons. Usually, a 5-gallon tank would have sufficed keeping other freshwater shrimps, but as these panda shrimps are fragile, you need to get a tank that can house a stable habitat.
Filters And Air Pumps For Panda Shrimps
There’s a high chance that your shrimp will be sucked up if you use regular filters in a shrimp tank. So go for the sponge filters. This type of filter will be easy to clean and maintain. It provides your shrimp tank with good water circulation and surface agitation too. So sponge filters are cost-effective and reliable.
You can also get a canister filter for your shrimp tanks. They are expensive than the sponge filters, but they can be customized as per your need. For example, unlike sponge filters, you can put them in an external housing to save aquarium space for the shrimps. And if you have a large community tank where you are keeping other tank mates along with your panda shrimps, then this filter is ideal as it can filter more water at a time.
However, they are expensive and can be hard to maintain. Plus, they are relatively noisy too.
So whichever filter you use, make sure you have a filter guard too. They will prevent any external leaves or even your shrimps from entering the filter.
Recommendation For Air Pump
Substrates for Panda Shrimp Tank
Active soil substrates work best in a panda shrimp tank. They are softer and are rich in minerals and nutrients to help in aquatic plants’ growth. These substrates have humic substances, which moderates the pH value of water below seven, which is the optimal range for Caridina shrimp species. In addition, some of the active soils are effective in nurturing necessary bacteria in the tank.
Plants for Panda Shrimp Aquariums
Now that we have talked about substrates let’s move unto what grows best in them and, necessarily, the best for your panda shrimps.
While choosing plants for panda shrimps, it will be better to go for some low maintenance plants. This way, you cannot go wrong with their upkeep. So let’s check out some of these low-maintenance plants.
Moss is the most preferred plant when you are getting panda shrimps for your aquarium. Commonly known as Java moss, these moss are readily available in most pet shops.
They are easy to grow and provides cover for your tiny shrimps. Mosses are also known to house plenty of biofilms for your panda shrimps to graze on. Therefore, they should be on your preliminary plant list for panda shrimps.
This leafy plant is also a popular plant among shrimp breeders. They are hardy plants that will grow in almost all kinds of water parameters. However, they will best grow on hard surfaces, so plant them on a rock or driftwoods that you have in your shrimp tank. They provide excellent refuge for your shrimps.
For the buce plant, you have to embed them with their rhizome exposed partially. This will lessen their chances of rotting.
Famous for its ability to withstand the harshest water parameters, Anubias will be a great addition to your panda shrimp tank. You can attach this plant to driftwood or on a rock. Shrimps love to hide in this plant. In addition, they are low maintenance and are great at detoxifying water in your aquarium.
Tank Mates For Panda Shrimps
Most shrimp experts say that keeping fish with panda shrimps is way too risky. Fishes are inquisitive and can harm your shrimps. So most hobbyists keep them only with other freshwater shrimps.
But there are other safe tank mates that you can keep with your panda shrimps.
They are considered one of the best tank mates for every kind of shrimps. This is because both require the same water parameters; thus, they can live in harmony. In addition, tetras have a calm temperament, which is a must-have characteristic in a panda shrimp’s ideal tank mate.
If you are wondering about the perfect tank mate that will never attempt to eat your panda shrimps, then this is the one. Otocinclus catfish are herbivores and are the best-behaved fishes to have in your tank.
They are excellent cleaners as they feed on the algae and other biofilms that build upon the rocks and plants. However, there are certain things that you have to know before keeping these catfishes along with your panda shrimps.
First, they need to be in a large group. These fishes in the wild live in huge schools, numbering more than a hundred or sometimes thousands. So keeping only a few of them will stress them out, so you need an amassed group for them to thrive.
Second, they need algae to survive, so you need lots of plants to promote algae growth. You can have Anubias, Java Ferns, and Mosses to provide them with grazing options.
Your panda shrimps will be too fast for the snails to prey. Nerite snails, Malaysian snails, Ramshorn snails, bladder snails are some of the snails that you can pair with your panda shrimps. Though your snails won’t be able to catch and eat live shrimps, they still feast on the carcasses or molts of your shrimps.
Freshwater shrimps are the preferred tank mates for your panda shrimps. However, you need to be aware of ghost shrimps, as they can get aggressive when there’s a power struggle for food.
Cherry shrimps and other dwarf shrimps, on the other hand, can live alongside your panda shrimps. Also, it isn’t recommended to keep these shrimps with different types of Taiwan bee shrimps. Because they can mate and reproduce new variants, it will make it harder to find the entirely bred panda shrimps in the market.
Though these variants of Taiwan bee shrimp have varieties of color and will make your aquarium colorful enough to be a conversation starter, you will indeed have dropped the value of keeping original panda shrimps.
Now that you have known which tank mates to keep in a panda shrimp aquarium, let’s discuss putting the new shrimps in the tank. And that first requires acclimating.
Acclimating Panda Shrimps
Acclimating is a vital step in introducing shrimps to a new tank. No matter how hardy your shrimps are, things are 50-50 if you don’t acclimatize your shrimps.
A new environment with new water parameters will be demanding for your shrimps to adapt immediately, so it is recommended that you acclimatize before putting them in the tank.
So, How To Acclimate Your Panda Shrimps To A New Tank?
Among several methods, the drip method is personally my go-to method. This method is a simple one and works for every aquatic pet to acclimate. All you need is patience.
Here’s how you do it.
- First, take a container and put your new panda shrimps in them along with the water they came in.
- Get an inline tube and tie a knot at the pouring end. Put another end in the aquarium.
- Ensure the aquarium is in a higher position than the container; otherwise, the water won’t flow.
- Suck the tube to the point where you can see them right before the knot.
- Now put the knotted end in the container. Your water should be dripping.
- If the water is dripping faster than one drop per second, then you can tighten the knot. And if it’s leaking too slowly, you can loosen the knot.
- Keep the container for an hour or two before your shrimp adapts to the new change in water parameters.
- Now put them in the aquarium tank.
Common Diseases In Panda Shrimps
Factors like insufficient water parameters, overstocking and wrong feeding habits can cause illness in shrimps. Their diseases range from parasites to fungal causation. So as a responsible shrimp keeper, you should be aware of the types of illnesses that could affect your panda shrimps.
Here are some of the common diseases found in panda shrimps.
It is one of the most common diseases which is transmitted through a parasite. When infested, they will cover the infected shrimp’s body with white molds and fungus.
You will notice the shell of the infected shrimps becoming whitish. Though, at first glance, they may seem like fungus. But they aren’t. These microorganisms flourish in freshwater habitats and can prove deadly to your shrimps. They multiply rapidly and eventually cause your shrimps’ death.
Poor water parameters are the culprit behind this parasite thriving in your aquarium. Or perhaps changing water isn’t frequent enough to prevent vorticella growth in your tank. Hence, timely changing of water is a must to keep your tank free from vorticella.
Treating Vorticella In Panda Shrimps
So if your shrimps are affected by vorticella, then you need to isolate the affected ones immediately. Put them in quarantine or a separate container and treat them with a salt bath.
And if you notice no signs of improvement in your shrimps, then try Paraguard treatment. Make the solution first and drip into your tank following the drip method. However, this treatment is only meant to be used under dire circumstances.
Most of the bacterial infections in shrimps are caused by the Micrococcus bacteria. You will notice your shrimps getting pink in their abdomen. Inflammation of the affected areas is expected when this bacteria is inside your shrimp. Notice if your shrimps start to lose limbs or antennae. Fading of color and small pores/holes in the carapace occurs once the bacteria infest their bodies.
Lack of attention to water parameters is the leading cause of this disease. In addition, high temperature with less air flowing inside the tank further boosts the growth of these bacteria.
Treating Bacterial Infection In Panda Shrimps
Unfortunately, there is no exact solution for treating this bacterial infection. However, shrimp keepers have noticed the effect of several treatment methods being successful in treating this infection.
If you notice that most shrimps are diagnosed with this bacteria, you should change 80% of the water in your aquarium daily. This will keep the water fresh every day and slow down the growth of bacteria in your tank.
While you are changing the water, take out the debris and food leftovers from the tank to prevent any stale food in the tank.
Treating With Hydrogen Peroxide (H202)
Measure the amount of hydrogen peroxide before pouring it into the shrimp tank. It is advised that you mix 1-2ml per 4 liters in a session dose. Continue this session for a week and see if any changes occur in your shrimps.
Fungal infections are common in aquariums. This is because your aquariums get infested with fungus when a water change is not carried out frequently. And when the shrimps don’t consume these free-floating fungi, these fungi can snowball.
Usually, your shrimps can fend off these infections. But when a shrimp’s immune system is weak, especially during the molting, they are affected by these fungal infections. And when infected, you will notice fluffy white growths near the abdomen area. This will gradually grow and cause the death of your shrimps.
First, you need to put the shrimps in a separate quarantine tank to start the fungal treatment. Methylene blue used for treating fungal disease can also kill all your plants in the aquarium. So quarantining is necessary.
Now get a Methylene blue and treat the quarantine tank with it. Make sure you read the instructions correctly before pouring it. The recommended dosage is ten drops per gallon. Continue this on a three-day interval basis till you notice all the fungus gone from your shrimps’ body.
Development Of Panda Shrimps Into Maturity
It takes about 4 to 5 months for the panda shrimplets to reach sexual maturity. You can tell the difference between male and female panda shrimps by their size. The females are the larger ones with a curved underbelly. This is due to their biological makeup in helping them have more storage capacity to nurture and protect the eggs in the development stage.
In the early stage, these shrimps will frequently molt, i.e., once a week. Then, as they consume food quickly and grow fast, they will need to shed off their exoskeleton and fit into a new one.
And when they reach maturity, they will still molt but not as often as they used to during the shrimplet stage.
Male To Female Ratio In Panda Shrimps
Generally, it is seen that females are the shrimps that are found dead in the tank. It could be genetics, or it could be that the frequent breeding causes them to lose energy fast and have a higher metabolism. And this leads to their shorter lifespan. This is why it is recommended to have a 3:1 ratio of females as per males in panda shrimps.
This ratio increases the chances of your shrimp surviving even in a community tank where they usually are prey for other tank mates.
Breeding Of Panda Shrimp
The breeding of panda shrimp is similar to that of the crystal red shrimp. First, the female will carry the eggs till they are hatched. Then they give birth to about 30 miniature versions of the adult panda shrimps. Amazingly, they can repeat this feat every 5 to 6 weeks. This usually happens when there’s a high temperature in the habitat.
Cross-breeding And Interbreeding In Panda Shrimps
Panda shrimps can breed with other caridina species, so there are high chances of interbreeding and producing new hybrids, which results in the strange coloration of the newborn shrimplets. And once these new hybrid shrimps get into the market, the ones who bought them will feel cheated. Eventually, they will find out the shrimps they got were half-bred.
So it is recommended that you do not keep these panda shrimps with other caridina species. However, you can keep them with Amano shrimps and Bamboo shrimps.
Price And Affordability
These exotic species are relatively expensive than other freshwater shrimps. They cost anywhere from 40 to 60 dollars for five shrimps. Before buying this shrimp, you need to know whether they are from a reliable source/genuine breeder.
These shrimps lie in the expensive curve among shrimps. So you might want to think twice if you are buying them as a feeder for your fish.
Here’s an Amazon link where you can buy your first panda shrimps.
What Do Baby Panda Eat?
Panda shrimplets are omnivores and will consume algae, leftover foods, pellets, and graze on the substrates of your aquarium.
Are Panda Shrimps Easy To Care?
No, panda shrimps will require a fair amount of care. They won’t be easy like the cherry shrimps and ghost shrimps.
How Long Do Panda Shrimps Live?
Just like other freshwater shrimps, panda shrimps can live up to 2 years. However, factors like diet, habitat, and care determine the tentative age. Acclimatization is necessary for your shrimps to thrive in the tank; otherwise, you can expect a high mortality rate in your tank.
Final Words On Panda Shrimp Guide
Obviously, by now, you have known that the panda shrimps are one of the most sought out freshwater shrimps in a hobbyist tank. The detailed care guide above will be enough for you to bring any panda shrimps home and easily acclimatize in your tank.
As with every aquatic pal, make sure to maintain the optimum water parameters and sound tank setup. If you plan to have them breeding in your tank, you will need to devote even more care and time.