Mandarin Shrimp (Caridina thambipillai)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mandarin Shrimp
Caridina thambipillai
Mandarin Shrimp (Caridina thambipillai)
Name Mandarin Shrimp
Name Lat. Caridina thambipillai
Synonym Caridina propinqua
Family Shrimps
Family lat. Atyidae
Order Decapoda
Order lat. Decapoda
Origin Southern Asia
Habitat Streams, pools, estuaries
Diet Omnivore
pH 6.0-8.0
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Marine larval stages
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 2-3 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 2-3 cm
Temperature 22-30 °C
Hardness < 20 °dH
Aquarium 30 l
US Units
Size 0.8"-1.2"
Temperature 72-86 °F
Hardness < 356 ppm
Aquarium 10 gal

Distribution and habitat

The mandarin shrimp are widely distributed from Sri Lanka through southern India and Bangladesh to Thailand and Malaysia. They live in coastal waters with dense vegetation, such as estuaries and mangrove swamps, as well as in streams, lakes and ponds with direct connection to the sea.


They need an aquarium planted with fine plants and moss, plus roots and stones, and a weak to medium current. The substrate of dark sand or gravel should be partially covered with foliage (e.g. almond leaves, oak leaves), rotting plant material and mulm.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable in the aquarium water, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the size of the aquarium is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals. When choosing the filter, special care should be taken to ensure that the animals cannot be sucked in.


In nature, they use the bristles of their scissor legs to rasp off growth organisms from stones, dead wood and plants

They can be fed well with autumn leaves of native trees (e.g. oak, beech, maple, birch), sea almond tree leaves as well as fresh, scalded nettle or dandelion leaves, spirulina algae and special shrimp food with low protein content (below 30%), plus spinach, freshly scalded or frozen. It is recommended to coat stones or roots with a slurry of spirulina, chlorella and other algae powder and place them in the aquarium after they have dried. Dry food for fish and crayfish, frozen or freeze-dried food as well as live food such as cyclops, daphnia, Artemia nauplii and microworms should only be offered occasionally due to the high protein content.

It is sufficient to feed them about 3 times a week. Unaccepted food should be siphoned off after about 12 hours. Regular and varied feeding promotes the well-being of the animals.

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in a group of at least 10 animals. Keeping them in a species tank is recommended, but they can also be kept with small peaceful fish in a community tank with lots of moss and fine-feathered plants (hiding places).

Basically, only compatible animals with similar demands on water quality and water temperature may be socialized.

Reproduction and breeding

Females are larger and have a more deeply extended abdomen, which makes them appear more plump.

The females attach the fertilized eggs to their swimming legs (pleopods). After a gestation period of about 4 weeks, the larvae (benthic zoe larvae) hatch, develop in several stages in seawater, and migrate back to brackish or freshwater as finished shrimp.

Breeding in the aquarium is hardly possible


Their appearance (coloration and pattern) is very variable.

The foliage (sea almond, oak, beech, etc.) not only provides cover, but when rotting promotes the development of microorganisms, which are a valuable secondary food source

The well-being of the animals should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even when contaminant levels have not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced animals must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Barbara Pachner

Source: KARGE & KLOTZ (2007): Süßwassergarnelen aus aller Welt, Dähne Verlag; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch