Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi): Ultimate Care Guide


A Brief History of The Blue Velvet Shrimp

Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) have become a popular aquarium shrimp among many aquarists in recent years. It’s not difficult to see why, since they are an awesome pet shrimp. They have beautiful coloration, they’re hardy, easily bred, and readily available in most countries. But when considering purchasing this critically endangered species like many other creatures being sold as pets worldwide we need to take into consideration several aspects towards its welfare.

The blue velvet shrimp commonly known as BVS is a freshwater shrimp species in the Atyidae family. It originates from Taiwan, where it is named after the Taiwanese scientist who first collected it. Its scientific name is Neocaridina davidi.

Blue velvet shrimp are very small, and can grow to be about an inch long at most. They come in a wide array of colors, including red, black, blue, purple and green. Every blue velvet shrimp has a black dot on its back that looks like an eye; this is how they got their name!

Blue Velvet shrimp are very popular and are one of the most widely kept shrimp species. They’re not just members of the Neocaridina family, they’re also commonly called Sakura shrimp or neon red cherry shrimp, and are a hybrid between Neocaridina heteropoda (red cherry shrimp) and Neocaridina davidi (pink spotted dwarf shrimp).

If you are looking for a beginner shrimp to start with, then the blue velvet shrimp is the way to go. This article gives a short review and very basic care guide of the blue velvet shrimp.

Blue Velvet Care

Blue Velvet Shrimp are extremely hardy and the easiest shrimp to keep in the hobby. This is why they are great for beginners. Their care is similar to Red Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp. The only major difference is that Blue Velvet Shrimp need slightly higher temperatures than their counterparts.

Blue Velvet Shrimp are not very hardy when first introduced into an aquarium and are prone to getting their antennae nibbled off by tankmates. Once acclimated though they tend to be quite hardy and disease resistant.

Blue Velvet Shrimp
Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

Blue Velvet Shrimp Size

Blue Velvet Shrimp are small. They come in a range of colors, and will spend their time foraging for algae and other bits of food in your tank.

Blue Velvet Shrimp are often sold as dwarf shrimp, but this is not strictly accurate. Their adult size is around 1.5 inches long, which makes them larger than at least one dwarf shrimp species (the Crystal Red Shrimp is only about 0.75 inches long).

Blue Velvet Shrimp Food & Diet

What does your Blue Velvet Shrimp eat? This type of shrimp is a scavenger, so it will eat plant-based and meat-based foods. Remember that omnivores need a variety of food, so make sure your shrimp has a variety in its diet.

There is a good variety of foods that you can feed them, including flakes, pellets, algae wafers, frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp and so on.

If you’re going to feed them flakes or pellets make sure that they are sinking varieties as Blue Velvet Shrimp tend to hang out at the bottom looking for food.

Adding the Blue Velvet Shrimp to your tank will help control algae and other common aquarium problems. The shrimp will eat: Cyanobacteria, Green Hair Algae, Green Spot Algae, and Brown Diatom Algae. They will also snack on biofilm, detritus, and leftovers.

You should also supplement their diet with vegetables such as zucchini and blanched spinach leaves.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Lifespan

The lifespan of Blue Velvet Shrimp is dependent on the temperature of their environment. If you’re a hobbyist or fish enthusiast looking for some really cool community freshwater shrimp, their lifespan will be increasing if kept at a temperature between 21-24 degrees celsius (68-75 Fahrenheit).

Outdoors, Blue Velvet Shrimp can live for up to 3-5 years. However, in a home aquarium environment, they typically only live to be 1-2 years old. Therefore, paying attention to each shrimp’s length is vital, as it will help you determine if they are a young juvenile or an adult.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Water Temperature

Blue Velvet Shrimp can live in a range of temperatures, but they will have a longer lifespan if kept at higher temperatures.

If the temperature is too low the shrimp will not breed and if it is too warm they may become inactive which can lead to death. Shrimp thrive in water ranging from 68-80 degrees Fahrenheit with 75 degrees being optimal for breeding.

If you are planning on keeping other species of fish or shrimp in your tank with Blue Velvet Shrimp, it is recommended that you heat it to 78°F – 80°F to match the other species’ preferred temperature range.

Do Blue Velvet Shrimp need an aquarium or fish tank heater?

Blue Velvet Shrimp can be kept in an aquarium without a heater. However, they will have a lower life expectancy than those kept in heated tanks due to the lack of temperature regulation. The optimal water temperature for Blue Velvet Shrimp is between 76°F and 80°F.

For this reason, while it isn’t necessary to heat your shrimp tank, it is recommended if you want to extend their lifespan.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Water pH

In the wild, Blue Velvet Shrimp come from the southern part of Japan where their natural habitat is soft water with a pH range between 6.5 to 7. In this environment, they can thrive and multiply.

If you want to keep blue velvet shrimp successfully, you have to adjust your tap water to simulate their natural habitat. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a pH between 6.5-6.8 with an ideal GH between 3-5 dGH (degrees of general hardness) and KH between 1-2 dKH (degrees of carbonate hardness).

Blue Velvet Shrimp Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size is at least 5 gallons of water per specimen, but ideally 10 gallons or more. Blue Velvet Shrimp also prefer a tall aquarium as opposed to a wide one, because they like to climb on driftwood or plants and they don’t swim very much. So a 10 gallon tank with a height of 20 inches is far better than a 10 gallon tank that is 20 inches wide.

Blue Velvet Shrimp can be kept in groups, but because they are semi-aggressive (especially males towards each other), you will have to provide enough space for them to establish territories.

How many Blue Velvet Shrimp can I keep per gallon?

The general rule of thumb is one gallon per shrimp, although this is generally accepted to be too much when it comes down to it. This ratio works best when you have a 5g tank or smaller, but once you get into larger tanks (10g+) you will be able to house more than one shrimp per gallon without any problems at all.

If you are looking for an exact number, it’s better to consider the size of the tank rather than how many gallons it holds, since some tanks are tall.

Blue Velvet Shrimp are peaceful and can be housed with other shrimp, as long as they are not kept with larger or aggressive shrimp. They may also be kept with small non-aggressive fish and snails.

It’s advisable to keep only one male Blue Velvet Shrimp per tank. Males can be territorial towards each other and will fight. The female Blue Velvet Shrimps are usually not bothered by this.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Tank Setup

Blue Velvet Shrimp will thrive in most standard community tanks, but they are sensitive to swings in pH and other water parameters. It’s best to keep them in a soft, acidic environment with plenty of hiding places.

They’re also very sensitive to ammonia and other toxins, so make sure you cycle your tank before adding any shrimp. Cycling is the process of building up beneficial bacteria colonies to break down ammonia (released by fish waste) into less-toxic nitrates (which plants use as fertilizer).

Blue velvet shrimp are very easy to keep, and they provide a great opportunity to see some of the behaviors of larger freshwater invertebrates in a small aquarium. Here’s an example of a basic tank setup:

Substrate: You can use fine gravel or HTH pool filter sand. The shrimp will bury themselves in it at night, so something soft is ideal. Shrimp also feed on detritus, so if you use gravel you can get away with less vacuuming than you normally would for a planted aquarium.

Plants: If you want your plants to survive under the roots, you need to use low light plants, like java moss. They don’t eat the plants directly but will uproot them when moving around in search of food. Blue velvet shrimp don’t dig as much as Amano shrimp so they should leave your plants alone.

Decorations: An artificial log is a great addition that provides hiding places for the shrimp and somewhere for them to lay their eggs.

Heating & Filtration: Although a blue velvet shrimp does not require a filtration system, you can use one to help keep the water clean and clear for better viewing of your new pets.

Recommended Tank Setup (optional):

  • Filtration system
  • Sponge Filter
  • Fresh Water Heater

Blue Velvet Shrimp Breeding

The Blue Velvet Shrimp is an easy shrimp to breed as long as you keep its living conditions in check.

Breeding them is relatively easy, because this species of shrimp can reproduce without males. Blue velvet shrimps are not parthenogenetic at birth but they will turn into females if there are no males present.

How to breed Blue Velvet Shrimp?

Blue velvet shrimp are prolific breeders and will produce several batches of young a year. In fact, if you are keeping them in a species tank, they will probably breed on their own.

For breeding purposes, it is best to keep your shrimp separate from other shrimp species as they may crossbreed. Different species can also bully the blue velvet shrimp and reduce the number of eggs produced.

Blue velvet shrimp are sexually mature at 7-10 months of age. They can be kept together in groups or separately if you want to focus on one shrimp at a time.

Unlike other freshwater species, the male and female blue velvet shrimps look identical except for the size difference. Females are normally larger than males, but this is not always the case. The best way to confirm whether they are male or female is to observe them mating.

You will know when your females are ready to mate when you see them carrying tiny, dark dots called eggs under their abdomen (tail). The eggs can be seen through their translucent body walls so you don’t have to look too hard for them.

The females can store the sperm for up to a month after mating and release the eggs in batches for several weeks. A single female can produce about 20-50 eggs a few times a year depending on her health and water conditions.

Do Blue Velvet Shrimp lay eggs?

It all depends on how you define “eggs.” In many aquatic species, fertilization occurs internally, but the embryos don’t actually develop until they’re deposited externally. The female will carry the eggs around until they are ready to hatch. Contrary to what some people have suggested, this is not a sign of trouble with the shrimp, but rather it is perfectly normal behavior.

Blue Velvet Shrimp lay eggs which is a sign of a healthy shrimp. Typically, Blue Velvet Shrimp lay their eggs on the underside of aquatic plants in your aquarium. As each female shrimp mates, she will become pregnant and carry her eggs for approximately 30 days before releasing them into the water. These shrimp are known to be live bearers and give birth to about 20 to 40 baby shrimp at any given time.

How many babies do Blue Velvet Shrimp have?

Blue Velvet Shrimp will spawn every 25-30 days if the conditions are right. One female can produce anywhere from 20 to 60 eggs, though the average number is around 30-40 each time she breeds.

Blue Velvet Shrimp can live for up to five years, so if you have a female Blue Velvet Shrimp and she is healthy and happy, you should get many baby shrimp from her.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Diseases

Dwarf shrimp, or Caridina and Neocaridina species, are extremely popular among aquarists. However, it is very important to know that there is a relatively large number of diseases and parasites that can affect them.

Even though these crustaceans are quite resistant, they do get sick from time to time. And if you want to successfully breed them and keep their population stable, you must be able to recognize the common diseases and parasites they may suffer from and treat them promptly.

One of the most common parasites that affect shrimps are small flagellates. The most common occurrence is a parasite named Vorticella, this parasite is caused by having too much decaying organic matter in the tank or too many feeders in the tank. It doesn’t harm your shrimps directly but causes them to die from starvation because they don’t have enough energy left after fighting off the parasite. You can treat this by adding a small amount of salt (5 grams per liter) to your water, this will kill the parasites.

We suggest contacting an Aquatic Veterinarian for consulting if you see any symptoms or irregular signs that may indicate infection or any possibility of disease . 

Blue Velvet Shrimp Tank Mates

There are many fish or creatures that can live with Blue velvet shrimp. The main requirement is that they are peaceful and don’t eat the shrimp.

The Blue Velvet Shrimp tank mates should be tranquil and relatively small, as they can easily become a meal for larger and more aggressive fish species. They will appreciate having plants and rocks to hide among, along with plenty of other places to explore.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

Blue velvet shrimp make good tank mates with many different fish and invertebrates. As long as they are not in a tank with any aggressive species, blue velvet shrimp will coexist peacefully with just about anything.

The following are some examples of fish that can live with blue velvet shrimp:

  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Danios
  • White Clouds Minnows
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)
  • Pristella Tetra (Pristella maxillaris)

Examples of Incompatible Tank Mates

Blue velvet shrimp are peaceful and should not be kept with aggressive fish. Avoid keeping them with any of the more aggressive dwarf cichlids, like Kribensis or Ram cichlids. They also shouldn’t be kept with other dwarf shrimp species because they may be too aggressive. Some other aggressive fish that should not be kept with blue velvet shrimp are:

  • Crayfish – Crayfish can easily injure and even kill dwarf shrimp, especially if they are overly aggressive. While some people do keep these two together successfully, it is a rare case and should not be attempted by beginners.
  • Oscars – Despite their small size, blue velvet shrimp pose a potential food source for Oscars and will likely end up eaten.
  • Jack Dempseys – These cichlids can have very large mouths and will eat most anything that fits into them, including blue velvet shrimp.

Blue Velvet Shrimp and Betta

The simple answer to this question is no. Blue Velvet Shrimp and Betta are not compatible as tank mates. Here’s why:

Betta fish are carnivores and have been known to eat smaller shrimp species, such as the blue velvet shrimp. They are also territorial and will defend their territory from the shrimp, which could lead to the shrimp getting hurt or even killed in some cases.

Blue Velvet Shrimp and Guppies

Blue Velvet Shrimp and guppies are compatible tank mates. Blue Velvet Shrimp are very peaceful and they will not harm guppieBlue velvet shrimp and guppies can coexist, but you have to take precautions.

Blue velvet shrimp and guppies can coexist, but you have to take precautions. Guppies are omnivores and will likely eat the baby shrimp if they are small enough. If you make the decision to pair the two, make sure you have a lot of plants in your tank and/or have plenty of hiding spaces for the baby shrimp.

Where can I find Blue Velvet Shrimp for sale?

To buy Blue Velvet Shrimp, you have several options:

Aquarium stores in your area may carry Blue Velvet Shrimp on occasion. You can ask an employee there if they’re expecting any or know of other stores that do.

You can also shop for shrimp online rather than buying locally. However, it’s important to research sellers before you buy and make sure they have a good reputation and can ship shrimp safely.

Blue Velvet Shrimp are available for sale online, if you know where to look. I get mine from the following places:

Aquarium Plants Factory – They seem to be one of the only places selling them in America. It’s a little more expensive than buying from China or Thailand, but they do a great job with packaging and no shrimp have died on me under their care.

Aquatic Arts – The best place to buy Blue Velvet Shrimp in Canada. They also carry quite a few other varieties of shrimp as well.

Ebay – You can find many different suppliers of Blue Velvet Shrimp on Ebay. I’ve never ordered from any of them, so you’ll need to do your own research into how reliable their shipping practices are. Most of them will ship directly from Asia, which can be risky in terms of DOAs.

Blue Velvet Shrimp on Amazon.com

Blue Velvet Shrimp for Sale at AquariumFish.net

We suggest you compare prices across multiple online stores to find the best deal.

Blue Velvet Shrimp Price

Blue velvet shrimp are not as expensive as tiger shrimp or crystal red shrimp, but they’re more expensive than other types of freshwater dwarf shrimp. Most blue velvet shrimp are imported from Asia and their prices vary depending on the quality and size of the shrimps, their origin, and the time of year.

Prices tend to be highest during the winter months when there is less supply.

The average price for a single blue velvet shrimp can range from $3.50 to $15 USD.

Blue Velvet Shrimp vs Blue Dream Shrimp

The Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a freshwater shrimp from the Atyidae family. It belongs to the genus Neocaridina and is also known as the Blue Pearl Shrimp. The Blue Dream Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a selectively bred variant of the Blue Velvet Shrimp, characterized by its blue coloration.

The Blue Velvet Shrimp has a large, round carapace that covers most of its body. Its eyes are located on stalks that can be moved independently and rotated through a full 360 degrees. Its abdomen is divided into six segments and it has five pairs of walking legs. Its claws are unequal in size (the right claw is larger than the left one) and it uses them for feeding, defense, grooming, climbing and mating.

The Blue Dream Shrimp is closely related to the Blue Velvet Shrimp, but it has been selectively bred to have a bluer coloration. It has a translucent blue body with black stripes running from its head down to its tail. It is more expensive than the Blue Velvet Shrimp due to being rarer and more difficult to breed.

Blue Velvet Shrimp vs Red Cherry Shrimp

Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) and Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) are two of the most popular shrimps among aquarists. They are both great beginner shrimp because of their ease of care, bright colors, and overall hardiness

Both species are very similar in care requirements and appearance, however there is one major difference between the two species:

Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a color variant of the Red Cherry Shrimp that was selectively bred to have a blue coloration.

Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is the original shrimp species that comes from Taiwan, China.

Red Cherry Shrimps (RCS) grow larger and more colorful than Blue Velvet Shrimps. RCS are more popular in the hobby due to their low price and color variations. Blue Velvet Shrimps are more expensive than Red Cherry Shrimps, but they will grow larger and cleaner faster.

Start your Blue Velvet Shrimp Colony!

As you can see, you can have a thriving colony of Blue Velvet Shrimp in your aquarium. A specialized diet, however, is required to ensure the shrimp stay healthy. I advise that before you put them in an aquarium other than a cycled one that contains live plants and suitable tank mates, that you do some research on these creatures and read about their behavior patterns. You might even consider consulting with a reputable aquatic pet store or expert breeder prior to getting these amazing little guys. When cared for properly, these shrimp are happiest living in an established tank with good filtration and live plants. The water conditions should be stable and changes should be gradual when they occur.

We hope that this guide has helped you become adequately familiar with Blue Velvet Shrimp, their requirements, and how to keep them. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please post them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them!

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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