Sulawesi Shrimp (Caridina dennerli): Ultimate Care Guide


Sulawesi Shrimp, Caridina dennerli, were discovered in 2007 and are dwarf shrimp that is quickly growing in popularity. The Sulawesi Shrimp is a type of Caridina Shrimp, and they are also known as White Glove Shrimp. They are small animals only reaching an inch in length. They are a bright red color with white spots all over their body.

They are native to the Sulawesi region lake Poso and the five-lake Malili system in Indonesia. This area of the world is known for its distinctive biodiversity and these lakes are home to many brightly-colored shrimp.

These shrimp have very specific tank requirements to thrive. They are recommended for experienced aquarists for this reason. They live in an area with very little temperature change. They are known to be shy at first, but then warm up and become active members of the tank. Sulawesi Shrimp are cleaners and are constantly scavenging for food around the tank.

The Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List. Their main concern is water pollution. There is a large possibility these shrimp may not be seen in the wild in the near future. 

Sulawesi Shrimp Care

These shrimp have specific needs to be able to survive. They will not do well in an average tank. They come from ancient lakes with unique water conditions that are difficult to replicate.

The water temperature should be between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrimp’s preferred temperature is somewhere around 82. The water pH should be between 7.8 and 8.2. The water gH should be between 6 and 8.

Sulawesi Shrimp are about an inch long when they are fully grown.

Sulawesi Shrimp (Caridina dennerli)
Sulawesi Shrimp (Caridina dennerli)

Sulawesi Shrimp Food and Diet

Sulawesi Shrimp are not picky eaters. They eat algae, biofilm, and decaying plant matter in the wild. They should be fed these in captivity too. The tank will need to have rocks and driftwood for the shrimp to climb on and clean. They mostly survive off of algae and biofilm, so they are a great maintenance crew to have for your tank.

They are instinctive scavengers and will eat at any time of the day or night. Aquarists may find the shrimp more active at night. This could be because they are very sensitive to light and may feel better with the lights turned off or dimmed.

Overfeeding is a known cause of death in these shrimp. Feed them no more than once a day and do not give them more than they can consume within a 2 or 3 hour period. Extra food in the tank is not good for the quality of the water. Sulawesi Shrimp are scavengers who will eat whatever they can find. They are not used to having constant food available to them, so going a day or two without feeding will not hurt them. 

Do not over-clean the tank. Uneaten foods should be filtered out of the water, but the shrimp will graze through and clean the algae up themselves. This somewhat mimics their natural habitat.

Powdered or other fine microorganism-based foods are a good choice in food. If there is a large colony, blanched and boiled vegetables can be added as a supplement. Do this with caution though because this can lead to bacteria growing in the tank. Sulawesi Shrimp live in very warm water and bacteria can rapidly increase, but their native habitat is home to very low levels of germs. Sulawesi Shrimp are highly sensitive to large amounts of bacteria in the water. 

Sulawesi Shrimp Lifespan

Sulawesi Shrimp can live up to 2 years if kept in satisfactory conditions. This is slightly longer than other dwarf shrimp.

Sulawesi Shrimp Tank Size

Sulawesi Shrimp need an aquarium of 5 gallons or larger. Preferably larger than 10 gallons. These shrimp need a stable water environment to keep a healthy ecosystem in the tank. Equipment that will help this setup is a heater, filter, and air pump.

A dark substrate with driftwood and rocks is ideal and will closely mimic their natural environment. These shrimp thrive off of algae, so make sure the tank has porous rocks that are big enough for algae to grow on.

The shrimp are good with plants too. The problem will be finding a variety of plants that can thrive in the warmer temperatures these shrimp live in.

Sulawesi Shrimp Breeding

Sulawesi Shrimp will breed if a male and female are left in a tank together for a long enough time. The water quality and feeding must be optimal too. Differentiating the males and females of this species cannot be done with the naked eye alone. The females will have a saddle that carries the eggs, but it takes an infrared light to see that on the shrimp. Males and females look the same on the outside.

If the mating is successful, the female will carry 20 to 30 reddish eggs and in 20 to 28 days they will hatch into tiny replicas of the adult shrimp. They have the same coloration as the adults and if the tank is well maintained, they will grow quickly.

Sulawesi Shrimp Disease

Sulawesi Shrimp do not have any diseases specific to them, but they can still contract all of the diseases another freshwater shrimp can. A common problem is stress. If a Sulawesi Shrimp is living in poor water conditions it can stress the shrimp out and leave it open to bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections.

These shrimp cannot be given copper-based medicines, so it is best to avoid having the problem in the first place. Keep the tank clean and monitor the water conditions, but avoid changing the water too frequently. The water filter should do a pretty good job of taking out nitrates and ammonia and a lot of water changes can shock the shrimp.

Sulawesi Shrimp Tank Mates

Sulawesi Shrimp are fragile and expensive creatures. They are peaceful animals that do not cause trouble. They are shy and will spend a lot of time hiding when they are first introduced to a new environment. Rocks, leaves, driftwood, and other tank decors will offer them a place to take shelter. Once they get acclimated, they will start scavenging for food.

Sulawesi Shrimp and Neocaridina Shrimp can live together. The Neocaridina will adjust to the Sulawesi’s climate. Other aquarists have said the Sulawesi Shrimp started to come out more when the Neocaridina Shrimp were added to the tank.

Sulawesi snails are also good tank mates. They originate from the same habitat as the Sulawesi Shrimp. Many species of dwarf shrimp from the Sulawesi region will do well in the same tank because they come from the same types of environments.

Any plant or animal that cannot live in the strict living parameters of the Sulawesi Shrimp would be an incompatible tank mate. Otherwise, these animals are peaceful roommates to the other tank residents.

Where Can I Find Sulawesi Shrimp for Sale?

Sulawesi Shrimps are available for sale online, but they are rare and a bit expensive. Not many hobbyists are growing them in captivity and they are an endangered species in the wild. The price of the shrimp varies depending on how many are available. As of this writing, a group of 10 Sulawesi Shrimp is being sold for 100.00 USD.

Sulawesi Shrimp Types

There are many species of Sulawesi Shrimp, but the Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is the most common in the trade. They are the ones discussed most in this article. They are bright red with white spots on them.

Blue Ghost Sulawesi Shrimps are a beautiful blue and black color. They are found an expensive shrimp when they can be found online at all.

Galaxy Sulawesi Shrimp are black with white or light blue spots. While these shrimp may have gotten a name that is out of this world, they are not to be confused with the White Orchid Sulawesi Shrimp. White Orchid Sulawesi Shrimp are nicknamed the Starry Night Shrimp. These guys are tan and brown with light spots that make it look almost twinkly.

Tigris Sulawesi Shrimp have two color bases. One is red and white stripes that make this shrimp look like a tiny candy cane. The other is white and brown.

All of the Sulawesi Shrimp have the same general living requirements. They all need the same warm temperature with the same tank parameters. Their diets and scavenger eating habits are all the same too. Many of these brightly colored shrimp come from this area in Indonesia.

They are all very sensitive to changes in their environments and are currently endangered. They are facing water pollution that is hurting their habitat and making it difficult for them to survive and reproduce. Finding any Sulawesi Shrimp for sale may be a challenge and they will probably be expensive, so they are recommended for seasoned aquarists.

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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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