Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Care Guide | Diet, Breeding, Tank Size

Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 11:04 am

Sulawesi Shrimp often referred to as Cardinal Dennerli Shrimp, is one of the most sought after and attractive freshwater shrimp. It belongs to the genus Caridina and favorite for newcomer shrimp hobbyists. They are stunning and gorgeous due to a mix of dark rose-red colors with white dots along the body sides.

They inhabit Lake Matano in Indonesia, where the water parameters do not fluctuate much. We never heard of Sulawesi Shrimp’s endangered status as they are the most underrated freshwater shrimps and are not very popular until recent times.

Due to its fast-growing popularity, its demand increased, but little information is available regarding care, diet, and breeding patterns. This detailed guide will cover the care guide, habitat, and breeding of the Sulawesi Cardinal Shrimp.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Overview

Scientific NameCaridina Dennerli
Common NameCardinal Shrimp, White Glove Shrimp, Sulawesi shrimp
Body Size1 inch
Feeding habitOmnivore
Movement TypeNon-aggressive
Lifespan1 to 2 years
Sulawesi shrimp Temperature Range26° – 31° C
Minimum Tank Size5 gallons
pH Range7.0 – 8.2
Water type3 – 10 dKH
Sulawesi BreedingEasy
CompatibilitySulawesi dwarf shrimp and snails

Sulawesi Shrimp Origin and Habitat

Cardinal Sulawesi shrimp belongs to the Atyidae family. They were first discovered in the wild back in 2007. There are many species, but Caridina dennerli is the most popular and demanding invertebrate in the fish trade.

They have distinct vibrant coloration and are very new to the fish-keeping hobby. Because of their relatively new status, they are not readily available from breeders, and we have seen them in many other shrimp species. These Sulawesi shrimp species are tough to find due to few active breeders and usually come with high price tags.

Sulawesi Shrimp in the wild are native to the Sulawesi region in Indonesia. Their source is mainly two ancient lakes of that region because they are unique like other Sulawesi lakes in the area.

These lakes have specific water parameters that enable these beautiful creatures to survive in the wild. However, these particular water parameters also make it challenging to raise them in the tank. Although you have a little experience in fish keeping, you can manage to keep them in good health and add them to your collection.

Sulawesi Shrimp Origin and Habitat

Physical Appearance

Sulawesi shrimps are famous for their head-turning looks, and it is one of the main reasons for their increased demand among hobbyists. When looking at their bodies, they have almost the same features that we see in other dwarf shrimps. They possess tiny legs, slender and segmented bodies, and long antennas.

Besides the body features, the most attractive thing about Sulawesi Shrimps is their unique coloration. They are different Sulawesi Shrimp types that stand out from other dwarf shrimp species. 

The most common Sulawesi shrimp types are Crystal Red Shrimp, Red Line Sulawesi Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, and White Spot Sulawesi Shrimp. They get these names due to a vibrant red hue on their entire body. In contrast, white spots run along the body and break that red hue to give a striking look to them.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp size varies a bit, and they are primarily dwarf in nature. When you purchase them, they can range from 0.5 to 0.7 inches in length. Adults will grow to a size of 1 inch and never grow beyond that size even if kept in an ideal environment.

Sulawesi Shrimp Lifespan

Lifespan is the most desiring feature when a hobbyist is planning its tank species. Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp have a longer life expectancy as compared to most other dwarf shrimp species. They can have a lifespan of 1-2 years. However, if kept in ideal conditions, they can live up to 2 years.

This is not an ideal lifespan for most hobbyists because other invertebrates show a better life duration. Raising them in a tank is also problematic as they are sensitive to changes in water parameters. To keep them healthy, you need to stay vigilant and regularly look after their water parameter and other needs.

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Lifespan

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Care Guide

Sulawesi Shrimp care is not as easy as keeping other invertebrate species. They need a perfect tank environment to survive in and live longer as they come from lakes with ancient origins and specific water parameters. We don’t see these water parameters more often in other water bodies around the globe.

Besides water parameters, Sulawesi Cardinal Shrimp are easy to keep and need standard feeding requirements. To make them attain their full growth and potential, you need to keep them in a well-managed environment. We are listing everything you need to know about red Shrimp especially the care requirements that they need to thrive inside the tank.

Sulawesi Shrimp Diet & Feeding:

Unlike tank parameters, the Sulawesi Shrimp diet is not a big concern. In the wild, they can feed on algae, biofilm, and decaying plant matter, while in the tank, the food for Sulawesi doesn’t need a change.

Driftwood and rocks in the tank are essential to provide the natural food supply for Sulawesi Shrimp. Over time these items gather algae and biofilm, which are outstanding feeding elements for shrimps to survive and grow inside the tank.

If you want your Cardinal Shrimps to grow well, you must contain this natural mess inside the tank. A well-maintained tank can provide them with enough feeding on these elements. However, you can give microorganisms and powdered spirulina to them as additional food supplements.

Sulawesi Shrimp Tank Size & Setup:

Setting up a Sulawesi Shrimp tank is not a massive investment. Due to their tiny size, they need smaller size tanks. Most breeders and hobbyists use 5-gallon tanks for Sulawesi Shrimp as they provide enough space for their growth.

In our opinion, the Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp Tank setup should be larger than 5 gallons if you have plans for keeping them in larger groups. For the smaller groups, smaller tanks are also acceptable.

Sulawesi Shrimp aquarium must be able to provide regulated conditions. A larger tank tends to change the water parameters slowly compared to smaller tank size. Therefore, to keep the things stable inside the tank, it is better to go with a larger tank capacity.

Sulawesi Shrimp Water Parameters:

Caring for Sulawesi freshwater shrimp is relatively challenging because of their water requirements. Water parameters need to be as close to their natural environment as much possible because they have specific water parameter requirements.

In Sulawesi Shrimp parameters, pH requirements are of an alkali nature which is difficult for hobbyists to maintain. Sulawesi like a bit of alkali pH but is not salty enough to be considered brackish water.

Water parameters for Sulawesi Shrimp need a triple check before adding them into the water. The water inside the tank needs full cycling, and its hardness should result in a safe range. Otherwise, they can go into shock if any of the parameters is not up to the mark.

Important water parameters for Sulawesi Shrimps are below:

  1. Temperature: 26° – 31° C
  2. pH: 7 to 8.5
  3. Hardness: 3 to 10 dKH
  4. TDS: Between 80-150

A regular water test is a good approach to keep the parameters well maintained in the tank. Perform the tests twice a week to stay informed. Sulawesi Shrimp water needs a change if the water is not within safe levels.

Substrate To Use in Tank:

Substrate for Sulawesi Shrimp needs to replicate their natural environment. A dark sandy substrate is an excellent choice to place at the tank bottom to mimic the plant debris layers of their wild habitat. 

Over the substrate, use materials like driftwood and rocks that catch algae. There are two types of rock surfaces: smooth and porous. It is better to place the porous rocks as they make a better home for the algae. A rough driftwood surface also anchors algae better than plain driftwood. 

Sulawesi Shrimp exhibit shyness when introduced to the tank. To counter this behavior, they try to hide behind the objects. For making them comfortable, you can place rocks, plants, and leaves. With time they get comfortable and scavenge for the food inside the aquarium.

Plant and Lighting Environment:

Sulawesi Shrimp does not need a strong light conditions to survive and grow. They like minimum light conditions. However, they remain active all day and scavenge for the food for long hours.

Sulawesi Shrimp like the introduction of the plants inside the tank. They use them for hiding and getting fresh food. Also, they utilize these plants to hide from excessive light. 

Sulawesi Shrimp planted tank needs java moss or crypts. There are many plant choices for Sulawesi Shrimp, but they mostly eat them, so avoid placing expensive plants inside the tank.

Sulawesi Shrimp Tank Mates:

The choice for tank mates is minimal for the Sulawesi Shrimps because they have unique parameters that are not compatible with most fish species. They live in a higher pH balance that limits opportunities for placing Sulawesi Shrimp with fish.

However, you are not totally out of options for the choice of tank mates. You can choose the tankmates for Sulawesi Shrimp that come from the exact origin. They make fine tank mates with the Sulawesi dwarf shrimp and species of Sulawesi snails.

Sulawesi Shrimps are peaceful and show a calm temperament. They pair well with the other tank mates and have a friendly nature, making it easy to care for them.

Sulawesi Shrimp Breeding Behavior:

There are particular concerns regarding Sulawesi Shrimp breeding in captivity to make them readily available for keeping in tanks and improving their overall availability. It may take a longer time to breed them, but their breeding process is relatively straightforward.

The concerns in the hobbyist’s circle are accurate due to their lower breeding rate and ability to lay fewer eggs. It may take more time, but the process is relatively easy if kept in the larger groups and keeping Sulawesi Shrimp male and female together.

Keeping them together has a high chance of their spawning, and separating them is not an easy task. On successful breeding, the female lays about 15 eggs. After that egg incubation period starts, and she keeps the eggs in her swimmerets throughout the period. Swimmerets are leg-like extensions beneath the body that facilitate incubation.

After 20 days of incubation, eggs start to hatch and swim freely. In the start, feed them with supplements or finely powdered food and replace them with natural feed as they grow.

Availability in the Market:

Although Sulawesi Shrimp are readily available, they are still not easy to find due to the limited number of hobbyists growing them in tanks. Price varies depending on their availability, and you can discover this for sale in various online stores. 

Sulawesi Shrimp Disease

Sulawesi Shrimp (Cardinal Dennerli) Disease

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp are not well known for getting frequent diseases. However, this doesn’t eliminate the chances of getting the diseases. As they are sensitive to water changes, they can get the most common illness from water stress.

Poor water conditions are the real cause of Cardinal Shrimp disease, and they get instant stress from the drastic changes in the water parameters. They are likely to get infected by fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections.

Treatment and Cure: 

Unlike other species, you can’t use copper-based medicines for fungal and bacterial infections. They cannot tolerate copper very well and leave you to only the option of natural treatments. 

Avoid making frequent changes to the water parameters as it disturbs Sulawesi Shrimps. You may be surprised upon reading this, but it’s a fact that changing water frequently can disrupt the pH and other parameters. 

Makes it sure to use a good quality filter that naturally balances the ammonia and nitrates as frequent changes shock them.

Summing Up Note

We have covered all the information regarding Sulawesi Shrimp care, feeding, and disease in this article. Now you can easily take care of them inside the water tanks and raise these gorgeous creatures. 

You can use small to medium tanks to raise them well with the water conditions regulated and well balanced. Their lifespan is two years which is longer than other dwarf shrimps. The vivid coloration and peaceful nature make them a good companion for tank mates. However, they can be pricey due to less availability.

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