Sulawesi Cardinal Shrimp
The Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is a remarkable dwarf shrimp species that was believed to be extinct in the wild and is relatively new to the aquarium hobby. It is native to the unique Sulawesi lake system in Indonesia and was discovered only a few years ago. Currently, it is being bred in small numbers by expert shrimp farmers and breeders. Despite its recent introduction, it has gained significant popularity among aquarists due to its stunning coloration. The shrimp exhibits a bright red or scarlet overall body color with numerous small white spots, along with white antennae and front appendages.
When young, these shrimp measure around 1/6 inch to 3/4 inch in length, but as fully grown adults, they reach an average size of 1 inch. Younger shrimp tend to ship and acclimate better to aquariums, although caution should be exercised when adding them to tanks with fish, as some fish may consider them as food.
The Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp's color intensifies as it matures and becomes more comfortable in the tank. To enhance their vibrant coloration, it is recommended to provide lower intensity lighting and a dark substrate.
While the Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is completely peaceful and small in size, it requires specific water conditions different from most other dwarf shrimp species. Therefore, it is recommended for experienced and dedicated aquarists. The aquarium should replicate Sulawesi conditions, including a high temperature range of 78° - 88°F and a pH range of 7.8 - 8.2. However, some breeders have reported success with a pH as low as 7.0. It is essential to maintain very calm water flow, and water changes should be minimized except for replacing evaporated water. Both adults and fry require full freshwater.
This shrimp species is a scavenger and plays a beneficial role in planted and nano aquariums. It primarily feeds on biofilm, algae, and decaying plant matter, effectively cleaning up waste in the tank. The Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp is constantly active and feeds throughout the day. It particularly enjoys picking biofilm from rockwork and, if available, the shells of Sulawesi snails. In a well-established aquarium, the shrimp requires minimal or no supplemental feeding.
While the Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp presents more challenges compared to other dwarf shrimp, it thrives and readily breeds when kept in optimal conditions. It is a captivating addition to aquariums, providing beauty and useful scavenging capabilities.