Black King Kong Shrimp 101: Care Guide

Species Snapshot

  • Species Name: Cardina cantonensis
  • Common Names: black King Kong shrimp, panda shrimp
  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
  • Native Distribution: Taiwan

Named after the fictional giant gorilla, you might expect black King Kong shrimp to be large. Like other Caridina species, however, they’re dwarf shrimp that grow to a maximum size of just 1 to 1.5 inches. Though they may be small, black King Kong shrimp are striking in appearance and make a stunning addition to any home aquarium.

The black King Kong shrimp is a black-and-white variety of Taiwan bee shrimp. They’re skilled scavengers that will help keep your aquarium clean while offering a source of entertainment and intrigue. Here’s what you need to know about caring for these dwarf shrimp.

Anatomy and Appearance

As a type of Taiwan bee shrimp, black King Kong shrimp are similar in appearance to other dwarf shrimp in the Caridina genus. This genus of shrimp is spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Oceana. The Caridina genus contains over 300 species, including the Taiwan bee shrimp, or Caridina cantonensis, which has been selectively bred for a variety of colors and patterns.

Achieved through crossbreeding, the black King Kong shrimp exhibits an all-black body with a range of white markings. While panda shrimp typically exhibit thick white bands (or blue bands, in the case of shadow pandas), the black King Kong shrimp is either entirely black or only has small white markings on the upper body.

Like other Caridina shrimp, black King Kongs remain small — they typically grow to around 1 inch in length but can be as large as 1.5 inches. With proper care, they can live 1 to 2 years.

Ideal Aquarium Setup

Freshwater dwarf shrimp like black King Kongs are sensitive to water conditions, so they’re best suited to an established tank. The tank should be completely cycled and stable before adding your shrimp. The ideal aquarium setup for this species is a heavily planted tank with driftwood and other natural décor elements to provide hiding places for the shrimp.

Black King Kong shrimp care guide.

Tank Size

While black King Kong shrimp stay small, they should be kept in groups with others of their own kind or other dwarf shrimp. A small colony of dwarf shrimp can be kept in a 10-gallon tank, but larger tanks are generally easier to maintain.

Fluctuations in water conditions are more common in small tanks. For this reason, and because black King Kong shrimp breed readily, a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is recommended. Larger tanks also provide more surface area on which algae and biofilm (two of this species’ primary food sources) can grow.

Water Parameters

Stability is key when it comes to maintaining your shrimp tank. Black King Kong shrimp are fairly sensitive to water parameters but can be adaptable, as long as there are no sudden or drastic changes. They prefer warm, slightly acidic water with low levels of hardness.

The ideal tank parameters for black King Kong shrimp are:

  • Temperature: 68°F to 74°F
  • pH Level: 6.0 to 7.5
  • GH: 3 to 5 dGH
  • KH: 0-2 dKH

It’s important to establish biological filtration in your tank before adding your shrimp. Black King Kong shrimp do not require a great deal of water movement, so a sponge filter should be adequate. That said, these shrimp prefer highly oxygenated water, so consider adding an air stone — especially if you keep your tank at the higher end of the temperature spectrum.

Depending on the size of your tank and the number of shrimp you keep, routine water changes may be necessary. Occasionally vacuuming the substrate will help prevent diatoms from accumulating but avoid disturbing it too much. Simply stirring the water in the lower level of the tank from time to time may be sufficient.

Tank Décor

Planted tanks are best for black King Kong shrimp not only because they mimic the species’ natural habitat but because they provide natural food sources. If you’re new to planted tanks or simply looking for a low-maintenance option, stick with plants with low-to-medium light requirements like anubias and java fern. Aquatic mosses are also a good fit for shrimp tanks.

While dwarf shrimp tend to spend most of their time around the bottom of the tank, it’s still a good idea to incorporate vertical decorations. Driftwood and porous stone decorations are ideal because they provide surfaces on which biofilm and algae will accumulate.

Diet and Feeding

Black King Kong shrimp are omnivores, so they’ll feed on almost anything they find in the tank. Biofilm and algae are two of their primary food sources. Depending on the size of your tank and your shrimp colony, you may need to offer supplementary foods. Your shrimp will enjoy shrimp pellets, algae wafers, blanched vegetables, and frozen foods.

When feeding your shrimp, only offer small portions of food at once. You may not even need to offer supplemental food every day. Keep an eye on your shrimp after feeding them and remove uneaten portions of food after an hour to prevent it from breaking down and affecting your water chemistry.

Temperament and Tank Mates

Like other dwarf shrimp, black King Kong shrimp are docile in nature. They’re unlikely to bother anything else in the tank so, when choosing tank mates, it’s important to consider the safety of your shrimp. Fish are likely to see them as prey — especially large and predatory species like cichlids. The best tank mates for dwarf shrimp are often other shrimp and invertebrates like snails.

Other shrimp make excellent tank mates for black King Kong shrimp. If you’re not selectively breeding your shrimp, you can easily keep them with other Caridina shrimp. Should you wish to avoid crossbreeding, Neocaridina shrimp may be kept with Caridina shrimp as long as the tank parameters are suitable. Take the time to acclimate your shrimp slowly.


Black King Kong shrimp tend to breed fairly readily as long as they are properly fed and the water conditions are optimal. If you hope to breed your shrimp, start with a colony of 10 to 20 adult specimens. The shrimp should breed without intervention.

Just keep in mind that black King Kong shrimp are less prolific breeders than other dwarf shrimp. The females lay about 15 eggs at a time, and it takes around 20 days for them to hatch. Once they do, however, they look like miniature adult shrimp and can be cared for in the same manner. You can start your black King Kong shrimp pack with Shrimpy business.

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