Species Name: Caridina cantonensis
Common Names: blue bolt shrimp, Taiwan bee shrimp
Size: 0.75 to 1.25 inches
Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
Native Distribution: Taiwan
Some of the most stunning Caridina shrimp in the aquarium hobby, extreme blue bolts are known for their intense all-over blue coloration. They’re one of the highest-grade Taiwan bee shrimp on the market, so they fetch a high price and can be difficult to find. Though a difficult grade to achieve through breeding, extreme blue bolts are relatively easy to care for in the right tank.
If you’re looking to take your aquarium shrimp hobby to the next level, this stunning variety is definitely one to consider. Here’s what you need to know about extreme blue bolt shrimp and their care.
Extreme Blue Bolt Shrimp Genetics
The extreme blue bolt is a color variant of the Taiwan bee shrimp (Caridina cantonensis). As the name suggests, Taiwan bee shrimp are native to Taiwan but they have been extensively bred in captivity for the aquarium trade. These dwarf shrimp come in a wide range of colors and patterns, and each variant is graded according to the intensity, opacity, and distribution of color.
The blue bolt coloration was achieved through a crossing of Taiwan bee shrimp and crystal black shrimp. Blue bolt shrimp are graded according to the same scale used for crystal shrimp which ranges from C to SSS. The highest graded shrimp have almost exclusively blue color all over with greater opacity than low-grade shrimp. These shrimp are known as extreme blue bolts.
Extreme blue bolt shrimp are solid blue, though the shade ranges from royal blue to aquamarine. These shrimp may change color according to their mood and the environment in which they are kept as well. To maximize the intensity of your extreme blue bolt shrimp, it’s best to keep them with others of their kind.
Ideal Aquarium Setup
As with many dwarf shrimp that are highly inbred for desirable characteristics, extreme blue bolt shrimp are sensitive to water conditions. Their ideal conditions aren’t difficult to achieve, but it’s imperative that you keep those conditions as stable as possible to avoid stressing or shocking your shrimp.
The minimum tank size for a small colony of extreme blue bolts is 10 gallons. A well-maintained 10 gallon tank is sufficient for up to 10 shrimp, though larger tanks are always better—especially for such a sensitive species. Larger tanks are generally easier to maintain as well, since changes in water conditions will be less noticeable than with smaller volumes of water.
Again, stability is key when it comes to the parameters in a tank for extreme blue bolt shrimp. These shrimp prefer warm, soft, and slightly acidic water. Their ideal pH range is lower than that of other Caridina shrimp species but they can adapt to temperatures in the low-to-mid-70s.
The ideal tank parameters for extreme blue bolt shrimp are:
- Temperature: 68°F to 74°F
- pH Level: 6.2 to 6.8
- GH: 4 to 6 GH
- KH: 0 to 1 KH
Proper filtration is essential for maintaining high water quality in an extreme blue bolt tank. Outfit your tank with a sponge filter or Matten filter. Additional biological filtration can be beneficial too, as extra protection against rising ammonia levels. A tank heater will help keep the tank temperature stable and lighting should be chosen according to your tank size and the plants you’re cultivating.
Planted tanks are ideal for extreme blue bolt shrimp but they don’t necessarily need a lushly planted tank. More important, perhaps, is having plenty of surfaces on which algae and biofilm can accumulate. Driftwood and porous rock are ideal for this purpose. These decorations also provide places for your dwarf shrimp to hide when they want to.
Diet and Feeding
Natural growths of algae and biofilm are two of the primary food sources for extreme blue bolt shrimp. In planted tanks, they’ll also feed on decaying plant matter, but they won’t destroy plants. Depending on the size of your tank and your shrimp colony, supplemental feeding may be required.
The key to feeding your shrimp is to offer very small amounts. Remove any uneaten food after an hour so it doesn’t break down and affect your water quality. To make this task easier, offer supplementary foods on a small dish.
When choosing supplementary foods for your extreme blue bolts, stick to herbivore formulations. Small algae wafers work but shrimp pellets are ideal. You can offer small amounts of higher protein foods but avoid overfeeding to prevent your shrimp from growing too quickly. Accelerated growth can interfere with healthy molting and harm your shrimp.
Temperament and Tank Mates
Extreme blue bolts are similar in temperament to other dwarf shrimp, so they can be housed together. Keep in mind, however, that any Caridina cantonensis varieties are capable of crossbreeding. If you’re investing in extreme blue bolts (especially if you plan to breed them), it may be best to keep them in a single-species tank. The best non-shrimp tank mates are other invertebrates or small, peaceful fish that won’t prey on your shrimp.
Breeding Extreme Blue Bolts
While extreme blue bolts aren’t as aggressive about breeding as other dwarf shrimp, they tend to breed fairly readily on their own without intervention. Optimal tank conditions and a healthy diet are key. If you keep a sufficient colony together to ensure a decent distribution of males and females, your shrimp should breed readily. Females may be slightly larger in the tail region, though it can be hard to distinguish the sexes until the shrimp mature.
The challenge with breeding extreme blue bolts is maintaining quality. If you’re going to invest in this high-grade shrimp, you probably want to preserve their grading. This may involve culling or removing some shrimp from the tank to prevent lower grades from breeding with higher grades. Fortunately, baby blue bolt shrimp have the same care requirements as adults, so they’re easy enough to raise.