Species Name: Caridina cantonensis
Common Names: Golden bee shrimp, white bee shrimp
Size: Up to 1 ½ inches
Lifespan: 1-2 years
Native Distribution: Taiwan
At first glance, the golden bee shrimp (Caridina cantonensis) appears completely devoid of color. Its carapace is a solid snow-white color, but the flesh underneath has a slight orange hue. The combination gives this bee shrimp variety a unique golden appearance.
Like other bee shrimp varieties, the golden bee shrimp is selectively bred for its distinct coloration. These shrimp remain fairly small, growing to a maximum of 1 ½ inches, but they make quick work of problem algae in freshwater aquariums. Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful dwarf shrimp variety.
Anatomy and Appearance
Bee shrimp (Caridina cantonensis) are native to Taiwan, though the genus Caridina is widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Oceana. Caridina shrimp range in size but generally remain small, under 2 inches. Golden bee shrimp achieve an adult size around 1 ½ inches, though males may remain slightly smaller.
Like other Caridina cantonensis varieties, golden bee shrimp have a hard shell called a carapace on their upper body which protects their vital organs. In golden bee shrimp, the carapace is fairly opaque while the muscular abdomen is more translucent. Color density varies, however, depending on breeding. Unlike some bee shrimp varieties (like crystal black shrimp), the white-gold color is uniform across the entire body with no black or dark-colored bands.
Golden bee shrimp have a set of modified legs called maxillipeds they use for feeding as well as swimming legs called pleopods. Located on the underside of the abdomen, the pleopods are also used to carry and clean eggs by female golden bee shrimp.
Ideal Aquarium Setup
As dwarf shrimp, golden bee shrimp don’t require a significant amount of space to accommodate their size. They do, however, prefer to be kept in colonies with others of their kind. Because they are scavengers, larger tanks provide more surface area to grow algae and microfilm—two of this species’ primary natural food sources.
The minimum recommended tank size for a small colony of golden bee shrimp is 10 gallons. For pairs or trios, smaller tanks can work as long as the water quality is kept high. Stable tank conditions are key for this sensitive species.
Native to tropical Asia, golden bee shrimp prefer warm, fairly soft water. They can adapt to different pH levels ranging from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, but their ideal pH range is 6.0 to 7.4. Water hardness should be kept between 0-4 KH and 4-6 GH.
The ideal tank parameters for golden bee shrimp are:
- Temperature: 68°F to 78°F
- pH Level: 6.0 to 7.4
- GH: 4 to 6 dGH
- KH: 0-4 dKH
While golden bee shrimp don’t require a significant degree of water movement, proper filtration is essential. Gentle filtration methods like sponge filters are recommended, especially if you plan on breeding golden bee shrimp and raising the fry. A tank heater is also a must if the ambient temperature doesn’t remain above 68°F.
When it comes to tank décor, golden bee shrimp have the same requirements as other freshwater dwarf shrimp. A mature planted tank is ideal. Not only does a planted tank provide plenty of natural food sources, but it offers places for your shrimp to hide.
Outfit your shrimp tank with plenty of porous surfaces on which microfilm and algae can accumulate. Soft substrate is best for the shrimp’s sensitive bodies. Opt for something that won’t compact and accumulate waste like gravel—fine sand or aqua soil is best. Driftwood decorations work well and can be used to create caves and other hiding places.
Diet and Feeding
Like other dwarf shrimp, golden bee shrimp are scavengers. They’ll feed on algae and microfilm that accumulates in the tank and consume organic matter like decaying plant material. You’ll likely need to provide supplemental food, but the size of your colony will dictate how often to feed.
Only offer very small amounts at a time and remove uneaten food after an hour so it doesn’t break down and affect water quality. The best commercial foods for golden bee shrimp are sinking pellets or small wafers. Herbivore formulas are best, as too much protein can accelerate growth and cause issues with molting. Golden bee shrimp also enjoy blanched vegetables.
Temperament and Tank Mates
Many aquarium shrimp enthusiasts prefer to keep shrimp-only tanks, and this is certainly a good option for golden bee shrimp. If you’re not cultivating the shrimp for breeding purposes, you can keep other Caridina cantonensis varieties with your golden bee shrimp as well. While Neocaridina may get along in terms of temperament, they have different requirements for water parameters.
If you choose to keep your golden bee shrimp in a community tank, stick to small species of peaceful fish or other invertebrates like snails. Gentle bottom dwellers like pygmy Corydoras are ideal, though small top-feeders like guppies may work as well. Just be careful not to keep your shrimp with any fish that might consider them prey. This can be an issue with carnivorous species like betta fish or cichlids.
Breeding Golden Bee Shrimp
The process of breeding golden bee shrimp is similar to other freshwater dwarf shrimp. In ideal conditions, these shrimp will breed with little intervention as long as there is a sufficient colony. If tank space is limited, try to provide two females for every male. Female golden bee shrimp generally grow a little larger than males and may exhibit more intense coloration. When mature and healthy, they’ll also have a more rounded carapace and may be observed carrying eggs.
The females carry the eggs under their tails, fanning them with their legs until they hatch after about 30 days. Newly hatched golden bee shrimp look like miniatures of adults and can be cared for in the same way. If you’re breeding your shrimp for quality, keep an eye on the baby shrimp as they mature and remove those with less intense coloration.