- Species Name: Neocaridina davidi
- Common Names: green jade shrimp
- Size: 0.75 to 1.25 inches
- Lifespan: 1.5 to 2.5 years
- Native Distribution: China
Relatives of cherry shrimp, green jade shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) originated in China but have been introduced throughout Japan, Taiwan, and Hawaii. They’re known for their deep, jade-green color and their benefits as members of an aquarium clean-up crew. These small shrimp are easy to care for but there are a few parameters to keep in mind for optimal care.
Anatomy and Appearance
Green jade shrimp are one of the less common varieties of Neocaridina davidi. The exhibit the typical shrimp shape with a long, slender body and ten pairs of legs. Five of these pairs are used for swimming and the other five for walking. Green jade shrimp also have a set of feeding appendages that are located on the underside of the abdomen.
While this type of shrimp is named for its green jade-like appearance, other color varieties are possible as well. Some shrimp may exhibit green-yellow, green-blue, or even green-black coloration.
As is true for other Neocaridina shrimp, green jade shrimp have noticeable physical differences between the sexes. Male shrimp tend to be smaller and less colorful than females. They also have a narrower tail because they do not need to carry eggs. Through selective breeding, it is possible to produce male green jade shrimp with the same opaque, rich coloration seen in females.
Ideal Aquarium Setup
Because green jade shrimp are sensitive to changes in water quality, it’s best to add them to an established tank. This type of shrimp prefers warm, highly oxygenated water that is slightly soft and a little on the acidic side.
When outfitting your shrimp tank, be mindful what kind of equipment you choose. Filtration is essential to maintain high water quality, but the wrong filter could harm your shrimp. Avoid filters with strong suction or cover the intake with a sponge – you may also be able to slow down the output of the filter to avoid creating strong a current for your shrimp.
Green jade shrimp are very small, but they are best kept in groups, so it’s important to choose an appropriately-sized aquarium. A 10-gallon tank works well for these shrimp. If you plan to keep more than 10 shrimp, increase the tank size by 1 gallon for each 2 to 5 additional shrimp.
Think about the type of tank you’re using for green jade shrimp as well. These shrimp do best in planted tanks where they can feed on the biofilm that collects on live plants. Certain plants like java moss also provide cover when the shrimp are feeling shy.
Because green jade shrimp are invertebrates, they don’t have scales or a hard protective shell to keep them safe. As such, they are sensitive to changes in water chemistry.
The ideal tank parameters for green jade shrimp are:
- Temperature: 65°F to 85°F
- pH Level: 6.5 to 8.0
- Water Hardness: 4.0 to 14.0 dGH
The oxygen level in your shrimp tank should be very high, so even if you have a filter in place you may want to consider adding a bubbler.
Always test your aquarium water once a week to catch changes in water chemistry before they become a problem. It’s wise to record your test results in a notebook so you can get a feel for what’s “normal” for your tank and catch on to changes that much sooner.
Tank décor for green jade shrimp is quite simple – it’s all about providing cover. Heavily planted tanks are ideal, so be sure to include a variety of groundcover, foreground, and background plants. Your shrimp will appreciate having open feeding space in one section of the tank with options for cover elsewhere. You should also include driftwood and other pieces of aquarium décor that can accumulate the type of biofilm on which these shrimp feed.
Diet and Feeding
Green jade shrimp are scavengers which is what makes them such valuable additions to the aquarium clean-up crew – they’ll eat just about anything they come across. The natural diet for these shrimp includes algae, decaying plant matter, and microorganisms but, in the aquarium, may also include uneaten fish food (if you keep fish in the same tank).
Just because green jade shrimp will help control detritus in your tank doesn’t mean you don’t have to feed them. Supplement your shrimp’s diet with nutritious foods like algae wafers, shrimp pellets, and other sinking foods. Blanched vegetables are also a good choice.
The main concern with feeding green jade shrimp is feeding them too much. Overfeeding can trigger ammonia spikes as the uneaten food starts to break down. Perform frequent water changes and remove uneaten food from the tank after an hour or two.
Temperament and Tank Mates
Green jade shrimp are very gentle and social with others of their kind. When they’re new to the aquarium, however, they can be quite shy. These shrimp may also go into hiding when they’re molting because they are vulnerable in this state.
Peaceful middle and top-dwelling species of fish make good tank mates for green jade shrimp. Examples include mollies, swordtails, guppies, and small tetras. If you’re keeping shrimp with larger fish, make sure they aren’t aggressive or carnivorous species like Oscars.
Breeding Green Jade Shrimp
Green jade shrimp are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium as long as you have sufficient numbers and adequate tank conditions. You’ll need a group of at least 10 shrimp, mixed males and females. If you keep the water quality in your tank high, you’ll find that these shrimp breed quite readily. Just be sure to continue feeding the shrimp nutritious foods and maintain the ideal water parameters to ensure that the eggs hatch and the fry grow to maturity.
Other Interesting Facts
- Like all invertebrates, green jade shrimp are highly sensitive to copper. It’s wise to test the copper levels in your tap water before using it to fill your tank and to test again when using aquarium medications to make sure the copper levels don’t exceed what’s safe for your shrimp.
- Green jade shrimp should be kept in groups of 10 or more because they are very social creatures. A larger group increases the likelihood of success in breeding green jade shrimp as well.
- It’s typically sufficient to feed your green jade shrimp once per day, as long as there is plenty of biofilm in the tank to sustain them. If you’re keeping your shrimp in a sparsely decorated tank, they may not be able to find enough food on their own and will need more frequent feeding.