Tangerine Tiger Shrimp Care: The Colorful Stars of Your Aquarium Scene

Species Snapshot

  • Species Name: Caridina serrata
  • Common Names: Tangerine tiger shrimp
  • Size: Up to 1.2 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 2 years
  • Native Distribution: Taiwan

Some of the most striking freshwater dwarf shrimp are selectively bred or hybridized from several species. Not so with the tangerine tiger shrimp (Caridina serrata). They are a naturally occurring species native to Taiwan named for their yellow-orange coloration and striped patterning.

Though not yet as widely popular as other dwarf shrimp like cherry shrimp or crystal shrimp, the tangerine tiger shrimp is a standout worthy of any freshwater shrimp tank. Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful species and how to care for them.

Anatomy and Appearance 

Similar in anatomy to other Caridina dwarf shrimp, the tangerine tiger shrimp is unique in their color and pattern. While opacity is a hallmark of high-grade shrimp in other species, tangerine tiger shrimp are brightly colored but with a higher degree of translucency. This translucency creates a contrast that really makes their tiger-like stripes noticeable. 

The tangerine tiger shrimp exhibits bright yellow or yellow orange all-over color. They have brown spots on the tops of their bodies with stripes down the sides. Shrimp with brighter orange color are graded highly while shrimp with more translucent color are graded lower. Higher grades also have heavy, dark striping while lower-grade shrimp may exhibit more spots than stripes.

Ideal Aquarium Setup

Tangerine tiger shrimp are adaptable to a range of aquarium setups, provided the tank is fully cycled with stabilized parameters. As a species native to Taiwan, tangerine tiger shrimp prefer warm, soft, and slightly acidic to slightly alkaline water. They prefer planted tanks that provide plenty of algae and biofilm to feed on as well as places to hide.

Tank Size 

As a species of dwarf shrimp, tangerine tiger shrimp are appropriate for nano tanks and small shrimp-only tanks. Because they feed on algae and biofilm that accumulates on tank surfaces, however, the size of the tank should be scaled according to the size of your shrimp colony. 

A minimum tank volume of 5 gallons is recommended, but 10 gallons or larger is even better. Having a larger tank will also help prevent sudden fluctuations in temperature or water chemistry that might cause stress to your shrimp. It’s also wise to provide extra space for your colony to breed. 

Water Parameters

Tangerine tiger shrimp are native to Taiwan where they can be found in warm, slow-moving streams and rivers. While they prefer warm water, their ideal temperature range is a little lower than some of the hybrid dwarf shrimp species. 

The ideal water parameters for tangerine tiger shrimp are: 

  • Water Temperature: 68-74°F
  • pH Level: 6.5-7.8
  • General Hardness: 5-6 dGH
  • Carbonate Hardness: 0-5 dKH

Maintaining high water quality in your shrimp tank is essential. The tank should be fully cycled before adding your shrimp and, if you plan to keep a large colony, it’s wise to add them in groups instead of all at once. Biological filtration is a must-have but avoid using a filter that creates too much flow—you don’t want to stress your shrimp or inhibit the growth of algae. 

Tank Décor

Planted tanks are ideal for tangerine tiger shrimp. While the shrimp won’t feed heavily on healthy plants, they’ll eat the algae that grow on them and feed on decaying plant matter. It’s also important to have other surfaces in the tank on which biofilm can accumulate—driftwood and porous rock are ideal for this purpose. Decorations will also provide your shrimp with things to explore and places to hide.

Diet and Feeding

Tangerine tiger shrimp are scavengers, so they’ll eat just about anything they can find in the tank. Though a small colony may be sustained by natural algae growth and organic matter, in most cases some degree of supplemental feeding is called for. The key is to feed small amounts and to remove uneaten food after an hour or two so it doesn’t break down.

These shrimp will eat a wide range of commercial foods including algae wafers, sinking foods, and shrimp pellets. They’ll also enjoy blanched vegetables and may eat protein-rich live or frozen foods. Feed high-protein foods sparingly, however, because rapid growth can negatively affect the shrimp’s molting process. 

Tangerine tiger shrimp care tips.

Temperament and Tank Mates

Like other dwarf shrimp, tangerine dwarf shrimp are very peaceful and unlikely to bother other tank inhabitants. The bigger concern is choosing tankmates that won’t stress or prey on your shrimp. Other dwarf shrimp are a great match, though you should avoid keeping other Caridina species together if you’re breeding your shrimp for a grade. 

Other suitable tank mates for tangerine tiger shrimp include freshwater snails, otocinclus catfish, and gentle bottom-dwellers like Corydoras catfish. Small community fish like danios, guppies, and rasboras may be a good match as well. Avoid large and aggressive fish like cichlids that might prey on your shrimp. 

Breeding Tangerine Tiger Shrimp

As is true with other Caridina species, tangerine tiger shrimp breed readily in the home aquarium. Keep in mind that they will hybridize with other Caridina shrimp, given the chance. If you’re selectively breeding tangerine tiger shrimp for a grade, it’s best to keep them in a species-only tank or with Neocaridina dwarf shrimp instead.

It can be difficult to sex tangerine dwarf shrimp until they mature, so it’s generally best to start with a group. As they mature, female shrimp develop a saddle formation behind their heads where they store eggs before fertilization. At maturity, males of this species are smaller than females.

To prepare your shrimp for breeding, make sure the parameters in your tank are stable and condition the shrimp with nutritious foods. When the female shrimp are ready to release eggs, they’ll molt and release pheromones to attract the males. Once the eggs have been fertilized, they gestate for about two weeks. Newly hatched tangerine tiger shrimp look like miniature adults and can be fed and cared for in the same way. 

Whether you’re looking for a brightly colored addition to an established community tank or you want to try your hand at cultivating dwarf shrimp, the tangerine tiger shrimp is an excellent place to start. 

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