- Species Name: Caridina cf. babaulti
- Common Names: zebra babaulti shrimp, babaulti shrimp, green babaulti shrimp
- Size: 1.5 inches
- Lifespan: 1 year
- Native Distribution: India, parts of Asia
If you’re looking for colorful species to include in your shrimp tank, you may be considering popular options like cherry shrimp or tiger shrimp. Babaulti shrimp (Caridina babaulti) are a less common choice but can be equally stunning. Zebra babaulti shrimp, in particular, are known for their unique striped appearance and they’re hardy enough for beginners.
Anatomy and Appearance
Caridina babaulti shrimp are a very diverse group of shrimp, though very little scientific research has been done on them. The majority of the species seems to come from India but they have been found in other parts of Asia as well. Babaulti shrimp offer a hardy alternative to Neocaridina shrimp and their care is largely the same.
The anatomy of babaulti shrimp is similar to other dwarf shrimp species. These shrimp grow 1 to 1.5 inches long and, in comparison to other dwarf shrimp, they have particularly long and serrated rostrums. Females of the species tend to be rounder than the males because they have saddles that carry the ovaries.
Babaulti shrimp are widely varied in coloration but zebra babaulti shrimp are, of course, named for their zebra-like striping. What makes these shrimp unique is that they have some degree of chromatic adaptation. Much like chameleons, these shrimp will change color to suit their environment when they’re agitated or startled.
Ideal Aquarium Setup
While zebra babaulti shrimp are undemanding when it comes to their care and keeping, all freshwater shrimp do best in well-established tanks with high water quality. Babaulti shrimp tend to accept a wide range of water parameters but we recommend cool to warm water with a fairly neutral pH. Maintaining stable water parameters is more important than the specific values.
Beginners should consider a larger tank, though you can easily keep a small colony of shrimp in a 5 gallon tank. As a general rule of thumb, you should plan to keep no more than 10 zebra babaulti shrimp per gallon. Larger tanks enable you to keep larger quantities, but they also tend to be easier to maintain because they dilute contaminants and toxins more than small tanks.
Zebra babaulti shrimp aren’t picky when it comes to water parameters as long as the water quality in the tank is kept high and the parameters stable. These shrimp should only be introduced into a well-established tank and frequent water changes should be performed to keep ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels at bay.
The ideal tank parameters for zebra babaulti shrimp are:
- Temperature: 65°F to 75°F
- pH Level: 6.5 to 7.8
- Water Hardness: 2.0 to 20.0 dGH
Keep in mind that because zebra babaulti shrimp are much less common in the aquarium hobby than Neocaridina species, there is debate about their ideal tank parameters. Your best bet is to make sure your tank is fully cycled and determine what you need to do to keep the parameters stable. As long as you properly acclimate your shrimp and keep the parameters steady, they should do just fine.
Like most freshwater shrimp, zebra babaulti shrimp prefer planted stanks with plenty of places to hide. Plants and other decor objects provide surfaces on which biofilm and algae can accumulate so your shrimp can feed off it. Shrimp don’t have specific requirements for lighting, so outfit your tank with the proper lighting to keep your live plants healthy.
The easiest way to decorate your shrimp tank is to use hardy, fast-growing plants. Java fern and java moss are easily to care for, as are various cabomba species. Zebra babaulti shrimp also appreciate carpet plants like baby tears.
Diet and Feeding
Like most freshwater dwarf shrimp, zebra babaulti shrimp are omnivores. Their natural diet consists largely of biofilm, algae, and decaying plant matter, so they will gladly feed on detritus in the tank. While your shrimp will find plenty to eat in the tank, it’s wise to supplement their diets with high-quality foods like shrimp pellets and wafers.
Zebra babaulti shrimp may also enjoy snacks like blanched vegetables, frozen fish food, and leaf litter. Just be sure not to overfeed your shrimp and remove any uneaten food after about an hour to prevent it from breaking down in the tank.
Temperament and Tank Mates
Like most freshwater shrimp, zebra babaulti shrimp are peaceful and can be fairly shy. They are best kept in a dedicated shrimp tank or only with very small, peaceful, top-dwelling species of fish. Babaulti shrimp can easily be kept with other Caridinia shrimp as well as Neocaridina shrimp. There is no risk of crossbreeding between caridina and neocaridina shrimp.
It is particularly important to avoid housing your babaulti shrimp with boisterous or fast-swimming fish. These shrimp are slow swimmers and may be overwhelmed by too much activity in the tank. Livebearers, tetras, danios, and rasboras may be good tankmates.
Breeding Cherry Shrimp
As long as optimal tank parameters are maintained, zebra babaulti shrimp are fairly easy to breed in an aquarium. Ideal breeding conditions may require a slightly higher pH, something between 7.5 and 7.8.
Female babaulti shrimp carry between 30 and 50 eggs at a time in clusters under their tails. Zebra babaulti shrimp eggs are smaller than those of Neocaridina species, though they still take about 30 days to hatch and are born looking like miniatures of the adults. Because they are smaller than other shrimp, the fry mature slowly and may require more vigilance and care to ensure that they reach adulthood.
If you plan to breed your zebra babaulti shrimp, equip and decorate your tank with these intentions in mind. It’s best to use a sponge filter and an air stone to oxygenate the tank water and you’ll need to perform frequent water changes to keep water quality high. Babaulti shrimp fry will require plenty of biofilm and algae to feed on, so make sure there is plenty of surface area on which it can form.
Other Interesting Facts
- Like all dwarf shrimp, zebra babaulti shrimp do not have protective scales - this makes them susceptible to toxicity from certain tank additives like copper.
- While zebra babaulti shrimp require similar care to other dwarf shrimp, they are still less common - if you can’t find them at your local fish store, try online fish suppliers.
- Zebra babaulti shrimp have the ability to change color very quickly when they’re startled - this makes them look particularly stunning against a dark background.
- Babaulti shrimp come in a variety of colors including green, brown, blue, yellow, and red.