Cardinal Shrimp (Caridina Dennerli)


Cardinal Shrimp is also known as “Caridina Dennerli” or “Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp”. It is a freshwater shrimp species belonging to the Atyidae family. Sulawesi lake systems in Indonesia, especially Lake Matano are the natural habitat of this species. These lake systems host different and colorful shrimp species with their unique features.

The cardinal shrimp has become the center of attention for aquarists since 2007. On the other hand, it is in the class of endangered species on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, it may no longer be available in nature shortly.

Caridina Dennerli has unique skin that is easily distinguishable from other shrimps. It has a perfect red appearance, with white, little dots on top of this red base color. Some of these white spots also have a blue outline. The shades of red color vary according to gender, age and size of the shrimp. It can reach about 2.5 cm in length, so it is a small shrimp.

Water Parameters

Temperature: 26-30 °C
pH: 7,5 – 8,6
Hardness: 4 – 12 dGH

Cardinal Shrimp prefers warmer water compared to other aquarium creatures. Waters below 25 °C can cause this shrimp to become stressed and even die. Therefore, a good thermostat and heater are essential. It is suggested to keep them in a minimum tank size of 19 liters for healthy growth.

Proper Tank Conditions

Aquarium environments similar to their natural habitat are ideal for them to live a stress-free and healthy life. To maintain this, carbonate-rich substrate, decorative rocks, and driftwoods are usable.

Caridina Dennerli has a very fragile structure. Therefore, extra care is vital when choosing aquatic creatures to live in the same aquarium.


Snails (Rabbit Snail) and shrimps (Malawa Shrimp) that live in the same lake system in their natural environment are a good choice. It should not be in the same environment with large and aggressive fish that show regional protection. They feel safer if they live in groups. Living with 15-20 shrimp in the same tank helps to keep them free from stress. Also, they live in harmony with aquarium plants and do not harm them. Because it is a shrimp that prefers high temperatures, it cannot be grown in the same environment as most plants.


Caridina Dennerli is more a night feeding shrimp or it feds during the low light hours. For this reason, turning off the aquarium light in the evening will make the shrimp more comfortable while feeding. When adjusting the amount of food, it should be adjusted as much as the shrimp can consume in 2-3 hours. Feeding must be done once a day. It is a challenging species in terms of nutrition. Because it requires constant feeding and it should not receive additional nutrients, according to most aquarists. Well-established aquariums with plenty of biofilms and algae growth are ideal for this shrimp. Therefore, it should be noted that to keep the aquarium never so clean. On the other hand, Spirulina flakes or beneficial bacteria additives are recommended for this shrimp. They can also be fed with vegetables, but care must be taken in this regard. The increase in bacteria caused by vegetables can damage the water quality and may kill the shrimp.



Compared to the conditions required to maintain, breeding is so easier. Since it does not require saltwater, breeding can be achieved in a fully freshwater aquarium environment. If the aquarium parameters such as temperature and pH are suitable, the shrimps will breed easily. The female carries around 20 to 30 red eggs after mating. Baby shrimps are expected to start hatching within an average of 20-28 days. There is no larval stage in the breeding of this shrimp. The female shrimp carries the eggs until the baby shrimp hatch out of their eggs fully developed. When baby shrimps are born, they bear the same colors as adult shrimps.

In conclusion, this shrimp species is recommended for experienced aquarists. Although they have gorgeous colors, their maintenance is equally difficult and requires special care. In aquariums where the required parameters are not provided, cardinal shrimps can easily get stressed or even die. It cannot live in the same environment in a community tank with many species due to its special living parameter requirements.

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