The Blue Velvet Shrimp is a species of freshwater shrimp that simply look amazing. Their vibrant blue color almost looks fake when you see it for the first time.
Because of this, a decent number of aquarists want one for their tank at home. While they’re not quite as popular as some of the other freshwater shrimp out there, they definitely aren’t forgotten!
But there’s more to them than their color. These shrimp are easy to care for and beneficial to your whole tank.
This guide will teach you the basics when it comes to Blue Velvet Shrimp care. Even though this species is low-maintenance, there are still a few things you’ll need to know.
Table of Contents
The Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a unique freshwater species that is popular in the aquarium trade. Sometimes called the Blue Shrimp, their bright blue coloring stands out no matter what other animals are in their tank.
This species is technically just a different color variation of the Red Cherry Shrimp which are extremely popular in their own right. They share a lot of the same care requirements which makes them an easy purchase if you’ve already owned one type.
The origins of this color variation are actually not well understood. This is rather uncommon since a lot of breeding associated with colorful species is done intentionally at one point or another.
Some believe that they’re an offshoot from the Carbon Rili Neocaridina shrimp, while others think the Wild Schoko is more likely. No matter the reason, we’re happy they exist!
Just like their relatives, Blue Velvet Shrimp are great algae-eaters. They spend most of their time scavenging for organic matter such as algae and biofilm in the wild and will do the same in your tank.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Lifespan
The average Blue Velvet Shrimp lifespan is around 1-2 years depending on how they were bred and the quality of care they receive. Even though these are a hardy species, subpar conditions can obviously shorten their lifespan.
The appearance of the Blue Velvet Shrimp is very standard with the exception of its bright color. They have a typical shrimp body with three pairs of walking legs and two maxillipeds (that they use for grabbing things).
Their abdomen is rather thick and only begins to taper off right before their uropod (tail). They have rather firm antennas that are often in motion.
True to their name, this species is entirely blue. The exact shade and hue might differ a bit (there are a few variations of the Blue Velvet Shrimp) but they’re always quite vibrant.
The shade of blue a particular specimen has will be the same all over their body. Their head, tail, legs, and abdomen are pretty much the exact same color.
You’ll often see some small dark dots that cover these shrimp as well. These are more condensed in the front half of their body (the area where their legs begin). The eyes of this shrimp often have a similar dark dolor as well.
Blue Velvet Shrimp are typically 1.5 to 2 inches in length when fully grown. Their size is primarily influenced by genetic components as well as the quality of care they receive during development.
If you want these shrimp to get as large as possible you should only buy from reputable sellers and provide a top-notch habitat while they’re still growing.
Blue Velvet Shrimp Care
Blue Velvet Shrimp care is quite easy. These critters are very low-maintenance and don’t require any special attention from their owners.
With that being said, you can’t just throw them in any freshwater tank and go on with your day. There are certain water parameters and conditions that have to be met for these shrimp to thrive.
The recommended minimum tank size for Blue Velvet Shrimp is 5-10 gallons. We prefer 10 if possible because it will allow you to provide them with a more elaborate habitat and maintain more consistency when it comes to water parameters.
Obviously, if you have a larger freshwater tank that’s fine too! That will give you the room to pair them with more tank mates and create a diverse ecosystem.
Water parameters are an area of Blue Velvet Shrimp care that can bait owners into making bad decisions. People hear how hardy and resilient this species is (which they are) and assume they can put them in any kind of water.
But that’s not the case. While a lot of the ranges below are quite generous it doesn’t mean they’re invincible. If you want to make sure they reach their maximum lifespan you’ll want to take this seriously.
- Water temperature: 65°F to 85°F (72°F to 82° is ideal though)
- pH levels: 6.2 to 8
- Water hardness: 0 to 8 KH
Author Note: Maintaining consistency with their water parameters is equally important. Perform regular tests and make adjustments to the water when needed.
What To Put In Their Tank
The ideal Blue Velvet Shrimp tank will be heavily planted. This what they’re used to in their natural environment and it will help maintain great water quality.
Plants also serve as a great source of nutrition for these critters. They love to snack on biofilm and algae that grows on this vegetation, and any organic matter that falls off. Java Moss is a common choice that works very well.
These shrimp will also use plants as a place to hide. This can look kind of funny since this species is bright blue, but they’re trying!
Assuming you’re trying to facilitate a moderate level of algae growth, rocks and driftwood are also a good idea. These make great surfaces for algae and biofilm to accumulate for the Blue Velvet to eat.
These shrimp are pretty flexible when it comes to the type of substrate you choose. While they tend to prefer rocky bottoms, they’ll acclimate to things like sand if needed. You can let the needs of their tank mates dictate this decision.
Blue Velvet Shrimp don’t require any fancy lighting conditions, so you can plan around the plants and other species they share the aquarium with.
Author Note: Make sure your filtration intake isn’t too powerful. These little shrimp can easily get sucked up!
Common Possible Diseases
When it comes to illness and disease, Blue Velvet Shrimp are pretty durable. These creatures will often do just fine as long as their basic care requirements are being met.
However, there are some things you need to watch out for.
Like other shrimp, the Blue Velvet and copper don’t mix. Even the smallest traces of copper in your water can (and likely will) be fatal.
This means you should always perform a water test before introducing them to a new tank. This is one of the most common mistakes new owners make, and the results can be devastating.
If you end up needing to add any medication to your aquarium you’ll likely have to move the shrimp to a new tank. Most fish medications contain significant levels of copper, meaning you’ll be killing your shrimp while treating your fish.
In general, bringing Blue Velvet Shrimp into established tanks that have been tested is always the way to go!
Food & Diet
The diet of Blue Velvet Shrimp is very simple. These critters are scavenging omnivores that spend their time looking for algae and any other organic matter they can get their hands on (like biofilm).
This means a good portion of their diet can be taken care of naturally by keeping them in a well-planned tank. Having plenty of plant life and surfaces for algae and biofilm to accumulate will give them a lot to munch on!
But that doesn’t mean you can be completely hands-off. It’s still important to supplement their diet a bit.
Standard plant-based fish flakes are a great choice for them and will ensure that these shrimp have all their bases covered when it comes to nutrition. Any reliable product will do fine.
If you want to mix things up a little bit you can also drop in some chunks of blanched veggies too. We recommend cucumbers and zucchini, but other foods like lettuce are fine as well.
Be careful not to put in too much food. Overfeeding is not only bad for the shrimp, but it can cause ammonia levels to spike in your tank (which is not good).
The ideal situation is one where your tank is providing enough food for your Blue Velvet Shrimp to have a consistent source of good. Then you periodically supplement with some flakes and veggies to round things out. This is a low-maintenance feeding plan that will keep them healthy.
Behavior & Temperament
When it comes to the behavior of Blue Velvet Shrimp there’s not a whole lot to talk about! These shrimp are very simple and spend their time scavenging.
This is what makes them great algae-eaters. No matter what’s going on in the tank or what other species you keep them with (assuming they’re compatible), these little critters will consistently look for ways to clean your tank.
It’s actually quite fun to watch! You might see them underneath a rock, on a plant, in the middle of the substrate, pretty much anywhere. And they stand out because of their bright blue coloring!
Their temperament is very peaceful which makes finding tank mates for them a piece of cake (more on that below). Like most shrimp, they prefer to mind their business and leave the other species alone.
Due to their peaceful nature, finding tank mates for Blue Velvet Shrimp doesn’t have anything to do with them. Instead, you’re looking for creatures that won’t view them as food!
This means most other shrimp and snails are a no-brainer. We like to keep them with Cherry Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, and any freshwater aquarium snails (not the assassin though).
When it comes to fish you need to be a bit pickier. Peaceful species that aren’t too large (or stay out of the way) are a good option. Here are some we recommend:
- Bristlenose Pleco
- Gourami (we like the Pearl)
- Cory Catfish
- Hillstream Loach
There are plenty of other species you can consider as long as you’re aware of their temperament and diet. The safest approach is to avoid fish altogether, but we understand that isn’t the most exciting choice.
Author Note: A lot of aquarists wonder about the viability of pairing Blue Velvet Shrimp with Betta fish. We personally don’t recommend it since success seems to be inconsistent. However, most of the successful pairings are with female Bettas.
If you’re interested in breeding Blue Velvet Shrimp you don’t have a lot of work ahead of you. While a lot of other species require a lot of attention, it’s pretty much the opposite with these shrimp.
All you need to do is place the mating pair in a breeding tank without any fish (they might eat the eggs) and abide by the recommended water parameters. You don’t have to make any parameter adjustments to encourage breeding.
From that point, you can sit back and let the process happen! Once they’ve mated the female will carry the eggs around with her underneath her tail (they should be easy for you to see).
Your only job from that point will be to make sure there’s enough algae and biofilm in the breeding tank for the newborns to eat. This will be their core source of nutrition, although you can supplement with some algae tablets if necessary.
In roughly 90 days the newborns will be all grown up and ready to reproduce!
Give Them A Shot!
Now that you’re an expert in Blue Velvet Shrimp care, it’s time to pick up a few for yourself. These shrimp are low-maintenance and incredibly fun to watch. You’ll never get tired of that stunning bright blue!
Remember to get these shrimp from a trusted seller if you decide to make a purchase. Doing this will ensure that you get a happy and healthy shrimp that will reach their maximum lifespan.
If you’re a current owner who’s interested in sharing and info or stories we’d love to hear from you. We’re on a mission to personalize our care guides a bit more, and need your help!