The popularity of keeping shrimp both as members of the clean up crew in your aquarium as well as in a shrimp only tank have increased massively over the last couple of years.
A number of neocaridina shrimp and caridina shrimp species have seen spikes in their popularity with the amano shrimp being one of the more commonly kept shrimp species.
Amano shrimp are a great option for the majority of tank setups and for the most part, they are very easy to keep as pets.
Although amano shrimp usually have a translucent grey look to them, we have noticed a number of people asking questions about having a red amano shrimp in their tank recently.
There is no such thing as a naturally red amano shrimp but there are a number of things that are able to temporarily change the color of your amano shrimp.
The most common one is due to the shrimp eating a red or orange food such as carrots giving it a red look. Other less common reasons an amino shrimp may look red include the shrimp being ready to breed or molt or the shrimp being close to death.
The most common reason that your amano shrimp may look red is due to eating carrots. A number of YouTube videos and viral social media photographs of various species of shrimp eating carrots and other red foods have made them a popular treat food for shrimp.
Amano shrimp can take the color of their food and when they have eaten a lot of carrot or other red foods, it is not uncommon for them to change to a slightly red color. This change in color is only temporary and usually goes away within a day or two as their body gets rid of the food coloring.
If you want to feed your amano shrimp some carrots, we recommend that you only give them a small amount.
Too much carrot or other brightly colored foods can cause problems with their digestive system and may even lead to death. This is due to the carotin in the carrot but it does make an excellent treat food option for most amano shrimp.
The Shrimp Is Ready To Breed!
Female amano shrimp can take on a wide range of different colors prior to breeding and although these are usually a dark color, often a shade of blue, they can turn a slight red color but this is rare. The red color of the female amano shrimp will usually stay for around a week before it fades.
We are not sure why this happens with female amano shrimp but we would speculate that it is due to hormonal change in the shrimp giving them a red look. This is a natural process and the shrimp will not be harmed by the change in color.
The Shrimp Is About To Molt!
If your amano shrimp is due to molt then parts of their husk can start to come away from their body early. Although rare, some types of bacteria can get between the soft skin and the husk of the amino shrimp and give the shrimp a red or pink look to them.
This red color comes from the bacteria and not the shrimp itself and is an early warning sign that your shrimp is about to molt.
If you see this happening with any of your shrimp, we recommend that you check the water quality in your tank as poor water quality can cause a number of health problems for shrimp including molting and death.
You will often see the other signs of a shrimp about to molt at this time such as the shrimp hiding away or being less active than usual.
They may also eat way less than usual than can sometimes make people think that there is something wrong with their shrimp as some amano shrimp turn a pale red prior to death and it can be difficult to workout the reason at times too.
You Accidently Got A Cherry Shrimp!
You would be surprised with how often people accidentally get a cherry shrimp instead of an amino shrimp.
Cherry shrimp are a popular type of shrimp to keep as pets and although they are similar in appearance to the amino shrimp, there are a number of key differences between them…
Cherry shrimp are slightly smaller than amino shrimp, have a shorter lifespan, and most importantly, they can be bright red in color. So, if you were expecting an amino shrimp and got a cherry shrimp instead, that would be the most likely reason for the red color.
As we covered in our article on keeping amano shrimp and cherry shrimp together, amano shrimp will eat cherry shrimp in their tank.
Amano shrimp are actually quite merciless about it too and will often eat a cherry shrimp alive.
If some of your amano shrimp do eat a cherry shrimp in their tank then the red color of the cherry shrimp can give your amano shrimp a red tint for a day or too until they pass the cherry shrimp.
You Don’t Have A Shrimp Hybrid!
We have seen some people think that they may have a hybrid amano/cherry shrimp due to thinking that they purchased amano shrimps and ending up with a red shrimp.
Amano shrimp are caridina shrimp where as cherry shrimp are neocaridina shrimp and the two genus’ are not able to cross breed with each other.
Even if they could, it is highly likely that their offspring would be the natural wild brown color of neocaridina shrimp anyway.
As we covered in our article on breeding yellow shrimp with cherry shrimp, it is very rare that the bright colors of two unique types of shrimp will pass to their young when cross breeding.
Your Amano Shrimp Is Dying!
Although this is not the most common reason for red amano shrimp, it can be one of the reasons. Some types of bacteria can cause a blood infection in your shrimp which will turn their insides red and at this stage, there is very little you can do to save them.
This is quite rare but it can happen from time to time. If you see your shrimp acting lethargic, not eating, and generally looking unwell then we recommend testing your water quality. If everything looks good with your water then there is a chance that your shrimp may be sick.
The majority of shrimp, no matter the species will quickly die if they end up with this infection and there is nothing that you are able to do about it.