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The Ultimate Guide To Purple Shrimp For Freshwater Aquariums!

Although a large number of fish keepers will keep shrimp in their aquarium as an efficient yet cheap algae eater, most people add a generic shrimp with its regular colors.

Due to so many fish keepers doing their best to collect various fish, snails, and shrimp with rare colors and patterns, it’s not surprising that so many people are trying to implement selective breeding with their shrimp to try and get some unique colors.

With the recent photographs of a number of purple cherry shrimp going viral on social media, we have seen a spike in the number of people reaching out to ask about purple shrimp for freshwater aquariums.

Purple cherry shrimp really do look beautiful so we can understand why we have seen so many people reaching out and asking about keeping them in their own aquariums.

Due to seeing so many people asking questions about purple shrimp as well as there actually being a number of different shrimp species that can actually be purple, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the subject.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are looking to add some purple shrimp to their aquarium as well as answer as many of the frequently asked questions that we see people asking time and time again.

Is There A Purple Shrimp?

There are four purple shrimp species that are suitable for freshwater aquariums with each species having their own unique looks and shade of purple.

The majority of people tend to prefer the beautiful look of the purple cherry shrimp though with the purple neocaridina shrimp usually being a very popular second place.

Due to how rare healthy purple shrimp are, they can easily retail for $40-$100 with there being plenty of buyers depending on the species. We have even seen some purple cherry shrimp sell online for $180 per shrimp recently.

This is due to the price of the purple cherry shrimp being pumped up because so many collectors want at least one in their aquariums while cherry shrimp breeders want to try and develop their own purple shrimp lines for breeding more in the future.

As with most things, we expect the prices of the purple shrimp other than the metallic purple caridina shrimp to fall over the coming year or so as interest fades and breeders start to add more purple shrimp to the market.

Due to this, we would not recommend that our readers purchase any type of purple shrimp at their current prices as it is unlikely that you will see a return on your investment unless you breed your own shrimp to sell.

Why Does A Shrimp Turn Purple?

The purple cherry shrimp turned purple due to selective breeding of the blue cherry shrimp that has more of the original cherry red pigment on their bodies as well as a large amount of the blue pigment.

After a few cycles of selective breeding runs, some breeders are now able to get one purple cherry shrimp per run with most people building up their purple shrimp breeding lines to increase this success rate.

The other types of purple shrimp that are commonly kept in freshwater aquariums also got their purple color in a similar way.

Just like most things with it comes to aquarium keeping, people love to tinker and see what they are able to produce in their tanks and then the collectors get wind of them and the prices start to skyrocket quickly.

In our opinion, the cherry shrimp with the purple coloring are going to keep their popularity as they are a beautiful looking shrimp but we feel that their prices will start to drastically come down soon.

Rather than fetching almost $200 per shrimp, we would expect their prices to fall to the $40-$50 range in the coming year or two as more and more breeders are able to produce them reliably.

4 Types Of Purple Freshwater Shrimp!

The four most common types of purple shrimp are the purple variants of cherry shrimp, neocaridina shrimp, cardina shrimp, and nanashi shrimp.

Some people do class the purple variants of the cherry shrimp and the neocaridina shrimp as the same species but there are some slight differences.

Purple Cherry Shrimp

Although purple cherry shrimp were not the first popular purple shrimp, they definitely are the ones to cause the recent spike in popularity due to a number of viral photographs on social media amongst aquarium keepers.

In our opinion, they are also the best-looking shrimp with a purple pigment but their prices are very high.

Due to shrimp breeders trying to get enough cherry shrimp with the purple pigment to breed them consistently, it is rare that you will find them for sale right now but you can try online vendors to see what’s available.

Purple Neocaridina Shrimp

There is a little confusion when it comes to purple neocaridina shrimp due to people confusing them with purple cherry shrimp due to cherry shrimp being a type of neocaridina shrimp.

Although all cherry shrimp are a type of neocaridina shrimp, not all neocaridina shrimp are cherry shrimp and neocaridina are available in a range of unique colors.

Most of the “purple neocaridina” are actually just a specific shade of the blue neocaridina where as the purple cherry shrimp are the result of selective breeding between red and blue cherry shrimp.

Metallic Purple Shrimp

Although people use the term “metallic purple shrimp” interchangeably, there are actually two different species of metallic purple shrimp with them having very different price tags to each other.

It is important to make sure that you are purchasing the correct metallic purple shrimp due to this as well as the size of the fully grown adults being very different too.

Metallic Purple Caridina Shrimp

The metallic purple caridina shrimp currently retails at around $100 and we feel that it is going to be the only purple shrimp variant to keep its current price tag once the current hype around purple shrimp fades.

Caridina shrimp can be harder to care for due to them being very fragile and sensitive to their water conditions so we would not recommend them to a beginner as they have such a high price tag and do usually require some previous experience to keep them comfortable.

Metallic Purple Nanashi Shrimp

Purple nanashi shrimp tend to be very difficult to find for sale unless you approach specialist breeders directly but they will usually sell them for $40 per shrimp.

In our opinion, they are the worse looking of the purple shrimp currently available but some people do like them in their tanks but we would always go with the purple cherry shrimp over any other shrimp type given the choice.


That brings our article going over purple shrimp to an end. We hope that we have been able to answer any of your questions about keeping purple shrimp as well as having convinced you NOT to purchase a purple shrimp at their current prices. We feel that the current prices are considerably higher than they should be due to the amount of interest in purple colored shrimp due to a few viral photographs on social media and we expect their prices to fall over the coming months allowing you to get yourself the same shrimp for a much lower price.