Neocaridinas are the hardiest of freshwater dwarf shrimp, as they’re extremely adaptable and do great in just about any water chemistry. They usually appear as either a solid opaque or translucent color (red cherry shrimp, blue dreams, goldenbacks) or with a solid chunk of clear color in the middle of their bodies (red rilis, orange rilis, carbon rilis). Although Neos come in a variety of different colors, all the different colors are from the same species and a result of selective breeding. Since all the colors are the same species, if the different colors interbreed the resulting offspring will revert back to regular coloring, a ‘wild type’ shrimp. Wild type shrimp are a variety of clear, brown, and black and have varying stripes and random patterns.
Caridina shrimp are a lot more sensitive than Neos and are more particular with their water. Soft, acidic water made from RO is best for Caridinas. I find the best way to achieve this is through buffering substrate and tannins. Samurai soil, aquavitro black humate, and fluval stratum are all great options for keeping the water soft and acidic.
Caridina shrimp are split up into two groups, the tigers and the bees. I’ll mostly be talking about the bee shrimp because those are most common at Absolutely Fish.
The tiger shrimp are simple, most times they are covered in black or red tiger stripes over their bodies and are all clear/translucent color (tangerine tigers, orange eye blue tiger, red tiger, Caridina babaulti). Tiger shrimp are a lot easier to keep than bee shrimp and can be kept in soft acidic water along with slightly alkaline water.
Bee shrimp are varying degrees of difficulty depending on the species, with the crystals being the easiest and the King Kongs being the hardest (that we sell). All bee shrimp appreciate soft acidic water, usually achieved through pH buffering substrate and almond leaves/alder cones. Bee shrimp are usually either black/blue or red mixed with white in some form, but some species are different.
The main way to tell Caridina from Neocaridina is the opaque white patterns or tiger stripes on Caridina shrimp, which no color of Neos has. If different Caridina bee species interbreed they form a mischling shrimp, that has white and patches of red and black mixed, and if Caridina tiger and bee shrimp interbreed they form a Tibee that has coloring with solid stripes.