Why Are My Shrimp Not Breeding, and How Do I Sex Them?

Why aren't my shrimp breeding?

If a shrimp colony isn’t breeding it’s most likely because of the temperature, the babies are being eaten, or there aren't any males in the tank to begin with.

The temperature being too low won’t actually prevent the shrimp from breeding, but they’ll breed much slower under colder temperatures. For the fastest breeding set the temperature in the high 70s, although keep in mind this will also shorten the shrimp’s lifespan. The shrimp life cycle is pretty dependent on temperature, which determines how fast the life cycle moves. 

Shrimp babies are incredibly tiny and a great snack for almost any kind of fish. Livebearers, in particular, will actively hunt down shrimp babies as snacks, but most any type of nano fish(except otocinclus) will eat shrimp babies. This doesn’t mean shrimp can’t be kept with other fish, but they may not breed as quickly. Adding moss will help the babies stay hidden until they’re big enough to not be eaten. 

How to sex shrimp, and tell male from female:

Sexing shrimp can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, especially because females are shipped out a lot more than males for their color. Here’s my quick guide for sexing shrimp.

Female shrimp have a curved abdomen and a tail that points downwards. Neocaridina species, tiger Caridina species and other transparent shrimps may have a visible saddle (unfertilized eggs).

A female paracaridina zijinica shrimp


A visible saddle on a neocaridina shrimp


A female blue boa shrimp (did you know boa shrimps sell for up to a thousand dollars each!)

Male shrimp have a straight abdomen and a straighter tail than female shrimp. Male cherry shrimp are significantly less colorful than female cherry shrimp.

A male black king kong shrimp


A male red cherry shrimp. Note how it isn’t as opaque red as the cherry shrimp we’re used to seeing.

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