How To Enhance Shrimp Color? [8 Tips]

Among shrimp hobbyists, it’s a common goal to enhance their shrimp color as the shrimp color is a prominent indicator of good shrimp health. Moreover, the market price is highly dependent on the shrimp’s color. To meet consumer acceptability, the shrimp owners often ask- how to enhance shrimp color.

It can be possible to enhance the shrimp color by maintaining a few things. You can improve the shrimp color by controlling the food quality, water quality, proper supplementation, stress factors, and so on. In addition, you can focus on several environmental factors like dark substrate, bright background, etc.

In this article, I’ve shared detailed ways of enhancing your shrimp color. You’ll find the answers to additional questions too. So, if you worry about enhancing your shrimp color, I’ll urge you to go through this article.

How Can I Enhance The Color On My Shrimp?

There are a few tricks by which you can bring out the fullest coloration of your shrimp. To enhance the intensity of coloration pigments, you can maintain these rules. Let’s see how you can improve the color of your shrimp.

1. Selective Breeding

To enhance the color of your shrimp, you can start from the very beginning. Start selective breeding to improve the color of your shrimp.

Before breeding shrimp, you should know that the pigments of shrimp play a crucial role in coloration. If you want to get brown shrimp, you can not take red cherry shrimp to breed that lack brown pigment genes.

On the other hand, you can breed the brightest colored shrimp to enhance the color of the new shrimp. If you do not breed shrimp with good and accurate genes, the environmental factors won’t help you get deeper colored shrimp.

Moreover, if you want to enhance the shrimp’s color, you should rule out the shrimp with weaker genetics. You can also add shrimp of good genetics line to improve the color of baby shrimp. Keep the shrimp of higher grade in the tank for such selective breeding.

Can You Mix Different Color Shrimp Species?

Yes- you can mix different color shrimp species if you want to crossbreed.

When you mix different color shrimp species, their offspring will have an entirely different color from the parent shrimp. The offspring shrimp will have the dominant or wild-type color from one of its parent shrimps.

For example- if you mix Crystal Black shrimp and Crystal Red shrimp, the black color will get more prominent in the shrimp offspring. But, you have to wait to get the desired color through crossbreeding.

The shrimp color might get dodgy for a few generations of shrimp. Some of them might revert to the wild-type color after a few generations. However, as you exchange genes through crossbreeding, the new shrimp becomes hardy and immune to diseases.

Will Red Cherry Shrimp Crossbreed?

You can crossbreed among different species of shrimp if their genus is the same. Following this rule, cherry shrimp can crossbreed with other shrimp of the same genus.

In case you don’t know yet, the genus of red cherry shrimp is Neocaridina. So, you can not crossbreed red cherry shrimp with any shrimp of the Caridina genus. On the other hand, you can crossbreed red cherry shrimp with any shrimp species of Neocaridina.

red cherry shrimp color grading chart

2. Feed Natural Food: Best Color Enhancing Shrimp Food

In case you don’t know yet, a significant factor in improving the shrimp color is Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that enhances whatever color your shrimp retain. So, if you want to enhance your shrimp color, you can feed your shrimp natural foods enriched with astaxanthin.

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You’ll find astaxanthin from various microorganism sources. Such plant matter and natural algae are a great source of astaxanthin for your shrimp. For this, you can feed marine algae, planktons, krill, spinach, algae wafers, spirulina powder, etc.

Your shrimp can also get their required pigments from vegetables like blenched cucumber, papaya, carrots, dried grapes, etc. An invertebrate diet like  Hikari crab cuisine promotes good health and improved coloration of shrimp.

In addition, you can feed several types of color-increasing fish food like TetraColor Tropical Flakes, Omega One Super Color Flakes, etc. While choosing commercial foods, you must remain careful of their being healthy for your shrimp.

Don’t forget that a balanced diet can ensure the good health of your shrimp and eventually improve the coloration. This astaxanthin-rich food can enhance your shrimp color by increasing the amount of the required pigments.

3. Supplementation With Astaxanthin And Carotenoids

When you keep your shrimp as a pet, these shrimps may not get diverse sources of microorganisms. For this reason, you need to provide supplementation with astaxanthin and carotenoids.

Several kinds of research show that supplementing your shrimp with a 25-100 mg/kg amount of astaxanthin can enhance the coloration effectively. Besides, you should provide dietary B-carotene supplementation from where your shrimp get extra carotenoids.

To improve the carotenoid pigment remarkably, dietary supplementation with 180-200 mg/kg of lutein can bring good results. These supplements will help increase the amount of astaxanthin in the epidermal layer and exoskeleton of shrimp.

Besides, I recommend providing Shrimps Forever Supplements And Color Enhancer that stimulates the coloration pigments of shrimp. Such as Shrimp Forever Multizyme, Shrimp Forever Vita plus, Shrimp Forever Astaxanthin, etc.

You can also provide Astaxanthin powder, Arctic Copepod, etc. These products contain higher levels of carotenoids, including astaxanthin, echinenone, cryptoxanthin, etc.

4. Dark Substrate

Shrimp coloration depends upon not only food but also water quality. Also, you can increase your shrimp coloration through several environmental factors.

From several types of research, the experts find out that darker substrates help enhance the coloration pigments of shrimp. If you keep the pale substrate in your shrimp tank, your shrimp will gradually lose their color.

When you keep your shrimp on a dark substrate, your shrimp might want to adapt to the environment. To hide from their predators, these shrimps will tend to camouflage, following their instinct.

Although there must not remain any predators in captivity, the shrimp will not understand it. You can take this advantage of their camouflage to enhance their color.

The number of carotenoids that are present in their exoskeleton will become higher when you keep a dark substrate in the shrimp tank. So, you can use dark-colored substrate or gravel if you want to enhance the shrimp color.

5. Darker Background

As mentioned before, shrimp try to get blended with their surrounding. For this, a cheap and easy option is to keep your shrimp within a dark background. So, you can keep the shrimp tank color bright.

In addition, you can use good reflected light. You can use red, blue, or green color-enhancing light bulbs. Otherwise, your shrimp color won’t enhance under natural light sources or white lighting.

Such dark background and reflected light influence increasing the carotenoid level in shrimp. As a result, when you keep your red cherry shrimp in a red-colored background, the red coloration of these shrimp gets more intense.

On the other hand, several studies show how the shrimp get pale in a light-colored environment. So, you can keep shadowed areas, dark gravel, dark plants, dark woods, etc.

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6. Reduce Stress Factors

If your shrimp go under prolonged stress, these crustaceans will lose their color. Hence, you might notice your shrimp turning pale while staying with aggressive tank mates. The astaxanthin and carotenoid levels reduce when shrimp remain stressed for a long period.

Moreover, you should make your shrimp feel safe and secure. If you keep other fish as shrimp tank mates, you should keep several hideouts and caves in the tank. These secured places help shrimp bring out their full coloration.

Besides, you might know that shrimp do best in groups. So, when you keep shrimp in groups, they remain joyful by interacting with each other. In such environments, shrimp can develop their color in full intensity.

Therefore, you need to remove all stress factors for your shrimp. To enhance the shrimp color, you’ve to focus on keeping your shrimp happy and stress-free.

7. Keep Your Shrimp In Good Water Condition

The pigments of astaxanthin get influenced by good water quality. If the water parameters are improper in your shrimp tank, this may cause stress to your shrimp.

So, you should keep the temperature, pH, and other parameters of water ideal. When your shrimp remain healthy in good water condition, their pigmentation will get higher to bring out their full color.

8. Wait For Maturity

After ensuring all facilities, you should wait a bit for their maturity. The astaxanthin and carotenoid levels get higher as the shrimp get older. Researches show that a 120-day-old female shrimp display 70% more coloration than a 60-day-old female shrimp. 

At What Age Do Cherry Shrimp Turn Red?

You might be surprised to know that all shrimp are born colorless. These crustaceans take some time to have coloration on them. Like other shrimp, cherry shrimp do not show any pinch of color when they are babies.

Hence, the cherry shrimp owners often ask at what age cherry shrimp turn red! Well, it varies on your cherry shrimp growth, water quality, food intake, and so on. Generally, cherry shrimp may take 2-3 weeks to turn red. These cherry shrimp babies become darker as they develop or grow.

Why Are My Cherry Shrimp Not Red?

The bright red coloration of red cherry shrimp enhances the beauty of the aquarium. If your cherry shrimp is not red, there may remain several reasons.

Generally, shrimp take some time to bring out their coloration at full intensity. If your cherry shrimp are not red, they may not be matured yet.

Also, the male cherry shrimp do not have intense, bright red coloration like female cherry shrimp. So, there may remain possibilities of your shrimp being male if your cherry shrimp are pale red.

How Do Blue Shrimp Get Their Color?

Usually, you may notice wild shrimp be transparent or greenish-brown in color. On the other hand, the blue coloration of Blue Dream or Blue Velvet Shrimp is not natural at all.

Due to such exotic colors, these rare blue shrimps are pretty popular among shrimp hobbyists. The blue shrimp exhibit bright blue colors, which are the unique color morph or variant of Cherry shrimp.

However, you can check out the blue cherry shrimp care guide if you are a beginner.

There has been a long-term debate on the origin of blue shrimp and how this color morphs are bred. These blue shrimps can be hybrids of Blue Carbon Rili and Blue Dream shrimp.

Some people get Blue Dream shrimp from the origin of Carbon Rili shrimp, which have dark blue or black coloration with blue hues.

In addition, these blue shrimps can originate from Red Rili shrimp. As a result, the shrimp offspring will have a clear blue color with red lines. However, the grade of the blue coloration depends on the ratio of blue pigments to black pigments in the shrimp body.

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Why Is My Ghost Shrimp Turning Opaque?

Ghost shrimp tend to look transparent and clear naturally. When your ghost shrimp turns opaque from a transparent look, there must be something wrong. There may remain several reasons behind your ghost shrimps turning opaque.

When your ghost shrimp start shedding their exoskeleton, these shrimps may turn opaque. Besides, poor water quality causes color loss of your ghost shrimp. It includes pH swings, the presence of copper, a higher amount of ammonia in water, etc.

Because of being sensitive to changes, changes in water parameters play a significant role in shrimps turning white. Besides, your ghost shrimp may become opaque if they suffer from muscular necrosis.

When ghost shrimp become old, these crustaceans gradually lose their translucent carapace. As a result, old ghost shrimp slowly turn opaque or white. 

Are There Purple Shrimp?

Among over 300 species of shrimp, you might find varieties of colored shrimp. There are also purple shrimps which have become pretty popular among shrimp hobbyists.

Although it’s pretty rare to find purple shrimp, these shrimps can get achieved through crossbreeding. For this, you need to breed selectively among blue cherry shrimps that have more red pigments than blue pigments.

You can find four species of purple shrimp that may cost around $40-$180. These four types of purple shrimp are purple cherry shrimp, metallic purple shrimp, metallic purple cardinal shrimp, and purple Neocaridina shrimp.

Can Different Color Shrimp Breed?

It’s possible to interbreed or crossbreed shrimp of different color morphs. To get a specific colored shrimp, shrimp hobbyists tend to breed between specific colored shrimp. You’ll get a hybrid of these different color shrimp where the offspring shrimp doesn’t develop the color of the parent shrimp.

However, there are some conditions to breeding different colored shrimp. You should not breed different types of shrimp of the same genus.

But, you can cross-breed among different species of shrimp. For example, you can breed Neocaridina shrimp with Caridina shrimp.

Why Is My Shrimp So Pale?

Sometimes, the shrimp owners get worried when their shrimp become pale. It’s not a good sign for shrimp to lose color.

There are lots of reasons that cause your shrimp to turn pale. If you keep your shrimp with a light substrate, your shrimp will gradually become lighter in color. In addition, poor water quality, wrong pH of water, and poor diet can put effects on your shrimp losing color.

Besides, it’s pretty natural to lose color a bit when your shrimp go through molting. These shrimps also develop a white ring around their neck during this phase. When your shrimp are ready to molt, their mid-back section becomes transparent.

In addition, you should take count stress as a significant factor in losing shrimp color. Your shrimp can get stressed due to temperature fluctuations, aggressive tank mates, improper water parameters, and so on. Due to constant stress, the shrimp may become pale or slightly white.

Moreover, if the shrimp tank isn’t filtered properly, the ammonia level will become higher. As a result, there will be bacterial bloom which may cause poisoning to your shrimp. It results in your shrimp turning pale.

If any of the above reasons do not fit, your shrimp may be pale due to becoming old. When the shrimp get a few days left to die, these crustaceans become transparent or pale. In such a case, the inside of the shrimp becomes milky white.

Final Words

Bringing out the intense coloration on your shrimp is a continuous process. I hope this article helped you know about the ways of enhancing shrimp color. By following these methods, you can enter into the competitiveness of the shrimp hobby by getting the fullest color on your shrimp.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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