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Amano Shrimp

By Janna Kate
 

Amano Shrimp © Wendfish
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The freshwater shrimp Caridina japonica goes by many names. It is known as the Amano shrimp, Japanese marsh shrimp, grass shrimp, Yamato Nuna Ebi, Yamato shrimp, algae-eating shrimp, and the Japanese swamp shrimp.
Its native home is the marshes and swamps of Japan, and it does feed on algae and soft aquatic plants. It is often known as the Amano shrimp because the famous aquarium photographer, Takashi Amano, used the beautiful creatures in his work so often. If you look at his books, you'll most likely see some of these shrimp.
They are quite lovely creatures. They have transparent bodies with lines of dots on each side, and a fan-like tail. A stripe runs down their back. Their feelers are long. They reach a length of about 1.5-2 inches. In my opinion, they are much prettier than the more common ghost shrimp. They also reportedly live longer than other freshwater shrimp species.
Although many prefer fish food to actual algae (they are no substitute for tank cleaning), they make great scavengers. They are quick, graceful swimmers--a delight to watch! I find mine is sometimes faster than my goldfish in recognizing and grabbing food. They are great at finding leftover food. Because they are clear, it is easy to tell if they have been eating or not.
At this time, Amano shrimp are difficult to find in the United States, although they are very popular in the Asian aquarium trade. When they are available, they are much more expensive than ghost shrimp. Currently, a single Amano shrimp will cost between $2-$3, while ghost shrimp cost mere cents. One problem is the difficulty in breeding them. Although breeding in captivity can be done, the larvae require salinity to grow, although adults are very tolerant of varying water conditions. Females can be identified when they are carrying eggs.
When transporting the shrimp, be careful! They are delicate, but, if they are able to get leverage on something, like a net, out of water, they can jump. They like having something to hold on to, so give them a piece of a plant if their traveling container has slick surfaces.

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