Sunkist Orange Shrimp
Sunkist Orange Shrimp

Sunkist Orange Shrimp

Caridina thambipillai
SynonymsCaridina propinqua
DistributionSarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, and Myanmar.
Sexual DimorphismFemales grow larger and can be seen carrying eggs.
Maximum Size3cm (1.2")
Water ParametersWill acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. pH: 6.5-8.0, dH: up to 15 degrees.
Temperature20-25 deg C (68-77 deg F)
LightingNo special requirements


The Sunkist Orange Shrimp is a brightly coloured, peaceful species known from freshwater streams and brackish estuaries. These shrimp are highly social creatures and are best kept in large colonies. They are suitable for aquariums containing communities of small, peaceable fish only, as larger tankmates will regard them as a snack. Sunkist Orange Shrimp are excellent algae eaters and will browse on many different algae types. Highly recommended for planted aquaria, they will not damage the plants, but instead, large groups of this species will keep the leaves free from algae. Floating plants seem to be particularly favoured, and these shrimp can often be seen 'hanging around' in the plant cover near the water's surface. Like most species of shrimp, a high nitrate level will not be tolerated; ensure high standards of water quality are maintained at all times. Sunkist Orange Shrimp will moult regularly whilst growing, and the sudden appearance of perfectly formed shrimp casings on the floor of the aquarium can cause alarm to fishkeepers who have not seen this before. Once the shrimp has moulted, it will remain hidden for a time until the new shell hardens and it has a bit more protection. Capable of fairly dramatic colour change, depending on substrate, water parameters, and mood. May also be seen on sale as Orange Shrimp, Borneo Orange Shrimp, Orange Pumpkin Shrimp, and Tangerine Shrimp. This species is sometimes confused with a similar-looking orange variant of the Cherry Shrimp. However, the larvae of C. thambipillai requires a brackish stage to develop into tiny shrimps, whereas the Orange Cherry Shrimp can reproduce in pure freshwater.


Will browse on algae. Supplement the diet with algae wafers, sinking pellets, small frozen foods such as daphnia and baby brineshrimp. Vegetable matter such as blanched spinach.


This is not an easy species to breed because the tiny larvae require a brackish stage in order to develop. However, there are several successful breeding reports. Ideally, a separate small aquarium should be set up with water from the main tank, with gentle air driven filtration and clumps of Java Moss. A berried female should then be very gently caught and moved across. Once the female releases her eggs, she should be moved back to the main tank. Aquarium salt should then be carefully added to the breeding tank, gradually bringing the salinity of the water up to an SG of 1.008. The larvae take between 21-30 days to transform into young shrimps, and during this time, should be fed miniscule foods such as infusoria and Liquifry. Once they have grown to an acceptable size, they can be very cautiously acclimatised back to freshwater.

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