Chocolate prawns belong to the family of large shrimps. They usually appear in a very dark brown tone, reminiscent of cocoa and chocolate. In some shrimp, however, the body colour tends more towards a reddish brown tone. This shrimp species is also known to have a partially bluish colouring. However, the blue colour is usually limited to the claws of the shrimp.
Chocolate shrimp can grow up to nine centimetres in size. Their claws are also very pronounced and are well suited for hunting smaller animals. There is a difference in size between males and females. The claws of female chocolate shrimp are significantly smaller than those of the male representatives.
Chocolate prawns can be kept quite simple. The most important thing is that the shrimp are not kept in an aquarium that is too small. For a small group of 3 to 4 animals a 60cm long species tank with 54l capacity is recommended. If the aquarium should be smaller, the shrimp could quickly become aggressive and attack each other.
In the aquarium there should be many retreat possibilities such as mangroves and hollow stones into which the chocolate shrimp can retreat. As the animals tend to be nocturnal, they love it if they can find a shady place during the day. It is also not unusual if the chocolate shrimp do not show themselves in the first days after they have moved into the aquarium. Only after a short period of acclimatisation do the shrimp gain confidence to come out of their hiding places. It is then also possible to lure them out of their hiding places during the day with a food that appeals to them.
Beyond that, however, the chocolate shrimp are comparatively undemanding. They are therefore suitable for beginners who have little or no experience with shrimp farming.
Chocolate shrimp are omnivores. They can use almost any kind of food. If you want to feed them vegetarian food, then growing algae, fallen leaves or even chopped vegetable pieces such as cucumbers or small carrots are suitable. But the shrimp also eat live food such as mosquito larvae or tubifex.
So that the animals do not get bored, their diet should be well mixed. If they are given vegetables and leaves as food one day and live food another day, the animals feel really good. On the other hand, if they are fed too one-sided, they may not touch their food and instead look for alternatives in the aquarium.
The ideal time for feeding should be in the evening. During the day the chocolate shrimp are reluctant to leave their hiding places.
Chocolate shrimps belong to the so-called “advanced multiplication type”. This means that, unlike other shrimp species, they do not need a habitat change from fresh water to salt water in order to develop. Instead, the complete development of the larvae takes place in the egg. The eggs are comparatively large and receive sufficient yolk material so that the young larvae can be fed sufficiently during their development.
The female chocolate shrimp carries the eggs between her swimming legs throughout the entire development phase. Only when the larvae are fully grown are they released from the breeding room to develop freely. The females carry no more than six eggs per egg clutch.
However, aquarium owners should make sure that there is enough space and hiding places in the aquarium. The young shrimp need many retreat possibilities in order not to be attacked by their parents as potential prey. If there is not enough space, the young shrimp and the parents must be kept separately in different aquariums until the young shrimp are large enough to defend themselves.
Care should also be taken to ensure that an aquarium is not overpopulated. This can happen comparatively quickly, as the chocolate shrimp females can get new young shrimp just one month after laying their eggs.
The socialization of chocolate shrimp is somewhat more difficult because the animals can become aggressive very quickly. They hunt for smaller shrimp, small fish or even their own offspring. It is therefore important to pay attention to the right group size and composition. A shrimp group should not be larger than three or four animals. A male shrimp can easily be kept with two or three females. If there are several males in a group, they often attack each other.
If the shrimp are to be kept together with fish, they need sufficient space and the fish should be larger than the shrimp to avoid being classified as a possible food source. If these conditions are met, chocolate shrimp can develop undisturbed and enrich an aquarium.