The bumblebee shrimp or zebra dwarf shrimp ( Caridina breviata ) attracts attention in the aquarium due to its striking body pattern and active behaviour. They got their name because of their characteristic body pattern, which reminds of a bumblebee or a zebra. The pattern is black and white and sometimes also reddish brown and white banded. The background is transparent, silvery or tinted white. If the female carries eggs, the colouring can be almost monochromatic white. In addition, the shrimp has a much shorter nose (rostrum) and few or no teeth compared to other bee shrimp.
The female shrimp differs from the male shrimp by a more intense colour and a stronger and larger body. While a full-grown female can reach a size of up to 2.8 cm, the males remain considerably smaller and daintier at about 2.5 cm.
Meanwhile there are advanced breeding variants which also produce other colourings and sizes.
Normally, the bumblebee shrimp does not place great demands on the aquarium keeper when kept in a species-appropriate way. The reason for the species’ popularity is its tireless activity. It is simply fun to watch the small invertebrates searching for food on the ground. Especially when it scavenges for it with its little feet. Equally impressive is the beautiful contrast that the body colour makes with the green plants and the light or dark ground.
Like other dwarf shrimp, a bumblebee shrimp is a peace-loving, sociable and active aquatic animal. It needs an aquarium with at least 20 litres and better 30 litres volume. A tank that is too small and too full can lead to stress and ultimately to a lack of reproductive success.
Equally important is a natural facility that offers the animal sufficient shelter and grazing possibilities with a manageable structure. Fine-grained plants such as the Cuba Pearlwort or the Brazilian Grass Plant as well as dense cushions of Javamoos or Mosskugeln are used. Wooden roots, upside-down coconut shells and stones with a good grip are also popular. The suitable substrate consists of fine gravel or sand. It should facilitate the search for food.
The right water quality is high quality, clean and rich in oxygen. Caridina breviata originally comes from the warmer regions around the Xinfengjian reservoir in south-east China. They are adapted to soft and warmer water.
The optimal water values:
- Temperature: 18 to 25 degrees Celsius
- PH: 6,5 to 7
- Total hardness : 6 dgH
- Carbonate: 0 to 1 dkH
The offspring of the bumblebee shrimp runs more or less by itself and in a rhythm of four to six weeks. The conditions are a stable environment, sufficient retreat possibilities and good food. Targeted breeding is most successful in a species tank.
As the gender distribution is difficult to identify, a starter population of at least 10 members guarantees a considerable number of offspring. The mating works and the male can attach many sperm packages to the eggs of the female. After successful fertilization, the female presses the eggs into her abdominal pocket on her abdomen. The total gestation period is about 4 weeks. The male is responsible for brood care. He makes sure that only usable eggs remain.
The number of young dwarf shrimp is between 20 and 40. They belong to a highly developed reproductive type and are immediately fully developed. Their body height is about 2 mm. They reach sexual maturity in the third month of life.
The trade offers a wide range of food for freshly hatched, young and adult dwarf shrimps. There is moist food, protein food, mineral food, health food, multiplication food, sole food, food supplements and even activity food, coloured food and treats.
A bumblebee shrimp is almost an omnivore and likes both animal and vegetable food. It likes to graze food remains, mulm, biofilm and algae on soil and plants.
It is important that the food is varied and contains all essential amino acids, vital substances, building materials, proteins and enzymes. These substances are contained in dried as well as fresh feed. Flakes, granules, pastes and powder are easy to give. The freeze-dried feed usually consists of water fleas, mosquito larvae, cyclops and Artemia.
Homemade food consists for example of spinach, nettle, red pepper and Hokkaido pumpkin. Dry, brown autumn leaves from walnut tree leaves and alder cones belong to the basic food.
Especially the offspring needs a varied and nutritious feed in the first weeks of life. A sparing administration of powdered food is good for healthy growth.
The socialization of the bumblebee shrimp can only succeed with peaceful and balanced fellow inhabitants. These are made up of small, equally peaceful ornamental fish, crabs, snails and other dwarf shrimp. Small species such as dwarf armoured catfish, panda catfish, bearfish and barbels belong to the optimal society with fish.