Shrimp / Shrimp information

Harlequin Shrimp

Harlequin Shrimp Hymenocera Picta 5371260

Introduction to Harlequin Shrimp

The Harlequin Shrimp is from Sulawesi, Indonesia and has unique coloration and markings. It is the smallest of the newly discovered Sulawesi Shrimp species. The Harlequin Shrimp is also very shy until it is comfy with its new environment. Once it is adjusted to the aquarium, it will come out more and its colors will truly show.

  • English name: Harlequin Shrimp, Sulawesi Harlequin
  • Scientific name: Caridina Woltoreckae
  • Origin: Sulawesi
  • Size: 0.25″ to .5″ (.64 – 1.27 cm)
  • Water temperature: 76 -82F
  • Water Parameters: PH Range 7.4-8.4, TDS 80-140
  • Breeding Rate: Low
  • Behavior: Non-aggressive
  • Difficulty: Hard

Origin and Background of The Harlequin Shrimp

The Harlequin Shrimp is from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Sulawesi is one of the islands of Indonesia. The Harlequin Shrimp is caught in one of the many lakes in Sulawesi. It actually lives and eats off of the freshwater sponges that exist in the lakes. For this reason, it was given the name ‘Caridina spongicola’. It was originally thought that the Harlequin Shrimp would require these sponges in order to survive, but that is not really true. It uses the sponges to feed off of the algae or particles found in it, essentially cleaning it. Captive feeding of this species without the sponge is fine and the shrimp will survive.

Harlequin Shrimp Water Parameters

As with all Sulawesi Shrimp, it is highly recommended that you keep the Harlequin Shrimp in a temperature of at least 78F. Anything lower can kill this species. It is also recommended that you keep this species in a tank with hard water and a ph of no less than 7.0. Most hobbyists set their Sulawesi tanks with a ph oh 8.0. Some have stated that the low ph of 7.0 due to ADA Amazonia is not good for this species.

Harlequin Shrimp Sexing

Sexing of the Harlequin Shrimp is unknown. I do not know how you can tell the difference between the males and females. I have tried to read online about how to sex any of the Sulawesi Shrimp and apparently it is not yet known. Perhaps as more time progresses, it will be easier to sex these shrimp, but right now it seems that all males and females have the exact same coloration. My guess is that the females may be a bit bigger than the males. If size is the only indicator, then it may be complex to sex them anyhow since the Harlequin Shrimp is small when reaching adulthood.

Breeding Harlequin Shrimp

Breeding is done in complete freshwater; no salt or brackish water is required whatsoever. There is also no larval stage. The adult females carry the eggs until they hatch, producing miniature shrimp. The females carry roughly 10-15 eggs. ( It takes around 20-30 days for the eggs to hatch. The babies immediately exhibit the same color as the adults, just not as intense. I will update this with more information in the near future.

Appearance of The Harlequin Shrimp

The Harlequin Shrimp has a very discrete coloration. It has a mixture of three colors: red, black and white. These three colors offset each other very well and provide a very unique contrast. Harlequin is an art style generally depicted in the jokers or jesters from the middle ages.  Believe it or not, the moniker “Harlequin Shrimp” is derived from the D.C. Comic Book character “Harley Quinn”, who has a similar coloration.

The Video below shows the Harlequin Shrimp in action with other Sulawesi shrimp (the Cardinal Sulawesi shrimp to be exact)

Harlequin Shrimp for Sale

Harlequin Shrimp are a rare type to find in the aquatic world. Not many breeders sell them due to their low breeding and difficulty rate in captivity. You can find a few places below selling the freshwater Harlequin Sulawesi Shrimp but they are pretty expensive for their rarity. Remember to have all your aquarium specs right and at least some knowledge/experience with shrimp keeping before buying Harlequin Shrimp.

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