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The Crystal Red Shrimp, also known as CRS, is a rare and beautiful shrimp species that can be identified by their white and red stripes. This unusual and fragile shrimp developed through many generations of inbreeding and mutating, producing a beautiful strain of shrimp in various grades. The original Red Crystal Shrimp has the same Crystal Shrimp pattern of alternating red stripes, but its entire surface is translucent, with little to no white coloration.
Crystal Red Shrimp are very demanding and not recommended for beginner aquarists. T water has to be kept under strict monitoring with a temperature between 71-77° Fahrenheit (22-25° C), and the pH should be slightly acidic (6.2-7.2), in order to enhance the colors of the shrimp and the growth rate. Nitrates and ammonia levels in the CRS tank must be 0, otherwise the shrimp will be very susceptible to disease and even death. Nitrates should be kept below 20ppm, as closest to 0 as possible.
Depending on the distribution of white and red patches, the Crystal Red Shrimp are classified in 7 grades, from the most to the least desired: SSS, SS, S+, S, A, B, C; SSS having the largest amount of white color while C being mostly covered in red, with only little white showing. Red Crystal Shrimp grades are only defined by color striping, while size, health, life span, and demands are the same for all grades.
As a general rule, the more white coloration on the body, the higher the grade. Below are the Crystal Red Shrimp grades, from the SSS to the C.
SSS grade Crystal Red Shrimp
CRS of SSS grade should have at least 75% of the body area covered in white. They are alternatively called “Mosura.” Different red patterns on the legs, face, and antennae can make a difference even between SSS grade shrimps, even placing one above the other. “Flowers” or “crowns” are some of the patterns a Mosura CRS could wear.
SS grade Crystal Red Shrimp
The SS grade shrimp has an additional red “Hinomaru” – a red circular portion on the back, taking its name from the sun on the Japanese flag. The Hinomaru is usually located on the upper mid-portion of the body. Particular variations consist of the “no-entry” Hinomaru, represented by a white line across the red spot and the double Hinomaru when there is a second red spot on the Crystal Red Shrimp’s body.
S/S+ grade Crystal Red Shrimp
The S shrimp begins to develop a solid pattern of alternating red and white bands across the body with more red coloration emerging on the sides. The white strips are not as solid as in the SSS and SS grades. More solid colored individuals can be classified as S+, as they are still close to upper grades. Particular features of the S and S+ grade Crystal Red Shrimp can be the V-band and the Tiger Tooth.
A grade Crystal Red Shrimp
An A grade CRS can easily be labeled as S grade if not carefully observed. The main characteristics of this grade are semi-translucent white areas and the lack of special patterns or features. More opaque specimens can be considered A+ if the coloration is very solid. A grade Crystal Red Shrimp are inexpensive and could be good starting specimens for beginner breeders.
B grade Crystal Red Shrimp
On the B grade Crystal Red Shrimp, red and white marks can be mixed and no actual full white band is present. Their colors are also less solid with more translucent areas than on the A grade CRS. B grade CRS are also good specimens for beginners, but they can be pretty hard to find due to the fact they are considered “ugly” by many breeders.
C grade Crystal Red Shrimp
This grade is the closest to the original Crystal Red Shrimp; very little to no white spots are present and the legs are not colored at all. No special features are present on the C grade CRS body and few have attempted to breed completely red CRS, as they do not seem very popular.
Terminology and features
Higher grade Crystal Red Shrimp have special features or patterns, which can help identify them:
Crown: A semi-circular red spot, giving the look of a crown, located on the shrimp’s head; found in SSS grade CRS.
Flower: Flower-shaped pattern located on the side of a shrimp’s head; found in SSS grade shrimps.
Hinomaru/double Hinomaru: Red circles on the middle of the body. Double Hinomaru is the presence of the second red circle on the bottom part of the body, near the tail; found in SS grade shrimps.
No entry Hinomaru: A white strip across the Hinomaru. It gives the appearance of the no-entry traffic signs; also found in SS grade Crystal Red Shrimps.
Tiger Tooth: Two downward red dashes with a white “tiger tooth” in between them. They are located on the middle red section on a shrimp’s body; can be found on S+ specimens.
V band: The red section on the middle of the body is shaped as a triangle. This feature can be found in the S+ grade CRS.
Crystal Red Shrimp grades are only a classification of shrimp according to their physical appearance. While most breeders take this into account, hobbyists prefer to choose healthy individuals with features that most appeal to their own taste. Regardless of the grade you choose, the Crystal Red Shrimp would make a pretty addition to any tank.