Taking A Look At My Blue Amano Shrimp: Causes And Care Tips!

The most common reasons for an Amano shrimp turning blue are diet and stress with the blue hues usually fading within two weeks.

After recently moving two of my Amano shrimp from one aquarium to another, I noticed that one of the shrimp had turned blue.

I’m not talking slight hints of blue in its color but an unmistakable blue color that really made the shrimp standout in its new tank.

Due to never having seen a blue amano shrimp before, I decided to do a little digging to investigate why my amano shrimp had turned blue and if it was anything to worry about

Spoiler: It appears my Amano shrimp turned blue due to eating a large amount of green hair algae in its old tank and it is nothing to worry about. The blue color is already fading in the shrimp as it rampages around its new tank looking for food.

Are There Blue Amano Shrimp?

My Blue Amano Shrimp
My Blue Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are usually pale and somewhat transparent but there are several reasons an Amano shrimp may temporarily turn blue.

Unlike neocaridina shrimp which have a number of color variants that have a permanent, solid blue color, most blue Amano shrimp have recently eaten something to turn them blue or have an issue with stress or their water parameters.

Blue Amano shrimp have a wide range of blue hues with some having a slight hint of blue on their carapace to some having a more solid, obvious blue similar to my Amano shrimp shown in the video clip below.

My Blue Amano Shrimp

As you can see, my amano shrimp has a solid, continuous light blue color to it that runs through the length of its body with the shrimp being happy and oblivious to its new color.

When I initially received this batch of Amano shrimp, they were all the standard pale, transparent color that Amano shrimp are known for and there was nothing special about any of them.

Why Is My Amano Shrimp Blue?

An infographic on why amano shrimp turn blue
Why Amano Shrimp Turn Blue

The most common causes of an Amano shrimp turning blue are:

  • Eating Green Hair Algae
  • Eating Cladophora Algae
  • Eating Spirulina Flakes
  • A Recent Molt
  • Stress
  • Water Parameters

I knew that stress and water parameter problems were ruled out as the tank had no real causes of stress and I could test the water parameters it was living in.

Here is a quick breakdown of the common causes of blue Amano shrimp that I found when researching the topic.

Eating Green Hair Algae

Amano shrimp are renowned for their appetite for various types of algae.

When they eat green hair algae, the algae in their digestive tract can create a bluish appearance due to their transparent bodies, especially when seen under certain lighting conditions.

Eating Cladophora Algae

Cladophora is a type of filamentous green algae, and like the green hair algae, consumption can lead to a similar blue color change in the shrimp.

The digestive process of the shrimp combined with the transparency of their exoskeleton can result in a blue-green hue with this usually being a darker blue than regular green hair algae.

Eating Spirulina Flakes

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is often used in fish and shrimp food due to its high protein content and wide range of nutritional benefits.

When Amano shrimp consume Spirulina flakes or pellets, the blue-green pigments from the algae can again show through their transparent bodies, giving them a bluish tint with this being far more obvious after molting.

Molted Recently

Shrimp periodically shed their exoskeleton in a process called molting.

After molting, the new exoskeleton is softer and may appear to be a different color due to the light refracting differently.

This can sometimes manifest as a blueish shade under certain lighting conditions until the new shell hardens and becomes more opaque.

Stress

Just like many aquatic creatures, Amano shrimp can change color due to stress.

Stress factors might include changes in water temperature, aggressive tankmates, or unsuitable water conditions.

This can cause the shrimp to display an unusual hue, like blue, as a physiological response.

Water Parameters

A sudden or drastic change in water parameters such as pH, temperature, hardness, or levels of ammonia/nitrate can cause stress to the shrimp.

Moreover, the minerals in the water can sometimes interact with the shrimp’s exoskeleton, causing color changes.

This is why it’s crucial to ensure any water added to a shrimp tank matches the existing water parameters as closely as possible.

Can All Amano Shrimp Turn Blue?

One Regular Amano Shrimp And One Blue Amano Shrimp

It is difficult to tell if all Amano shrimp are able to turn blue with a number of people reporting that they have a blue Amano shrimp in their tanks with the rest of their Amano shrimp maintaining their regular color.

This seems to be the case with my own Amano shrimp shown in the video clip at the start of this section.

Before being moved to their new tank, both Amano shrimp were kept in the exact same tank with the same food sources and both shrimp had recently molted too but only one turned blue.

One potential reason for this is that one of the Amano shrimp spent the majority of its time grazing on the Indian Almond Leaves in its old tank where as the other spent the majority of its time amongst java moss.

I guess that different types of algae and biofilm grow on these surfaces and the difference in diet between the two shrimp may be the reason for one of them turning blue and the other one maintaining its regular color.

Should I Worry If My Amano Shrimp Is Turning Blue?

An Amano Shrimp Returning To Its Normal Color
An Amano Shrimp Returning To Its Normal Color

There is no need to worry about a blue Amano shrimp if its blue hue is due to its diet as the blue color will fade over time and it will return to normal within a week or two.

The photograph at the start of this section was taken around a week after the initial photograph at the start of the article and you can see that the blue color is rapidly fading.

If you suspect that your Amano shrimp has turned blue due to stress or a problem with water parameters in its tank then you should work to remedy the problem as quickly as possible.

A water test kit should be able to test for any potential problems with pH or ammonia but a dedicated chlorine test strip will be required to check that any chlorine from tap water has been removed during any recent water changes.

Here are the recommended water parameters for Amano shrimp.

Water Temperature65-82°F (18.5-28°C)
Water FlowStill-Low
pH6.5-8
GH4-15
KH0-10
TDS80-400
Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
Nitrate<20 ppm
Amano Shrimp Water Parameters

Potential causes of stress in Amano shrimp can be a little more difficult to confirm but here are some common problems that can stress shrimp.

Water Quality

One of the primary concerns for Amano shrimp is the quality of the water they inhabit.

These shrimp are particularly sensitive to water parameters, especially levels of ammonia, nitrites, and shifts in pH or hardness.

An imbalance in these elements can be harmful, even toxic causing several problems for your shrimp.

It’s essential for aquarium enthusiasts to perform regular water changes and monitor conditions to ensure a hospitable environment for the shrimp.

Stress From Shipping

Transporting Amano shrimp from one location to another can induce a considerable amount of stress.

The confinement, potential temperature variations, and potential lack of food during the shipping process can be detrimental.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for shrimp to appear lethargic or even discolored upon arrival at their new destination.

This may cause Amano shrimp to turn blue after being transported to a pet store or being shipped to your home after purchasing the shrimp via an online retailer.

Temperature Fluctuations

Amano shrimp rely on stable water temperatures to maintain their metabolic processes.

When there are sudden or frequent fluctuations in temperature, it can disrupt their natural rhythms and compromise their immune system.

This, in turn, makes them more susceptible to diseases and other health-related issues.

Inadequate Acclimation

When introducing Amano shrimp into a new environment, proper acclimation is crucial.

Rapid changes in water conditions can shock their system, leading to stress or even mortality.

It’s crucial to introduce shrimp to new water slowly, allowing them to adjust to the new parameters over time.

Aggressive Tank Mates

The company an Amano shrimp keeps can significantly impact its stress levels.

If housed with aggressive or predatory fish, the shrimp may constantly feel threatened.

This continuous state of alertness can lead to undue stress, affecting their overall well-being.

Overcrowding

Like all aquatic creatures, Amano shrimp require a certain amount of space to thrive.

Overcrowding can lead to increased competition for food, a decrease in available hiding spots, and a general increase in stress levels due to the close proximity of other inhabitants.

I usually like to keep my Amano shrimp in tanks that are a minimum of 5 gallons (19 liters) and keep one Amano shrimp per 2 gallons (7.5 liters) with my table below showing some recommended stocking levels for common tank sizes.

Tank SizeMaximum Amano Shrimp
5 gallons (19 liters)3
10 gallons (38 liters)5
15 gallons (57 liters)7
20 gallons (75 liters)10
30 gallons (113 liters)15

A Lack Of Food

Adequate nutrition is fundamental for the health of Amano shrimp.

If there’s a shortage of food or if they’re not receiving a balanced diet, it can lead to malnourishment and stress.

Ensuring a regular feeding schedule and providing varied nutrition can help alleviate this issue but sticking to the recommended stocking levels above should ensure there is plenty of algae in the tank for your shrimp.

A Lack of Hiding Spots

In the wild, Amano shrimp have access to various hiding spots, allowing them to escape from potential threats.

In an aquarium setting, a lack of hiding spots can make them feel exposed and vulnerable, leading to heightened stress levels.

Adding some live plants, rocks, and driftwood to your tank should be enough to add plenty of hiding spots for your shrimp.

Molting Issues

Molting is a natural process for shrimp where they shed their exoskeleton to grow.

However, if there are complications during this process, such as an inability to shed the old exoskeleton entirely, it can cause significant stress and health issues for the shrimp.

Final Thoughts

Amano shrimp can occasionally exhibit a blue hue, commonly attributed to dietary factors like the consumption of certain algae or spirulina, as well as stress and water parameter changes.

One of my Amano shrimp turned a distinct shade of blue after eating green hair algae, but the coloration began to fade within a week.

While diet-induced blue coloration isn’t a cause for concern and tends to dissipate naturally, blue hues resulting from stress or water parameter shifts require swift remediation to ensure the shrimp’s wellbeing.

Regular monitoring of water quality and shrimp behavior can help in early detection and resolution of potential problems.