How to Breed Camel Shrimp: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist

Introduction to Camel Shrimp

Description and Characteristics

Camel shrimp, also known as humpback shrimp or Rhynchocinetes spp., are small, colorful marine shrimp that make a stunning addition to any saltwater aquarium. They typically have a hump on their backs, which gives them their camel-like appearance. These shrimp come in vibrant shades of red, orange, and white, which can make them stand out in your aquarium.

Habitat and Distribution

Camel shrimp are found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. They often inhabit rocky areas, caves, and crevices in coral reefs. These shrimp are nocturnal and prefer to hide during the day, coming out at night to feed.

Why Breed Camel Shrimp?

Advantages for Hobbyists

Breeding camel shrimp offers several benefits to aquarium enthusiasts. Not only can it be a rewarding experience, but it also provides a sustainable source of shrimp for your tank, reducing the need to purchase additional specimens. Successfully breeding these shrimp can also contribute to the preservation of wild populations, as it lessens the demand for harvesting from their natural habitats.

Conservation and Sustainability

Camel shrimp populations are at risk due to habitat loss and overharvesting. By breeding these shrimp in captivity, hobbyists can contribute to conservation efforts and help maintain the species’ genetic diversity.

Preparing for Camel Shrimp Breeding

Required Equipment

To successfully breed camel shrimp, you will need the following equipment:

  1. A separate breeding tank (10-20 gallons)
  2. Heater and thermometer
  3. Protein skimmer or air-driven sponge filter
  4. Marine salt mix and water testing kits
  5. Hiding spots and decorations
  6. High-quality shrimp food and supplemental nutrition

Ideal Tank Conditions

The ideal tank conditions for breeding camel shrimp include:

  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • Salinity: 1.020-1.025 specific gravity
  • pH: 8.0-8.4
  • Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels: as close to zero as possible

Ensure your breeding tank is fully cycled and stable before introducing your shrimp.

Step-by-Step Guide to Breeding Camel Shrimp

Step 1: Selecting Healthy Shrimp

Choose a healthy, mature pair of camel shrimp to start your breeding project. Look for shrimp that are active, have vibrant colors, and display no signs of disease or injury. It’s essential to have both males and females in the breeding tank, which can be identified by their size and coloration. Males tend to be smaller and less brightly colored than females.

Step 2: Ensuring a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for the health and reproductive success of your camel shrimp. Provide them with high-quality shrimp pellets, flakes, or frozen foods, as well as live or frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and other small crustaceans. Supplement their diet with spirulina or other marine algae to ensure proper nutrition.

Step 3: Creating a Suitable Environment

Camel shrimp need plenty of hiding spots to feel secure, especially during the breeding process. Provide caves, rocks, and coral structures in the breeding tank to create a comfortable environment. Keep the lighting low, as these shrimp are nocturnal and prefer dim conditions.

Step 4: Monitoring the Breeding Process

Once you have provided the ideal conditions for breeding, the camel shrimp will mate and produce eggs. Female shrimp will carry fertilized eggs in their swimmerets (the small, leg-like structures under their tail) for approximately 2-3 weeks. During this time, monitor the shrimp closely, and avoid stressing them with sudden changes in the tank environment.

Step 5: Caring for Larvae and Juveniles

After the eggs hatch, the female will release free-swimming larvae into the water. At this stage, the larvae are vulnerable and require special care. Provide them with suitable food, such as newly hatched brine shrimp or other small planktonic organisms. Maintain stable water conditions and perform regular water changes to keep the tank clean and free of harmful chemicals.

As the larvae grow and develop, they will molt several times before reaching their juvenile stage. At this point, they will resemble miniature versions of adult camel shrimp. Gradually transition the juveniles to a diet similar to the adults and monitor their growth and development.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter difficulties during the breeding process, consider the following potential solutions:

  • Ensure proper tank conditions, including temperature, salinity, and water quality.
  • Provide adequate hiding spots and a stress-free environment.
  • Evaluate the shrimp’s diet for nutritional deficiencies and adjust as needed.
  • Monitor the tank for signs of disease, parasites, or other health issues.


Breeding camel shrimp can be a rewarding experience for aquarium hobbyists, contributing to conservation efforts and providing a sustainable source of shrimp for your tank. By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully breed these fascinating creatures and enjoy the process of observing their growth and development.


  1. How can I tell if my camel shrimp are ready to breed?

Mature camel shrimp (usually around 1-2 inches in length) with vibrant colors and good health are more likely to breed successfully. Females carrying eggs in their swimmerets are a clear sign that they are ready to breed.

  1. How long does it take for camel shrimp eggs to hatch?

Camel shrimp eggs typically hatch within 2-3 weeks, depending on the temperature and water conditions.

  1. Do I need a separate tank for breeding camel shrimp?

Yes, it is recommended to have a separate breeding tank to provide the ideal environment for the shrimp and their offspring.

  1. What should I feed camel shrimp larvae?

Camel shrimp larvae require small, live foods such as newly hatched brine shrimp or rotifers for proper nutrition and growth.

  1. How long does it take for camel shrimp larvae to reach adulthood?

Camel shrimp larvae will molt several times and go through multiple developmental stages before reaching adulthood. The entire process can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the specific conditions in the tank and the availability of appropriate food sources.

  1. How can I improve the survival rate of camel shrimp larvae?

To improve the survival rate of camel shrimp larvae, maintain stable water conditions, provide ample hiding spots, and ensure a consistent supply of suitable live foods. Regular water changes and the use of an air-driven sponge filter can also help maintain a clean and healthy environment for the larvae.

  1. How can I distinguish between male and female camel shrimp?

Male camel shrimp are generally smaller and less brightly colored than females. Additionally, when breeding, the female shrimp will carry fertilized eggs in their swimmerets, which can be visible as a greenish or yellowish mass under their tail.

  1. How many camel shrimp can I keep in my breeding tank?

The number of camel shrimp you can keep in your breeding tank depends on its size and the amount of hiding spots available. For a 10-20 gallon breeding tank, it is recommended to start with one pair of mature shrimp. If you have a larger tank with more hiding spots, you may be able to house multiple pairs.

  1. Can camel shrimp breed in a community tank with other marine species?

While it is possible for camel shrimp to breed in a community tank, their offspring are more likely to survive and thrive in a separate breeding tank. This dedicated environment allows for better control of water conditions, food sources, and protection from potential predators.

  1. Do camel shrimp have any specific requirements for breeding that differ from their general care?

While many of the general care requirements for camel shrimp also apply to breeding (e.g., stable water conditions, proper diet), there are additional considerations for successful breeding. These include providing ample hiding spots, maintaining low lighting, and setting up a separate breeding tank for the shrimp and their offspring.

Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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