Name: Malawa Shrimp
Scientific_Name: Caridina pareparensis parvidentata
Temperature: Wide range from 71F-83F, most ideal is 73F-78F, 22C-27C
Temperament: Non-aggressive
Origin: Sulawesi, Indonesia
PH: Wide Range, Prefers harder water, 7.0-8.2
Size: around 1'', 2.5cm
Tank Size: Minimum of 2.5g
Skill Level Easy-Moderate
Larval Stage: No

Caring for Malawa Shrimp


The ideal tank for Malawa shrimp is a planted tank. They do really well with lots of plants to filter and clean the water and provide shelter. They are very temperamental to water parameters, so it is key to having a well cycled tank prior to introduction. Any excess ammonia can cause a population collapse.

The Malawa should be kept in a tank no smaller than 2.5 gallons. I personally find it hard to get them to breed in anything smaller than a 10 gallon, but it is possible to have a healthy colony in a smaller tank with adequate care. The tank lights should remain on about 6-8 hours a day. Two 4-hour sessions are most ideal. Do not turn the lights on in total darkness. The sudden change in light can shock a shrimp.

Large aggressive fish will eat the Malawa shrimp and should not be housed together. If there are large fish in the aquarium, you may never see your Malawa since they will hide all the time. Smaller fish like endlers, neons, and guppies are okay as long as there is enough hiding places for them to relax and molt.

Please to not place the tank near a door that is constantly slamming, this causes stress and it is not healthy for the growth of the colony. Do not use COPPER in any part of the tank, it is poisonous to shrimp. Be careful if you use fertilizers or any additives to your tank. Fertilizer with small amounts of copper may not harm the entire population, but can cause deaths in young shrimp. I noticed a decline in my shrimp population the months I was using diluted fertilizer. Also be very careful when medicating your tank, most medications contain traces of copper.

I have heard anubias, the plant, can harm shrimp as well. When a leaf is damaged, it will produce a toxin that can harm and kill some shrimp. If the leaves are not damaged, and remain intact, it may be okay. I personally do not risk it, and refrain from using them in my aquariums.

Be careful of the temperature change between night and day when the lights are turned off. Certain lights can increase tank temperatures to harmful levels. Make sure there is no more than a 4 degree temperature change between night and day. Anymore than this can distress your shrimp and lead to short life spans.


The Malawa shrimp will eat a variety of things being omnivores. I feed them Wardley brand shrimp pellets most regularly since they break apart in water. They will also eat dead fish, flakes, algae wafers, vegetables and of course, algae. The food should remain present for about two hours for them to fully eat. Make sure there is plenty of food particles, so they do not fight over the food. They do not require daily feeding and can be feed every few days.

The majority of their diet should consist of Algae, planted aquariums are ideal for Malawa shrimp. They graze and clean plants all day long keeping them clean. They even eat hair algae and fungus. Sometimes they have difficulty eating the hard algae spots on the glass. A scrubber or an algae eater, are most ideal for this hard algae.

It is important to feed your shrimp occasional treats like thawed peas or other soft vegetables. I mostly feed them peas, thawed, not from can, since most can vegetables contain unnecessary preservatives.

I found that Malawa shrimp will also eat hard vegetables that RCS dont typically like. Things like cauliflower and broccoli. They will eat on hard vegetables, but dont eat it all, and food that is not eaten should be removed.

Color Variations

Malawa range in a variety of colors and patterns. Pregnant females display the most coloration and design compared to the rest of the colony. Usually having whites stripes along the top of her back as well as the dark/black stripes located under her tail. Some also display small brown speckles.

Most males and juvenile Malawa shrimp have black stripes on the undercarriage and appear almost clear with little to no speckles. Only some show the white stripes on the back at an early age. This means it is possible to breed this trait out, hopefully we can have a hard water, high ph version of the tiger shrimp.

I have seen the Malawa shrimp also show colors that resemble its tank mates. For instance, the Malawa in my RCS tank sometimes have a red tint to them. The Malawa shrimp in my yellow shrimp tank sometimes have a yellow tint to them. It may be because of the molts they eat, I am not entirely sure on this.


The Malawa females are larger, darker and more colorful as stated previously. Males are smaller and less impressive than females. It may be possible that the Malawa shrimp population produce more females than males. I notice an extreme ratio difference in both my Malawa shrimp colonies. There are more females somewhere around a 4:1 or greater ratio.


Out of the many shrimp breeds I have kept, this species is one of the most active shrimp with the lights on. They are less timid than the average RCS. When arranging plants in the tank, I notice they will not run immediately, and on occasion will come explore my hand.

They may be calm at first, but when threatened, they disapear faster than you can see. The Malawa shrimp is the fastest of all my shrimp species and a royal pain to bag up. The babies are impossible to see, and parents do this crazy kick and FLASH.....wait, where did it go? Not fun to catch.

When I do manage to catch them, they do a strange tail bend in the net. I think its probably why they are so fast. They have a super tail smack..and away they go! I have also witnessed these guys climbing out of the net and back into the tank. RCS will do this too, but usually it takes them a while. The Malawa are really good and fast at this!

Also, be careful when transferring them, I have had them jump out of the net and onto the floor many times! And they are not very easy to find. Be sure to cover the device used for transport.

The Malawa shrimp is a mild non-aggressive shrimp. They should be kept in groups and get along with most other shrimp and fish. Occasionally they get in little shuffles over food, but his is normal and they dont harm each other.

You will never see the entire population at once. There are always some that hide at feeding time. I would estimate around 30% or less of shrimp can be seen at an given time. Less than half of the shrimp are present at feeding times.

The Malawa molts every so often when it out-grows its exoskeleton. You can see the gaps around the mid section right before the molt. It almost looks like the shrimp has a belly shirt. After the molt, the shrimp is most fertile.


Usually within three months of age, the Malawa juvenile should be ready to carry eggs. Some conditions alter this age within a few weeks. After a molt, the female is most prone to accepting sperm from a male. Once berried (carrying eggs) A females color becomes darker, or can show more ellaborate contrasting stripes. The Malawa shrimp eggs are black and sometimes a dark green. They can carry around 10-25 eggs at one time. The eggs are located under the belly and can either be green or yellow. She fans her eggs periodically to keep from fungus growing on them.

The baby shrimp do not go through a larval stage. They are miniatures versions of the adults. The shrimp are usually clear at birth, and around the size of pool filter sand. They are visible at around 3 weeks of age. Look close, young shrimp do not move very fast and can be very difficult to spot.


The Malawa shrimp can be housed with all other types of dwarf shrimp. The shrimp is not known to be able to breed with any of the other shrimp currently available in the hobby of dwarf shrimp keeping.

The Malawa shrimp should be kept away from ghost shrimp, red claw shrimp, whisker shrimp and other aggressive shrimps, including crawfish and crayfish, crabs and lobsters. These are peaceful shrimp and will be eaten by other aggressive invertebrates.

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