Red Claw Macro Alpha Male
Red claw female with eggs. This particular one does not have reddish claws, but most females I own have red-black striped claws.
Male and female inhabiting a cave together. The males are tolerant of all females in their territory.
A juvenile Red Claw Macro with very nice red-black striped claws
The Red Claw Macro is an excellent introduction into the world of Macrobrachium shrimp. They are omnivores and eat pretty much anything they can get a hold off. My red claw macros accept all kinds of flake and pellet foods, and also eat hair and string algae that my dwarf shrimp cannot eat.. They can even be kept in planted tanks, since they leave the plants alone. The males of this shrimp have elongated claws with the dominant male in a tank having the longest, reddest and strongest claws. The females are smaller in size, have smaller claws and are generally much less aggressive.
Although many Macrobrachium species can only be kept individually due to their aggressiveness, this species can be kept in small harems with one male and several females. Although there can be some fights among the females in such a group, this does not happen very often and most of the time the shrimp live peacefully together. The male shrimp literally creates "law and order" among the females. These shrimp will, however, eat any small algae eating shrimp or small fish they can get a hold off and even clip off parts of the fins of fish when they are asleep at night. They are not predatory by nature, taking only advantage of opportune situations. In my tank they are living together with a pair of Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon) and there has not been a single problem. The Red Claw Shrimp will take care of any ramshorn or pond snail infestation you are looking to get rid off. They simply fish the snail out of its shell and consume it. Although there are reports that they also eat Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata), I have not observed them eat any individuals of that species since M. tuberculata can seal its shell.
Since the Red Claw Macro is one of the larger species of aquarium suitable shrimp, it should be given at least a 10 gallon tank for a pair and larger tanks for small groups. The Red Claw Shrimp will then reward you with its interesting behavior, which includes taking food from your hand, "cleaning" your hand while sitting on it and rushing to the food during feeding time after smelling the food's location. In contrast to dwarf shrimp, which usually live around 1-2 years, this shrimp can live for many years. Also, it is a very hardy shrimp, which reproduces very readily and easily in captivity.
Although the Red Claw Macro is extremely popular and common in Europe (particularly Germany), it is a very rare shrimp in the US. Most individuals you will see offered for sale are imported shrimp. As with any rare shrimp species, we should make it our duty to establish breeding populations of this very interesting shrimp in captivity. Breeding of this shrimp happens almost "automatically" as long as proper conditions are given (i.e. clean water, food etc.).
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