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5 Reasons Behind Blue Velvet Shrimp Turned Black

5 Reasons Behind Blue Velvet Shrimp Turned Black

It’s easy to see why blue velvet shrimp are so sought after! Their amazing deep blue shade mesmerizes everything! As such, it can become quite a shock when you see that your blue velvet shrimp has turned black. Why is this nightmare happening?!

When you notice any color change in your shrimp, your first reaction is probably to panic. It’s easy to understand why. Such drastic changes in color are never a good sign!  

Still, try to keep your cool. There is more than one reason why your blue velvet shrimp becomes black. I’ll explain if you keep on reading.

Why Are My Shrimp Turning Black?

There are many reasons why a shrimp might change color. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence with blue velvet shrimp. Many aquarium enthusiasts have reported they have a blue velvet shrimp turned black. 

Believe it or not, there is a genetic reason why this happens so often with this specific neocaridina morph. However, the cause of a color change might also be a medical condition, or even worse.

Here are 5 reasons why your blue velvet shrimp has turned black:

1. Genetics

Blue velvet shrimp are bred from wild schoko shrimp, also known as chocolate shrimp, that originate from Taiwan. These deep brown shrimp are so dark that some specimens can even be considered pure black. 

From time to time, darker colors might come out in the shrimp’s offspring as the recessive genes combine. 

In fact, many people have reported their blue velvet shrimp colony becoming darker in shade with each new generation!

Of course, this only applies if you’ve noticed younger shrimp have turned black. If there is a color change in an adult shrimp, then the issue is probably much more sinister.

2. Poor Water Quality

Water quality is essential for a shrimp’s wellbeing. If you don’t provide your blue velvet shrimp with the right water parameters, they won’t be able to thrive. 

Poor water quality can lead to many health issues in shrimp, including even mineral deficiency. This can express itself on the shrimp’s exoskeleton.

Most of the time, shrimp left in improper water will become paler in color. In the case of blue velvet shrimp, their exoskeleton will have a dull shade, sometimes even becoming light blue. 

However, occasionally this can lead to darkening of the shrimp’s color. When you have a shrimp that’s already rather dark, such as a blue velvet morph, anything darker than its original color will appear black.

3. Medical Issues

Probably the first guess of most tank enthusiasts when they see their blue velvet shrimp turned black is some sort of illness. Unfortunately, they might be right. 

There are many health conditions that can lead to shrimp changing color to black. The most common disease that can cause this is the chitinolytic bacterial shell disease.

This is a bacterial condition that will attack the shrimp’s tissue, including its exoskeleton. It can lead to deformities of not just shrimp’s shell, but also their tissues.. 

However, only the low-grade blue velvet shrimp that are more translucent will have visible color changes. This is because their organs will turn to black, and you’ll be able to see this through their transparent exoskeleton. 

As such, this disease might be more noticeable on morphs that are typically less opaque, such as blue pearl shrimp.

On the other hand, if you’ve noticed black spots on your blue velvet shrimp, chances are you’re dealing with a fungal infection.

Either way, it’s essential to start treating your tank as soon as possible. Shrimp are fragile creatures and illnesses can spread quickly. In a matter of weeks or even days, your entire colony might be eradicated!

4. Your Perception

If you’ve ruled out illnesses or poor water quality, maybe it’s your own mind tricking you.

Think about your tank. Did you recently add a new decoration? Maybe bought a new light? 

Blue velvet shrimp are fairly dark on their own. Changes in light or even their surroundings might make it seem as if they’ve turned black

For example, maybe you’ve bought a warmer light for your tank. Yellow lights might dull the deep blue shade, making it seem brown or even pure black. 

It sounds silly, but this is the best case scenario. If you want the shrimp’s blue color to stand out, all you need to do is make slight changes in its environment and they’ll look like their old selves again!

5. Death

Has your blue velvet shrimp turned black and it’s not moving? Try knocking on the tank or moving it. If it doesn’t respond… sadly, your shrimp has died.

Most of the time, shrimp will turn paler in color when they’re dead. Their molts will be even lighter in color as they’ll be empty and nearly transparent. 

However, depending on the situation, some dead shrimp might become darker after they’ve died. 

It is essential to remove the dead shrimp from the tank to keep its body from polluting the water. 

Also, try finding out the reason behind your shrimp’s death. If you’re suspecting illnesses or poor water quality, this is the time to react. 

Quarantine your shrimp and cycle your tank. Change the water and make sure everything is disinfected. Otherwise, the mysterious illness might kill your entire colony.

How Do You Keep Blue Shrimp Blue?

blue velvet shrimp in aquarium
Photo: dragonik18

If you’re like most shrimp owners, you’ve probably picked blue velvet shrimp for their unique color. As such, chances are you plan on keeping them blue. 

There are a few things you can do in order to ensure your blue velvet shrimp stay blue. This includes:

  • Add a few new blue velvet shrimp to your colony from time to time. This will ensure the blue genes.
  • Choose the right light, decoration, and tank mates. Certain colors will make the blue colors stand out. Others will dull it out.
  • Ensure proper water quality. Bad water parameters are a common reason why a blue velvet shrimp has changed its color. 
  • Make sure your aquarium is clean. Diseases are less likely to spread when the water is fresh and clean.
  • Treat diseases on time. If a disease is in its early stage, it might not affect the shrimp’s color. Of course, it goes without saying that there are a lot more reasons why you want to make sure your shrimp are healthy. 
  • Give your shrimp a proper diet. While calcium deficiency won’t turn your shrimp black, it can make their color appear duller.

Bottom Line

When your blue velvet shrimp has turned black, it’s more than just the change of aesthetics. Such drastic color changes might indicate that you’re dealing with a severe problem that might lead to you losing your entire colony. 

If you’ve ruled health concerns out, then your mere worry is the appearance of the animals in your tank. In case of genetics, you can simply leave your black shrimp be. There is nothing wrong with them – it’s just a part of nature.

However, if you’re suspecting something much more maleficent, it’s better to act quickly. Fortunately, such an apparent change might be the sign you’ve needed to realize your little shrimp need help.

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