Blue Dream vs Blue Velvet Shrimp: Similarities and Differences

Posted by Miles Harrison on 11/30/2022

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If you’re an aquarist that’s into shrimp keeping, then you’ve more than likely heard about Blue Dream and Blue Velvet Shrimp. These variations of Neocaridina davidi shrimp have become incredibly popular in the aquarium community, and it’s for good reason.

These shrimp have distinct blue coloration created through selective breeding. Although similar in appearance, there are some subtle differences between the two shrimp that you should be aware of. In this post, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between these unique shrimp color variants.

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Differences between Blue Dream and Blue Velvet Shrimp

Many aquarists have tried to assign shrimp grading methods to newly bred Neocaridina color variants, but ultimately, these grading systems have failed to stick around. With breeders creating new variations of Neocaridina shrimp each year, the shrimp-keeping community simply can’t keep up.

As a result, certain color variations either share the same name or are misnamed. This can be a common source of confusion with blue dream and blue velvet shrimp, as there are some differences between these shrimp.


Blue velvet shrimp tend to have a more translucent light blue coloration. Blue Dream shrimp tend to have opaque bodies that are darker blue in coloration.

Both shades of color look great in freshwater aquascapes, such as an iwagumi scape with seiryu stones. The blue coloration also contrasts nicely with red aquarium plants and green stem plants, such as Hygrophila Salicifolia.


Blue Dream shrimp have lineage rumored to be traced back to wild schoko shrimp, while blue velvet shrimp are the result of crossbreeding blue carbon rili shrimp with blue dream shrimp.

It’s hard to accurately source the lineage, as there is no formal scientific classification for Neocaridina color variations, but if you examine a carbon rili shrimp, you can see how its dark blue body could produce the uniform color seen throughout a blue velvet shrimp.

Image of a Blue Dream Shrimp
Serhii Shcherbyna/
Blue Dream Shrimp are rumored to be descendants of wild schoko shrimp

Similarities of Blue Dream and Blue Velvet Shrimp

If you’re looking to add a blue dream or blue velvet shrimp to your freshwater aquarium, you’ll be happy to know that they share identical care requirements. Since both are Neocaridina davidi shrimp, their care requirements, life expectancy, and size are the same.

Tank Requirements

If you plan on keeping either of these shrimp, you’ll want to house them in an aquarium that’s at least 3 gallons in size. Don’t be afraid to go big here. Having a larger tank means you can comfortably house additional shrimp without worrying about ammonia spikes from waste buildup.

In terms of substrate, gravel-based substrates such as Fluval Stratum and Bio-Stratum are great options for a blue velvet or blue dream aquarium. The dark-colored gravels contrast nicely with the blue coloration from both of these shrimp.

An aquarium with plenty of live plants, such as Anubias Frazeri or Nymphoides Hydrophylla will provide refuge for these peaceful shrimp. So don’t be afraid to add some easy-to-care-for aquatic plants.

If real plants aren’t your thing, you can shop around for some unique freshwater stones, which these shrimp will love to climb and hang out near.

Tank Mates

Avoid housing your Blue Dream and Blue Velvet Shrimp with other Neocaridina shrimp, such as Orange Pumpkin Shrimp. Aggressive fish should also be avoided, stay clear of Galaxy Koi Bettas or cichlids such as the Snow White Cichlid or Electric Blue Jack Dempsey.

Peaceful schooling fish will do great with blue dream and blue velvet shrimp. Some our favorites include Purple Moscow Guppies and Blue Emperor Tetras. Other invertebrates such as Black Mystery Snails also make great additions.

Diet & Feeding

Both blue velvet and blue dream shrimp will consume algae and available fish waste, but you’ll want to supplement their diet with nutrient-rich foods.

Feed your blue velvet and blue dream shrimp sinking pellets at least 2-3 times a week. Feed them no more than what they can consume over two minutes. This will guarantee your shrimp are receiving the appropriate amount of nutrition, which is important if algae aren't present in the aquarium.

Image of a Blue Velvet Shrimp
An image of a pregnant Blue Velvet Shrimp

Lifespan & Size

Blue dream and blue velvet shrimp have a relatively short lifespan, and will typically live for 1-2 years. Providing these shrimp with optimal water quality, and never introducing aggressive fish will give you the best chances at success with these shrimp.

Adult blue dream and blue velvet shrimp are quite small, and will only grow to be about 1.5 inches in length. Juveniles will be quite a bit smaller and will take about 6 months to reach sexual maturity.


As you can see, blue dream and blue velvet shrimp are incredibly similar shrimp. They share the same care requirements, life expectancy, and diet, but they do have slight differences in appearance and lineage.

Hopefully, we’ll see a more formal color grading system for blue variations of Neocaridina shrimp in the future, but in the meantime, we can scour the internet for rumored origins. If you enjoyed this post, or have an opinion on these color variants drop a comment below or check out our community forum where we discuss all things related to shrimp keeping.

Ashley Briggs

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!