Freshwater shrimp come in several arrays of colors and sizes. As alternatives to brightly colored fish, they are a valuable addition to your aquarium.
Asides from being extremely beautiful and interesting creatures. Freshwater shrimp can help improve the water quality in your aquarium by cleaning up after your fish and lowering algae levels. But before you pair shrimp with fish, research beforehand to know if your fish won’t prey on them.
Preyed upon by larger fish species, some freshwater shrimp thrive only in shrimp-only tanks. If you do decide to pair, some shrimp species can share a tank with some omnivorous fish species. Understand that shrimp can become easily stressed by quick-swimming or rowdy fish, so select calmer, smaller species like livebearers, rasboras, tetras, etc.
Shrimp are quite sensitive to water changes, The Aquarium Adviser website gives some tips for keeping shrimp in your aquarium. While they can feed on organic waste as scavengers, excess waste could kill them. To main great water quality, establish an effective system for biological filtration in your aquarium.
Some species of shrimp prefer more acidic water conditions while others thrive in alkaline. Most freshwater shrimp thrive in warm water but do your research beforehand.
And although shrimp are scavengers of tank substrate and organic waste, supplement their diet with flake food, pellets, and some plant matter to keep them well fed and healthy.
If you’re looking to add some freshwater shrimp to your aquarium, consider these awesome species.
1. Bumblebee shrimp
Growing to a maximum length of 1½ inches, these species come with a striped coloration of either white and red or white and black. While bumblebee shrimp are non-aggressive, they demand high water quality—thriving in warm, gentle water.
2. Red cherry shrimp
Well known for their bright red coloration, these species are relatively easy to maintain. Growing to a maximum length of 1½ inches, they’re great scavengers of organic detritus. Red cherry shrimp can bread in one tank if one female and one male are available.
3. Grass shrimp
With transparent and pigmented bodies that help them with camouflage, grass shrimp grow up to a maximum length of 2 inches. As great scavengers, they thrive in slightly brackish aquarium conditions. Enjoying acidic to alkaline conditions, they require a nice planted tank with several hiding places. In large groups, grass shrimp will thrive well in your home aquarium.
4. Amano shrimp
Amano shrimp have an opaque brown color with a light brown stripe running along the length of the back. Growing to a maximum length of 2 inches, they prefer warmer water conditions. They also thrive in a nicely planted aquarium with good hiding places. With a lifespan of two to three years, they’re relatively hard to maintain.
5. Ghost shrimp
Ghost shrimp have transparent bodies, which make them hard to see in your home tank. Growing to a maximum length of 2 inches, they’re non-aggressive, great scavengers and easy to maintain.
Caring for freshwater shrimp needs a lot of commitment. Before setting up a tank, consider where the breeds originated. While most species are native to eastern Asia, ghost shrimp are from American South. Their origin determines the type of environment they’ll thrive in—from water pH to temperature.
For water volumes, larger freshwater species require aquariums of at least 10 gallons. Around 10 gallons or less is recommended for smaller species.
From species to species, pH requirements vary. For instance, Amano and ghost shrimp thrive in any pH if it’s not extreme. However, species like Caridina shrimp and crystal shrimp require high and low pH respectively.
To breed shrimp, ensure you select species that breed quickly and easily.
Freshwater shrimp eat algae. So when starting out with a small population, don’t use a brand new aquarium. Allow your tank to be cycled a few times before adding shrimp.
As the shrimp population grows, you can provide supplemental food. From commercially produced flakes to tiny pieces of cucumber, spinach, or pear.
The more shrimp population grows, the more you have to feed. Remove uneaten feed to prevent pollution and overfeeding. Note that overfeeding could hurt your shrimp.