Since their discovery, freshwater shrimp have risen in popularity as an excellent algae eater and cleaner for fish tanks. However, these shrimp species have different requirements, so shrimp keepers must have some knowledge to care for them. If you’re just getting started in shrimp keeping, it can be tough to figure out which type to start with.
There is an incredible variety of species. They come in a dazzling array of shapes, sizes, and families. Care requirements range from very simple to very complex for some. If you’re curious, continue reading to find out which shrimp we think are the best for beginners.
Should I Get A Shrimp For My Aquarium?
When we think of people just getting into the aquarium hobby, shrimp are the species most often forgotten. If you’re just getting into aquariums, the first things that probably come to mind are brightly colored fish and lush vegetation. People don’t usually see why they should add shrimp to their aquariums. The cleaning crew shouldn’t be overlooked.
One of the best aquarium cleaners that can always return your tank to its original state is the shrimp. There is a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of shrimp. Some need special attention and water conditions in the aquarium, while others will simply improve its aesthetics.
Best Freshwater Shrimp
Freshwater shrimp come in a wide variety, but not all species are created equal; some are better suited to aquarium life than others, and some are more commonly found in the aquarium trade.
These are the five best species of freshwater shrimp for your aquarium:
1. Cherry Shrimp
When placed in a tank with live green aquarium plants and a black gravel or substrate, their vibrant red color really stands out. The Neocaridina heteropoda, or Cherry Shrimp, are an indigenous species to Taiwan. While some wild populations still exist, the vast majority sold commercially today were raised in aquariums because of their ability to multiply in freshwater.
- Care Level
Care for Cherry Shrimp is simple because these invertebrates require very little attention and can sustain themselves without much help.
- Water Temperature
Tropical community tanks should have water temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, though a wider range is acceptable.
While they thrive in water between 7.0 and 7.8, some experts say a slightly wider range is fine for red cherry shrimp.
Red Cherry Shrimp are calm and gentle creatures that can’t defend themselves. Because of this, picking tank mates is a serious business. The red cherry shrimp does well in both large and small communities of its own kind.
When kept in ideal conditions, a population of red cherry shrimp can live for up to two years. However, it is possible for them to perish shortly after being added to a tank due to the stress of the new environment, whether that be from the water itself changing or from the ordeal of being transported.
Providing food for red cherry shrimp is simple. You can find commercial fish flakes, shrimp pellets, fish pellets, and algae wafers in their diet. It is possible to feed red cherry shrimp the decaying plant matter that naturally accumulates on the leaves of aquarium plants. Cherry shrimp eat a variety of algae, including the soft green or brown algae that grows on hard surfaces and the soft bio-film algae that grows on softer surfaces.
Cherry shrimp can reach a length of 1.5 inches when fully mature. Males are shorter and more compact, reaching a maximum size of just over an inch.
- Tank Size
They can be maintained in an aquarium as small as 2 gallons on a desk, but a larger tank of 8-12 gallons will promote a healthier colony, more offspring, and a more vibrant population.
2. Amano Shrimp
Amano Shrimp are a translucent light grey, but they can also be green, brown, or reddish-brown. There are many solid dots and dashes that run the length of an Amano Shrimp’s body, which is another distinguishing feature of the species’ coloration. These squiggles and lines can be either a grayish blue or a reddish brown color. In addition to their two big eyes, relatively long antennae, long, agile legs, and wide, transparent tail, Amano Shrimp also have a narrow lighter stripe on their topside running the length of their bodies.
- Care Level
The upkeep of Amano Shrimp is simple and requires little attention. Amano shrimp are social creatures that thrive when surrounded by others of their own species, whether in a small group or a large colony. They are at home both in the open and in small hiding places, and they enjoy picking on anything in a tank.
- Water Temperature
Despite their versatility and resilience, Amano Shrimp thrive in well-established tanks with a constant temperature of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Amano Shrimp appear to prefer water with a pH between 7.2 and 7.5, which is considered to be on the more alkaline side.
Amanos are usually friendly. They are unbothered as they go about their business of searching the tank for natural food. Aggressive fish like Goldfish, cichlids, or other roughens, or aquarium crayfish, Tangerine Lobsters, or Hammers Cobalt Blue Lobsters, are not suitable tank mates for Amano Shrimp.
The average life expectancy of an Amano Shrimp is 1-3 years. However, there are times when they pass away shortly after being added to a tank. This is probably due to transportation stress or variations in water chemistry. However, if the water is clean, there is plenty to eat, and predators are nonexistent, these algae-eating shrimp should live for a very long time.
Amano shrimp, fortunately, require little effort when it comes to feeding. Caridina Multidentata are well-known for cleaning aquariums and are commonly referred to as “algae eating shrimp.” They seem to particularly relish specific species of soft algae. The diet of Amano Shrimp can be supplemented with aquarium algae and other foods found in a planted aquarium.
The maximum length of a mature Amano Shrimp is about two inches. However, Amano Shrimp found in pet stores are typically around an inch long at most.
- Tank Size
With a minimum tank size of 5 gallons, the recommended stocking density for Amano shrimp is 1 shrimp per 2 gallons. Although this is the general rule, they are so active at scavenging and eating waste and algae from your tank that you can often get away with less.
3. Crystal Red Shrimp
Crystal Red Shrimp are common in freshwater aquariums. They may be diminutive, but that doesn’t mean they’re skimpy on charm. Due to their striking appearance and the difficulty associated with caring for them, Crystal Red Shrimp are highly sought after by shrimp keepers.
- Care Level
When compared to other types of Shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimp require a slightly different care routine. Due to their heightened awareness of subtle changes in water conditions, they pose a greater difficulty for novice fish keepers. These Shrimp are not able to tolerate even a trace of tank dirt, unlike some other species of shrimp. They are more difficult to acclimate to a new tank and have a low tolerance for common beginner mistakes.
- Water Temperature and pH
Accordingly, it is crucial to ensure that the proper water conditions are always being upheld. Every week, use a water testing kit to make sure everything is as it should be in terms of water quality. Maintain a range of 71 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit with the help of a heater. The ideal range for pH is 5.8-7.4.
When kept in aquariums, Crystal Red Shrimp pose no harm and peaceful. However, their diminutive size also makes them susceptible to danger. Having the right tank mates is crucial for the health of your fish.
They don’t last long in home aquariums, but Crystal Red Shrimp are worth the effort. They have an 18-month to 2-year window to live, but they’ll need top-notch care to get there.
Crystal red shrimp are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. Even after being fed, they still spend most of their time foraging for food. Their diet is largely composed of calcium, which plays a crucial role in the development of their hard exoskeletons and subsequent growth. Some of the things they might eat out in the wild are larvae, small insects, plant debris, and algae.
These shrimps are typically quite small. The males remain significantly smaller than the females as they mature. Females can grow to be about 1.5 inches long, while males top out at about 1 inch.
- Tank Size
Even though they’re tiny, these shrimp do best in at least a 10-gallon tank so they can swim freely among the plants. It’s preferable if you can provide as much room as possible.
4. Red Rili Shrimp
While visually similar to their Red Cherry relatives, Red Rili shrimp can be identified by the presence of a transparent band running down the middle of their bellies. In all other respects, Rili shrimp and Cherry shrimp are equivalent; the former is more accurately thought of as a subset of the latter.
- Care Level
The Red Rili is a hardy species that requires little in the way of maintenance. As long as the shrimps are content in their environment, they will continue to do their part in keeping the tank clean.
- Water Temperature
The ideal temperature range for Red Rili Shrimps is 20 to 25.5 degrees Celsius. Within this temperature range, shrimp are at their most active and vibrant.
The optimal pH range for shrimp health and survival is between 6.5 and 7.5. TDS levels shouldn’t go higher than 350, and kH shouldn’t go above 10. Red Rili Shrimps thrive best in dim light. Before adding shrimp, make sure the tank has cycled properly.
Red Rili shrimps are peaceful and docile, so it’s best to keep them in tanks without any aggressive fish. Such predators frequently harass shrimp.
The Red Rili requires little in the way of maintenance because they are a resilient species. In a properly maintained aquarium, their lifespan is typically between two and three years.
The red rili shrimp will gladly consume any food that they find. There isn’t enough algae, biofilm, and detritus in an aquarium to support a colony on its own, so you’ll need to add more food every day. Red rilis can thrive on a wide variety of foods, including commercial shrimp food, blanched vegetables, frozen food, algae pellets, and leaf litter.
It’s estimated that a fully grown adult will reach a length of 3 cm (1.2 inches).
- Tank Size
A 5 gallon minimum aquarium, a filter (sponge or otherwise), and some ornaments are all you need to get started. Don’t skimp on the decorations; red rilis and other dwarf shrimp can become withdrawn if they feel threatened.
5. Blue Bolt Shrimp
One of the most stunning and well-known freshwater shrimp species is the blue bolt shrimp. They are among the most sought after ornamental species of freshwater invertebrates due to their striking coloration and cleaning abilities.
- Care Level
If you don’t have aquarium experience already, keeping Blue bolt shrimp can be a bit more challenging. Therefore, because of the complexity of their needs, this species is not typically recommended for novice keepers.
- Water Temperature
The ideal temperature ranges from around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, temperature fluctuations can quickly kill these sensitive shrimp, so a heater should be used at all times.
The ideal pH range for this species’ water is between 6.0 and 6.8.
The blue bolt shrimp is non-territorial. The reality is that these shrimp are highly social and tend to congregate in large groups, which may be a reflection of their diminutive size and feeble defensive mechanisms. While with the group, they are able to let their guard down and feel safe. They have no established social norms, however. This indicates that neither male nor female is in charge.
Under ideal conditions, Blue bolt shrimp can reproduce and live for up to 2 years.
The blue bolt shrimp, like other shrimp, will eat pretty much anything. They devote a considerable portion of their time to cleaning the tank of algae and aufwuchs. You should probably feed the shrimp a little extra once a day or so, since the water in most aquariums doesn’t contain enough food for shrimp to thrive on their own. In general, shrimp aren’t picky eaters. The best results should be achieved by using high-quality shrimp food and providing regular variety in the form of blanched vegetables, frozen foods, and basically anything that is green and safe.
Even though they’re on the diminutive side, they’re nimble and quick. In a flash, a blue bolt shrimp can cover distances of 15 to 20 centimeters (6 to 8 inches).
- Tank Size
Tanks of only 5 gallons (20 liters) in volume are sufficient for keeping blue bolt shrimp. However, it can be challenging to maintain equilibrium in such small tanks. For this reason, and especially for those who are just starting out in this hobby, those who wish to keep this species should prepare for at least a 10-gallon (40-liter) tank.
Best Freshwater Shrimp For Cleaning Aquarium
Shrimps are frequently used to clean fish tanks because of their efficiency at eating algae and other waste products. It’s possible for freshwater shrimp to act as scavengers by foraging for scraps and discarded food. Alternatively, they could be algae-eating shrimp that systematically search hard surfaces for soft algae that can be eaten. Some species of freshwater shrimp, known as filter feeders, obtain food directly from the water.
The Amano Shrimp, also known as the Japanese Marsh Shrimp, the Japanese Swamp Shrimp, and the Algae Eating Shrimp, is an interesting pet. Amano shrimp are hardworking tank cleaners and algae eaters, so having one in your aquarium can prevent waste and uneaten food from accumulating at the tank’s base.
This freshwater shrimp goes by many names, including Wood Shrimp, Asian Filter Feeding Shrimp, and Flower Shrimp. The “web-like” mitts of a bamboo shrimp allow it to filter tiny bits of food from the water column, making it a filter feeder. When it comes to food, Bamboo Shrimp are no different than any other filter-feeding shrimp in that they require a constant current of aquarium water to circulate throughout the tank.
Freshwater Ghost Shrimp, also known as Glass Shrimp, are commonly considered to be feeders. Ghost shrimps are excellent scavengers, and you can usually find them rummaging around in the tank for food scraps. It’s best to keep Ghost Shrimp separate from any potential plant-eating tankmates.
Red Cherry Shrimps
Red Cherry Shrimp, also known as Cherry Shrimp, are a type of shrimp found in freshwater environments that are known for providing a striking splash of color. Spending hours at a time nibbling on soft algae that have built up on hard surfaces is a staple diet for red cherry shrimp.
A filter-feeding freshwater shrimp similar to the Bamboo Shrimp, the Vampire Shrimp goes by a number of other names. The feeding mitts of a vampire shrimp are like a web, and they use it to filter food from the rapidly moving aquarium water. When feeding, bamboo shrimp hold out their feeding mitts and let the water carry their food to them. However, the Vampire Shrimp appear to take a more proactive stance. A feeding mitt is used to scoop food out of the water by fanning it forward and downward.
A Whisker Shrimp, or Indian Whisker Shrimp, is a type of shrimp found in freshwater. Whisker shrimp are excellent cleaners, eating constantly and removing waste from the tank bottom. The Marimo Moss Balls are a favorite treat of the Whisker Shrimp. They spend a lot of time sifting through their fine green fibers in search of tiny bits of food.
Best Freshwater Shrimp For Small Aquariums
The aquarium trade offers a wide selection of freshwater shrimp species, each of which varies greatly in size, behavior, and appearance. When planning for small aquariums, some of these should be considered.
To help you choose the best freshwater shrimps for your nano aquarium, we’ve compiled a list of the seven most popular species.
They’re great for a tiny aquarium because they’re one of the most common kinds of freshwater shrimp. They are low maintenance to keep and breed and reach a maximum size of about 1.5 inches.
It’s possible that Ghost Shrimp are the simplest species of freshwater shrimp to maintain. Like their name says, they look like ghosts and have bodies that are almost see-through. In addition to being excellent cleaners, they can be added to community tanks with other fish of a similar size and temperament. They are inexpensive and can serve as a learning tool for those who are interested in shrimp keeping.
Blue Bolt Shrimps
You can’t go wrong with the blue bolt if you want your nano aquarium to stand out. Its name is well-deserved, as its brilliant blue color makes it immediately noticeable and striking. Finding one is challenging, but the effort is well worth it.
Blue Tiger Shrimp
The color blue has always had a special appeal. It is also hard to find in the freshwater hobby. The blue tiger shrimp, however, is an excellent replacement. The blue and black stripes on its surface are stunning.
This one’s for the true believers in the color white. They have an otherworldly appearance, and what’s more impressive is how simple they are to maintain. They would do best in a nano tank with a low-light base. The population can be kept stable with little effort because they reproduce quickly and easily.
This freshwater shrimp is the most beautiful option for a nano aquarium. Such stunning aesthetics cast doubt on the authenticity of any saltwater aquarium housing it. The stunningly beautiful color scheme of deep red (almost maroon) with blue and white spots. Among the freshwater shrimp, this is one of the most delicate species to handle.
Which Shrimp Should You Avoid as a Beginner?
One shrimp you’re definitely going to want to avoid as a beginner is the Sulawesi Malawa shrimp While they look beautiful, they are incredibly hard to care for, especially if you’re just getting started!
How Many Freshwater Shrimp Per Gallon?
Shrimp can be kept in smaller tanks/more densely populated conditions than fish can because of their small size and lower output of metabolic waste. However, you wouldn’t want to overcrowd the tank; ideally, no more than 10–15 shrimp would be kept per 5 gallons. The optimal size for a breeding tank is 20 gallons.
What Is The Hardiest Freshwater Shrimp?
The Red Cherry Shrimp, a Neocaridina species, is by far the most sought-after shrimp in the aquarium hobby. They are widely recommended for people who are just getting started with shrimp keeping because of how resilient they are.
Do Freshwater Shrimp Need A Filter?
If you plan on keeping freshwater shrimp, then you should ensure that you have a filter for the tank. Shrimp are just as susceptible to problems stemming from poor water quality as fish are!
Are Freshwater Shrimp Easy to Keep?
Most species of shrimp need nothing more than plain water and some vegetation to thrive. Due to their lack of vivacity and activity compared to fish and the relative scarcity of their retail counterparts, beginners tend to overlook them.
Which Freshwater Shrimps Can be Kept Together?
The general rule of thumb is 10 shrimp per gallon, but as long as the water conditions are the same, you can mix and match almost any species.
Freshwater Shrimps make wonderful pets, and having them around can bring a lot more joy into your life. They will not only add to the aesthetic value of your tanks but will also serve a practical purpose for your aquariums. However, the degree of success that a particular species has in being kept as an aquarium pet varies greatly from species to species. There are numerous species of freshwater shrimp that are capable of surviving on their own in their tanks without the intervention of the aquarist, while others require more attention.