Freshwater shrimps are extraordinary aquatic creatures well adapted for life in aquariums. Interest in Freshwater shrimps by aquarium keepers has surged in recent years as knowledge of the fascinating creatures has increased.
Although freshwater shrimps are suited to large aquariums, they can also thrive in a nano tank. Planted aquariums are ideal environments for freshwater shrimps, viewers can observe those delightful critters scooting in and out of hiding spots within the live plants, and burrowing in the substrate for food.
Freshwater shrimps are generally peaceful, and they will live in community tanks with other shrimp and fish species provided they are left alone. The majority of freshwater shrimps exist on the bottom of the aquatic food chain. Beginner aquarium keepers must know that introducing larger shrimp eating fish into the freshwater aquarium is akin to declaring an open feeding season on the freshwater shrimps already present.
Lest we forget their beauty, freshwater shrimps come in all beautiful colors. Some freshwater shrimp species can be had in almost every color imaginable except purple – imagine that.
Freshwater shrimps like the Black King Kong shrimp and its siblings, the Wine red and Blue bolt shrimps are striking varieties of freshwater shrimps. Aquarium owners observing the zebra stripes on the Caridina Babaulti, and the orange streaks of the Tiger shrimp will be forgiven for mistaking their freshwater water aquarium for an underwater aquatic jungle.
For the beginner shrimp keeper, research is the key to getting a kick out of keeping these intriguing creatures. Beginners must know the ideal freshwater shrimp environment, and which freshwater shrimp species get paired with who. What type of equipment to get, and which stuff is hazardous to the health of your freshwater shrimp.
Insufficient knowledge about appropriate water conditions, or pairing strange bedfellows in a community tank may likely lead to fatal outcomes.
Freshwater Shrimp Aquarium Equipment
Keeping a freshwater aquarium can be easy, provided the correct equipment is used, and the proper setup process is observed.
A freshwater shrimp aquarium will require the following:
What are The Best Tanks for Shrimps?
You will need a tank for keeping your freshwater shrimp in. This is the first step in a very long list of choices you will be making as you proceed in your freshwater aquarium project. Beginners have to know the size of the tank they’ll need based on the type of tank they want to create, and how much it will cost.
Size, as they say, matters. Getting a bigger tank gives inexperienced aquarists unusual leverage in the sense that they get a fair warning when things are about to go wrong. Smaller tanks don’t give fair warnings, and they don’t forgive beginners’ mistakes.
The larger quantity of water volume in a big tank makes it slower for ammonia and nitrates amounts to build, or for a potentially catastrophic infection to spread. A beginner, albeit attentive aquarium keeper, can quickly take note of any issues and resolve them. A 20 to 30-gallon tank is recommended for beginners.
A community tank allows the beginner shrimp keeper an opportunity to experiment with different species of freshwater shrimp. However, beginners who want a community tank should understand that freshwater shrimps that tolerate similar water conditions will make ideal shrimp tank mates.
Tanks selected for a freshwater shrimp species only, or fish and freshwater shrimp community tank, must be large enough to fit all the creatures that will inhabit the tank. Also, the community tank must be planted and must have lots of private areas for the shrimp to breed and hide.
Freshwater community tanks can only be non-aggressive tanks because most freshwater shrimps are largely peaceful and cannot be placed with large predator fish that can eat them for lunch.
As a beginner shrimp keeper, you need to invest in a planted tank to raise healthy and highly active shrimps. Planted tanks provide hiding spots for freshwater shrimps to breed and hide. It also stimulates the growth of algae and other microscopic organisms that freshwater shrimp feeds on.
Aquariums with live plants can have their drawbacks, and a beginner must avoid the trap of creating overly lush plants by using plant supplements and fertilizers containing nitrates and copper.
These can harm the freshwater shrimp and should be prevented from entering their tank water parameters. For beginners, ideal choices for your live plant should be low maintenance, and low-light plants like stem plants, Java moss, Anubis, and Susswassertang.
The next stage is your substrate, the substrate is the material covering the tank floor, and organisms that the freshwater shrimp feeds on will grow on its surface. A substrate can be anything from sand, gravel, stones, even marbles that can be used as a substrate. Do not use dirt as a substrate for freshwater shrimp tanks.
The ideal substrate for a planted tank with live plants is either sand or a packaged substrate sold at the pet store.
A filter extracts poisonous ammonia and nitrates buildup in an aquarium, it also cleans the tank of debris (uneaten food particles and break down feces e.t.c). Filters also aerate the tank water, helping the freshwater shrimps to breathe oxygen.
Filters contain components called filter media, these components filter the tank water. The three types of filter media available are:
Mechanical: removes the tiny crumbs and morsels of leftover food and decomposed plant materials.
Chemical: removes toxic chemicals that could harm the freshwater shrimps from the tank water.
Biological: in this situation, the beneficial bacteria living in the tank break down toxic ammonia into nitrite which further breaks down into nitrate.
Filters come in different types, the most common filters used by aquarium keepers are:
Starter level filter and can be bought at any pet store, the sponge filter is ideal for aquariums with tiny shrimp. They are simple and no-frills items, but they get the job done.
These are filters that hang on the back of the tank. Back filters are ideal for 20-30 gallon tanks, and they are also suitable for smaller tanks.
Canister filters are slightly more complex and require more maintenance than other tank filters.
When turned on, canister filters create a lot of surface agitation. This boosts the water’s oxygen supply, which is good for the freshwater shrimp. It also eliminates the need to purchase an air pump.
Freshwater shrimp can thrive nicely in room temperature water conditions, and a heater is not required unless the shrimp are breeding. For beginners, an adjusted water heater is recommended.
It allows the beginner shrimp keeper to quickly measure water temperatures in the freshwater tank. A probe thermometer is ideal for measuring water temperature in specific areas of the freshwater tank.
Lighting in an aquarium is essential because it enhances the colors of your beautiful freshwater shrimps making them seem more animated and brighter.
In an aquarium with live plants, adequate lighting aids photosynthesis and gives crucial strength to plants and microorganisms.
Decoration can include live or artificial plants. Freshwater shrimps need spots to hide and breed, these can be created by using plastic or fiber-based decoration. Sometimes, for a more realistic touch, driftwood can be used as part of the freshwater shrimp tank decoration. Driftwood also lowers the water pH.
Cycling of Shrimp Tank
This is an important, and essential part of your freshwater shrimp aquarium set-up process, and it should be done before introducing freshwater shrimps into the aquarium.
This is done by introducing food items into the tank and watching them decompose, releasing toxins into the water before they are absorbed by the biological organisms that have formed in the tank as a result of the breaking down process.
Cycling serves the following purposes;
It builds beneficial bacteria.
Cycling is the best natural option for removing toxins from your tank water.
It removes biological waste from the tank water.
After the cycling process is completed, then your freshwater shrimp tank can receive its first batch of shrimp.
Taking care of your Freshwater Shrimp
There are many freshwater shrimp options available to the beginner shrimp keeper, and the decision of selecting which ones to keep can overwhelm.
While all freshwater shrimp species are adapted to live in an aquarium environment, the beginner needs to realize that each species has its own unique aquarium adaptability requirements.
These requirements enable them to adapt to certain tank conditions, and with other freshwater shrimp or fish species.
Below is a guide detailing the minimal requirements of freshwater aquarium shrimps.
Suitable Tankmates For Shrimps
Once the cycling process is completed, it is time to select the freshwater shrimp’s tank mates. Many freshwater shrimps are tiny little critters, and fully grown adults might not exceed a couple of inches.
As a result, beginners are not encouraged to keep tiny freshwater shrimps in tanks bristling with big, malevolent, carnivorous shrimps. The reason is because of the high likelihood of the tiny freshwater shrimps being picked on by the larger shrimp species.
The ideal tank mates for freshwater shrimp are non-aggressive shrimp species. Either that or you have a species only community tank.
Aggressive and fast-swimming fish are not ideal tank mates for the peaceful non-aggressive freshwater shrimp. Most freshwater shrimp can also cohabit in community fish tanks. Since they are largely peaceful and non-aggressive, they will quietly coexist and cheerily forage for any sunken uneaten fish food. Ideal freshwater shrimp tank mates are Guppies, Emerald dwarf rasboras, Danios, Sparkling gouramis, Tetras, Celestial danios, Blue-eyed rainbowfish, e.t.c
Nevertheless, several fish species will cause issues for the peaceful shrimp. Large fish like Angelfish, Barbs, and Cichlids are to be avoided. They will eat shrimps for lunch.
By keeping different shrimps together it is highly likely some will interbreed. In a shrimp only species tank, shrimp species that are prone to interbreed and create unattractive hybrids must not be kept together.
The best way for a beginner to go about this is to identify freshwater shrimp species that can’t interbreed and keep them in a community tank.
Examples of shrimps that can be kept together are Amano shrimp, Ninja shrimp, and Bamboo shrimp.
Caring and Water Requirements
Freshwater aquarium shrimp are easily cared for when correct water conditions are kept. Freshwater shrimps will thrive in medium/low light tank conditions with lots of hiding places, ammonia-free water with a temperature between 24 – 26 °C, and low nitrate levels.
Freshwater shrimps are often affected by changes in water conditions which often result in fatalities. It is recommended to house the freshwater shrimp in large tanks where deterioration in water conditions is more gradual and can be easily corrected.
It is important to observe constant water changes and adequate filtration. 10%-20% of the tank water should be changed every week.
Copper is poisonous to freshwater shrimp. The beginner must watch out for copper or metal residues in the tank water. If detected, appropriate action must be taken immediately.
10 Ideal Freshwater Shrimps for Beginners
So you are thinking of selecting the perfect freshwater shrimp for your new aquarium, but you have no experience raising critters. How do you pick the shrimp most suited to your level of experience?
We have compiled a list of 10 freshwater shrimp that beginners can manage.
This is a common freshwater shrimp species for beginners. They are loved by skilled aquarium keepers because of their hardiness and ease of care. They clean your tank for free and also serve as food for predator fish.
It is a widely available shrimp species that can be found in every corner pet store. They love cool water temperatures and average water acidity levels. Overall, they are very easy to care for.
Get several of these and you have yourself an effective tank cleaning crew. Named after the legendary Japanese aquascaper Takashi Amano, this shrimp is hugely popular and they have a huge appetite. What is more, they are great species for a peaceful community tank.
A beautiful and easy to care for shrimp, Snowball shrimp is rated high among shrimp keepers favorites. If there is any shrimp most suited for beginners in terms of looks and low care levels, this is it. They are effective tank cleaners too.
Blue bolt shrimp
Rare and beautiful, the Blue bolt shrimp can be finicky about its water parameters. But they still rate among the best freshwater shrimp for beginners. They are best kept with other Blue bolt shrimp species.
Blue tiger shrimp
These are big shrimps and they love even bigger crowds. The Blue tiger shrimp is great for beginners because they can be placed in a crowded community tank and left there to fend for themselves. They are the gentle giants of the freshwater shrimp world. These are large peaceful shrimps who do not bother the small guys.
Just like the famous bee, their striking features and easy care requirements make these shrimps a great choice for beginners.
This is a tough critter, and it will withstand everything you throw at it. This shrimp was made to forgive beginner’s mistakes, you only have to feed it. And if your tank needs cleaning, they’ll do the job.
Red cherry shrimp
Just like the famous bee, their striking features and easy care requirements make these shrimps a great choice for beginners.
Once rare and exclusive, this ex celebrity shrimp was as rare as Himalayan mineral water. However, prices have bottomed and beginners can get to keep one for bragging rights. All it needs is a large enough tank and consistent water conditions.