Freshwater Shrimp – The Best Shrimp For Freshwater Tanks

Freshwater shrimp are harmless crustaceans ranging in size from 1.5 to 7 cm, depending on the species, that have recently appeared in aquariums. They are unpretentious, but they like clean oxygen-enriched water with a temperature of 20-25 ° C. They are undemanding to the chemical composition of water and illumination.

Freshwater Shrimps feed on plants, as well as organic debris; along with fish, they eat both live and dry food. They molt several times a year. During molting, they grow intensively and restore lost limbs. It is during this period that shrimps are especially defenseless and lead an even more secretive lifestyle, practically ceasing to eat. Also, during the molting of females, their fertilization also occurs, and after 5-10 hours the females lay eggs on the abdomen, which they carry on it until the larvae hatch.

Shrimps have abdominal legs (pleopods) for swimming. They also use them to extract small pieces of dry food and aquatic plants from the water. Shrimp walks along the bottom in search of leftovers. In fact, shrimp seems clumsy: they adapt quickly to the aquarium, it is not easy to catch them, but watching their natural life is very interesting.

Keeping Freshwater Shrimp In The Aquarium

More recently, freshwater shrimp in the aquarium was a rather rare occurrence. They were considered boring, faded in comparison with the enchanting colors of sea animals, few people had a serious interest in them. And while the marine aquarium was developing rapidly, freshwater shrimp for the shrimp aquarium was of interest to rare enthusiasts.

Shrimps are famous as universal cleaners, they are non-conflicting, they get along well with small and medium-sized peaceful fish. Freshwater shrimp can be raised in special tanks. Shrimps have a stronger reaction to the chemical composition of water, because they are more sensitive than fish.

Keeping Shrimp In The Aquarium

To raise freshwater shrimp, you need an 50 – 80 Liters aquarium. In a small tank, it will be more difficult to maintain bio-balance, and in a large tank, shrimp will simply be lost against the backdrop of the scenery. If you want to raise shrimp in one tank with fish, you need a larger aquarium. The aquarium must contain driftwood, plants and other hiding places for shrimps to hide.

Freshwater Shrimp Care In An Aquarium

Ideally, no more than one shrimp should be placed for 1-2 liters of water in the aquarium, their size is of great importance here. Often, freshwater shrimps feel great at a temperature of 20-27 degrees, but it should not rise above 30 degrees. If the water is cool, about 15 degrees, the metabolism of the shrimp will slow down, they will stop multiplying, become inert and lethargic. As for the pH of the water, it can vary from 6.5 to 7.5, if the acidity is lower, it will contribute to the destruction of the shell of the shrimp. Do not allow a sharp change in temperature: 6-7 degrees of difference are fatal for these individuals.

Shrimp also dies if the water contains copper. Shrimps are curious creatures. They love to explore various cracks and often cannot get out of them and die. That is why the intake pipe of the filter must be closed in the aquarium. It is recommended to use internal filters without plastic flasks, and it is not recommended using a volumetric background. A compressor should be turned on in the aquarium around the clock, as crustaceans are sensitive to oxygen levels. Stir the soil as often as possible (keep the thickness between 4-5 centimeters).

Keep in mind that shrimp grows when the lid is opened. At this time they are weak and will spend more time in shelters (old plastic pipes, boulders with large holes, groves of plants). You shouldn’t remove the old shell from the tank for some time – some shrimp eats it and build new shells faster.

Freshwater Shrimp Food

Shrimp food has many variations. You can buy special foods, you can feed them aquarium algae and fish food. Feed the shrimp little by little, remove food debris. If shrimps live in your pond, you need to change the water more often, since they eat a lot of crustaceans. Take care and quarantine them before adding fish, shrimp or even a plant in the aquarium. Plants need to be kept in a separate container for at least a day and the water should be changed more often in order to reduce the concentration of harmful chemicals.

Types Of Freshwater Shrimp

Snowflake (Neocaridina White)

Snowflake shrimp

One decorative variety that is difficult to distinguish from the others, because of its snow-white color, even this shrimp caviar is pure white. Snowflake is a relative of blue pearly shrimp. Both species were bred in Germany, so its color is the result of a long work of breeders. The female and the male snowflake shrimp can be distinguished by their size. The female has a bright color, is larger, and the shell on the abdomen is somewhat wider.

Harlequin (Caridina Spongicola)

Harlequin shrimp

The natural habitat of freshwater shrimp is Indonesia. It’s one of the smallest types of shrimp, they’re pretty timid. It lives and eats from a fresh water sponge – with its help, it eats algae and food particles. Determining sexual differences in shrimp is slightly difficult, since the color males and females are the same. The harlequin color is variegated, mixed, white, black and red colors prevail. Harlequin shrimps often hide in shelters, adapting to a new environment for a long time.

Khanka Shrimp (Leander Modestus)

Khanka Shrimp (Leander Modestus)

The natural habitat of shrimp is the Amur Estuary (Far East). Shrimps grow up to 3-5 cm, males are slightly larger than females. Something these arthropods resemble crayfish. They have weak and small claws. The whiskers are long, the beak is convex, the body is transparent – pale gray-brown. This shrimp is a skilled, tough, active, non-clashing nurse.


Cardinal shrimp

Cardinal is a very beautiful species of shrimp, the color can vary from rich red to light pink with white dots. Suitable for experienced aquarists only. The natural habitat of shrimp is in the Sulawesi Island (Indonesia). On the lake, the cardinal lives among the rocks, where it searches for food. Color saturation can vary, sometimes the white dots on the body of the shrimp also have blue stripes. Shrimp front legs are white – with their help, representatives of this species can move quickly.

Bee (Red Bee)

Red Bee shrimp - freshwater shrimp

The bee shrimp is a direct relative of the crystal red shrimp and was first discovered by a Japanese breeder and has since appeared in many aquariums. The bee shrimp prefers slightly acidic water, it is sensitive to pollution and changes in water parameters. Often the bee shrimp (with black stripes) is crossed with Crystal Red.

Ninja Shrimp

Ninja shrimp

This shrimp with a peculiar name can change colors quickly and has perfectly mastered the “art of camouflage”. Also called honey or Christmas shrimp, this species requires salt water to reproduce. The natural habitat is the reservoirs of Asia, we immediately note that catching it in the wild is very problematic. The color varies depending on the habitat: the shrimp can rapidly change its color from red to yellow, from blue to black or brown – it is not difficult for it. They are highly imitative and adaptable to their environment.

Japanese Shrimp (Caridina Japonica)

Japanese Shrimp (Caridina Japonica)

These shrimps belong to the macrobrachium family. In their homeland they prefer to live in streams and rivers with clean water. They grow up to 6-8 centimeters, their characteristic feature is orange claws, a black stroke on the back with a white border, and white socks on walking legs. The body of the shrimp is brownish, translucent. This species is unpretentious, but with sedentary inhabitants of aquariums (small) they get along badly, they often fight.

Ring-Handed Shrimp (Macrobrachium Assamense)

Macrobrachium Assamense

Its natural habitat is the water bodies of Nepal, Bangladesh. Males are much bigger than females, they grow up to 8 cm, while females are only up to 6. Ring-handed shrimps have a rich marble brown or gray pattern, on their claws there are rings of red-black color – hence the name of the species. It is not advisable to keep several males together – they will conflict, and small fish or crustaceans are not suitable as neighbors.

Striped Long Claw Shrimp (Macrobrachium Carcinus)

Striped Long Claw Shrimp

It lives in the rivers and streams of America. Growing up to 35 cm, large specimens often clash with territory and do not like relatives, there is a tendency towards cannibalism. The abdomen and body have color yellow-brown longitudinal stripes, the pincers are strong, blue or brown.

Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus Monodon)

Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus Monodon)

The black tiger shrimp is very lovely, with bright orange or black eyes (the first species is more appreciated). This shrimp is very sensitive to water parameters, was bred as a result of a long selection, not suitable for beginners, as breeding requires a lot of effort..

Amano (Caridina Multidentata)

Amano (Caridina Multidentata)

This shrimp is often found in aquariums and owes its name to the breeder Takashi Amano. In their natural environment, shrimp of this species lives in Japan, in the south of the country. The color of crustaceans depends on what they eat. It can be reddish or transparent green, often they are almost transparent. Black dots are scattered over the body, they grow up to 3-6 cm, females are bigger.

Thai Glass Shrimp (Macrobrachium Lanchesteri, Glass Shrimp)

This species of crustaceans lives in the rivers of Asia, keeps near the coast. Representatives of this species are very territorial, they like to dig holes in the ground. They grow up to 8 cm, the color is transparent, a black stripe runs along the back. Males are larger, their claws are more elongated, with hair, females seem to be more stocky. They live no more than 3 years.

Bottom Line

There are a lot of species of freshwater shrimp in total, we have described only the main ones.

Freshwater shrimp tanks are loaded with personality and if the larger shrimp is chosen they can be set up for beginners. Shrimp tanks are part of our hobby with a level of challenge for everyone and a lot of fun having a tank that is actively breeding.

They really can be a lot of fun to store and at their smaller size your wallet will thank you over a much bigger tank :). Any questions are wellcome, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for visiting.

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