Freshwater Shrimps for the Aquarium

Freshwater Shrimps are becoming ever more popular in the aquarist hobby, probably because they are very colourful, have interesting behaviours, and their small size means you can keep these beauties in the smaller aquaria.


Keeping Freshwater Shrimps

The key to successful shrimp keeping is to maintain stable high oxygenated water conditions, have very good filtration, water change regularly, 20-30% every two weeks and provide correct foods and enzymes. They must be kept in a fully cycled tank, as they are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite levels. Air-driven sponge filters or internal canister filters are ideal for shrimp tanks, but be sure all filter intakes are caged well, as shrimp can be easily sucked into a filter.

It varies with species, but most shrimp prefer water conditions of GH 11, KH 7, pH 7.0-7.2, Temp 24-26°C and less than 5mg of NO3. Some of the more sensitive shrimps like Bee, Shadows and Crystal Red breeds have special requirements and prefer GH 4-6, KH 0-3, pH 5.5-6, and under 5mg of NO3. Total dissolved Solids (TDS) is also very important should be 200-250 for both types of shrimps.  Also as you approach higher shrimp grades, water conditions become even more important.

You should use reverse osmosis (RO) water for water changing and remineralise with salts and trace elements. Products like Mosura Mineral Plus Ultra and Mosura TDS Up, etc are very good products. It is best to use thin layer of sand or fine gravel for the substrate. For shrimp which prefer lower pH, you should use active soils like ADA Aquasoil if you wish to have soft, acidic water. active soils also helps buffer the low pH levels.

Feeding your shrimp correctly is very important, and a varied diet is best. There are many shrimp preparation foods available, Shrimp King Complete by Dennerle or Biomax foods are great products. Shrimp also need natural occurring enzymes and bacteria which help break down stomach food quickly and also make vitamins and nutrients available to them. This can be achieved by using enzyme synthesis additives, chitosan, bacteria preparation additives, and to use plenty of decor, plants, mosses etc. for beneficial bacteria to grow on, the shrimp will happily graze on these surfaces and obtain these gut microbes. Other natural additives can be also used like dried sterilized oak bark, alder cones, almond and magnolia leaves.

Yamato-Shrimp-Caridina-multidentataIt is recommended that you have some form of vegetation in your tank as it provides cover, removes nitrates from the water, and provides a good food surface for the shrimp, especially the baby shrimp. Moss is commonly used because it acts as a sponge and holds a lot of microorganisms which the baby shrimp can eat. Lighting is therefore also important for the grow of these plants. Many hobbyists also recommend keeping shrimp under strong lighting as it has show to improve colour, especially for growing shrimplets.

If you are keeping the shrimp with fish, consider the shrimp’s size as they may be picked on or even eaten. Also remember the baby shrimp will also be eaten by the smallest fish types. If you want most of the shrimplets to survive you should not keep fish with shrimps, only fish like Otocinclus catfish will leave them alone. Other invertebrates, like snails, are great ideas for tankmates, as they share nearly the same water requirements. Also snails like the Malayan Trumpet snail will help turn over substrates and remove wastes from the bottom.