7 Best Foods for Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to breed champion-quality shrimp. Finding the best food for freshwater shrimp is easy. Because ornamental shrimp are so popular, aquarium companies spend a lot to market their products. In reality, dwarf shrimp are last on the food chain, serving as scavengers that eat decaying plants, deceased animals, algae, and biofilm chock-full of microorganisms. Their diet consists of both proteins and vegetable matter, so the key is to provide a wide variety of foods to ensure that they don’t lack in essential nutrients and minerals. To feed Caridina or Neocaridina shrimp, find out which foods are our top seven favorites.
1. Hikari Shrimp Cuisine
Hikari is a long-lived company known for its excellent, delicious fish foods in the aquarium hobby, and their Shrimp Cuisine is no different. These tiny, sinking pellets are ideal for breeding crystal and cherry shrimp. They can also be eaten by adults. (If you prefer a larger pellet size, Hikari Crab Cuisine is a very similar food for shrimp, snails, crayfish, and crabs.)
Shrimp Cuisine is a complete shrimp diet. It includes vegetable matter such as seaweed and spirulina alga, as well natural color enhancers such as krill. It contains calcium and other vitamins that promote healthy growth and molting. Shrimp keepers are often concerned that copper in shrimp foods may harm their invertebrates. But Shrimp Cuisine, Shrimp Cuisine, and many other shrimp foods contain trace amounts.
2. Xtreme Shrimpee Sticks for Sinking
While most shrimp foods dissolve quickly into tiny particles to make sure the babies can get a bite, all the excess nutrients floating around in the aquarium can lead to cloudiness and dangerous water quality issues if you’re not careful. Shrimpee Sinking Sticks may be a better option if you have adult shrimp and aren’t so focused on breeding profit. The 3mm sticks can be held in place underwater for long periods of times, allowing shrimp to enjoy their food without it settling into the cracks. You can eat this staple shrimp food every day as it has high quality ingredients, calcium, vitamins, and is easy to prepare.
3. Sera Shrimp Natural sinking Granules
In the aquarium hobby, we often try to simulate an aquatic animal’s original environment and diet as closely as possible. Sera has created Sera Shrimps Nature Food which uses natural ingredients and no preservatives. All your shrimp’s favorite ingredients, including spirulina or stingingnettle, alder cones, herbs, and alder cones are included in the sinking granules. You can boost the growth, coloration and breeding of your shrimp colony by using healthy ingredients that won’t pollute your water.
4. Fluval Bug Bite Shrimp Formula
The proteins in shrimp and fish food usually come from fish and crustaceans, but don’t forget that insects are also a naturally occurring part of a shrimp’s diet. Fluval Bug Bite Shrimp Formula contains sustainably processed black soldier fly larvae. These larvae are high in nutrients and fortified by calcium and vitamin D3 which promote strong exoskeletons. These 0.25-1 mm granules also include other tasty ingredients like salmon, green peas, and alfalfa for healthy growth and easy digestion.
5. Repashy Gel Food
As tiny scavengers with tiny stomachs, shrimp prefer to constantly graze all throughout the day. That’s why Repashy gel food makes it onto our list. Mix the powder with hot water and it will form a nutritious gel food. It stays water stable for 24 hours, yet is soft enough to be eaten by shrimp. You can even feed the powder directly into the water column for the baby shrimp to eat, since newborns do not swim around a lot and can’t compete with adults during mealtime. Repashy Soilent Green has a high amount of algae and plant matter such as pea protein, alfalfa leafs, seaweed, and spirulina. Repashy Community Plus, which is made with krill and alfalfa, seaweed, and squid, is a great omnivore mix. Learn how easy it is make gel food.
6. Zoo Med Nano Banquet Food Blocks
Vacation food blocks are usually thought of as a specialty fish food you only feed if you’re going out of town for a while and don’t want to hire a pet sitter. They contain large amounts calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate to slowly release food into the water without causing it to cloud. This is essential for shrimp molting. If your tap water is very soft and low in minerals, consider dropping in a Nano Banquet Food Block as part of their regular meal rotation. The blocks are also packed with nutritious plankton and spirulina that your shrimp, snails, and fish will enjoy.
Canned or blanched veggies are an easy way to increase your shrimp’s plant intake. Canned green beans are a favorite of shrimp due to their nutritious content, soft texture and ability to sink quickly. Canned sliced carrots, which contain beta carotene, are another favorite vegetable to feed shrimp. It naturally enhances their red-orange color. You can also try blanching slices of zucchini so that they are soft enough for shrimp to graze on. Be careful not to feed the tank too many vegetables. They will eventually become brittle and could cause problems for water quality.
Bonus: Catappa Leaves
Also known as Indian almond leaves, these dried botanicals are often used in aquariums because they release brown tannins into the water that have mild antibiotic and antifungal properties. Shrimp breeders love them because the leaves grow a thin layer of biofilm as they break down. Biofilm contains beneficial bacteria, algae, as well as other microorganisms. This biofilm can be used by baby shrimp to eat all day. We recommend adding one leaf per 20 gallons of water and then adding a new leaf once the old leaf starts developing holes. No need to take out the old leaf because it will get completely devoured by your shrimp.
In our experience, most shrimp are not that picky and will eagerly eat any food that you drop into the aquarium. For more information on keeping, feeding, and breeding shrimp, read our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp article.