Top 5 Dwarf Shrimp for Your Next Freshwater Aquarium
Because of their unique colors and abilities, dwarf shrimp have seen a rapid rise in popularity in aquariums since 2000. In a tank full of fish, adding a cool invertebrate with long antennae and multiple legs can bring a new and interesting facet to the hobby. Learn about five of the most common shrimp that you can find at your local fish store and see which one is right for you.
1. Ghost Shrimp
Many beginners get started with shrimp keeping by buying ghost shrimp because they are readily available in large pet store chains and are often sold cheaply as live feeders for predator fish. There are many types of grass shrimp. Whisker shrimp, long-arm shrimp and even prawns. Because they have clear-colored bodies it can be difficult to identify their exact care needs. Some ghost shrimp species can live in freshwater while others prefer to live in salt water. Some live 1.5 inches (4 cm), while others grow to 5 in (13 cm) and might try to eat their tankmates.
Given the mixed bag of species you may get, there is no guarantee they will do well in your aquarium, but most of them can live in tropical temperatures from 70-80degF (21-27degC). To build strong exoskeletons, they prefer pH levels above 7.0 and higher GH. If you have soft water, provide extra minerals like Wonder Shell and Seachem Equilibrium, and include calcium-rich foods in their diet. Many ghost shrimp are carnivorous and will eat any kind of fish food that gets dropped in the tank.
2. Neocaridina Shrimp
The next beginner shrimp that many people purchase is Neocaridina davidi, also known as the “cherry shrimp” because of its most popular color. The 1.5-inch (4 cm), shrimp is available in many colors, including yellow, orange and green jade. These shrimp are stunning to look at and also make great cleanup crew members. They eat crumbs and pick up soft algae. Feed them a varied diet of small, sinking fish foods, shrimp foods that contain calcium, and catappa leaves that grow biofilm for babies to graze on. They will produce tiny babies if you provide them with clean water and healthy foods. For more info on how to keep and breed cherry shrimp, see our detailed breeding article.
3. Amano Shrimp
Caridina multidentata, another translucent shrimp, can grow up to 5 cm (5 inches) in length and has a series dots or dashes running down its sides. They are a simple shrimp, but Takashi Amano, who is the father of modern aquascaping, made them popular for their incredible ability to eat algae. This species is known for consuming brown diatoms, hair algae, and even black beard algae if they are hungry enough. They are much more robust than other shrimp. They can tolerate temperatures up to 65-80F (18-27degC), pH between 6.5 and 8.2, and GH levels above 4deg (70ppm). Just keep a tight lid on the aquarium because they love to escape if given the chance. Amano shrimp have voracious appetites and will even steal food from bigger fish and cherry shrimp, so offer fish foods that are too big for them to carry away or are small enough to be scattered all over the tank.
4. Bamboo Shrimp
Looking for a peaceful, oddball invertebrate to spice up your aquarium? Atyopsis molucensis is also known as the Singapore flower shrimp, bamboo shrimp, and wood shrimp. It can grow to 2-3 inches (5-9 cm) tall and has feathery fans that catch tiny particles in the water. Due to their feeding habits, a sponge filter is recommended. It won’t remove all the crumbs from the water. Then give them finely powdered foods like Hikari First Bites, Repashy gel food (in its raw powder form), baby brine shrimp, and specialty foods for filter-feeding shrimp. Your fan shrimp may be foraging on the ground. This could indicate that it isn’t getting enough nutrients. You can increase its daily intake, target feeding with a pipette and add tall decorations to allow it to perch while it catches food. Like the amano shrimp, bamboo shrimp larvae require salt water to survive, so they will not reproduce in your aquarium.
5. Caridina Shrimp
Caridina shrimp are similar in size to Neocaridina shrimp, but they are usually more expensive and difficult to care for. There are many varieties of Taiwan bees, pinto, pinto and crystal shrimp available if you’re up to the challenge. They should be kept in a 10 gallon or larger aquarium. This is because the tank has been in operation for several months and has developed a healthy ecosystem of algae biofilm, live plant, and microfauna. They thrive in cool water temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F (20 to 27degC), low pH, low KH, 4-7deg (70 to 130 ppm) or GH. However, it is a good idea for them to be asked by the seller the conditions they were kept in. Many hobbyists use active buffering substrate to reduce the pH and RODI (reverse-osmosis distilled) water with specific bee shrimp minerals to keep the water parameters stable.
Chris Lukhaup (The Shrimp King), has a detailed article on freshwater aquarium shrimp. It will help you to understand the details of freshwater aquaculture. You can also check out our list to find the best vendors for their incredible selection of shrimp.