Top 5 Dwarf Shrimp for Your Next Freshwater Aquarium
Dwarf shrimp in aquariums have been rapidly increasing in popularity since the early 2000’s because of their beautiful colors, unique behaviors, and usefulness as cleanup crew. 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. Because of their clear-colored bodies, many species of grass shrimp, whisker shrimps, long arm shrimp, and even shrimp are called “ghost shrimp”. It is difficult to know what care they need. Some ghost shrimp species live in freshwater, while others live in brackish water. Some stay 1.5 inches (4 cm) long, while others grow to 5 inches (13 cm) and may try to eat their tank mates.
There is no guarantee that they will survive in an aquarium with the diverse species you get. But most of them can be kept in tropical temperature ranges between 70-80degF and 22-27degC. They tend to prefer pH above 7.0 and higher GH (or water hardness) to help build strong exoskeletons. 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
Neocaridina davidi is the next beginner shrimp most people buy. It’s also known as “cherry shrimp” due to its most popular color. These 1.5-inch (4cm) shrimp come in many other colors than red. They are beautiful and can be used as a cleanup crew member to pick up crumbs and 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. You can expect tiny babies from them if you give them clean water as well as nutritious food. Our detailed breeding article provides more information on how to breed and keep cherry shrimp.
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. The species is well-known for eating brown diatoms and hair algae. 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). Keep them away from the aquarium, as they will try to escape. 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
You are looking for an unusualball, peaceful invertebrate that will spice up your aquarium’s decor? Atyopsis moluccensis (also known as the bamboo shrimp, wood shrimp, or Singapore flower shrimp) grows to 2-3.5 inches (5-9 cm) and has feathery fans on its front legs to catch and eat tiny particles floating the water. Due to their feeding habits, a sponge filter is recommended. It won’t remove all the crumbs from the water. Next, give your shrimp finely ground foods such as Repashy gel food, Hikari First Bite, baby brine shrimp and other specialty foods that can be used to filter-feed shrimp. If your fan shrimp is begging for food on the ground, this could indicate that it is not receiving enough nutrients. The bamboo shrimp larvae need salt water to survive.
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 types of Taiwan bee, pinto, tiger, and crystal shrimp that you can choose from if youre up to the task. 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. Hobbyists often use an active buffering substrate to lower pH. They also prefer RODI (reverse oxygen deionized), water with mineral additives that are specific to bee shrimp.
Chris Lukhaup (The Shrimp King) has written a comprehensive article that explains the world of freshwater aquarium shrimp. You can also check out our list to find the best vendors for their incredible selection of shrimp.