Owning a freshwater aquarium doesn’t have to just be about keeping fish and snails. There are plenty of other creatures you can put inside your tank – including amphibians like frogs and even the more unique freshwater shrimp!
When you head to the aquarium store, you might be overwhelmed by all the options out there. There are dozens of types of freshwater aquarium shrimp that you need to know about, but not all are easy to raise.
Here are some of the most popular (and most beautiful!) freshwater aquarium shrimp you need to know about – as well as some handy tips for raising your own at home!
- Types of Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
- 1 Amano Shrimp
- 2 Red Cherry Shrimp
- 3 Ghost Shrimp
- 4 Snowball Shrimp
- 5 Bamboo Shrimp
- 6 Bee Shrimp
- 7 Blue Tiger Shrimp
- 8 Babaulti Shrimp
- 9 Blue Bolt Shrimp
- 10 Red Rili Shrimp
- 11 Blue Velvet Shrimp
- 12 Crystal Red Shrimp
- 13 Indian Whisker Shrimp
- 14 Vampire Shrimp
- 15 Pinto Shrimp
- 16 Blue Pearl Shrimp
- 17 Neocaridina Shrimp
- Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Tank And Water Requirements
- What Do Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Eat?
- Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Tank Mates
- Is A Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp For You?
Types of Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
There are dozens of types of freshwater snails, each of which provides plenty of benefits to your tank’s environment.
1 Amano Shrimp
The Amano shrimp is one of the most ubiquitous freshwater aquarium shrimp species. This creature is prized for its ability to control algae, as it loves to eat any kind of algal growth that may appear in your tank.
Introduced to the aquarium trade in the 1980s, this species is the second most popular freshwater crustacean species (we will tell you about the number one in a moment!). Growing to about two inches in length, the Amano shrimp may seem tiny, but it’s actually one of the largest species of dwarf shrimp.
A transparent grey color, the female of this species look quite different from the males. Males have long, singular dashes across their bodies, while males have dots that are spaced evenly around their torsos. These marks, on either gender, can be blue-green or red-brown.
Amano shrimp do best in aquariums that are heavily planted – after all, they’ll enjoy eating algae from the plants! The temperature should be between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep in mind that the Amano shrimp isn’t one that you’ll likely be able to breed in captivity – its fry need to hatch in saltwater before coming back to a freshwater environment.
2 Red Cherry Shrimp
You might hear the red cherry shrimp referred to by many other names, including the sakura shrimp, fire shrimp, or cherry shrimp. All of these monikers mean the same thing, however. And the red cherry shrimp, no matter what you choose to call it, is a creature you must consider raising in your freshwater tank.
The names of the red cherry shrimp are usually attributed to the different color variations that can be found within this species. In addition, there are some sexual differences within the red cherry shrimp – males tend to be a bit paler. Females are slightly larger with round bellies.
One of the easiest freshwater shrimp species you can raise, the red cherry shrimp is, as a result, the most popular freshwater shrimp variety you can raise.
3 Ghost Shrimp
The ghost shrimp is one of the most popular species of freshwater aquarium shrimp, found in hobbyist stores all over the country. Known for its bizarre translucent appearance, this shrimp developed a clear image over the millennia so that it would not be detected by predators.
When you are raising the ghost shrimp, you will want to try to maintain a planted aquarium. This will help the creature feel safe among the plants.
Due to its small size, you will want to raise the ghost shrimp in a tiny aquarium. If you have an aquarium of five gallons or so, don’t worry – that’s all the shrimp needs to survive. Keep in mind, though, that the ghost shrimp is known for its prolific breeding habits. Keep two of these in your fish tank, and you’re going to have dozens of offspring on your hands before too long!
4 Snowball Shrimp
The snowball shrimp is practically translucent, and is best known for the small white eggs that it produces in its abdomen -which you can see through its skin to observe!
A unique and interesting species to care for, it’s perfect for beginners. Water temperatures should be kept at around 75 degrees while the pH should remain at 7.0 to 7.5. House your snowball shrimp in a heavily planted tank, including lots of options like Java Fern, and it will breed prolifically with others of its own kind.
5 Bamboo Shrimp
Commonly referred to as the wood shrimp, these creatures are a red-brown color and usually grow no larger than five inches. Females are larger than males, with their front legs which is notable when it comes to breeding time!
Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders, possessing unique, specialized fans that help them draw in food particles from the water to gather food toward their mouths. They will eat a variety of items, including powdered flakes, algae powder, and even freshly hatched artemia.
The bamboo shrimp is one of the largest species of freshwater aquarium shrimp you can raise. As a result, you will need an equally large aquarium -think no smaller than 20 gallons. Water temperatures can be kept somewhat cool, at around 68 or 69 degrees.
6 Bee Shrimp
The bee shrimp is one of the most diverse species of freshwater shrimp around. With more than a dozen different color variations, all of which were selectively bred to obtain their unique color patterns, this creature is tiny, only growing to about an inch long (although this does vary among the individuals within the various types).
Bee shrimp are more difficult to care for than other types of freshwater shrimp. Despite their small size, they are quite finicky when it comes to temperature and pH. As a result, they are not usually recommended for beginners.
7 Blue Tiger Shrimp
Also known as the orange-eyed blue tiger, the blue tiger shrimp is dark blue with black stripes. What really stands out on the blue tiger shrimp, however, is the set of bright orange eyes it has stopped its head. They almost appear to glow in the dark!
The blue tiger shrimp needs to be kept in an aquarium that is at least ten gallons in volume. pH should be maintained between 6.0 and 7.5, with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees.
Otherwise, these shrimp are not finicky – you can keep them in small community tanks with other tiny peaceful fish like guppies. In fact, it’s recommended that you house the blue tiger shrimp with fish because they will feed off their fecal matter. Just make sure you include plenty of plants and decorations in your tank – the blue together shrimp is a shy freshwater shrimp species that likes to be able to hide!
8 Babaulti Shrimp
The Babaulti shrimp is a unique variety that comes in a whole host of colors and patterns. One of the most popular is the electric green shade, while you can also find this freshwater shrimp species covered in stripes!
A resilient species of shrimp, it’s one of the easiest to care for – especially if you are a beginner. They aren’t super sensitive to changes in the water quality and will even eat up all the dead plants in your tank – they are the ultimate cleaner-upper shrimp!
9 Blue Bolt Shrimp
The blue bolt shrimp is another variation of the bee shrimp. A super peaceful species, this creature does well in just about any community tank. You need to watch out for keeping this shrimp with predatory fish species, like barbs, but otherwise, you can house the blue bolt shrimp just about anywhere.
They are hardy in most conditions, tolerating temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees and pH values between 6.2 and 7.8. In fact, as long as your tank has plenty of vegetation and water temperatures are ideal, your blue bolt shrimp colony will begin to breed! As long as you have at least ten individuals, you can start your own breeding program right within your own aquarium.
10 Red Rili Shrimp
The red rili shrimp is a unique variety that was selectively bred from the red cherry shrimp. A dwarf species, it only grows to about one inch long. These creatures have heads that are colored a deep red, along with red tails and a see-through belly.
The red rili shrimp requires a complex aquarium habitat filled with structure and hiding places. You should add things like plants, bogwood, and other decorations. Not only will this give your shrimp plenty of places to hide, but it will give algae places to grow – and the red rili shrimp loves munching on algae!
If you’re interested in breeding your freshwater aquarium shrimp, then this is the species to go with. It’s incredibly easy to raise your own red rili shrimp – all you need to do is purchase about 10 individual species and keep them in waters with temperatures varying from 65 to 85 degrees. As long as the pH is between 6.3 and 8.0, these shrimp will more or less take care of the rest.
11 Blue Velvet Shrimp
Selectively bred from the yellow shrimp, cherry shrimp, and neocaridina shrimp, this shrimp has interesting genetics that causes it to be a unique mottled blue color.
A voracious scavenger, the blue velvet shrimp will eat practically anything – including algae. Most people choose to supplement the diets of their blue velvet shrimp with some kind of shrimp pellet containing lots of protein, though.
Females of this species grow larger than males – often reaching lengths of more than two inches. Males, on the other hand, will grow to a more modest inch and a half.
If you choose to raise these freshwater shrimp, do so in a heavily planted tank that is no smaller than ten gallons in size. Most experts recommend keeping your blue velvet shrimp separate from other varieties of shrimp – this will keep genetics pure.
12 Crystal Red Shrimp
Also known as the red bee shrimp, the crystal red shrimp is a unique freshwater shrimp that is not the best for beginning aquarium hobbyists. These shrimps aren’t any larger than other species of freshwater shrimp, but they require a ton of maintenance – they need to have practically pristine water conditions that meet certain parameters.
When it comes to temperatures, you will want to keep this shrimp in a tank with a range of 62 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH must be kept between 5.8 and 7.5. While these seem like relatively large ranges – and they are – note that the crystal red shrimp requires numerous water changes to help keep the water clean. They have the unique ability to absorb excess nitrates to complete the nitrogen cycle in your tank.
13 Indian Whisker Shrimp
Another peculiar-looking freshwater shrimp on our list is the Indian whisker shrimp. It’s often confused with the ghost shrimp, but it’s somewhat larger and can grow to more than two inches long.
A super aggressive species, it possesses none of the ghost shrimp’s easy-going demeanor. On the contrary, this creature will go after and kill any other freshwater shrimp in your tank – as well as some small fish.
Therefore, you should keep the Indian whisker shrimp in its own separate tank. Make sure it’s planted and is at least five gallons in volume.
14 Vampire Shrimp
The vampire shrimp is one of the least common species of freshwater aquariums shrimp. Growing to a large size of six inches long, this shrimp is translucent, giving it an appearance more like a crayfish than a shrimp. It is unique among other freshwater shrimp in that it is a filter feeder.
This means that the vampire shrimp possesses small fans that help it catch small floating food particles. It can be difficult to feed these creatures as a result, since sinking pellets are often too large. You will need to purchase and feed specialty baby shrimp food instead.
15 Pinto Shrimp
One of the newest varieties of freshwater shrimp, the pinto shrimp is often referred to as the fishbone shrimp. It has a unique black background color that stands out among its white splotches.
A difficult to care for species, the pinto shrimp is also quite challenging to breed. As a result, it comes with a higher price tag. You will need to keep this shrimp in a tank with a pH between 5.8 and 7.5 and temperatures between 63 and 75 degrees.
16 Blue Pearl Shrimp
The blue pearl shrimp is the same species as the snowball shrimp. However, it has been bred to have a distinct appearance that makes it look quite different from the other variety, the blue pearl shrimp has a pale blue tinge that has been bred into its lineage over the years. It now also has red spots that run along its back.
You will need to care for this species of freshwater shrimp in exactly the same way you might tend to a snowball shrimp, placing it in a tank with the same water parameters and lots of vegetation. This shrimp likes to eat foods like blanched vegetables and sinking pellets.
17 Neocaridina Shrimp
Closely related to the red cherry shrimp, the neocaridina shrimp is often referred to as the yellow shrimp. True to the moniker, this creature has a gorgeous sunshine-bright yellow color.
That being said, there are some true neocaridina shrimp that are almost completely see-through! The yellow color is not a natural trait among the neocaridina shrimp – in fact, it was a characteristic that was selectively bred into the variety by breeders seeking a brighter hue.
Keep in mind that you’ll pay a bit more for yellow neocaridina shrimp than you will for brown or grey ones – this is because it takes more work (and money) to breed them. If you want to start your own breeding business, you can make a fair amount of money, since ten individuals will sell for roughly $40.
Each freshwater aquarium shrimp will have its own unique care requirements. Most freshwater shrimp originated in eastern Asia, but there are some that are the exception to this rule. However, most shrimp need relatively warm waters with certain pH levels.
Large shrimp species will need tanks that are more than ten gallons in size, but there are plenty of smaller freshwater shrimp that can do just fine in less than that. In most cases, you will want to make sure your tank is heavily planted. The substrate, too, should be soft and nonabrasive to prevent injuring your delicate shrimp.
Watch out for your filter too. Some filter intakes are quite powerful and can easily suck your shrimp into them. You may want to cover the filter up with a screen or switch to a sponge filter.
Shrimp are often good creatures to have around if you are trying to keep your tank clean, but don’t neglect to clean your tank. Ammonia and nitrites need to be kept low, with nitrates below 10 ppm. When it comes to pH, you will want to pay attention to the unique requirements of your shrimp – each shrimp species will have a varying requirement.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to research the kind of shrimp you intend to buy. This is especially important if you already have a fish tank – you want to make sure your shrimp will fit into the conditions you have already established.
Freshwater aquarium shrimp are algae eaters – as a result, they should not be housed in a brand new aquarium. Give the tank some time to get established first! These creatures will eat the biofilm that forms only after an aquarium has been cycled several types.
As your shrimp grow in size and number, you will need to provide them with more than just algae – this is even truer if you are raising aquarium shrimp that are omnivores. You can feed them various types of commercial flakes, but you can also feed vegetables like spinach, cucumbers, and even pears. Just make sure they are broken down into small pieces first!
Try not to overfeed your shrimp. In fact, it is far better to underfeed than to overfeed these creatures. Overriding can result in a variety of health problems. In general, you should feed just a few times each week. It can be tough to determine how much food they actually need, but a good rule of thumb is to start with small amounts and increase the volume from there.
When you are preparing to add freshwater shrimp to your tank, you need to make sure you plan things out ahead of time. There are very few fish that can live in peace with freshwater shrimp – not because of the shrimp but because young, small shrimp make a quick and tasty meal for even small aquarium fish.
You might want to include creatures like small plecostomus catfish and otto cats, for example. These fish have small sucker mouths and usually leave baby shrimp to their own devices. You can also raise small fish like tetras and guppies – but keep in mind that these fish will sometimes go after young shrimp.
In general, try to select tank mates that are not aggressive and have mouths that are not large enough to eat adult shrimp. Remember that while most fish conform to the behavior standards of their pieces, there is some natural variation among individuals within a group – you might have one fish that is more aggressive than others of the same species that will cause problems for your freshwater shrimp.
Whether you want to add some new life and vitality to your tank or are hoping to get into the fun and rewarding trade of breeding freshwater shrimp, there are plenty of reasons to raise these unique aquarium species.
Not only are they easy for beginners to raise, but freshwater aquarium shrimp can be added to just about any tank. As long as you educate yourself font he unique care requirements of each species, then raising a freshwater aquarium shrimp is a simple, enjoyable task that will provide you with years of enjoyment!