7 Best Foods for Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
If you’re not trying to breed champion-quality shrimp, then finding the “best” food to feed freshwater shrimp is not as hard as you may think. Aquarium companies know that ornamental shrimp are very popular right now, so they spend a lot of marketing dollars trying to convince you that shrimp have very specialized needs that only their brand of shrimp food can meet. Dwarf shrimp, which are found in the bottom of the food chain, are scavengers. They consume dead animals, plants, algae, and biofilm stuffed with microorganisms. Their diet is a mixture of protein and vegetable matter. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with a variety to ensure they have sufficient nutrients and minerals. Find out our top 7 favorite foods to feed Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp.
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 and babies. (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 comprehensive shrimp diet that contains vegetable matter like seaweed and spirulina algae, as well as natural color enhancers like krill. It contains calcium and other vitamins that promote healthy growth and molting. Beginner shrimp keepers often fear that the copper in shrimp foods can harm their invertebrates, but many shrimp foods such as Shrimp Cuisine contain trace amounts of copper that are necessary for the shrimp to make blood or hemocyanin.
2. Xtreme Shrimpee Sticks for Sinking
Although most shrimp foods can be broken down quickly into tiny pieces so that the babies can eat them, excess nutrients in an aquarium can cause cloudiness and other problems. Shrimpee Sinking Sticks are a better choice if you’re not as concerned about breeding for profit and keep adult shrimp in community tanks. 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. Because it is high in quality ingredients, calcium and vitamins, this staple shrimp food can easily be eaten every day.
3. Sera Shrimp Natural sinking Granules
Aquarium hobbyists often attempt to replicate an animal’s natural environment and diet. Sera has created Sera Shrimps Nature Food which uses natural ingredients and no preservatives. The sinking granules contain all your shrimp’s favorites, such as spirulina, stinging nettle, alder cones, and herbs. 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 Bites 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 Bites Shrimp Formula is made from sustainably harvested black soldier fly larvae. They are rich in nutrients, and fortified to provide 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
Shrimp, tiny scavengers that have small stomachs, prefer to graze constantly throughout the day. Repashy gel food made it to our list. Simply mix the powder with hot water to form a nutritious gel food that stays water stable for up to 24 hours and yet is soft enough for shrimp to easily grab a bite. The powder can be poured directly into the water column to allow baby shrimp to consume it. Newborns are not able swim as much and cannot compete with adults at mealtime. Repashy Soilent Green is high in algae and plant matter, such as spirulina, pea protein, alfalfa leaves, and seaweed. 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. In order to slowly release food over time without clouding the water, they actually contain large amounts of calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, and other essential minerals needed for shrimp molting. Consider adding a Nano Banquet Food Block to your regular meal rotation if your tap water is extremely soft or low in minerals. The blocks are also packed with nutritious plankton and spirulina that your shrimp, snails, and fish will enjoy.
Canned and blanched vegetables can be a great way to increase the plant content of your shrimp’s diet. Cantoned green beans are a popular choice for shrimp because of their nutritional content, soft texture, ease of sinking, and easy accessibility. 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. You should not overfeed your tank. The uncooked vegetables can cause problems with water quality and will eventually fall apart.
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. They are a favorite of shrimp breeders because they produce a thin layer biofilm from the leaves as they fall. The biofilm is rich in nutritious bacteria, algae, microorganisms, and other microorganisms that baby shrimp can eat throughout the day. We recommend adding one leaf per 20 gallons of water and then adding a new leaf once the old leaf starts developing holes. It is not necessary to take out the leaf, as your shrimp will eat it.
In our experience, most shrimp are not that picky and will eagerly eat any food that you drop into the aquarium. Learn more about keeping, feeding and breeding shrimp in our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp.