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. Many species of grass shrimp, whisker shrimp, long arm shrimp, and even prawns are all called “ghost shrimp” because of their clear-colored bodies, so it is hard to determine exact care requirements for them. 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.
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. To build strong exoskeletons, they prefer pH levels above 7.0 and higher GH. You can add minerals such as Wonder Shell or Seachem Equilibrium to soft water. Also, make sure they eat calcium-rich foods. 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. 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. See our detailed breeding article for more information about how to keep and breed cherry Shrimp.
3. Amano Shrimp
Caridina multidentata is another translucent shrimp on our list that grows up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and comes with a series of dots or dashes running down its side. Despite their ordinary appearance, they were made popular by Takashi Amano, the father of modern aquascaping, who frequently employed amano shrimp for their amazing algae-eating abilities. This species is known for consuming brown diatoms, hair algae, and even black beard algae if they are hungry enough. They are more resilient than other shrimp and can withstand temperatures of 65-80 degrees F (18-27degC), pH 6.5-8.0 and GH over 4deg (70ppm). They will escape from your aquarium if they have the opportunity. Keep the tank closed. 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 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. A gentle sponge filter, rather than a strong hang-on back or canister filter, is best for them. This will not remove any crumbs from their 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. Bamboo shrimp larvae, like the amano shrimps, need salt water to survive. They will not reproduce in an aquarium.
5. Caridina Shrimp
Caridina shrimps are smaller than Neocaridina shrimps, but they can be more difficult to care for and are often more expensive. There are many types of Taiwan bee, pinto, tiger, and crystal shrimp that you can choose from if youre up to the task. We strongly recommend that you set them up in a 10-gallon (or larger) aquarium that is very mature – meaning that the tank has been running for many months and has grown a healthy ecosystem of algae, biofilm, live plants, and microfauna. In general, they do best in cooler water between 68-75degF (20-27degC), pH below 7.0, low KH, and 4-7deg (70-130 ppm) GH, but for maximum success, ask the seller what conditions the shrimp 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. Don’t forget about our preferred vendors list, where you can browse their impressive selection of shrimp.