Top 5 Dwarf Shrimp for Your Next Freshwater Aquarium
Dwarf shrimp are a popular addition to aquariums. They are known for their stunning colors, unique behaviors and ability to be a 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. 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 prefer freshwater, while some prefer 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. 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
Neocaridina davidi (or “cherry shrimp”) is the next beginner shrimp many people purchase. This shrimp is also known by its most famous 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. Our detailed breeding article provides more information on how to breed and keep cherry shrimp.
3. Amano Shrimp
Caridina Multidentata is another translucent shrimp that we have on our list. It can grow to 2 inches (5cm) long and has dots or dashes running down its lateral. 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
Looking for a peaceful, oddball invertebrate to spice up your aquarium? 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. 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 foraging on the ground, it could be a sign that it is not getting enough nutrients, so consider increasing its daily portion size, target feeding with a pipette, and adding tall decorations for it to perch on while catching 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 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. 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. 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. To keep the water parameters stable, many hobbyists prefer using active buffering substrate to lower the pH, as well as RODI (reverse osmosis deionized) water with mineral additives specific to bee shrimp.
Chris Lukhaup (The Shrimp King), has a detailed article on freshwater aquarium shrimp. It will help you to understand the details of freshwater aquaculture. Don’t forget about our preferred vendors list, where you can browse their impressive selection of shrimp.