7 Best Foods for Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
If you aren’t trying to breed champion-quality freshwater shrimp, finding the “best” food for them isn’t as difficult as you might think. Because ornamental shrimp are so popular, aquarium companies spend a lot to market their products. In reality, dwarf shrimp are last on the food chain, serving as scavengers that eat decaying plants, deceased animals, algae, and biofilm chock-full of 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 provides calcium and vitamins that support healthy growth and molting. Shrimp keepers who are new to the hobby often worry that copper in shrimp foods could harm their invertebrates. However, Shrimp Cuisine and Shrimp Cuisine both contain small amounts of copper that is necessary for shrimp to make hemocyanin or blood.
2. Xtreme Shrimpee Sticks for Sinking
While most shrimp foods dissolve quickly into tiny particles to make sure the babies can get a bite, all the excess nutrients floating around in the aquarium can lead to cloudiness and dangerous water quality issues if you’re not careful. Shrimpee Sinking Sticks are a better choice if you’re not as concerned about breeding for profit and keep adult shrimp in community tanks. These 3mm sticks will keep their shape underwater for a long time. This allows shrimp to have plenty of time to eat without food getting stuck to the substrate. This staple shrimp food can be fed every day because it contains quality ingredients, calcium, and high levels of vitamins.
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. Healthy ingredients won’t harm your water and will help to increase the color, growth, and breeding of your shrimp colony.
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 includes sustainably processed black soldier fly larvae that are rich in nutrients and fortified with calcium and vitamin D3 to promote strong exoskeletons. These 0.25-1 mm granules include salmon, green beans, and alfalfa, which promote healthy growth and ease of digestion.
5. Repashy Gel Food
As tiny scavengers with tiny stomachs, shrimp prefer to constantly graze all throughout the day. That’s why Repashy gel food makes it onto 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 is a good omnivore blend made with krill, alfalfa, squid, and seaweed. This article will show you how easy it can be to 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. These blocks contain large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals that are necessary for shrimp molting. They slowly release the food over time so it doesn’t cloud the water. 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 or blanched veggies are an easy way to increase your shrimp’s plant intake. One of their favorites is canned green beans because of the nutritious content, soft texture, and ability to sink immediately. Canned sliced carrots, which contain beta carotene, are another favorite vegetable to feed shrimp. It naturally enhances their red-orange color. You can also blanch slices of zucchini to make them soft enough for shrimp to chew. Be careful not to feed the tank too many vegetables. They will eventually become brittle and could cause water quality problems.
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. Because the leaves form a thin biofilm, shrimp breeders love them. Biofilm is made up of nutritious bacteria, algae and other microorganisms. This biofilm can be used by baby shrimp as a snack 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. You don’t need to remove the old leaf as it will be eaten by your shrimp.
In our experience, most shrimp are not that picky and will eagerly eat any food that you drop into the aquarium. Read our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp for more information about how to keep, feed, and breed shrimp.