Top 5 Dwarf Shrimp for Your Next Freshwater Aquarium
Dwarf shrimp in aquariums have been rapidly increasing in popularity since the early 2000’s because of their beautiful colors, unique behaviors, and usefulness as 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. There are many types of grass shrimp. Whisker shrimp, long-arm shrimp and even prawns. Because they have clear-colored bodies it can be difficult to identify their exact care needs. Some ghost shrimp species prefer freshwater, while some prefer brackish water. Some live 1.5 inches (4 cm), while others grow to 5 in (13 cm) and might try to eat their tankmates.
Given the mixed bag of species you may get, there is no guarantee they will do well in your aquarium, but most of them can live in tropical temperatures from 70-80degF (21-27degC). They tend to prefer pH above 7.0 and higher GH (or water hardness) to help build strong exoskeletons. Provide extra minerals, such as Wonder Shell and Seachem Equilibrium. Calcium-rich foods are also recommended if you have soft water. Many ghost shrimp are carnivorous and will eat any kind of fish food that gets dropped in the tank.
2. Neocaridina Shrimp
Neocaridina davidi is the next beginner shrimp most people buy. It’s also known as “cherry shrimp” due to its most popular color. This 1.5-inch (4 cm) shrimp comes in many hues besides red, such as yellow, orange, green jade, blue dream, and black rose. Not only are they beautiful to behold, but they also serve as great cleanup crew members that scavenge for crumbs and pick off 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. If they’re hungry enough, this species will eat brown diatoms, hair alga, and even black beardalga. Compared to other shrimp, they are relatively hardy and do well in a wide range of temperatures from 65-80degF (18-27degC), pH of 6.5-8.0, and GH above 4deg (70 ppm). Keep them away from the aquarium, as they will try to escape. 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 or wood shrimp, grows to 2-3 inches (5-9cm) in length and has feathery fans at its front legs to capture and eat small particles floating 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 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. Bamboo shrimp larvae, like the amano shrimps, need salt water to survive. They will not reproduce in an aquarium.
5. Caridina Shrimp
Caridina Shrimp are similar in size and shape to Neocaridina Shrimp, but are more costly and require more care. There are many varieties of Taiwan bees, pinto, pinto and crystal shrimp available if you’re up to the challenge. It is recommended that they be placed in an aquarium of 10 gallons or larger that has been kept for a long time and has a healthy ecosystem. This means that the aquarium has biofilm, live plants, algae, and microfauna. They thrive in cool water temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F (20 to 27degC), low pH, low KH, 4-7deg (70 to 130 ppm) or GH. However, it is a good idea for them to be asked by the seller the conditions they 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. Also, don’t forget to check out our list of preferred vendors to browse their amazing selection of shrimp.