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. 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 live in freshwater, while others live in brackish water. Some ghost shrimp species live for 1.5 inches (4cm) while others reach 5 inches (13cm) in length and may attempt to eat their tank mates.
Despite the variety of species that you might get, it is unlikely they will thrive in an aquarium. However, most can survive in tropical temperatures between 70-80degF (22 to 27 degrees Celsius). They tend to prefer pH above 7.0 and higher GH (or water hardness) to help build strong exoskeletons. 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
Neocaridina davidi (or “cherry shrimp”) is the next beginner shrimp many people purchase. This shrimp is also known by its most famous color. These 1.5-inch (4cm) shrimp come in many other colors than red. 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. See our detailed breeding article for more information about how to keep and breed cherry Shrimp.
3. Amano Shrimp
Caridina multidentata, another translucent shrimp, can grow up to 5 cm (5 inches) in length and has a series dots or dashes running down its sides. Although they are quite common, Takashi Amano was the father in modern aquascaping. He often used amano shrimp because of their extraordinary ability to consume algae. The species is well-known for eating brown diatoms and hair algae. 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). Just keep a tight lid on the aquarium because they love to escape if given the chance. 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 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. Due to their feeding habits, a sponge filter is recommended. It won’t remove all the crumbs from the water. You can then give them finely ground foods like Repashy gel foods (in its raw form), Hikari First Bite and specialty foods for filter feeding shrimp. Your fan shrimp may be foraging on the ground. This could indicate that it isn’t getting enough nutrients. You can increase its daily intake, target feeding with a pipette and add tall decorations to allow it to perch while it catches 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 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 do well in water between 68-75degF (20-25degC), pH lower than 7.0, low KH, and 4-7deg (470-130ppm) GH. But, for the best results, you should ask the seller where the shrimp were kept. 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. You can also check out our list to find the best vendors for their incredible selection of shrimp.