Amano Shrimp Care Guide: Best Tank, Lifespan, Diet and Breeding
By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise
Amano shrimps are peaceful inverts with a beautiful appearance and will live in most freshwater aquariums. They are also good algae eaters hence quite popular in the fish keeping hobby.
This translucent shrimp, a member of the family Atyidae, is native to Japan and Taiwan and is referred by other common names which include Yamato shrimp, Japanese shrimp, and algae shrimp.
You can keep Amano shrimp in nearly any size tank as long fish stocking rules are followed. Usually, 5 to 6 individuals will comfortably fit in a 20-gallon home aquarium.
Maintain you Amano shrimp in soft to moderately-hard water with the temperature anywhere between 70°F and 80°F and a ph of 6.0 to 7.5.
That said, let’s look at Amano shrimp in quick detail. We’ll learn everything there is to know from lifespan, behavior, tank size and water condition to feeding, breeding and more.
Amano Shrimp Overview
Amano shrimp is scientifically identified as Caridina multidentata and belong to a family of shrimp present in all tropical and most temperate waters of the world.
This species has a translucent body covered with a broken line of reddish brown points on the sides and a dorsal surface with a white stripe that runs from the head to the tail.
Amano shrimp eyes are black, and the body has dots and dashes that run the full length and can either be grayish-blue, green, light brown or reddish-brown in color.
Females are different from males with a more elongated lower row of dots.
Amano shrimp are very docile with low demands on water quality. However, they are more active in water with a temperature higher than 75°F, but may also have a shorter lifespan.
This shrimp grows to an average of 2 inches so one individual can live in a small size fish tank. While a school of Amano shrimp can live in a bigger tank, even a community setup.
Like other shrimp species, female Amanos signal readiness to mate by realizing pheromones into the water for male shrimps to follow. However, the shrimp need brackish water to breed.
A unique trait with all shrimp species including Amano shrimp is molting. They shed old shells and grow into new ones which occur once every fifth or sixth week.
Lifespan—How Long Do Amano Shrimp Live?
Amano shrimp live for an average of between 2 and 3 years with the right food, diet and water quality. They, however, are sensitive to changes in water parameters so follow the proper inverts acclimation procedure to the letter.
One thing to avoid if you want your shrimp to have a long healthy lifespan is putting them with fish that feed on live crustaceans like dwarf puffer fish. Otherwise, your shrimp will turn into a quick meal especially young members.
Behaviour and Temperament
Amano shrimp are a docile species that can easily be maintained in a community aquarium. They get along with mid-level and top dwellers but don’t have a problem with most bottom dwellers either.
The shrimp have a reputation for being boisterous cleaners because they feed on large amounts of algae and food scraps at the bottom of the aquarium.
Consequently, they are kept in fish tanks with plenty of algae and messy feeders for cleaning in large numbers. In fact, Amano shrimp are slightly greedy hence spend most of their time looking for bits of food.
Amanos are not schooling species but will occasionally hang out together, especially when looking for food and after water changes. It’s also not uncommon for them to swim together during mating season.
There are a couple of Amano shrimp look-alikes so you could be confused when you need to buy one. Luckily, the easiest way to identify an imposter is by accessing their general activity and ability to clear algae.
Real Amano shrimps will be quite active mostly moving around in search of food and feeding on soft algae.
Amano Shrimp Molting Behavior
Almost all shrimp, including Amano shrimp, molt after a while. The behavior involves an individual shrimp shedding its old shell and growing into a new one.
An empty shell will look like a lifeless shrimp, which is the reason why many hobbyists assume their shrimp is dead. However, if an Amano shrimp dies, it should turn bright orange instead of the usual translucent color with visible spots.
That said, when your shrimp molts in the fish tank, you will notice other fish chasing it around the tank in an attempt to breed. Moreover, a molted shrimp will be defenseless, therefore, protect it from big and aggressive fish.
This species will eat old shells to ingest minerals, so it’s fine if you leave it in the aquarium. Sometimes it’s other shrimps and snail that’ll devour the old shell especially from dead tank mates.
Amano Shrimp Tank: Size, Water Condition, and Tank Mates
Amano shrimp inhabit wild river and streams in far east countries including Japan, China, and Taiwan. Therefore, you should try to best replicate this habitat in your aquarium.
Moreover, though adult Amano shrimp don’t demand specific water parameters, its important to note that these species don’t live in freshwater all their lives. Larvae and juveniles require brackish water to hatch and survive and only venture into freshwater environments once they mature.
That said, fully grown Amano shrimp will live best in at least a 10-gallon cycled in groups of 5 or more.
They can withstand a wide range of water conditions but to give them the best life, keep them in soft water with a temperature anywhere from 70°F to 80°F and a ph of 6.0 to 7.5.
Keep your water clean by adding a filter in the tank and do regular water changes, especially when you have other fish in the tank.
You can also add an air pump if you need to because Amano shrimp are used to currents in rivers hence won’t be bothered by the extra water movement.
In terms of accessories, Amano shrimp love aquariums that are planted heavily with everything else from shrimp tube to live aquatic plants like Java moss and fanwort.
The extra plants and accessories create plenty of hiding spaces which is imperative because shrimp are prey animals and are particularly vulnerable during the molting period.
This way your Amano shrimp will feel safer, grow more confident and venture out more.
Just like other inverts, copper is toxic to Amano shrimp, so avoid using copper-based items in the tank. This includes many fish foods and medication.
Amano Shrimp Tankmates
The species has shy and generally peaceful individuals that will live with a host of tankmates provided they get enough spaces to retreat when threatened.
Obiviously, other peaceful species, whether fish, snails or shrimp, will make better companions to your Amano shrimp than large and aggressive fish.
Try to avoid adding Amano shrimp to tanks with large fish that have an appetite for seafood because shrimps are commonly viewed as a quick meal.
The rule of thumb in the fish tank is if shrimp can fit in the fish’s mouth, it will become a snack sooner or later. Hence don’t keep Amano shrimp with cichlids, Arowana, betta, gourami, Oscar or goldfish.
Good Amano shrimp tank mates include:
- Dwarf cichlids
- Neon tetra
- Tiger barb
- Bristlenose pleco
- Cory catfish
- Harlequin Rasbora
- Zebra danios
- Mystery snail
- Malaysian trumpet snail
- Cherry shrimp
- Bamboo shrimp
Amano Shrimp Food and Diet
Unlike other freshwater inhabitants that are popular for brilliant colors, Amano shrimp is known as a super effective algae eater.
They are also quite effective at cleaning up leftover food. As a result, feeding Amano shrimp is one of the easiest things for fishkeepers. Your shrimp will literarily fend for itself after fish get satisfied and let the leftover fall to the aquarium floor.
However, it is important to supplement their diet especially if algae levels in your tank are low or when you have many scavengers in the tanks.
Besides, contrary to common belief, most fish tanks are quite clean hence the leftover food, and algae in the tank is not sufficient for shrimp to survive.
Also, Amano shrimps are actually omnivorous so the will feed on both meaty and plant matter.
Feed your aquarium shrimp with high-quality pellet, algae wafers or frozen food two or three times a week when you have plenty of algae or wasteful fish.
You can also feed them special shrimp food which is the better choice anyway. For their vitamin needs, feed your Amano shrimp vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, squash or spinach or feed them protein-rich snacks like bloodworms and brine shrimp.
That being said, use pellets that will sink to the bottom of the tank to feed your shrimp. Also, only leave soft algae in the tank but avoid black beard algae because Amano shrimp don’t feed on it.
Breeding Amano Shrimp
Sexing Amano shrimp is fairly easy, but getting them to mate and produce young on is anything but simple.
The breeding hurdle is especially complicated because you need specific tank conditions which include brackish water with a salinity level of around 1.024.
Technically, when breeding in the wild, female Amano shrimp carry fertilized eggs for about 6 weeks then release them into brackish where. There, larvae are released and grow in that water until they are mature enough then move into freshwater.
Therefore, in a fish tank, you will need breeding pairs, ideally 10 shrimps with an even ratio of male to females. Then follow a process almost akin to that used to breed cherry shrimp.
Though it is important to keep in mind that most attempts to breed Amanos in aquariums end up in despair.
Remember to feed your breeding pair well and raise the temperature to between 78°F and 80°F.
To start the breeding process, female shrimp will release pheromones into the water once they are ready to mate to attract males. Then the pairs will mate naturally without much drama in the tank.
However, it’s not uncommon for male shrimp to become agitated and increase their feeding. Fights may also come up every now and then.
Once the shrimp mate, the female shrimp in a pair will lay her eggs on her swimmerets below the stomach and carry them for about 6 weeks, the same way they do in the wild.
Overall, breeding Amano shrimp is an endeavor only recommended for experienced shrimp keepers. And even then, there is limited information available so they may have to take a shot in the dark every once in a while.
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Enjoy shrimp keeping.