Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp for Beginners—#1,2,3 are Most Common
By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise
Dwarf freshwater aquarium shrimp have become quite popular as algae eaters and exceptional fish tank cleaners, with the list for aquarists to consider growing each day.
However, these shrimp species have different needs hence shrimp keepers need to have a certain level of expertise to maintain them.
For this reason, this article will let you in on the shrimp species you can keep easily now that you are a shrimp keeper.
Are Shrimp Good for Aquarium
Freshwater shrimp are active and almost always engage in algae harvesting or cleaning waste food dirt from substrate and surfaces. Therefore, it’s accurate to say shrimp are good and quite important in aquariums.
Over and above cleaning and eating algae, dwarf shrimp are also relatively small thus good even in nano fish tanks. However, because of this relatively small size, they are vulnerable to predation by large fish.
So, to enjoy everything freshwater aquarium shrimp have to offer, keep them in appropriate tanks.
Add larger species like ghost and Amano shrimp in tanks that are anywhere from 10 to 55 gallons in size. Whereas red cherry, crystal, bee, and other small shrimp species are better when kept in tanks that are 10-gallons or less.
That said, most dwarf shrimp species kept in freshwater tanks are native to the tropics of South East Asia, therefore, add your shrimp in fairly warm aquarium water.
Moreover, though water requirements may vary depending on the species, it should have zero ammonia and nitrites, and the nitrates should be below 10ppm.
Also, maintain good filtration and do a 10 percent water change weekly or 25 percent every two weeks.
9 Best Beginner Freshwater Aquarium Dwarf Shrimp
Now let’s see the best dwarf shrimp species for new freshwater aquarium owners.
The species listed are mostly easy to care for, though they are a few that are moderately hard and others with specific needs. However, they should not pose an impossible challenge.
The shrimp species will look at include:
- Red cherry shrimp
- Ghost shrimp
- Amano shrimp
- Blue dream shrimp
- Snowball shrimp
- Bamboo shrimp
- Babaulti shrimp
- Crystal red shrimp
- Blue tiger shrimp
#1— Red Cherry Shrimp
Neocaridina Heteropoda, commonly referred to as red cherry shrimp (see products from recommended seller) or cherry shrimp is a common species in home aquariums. They are most popular for their vibrant colors which come in shades of red.
Cherry shrimp care is easy because this species is generally hardy and pretty self-sufficient.
Nonetheless, they prefer an aquarium temperature range of 72°F to 78°F and a ph of 70 to 7.8.
They are also more comfortable in established aquariums with the water moderately hard and having a decent flowing current.
Red cherry shrimp are native to Taiwan with most living for about a year, sometimes a little longer. They grow to an average size of 1.5 inches which means they can live anywhere from a 5-gallon tank.
Cherry shrimp have an overall peaceful demeanor so you also can add them in a large community tank, but you have to make sure you don’t maintain them with predatory fish.
#2 — Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp is another species that is a quite popular freshwater aquarium invert with intriguing almost transparent bodies. They are also fairly easy to care for and are exceptional cleaners.
However, ghost shrimp have a short lifespan of between 6 months and a year. They grow to about 1.5 inches over this period but will at times get to 2 inches.
Usually, ghost shrimp are said to be native to South of the USA though some sources say their natural habitat is in South West Asia.
Put your ghost shrimp in a tropical freshwater aquarium that is more than 10 gallons. The shrimp will love water with a temperature range between 65°F and 82°F and a ph of 7.0 and 8.0.
Like cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp are peaceful hence can be maintained with any fish species that won’t snack on them.
#3 — Amano Shrimp
Amano shrimp (see product from seller), scientifically identified as Caridina Multidenteta is a species native to Japan and Taiwan hence this other common names: Yamato, Japanese or Algae shrimp.
These shrimp are particularly popular due to their exceptional ability to consume large amounts of algae. Amano shrimp also have interesting transparent-greyish bodies with lines of red-brown or blue-grey dots running almost the full length of the body.
However, when you go out to by Amano shrimp, beware there are many look-alikes hence are often identified wrongly.
These shrimp are one of the larger dwarf shrimp species, therefore, add them in a 10-gallon or more that is heavily planted and filled with soft to moderately hard water.
Amano shrimp prefer a temperature range anywhere between 70°F and 80°F and a ph of 6.0 to 7.0.
#4 — Blue Dream Shrimp
Blue dream shrimp (see product from seller) also called deep blue shrimp or sapphire shrimp and scientifically identified as Neocaridina Heteropoda var. blue is an extremely adaptable species. The shrimp are gaining popularity due to their color and ease of care and breeding.
Sapphire shrimp is species made from interbreeding hence there is no wild form. The shrimp have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years and will mostly grow to a maximum of 1 inch.
Keep your blue dream shrimp in a tank that is more than 5-gallons filled with moderately hard water with a temperature range of 68°F to 80°F and a ph of 6.2 to 8.0.
The species is generally peaceful and can be tanked with a host of docile, non-predatory fish.
#5 — Snowball Shrimp
Neocaridina cf Zhangjiajiensis var. White also called snowball shrimp (see product from seller), white pearl or snow shrimp is a species bred in Germany from species native to South East Asia. It’s easy to care for and also stand out from other dwarf shrimp species due to its pure white coloration.
Snow shrimp are closely related to cherry shrimp hence are mostly used as a more exciting replacement.
Moreover, setting their aquarium is not much of a challenge. Ideally, get at least a 5-gallon tank and fill it with soft water with the temperature anywhere from 75°F to 85°F and a ph of 6.2 to 7.8.
Snowball shrimps live for 1 to 2 years and will grow to a maximum length of 1.25 inches. They have quite a peaceful demeanor hence will live with a host of companion.
#6 — Bamboo Shrimp
Atyopsis moluccensis also called bamboo, wood or flower shrimp is a freshwater aquarium shrimp species native to South East Asia. The shrimp is not very demanding albeit some basic requirements like moderate water current since they are filter feeders.
Bamboo shrimp will live for 1 to 2 years and reach a maximum of 2 to 4 inches. For this reason, add them in a 15-gallon tank or more. A small school will live well in an established 55-gallon aquarium.
Wood shrimp prefer a freshwater tank with a range temperature anywhere between 75°F and 83°F and a ph of 6 to 7.5.
The species is also not aggressive and will live in a community tank with inhabitants that include medium tropical fish. Though you’ll want to avoid mixing them with goldfish, Oscars, Jack Dempsey or other cichlids that will snack on them.
#7 — Babaulti Shrimp
Babaulti shrimp, also called green babaulti or zebra babaulti shrimp is an easy species to keep native to India and possibly other regions of Asia.
The shrimp is also sometimes identified as Caridina Babaulti.
Zebra babaulti shrimp is unfortunately not very common despite coming in a range of colors which include red, brown, green, yellow and zebra stripes.
Also, though the species hardness make it a great beginner option, they can be shyer than many other species.
A tank that is 5-gallons or more should work fine for a colony of babaulti shrimp though you may need more before you hone your skills. They prefer a temperature anywhere between 65°F to 83°Fin soft to moderately-hard water with a ph of 6.5 to 7.8.
Because they are small dwarf shrimp, it’s not a good idea to keep with large or aggressive fish species. However, they will live in a community tank with small, peaceful and non-predatory fish same as other shrimp species.
#8 — Crystal Red Shrimp
Caridina cf. cantonensis also called crystal-red-shrimp (see product from seller) is a popular species in the shrimp keeping hobby today.
The species is selectively bred from the humble bee shrimp appreciated for their bright red and white coloration.
Though caring for crystal red shrimp is moderately hard, it should not present an impossible challenge to a shrimp keeper whether beginner or expert.
Raise your crystal red in a setup that is 5-gallons or more, but if you are completely new to the fish keeping hobby, you may want to start with at least a 10-gallon tank.
The species prefer aquarium water with a temperature range between 62°F and 76°F and a ph of 5.8 to 7.4.
Like all dwarf shrimp, crystal reds are quite vulnerable and should be combined with small, peaceful, non-predatory fish. For this reason, some hobbyists choose to set up a crystal red species tank especially for higher and more expensive grade shrimps.
#9 — Blue Tiger Shrimp
Blue tiger shrimp (see product from seller) are a selectively bred freshwater aquarium species with bright blue bodies that have black stripes and striking orange eyes. Hence, they are also called orange eyed blue tiger shrimp.
Like crystal red shrimp, this species is moderately hard to care for though it should not present a huge challenge.
Hobbyists with experience in keeping aquatic species in aquariums, even if not with shrimp, will keep this species.
Blue tiger shrimp require a tank that is 10-gallons or more filled with moderately hard water with the temperature anywhere from 65°F to 75°F and a ph of 6 to 7.5. However, if you have prior experience at keeping shrimp, you may want to consider a 5-gallon nano tank.
That said, blue tiger shrimp are not the easiest and can be quite fragile due to inbreeding, so be sure to stay on top of your water values by checking them regularly.
Soft acidic water with zero ammonia and nitrites and less than 5ppm nitrates is the best for this species.
They are also vulnerable, and only a few fish species are peaceful enough to live with them. Therefore, consider maintaining your blue tiger shrimp in a heavily planted species aquarium.
Alternatively, keep the shrimp with peaceful freshwater aquarium snails.
That said, below are a couple more freshwater shrimp species you might get in the fish store, though rare to find.
- Tangerine tiger shrimp
- Orange rilli shrimp
- Black rose shrimp
- Calceo bee golden dragon shrimp
- Green jade shrimp
- Red rilli shrimp
- Black panda
- Crystal black shrimp
- Orange pumpkin spice sakura
- Yellow shrimp
- Blue bolt
- Little red riding hood shrimp
- Blue velvet shrimp
- Carbon rilli
- Fire red
- Red onyx
How Many Freshwater Shrimp can You Put in an Aquarium
A frequently question asked by many new shrimp keepers is how many individuals can live in their tanks.
Well, it does depend on the size of the tank, tankmates and the size of shrimp you are keeping. However, dwarf shrimp species which are the most common in freshwater aquariums are not big and rarely get bigger than 3.5 inches.
As such, most dwarf shrimp species will fit 10 shrimp in a gallon of water which means a 10-gallon aquarium could hold up to 100 dwarf shrimp. However, you may want to keep 5-dwarf-shrimp in a gallon of water, to begin with.
The reason dwarf shrimp don’t require much of space like fish has a lot to do with their overall small size, swimming habits, and a light bioload.
So, by and large, compared to fish, shrimp are virtually less in every sense.
What Fish Can Be Kept with Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
Most dwarf shrimp species that will live in freshwater aquariums are generally peaceful hence can live in a community tank, but most fish will make a quick snack out of them.
So the rule of thumb is you don’t put dwarf shrimp with big fish that can fit the shrimp in their mouth.
This means the only good companions are small peaceful fish with tiny mouths. However, you can also keep your shrimp with other shrimp species and peaceful snails or maintain them in species tanks with others of their kind.
Good dwarf shrimp companion fish include neon tetras, cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, and corydoras. But avoid putting them with Jack Dempsey, Oscars, cichlids, goldfish and any other fish that exhibit predatory tendencies.
Hope you enjoy the hobby.
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