How to make a shrimp aquarium

A healthy aquarium is one with healthy shrimp. Unfortunately, shrimp often have a difficult time getting the calcium they need from their food. That’s where supplements come in! In this post, you’ll find all the information you need on what kind of calcium will work for your shrimp and how to offer it to them appropriately.

Adding pieces of seashells or hard-boiled eggshells is a cheap way to supplement your shrimp aquarium with calcium. Another good option is to get the shrimp to eat cuttlefish bones, a rich source of calcium.

Cheap And Effective Methods Supplementing Calcium To A Shrimp Tank

How To Prepare Eggshells For Your Shrimp Tank

  1. The first step is to boil and eat the eggs.
  2. Next, You boil your empty eggshells for 10 to 15 minutes first to sterilize them. Boiling will keep any bacteria from growing and harming your shrimp and makes removing the membrane later easier.
  3. Remove the membrane and rinse the eggshell pieces in water. You don’t want any part of the egg or membrane fouling up your aquarium.
  4. Next, you’ll need to crush them up so that there are no sharp pieces that may hurt your shrimp. You can use a hammer or a mortar and pestle to do this. You can grind them up into powder, but it is not mandatory. Small pieces of shell are also acceptable to use.
  5. Finally, offer the crushed eggshells in small amounts at least twice per week to supplement calcium.

How To Use Montmorillonite Clay In Your Aquarium

Montmorillonite clay is a sedimentary rock that has a unique property. It absorbs water and becomes expanded. This property makes it an excellent option for growing healthy shrimp.

The shrimp may eat the clay, and that’s okay because it’s rich in minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They will also have increased access to food which is good for their growth cycle. You can add this montmorillonite clay to your aquarium by putting it in your water filter or directly into the tank.

How To Use Cuttlefish Bones In Your Aquarium

Cuttlefish bones are another excellent supplement for calcium. Cuttlefish bones provide a rich source of calcium that is readily available to shrimp and helps them grow. They can be added to the water or placed in a cuttlebone holder, which can be found at most pet stores attached to the bottom of the tank.

Cuttlefish bones, like eggshells, should be boiled first to sterilize and remove any bacteria. Once they have cooled down, you can place cuttlefish bones in their cuttlebone holder, usually made of hard plastics. This keeps them from getting lost in the tank and allows you to monitor how much they are eating quickly. You don’t want to overfeed your shrimp, so it’s good to check and make sure they’re not taking in too many at once.

How To Use Crushed Coral In Your Shrimp Tank

There are different types of crushed coral available in the market. You can choose between aragonite and calcite. The kind you choose is up to you, and it’s essential to know which type of shrimp you have in your aquarium before making that decision.

How To Use Crushed Oyster Shells In Your Shrimp Aquarium

Chopped oyster shells are relatively easy to find and are a great way to add calcium to your shrimp tank. Oyster shells provide the same benefits as other supplements: additional sources of calcium, easy access, and increased food availability. To prepare Crushed Oyster Shells for your shrimp aquarium, measure and mince the shells. You can use either a mortar and pestle or a hammer. Once you have chopped our oyster shells, please put them in

The Best Store-bought Calcium Supplementation Options

Dennerle Shrimp King Mineral Is A Premium Mineral Feed For Shrimp

Rich in natural minerals. With montmorillonite, calcium-carbonate, and red coralline algae, Shrimp King Mineral supports the healthy development of all shrimps and crayfish. Naturally rich in trace elements and iodine and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E. Contains 0.5% pure spirulina as a source of natural green pigments (as a natural colorant).

It is made with Kelp, shrimp wholemeal, wheat protein, lime red algae (10%), calcium carbonate (5%), lucerne, green-lipped mussel, yeast, walnut leaves, and rosemary.

SaltyShrimp Mineral Supplement

SaltyShrimp mineral saltwater conditioners have been designed and manufactured primarily for use in a freshwater tank. They improve the water condition and provide your tank inhabitants with all the essential minerals and trace elements via the water for their health and wellbeing. Moreover, SaltyShrimp mineral products support filter bacteria activities that improve plant growth – for a stable, healthy biosystem in your tank.

Shrimp Mineral GH/KH+ contains all the essential minerals and trace elements your shrimp need for their wellbeing, intensive coloration, successful breeding, and healthy growth. It also furthers plant growth and the microbial regeneration of biological filter substrates.

  • This product also helps stabilize the pH of your water and make it more livable for shrimp.
  • The most important properties of shrimp mineral salts:
  • They contain all essential nutrients for healthy shrimp growth.
  • They suspend and enhance the availability of essential trace elements (e.g., Zn, Cu, etc.).
  • They balance the hardness of water by reducing hardness (°dGH) and raising carbonate hardness (KH).
  • They control the pH of the water to prevent any health problems in your aquarium or breeding tank.
  • They are entirely harmless to animals and plants as they are made from harmless food-grade salt.
  • By re-mineralising RO water, rainwater, fully desalinated water, etc., they can raise a better condition for your shrimp.

The shrimp and snails require calcium to prevent deformities and molting problems. They need the calcium for their shells to grow correctly, and that is why it is necessary to give them a supplement of calcium if there is not enough in your aquarium.

How Often To Add Calcium To A Shrimp Tank

How Often to Add calcium to a Shrimp Tank depends on the age of the shrimp and the feed they are using.

The most important thing to know is that you should not add calcium if you do not know how high the calcium levels in your aquarium are; to do so could endanger the shrimp.

The optimal GH for most dwarf shrimp is between 6 and 8 GH. If you are not sure what is the GH of your tank, you can use a water test kit to test the level of GH and go from there.

How To Test Calcium In A Freshwater Aquarium

Testing your calcium levels is relatively easy. When you mix up the test kit, shake it well and add a bit of the tank water. You will need to wait a few minutes before reading the color on the kit.


In conclusion, there are many different methods of adding calcium to your shrimp tank. The best way to determine the best one for you is by considering what’s most convenient and affordable for you. Like you can read, there are many sources of calcium for your freshwater shrimp.

Freshwater shrimp have turned out to be very popular as algae eaters, and interesting additions to planted nano tanks. Let me give you some tips for keeping shrimp in your tank.

  • How do I take care of a shrimp tank?
    • Do your research
    • One type of shrimp per aquarium
    • Steady water parameters
    • Acclimate before you add shrimp to a new tank
    • pH level should be low
    • Add hiding place to the tank
    • Shrimp like Java moss

How do I take care of a shrimp tank?

Do your research

Before you buy any new shrimp, is crucial that you do your research, and find out all the things that you need to know about this species.

This is important because you need to know what kind of environment the shrimp you’re desiring to get it needs to live it. This is important because you also need to know the diet of your shrimp and the water parameters which it lives in.

It’s important that you do a thorough background check on any species before you buy it in the aquarium hobby.

One type of shrimp per aquarium

Keep one type of shrimp per aquarium. Different species of shrimp, require different types of water parameters. For example, cherry shrimp lives in a much different environment to the crystal red shrimp or the ghost shrimp.

This means so if you keep both together, one species will thrive and the other one will probably perish.

It is also almost certain that if you keep the same species of shrimp but in different colors in the same aquarium, that the shrimp will breed together and stuff up the colors of future generations of shrimp.

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So for these reasons and your enjoyment of the hobby, it is important that you only keep one species of shrimp per aquarium.

Steady water parameters

Keep steady water parameters in your aquarium. This is crucial for keeping any kind of shrimp because shrimp are very fragile and gentle species in the aquarium hobby.

Shrimp require a steady environment, with little to no fluctuations in the water temperature and pH. Shrimp can become easily distressed and because of this, they can die.

So because of these factors, it is important that before you buy any shrimp, that your tank is well cycled and has a steady balance of pH and temperature.

Acclimate before you add shrimp to a new tank

We have to drip-acclimate before you add any shrimp to a new aquarium. I can’t tell you how many times I made this mistake and killed a bunch of shrimp because of doing it.

Because shrimp is so fragile and could become easily distressed, moving them from an environment to a different environment in a really short period of time, can actually stress them out and kill them all.

So it’s really important that you drip-acclimate them for a couple of hours, before adding them to a new aquarium.
This will ensure that their tiny bodies become used to the new aquarium water parameters before they’re introduced.

pH level should be low

Keep the aquarium pH at a very low level. Different kinds of shrimp can handle a neutral pH of around 7-8, but different kinds of crystal red cherry shrimp will not survive at this pH level.

It is important that you keep the pH level of your aquarium below 8 for any kind of shrimp. A pH level range of 6-7 is generally the sweet spot for any kind of shrimp.

Add hiding place to the tank

Keep plenty of hiding spaces available for shrimp in your aquarium. This is important as it will give a little shrimp place to hide when they are newborns. And it’ll also give adults places for refuge and relaxation.

Hide spaces will make shrimp feel secure and safe in your aquarium, and thus bring down the rate of stress in the aquarium.

Shrimp like Java moss

Add java moss to your shrimp aquariums. Java moss is great because it gives shrimp plenty of spaces to hide, and also forms a little micro bacteria, which the shrimp can eat when there’s no food available in the aquarium.

Java moss is a cheap and affordable plant, which is available at most local fish stores and will grow rapidly. Java moss is one of the keys to a successful shrimp aquarium where the shrimp feels safe and secure and can breed with ease.

I would highly recommend this plant to anyone who keeps in breed shrimp in the aquarium hobby.

Hi, my name is Sean, and I’m the primary writer on the site. I’m blogging mostly about freshwater and saltwater aquariums, fish, invertebrates, and plants. I’m experienced in the fishkeeping hobby for many years. Over the years I have kept many tanks, and have recently begun getting more serious in wanting to become a professional aquarist. All my knowledge comes from experience and reading forums and a lot of informative sites. In pursuit of becoming a professional, I also want to inspire as many people as I can to pick up this hobby and keep the public interest growing.
Read more about Sean.
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Self-sustaining ecosystems are growing in popularity, with commercial ecospheres and shrimp bubble kits being advertised as an alternative to aquarium tanks that requires little to no maintainance. But that of closed shrimp ecosystems is also a controversial topic due to the ethical implications of keeping a living creature enclosed in such a restricted space. Because of this, many aquarists decide to opt for creating their own DIY self-sustaining ecosystems and no-tech shrimp tanks that require minimal maintainance while ensuring the well being of its inhabitants.

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How to make a shrimp aquarium

Table of Contents

The Walstad Method

The method we are going to describe was popularized by ecologist Diana Walstad, and it is the most foolproof way to create a nearly entirely self-sustaining system for freshwater shrimp. A Walstad tank tries to replicate a natural environment as much as possible and it is also referred to as a Natural Planted Tank (NPT) or El-Natural aquarium. In her book “Ecology of the Planted Aquarium”, first published in 1999, Walstad goes in detail when describing what are the key factors for a natural aquarium setup: there needs to be a balance between fish, plants and substrate – with the amount of vegetation being much higher than the animal population. Think of plants as natural filters that can only purify so much of the bioload generated by animal waste, while the animals will do their part in getting rid of decaying plant matter, ultimately leaving the number of nitrites in the water as minimal as possible. In such a setup, water changes are not required – although the tank still needs to be topped up from time to time due to water evaporation and because plants will absorb it on order to grow.

Find out how to setup a natural planted tank, with a guide written by Walstad herself!

DIY Self-sustaining Shrimp Jarrarium

For a shrimp jarrarium you should use a relatively large container, like this Anchor Hocking 2.5 Gallon Montana Glass Jar. Make sure that whatever jar or bowl you use is made of glass, has a wide mouth, and has a smooth surface with no decorations.

Substrate and vegetation setup

Place the jar on a sturdy table and fill it with a few inches of shrimp- and plant- friendly soil. Spray a little bit of demineralized RO/DI water to wet the soil and set your plants of choice in place. Any dwarf variety of shrimp-friendly freshwater plants will do. Top your substrate with equal amounts of black aquarium sand, partly covering the root of your plants in order to stabilize them. You can then add the remainder of your water until you fill the jar almost to the top. Try to fish out as many floating pieces of soil or plant leaves.

Best shrimp and crustaceans for self-sustaining jarrarium

Caridinas and neocaridinas

The aforementioned opae ula shrimp (also known as hawaiian red volcano shrimp, or by its scientific name halocaridina rubra) is an ideal choice for these types of ecosystems due to their resilience and longevity. Other candidates include the amano shrimp (caridina japonica or multidentata) and the red cherry shrimp (neocaridina heteropoda or davidi). These species do not naturally live as long, but are prolific breeders and will grow in population rather quickly.

Ghost shrimp

Another suitable shrimp is the Palaemonetes paludosus or ghost shrimp. Tiny and inexpensive, this is a species that adapts quite easily and grows very fast, leaving on average between 12 and 24 months. They don’t do well in tanks with other shrimp and larger fish, so it may be worth to have an exclusive jar just for them to live and breed.

Freshwater Amphipods

Possibly a better alternative to shrimp (and aesthetically similar), scuds / gammarus make an ideal animal choice for your jarrarium. Hyalella Azteca scuds are tiny, hardy, and easy to setup as a thriving culture even in a nano tank. They are also rather inexpensive and easily available. See: list of freshwater amphipods online vendors worldwide.

Freshwater Isopods

Freshwater isopods (asellus aquaticus) are incredible no-maintainance creatures that make the perfect guest for your jararrium. As a matter of fact, you could just throw them in an open lid bucket with some water and plants and they would likely be happy. They are abundant in nature, but a bit more difficult to find from commmercial distributors. See: list of freshwater isopods online vendors worldwide.

Freshwater Snails

Suitable tank mates for self-sustained natural planted ecosystems are any beneficial snails who can help stabilize water as well as providing food for shrimp by promoting the growth of infusoria.

Are self sustaining ecosystems for shrimp ethical?

There are a lot of animated discussions on the topic of whether keeping shrimp in self sustained ecosystems is cruel or unethical. And there is: it can be. Most of commercial self-sustaining systems like closed ecospheres and shrimp bubbles are too small for their guest to live comfortably. These bowls usually come with 4 or 5 halocaridina rubra, the hawaiian opae’ula shrimp informally known as supershrimp because of its resilience. But the fact that it can survive in an enclosed space doesn’t mean it is happy doing so! In the wild, this species of shrimp grows to be much bigger and can live up to 20 years – in a shrimp bubble or ecosphere, it usually shrinks in size after molting and dies within 2 to 3 years. We recommend a minimum capacity of 5 gallons for opae ula to thrive and a natural planted tank setup following the Walstad method for creating an ethical self-sustaining ecosystem.

Ecosphere shrimp death

report this ad In small commercial ecospheres, shrimp death often occurs due to a decrease in natural resources. The more time the shrimp spends in the sphere, the least minerals and nutrients it will be able to use for molting which result in them shrinking in size and eventually perish. You can greatly reduced the risk of shrimp dying in a DIY self-sustained ecosystem by ensuring enough room for both animals and plants to grow – a 10 gallons tank setup being the most ideal.

Dwarf shrimp have become almost indispensable in aquascaping and nano-aquaristics. Most species, such as the popular bee shrimp or red-fire shrimp, are capable of reproduction in freshwater, so that under good conditions, youngsters are soon going to be on their way. Dwarf shrimp offspring are only a few milimeters small, so there is a risk of them getting sucked into the filter. Special precautions need to be taken to prevent this.

External filter

Suitable filter guards for all common Lily Pipe filter inflows are available. This means a special intake protection, usually made of fine-mesh stainless steel.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

The mesh is so fine, that even the tiniest shrimp or nano fish can not be sucked in by the filter. The filter guards are available for all common Lily Pipe diameters, 13 and 15mm. In addition, you should pay attention to the height of the intake slots of the filter tube and choose an intake protector of appropriate length.

Internal filter

Internal filters can be protected in a similar manner. For example: the manufacturer Dennerle offers the Nano BabyProtect for their internal corner filter – a special grid equipped with an extra fine filter sponge, which is just clamped over the intake slits of the filter.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

If there is no practical off-the-peg solution available, it is always possible to craft something on your own using e.g. some replacement Nano BabyProtect foam or other filter foam which is tied to the internal filter with nylon string, covering the intake slits.

Rucksack/hang-on filter

Some hang-on filters, e.g. the AZOO HangOn Filter MIGNON 150 already include a matching filter guard made of foam.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

Hang-on filters can be equipped with do-it-yourself filter guards as well, by crafting a pre-filter from foam and tying it to the inflow with nylon string. Depending on model and maker, filter guards initially designed for Lily Pipes may fit the intake pipe.


Skimmers such as the Azoo Skim 250 can be easily modified to make them save for smaller creatures. For that you just need a moss planting grid from e.g. a cultivation pad. This is cut to size, so it fits the length of the intake pipe.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

Now it is bent into a round shape and adapted to the diameter of the intake pipe. Finally, the mesh guard can be installed in the upper part of the skimmer. This reduces the danger of smaller creatures getting sucked into the skimmer. The grid does minimally restrict the effect of the skimmer and it will stick out of the water a little less due to the additional weight, so there might be barely noticeable losses in performance.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

An Azoo Skim 250 equipped with a homemade intake protector.

The bottom intake of skimmers made of glass or stainless steel can be protected with filter guards, which we offer tailor-made for Aqua Rebell and Aquasabi skimmers.

Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of interest in keeping dwarf shrimp in the home, usually planted, aquarium. Keeping dwarf shrimp is fun, rewarding, and beneficial to the planted tank; but a word of warning – once you get hooked on these interesting creatures it is hard not to want to explore the more exotic and usual varieties. One of the most popular, relatively inexpensive, and colorful varieties for the beginner is the Red Cherry Shrimp, Neocardinia davidi var. red.

Red Cherry Shrimp Characteristics

Red Cherry Shrimp reach about 4 cm (1.6 inches). They prefer clean water with a ph of 6.5-8.0, and a rough temperature of 14-30 degrees C (57-86), most comfortable at a moderate room temperature of about 72 degrees. They are omnivores and typically live 1-2 years under ideal conditions. Be sure to keep all foods, supplements, or chemicals that have copper out of your shrimp tank.

Fortunately, Red Cherry shrimp adapt to a wide variety of conditions in the hobby aquarium. They can be kept in a desktop aquarium with as little as 2 gallons, but 8-12 gallons will allow for a more active colony, more breeding, and a livelier population. Shrimp love plants and hiding spaces, so it is important to include frill plants that allow them to sit on, groom, and feel safe. This is especially critical after molting, one of the most vulnerable times for the shrimp. They are also ravenous about eating the film of algae and micro-organisms that form on plant leaves, spending hours grooming their favorites. Shrimp also love to groom and hide in mosses, whether in a clump or tied onto a rock or wood.

Grades of Red Cherry Shrimp

There are various grades of Red Cherry Shrimp, from deep dark red to paler colors. The females are the most colorful and are particularly sensitive to the color of the substrate and background. For instance, if they are kept in a tank with light-colored substrate, they will become pale or even transparent. In a tank with darker substrate, they take on a fuller, redder, coloration. The intensity of the color is also dependent upon the type of food available, water pH, temperature, and quality.

Excellent for Planted Tanks

Dwarf shrimp LOVE planted tanks. They love the hiding space, they love the food plants engender, and they love what plants do for water chemistry. That being said, it is also important to decide what your goal is with your Red Cherry Shrimp – do you want to raise a single colony of adults or breed and increase your shrimp population? There are many nano fish that will coexist with adult shrimp, but will also eat newly hatched babies. Even smaller danios, rasbora or tetras might eat babies. For this reason, it is vital to have mosses and other hiding places; or even some of the cute bamboo shrimp hotels that can easily be covered with moss. Smaller snails are a good addition to the shrimp tank, nerites particularly, since they help clean detritus and won’t harm the shrimp. The best rule for fish is to keep only fish that get no larger than about ¾” as adults (chili rasboras, etc.) or none at all.

Red Cherry Shrimp are non-aggressive and active during both the day and night. Often one can see them grazing on algae, on the hunt for detritus in the gravel, mating, and swimming from plant to plant during the day. Periodically, the shrimp will shed its exoskeleton, leaving a husk of itself drifting around the plant. It is important not to remove this, because the shrimp will consume it and replenish needed minerals. Female Red Cherry Shrimp tend to hide in the dark when it is close to spawning time and, if startled, may abandon their eggs. The more hiding places and the safer the shrimp feels, the more likely they will lay a full clutch of eggs. One can tell the gender of a Red Cherry Shrimp by looking at their size and color. In this case, males are smaller and less colorful. Females often have a yellowish saddle on their back, which are actually eggs developing in the ovaries. Juvenile Red Cherry Shrimp are almost impossible to sex until they are larger and can show color.

Breeding Red Cherry Shrimp

It is actually fairly simple to breed Red Cherry Shrimp in the home aquarium if one pays attention to three major steps: 1) Inducing breeding, 2) Ensuring health and comfort while carrying the eggs, and 3) Raising the young. Inducing breeding can be done by keeping the water conditions stable. Shrimp need a regular food source, with higher protein foods (Repashy, Shrimp Cuisine, Fish poo, etc.) fed regularly, but at a small amount. It takes the shrimp about 3-5 months to begin breeding, with the female most susceptible to the male’s advances just after molting. She then hides and releases pheromones into the water that call males to her. Once bred, the female will carry the eggs underneath her, fanning and moving them around so they stay clean and oxygenated, for about 30 days. Baby shrimp are exact duplicates of the adults, but very tiny. It is important to make sure there are no predators in the tank because most will easily consume a newborn shrimp. Live moss and shrimp caves help the baby shrimp hide and find food, especially providing microfauna to help the babies grow.

Feeding Red Cherry Shrimp

Feeding your Red Cherry Shrimp is easy. Like many omnivores, they love variety. They will eat most any aquarium food but love shrimp pellets, algae wafers, blanched vegetables (zucchini, carrots, etc.), or one of the more exotic foods on the market. It is also a good idea to use some Zoo Med Plankton Banquet blocks in the tank. This helps keep the shrimp active and supplies spirulina and other essential minerals, particularly calcium.

Catappa leaves and Cholla Wood can also be a great source of food, as bacteria break them the shrimp graze on the bacteria. Some shrimp enthusiasts report that adding a bit of natural bee pollen weekly improves breeding. Others love the Repashy Foods which is 45% protein and a great meal for shrimp, crab, crayfish, and snails. The key to feeding shrimp is MODERATION. It is easy to put too much food into the tank, which can then become polluted quite easily. Remember, shrimp are tiny, and don’t need too much per day. Many successful shrimp keepers even suggest that you feed only every other day, or at least put no food into the tank one day per week. Some also recommend you try to remove uneaten food after 2-3 hours, again depending on the number of shrimp, snails, and conditions.

Finally, there are many varieties of dwarf shrimp. Not all can be placed in the same tank, though due to interbreeding. If you follow a few simple steps you will find it fairly easy to enjoy these active little creatures as they go about their day hunting for food and tending “their plant garden.”

If you’re not trying to breed champion-quality shrimp, then finding the “best” food to feed freshwater shrimp is not as hard as you may think. Aquarium companies know that ornamental shrimp are very popular right now, so they spend a lot of marketing dollars trying to convince you that shrimp have very specialized needs that only their brand of shrimp food can meet. 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 consists of both proteins and vegetable matter, so the key is to provide a wide variety of foods to ensure that they don’t lack in essential nutrients and minerals. Find out which foods are on our top 7 favorites list to feed Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp.

1. Hikari Shrimp Cuisine

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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 great for breeding crystal and cherry shrimp because they’re tiny enough to be eaten by both babies and adults. (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 also provides calcium and other vitamins to promote healthy molting and growth. Beginner shrimp keepers often fear that the copper in shrimp foods can harm their invertebrates, but many shrimp foods such as Shrimp Cuisine contain trace amounts of copper that are necessary for the shrimp to make blood or hemocyanin.

2. Xtreme Shrimpee Sinking Sticks

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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. If you keep adult shrimp in a community tank and aren’t as focused on breeding for profit, Shrimpee Sinking Sticks might be a better choice for your setup. These 3 mm sticks are made to hold their shape underwater for long periods of time, giving your shrimp plenty of time to graze without their food melting into the cracks between 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

How to make a shrimp aquarium

In the aquarium hobby, we often try to simulate an aquatic animal’s original environment and diet as closely as possible. That’s why Sera came out with the Sera Shrimps Nature Food that uses a mixture of natural ingredients with no dyes or preservatives. The sinking granules contain all your shrimp’s favorites, such as spirulina, stinging nettle, alder cones, and herbs. Boost the growth, coloration, and breeding of your shrimp colony with healthy ingredients that won’t pollute your water.

4. Fluval Bug Bites Shrimp Formula

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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 also include other tasty ingredients like salmon, green peas, and alfalfa for healthy growth and easy digestion.

5. Repashy Gel Food

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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. You can even feed the powder directly into the water column for the baby shrimp to eat, since newborns do not swim around a lot and can’t compete with adults during 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. Read this article to learn how easy it is to make gel food.

6. Zoo Med Nano Banquet Food Blocks

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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. In order to slowly release food over time without clouding the water, they actually contain large amounts of calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, and other essential minerals needed for shrimp molting. If your tap water is very soft and low in minerals, consider dropping in a Nano Banquet Food Block as part of their regular meal rotation. The blocks are also packed with nutritious plankton and spirulina that your shrimp, snails, and fish will enjoy.

7. Vegetables

How to make a shrimp aquarium

Canned or blanched vegetables are a readily available food that helps increase the plant content in your shrimp’s diet. One of their favorites is canned green beans because of the nutritious content, soft texture, and ability to sink immediately. Canned sliced carrots are another popular vegetable to feed because the beta carotene naturally enhances the red-orange coloration in shrimp. You can also try blanching slices of zucchini so that they are soft enough for shrimp to graze on. Just be careful not to overfeed the tank because the uneaten vegetables will fall apart eventually and may cause water quality issues if left to decay in the tank.

Bonus: Catappa Leaves

How to make a shrimp aquarium

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. Shrimp breeders love them because the leaves grow a thin layer of biofilm as they break down. This biofilm contains nutritious bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms for baby shrimp to graze on all 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. No need to take out the old leaf because it will get completely devoured by your shrimp.

In our experience, most shrimp are not that picky and will eagerly eat any food that you drop into the aquarium. For more information on keeping, feeding, and breeding shrimp, read our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp article.

How to make a shrimp aquarium

Something Different

Dwarf freshwater shrimp have become increasingly popular as algae eaters, general scavengers and for many aquarists, interesting additions to desktop “nano” aquariums and natural planted biotopes. From the basic ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus)that are typically sold as feeder shrimp, to the well-known Amano or algae-eating shrimp (Caridina multidentata), to the popular red cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda), to crystal and bee shrimp (Caridina cantonensis), to the filter-feeding bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), the list of shrimp for aquarists to consider continues to grow. Regardless of one’s budget or experience level, dwarf freshwater shrimp offer something unique and truly different for aquarists with small to medium-sized aquariums.

Natural Habitat for Freshwater Shrimp

Dwarf freshwater shrimp have become increasingly popular as algae eaters, general scavengers and for many aquarists, interesting additions to desktop “nano” aquariums and natural planted biotopes. From the basic ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus)that are typically sold as feeder shrimp, to the well-known Amano or algae-eating shrimp (Caridina multidentata), to the popular red cherry shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda), to crystal and bee shrimp (Caridina cantonensis), to the filter-feeding bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), the list of shrimp for aquarists to consider continues to grow. Regardless of one’s budget or experience level, dwarf freshwater shrimp offer something unique and truly different for aquarists with small to medium-sized aquariums.

Freshwater Shrimp Water Requirements

Water requirements for dwarf freshwater shrimp vary depending on species, although ammonia and nitrites should always be undetectable, and nitrates should be below 10 ppm. Ghost shrimp, along with Amano and bamboo shrimp are not particular about pH or alkalinity as long as extremes are avoided and can be kept in dechlorinated tap water. The same can be said for red cherry shrimp. Most crystal and bee shrimp require soft, low pH water, while Caridina shrimp from Sulawesi need a higher pH and alkalinity, along with higher temperatures. It is best to research the water requirements of the species you intend to keep before purchasing them. When using plant supplements or medications, avoid products containing copper, as it is toxic to freshwater shrimp. Maintain good filtration and do a 10% to 20% water exchange every week using an Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer or Siphon Vacuum Gravel Cleaner. For soft water species, use reverse osmosis or deionized water supplemented with Aqueon Water Renewal. Don’t forget to treat tap water with Aqueon Water Conditioner before refilling your aquarium!

Housing Requirements for Freshwater Shrimp

Larger species such as ghost, Amano and bamboo shrimp can be kept in aquariums of 10 to 55 gallons, while red cherry, crystal and bee shrimp are better suited to aquariums of 10 gallons or less. If using a hang-on (HOB) or canister filter, slide a sponge pre-filter over the intake screen to prevent shrimp from being sucked into the filter. Dedicated shrimp breeders typically use air driven sponge filters. Live plants are recommended, particularly species such as Java moss or Najas. Substrate should be pH neutral (inert) or an aquatic plant medium. There are a number of substrate materials designed specifically for dwarf freshwater shrimp keeping. Mature aquariums are preferred as they are more stable and tend to have natural food sources for shrimp; never place dwarf freshwater shrimp in a newly set up aquarium!

Freshwater Shrimp Behavior/Compatibility

Dwarf freshwater shrimp are active and almost always engaged in harvesting algae or some other food source. Most species stay relatively small, so they are vulnerable to predation by larger fish. Many shrimp enthusiasts set up dedicated shrimp aquariums with no fish at all, however, some species of freshwater shrimp can be kept with small, non-aggressive, non-predatory fish such as:

  • Emerald dwarf rasboras
  • Boraras rasboras
  • Celestial danios
  • Ember tetras
  • Endlers livebearers
  • Sparkling gouramis
  • Blue-eyed rainbowfish
  • Otocinclus
  • Pygmy corydoras catfish

Dwarf freshwater shrimp can also be kept with Nerite and other snail species. Avoid combining different species of the same genus of dwarf freshwater shrimp in the same aquarium to prevent cross-breeding. In other words, don’t keep two different species of Neocaridina together, but you can mix a Neocaridina with a Caridina.

What Do Freshwater Shrimp Eat?

Dwarf freshwater shrimp are largely algae eaters, however, they will eagerly accept virtually any food offered. Withholding food one day a week helps them cleanse their digestive systems and encourages them to do more aquarium cleaning. Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders that like to sit in a current and trap micro-organisms and fine particles such as ground flake or pellet food on their fans. Dwarf freshwater shrimp can be fed Aqueon Tropical Flakes, Spirulina Flakes, Algae Rounds, Shrimp Pellets, Bottom Feeder Tablets, Tropical Color Flakes and Tropical Granules. For best results, rotate their diet daily and feed only what they can consume in 2 to 3 minutes, once or twice a day.

Freshwater Shrimp Breeding – Easy to Difficult

Many dwarf freshwater shrimp breed readily in captivity, however, success varies from species to species. Red cherry shrimp and certain other Neocaridina, for example, can quickly develop into large colonies with no assistance from the aquarist. Crystal and bee shrimp are a bit more difficult, while others, such as Amano shrimp are nearly impossible, as they require brackish water to breed successfully. Research should be done before any breeding is attempted.

I am looking online for shrimp. I found blue shrimp that are super expensive. 5 are sold for $100 but are currently on sale for $30. I am thinking of breeding them and selling them.
So i am wondering, is it easy to care for them and breed them? If i get them, i will get a separate tank for them.
So i am wondering how difficult it is the breed blue shrimp (blue sapphire or dream blue velvet).

first of all,for dark blue nero’s,it’s common for people to make up names for them.
it’s because they don’t bread true (meaning even from the same batch of eggs,they won’t all be the same color).
they come from the chocolate shrimp.

they may breed the same as other nero’s,but they cull the shrimp to keep the same color in the tank.
that’s why they charge more.

The ones i saw are blue diamond shrimp (aka sapphire shrimp) and i saw other dream blue velvet shrimp. Are both of them from chocolate shrimp? Because there are a few different people selling them.

They are the same species as cherry shrimp; they will breed the same, require the same water conditions and eat the same.

The seller should be able to tell you if they will breed true or not. I have had light blues that produced all blue offspring.

amneris3 wrote:

I have had light blues that produced all blue offspring.

light blue like blue pearl does breed true.
it’s the darker that doesn’t.

Nikkie7 wrote:

Oh ok.
Can you answer my other question? Its about all the shrimp i want to get. -791135.html#791158

water is too hard.
8 dgh is ideal.
you mix nero’s together,they produce wilds.

Some colonies will breed true. It depends on the line genetics and how many generations down they are. All shrimp colonies have the possibility to revert back to wild coloration and to throw occasional reverted colors.

Good breeders will tell you what generation they are in their line. The great ones won’t sell stock that produces less than a certain percentage of desired coloration.

The water is too hard for all the colorful shrimp? I cant make it any lower than 15 or my mollies start getting shimmies.

All of the blue neos I have, I have gotten from my chocolates. Their colors range from what people call “blue diamond” to blueberry, to even blue velvets. I have culled and gotten some blues to breed true, (not many) both dark and light, so it’s not impossible, if done properly. But it takes a lot of dedication and patience and I have dedicated 6 different tanks just for a single color morph. I wouldn’t trust anyone selling any color morph of neocaridina species shrimp for $100 per small handful. If you wait it out until maybe mid spring, you will find more trustworthy breeders, and cheaper prices.

Those may interest you:

Can ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp and blue velvet shrimp live together?
Small blue fish with dark blue stripes
Cherry Shrimp ( Neocaridina davidii ) – Care Sheet: How To Breed, What To Feed, and Everything .
Can I crossbreed or breed a blue dwarf gourami with a honey gourami?

Mixing colors produces muddled colors, not wild colors. But the OP already said she is not too concerned with breeding.

I don’t think it’s too hard.

No, it’s not too hard. They’re pretty resilient, and too low gh is more troublesome than too high. I have 4 tanks that stay around 15, and they are still active and breeding well.

Ok im probably not going to breed then. I would totally do it but my dad wont let me get enough tanks lol

So all the shrimp can live together? And my water is fine for them?

If i do get colorful shrimp, i am going to go to some stores which sell shrimp. I dont know what kinds they have specifically (cherry for sure though) but i know they are cheaper than online.

If you don’t plan on breeding them, then yes, you can put all the different colored neos together thay you want. Just be honest If you ever decide to sell or trade them. As an added precaution, wherever you get them from, make sure they were raised in harder water as well. I’ve had shrimp that had a harder time adjusting from soft to hard water and ended up with molting issues. The younger you get them, the better they will adjust to your gh and ph differences. Juvenile shrimp wont be colored up entirely, but they will have a higher survival rate to different parameters, and as always, make sure you properly acclimate them.