Add Color to Your Tank with Freshwater Shrimp

When it comes time to stock your freshwater tank you might take a trip to the local pet store to see what species of fish they have available. Freshwater fish come in all kinds of different colors and patterns, but you have to worry about choosing species that can get along together. If you want to add some color your tank without worrying about tropical fish compatibility, consider adding some freshwater shrimp!

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Popular Species of Freshwater Shrimp

There are many different species of freshwater shrimp, but not all of them are recommended for the freshwater aquarium. Many freshwater shrimp are brightly colored and many of them serve useful purposes in the tank as well. Below you will find a list of the top freshwater shrimp species for the home aquarium:

  • Japonica Amano Shrimp: This is a species of dwarf shrimp that usually grows to no more than 2 inches in length. These shrimp are fairly easy to care for and they are very beneficial in a freshwater aquarium because they feed heavily on algae and detritus. These shrimp are, however, difficult to breed in captivity.
  • Red Cherry Shrimp: The red cherry shrimp is a slightly smaller species, only growing up to 1 ½ inches long. These shrimp are bright red in color and they make excellent additions to the freshwater cleanup crew.
  • Ghost Shrimp: The ghost shrimp gets its name from its transparent body. These shrimp grow up to 2 inches long and they are a peaceful species of shrimp. Ghost shrimp breed readily in the home aquarium as long as healthy conditions are maintained and they will feed on algae and detritus in the tank.

Tips for Caring for Freshwater Shrimp

Caring for freshwater shrimp is generally fairly easy as long as you take the time to plan your tank properly before you set it up. Freshwater shrimp are fairly small, so you do not need a giant tank to keep them. You do, however, need to make sure that you take into account the number of shrimp you will be keeping when choosing the right size for your tank.

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Once you’ve chosen your tank, you need to outfit it with the proper equipment. Filtration is important in a shrimp tank because it helps to keep the water clean and the nitrate/ammonia levels low. You need to be careful, however, because shrimp can be sucked up into strong filtration system like hang-on filters and canister filters. For this reason, a sponge filter is one of the best options for a shrimp tank. If you choose to use a hang-on filter or canister filter, at least put a sponge over the intake valve.

In addition to outfitting your tank properly, you also need to think about decorations. The type of substrate you choose may vary depending on the type of shrimp you keep – some prefer sandy substrate while others prefer gravel. Decorate your tank in a way that provides plenty of hiding places for your shrimp as well – this should include some live plants. Once your tank is set up, all you have to do is maintain it to keep the water quality high. Luckily, your shrimp will help out a little bit by feeding on some of the detritus that accumulates in the substrate of your tank.

Freshwater shrimp can add a splash of color to your freshwater tank but you need to be careful about pairing them with fish. As long as your fish aren’t big enough to fit a shrimp in its mouth, you shouldn’t have to worry.

kate-Bio_PicIf you think there’s something fishy about Kate Barrington, it’s because she’s been a lifelong lover of pets, particularly aquarium fish. Since receiving her first 10-gallon tank as a birthday present in 5th grade, she has become an avid aquarium enthusiast as well as a freelance writer specializing in the aquarium niche. Kate is a regular contributor to several aquarium fish websites and has a column in a bi-monthly pet magazine.


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