Freshwater shrimp are great additions to any home aquarium. They are easy to care for and provide the added benefit of cleaning up leftover food.
Most freshwater shrimp can be housed together. However, this is dependent on the water parameters needed for each species of shrimp in your tank. You will also want to prevent interbreeding amongst different species. The most common freshwater aquarium shrimp is the cherry shrimp.
Caring for shrimp is simple, but there are some things you need to know before putting multiple species of shrimp in your tank. Read on to learn more!
Common Types of Freshwater Shrimp
The fact of the matter is that most freshwater shrimp can be housed together but they shouldn’t be. This is a classic case of just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
You will want to prevent interbreeding if possible. Below is a list of the most common freshwater shrimp:
- Cherry Red Shrimp: This is the most common freshwater aquarium shrimp. They have a clear body that has patches of bright red all over them. Although this shrimp will only live for about one year. They do well in groups of their own kind but also do well with a lot of fish and other shrimp speciaes.
- Bamboo Shrimp: Another common freshwater aquarium shrimp, they are a red-brown color and can grow up to 2 or 3 inches. These shrimps are native to Southeast Asia and can live up to 2 years with proper tank conditions.
- Tiger Shrimp: Typically tiger shrimp have black tiger-like stripes along their body with a yellow tail. There are other variants of tiger shrimp, such as Red tiger shrimp or blue tiger shrimp.
Tiger shrimps are native to the Asian continent and compared to other shrimps, this one can grow up to 13 inches! Typically a tiger shrimp can live up to 3 or 4 years however if they are wild caught they can live up to 2 years.
- Ghost Shrimp: Ghost shrimp are also referred to as glass shrimp as they are almost completely transparent! They are native to the southeast of the United States and can be hard to find in certain environments or lighting because of their bodies being transparent.
They are dwarf freshwater shrimp that will only grow to a maximum of 2 inches, however, most only grow to about 1.5 inches. Like the cherry red shrimp, they have a very short lifespan of about one year.
- Blue Pearl Shrimp: This dwarf shrimp species is actually newer to the fish-keeping community and are initially bred in Germany. They are a pearl-like blue color and are very small only growing to about an inch in size.
Other variants of the blue pearl shrimp have different colorization such as a more turquoise color or even almost all pearl white.
With this species, the female shrimp will be more vibrant than the males. Typically blue pearl shrimp live about 1 to 2 years.
- Snowball Shrimp: This hardy dwarf shrimp is another very popular choice in the aquatic community. These translucent but white shrimp are very social and peaceful as well as peaceful shrimps that will do very well within a community tank. Some say their name is from the looks of their eggs which look like tiny snowballs. They will only grow to about 0.75 to 1.25 inches and unfortunately will only live on average for 1 to 2 years.
- Amano Shrimp: These are hardy and very peaceful shrimps. They are very peaceful and do very well in a community tank. This species of shrimp will grow up to two inches in length making them on the larger side of the spectrum for dwarf shrimp. They are very popular, almost as much as cherry red shrimp. Their bodies are transparent or a gray color with darker colored spots all over. Because of this, they are very effective at blending in or camouflaging themselves to their surroundings.
- Bee Shrimp: Bee shrimp only grow to about one inch and are a very popular choice in the fish-keeping community. Even though there are many variants of the bee shrimp, they typically have dark brown and white stripes.
The most common variant of the bee shrimp that you will see in most pet stores is a black and yellow stripe color like a bee.
In this species, the female is more vibrant than the males. In other variants, their stripes can be red, blue, all-black, or even white and more. In captivity, the bee shrimp will live about one to two years with proper care.
Related read: 11 Amazing Shrimp Types For In Your Aquarium
Interbreeding of Shrimp
Although there are so many different kinds of shrimp to choose from for your tank, you can have more than one.
It is important to be cautious as some shrimp need different water parameters. However more importantly you will need to avoid two species that will cause interbreeding in your shrimps.
Comparing scientific names can actually determine if you can keep two different species together.
Shrimp that are of the same genus and species will interbreed and will produce healthy offspring.
When shrimps interbreed, the shrimp that are produced can be very pale, brownish, or transparent compared to the parent shrimps.
Pros of Adding Shrimp to Your Tank
Freshwater shrimp have become quite a popular choice for their tank cleaning. As shrimp are scavengers and will eat anything in the wild that has fallen to the bottom of the waterbed.
They are omnivores, they will eat both plants and animals dead or alive.
This is because as larvae, they are carried around the waters with the current. They are small and unable to fight the current, they have no choice in where they will end up.
During this time they will eat anything that will float by them, at that size it is mostly plankton they will eat.
As they grow up they will start to eat dead or alive plants, algae, worms, snails, fish, and even other dead shrimps.
This makes them a great addition to a tank as they will eat anything that can cause your tank to become dirty or unstable. They will even eat uneaten foods from the bottom of the tank.
Some shrimp, such as the Lysmata Amboinensis, can actually serve as a cleaner for other fish inside the tank.
These shrimp will actually dance to attract fish to them by waving their antennas. Once they attract the fish, they will actually go inside the fish’s mouth and clean off bloodsucking parasites from that fish.
The pacific cleaner shrimp is one of the more popular aquarium shrimp and they too will go in out of other fish mouths to clean them.
Also, shrimp are very easy to care for, as previously mentioned they are scavengers and will eat anything as they clean your tank or even your fish as well as uneaten foods. They will molt their skin as they grow!
As long as you have the right parameters for the shrimp to thrive you will find them easy to care for and a joy to watch as they swim around the tank with their beautiful colors.
They also live comfortably with small non aggressive fish, leaving you will a wide variety of options when setting up a community tank with shrimps.