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Top 11 Stunning Shrimp Options For Freshwater Aquariums

Top 11 Stunning Shrimp Options For Freshwater Aquariums

Freshwater shrimps can often be overlooked in the aquarium hobby but those who have kept these invertebrates know that they make for some of the best freshwater pets out there. They exhibit interesting behavioral traits and they can help create really breathtaking aquariums.

The benefits of keeping freshwater shrimps are many as they are generally hardy, peaceful, and quite undemanding as far as space is concerned. The conundrum, however, is choosing the right shrimp species for your freshwater aquarium.

To make this as hassle-free as possible, I have compiled a list of 10 shrimp that would be great in your tank. These are some of the best freshwater shrimp choices that a hobbyist can come across. There are some pretty difficult options in there, but others are super easy to take good care of.

1. Red Cherry Shrimp

This is a name that even casual hobbyists know of. That is how popular this shrimp is and there are quite a few good reasons for that. The most obvious of these reasons is its looks. Its brilliant red coloration makes for a great addition in a freshwater tank especially if it has live plants in it.

Another big reason for its popularity is how undemanding it is. As long as the tank is properly established and it is healthy, these shrimps are pretty much self-sufficient. They are also very readily available and this makes them a pretty hassle-free invertebrate for the home aquarium. You can also create a self-replenishing population of Red Cherry Shrimp provided you have the right setup. This includes a filtration system that won’t suck in the very small shrimp fry.

The tank should also have live plants with dense leaves to act as a safe haven for the fry. Another important factor to consider are the tankmates. These are some of the most peaceful and docile freshwater pets you can keep and potential tankmates should share these traits. They should be small as well so that these shrimps do not end up as snacks.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, Corydoras catfish, Otocinclus catfish
  • Ideal water temperature: 72°F to 78°F or 22°C to 25.5°C
  • Ideal pH: 7.0 – 7.8

2. Amano Shrimp

Hobbyists usually learn about this shrimp when looking for a solution to tackle an algae problem. This has given them somewhat of the wrong reputation of being just algae-eaters as they are very much an interesting freshwater pet in their own right. They are hardy and actually very useful in an aquarium. They keep the tank clean by taking care of algae and detritus. They are very docile as well and tankmates should be chosen keeping this in mind.

This shrimp does really well when kept in a species only tank. It might not be as attractive as some of the other options here and it is extremely difficult to breed which means that you will have to keep restocking their population. However, they have adorable mannerisms and their aforementioned hardiness makes them an excellent option for someone who has never kept invertebrates before.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 2-3 years
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, Corydoras catfish, Otocinclus catfish. small Tetras, Discus, Bristlenose Pleco
  • Ideal water temperature: 70°F to 80°F or 21°C to 27°C
  • Ideal pH: 6.0 – 7.0

3. Orange Sakura Shrimp

If the Red Cherry Shrimp’s coloration isn’t popping enough for you then the Orange Sakura Shrimp is a good option worth considering. They are quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, rapid fluctuations in water conditions should be avoided as that can lead to health issues.

They aren’t fussy eaters and will be able to subsist on the biofilm that naturally forms in a healthy aquarium with a few algae wafers occasionally thrown in. The one area where the Orange Sakura Shrimp really shines is breeding. They are the very definition of prolific breeders and often it is the available food that is the limiting factor to how quickly and the degree to which they can populate a tank. They make for a great addition to an invert-only tank.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, micro crabs, small herbivorous fish
  • Ideal water temperature: 65°F to 85°F or 18°C to 29.5°C
  • Ideal pH: 6.2 – 7.8

4. Blue Velvet Shrimp

Blue is pretty rare in the world of freshwater aquarium inhabitants and these little inverts fill some of that void. Despite their alluring visage, they are quite easy to care for which makes them a real gem not just among freshwater shrimps but in the entire hobby. This is mostly because it is just a variation of the Red Cherry Shrimp.

As it is a product of selective breeding, it is just a bit more prone to some health issues and it is advisable to keep the water conditions as pristine as possible. The aquarium should also well-established. They are also very easy to breed and as long as it is a species-only tank and you have healthy breeding pairs, you can establish a reasonably viable population of these shrimps that will replenish its numbers on its own.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, Corydoras catfish, Otocinclus catfish
  • Ideal water temperature: 72°F to 78°F or 22°C to 25.5°C
  • Ideal pH: 7.0 – 7.8

5. Panda Shrimp

While all these freshwater shrimps are cute, the Panda Shrimp takes the cuteness quotient to a whole new level. This black and white banded shrimp is the closest most people will ever come to keeping a pet almost as adorable as an actual panda.

Their incredibly pleasing aesthetics does come at a price and that is the care level. Unlike a lot of freshwater shrimps, the Panda Shrimp is a bit on the demanding side. Water parameters should be very stable and the water quality should be immaculate. As such, it is a good idea to go with a larger tank as they are easier to maintain.

The aquarium should also be properly cycled with no ammonia or nitrites and negligible amounts of nitrates. These shrimps are also a bit more difficult to procure both because they aren’t very readily available and when they are, they can be pricey. This is also why they should be kept in a species-only tank even though they can also be kept with small and extremely docile fish.

Breeding them is quite difficult and as they need to be restocked on a yearly basis even with excellent care, they are best for someone who has already kept all the easy-to-care for shrimps and is looking for a new challenge.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Intermediate to difficult
  • Lifespan: About 1-2 years
  • Ideal tank size: 15 gallons or more
  • Ideal tankmates: Other Panda Shrimps
  • Ideal water temperature: 62°F to 76°F or 16.5°C to 24.5°C
  • Ideal pH: 6 – 7.5

6. Blue Tiger Shrimp

Selective breeding can create some wonderful specimens and the Blue Tiger Shrimps is one of them. It is almost extravagant in how beautiful it looks. As the name suggests, these shrimps have a brilliant blue coloration with dark stripes but the show stealers are their orange eyes. They are slightly more delicate than some of the other shrimps listed here but they are still relatively easy to take care of.

Blue Tiger Shrimp are easy to feed as they will readily eat almost any food they can fit in their tiny mouths and all you have to worry about is keeping the aquarium as healthy as possible. However, it is worth noting that their vociferous diet can actually be a detriment. Overfeeding should be avoided at all costs as it can cause these shrimps to die prematurely. They do best in a heavily planted species-only tank. They are quite easy to breed as well.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Lifespan: About 1-2 years
  • Ideal tank size: 5-10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, Corydoras catfish, Otocinclus catfish
  • Ideal water temperature: 65°F to 75°F or 18.5°C to 24°C
  • Ideal pH: 7.2 – 7.4

7. Vampire Shrimp

Most freshwater shrimps tend to be small and short-lived and that can be a dealbreaker for many. The Vampire Shrimp is an excellent option for such people. Besides being one of the longer-living freshwater shrimps, it grows quite large and it has one of the coolest names. It is predominantly white but it can also have hues of other colors such a blue and green which makes it quite appealing especially under the right lighting system where it can exhibit color-shifting properties.

Even though it is larger, it is docile and does well with other smaller shrimps. It is, however, one of the most difficult shrimps to breed in the home aquarium. The larval stage of this shrimp goes through a lot of complex changes that require different water conditions which are almost impossible to replicate in the home aquarium. This makes their relative longevity a blessing. They also need a larger aquarium than other freshwater shrimps for obvious reasons.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Lifespan: About 3-5 years
  • Ideal tank size: 20 gallons or more
  • Ideal tankmates: Other filter shrimps and snails
  • Ideal water temperature: 74°F to 84°F or 23°C to 29°C
  • Ideal pH: 7.0 – 7.5

8. Ghost Shrimp

This shrimp is often purchased as a feeder because of how inexpensive and readily available it is but it does not make it any less worthy of being kept as a pet. It gets its name from its translucent body that is almost see-through. This can make them a little difficult to see but it also makes them very unique.

Ghost Shrimp are very hardy and that coupled with how easy it is to procure, it is one of the best freshwater shrimps out there for a complete novice. They do really well in heavily-planted setups with moderate amounts of water flow and a decent filtration system. They can be bred in the home aquarium but your mileage can vary in this regard. It is advisable to move an egg-carrying female also known as a berried female to a separate breeding tank for best results. Feeding these shrimps, however, is no challenge at all.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 5 to 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other docile shrimps, snails, small peaceful fish
  • Ideal water temperature: 72°F to 82°F or 22°C to 28°C
  • Ideal pH: 7.0 – 8.0

9. Bee Shrimp

If you are really serious about keeping freshwater shrimps then this is one group that you cannot overlook. For starters, it has plenty of variety and you can create a very diverse aquarium just with all the different varieties of bee shrimps out there. It is quite different among freshwater shrimps as it likes slightly acidic water and is a filter feeder.

As such, you should keep them in a species-only tank to get the best results. They are somewhat difficult to breed and some varieties can be quite expensive which why the tank housing them should be fastidiously maintained.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other Bee Shrimps
  • Ideal water temperature: 72°F to 79°F or 22°C to 26°C
  • Ideal pH: 6.2-6.8

10. Pinto Shrimp

This one is for the really experienced hobbyist out there who has dabbled in almost all the different types of freshwater shrimp and is looking for something challenging and rare in the hobby. This is a relatively new addition as far as the aquarium community is concerned and that can make getting your hands on some of these quite challenging.

These shrimp are one of the most difficult shrimps to take care of. This is because they are a product of extreme selective breeding. Depending on where they are bred, they will be acclimated to very specific water parameters. Replicating these parameters in your tank can take some expertise. As long as you are ready to put in the effort required, this is a rewarding shrimp that has many spectacular varieties.

Finer Details

  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Lifespan: About 1 year
  • Ideal tank size: 10 gallons
  • Ideal tankmates: Other Pinto Shrimps
  • Ideal water temperature: 62°F to 76°F or 16.5°C to 24.5°C
  • Ideal pH: 5.8 – 7.4

A Few Additional Things To Remember About Freshwater Shrimps

While there are a lot of subtle nuances associated with the different types of freshwater shrimps, there are a few general things that you have to keep in mind. The primary of these is avoiding the use of copper in any form as it can be fatal to shrimps. They also undergo a process called molting and the shrimps should be provided with a nutritional diet and plenty of hiding spots to make the process as smooth as possible for the shrimps.

Shrimp also need a moderate amount of water flow and the intakes for the filtration system should be stuffed with fine sponge to prevent the young from getting sucked in. As alluded to several times, water stability is an important factor. Finally, many of these shrimps can interbreed and this can result in hybrids which in most cases won’t be as attractive as their parents. This is something you will have to keep in mind while mixing different varieties.

The good thing though about freshwater shrimps is that even the most demanding varieties aren’t too difficult to care for and that is just one of the many reasons why every aquarium hobbyist should consider keeping these endearing little critters.