» Posted by on Jul 16, 2021 in Education, Freshwater Fish | Comments Off on Top 6 Amazing Pet Shrimp for the Freshwater Aquarium

Top 6 Amazing Pet Shrimp for the Freshwater Aquarium

Written by: Isha K.

Shrimp are some of the coolest freshwater invertebrates, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. Here are some of the coolest pet shrimp ( all available at Absolutely Fish and Absolutely Fish Naturals! )

Dwarf Shrimp :

These shrimp usually get around 1” and are very well suited for nano aquariums

Neocaridina davidi

(neos, skittle shrimp, rili shrimp, cherry shrimp)

Neocaridina shrimp are the most available dwarf shrimp, and for good reason. These shrimp are much hardier than their caridina relatives, they happily live in tap water and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. Neocaridina come in many colors, including goldenbacks, orange sunkist, blue dreams, red rili, red cherry, and blue jelly.

Water Parameters

  • Temperature : Best at 70-78F, survive 60-85F
  • pH : 6.0 – 8.0
  • KH : Prefer 0-8, survive most water conditions
  • GH : 4-14
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


Neocaridina shrimp breed in freshwater. The newborn shrimp are very small, so if you’re intending to breed these shrimps it’s best to keep them alone or with herbivorous fish like otocinclus. They will still breed when with other fish, just not as rapidly. All colors of neocaridina are the same species and a result of selective breeding. If two different neocaridina colors interbreed they will produce ‘wild type’ offspring that are a mix of black, brown, and clear.

Caridina sp.

Caridina shrimp are much more sensitive than neocaridina shrimp, but are considered more attractive by many. RODI water buffered to their water conditions is ideal. Caridina shrimp come in many different forms, all of which require different care.

Tiger Caridina shrimp

(tangerine tiger, black/red tiger, caridina baubalti)

These shrimp are some of the hardiest caridina shrimp, and can do well in some tap water (RODI still preferred). They have black or red stripes on them and are more transparent than the other caridina species.

Water conditions

  • Temperature : 70-78F
  • pH : 6.0 – 7.5
  • KH : 0-6
  • GH : 4-8
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)

Bee Caridina shrimp

(crystal shrimp, king kongs, blue bolts)

These shrimp are the most prized dwarf shrimp, but are also the most sensitive. They have solid white on them accompanied by a red, black, or blue patterning. The difficulty of bee shrimp varies, with crystal shrimp being the easiest and king kong and galaxy shrimp being the hardest.

Water conditions

  • Temperature : 70-78F
  • pH : 6.0 – 7.0
  • KH : 0-4
  • GH : 3-6
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


Both Tiger and Bee shrimp breed rapidly in freshwater. If different colored caridina shrimp mix, they form a shrimplet that is solid white with different patches or stripes of solid color.

Caridina multidentada

(Amano shrimp, Japonica shrimp)

Amano shrimp are one of the best algae eaters for nano tanks. They get larger than the other dwarf shrimp at 2” (the size of a betta). They are usually clear with black/brown dots but some varieties have blue or green coloring on them.

Water conditions

  • Temperature : 70-78F
  • pH : 6.0 – 7.5
  • KH : prefers 0-10
  • GH : prefers 4-14
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


These shrimp don’t breed in freshwater, and their young need to go through multiple salinities to develop properly. True amano shrimp won’t breed in a home aquarium.

Palaemonetes paludosus

(ghost shrimp)

While ghost shrimp are mainly sold as feeders, they can still be wonderful pets. Ghost shrimp get up to 2” and while they aren’t good algae eaters, they’re very interesting to watch.

Water conditions

  • Temperature : 65-82F
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


Ghost shrimp are very easy to breed.

Other popular shrimp :

These shrimp get a little larger and can be housed with bigger fish

Atyopsis moluccensis

(Bamboo flower shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, Wood shrimp, Singapore flower shrimp)

Bamboo flower shrimp get 3”, and are much hardier than dwarf shrimp. These shrimp are some of the few shrimp that can be in a tank with larger fish.

Water Conditions

  • Temperature : 70-78F
  • pH : 7.0-7.5
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


Bamboo flower shrimplets need different salinities to develop, they have not been captive bred.

Atya gabonensis

(Atya Viper shrimp, Vampire shrimp, African Filter shrimp)

Atya Viper shrimp are the biggest of the shrimp on this list at 4-5” and sometimes up to 6”! They’re known for their beautiful coloring which can range from a creamy white/brown color to vibrant blues and purples. They appreciate higher temperatures than most shrimp, which makes them good tankmates for rams and other high temperature fish.

Water conditions

  • Temperature : 75-85
  • pH : 6.5 – 7.5
  • Ammonia/Nitrite : 0 (Not for cycling)


Atya Viper shrimplets need multiple salinities to properly develop. They have not been successfully cultivated in aquariums.

Dying Shrimp?

There are many reasons shrimp could be dying in your aquarium. Before determining what the problem is, you have to make sure the shrimp is dead. Molting shrimp and molts are often mistaken for dead shrimp. Dead shrimp are pink in color and usually on their side or upside down. If your shrimp is actually dead, the problem is most likely one of the following reasons.

Cycling Tank

If your tank is less than a month old, there’s a good chance it’s still cycling. Either test the water with an API master test kit or bring a cup of water into Absolutely Fish. Either way, if your water tests positive for ammonia or nitrite the tank is still cycling. The best way to avoid any more shrimp deaths is to add live bacteria or culture pads or to move the shrimp to another established tank. To avoid this problem, make sure to only add shrimp to established tanks.

Trace Metals

Shrimps are especially sensitive to copper and other trace metals. Some parasite medications and plant fertilizers are not shrimp safe, so make sure to check the labels before using them. Good shrimp-safe parasite medications include Seachem Paraguard and Acurel knockout IP, and good shrimp-safe plant fertilizers include envy, flourish and flourish excel.

Big Water Changes

Water changes are essential to keeping fish tanks clean and healthy, but water changes bigger than 30% can be bad for shrimp. This much change in the water shocks the shrimp and encourages it to molt, and if the water parameters aren’t good enough the shrimp may fail to molt and die. The best way to avoid this is to do smaller water changes and use RODI water for shrimp that need it. If a bigger water change is absolutely necessary, the best way to do it by using a drip line to slowly take water out of the tank while adding cups of water back in.

Water Conditions

Shrimp molt naturally as they grow. If the water parameters aren’t suited for the shrimp, it could cause the shrimp to fail to molt, which is fatal. If dead shrimp have a white ring around their body when they die, that means the shrimp died while trying to molt. pH, KH, and GH are especially important, with GH being the most important for molting, but every shrimp has different needs. Check above to see what water parameters your species of shrimp requires! If you find that your tap water is very far off from what your shrimp prefer, we sell multiple products to help with this. Equilibrium increases GH, Alkaline buffer increases pH and KH, and Acid buffer decreases pH and KH. If your pH, KH, and GH are much higher or lower than what the shrimp need, it may be easier to start with RODI water and buffer with the above buffers to get the desired water conditions.

If you have any questions, feel free to come to Absolutely Fish and talk to an associate. We will figure out what the problem could be and let you know how to fix it. 

Shrimp Aren’t Breeding?

Having a shrimp colony is very rewarding, so it can be frustrating when no new shrimp appear. Most likely shrimp failing to breed is because of one of the reasons listed below.

Not a Breedable Species

Many species of shrimp simply can’t breed in pure freshwater and have never or very rarely been captive bred. Some of these species are amano shrimp, bamboo flower shrimp, and atya viper shrimp. These shrimp just aren’t able to breed in aquarium conditions. If you are unsure about which kind of shrimp you have or if you can breed them, feel free to ask any associate in Absolutely Fish.

No Males?

Female shrimp are more abundant than male shrimp because of their increased size and better coloring, so it can be hard to find a male for your tank. The easiest way to tell is by looking at their ‘stomachs’. Females have curved stomachs and males have completely straight stomachs, like a line. If you are unsure about the sex of your shrimp, you can always bring pictures to the store so we can sex them for you!

Hasn’t Been Long Enough

Baby shrimp take about 3 weeks to hatch, so you may not see any new shrimp in the first month. Even after the first month, the baby shrimp may be too small for you to easily spot. Not to worry! With a little time, the baby shrimp will get a little bigger and produce even more shrimp.

Fish are eating the babies!

Newborn shrimp are very very tiny and are great snacks for many types of fish, even small ones! Livebearers especially hunt out baby shrimp on purpose. The best way to combat this is to add moss or other plants to the aquarium, which gives the baby shrimp good places to hide.

Shrimp Tank Pests

Since shrimp are usually in planted aquariums, unwanted pests are not uncommon. Shrimp, being prey in the wild, are especially vulnerable to other creatures. Some pests are harmful and some aren’t, and it is important to know what to look out for.

Planaria Planaria is a small white flatworm distinguishable from its triangle shaped head. Planaria are dangerous to shrimp and can pick on the babies so it’s best to get rid of them as soon as possible. Fenbendazole dosing and hand removing are great options. If you have any questions about removing planaria feel free to contact Absolutely Fish, we will gladly guide you through removing them.

Not to be confused with harmless rhabdocoela or tubifex worms which both have a rounded head.


Related to jellyfish, hydras are dangerous to shrimp and can actually sting them. Hydras are eaten by the common bladder snail, mollies, and some gouramis but fenbendazole dosing can also work. Scrubbing the hydras yourself is not very effective, as not completely removing the hydra will cause another one to grow.


Snails come in many different shapes and sizes, but none of them are harmful. While many people view snails as a bad thing, they can actually be very beneficial and only rapidly multiply when presented with excess food.

The Best Aquarium Invertebrate For You?

Shrimp are some of the coolest invertebrates in freshwater aquariums, and this blog teaches you everything you need to know about owning them. Feel free to come into Absolutely Fish to see all these amazing creatures and ask us any questions you have!

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