Over the years, keeping dwarf shrimp in the planted aquarium has been popular among planted aquarium hobbyist. Keeping dwarf shrimp can be fun, rewarding, and beneficial for the planted aquarium. There are quite a variety of dwarf shrimp available of different sizes and colors for you to choose from. Some are more difficult than others whereas some are relatively easily to keep alive without requiring a lot of effort. Although keeping dwarf shrimp in the planted aquarium can be an easy endeavor, there are a few important things to take into consideration.
It is important to make sure that your planted aquarium does not contain any other inhabitants that could have the potential of consuming your shrimp. Dwarf shrimp are fairly small and range anywhere from 1” to 2” and if kept in the same aquarium with larger fish like oscars, arowanas, discus, angelfish, rams, etc., they will easily see the shrimp as food. If you do plan to keep shrimp with inhabitants that have potential of eating the shrimp, it is important to make sure that your planted aquarium is heavily planted to provide some kind of protection. As a planted aquarium hobbyist who also keeps shrimp, I recommend only keeping shrimp with smaller fish like tetras and rasboras, or simply have shrimp as the only inhabitant in your planted aquarium.
Another important thing to take into consideration is your water parameters. If you are able to maintain quality water, you will have better success with keeping shrimp alive. It is important to make sure that there is no ammonia in your water; otherwise you will end up with dead shrimp. High levels of copper can also cause shrimp deaths. Temperatures of about 74-78 degrees F and a pH level between 6.4 and 7.2 are suitable for most dwarf shrimp today with the exception of Sulawesi shrimp, which requires harder water and a higher temperature.
Here are a few species of shrimp that I recommend to those who are new to keeping dwarf shrimp.
Amano Shrimp (Caridina japonica)
Amano shrimp is a very popular known shrimp that most hobbyists keep today in their planted aquarium. The shrimp received its name from a well known aquarist, Takashi Amano. The amano shrimp can grow up to 2” long and are great for eating algae in the planted aquarium. They are relatively cheap, around $1 to $3 per shrimp and are relatively easy to get either through your local pet store or online. However, although amano shrimp can easily breed in freshwater, it is only in brackish water where you’ll be able to raise the young shrimp as they hatch from the larvae.
Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. red)
The cherry shrimp is probably the most popular shrimp of all dwarf shrimp that are kept in the planted aquarium hobby. These shrimp are also fairly easy to keep and can adapt to a broad range of water parameters. Cherry shrimp are smaller than the amano shrimp and only grow up to about 1” long. These shrimp also breed easily, but, unlike the amano shrimp, they are able to hatch in freshwater. The cherry shrimp also does a great job of eating algae in the planted aquarium.
Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis sp. red)
The crystal red shrimp is another dwarf shrimp that is relatively the same size as the cherry shrimp. This type of shrimp however is different from cherry shrimp, as it is a Caridina species whereas the cherry shrimp is a Neocaridina species. Crystal red shrimp are said to be harder to keep than cherry shrimp, but I think as long as you maintain good quality water, they are just as easy. Crystal red shrimp come in different grades ranging from C grade to SSS+ grades. I recommend starting out with the lower grades since they are cheaper, about $1-3 per shrimp where has high grades can cost where from $5 and up.
There are many types of food available out on the market that are suited for dwarf shrimp. I personally use Hikari Shrimp Cuisine and my shrimp seem to love it. Although shrimp aren’t too picky on what you feed them, it is best to stay away from foods that contain copper. Other types of food I would recommend feeding your shrimp would be boiled zucchini and spinach, which gives the shrimp some kind of vegetation in their diet.
Here are a few quick tips I recommend if you are new to keeping dwarf shrimp.
- Buy shrimp from reputable breeders who have quality shrimp. It is best that they are young and not adults. They do better during transit and are able to adapt to new water parameters better.
- Acclimate your shrimp for 15 to 30 minutes. Failure to do so may result in dead shrimp.
- Avoid over feeding, this can spike the water parameters and cause death.
- Do weekly water changes between 20% and 40%. The cleaner the water, the healthier the shrimp will be which will lead to better coloration and longer lifespan.
- Add a dechlorinator after a water change, as shrimp are sensitive to chlorine and ammonia. Seachem prime does a great job for dechlorinating the water.
If you are able to understand and accommodate these basic needs of dwarf shrimp, you should have no problem keeping them in your planted aquarium with success. Shrimp are neat little creatures that give your planted aquarium color, help control algae, and help finish any left over fish food that made its way to the bottom.
I hope you have found this article helpful and gave you a basic guide of keeping dwarf shrimp in the planted aquarium. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer the best way that I can.