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Top Five Aquarium Shrimp

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Some of the best freshwater shrimp to keep in an aquarium.

Ok, before we start, here is a little brief on keeping shrimp.

Tankmates: Gregarious by nature, keep in groups (they are more confident and entertaining, and less stressed). Do not keep with aggressive fish such as puffers, loaches, crayfish etc.

Temperature: Tropical freshwater shrimp typcally need 20-28 degrees celsius.

pH: Between 7.0 and 8.0.

Water Quality: Must be good quality. Shrimp are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrate, so test regularly!

Feeding: Detrivores, so feed both meat and plant pellets (or other foods). Consider using liquid calcium for invertebrates and snails, to maintain shell quality.

Other notes: Stressed shrimp lose their colour, so it’s in your interests to keep them content!

Shrimp will shed their shell every so often, and often eat the shell to recover lost minerals!

Okay, on with the top 5!

1.Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Heteropoda)

cherry shrimp necardina

A wonderful and well known freshwater shrimp. Have a beautiful red coloration, and can grow up to 4cm! Good algae eaters and do not damage plants. Interestingly, they change colour to adapt to their environment, and if using a lighter substrate (such as coral sand), they often become much paler, bordering on translucent!

2.Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

amano shirmp

Named after Takashi Amano, the esteemed aqua-sculptor and photographer. Very good algae eaters. Grow to 5cm. If keeping this shrimp, do NOT use copper based medicine. Prefer a pH of 6.0-7.0.

3.Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis)

bamboo shirmp

These can be any species from the Atyopsis genus. Fascinating shrimp, they are filter feeders, and have fans instead of claws. They need a water current, and so an aquarium filter which produces at least a small amount of water flow is a must. When bought in the pet shop, they are usually a dull brown, but once they have become accustomed to a matured aquarium, they change to a red hue, and develop a white stripe (as shown below). Must be fed with daphnia or brineshrimp, ideally by pipette, injecting into the close proximity of the fans of the shrimp. When moulting, are very vulnerable. Very interesting shrimp, but difficult to keep!

4.Snowball Shrimp (Neocaridina zhangjiajiensis “White”)

snowball shrimp fish

Often fairly difficult to find. Beautiful vivid white colouration!Omnivorous, but will usually eat herbivorously, feeding off algae. Very vulnerable.

5.Crystal Red Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis)

Crystal Red Shrimp

Strikingly beautiful! Grow up to 2.5cm, and prefer a pH of 6.5-7.2. Very sensitive to nitrate and ammonia. Breeds best in soft, slightly acidic water. Very popular in Japan, well known in the worldwide aquarium trade. If looking to purchase high quality, there is a graded system, used by most breeders:

Of course, these are only a small number of a very large amount of shrimp species that can very easily be kept in the freshwater tropical aquarium. Please remember that some of these species (such as clawed shrimp and long arm shrimp) do grow quite large (for shrimp, anyway), and can be quite aggressive, particularly to other shrimp. However, in the case of most shrimp, they are a fascinating (if vulnerable) addition to the aquarium.

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