top of page

 Freshwater Shrimps: 

Freshwater Shrimp for Beginners :  



Courtesy To : 


by Dolfan


Freshwater shrimp can be an amazing addition to any tank. They add variety and something unique. The popularity of shrimp-keeping has grown exponentially in the last 10 years with many interesting species and varieties available. Shrimp-keeping can be a bit intimidating as their care and habitat needs can be a bit more demanding than your average fish. If done correctly though, they will add some flair to your tank and become welcome additions to your aquarium family. 


I started with shrimp a few years ago with Ghost Shrimp which are easily found at most pet stores. After doing a lot of research, having some ups and downs, and learning things the hard way, I have found a lot of different information that I think will help the beginner with their shrimp care. I am by no means an expert shrimp-keeper. The methods and suggestions I have below are just that, suggestions. They are not necessarily the only the way to do things or the best way to do things. They are some things that have worked for me and tips that have been shared with me via other shrimp-keepers. 


I have done a lot of research on the topic and hope to pass on a little bit of my knowledge to any new or experienced shrimp-keeper. With that, I highly suggest for everyone to do their own research and reading on the topic as there is a wealth of information on the internet pertaining to aquatic shrimp. Forums, like are a great starting point. Other sites I highly recommend are and Both have a lot more shrimp specific information that is very valuable when getting started. Along with research, finding a good place to buy your supplies can help save you a lot of money which in the end will help you have better shrimp. Local pet stores charge an arm and a leg for supplies. I have found online vendors way cheaper, and you can save on shipping by purchasing all your supplies at one time and they will be delivered right to your door. The 2 main vendors that I use are and They have great customer service and great prices. They sell everything except the fish and shrimp. 


Beginner shrimp to start with:


For beginners in the shrimp-keeping world I highly recommend 2 main species of shrimp, Ghost Shrimp and Red Cherry Shrimp. These are the 2 that I will focus on in this article. There are many other shrimp but they tend to be a bit trickier to keep as well as a lot more expensive to purchase.


Ghost shrimp are the common name given to a few different species that are sold mainly as feeder shrimp in most pet stores. They are mostly clear, looking somewhat ghost-like. They are great scavengers eating leftover food, detritus, some algae, and even waste from other inhabitants of the tank. They grow up to 2 inches in size and can live with a variety of tank inhabitants. The most common variety come from many parts of the U.S. and grow and breed in fresh waterways like marshy areas with abundant plant life and available food sources. 


Red Cherry Shrimp are a smaller “dwarf shrimp” that has been be bred over many years to be a brighter color red. They grow to approximately 1 ½ inches with the males be smaller at 1 inch maximum. The wild version of these shrimp (Neocaridina Heteropoda) vary from clear to a brownish tint and are native to different areas of Asia. The Red Cherry variety is believed to be first developed in Taiwan and was bred over a number of generations to be more and more red. The wild version has also been bred into a few other colors such as Yellow shrimp, Pumpkin shrimp, Blue shrimp, Chocolate shrimp and Rili shrimp (half colored and half clear). The females are much brighter colored with the males being more translucent. Red Cherry shrimp come in a variety of grades defined by their coloration….


1) Common/regular cherry shrimp – clear to slightly pinkish with some small red dots


2) Taiwan/sakura cherry shrimp – females are much darker/brighter colored red with most of the body being pink to red


3) Painted Fire Red shrimp – females are extremely dark red looking opaque almost as if they were painted with a thick coat of red paint. They are close to 100% red with little to no clear or white spots.


There are some other names for color grades such as fire red and supreme red, but the above listed are the predominate ones.

Basic care : 


Now that we know what we are talking about with the 2 main beginner shrimp, let’s discuss their basic needs and care. Both shrimp have similar needs and will do well in a variety of water parameters. Temperature range should be 68-80F. They can live a little cooler and a little warmer, but may not thrive and do well. PH can be anywhere from 6.5-8ish. As in most aquatic pets, Ammonia and Nitrite should be at 0ppm, with Nitrate being anywhere from 0-20ppm. Shrimp can be a bit delicate so it is very important to keep your water very clean and well filtered. Any ammonia or nitrite will quickly wipe out a shrimp colony. They also like a stable environment, meaning one that does not fluctuate in its water parameters. A consistent temperature and PH are very important in shrimp care. 


Be sure to match your water temperature when replacing water during water changes. Water changes are recommended to be done weekly with approximately 25-30% of the water to be changed out. Larger water changes are not recommended as this may be too big of a fluctuation in the water all at one time. If your water quality is having problems a series of 25-30% water changes done over a few days would be more ideal. These shrimp can live in a variety of PH levels so it is not important to adjust the water to any specific level. Adjusting PH can be difficult and more trouble than it’s worth. You will be adding chemicals for the rest of your life trying to achieve some mythical perfect PH that in the end probably stresses the shrimp more in the long run. Go with what you have available. 


If your water quality is very poor, reverse osmosis water is recommended. You can use an in-home R/O filter for this or you can purchase R/O water at many supermarkets/grocery stores for $0.30-$0.50 per gallon. If you use R/O water or you have abnormally low PH (6.5ish) you will need to re-mineralize the water somehow. A GH/KH test kit is very handy in this case. Too low of a GH/KH (0-2dh) will lead to problems for the shrimp and their shell development. They need those minerals to develop a good healthy shell and to molt. There is a number of products sold that help add minerals back to the water, some are marketed toward shrimp (brands like Mosura and Genchem) while others are marketed toward fish that need harder water like cichlids. A common method of adding minerals back to water is using ground up seashells or cuttlebone. If you think you many need to re-mineralize your water, further reading and research is recommended so you know what you are dealing with. Most average shrimp-keepers shouldn’t have to mess with this stuff to keep Ghost shrimp or Cherry shrimp. 


These shrimp will occasionally shed their exoskeleton as they grow, this is called molting. You will see a small shell lying on the tank bottom that looks empty and clear to white colored. Some think it is a dead shrimp at first but after close inspection you will realize it is just their molt. You can leave this old molt in the water as they will feed on it to help replace the needed minerals for future shell growth. After they molt they will hide for a day or so as they would be vulnerable to being eaten or hurt without their protective exoskeleton. Molting is a good sign, meaning that your shrimp are healthy and growing. This occasionally is triggered after water changes, with many attributing it to the new water in the tank, similar to a rain downpour in the wild. 



Habitat : 


Now that we have the water conditions taken care of, we need to make sure their habitat is ideal. These shrimp can live in just about any sized tank providing that it has adequate filtration. A good general rule is 1 ghost shrimp per 2 gallons of water and up to 5 cherry shrimp per gallon of water. Ghost shrimp can be a bit territorial so they may spar with other Ghost shrimp if too many are kept in a small space. Cherry shrimp are very communal and don’t really fight that much. The 2 shrimp can be kept together but smaller cherry shrimp may get picked on by the Ghost shrimp and baby cherry shrimp will possibly get eaten. Cherry shrimp do best in a species only tank.


Shrimp also love plants. Natural live plants are a great way to help clean and oxygenate the water. They provide hiding spots and a great spot for shrimp to forage. Great beginner plants that are super easy to care for and that shrimp love include Java Moss, Hornwort, Java Fern, Anacharis, just to name a few. Java Moss and Hornwort are very ideal as they help protect the baby shrimp and the shrimp love to clean off all the little leaves all day long.
Any substrate will work for these shrimp. You will see shrimp specific substrates that are very expensive but are more designed for higher end expensive shrimp. Any gravel or sand substrate will work fine for these shrimp.


Many aquarists want to keep shrimp with fish together. This can be done but caution is warned. Ghost shrimp have been known to nip at slower moving long finned fish. They also will catch and eat baby shrimp. Any fish big enough to fit a shrimp in their mouth will happily eat shrimp. Ghost shrimp being a bit larger can do well with some smaller fish like tetras, guppies, danios, and barbs. Adult cherry shrimp will also do ok with these same fish, but their babies will disappear quickly as snacks for the fish. The only 100% confirmed shrimp safe fish is the otocinclus, a small sucker mouthed fish that eats algae off the walls of your tanks and plants. Many aquarists will say they have kept shrimp with this fish or that fish, and they may be right. But many others will say that same fish ate all their shrimp. So there is a mixed debate on the subject. My advice would be to keep Cherry shrimp by themselves and Ghost shrimp will be ok with smaller fish like tetras and guppies. 

Equipment : 


Along with the ideal habitat is getting the equipment needed to keep that habitat healthy for the shrimp.


Most important is your filter. Shrimp need clean water. A filter that overturns your water 5-10 times per hour is recommended. Canisters are great but can be a bit more expensive. Hang on Back (HOB) filters are very cost efficient and do a great job as well. Many shrimp keepers use sponge filters. These sponge filters are great and work well, but are best suited for shrimp only tanks. An added benefit of the sponge filter is the aeration provided since it is run by an air pump. If you plan on having any fish, a HOB or canister would be preferred as they do a much better job of mechanical filtration. When using a HOB or canister you also need to get a sponge pre-filter for the intake to help keep the smaller shrimp and babies from getting sucked into the intake. Fluval makes one sold at most pets stores for around $4-5 or you can make one out of a larger size aquarium sponge. Anything that will help cover up the intake so babies don’t get sucked in. I personally like running 2 methods of filtration, using a HOB filter and a sponge filter. Some say this is overkill, but I like having a back-up plan if one breaks somehow and I think over-filtration really helps to keep the water clean.


A heater is needed if your house ever dips below the 68F range in the winter. If you keep your house at 70F or above at all times, then a heater would not be needed. On the other end, you may want to invest in a small desk fan for your tank if it ever gets above 80F in your house. A small fan blowing across the surface of the water will help lower the temperature 5 degrees or so which can be very helpful in the summer.


Lighting is not super important to shrimp. Although if you keep live plants in the tank (which is highly recommended), a good plant friendly light is very important. Something in the 6500k color range to help support the plant photo-synthesis. For the beginner plants I listed above you don’t need any super bright light. The normal hood/light fixture that comes with most tanks will suffice just fine, as long as the bulb is in the 6500k range. If you needed some supplemental lighting, a good cheap method is to use a desk lamp with a screw-in CFL bulb. The light can be pointed where you keep your plants and CFL bulbs are very cheap and easy to find in the 6500k range. I have also seen people use the clip-on “shop lights” with the metal reflectors. These are sold at most home improvement stores.


Some of the most important “equipment” needed for shrimp keeping is a good water test kit. Tests needed include PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, GH, and KH. If you think you may have a problem with copper or you accidently dosed with a medication containing copper, than a copper test kit as well. Test strips while cheap are not very accurate. The liquid test kits do a better job and assure your water is at safe levels. Be sure to follow all the directions very thoroughly as some require a lot of shaking or time waiting to read results. Also check expiration dates to make sure your tests are “fresh”.

Diet :


Ghost Shrimp will happily scavenge the bottom of your tank for any leftover food or waste they can get. They will occasionally eat some algae too. They happily eat most types of fish flakes or pellets as well as algae wafers. You can also find some shrimp specific food that would be of nutritious benefit as well. Red Cherry Shrimp feed primarily on the bio-film that grows on plants and all surfaces of your tank. This bio-film is composed of microscopic organisms and algae that supplies most of their nutrition needs. They will also eat shrimp specific pellets and/or algae wafers. Be careful not to feed too much protein though as this can lead to them growing faster than their shell growth will keep up. Many people also supplement with organic veggies that have been blanched or steamed. Preferred veggies include zucchini, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, and squash. Zucchini and spinach are ideal as they are a good source of calcium which helps their shell development and molting. 

Breeding :


Many shrimp keepers will soon find their female shrimp with eggs under the bellies (also called being “berried” as it looks like little berries). Shrimp are prolific breeders and the females stay berried most of the time. Ghost shrimp are from the lower order of shrimp and breed babies into a larval form. Cherry shrimp are from the higher order and their babies are born as miniature versions of adults. As Ghost shrimp babies are larval they are very hard to care for, needing specific food and other care needs. This leads to rarely seeing the babies survive to adulthood without a specific setup ready to go for breeding. Cherry shrimp on the other hand are very easy to breed, as they can eat the same food as the adults and have the same care. The main thing you need is just to have a male and female and they usually take care of the rest. Many report growing their colony of cherry shrimp from 10 to 50 or 100 in just a few months. The eggs are usually carried underneath the females belly for about 3 weeks and will hatch into the water as tiny versions of the adults, often too small to see with the naked eye. Java Moss is highly recommended for baby Cherry shrimp, as they like to hide and it provides food for them to forage on. If you plan on breeding either of these shrimp, further research is suggested.

Disease and treatment :


I don’t want to go too much into diseases and treatment as it would make this article a lot longer than it needs to be. I mainly wanted to touch on the fact that shrimp are invertebrates and have different needs then fish. Many medications and treatments that are used on fish tanks cannot be used with shrimp. The main culprit is medication which contains copper. These include algaecides, antibiotics, and snail removal meds. These will all kill shrimp very quickly as inverts cannot tolerate copper in the water at all. Below is a list of shrimp safe medications and their uses. Please research any medication before it is used. Be sure you know what you are treating for and you know that all your tank inhabitants will be ok with the medication. Some meds that are ok for shrimp may hurt snails. Research is always your best friend when dealing with disease and tank treatment. Here is the list of water treatments and medications, I have used all of these on ghost and cherry shrimp and they also will not harm your beneficial bacteria in your filter/tank…


1) Seachem Prime – water conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramine, and detoxifies ammonia and heavy metals


2) Pimafix – mild treatment and/or preventative for fungal infections. Can be combined with Melafix for improved efficacy


3) Melafix – mild treatment and/or preventative for bacterial infections. Can be combined with Melafix for improved efficacy


4) Kordon ICH Attack/Rid Fungus – These are 2 products which are the same just sold under 2 different names. It is a natural based treatment for Ich and or fungus


5) Seachem Paraguard – treatment for parasites and bacterial infections


6) Hikari Prazipro (praziquantel) – treatment for gill flukes, tapeworms and other parasites found in fish and occasionally shrimp


7) Indian Almond Leaves – these are leaves from the Indian Almond tree. They are great natural source of anti-bacterial agents. Shrimp will also eat them as they breakdown in the tank. They are sold on eBay as well as other sources. They are thrown in the tank and will tint the water a little bit as they release tannins into the water. 


8) Alder cones – these are small pine cones from alder trees that are used much like Indian Almond leaves. They also have some anti-bacterial qualities.

Summary : 


As I stated earlier, do some reading, research your shrimp, plan things out ahead of time. Rushing into things is a sure fire way to fail in this hobby. With some planning and research though, these shrimp can add a fun new inhabitant into your tanks and make for a more well-rounded ecosystem. Post questions on the forums here at Ghost shrimp are found easily locally but Red Cherry Shrimp can be a bit more difficult. Check the sales forums here on as a few members sell their Cherry Shrimp and can ship them to you. Also, I got my Cherry Shrimp (pictured below) from the sponsor of this article,, check out their link for some great shrimp and snails. I hope this article has helped you and steered you in right direction. Shrimp can be very cool and don’t have to be relegated to only shrimp cocktails and shrimp scampi. 

Amano Shrimp Keeping & Breeding : 


Amano shrimp: Spineless heroes :


Courtesy to :


Nathan Hill explores the origins, benefits and breeding of one of the hobby’s biggest game changers, the Amano shrimp.


I’m not sure aquascaper Takashi Amano realised just how much he’d change the face of fishkeeping when he asked a local collector to round up a few thousand bland, colourless shrimp for him. Now, three decades on, there are few tanks that haven’t felt the presence of these hard-working, tenacious invertebrates.


My own experiences with these fastidious grazers have been positive through and through. They’ve saved aquascapes as well as my large retail displays (in my aquatic store manager days) and I’ve even had them breed, which is something I didn’t know was remarkable at the time and something that many Amano shrimp adherents will vehemently deny; more on that later.


The true Amano shrimp is Caridina multidentata, but you might see them bandied about under their synonym of Caridina japonica. Certainly when Takashi stumbled across and popularised them in the 1980s, that was the name they were recognised by. It was only in 2006 that revision took place and gave them their current identity of C. multidentata.


If 'japonica' sounds a little Far Eastern to you, then you’re on the right track. This name refers to their Japanese heritage, where Takashi came across them and where many come from today. The original specimens were recorded from the Ogasawara (or Bonin) Islands, though they’re just as happy on mainland Japan too.


Some folks have the impression that Amano shrimp only come from Japan and its immediate vicinity, but this is far from true. In reality, Amano shrimp are also found in Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands (between the Philippine and East China seas), Fiji and maybe even Madagascar, though this is unlikely. There was contention over the validity of the Madagascan shrimp. As far back as 1965 taxonomists (namely Dr Holthuis) have been marking them out as different and have cited features such as moving rostral teeth as adequate features that have granted them their own species status.

Imposters : 


There’s even the strong chance that some of the Amano shrimp on offer in the trade are not true C. multidentata. Caridina make up a huge genus of approximately 280 different species spanning across Asia, Oceania and Africa — there’s even a Caridina species in Lake Victoria. With such an abundance of species, many physically very similar, it’s easy for imposters to slip under the net and enter aquaria. One shaky train of thought is that many 'Amano' shrimp on sale are not true, Japanese specimens but a Taiwanese variant.


These 'Taimanos' are identified by two features: the first being their shorter, compact rostrum, and the second being their inherent laziness. Supposedly, these false shrimp also breed entirely in freshwater, which is something that C. multidentata do not do. But aside from that they have the same, nondescript colours and similar markings.


There are even hints of an Indonesian variant doing the rounds, but these are also contested on a species level; they have a straight rostrum and not a crested one. Buyers beware, and be diligent. True Amano shrimp should be relentless workers, and that’s exactly what fuels their popularity. Tirelessly padding away with their tiny maxillipeds, they will graze on almost all forms of algae with just the dreaded Black beard algae and some cyanobacteria types being sometimes averse to their palates.


Lacking cutting or biting mouthparts, at best they can softly rasp away at surfaces taking away the topmost film. This inability to cause harm makes them ideal workers in tanks where there are small fish and even fry, which they will largely ignore. My own experiences have seen the occasional, bold Amano tootling off with a prize in the form of a fish egg, but their impacts on breeding populations are negligible at best.


Some aquascapers have griped and bickered that their Amanos have damaged planting, but this is unfair condemnation. Amano shrimp will indeed rasp away at plants but are only able to take away material that is already dead or dying. It’s not unusual to find perfectly cut holes in leaves, where plants have degraded through nutrient deficiencies and the shrimp have cleaned the site up. Much like maggots in a wound, they’ll only eat the bad and leave the healthy.





Second to none :


The benefit to the aquarist in keeping these shrimp is huge. Their eating efficiency and digestive capacity is second to none, and, in part, a reaction to what can be an oligotrophic lifestyle.


In the aquarium they will pick up on almost any waste, be it uneaten food, fish faeces, decaying plants, or whatever, and convert it into tiny packages of shrimp waste, almost like large grains of jet black sand. These can then be easily siphoned from the tank during a water change.


Regardless of how good a cleaner they are, remember that Amano shrimp do not impact on nitrate levels at all. It does not matter if you have ten or two hundred of them, you’ll still need to water-change just as frequently!


There’s little reason to consider a biotope for these creatures, but if the idea appeals then simply go in for a large tank with big rocks and boulders inside it. Alternatively, Amano shrimp can be found in swamps with a handful of mossy plants and organic litter.


Don’t be scared of a little turbulence either. In their natural range, Amano shrimp are often subject to middling to strong flows and have a better grip on surfaces than you might expect.



Tolerant creatures  :


Amano shrimp tolerate a range of water conditions with the exception of the usual suspects that are ammonia and nitrite. Some sources cite Caridina as being indifferent to nitrite, but this isn’t always the case. Although nitrite reacts in different ways to shrimp blood as it does to fish blood (contact with the latter forms the lethal methaemoglobin), at high doses it can still cause a degree of mortality and difficulty.


As well as ammonia and nitrite, heavy metals should be avoided so remove any rocks with striated lines of metal through them and avoid lead weights for plants. Although these become issues in mainly softer, acidic water, even in hard systems they can form dangerous levels.


Aquascapers are occasionally worried about the heavy metals found in plant nutrients, but to my knowledge there is no credible evidence that even a major overdose of ferts causes health issues or fatalities in Amano shrimp.


Avoid salt, too. Though this chemical is essential for the rearing of larval shrimp, the adults have no tolerance of it and even background levels used as tonics (3g per litre) can be lethal to them. Hardness needn’t be high, but GH should not be below 6° for successful moulting. Temperatures are tolerated between 18 and 27°C/64.4°F and 80.6°F, and fluctuations between day and night largely ignored.

Health issues :


One area of caution is the use of CO2, especially where Amanos are in planted tanks. Excess CO2 will drive the pH down, and below 6.0pH they will struggle.


They will go up much higher and all the way to 7.5pH without problems. Above this they don’t fare as well and their lifespans will be shortened. Caridina multidentata are pretty resilient when it comes to diseases and aren’t affected by the gamut of usual fish ailments.


White spot and fin rot is not something they’ll experience. In fact, aside the problems of Planarian flatworms that sometimes fight to get under the carapaces of shrimp there are few health issues. Some commercial shrimp suffer fungal issues and many fancy types carry a small flatworm on top of their heads called Scutariella japonica, a miniature symbiont that does little except eat particles of shrimp food and lay eggs in the gills. Amano shrimp, however, seem rarely afflicted by this.


The biggest danger to your shrimp is poisoning, especially from airborne insecticides and more so from imported aquarium plants that haven’t been properly rinsed. Subjected to these chemicals, shrimp will rapidly turn from transparent to white and/or pink and lose all composure and momentum. Shortly afterwards they will be immobile on the base of the tank with only their tiny pleopods twitching, and then they will die. There is no cure for poisoning once it takes hold, so avoidance is the only sure course.


Keep them correctly and you can expect a lifespan of up to four years from your shrimp, over which time they can reach up to 5cm/2" in length.

Choosing the best filter for the job : 


Filtration for Amano shrimp needs to be unable to suck them in, but they also benefit from having access to sponge filter media where they will nibble at the biofilm and waste contained within. Foam, air-powered filters are a good choice, but better still is the Hamburg mat. This involves placing an entire sheet of foam within two guide rails to create a filter 'wall'. An uplift is then placed behind the mat, just like the uplift of an undergravel filter, and water pulled through the foam and back over the top into the tank.


Hamburgs provide a huge filtration surface, as well as an ongoing source of food for shrimp, and cost pennies to put together. Your local aquatic store can likely give you more advice and the parts required to put one together if you choose.


How well do your Amanos grow? : 


All crustaceans need to shed their shell in order to grow, and this stage is called moulting.Shrimp moult more when they are younger and, subsequently, growing faster, though adults may moult on around a monthly basis. This also helps to keep the shell healthy and free of pathogens.


With insufficient GH in the water, moulting is impaired. Some keepers rattle sabres over whether or not to leave the shell in the tank once the shrimp has shed.


In theory, the shrimp will ingest some of their own shells and regain some of the valuable chitin within. But in reality if diet is appropriate and GH levels adequate, then this will be surplus to requirements.


That said, there’s no harm in leaving the shell in the tank for grazing purposes.



Differences between prawn and shrimp : 


People often ask what the difference is between a prawn and a shrimp, and everyone likes to hold a pet theory about what constitutes each.


In reality there is no difference between the two words, and they are arbitrarily assigned to whatever takes the whim of the user. Scientifically the two names carry no meaning, so you should feel free to call your own tank inhabitants a troupe of Amano prawns if that’s what you prefer. So there you have it. Prawn and shrimp are common names, which vary considerably depending on where you are.


If you’re in America you might be sold prawn as shrimp, and in the UK you’ll get the reverse but it’s nothing deeper than that.


How many legs do shrimp have?


Shrimp belong to the order Decapoda, like crabs and lobsters. The common feature between them is that their ancestral progenitor had, at some stage, ten pairs of legs.


Looking at a shrimp it might appear obvious that nowadays they have anything but ten pairs, but the point still holds. They have just adapted and changed the forms and roles of their legs, so that the ten pairs are now divided up between the pereopods, or walking legs, and maxillipeds, or mouthpart legs. The swimming legs, the pleopods, at the rear end are a different matter altogether and are not classed as legs in the same sense.


Copper and crustaceans don’t mix!


Most medications come with clear warnings that they shouldn’t be used with shrimp and for good reason. Anything containing copper compounds is lethal to crustaceans and needs to be avoided.


The reason it is so dangerous is down to the blood of the shrimp. We humans use haemoglobin, which is basically iron that makes up our blood cells, to carry our oxygen around. Crustaceans, however, have blood cells made up of haemocyanin, which uses copper instead of iron to carry oxygen. When using copper-based medications this blood is affected, ruining the crustacean’s ability to ventilate.


Some keepers are reluctant to use water that has been stored in a hot water tank or run through copper piping for fear of contamination, though this only tends to be reported as an issue in new plumbing systems that have not had the chance to calcify inside. An offshoot of having copper-based blood is that unlike our own, which is red, in shrimp and other crustaceans it is blue.

Breeding antics (Picture above by ふうけ, Creative Commons)
Caridina multidentata is incredibly difficult to breed. Though the leaner males will frequently engage with the plumper, larger females, raising the larvae (sometimes called the Zoea) requires a marine and brackish stage.

Wild shrimp live coastally, where they release their young downstream into the sea. After some four to five weeks, during which the Zoea frequently moult and fatten up on plankton, they become parva, which move back upstream to restart their lives in freshwater mode. This explains their distribution over so many sea bound islands. As the females become increasingly pregnant (or berried) they will show a telltale darkening in the first segment of their abdomens.


My own Amano shrimp bred more by extreme coincidence than skill of any kind. Kept in a 120cm/47.2" cube tank with diabolically slow flow, the tank and adjoining system would be periodically treated with salt to help new arrival fish.


Also in the tank were large, adult Piranha who frequently bred. With ample surface cover in the form of dense duckweed, I would periodically tap the surface growth while holding a net underneath to frighten the Piranha fry into the net. Each and every time I did that, I would yield around 50 to 100 shrimplets for every juvenile Piranha. My only explanation is that with such slow flow and large volume my tank may have developed a slightly saline 'layer' within it, in which the young shrimp had enough salt to survive. Either that, or I had a species that wasn’t the true Caridina multidentata all along.


Other diligent breeders have had stabs at breeding Amanos, usually involving a separate larval system rigged up with seawater, with mixed success. It’s certainly possible to do, but unless you’ve got something close to lab-grade facilities, including plankton sources, then I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for you!


Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine?  

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Freshwater Shrimps Species : 



This is a list of invertebrates, animals without a backbone, that are commonly kept in freshwater aquaria by hobby aquarists. Numerous shrimpspecies of various kinds, crayfish, a number of freshwater snail species, and at least one freshwater clam species are found in freshwater aquaria.  


For comprehensive list click here ..


The list below is Courtesy to : planet invert . com 


1- African filter shrimp : 


The African Filter Shrimp, also known as Vampire Shrimp or Giant African Filter Shrimp, is a rare commodity in the freshwater invertebrate hobby. It is similar to the Asian Filter Shrimp in that it is a filter feeder with fans which it uses to filter fast moving water. It catches tiny particles in its fans and "licks" them clean at random.


Care Level: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Water Conditions: 75-84° F, KH 3-10, pH 6.5-7.5

Max. Size: 6"

Color Form: Blue

Diet: Omnivore

Origin: Africa

Family: Atyoidea



Atya gabonensi, commonly known as the Viper Shrimp, Giant African Filter Shrimp, or Gabon Shrimp, is a uniquely popular freshwater shrimp for the home aquarium. Their fascinating behavior, intense coloration, long life expectancy (up to 5 years under the right conditions!) and relative scarcity in the hobby make them a true showcase species.


Viper Shrimp have a deeply furrowed, wrinkly carapace. Coloration varies from blue, gray, white after molting, and increasingly blacker as they age. Despite their somewhat "demonic" appearance, they are absolutely peaceful and harmless fan shrimp. Their front "claws" are actually long soft bristles which they fan open to filter feed, perched head-on into the current with fans outstretched.


In the wild, Atya gabonensi typically live in small, fast-flowing to rapid mountainous streams, gripping stony bedrock directly in the current with their powerful back claws and legs. They use their fan-like front appendages to filter very fine floating food items (such as mosquito larvae, daphnia and Cyclops, as well as small algae particles) from the current. During daylight they typically seek shelter under rocks and logs. They come out of hiding at twilight or in darkness in order to feed.


House in a community aquarium with small peaceful fish and sufficient water flow. Since they prefer oxygen rich water and strong current, use a submersible pump to keep water in constant circulation. Feed sparingly using very fine floating food like algae powder or dried small crustaceans shortly before turning the lights off.

2-Amano Shrimp :

Caridina multidentata


The Amano Shrimp is a very popular shrimp in the hobby. It is second in popularity to the Red Cherry Shrimp. The name Amano Shrimp originates from the well known aquarist Takashi Amano who frequently uses the shrimp in his aquariums as algae eaters. However most people do not know that the Amano Shrimp is a difficult shrimp to breed and that virtually all Amano Shrimp are caught in the wild and then sold to hobbyists. Captive breeding has been achieved but is rare.




As stated above the popularity originated from the aquarist Takashi Amano. Most local fish stores carry this shrimp and even the large pet chains carry it as well. Hobbyists sometimes begin with this species to due the ease of acquiring it. The notion that it is a superb algae eater also attracts aquarists who are into planted tanks. Unfortunately most of the hobbyists who acquire the Amano Shrimp do not know that it cannot be bred in freshwater and wonder why the pregnant females with many eggs never produce babies.




It is not uncommon for the Amano Shrimp to die shortly after introduction to the aquarium. Virtually all Amano Shrimp are wild caught and are not used to captive conditions. Also, a lack of feeding can cause death as well. Most first timers keeping these shrimp think that they are solely algae eaters and can live off of the tank and require no food. You must feed this shrimp. Deaths are also caused by stress from shipping, handling, lack of acclimation to new conditions and from being introduced to multiple tank parameters. Remember that the Amano Shrimp is caught in the wild. It goes through a lot of stress during capture and during shipping around the world. Once it reaches the local fish stores it undergoes even more stress. When it ultimately ends up in the hobbyists tank it can be marked for death regardless of what the hobbyist does to keep it alive. Do not be surprised if this shrimp dies on you shortly after introduction.




As stated before the Amano Shrimp requires brackish water in order to breed successfully. The pregnant females carry many eggs, most likely due to the loss rate of the larvae after hatching. The shrimp hatches as a tiny larvae free floating in the water. It is not like other shrimp which hatch as miniature adults. The larvae are very delicate and require special care. Below is a quick run down on information required to breed this species in captivity. It is a difficult task to captive breed the Amano Shrimp. However, if you are up for the challenge then good luck. It is definitely an achievement if you are successful!



Captive Breeding : 


The adults are kept in a 40 gallon 'breeder' tank with a sponge filter and lots of hornwort. The pH is close to neutral and the temperature around 75 degrees F. They eat 'GP Pellets' plus the occasional algae tablet -- there's also a lot of hair algae in the tank, more than they can keep up with. 


Larvae are raised in full-strength (35 ppt) seawater that's pea-green with Tetraselmis algae. No supplemental foods are added. The latest batch was raised in a 2.5-gallon tank -- there was somewhat high mortality, so more space may've been helpful. 


I've tried a variety of raising conditions. So far, the best results are with: 


24-hour lighting 
Gentle aeration 
mid-70's Farenheit 


In those conditions the larvae began metamorphosing into postlarvae after about 20 days. Higher temperatures seem to slow development. It took just about 6 months for a full life-cycle from hatching to egg production.




It is recommended that the Amano Shrimp be fed like any other shrimp in the hobby. Using this species solely for the purpose of algae eating will not suffice in the long term for the shrimps health. These are rather large shrimp and require a good supply of food. They eat anything from blanched spinach, zucchini, algae wafers, shrimp pellets, fish flakes, bloodworms, and more. Feeding is best done once a day. Only feed an amount of food that the shrimp can finish within 2-3 hours maximum. It is not good to feed in excess and have food sitting for too long.

3-Bamboo Shrimp


Atyopsis moluccensis


The Bamboo Shrimp is one of the most interesting shrimp in the hobby. It has several different names it is associated with including the Asian Filter Shrimp, Fan Shrimp, Wood Shrimp, and a few others. Bamboo Shrimp is the name I prefer. I have kept several of this species at different periods in my shrimp keeping.


Breeding : 


There is one downside to the Bamboo Shrimp: it does not fully reproduce in freshwater. Like the Amano Shrimp, this species requires brackish water during the larval stage in order to successfully develop from hatching. Another downside is that all virtually all specimens sold online and in pet stores are wild-caught and not captive bred. Removing this creature from the wild and placing it in a freshwater aquarium ensures that reproduction and overall population will decline. This is not to say that keeping the Bamboo Shrimp is a bad thing, it is just a point I wanted to make since a lot of new hobbyists select this species without knowing its whereabouts and reproduction requirements. It is definitely a cool shrimp to keep.


Water Parameters : 


I highly suggest that you place a piece of wood, rock, or similar "platform" for the Bamboo Shrimp to sit in the current. If it is difficult for this species to be in the current it will tend to climb the filter tubes or even out of the aquarium. It will search out the source of the current if it is unable to feed. Please make sure that you are allowing this creature to feed properly. Since it does not feed on fish food you must accommodate its specific needs. If you see the shrimp sifting the bottom of the tank then that is an indicator that it is not properly feeding and action on your part is required.


Feeding : 


The "fans" of the Bamboo Shrimp are actually appendages that filter the current of outgoing filter water for microorganisms and/or particles of food. Since it filters the current you will most likely find this species sitting peacefully in the current with its fans spread out. If you observe the feeding behavior closely you will notice that it closes the fan, puts the closed fan next to the mouth and swipes it across the mouth as to sort of "lick" it. I will try to get an up-close shot of the mouth when this action occurs.


Coloration  : 


The Bamboo Shrimp can assume many different colors, including red, tan, brown, and different shades of each. Some say that the coloration symbolizes the actual health of the species, but I disagree. I believe that the Bamboo Shrimp changes its coloration to blend in with its surroundings. Since the species must sit out in the open in the wild it would make sense that camouflage is required since they are sitting ducks for predators while feeding in streams. Also, perhaps the females may change colors to indicate that they are ready for mating. I will try to reach a conclusion on these theories.


Display : 


The Bamboo Shrimp is an enjoyable species and will spend most of its time out in the open, most likely in the current of water in the aquarium, filtering the current for food. Since this species spends most of the time out in the open fanning the current it is definitely a great "centerpiece" for an aquarium that you might want to have visitors look at. Its fans and interesting appearance will always intrigue guests and will spark conversation. It is extremely peaceful and can be shy if uncomfortable/unhealthy.



4-Bee Shrimp : 


Caridina cantonensis sp. "Bee"


Overview : 


The Bee Shrimp is sometimes called the Black Bee or Crystal Black Shrimp. Unfortunately the this species does not get as much publicity as its red colored cousin. I suspect that since there are other shrimp with similar black and white coloration, it is not considered unique in its own right. Uncommon colors is really what gain popularity in the shrimp hobby.


Background  : 


The Bee Shrimp is directly related to the Crystal Red Shrimp. In fact the Crystal Red Shrimp is the red color mutation of the Bee Shrimp and is why it is sometimes called the Red Bee Shrimp. A Japanese breeder, Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki, discovered a Bee Shrimp with red stripes instead of black stripes. Of course the rest is history as far as the red variation is concerned.


















Water Parameters  : 


The Bee Shrimp prefers soft acidic water. Clean water is also a must as with all shrimp in the hobby. However, like the Crystal Red Shrimp, the Bee Shrimp may also be the most vulnerable shrimp when housed in dirty water. Water changes are a must for this species. Temperature should be lower than 80F and the pH should range from 6.2 to 6.8, gH should be between 4-6 and kH should be between 1-2. It is very important that the Bee Shrimp be housed in specific conditions. Extremes in either water parameters mentioned should be avoided. It cannot be stressed enough how delicate this shrimp is. As you approach higher grades of this species, water parameters become even more important.


Breeding : 


Breeding the Bee Shrimp is virtually identical to the breeding of the Crystal Red Shrimp. If you are attempting to breed along grading status then it is highly recommended that you read the species info page for the Crystal Red Shrimp as well as read the Crystal Red Shrimp Grading Guide page. Breeding is not as difficult as some may think. However, this is definitely not a beginner shrimp. You must have experience keeping shrimp before attempting to keep and breed the Bee Shrimp. Water parameters and feeding are extremely important when it comes to this class of shrimp. Overbreeding to achieve high grades also causes susceptibility to diseases as well causing the shrimp to have a fragile nature. For more information on the reproduction cycle of freshwater aquarium shrimp please read the article Shrimp Reproduction.


Genetic Diversity : 


Due to the overbreeding of the Crystal Red Shrimp causing poor genetics and making it more fragile, the Bee Shrimp has become a pseudo "genetic updater" of sorts. There are actually very high grades of the Bee Shrimp that can be crossed with high grade Crystal Red Shrimp. These high grade Bee Shrimp allow the genetics to be somewhat more variable and at the same time not lose high grade status for the Crystal Red Shrimp. Hopefully this tactic truly helps both color variations sustain better immune systems and other vulnerabilities that occur with overbreeding. It is common knowledge that the higher the grade of Bee or Crystal Red Shrimp the higher the chance of desease or mortality. Extra care is taken with these shrimp especially when they are expensive grades.

Grading : 


Grading with this species is exactly the same as the grading with the red variation. Please see the Crystal Red Grading Guide for information on grading the Bee Shrimp as well. All standards apply with this species as far as the grading is concerned. Acquiring a high grade Bee Shrimp is not such a bad idea to increase the grade of the Crystal Red Shrimp. It can potentially save you a lot of money instead of purchasing a high grade Crystal Red Shrimp. Some grades can cost upwards of $1200 for a single shrimp and even more has been reported. It may seem insane but it is the truth. There are true hobbyists out there that want the rarist grades.


Acquisition : 


The price of the Bee Shrimp is lower than its red cousin, simply due to its lower level popularity. This is still a cool looking shrimp though. I suspect that one day this species will make a resurgence and become more popular as the Crystal Red Shrimp phase wears off. One cool thing could perhaps be a black and red Bee Shrimp, a totally new color varition. Maybe one day that will occur just as the red variation randomly occured in 1996.



5-Black King Kong Shrimp : 


Caridina cantonensis var. "Black King Kong"


This is one of the rarest and most expensive shrimp in the hobby. Offspring of these shrimp have a low survival rate and they can be difficult to keep. This article will sum up many view points I have found over the internet from various breeders. These shrimp are expensive and breeders tend to be less than willing to give out information. While initially a very fragile variant these are getting increasingly stronger because they are being back bred to regular bee shrimp and well as hybrid (normal bee/Taiwan bee) shrimp, effectively making them more common in the hobby and easier to keep. Breeding and selling these shrimp can absolutely be lucrative but it is not easy and it is not a way to get rich quick. That said, the market for these rare and beautiful shrimp is growing and the demand is not likely to lower the prices on these shrimp much more than they already have. The price has come down significantly since a pair of these shrimp was sold for $8500.00 USD in May 2009 but had been stable recently because of the low survival rate of the offspring. The information in this article is more or less *at your own risk*, and is a collection of various sources; additionally, some of the information had to be translated and my German is not great


Origin and Background:


There is some debate to the origin of this shrimp with some claiming it is a spontaneous mutation of the Snow White Bees while others claim that it is a cross between a (CRS)red bee/(CBS)black bee hybrid with Blue Bee. It is more generally accepted that it was a mutation rather than a complex cross breeding but there is still some debate.


Breeding : 


Black King Kongs can be bred to other Black King Kongs, Wine Reds, Panda, Shadow Pandas, Blue Bolt, Mischling, CRS, CBS shrimp, they can also probably mix with other Caridina cantonensis but the results of such mixing (Tigers and Bees) is not readily available. How you breed your BKKs really should depend on your line and the breeder you are dealing with. Your breeder should be able to give you some indication of the survival rates of the particular shrimp you are buying. BKKxBKK suruvival rates can be lower than 10% but could be as high as 100% (although unlikely), and you should understand the quality of the specimen you are receiving. It may be better to have multiple tanks on shared water/filtration to make it easier and safer to separate berried females into birthing tanks. Unless you know your lines are strong enough that BKKxBKK has a high survival rate it may be beneficial to pick up some hybrids as they will have a higher survival rate.




The Black King Kong can be difficult to sex until some time after sexual maturity is reached. It is impossible to identify a saddle on the females and even if a female is berried it can be difficult to spot the eggs at first glance. Once they are well into sexual maturity size and body shape can be used to identify the sexes as females will be a little larger and have a rounder undercarriage as is the case with most Caridina cantonensis species.

Water Parameters : 


Where to begin, there are many claims to successful breeding in a variety of water parameters. Instead of listing the highs and lows I would rather outline several of the more frequent or reliable claims. Generally most people do not recommend keeping them in smaller tanks, at least 25 gallons is often recommended, the reason for this is the more volume of water the easier it is to maintain constant water parameters. Independent of the claims of what water parameters are best all sources recommend that whatever they are they remain constant, larger amounts of water are easier to maintain at a constant value and natural changes tend to occur less rapidly in larger bodies of water. Another common suggestion is going a little overboard on the filtration: sponge filters, aeration, HoB, Canister filters, ect. Usually more than one is used sometimes all are recommended, no matter how you achieve it, your water should be very clean, almost drinkable clean. (Order is not meant to imply correctness)


Claim 1 : Water parameters are less important than the water being sterile and free from contaminants of any type. Once a tank is successfully cycled in preparation for your Shrimp, it should be kept in a aquatic clean room. The tank should be covered temperature should be maintained at between 64-68. PH should be below 6.8 and should not vary more than .2 in a 48 hour period or more than .5 in 14 days. KH should be maintained around 0-1 with trace elements provided by mineral rocks, GH should be around under 4.


Claim 2 : Successful breeding of the young requires very low PH 5-5.5, with KH of 0-2 and GH of 4-6 with water between 68-70.


Claim 3 : "Easy to breed in a range of water conditions" Several German sites - pH 6 - 7.5, GH 2-10, KH 0-6, 68-75f (20-24 C)


My conclusion(read: Logical guess based on various accounts) using these sources and a bit of logic is that there are elements of truth to all of them. These shrimp may actually do better at warmer temperatures and closer to neutral pH if everything is perfect but those water conditions are also more friendly to the survival of pathogens (bacterial, Viral and fungal) which means if a pathogen is introduced then it can be devastating to a population. I would venture to guess the suggestions of lower temperature and pH actually help the shrimp survive by making it less appealing to the unseen things that can cause shrimp do die rather than the "preference" of the shrimp.




They tend to be picky eaters, but generally it is accepted that blanched spinach and high grade vegetarian shrimp feed is sufficient. A varied diet is a healthy diet. There are also some reports of the benefits of feeding freeze dried copepods as a dietary supplement because the high amounts of calcium and protein and the ease of digestion, this is particularly recommended for the very young. Feeding as with all shrimp should be done in moderation.

6-Black Tiger Shrimp : 


Caridina cantonensis sp. "Black Tiger"


One of the newest shrimp to hit the shrimp hobby is the Black Tiger Shrimp also known as the Black Diamond Shrimp. This species was selectively bred from the normal Tiger Shrimp for broader black stripes, eventually becoming entirely black over time. It is becoming a very popular shrimp.


Origin : 


The Black Tiger Shrimp is selectively bred from the normal Tiger Shrimp. The original Tiger Shrimp were bred for broader black stripes and after many generations the black stripes began to fill the entire body. This method however has its consequences such as poor genetics and vulnerability to deseases and bad water conditions. There are two different types of Black Tiger Shrimp, one with normal black eyes and ones with orange eyes. The ones with orange eyes fetch a higher price than their black eyed cousins. In Japan this species is commonly called the Black Diamond Shrimp even though it is in fact the same as the Black Tiger Shrimp.


Water Parameters:


The Black Tiger Shrimp prefers colder more alkaline water. Breeders typically keep the Black Tiger Shrimp at a pH above 7.2 and temperature in the 70F - 74F range. It is reported that this species does not do well in the same water parameters as required by the Crystal Red Shrimp. Clean water of course is a must as with all hobby shrimp.


Breeding : 


Black Tiger Shrimp are reported to be very difficult to breed and even keep alive. Experienced breeders have managed to breed enough of this species to sell. Their rarity fetches a very high price depending on their grade as well as eye color. Due to inbreeding it is very important that it is given its particular water requirements. Poor genetics make this species very fragile. This shrimp meant for experienced hobbyists.



Sexing the Black Tiger Shrimp can be difficult at juvenile stage. Once females reach adulthood you can then tell the difference between sexes, or at least which are females. Females are easy to identify as they are larger and also have a curved underbelly. The saddle of a female Black Tiger Shrimp is virtually impossible to see due to the solid black coloration of the shrimp itself. Photo of a pregnant Black Tiger Shrimp female below. Notice the curved under belly.

Grading : 


There are several grades of Black Tiger Shrimp. Grades differ based on the solidity of the black coloration as well as the eye color. The less solid black coloration the lower the grade; the more solid black coloration the higher the grade. Orange eyes are preferred over black eyes and deem a higher price. Exactly how the orange eyes were introduced to the Black Tiger Shrimp is unknown however it may have occured by breeding an orange eyed Tiger Shrimp (non-blue) with a Black Tiger Shrimp.




The Black Tiger Shrimp is not too different from other algae eating shrimps. It is a scavenger and an algae eater. Feeding is best done once a day. Only feed an amount of food that the shrimp can finish within 2-3 hours maximum. It is not good to feed in excess and have food sitting for too long. Overfeeding is a known cause of death and can also cause water quality issues. Remember that shrimp are scavengers in the wild. They will eat whatever they find and are not used to a constant food source 24/7. Not feeding for one or two days is fine and will not harm this species at all. Sometimes I will not feed for a couple of days in order to let the shrimp cleanse their systems and keep the water clean at the same time.

7- Blue Bee Shrimp


Caridina sp. "Blue Bee"


The Blue Bee Shrimp is relatively new to the shrimp hobby. It was first introduced around March 2008. It can be many colors and is sometimes hard to obtain due to the fact that it is wild caught and just starting to be bred by hobbyists.


Origin and Background : 


The Blue Bee Shrimp is a wild caught species found in freshwater streams in China. So far virtually all of the Blue Bee Shrimp in the hobby are from the wild. Breeding has begun however and captive bred specimens should not take long to hit the hobby shelves.


Tank Requirements:


Successful breeding has been reported in a pH range of 6.5 to 6.8 with a temperature of 74F. These parameters are very similar to the parameters required for the Crystal Red Shrimp or Bee Shrimp. Since this is a close relative of those two species I suspect that the same care should be given to the Blue Bee. The exact parameters of the freshwater streams is unknown at this time. As more information about tank requirements are obtained this page will be updated.


Breeding : 


As stated before, successful breeding has been reported in a pH range of 6.5 to 6.8 with a temperature of 74F. Gabriel Hernandez in Japan has had success breeding this species so far. However there has not been an F1 population. Once more information on successful breeding is known this page will be updated. For now treat this species the same as similar species like the Crystal Red Shrimp or Bee Shrimp. For more information on the reproduction cycle of freshwater aquarium shrimp please read the articleShrimp Reproduction.



Coloration : : 


The colors come in brown, purple, and blue. It is unknown if health or genetics is the cause of the brown coloration. Time will tell whether or not coloration is a sign of health. This species is very new to the hobby so not much information is known nor confirmed. Photos of various colored Blue Bee Shrimp below.


Sexing: : 


Sexing the Blue Bee Shrimp can be difficult at juvenile stage. Once females reach adulthood you can then tell the difference between sexes, or at least which are females. Females are easy to identify as they are larger and also have a curved underbelly. I do not believe that the difference in coloration is enough to truly sex this species. Instead look for size difference and more importantly the underbelly.


Feeding : 


Feeding is best done once a day. Only feed an amount of food that the shrimp can finish within 2-3 hours maximum. It is not good to feed in excess and have food sitting for too long. Overfeeding is a known cause of death and can also cause water quality issues. Remember that shrimp are scavengers in the wild. They will eat whatever they find and are not used to a constant food source 24/7. Not feeding for one or two days is fine and will not harm this species at all. Sometimes I will not feed for a couple of days in order to let the shrimp cleanse their systems and keep the water clean at the same time.

1> 2 > 3 .. 

1> 2 > 3 .. 

bottom of page