These Are The Best Filters For Cherry Shrimp

Best Filters For Cherry Shrimp

Many shrimp keepers don’t understand the importance of filters for cherry shrimp tank. If you think we only need filters for purifying the cherry shrimp tank water, then you are wrong!

Filters have many other purposes too! And in this article, I am going to share with you everything I know about filtration for a cherry shrimp tank.

I’ll talk about why cherry shrimps need filtration, what are the 3 basic types of filtration, my favorite filters for cherry shrimp tank and lastly, tips for buying a cherry shrimp tank filter. But before going any further, here is my top 4 filter recommendations for cherry shrimp:

  • Matten Filter
  • Sponge Filter from Powkoo
  • Hang On Back Filter from Marineland
  • Penn Plax Cascade Canister Filter

As you can see, there are lots of things we need to cover in this article. So, we better get started!

Why Cherry Shrimps Need Filtration?

Many shrimp keepers believe that shrimps don’t require any filtration, assuming that due to their small size, a heavily planted tank will adequately support their bioload and oxygen needs. However, this is a misconception.

Filtration in a shrimp tank serves several vital functions beyond just purifying the water:


The primary role of filters is to purify the water. Living animals, including shrimp, produce bioload that needs to be processed to maintain a healthy environment. Without adequate filtration, the bioload accumulates, toxifying the water.

My shrimp grazing on sponge filter

Maintenance Reduction:

Without a filtration system, frequent water changes are necessary to manage the bioload, which is unsustainable and exhausting. A proper filtration system allows for extending the water change intervals to weekly or bi-weekly, significantly easing tank maintenance.

Food Source:

The sponge or filter media acts as a food reservoir. It collects floating food particles, and its surface grows micro-organisms, both of which are excellent food sources for cherry shrimps.

Beneficial Bacteria:

Over time, the filter media cultivates a colony of beneficial bacteria essential for cycling the tank. These bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate, facilitating the nitrogen cycle and creating a habitable environment for the shrimps.

Investing in a good filter for cherry shrimps is crucial for their health and habitat. Filters are affordable and play a critical role in creating a suitable home for cherry shrimps.

crystal red shrimp in planted tank
Owner: Ricky Sales

3 Types Of Filtration for cherry shrimp tank

Before we dive into the best filters for the cherry shrimp tank, we need to understand the basics of filtration. In this section, I am going to explain to you what are the 3 basic filtration types and which ones are mostly important for cherry shrimps.

Mechanical Filtration

mechanical filtration

Mechanical filtration is the process through which floating particles in the water are removed from the tank. In this filtration technique, the water is forced to pass through a filter media (i.e. sponge).

Consequently, while passing through the media, the floating particles (food particles, dirt, fish waste, etc.) gets trapped inside the filter media. This is the basic working principle of mechanical filtration.

The filter media can be many things. The most common media is sponge. There are others such as filter pad, floss, micron paper pleats, foam, etc. This filter media needs to be rinsed on a regular basis in order to keep the tank healthy and clean.

Never use tap water to rinse the filter media. Use the water from the tank. It is necessary in order to keep the beneficial bacterial colony alive in the media.

Shrimps definitely need mechanical filtration in their tank. However, the more important one for them is the biological filtration.

Biological Filtration

I have already explained the basics of the biological filtration. You already know that a beneficial bacterial colony starts to form over the filter media. This bacterial colony breaks down the toxic particles in the tank water into lesser toxic particles. This whole process is called nitrogen cycle.

What Is Nitrogen Cycle?

nitrogen cycle

When there is living animal in your aquarium, their waste particles, uneaten foods, decomposed plant materials, dead organisms, etc. everything creates ammonia. Ammonia is deadly for not only shrimps, any type living being in the aquarium.

The job of the beneficial bacterial colony is to break down this ammonia into a lesser toxic chemical called Nitrite. After that, the nitrite is converted into Nitrate.

Compared to Ammonia, the last produce Nitrate is far less toxic for the shrimps. But that doesn’t mean you can allow nitrate to build up in the aquarium. We do regular water changes in order to keep the Nitrate amount in check. Otherwise, Nitrate will slowly build up to an unbearable amount that can intoxicate the whole aquarium.

This is the basics of the nitrogen cycle and the drivers that run this cycle are the beneficial bacterial colony.

Chemical Filtration

As the name suggests, the chemical filtration removes unwanted & harmful chemicals from the water columns. There are specific chemical filter media that are used for this purpose. The most common chemical filter media is activated carbon.

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Chemical filter media are mostly used in filters that come with a chamber (i.e. Hang On Back Filter, Canister Filter, Sump filter, etc.). This filtration is not super important for the cherry shrimps, but it is certainly helpful.

You need to be careful with chemical filtration as using the wrong filter media or using the wrong amount of them can cause other side affects in the shrimp tank.

a berried blue cherry shrimp with eggs
Owner: Natalie Skinner

Best Filters For Cherry Shrimps

There are many types of filters that you can use for a cherry shrimp tank. The most common one is a sponge filter. It is because sponge filters are cheap and works fine.

However, the one I like most for my cherry shrimps is a Matten filter. Matten filters are not as known as sponge filters or hang on back filters. In fact, they are not that much available in the fish stores to buy. I only know one place that sells authentic & reliable Matten filters for shrimp tank.

If you don’t want to buy one, you can also make a DIY of your own Matten filter. There are lots of videos in YouTube showing how to make a Matten filter out of sponge and other regular household items.

Personally, I don’t want to take that much of a hassle for a filter that doesn’t cost much. Also, I am not that confident on my DIY skills. So, I like to buy from the professionals.

I have a HOB filter along with a sponge filter

For shrimp tanks with other tank mates besides shrimps, I like to use a Hang On Back Filter. Hang On Back filter doesn’t occupy any space inside the tank and they are not visible. Also, they come with a chamber which provides better filtration. So, if your budget allows, you can go for a Hang On Back filter.

Some shrimp breeders use canister filter in their shrimp tank. Personally, I think that’s not necessary and an overkill unless your tank is 75 gallon or more in size. Mostly, canister filters are used in display or show tanks.

Now, I am going to talk about my favorite recommendation under each of these filter types.

Matten Filter

According to me and FlipAquatics, Matten filter is simply the best filter for cherry shrimps. This filtration system is perfect for keeping as well as breeding shrimps.

The thing that makes this filter stand out from the other is the large surface area! Matten filter provides the largest surface are for bacteria to grow. It also grows micro-organism over the surface which is a natural food source for the shrimps.

Here are the features of Matten Filter:

  • Very large surface area for growing a large beneficial bacterial colony
  • Ideal water circulation throughout the shrimp tank
  • low maintenance
  • low cost
  • suitable for larger tanks and commercial breeding projects
  • Thanks to the small PPI, the shrimps don’t get stuck inside the foam
  • You’ll get roughly 4 times for surface area than a sponge filter

Matten filters are not readily available at the stores or on Amazon. You can make one yourself or get one from FlipAquatics. I think FlipAquatics offer the best quality Matten filter in the market. I’ll advise buying from them instead you trying to make one.

At FlipAquatics, the Matten Filter is made of 100% durable and shrimp safe foam. Their Matten filters are proven to work in breeding projects. In fact, it was found that the survival rate of baby shrimps spiked through the roof after using their Matten filter.

The Matten filter comes with a Lift Tube which creates the ideal amount of water flow throughout the shrimp tank. The water current flows from top to bottom which is ideal for dwarf shrimps.

As the lower portion of the lift tube sits just above the tank bottom, water from the very bottom of the tank flows towards the top and creates the perfect circulation.

Sponge Filter

If you can’t manage a Matten filter, go for a sponge filter. Sponge filters are effective too for breeding and keeping shrimp tank. However, you’ll need to make sure the filter is appropriately sized for the tank. Generally, I take the largest one I can afford.

This is because, the larger the sponge filter is, the more surface area it will offer for beneficial bacterial colony to grow. It’ll also grow more micro-organism for the cherry shrimps.

Moreover, an undersized sponge filter won’t be able to properly circulate the water throughout the tank. So, get the largest one you can afford.

I love the one from Powkoo. It has double 10 layer sponge design which offers superb surface area. This filter also does a pretty good job of mechanical and biological filtration. The dual sponge offers larger surface area than a single sponge filter. It quickens the cycling process of the tank as well as keep the shrimp tank cleaner & healthier.

This model is suitable for fish tanks up to 30 gallons. All you need to do is connect the air line tube between the air inlet of the sponge filter and the air pump. Then simply turn ON the air pump and the filter should start filtration immediately. As the filter runs on Air Pump, your tank will get pretty good aeration too!

Maintenance is also pretty easy. All the parts are detachable. You can simply take off the parts, clean them in ‘Tank Water’ and put the filter back on.

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If you want to know more about this sponge filter and check out the latest price on Amazon, click here.

Hang on Back Filter

If you are keeping other tank mates in the tank beside shrimps, a sponge filter won’t be able to cope up with the bioload. In such a case, you’ll need a Hang On Back filter.

I love HOB filters for the following reasons:

  • HOB filters come with a chamber. So, you can customize the filter media if you want. It also provides better filtration.
  • In the chamber, you can put chemical filter media like bio-balls or activated carbon. Chemical filtration is not possible with a sponge or Matten filter
  • The filter is not visible and it doesn’t use any space inside the tank. So, your cherry shrimps will get to enjoy the full tank space.

I don’t like HOB filters for the following reasons:

  • There is no filter media inside the tank for micro-organisms to grow. So, the cherry shrimps can’t enjoy grazing on the sponge.
  • The inlet power of the pump can be too powerful for the baby shrimps and they can get sucked inside the chamber. However, you can prevent that by covering the inlet pump with a thin layer of foam or sponge.

There are many HOB filters available in the market. I like the Penguin model from Marineland.

This HOB filter from Marineland comes with a rotating bio-wheel. This rotating bio-wheel technology is excellent at biological filtration.

Your tank will be filtered in 3 distinct stages: mechanical filtration, biological filtration as well as chemical filtration.

Also, the filter comes in 5 different GPH settings so you can easily choose the one that suits your shrimp tank.

If you want to check out the latest price on Amazon, click here.

Canister Filter

As I have mentioned earlier, I think canister filters for cherry shrimp tank is a bit overkill. These are the most expensive ones among all the filters mentioned in this article.

Canister filters are generally used for show tank and they offer the most supreme filtration. You can definitely go for one if you have the budget.

Canister filters don’t sit inside the tank. You’ll set them below the tank. It has a larger chamber than HOB filter. The chamber is generally divided into multiple stages for providing multiple filtration: mechanical filtration, biological filtration, and chemical filtration.

If you are willing to get a canister filter for your shrimp tank, you can get the one from Penn Plax Cascade Model. It is currently one of the most popular canister filter models in Amazon. There are certainly many reasons for this such as:

  • The filter comes with 3 media baskets for providing the ultimate filtration
  • Can be suitable for tanks up to 100 gallon! The GPH rate is 265
  • You can use customized filter media if you want
  • 360 degree rotating flow valves make the setup even easier
  • You can easily prime the filter with its push-button primer
  • Multiple sizes are available. So, you can choose the one that fits your shrimp tank

Here are the things I don’t like about canister filter in general:

  • Not suitable for beginners as setting up can be quite tricky
  • Generally lot more expensive than other filtration systems
  • Overkill for using in a cherry shrimp tank
  • Like the HOB filter, there is no filter media available inside the shrimp tank for micro-organism to grow

If you are not new to fish keeping and have a good budget, you are more than welcome to use a canister filter on your shrimp tank. You can check out the Penn Plax Cascade Aquarium Filter on Amazon by clicking here.

berried orange shrimp with eggs
Owner: Ricky Sales

How To Cycle Cherry Shrimp Tank Fast?

Here are some tips you can follow to cycle your cherry shrimp tank much faster:

  • Instead of setting up a new filter, you can set up an old sponge filter that has already been running in another tank. This at least doubles the cycling speed because the old sponge filter already has a good amount of bacterial colony over it. So, the whole nitrogen cycle process jumps start!
  • Run your tank with a new filter. After a couple of days, take a old sponge filter that has already been running in another tank. Squeeze the old sponge filter over the new tank. Instantly the tank will get cloudy. This is good. The cloud is just all the bacteria settling over the new tank.
  • To kick start the nitrogen cycling process, you can add some hardy fishes such as comic goldfish, bristlenose, plecos, etc.
  • In order to keep the tank always cycled, adding snails can be a great option. I always like to keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails in my shrimp tank. Snails provide the necessary bioload that keeps the beneficial bacterial colony alive.

Tips For Buying A Cherry Shrimp Filter

While you are preparing for buying a filter for cherry shrimp tank, keep in mind these tips. They might help you out a lot:

  • If you are using a HOB or canister filter, always cover the inlet with a thin layer of foam or sponge. Otherwise, the baby shrimps can get sucked inside the filter which will be deadly for them. You’ll start to see less and less shrimps everyday but can’t figure out what is happening.
  • Always choose a filter that is appropriately sized for your shrimp tank. You can go oversize for the tank, but certainly not under. An undersized filter will not be able to properly circulate the water throughout the tank. So, the tank will not be filtered properly.
  • If you just want to breed shrimps in your home, there is actually no need for getting a canister filter unless you really want one. On the other hand, if you are preparing for a showcase tank, you can certainly use a gorgeous canister filter.
  • Keep in mind that filters need regular maintenance. You cant just buy a filter and forget about it for 6 months. I regularly clean my filter at least once a month.
  • When cleaning the filter media, never use tap water. Always use the water from tank. Otherwise, you may accidentally kill all the beneficial bacterial colony on the filter media. If it happens, the tank’s nitrogen cycle will get to zero and it’ll have to be started all over again.
  • If you are not sure how much flow rate you should be aiming for, get a volume calculator. It’ll make the calculation easier for you.
  • When installing the filter for the first time, make sure to run the filter media under clean water for a few minutes. It will remove any type of metal additive from the media. Metal additives can be deadly for cherry shrimps as they are very delicate to water parameters.
gorgeous yellow cherry shrimp grazing on leaves
Owner: Kaz Brown

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cherry shrimp need a filter?

Cherry shrimp need filters that help with biological aspects, and unless the aquarium is heavily planted, cherry shrimp won’t thrive happily without a filter.

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If the tank is densely planted and the bioload is extremely low, cherry shrimp can live or thrive without a filter. However, having a filter will provide better water quality for cherry shrimp, which ensures proper growth.

Overall, it is recommended to have a filter for cherry shrimp to maintain their health and well-being.

How to keep shrimp out of filter?

There are several ways to keep shrimp out of a filter.

One way is to use a fine mesh pre-filter on the filter intake tube, which prevents the shrimp from entering the filter.

The Fluval Edge pre-filter is a popular option that fits on most intakes. It is recommended to rinse the pre-filter every 2nd or 3rd day to prevent clogging.

Another way is to block the path to the filter by placing a barrier or mesh around the filter intake.

Additionally, placing a sponge on the filter tube can prevent shrimp from being sucked up into the filter.

It is also important to ensure that the water flow is not too strong, as this can harm or kill shrimp.

What is the best filter for shrimp breeding?

There are several types of filters that can be used for shrimp breeding tanks, but the most popular and recommended filter is the sponge filter.

Sponge filters are gentle and provide biological filtration, which is important for shrimp breeding. They also provide a surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow and are cost-effective. 

Other types of filters that can be used include hang-on-back filters and canister filters, but these may have a stronger water flow that can harm or stress the shrimp.

Is shrimp filter guard necessary?

A filter guard is not necessary for all shrimp tanks, but it can be beneficial in certain circumstances. It is typically used to prevent shrimp from being sucked into the filter intake and potentially killed.

A filter guard is not necessary if the filter intake has a sponge or pre-filter installed, or if the filter intake is covered by a mesh or sponge.

However, if the filter intake does not have any protection, a filter guard can be useful in preventing shrimp from being sucked into the filter. Additionally, if the shrimp in the tank are small or newborn, a filter guard can be helpful in providing extra protection.

Do shrimp tanks need carbon filter?

The use of a carbon filter in a shrimp tank is not necessary, but it can be beneficial in certain situations. Carbon filters are typically used to remove impurities and discoloration from the water, but they can also remove medications, which can be harmful to shrimp.

Carbon filters are not necessary in a shrimp tank if the water is properly maintained through regular water changes and proper feeding.

However, if the tank has a strong odor or discoloration, a carbon filter can help improve the water quality.

Are canister filters necessary for shrimp tank?

Canister filters are not necessary for a shrimp tank, but they can be beneficial in certain situations. These filters are typically used for larger aquariums and can provide powerful filtration, but they can also have a strong water flow that can harm or stress shrimp.

Canister filters can be beneficial for larger tanks or tanks with a heavy bioload. They can provide mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, which can help maintain good water quality in the tank.


So, this is my detailed guide on filtration for cherry shrimp tank. I tried to share everything I know so that you can offer nothing but the best filtration to your cherry shrimps.

For a cherry shrimp tank, I don’t believe you have to buy the most expensive filter. For many years I’ve only used a sponge filter and got good breeding from it. So, don’t limit yourself thinking you need to spend $100 on a filter.

Just go through my recommendations and buy one that falls within your budget. You’ll be good to go then!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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