9 Best Freshwater Aquarium Shrimps for Beginners

Best Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp for Beginners

If you are a new aquarist and are considering what fishes to choose for your fish tank, freshwater shrimps could be a great choice to go with. They co-exist with other species peacefully, come in a variety of vibrant colors, and maintain the balance of the aquarium ecosystem by eating up algae.

Today, we will talk about the best freshwater aquarium shrimp that you can contemplate putting into your tank.

9 Best Freshwater Aquarium Shrimps for Beginners

1. Red Cherry Shrimps

red cherry shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina heteropoda
  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 68 – 78 °F
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 7.5
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 2 Gallons

Red Cherry Shrimps are the most common variant of aquaria shrimps. Originally from Taiwan, these shrimps get their name from their fiery red outer shell.

Red Cherry Shrimps are also known as Fire and Sakura Shrimps. Having excellent scavenging characteristics, these shrimps are very easy to care for as they feed on the algae and organic debris inside the tank.

What makes Red Cherry Shrimps immensely popular? As we have already said, they are very low maintenance, and they have a beautiful cherry red exterior.

Another reason to go for them is their ability to blend into a diverse community of aquatic species. Unless you have any predatory fish in your tank, Red Cherry Shrimps will be comfortable living alongside other species.

These shrimps thrive in water temperatures between 68 – 78 °F. It would be best if you don’t experiment with the thermostat too much. Red Cherry Shrimps prefer a stable temperature.

I would recommend keeping the temperature close to the 78 °F mark because they are highly reproductive in such a warm condition. Higher temperatures, however, would reduce the level of oxygen dissolved in the water and put the lives of your shrimps at risk.

These shrimps thrive in water temperatures between 68 – 78 °F. It would be best if you don’t experiment with the thermostat too much. Red Cherry Shrimps prefer a stable temperature.

I would recommend keeping the temperature close to the 78 °F mark because they are highly reproductive in such a warm condition. Higher temperatures, however, would reduce the level of oxygen dissolved in the water and put the lives of your shrimps at risk.

You can buy high-quality Red Cherry Shrimp from Flip Aquatics. They have a 100% Live Arrival Guarantee which is fantastic for us. Also, the price is pretty cheap compared to other places.

2. Amano Shrimp

amano shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Caridina multidentata
  • Size: 2-3 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 68 – 78 °F
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 8.0
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 5 Gallons

Amano Shrimps were made famous by renowned Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano back in the ‘80s, and the shrimps were subsequently named after him. Amano demonstrated the utility of these shrimps as a powerful algae control measure because of their high algae consumption traits.

In terms of popularity, they rank right behind Red Cherry Shrimps worldwide. Amano Shrimps are endemic to Japan and Taiwan and are also known as Japanese or Yamato Shrimps.

These shrimps come with a translucent body marked with reddish-brown or bluish-green spots. You can distinguish between male and female with the nature of these markings.

In female Amano Shrimps, the markings appear as long streaks of color while the males exhibit more evenly dispersed spots across their shells. Some species of shrimps look almost identical to Amano Shrimps, so be wary of impostors and look-alikes while buying.

Amano Shrimps are one of the best freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners because they are quite hardy, and they can survive in adverse water conditions. These are very social creatures. They love living in groups, playing, eating, and swimming together.

If you have a heavily planted tank, you can consider deploying a bunch of Amano Shrimps to thin out the aquatic jungle and keep the water cleaner.

If you take good care of them, Amano Shrimps can live around two to three years. However, they are not used to breeding in confined environments. They prefer saltwater for mating and laying eggs, therefore you will have to catch them from their original habitat and then transfer them to an aquarium.

Measuring 2-3 inches on average, these shrimps are some of the largest dwarf shrimps in existence. So, they are ideal for larger tanks with more roaming space.

If you are looking for REAL Amano Shrimp, check out Flip Aquatics. You need to be careful while buying them as many buyers sell other shrimps like ghost shrimps in the name of Amano Shrimps. So, you need to get them from some place trustworthy, like Flip Aquatics.

3. Ghost Shrimp

ghost shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Palaemonetes paludosus
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 65– 80 °F
  • pH Level:  7.0 – 7.8
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 5 Gallons

Ghost Shrimps have transparent bodies, but unlike the Amano Shrimps we had just discussed, they don’t have clearly visible markings on their bodies.

After thousands of years of evolution, Ghost Shrimps have achieved this glass-like appearance, which makes them almost invisible to fishes looking for prey. You can fit in 15-20 of these shrimps in a 5-gallon fish tank with non-predatory neighbors.

We need to give you a warning before you add some Ghost Shrimps to your tank-they die very fast. Normally, a Ghost Shrimp has an average lifespan of 6 months.

But once introduced into a new environment, they tend to die within a day or two. So, if you add a hundred of these into a new tank, chances are only 15-20 of them would be able to avoid premature deaths. Shrimps bred within the tank will have a full life expectancy.

We consider Ghost Shrimps to be one of the best freshwater aquarium shrimp because they are easy to keep and they do wonders in keeping your tank clean. They are excellent scavengers and will feed on undesirable algae and residual fish food.

They live harmoniously beside any species which would keep them out of their menu. You can also put them in the same container as carnivorous Bettas. Bettas don’t hunt Ghost Shrimps as they are too large of a meal for them.

Although these shrimps are found in abundance in Northern American water bodies, Ghost Shrimps probably hail from southwest Asia. They love tropical weather, so keep the water temperature within 65– 80 °F.

You should have lavish planting at the floor of your aquarium for providing ample hiding places for Ghost Shrimps. Even when there is no threat around, Ghost Shrimps are accustomed to navigating through the greenery underwater.

4. Crystal Shrimp

crystal red shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Caridina cantonensis
  • Size: 1-1.5 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 65– 76 °F
  • pH Level:  5.5-7.2
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 2 Gallons

Crystal Shrimps, or Bee Shrimps, have made a name for themselves for their striking color palettes. These shrimps are specially bred all over the world, and you can see them in a plethora of color variations.

The red and black Crystal Shrimps are the most prominent ones. What makes Crystal Shrimps so remarkable is their vivid, elegant complexion that matches no other types of shrimp.

Crystal Shrimps are not as easy to care for as the likes of Red Cherry Shrimps and Amano Shrimps. These are very delicate invertebrates, which would have a hard time surviving the slightest deviation from ideal parameters.

You must pay attention to every detail and ensure the shrimps stay comfortable. The temperature cannot exceed above 76 °F or drop below 65°F. These shrimps can live in slightly acidic water, but pH 5.5, which matches the pH level of human skin, is as low as you can go.

Keeping Crystal Shrimps in your tank does require a bit more effort than the species we’ve already discussed and the ones we will discuss in this article. But, it’s not overly difficult for a new hobbyist to take care of Crystal Shrimps.

Yes, you do need to make special arrangements for these shrimps, but the glamour they would add to your aquarium is unparalleled. Trust me, the extra work is well worth it.

Since Crystal Shrimps are so sensitive to their surroundings, they are not appropriate for community housing. You can try to accommodate them with some salt of the earth tank mates, but my suggestion would be to go solo.

The minute of environmental changes could be the cause of demise for your beloved Crystal Shrimps. However, with regular monitoring, you will relish the sight of vibrant Crystal Shrimps scampering together in your aquarium.

The most popular crystal shrimp is the Crystal Red Shrimp. The good quality ones aren’t that common in many places. Fortunately, you can get a good deal for them on Flip Aquatics Right Now.

5. Pinokio Shrimp

Pinokio Shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Caridina gracilirostris
  • Size: 1-1.5 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 75 – 80 °F
  • pH Level:  7.0 – 8.0
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 2 Gallons

The Pinokio Shrimp goes by a lot of names-Rudolp, Red Nose, and Red Skunks to name a few. It has a distinctive long rostrum, which can regenerate upon breaking.

As a tribute to the legendary Walt Disney character Pinocchio, whose nose grows every time he tells a lie, the shrimp has been named Pinokio. These shrimps can be found in many parts of the world including Japan, Indonesia, Fiji, and Madagascar.

Pinokio Shrimps could be a unique addition to your collection. Despite their ravishing looks, very few people know they even exist. Pinokio Shrimps are very difficult to breed in an aquarium, which explains why they didn’t go mainstream in the aquarium culture.

That said, they can be as effective as other algae-eating shrimps. So, if you need to keep the algae population in check, these shrimps won’t let you down.

These shrimps also defy sexual stereotypes. Rather contrary to the usual, male Pinokio shrimps are larger and more colorful than their female counterparts.

I’ve already said that in-tank reproduction for Pinokio shrimps is difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you can introduce a strong planktonic or biofilm culture within the aquarium, you can breed more Pinokios. But, it would be quite a hassle!

These guys are quite a jumper! They can jump out of an open lid aquarium, so you need to make sure the lid stays on. They can also crawl surfaces, therefore no matter how large your aquarium is, it has to have a closed ceiling. 

You need to give them supplemental food in new aquariums, but once the filter is established, they can take care of their own. Pinokio Shrimps are fragile and vulnerable in low temperatures, so you have to ensure amicable heating.

6. Indian Whisker Shrimp

whisker shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Macrobrachium lamarrei
  • Size: 2-3 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 65 – 80 °F
  • pH Level:  7.0 – 7.8
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 5 Gallons

Indian Whisker Shrimps are often mistaken for Ghost Shrimps because of their striking similarities. Both have transparent bodies and the physical differences between the two are very subtle.

Ghost Shrimps have two hard-to-notice dots on their tails and red markings on their claw arms while Indian Whisker Shrimps have a racing blue line on their bodies and have larger claws.

The most noticeable difference between the two of these species is their behavior. Indian Whisker Shrimps are not as amicable as Ghost Shrimps, rather they are quite hostile towards some species, including Ghost Shrimps.

Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend putting these shrimps in a community tank. If you do want to diversify your tank’s environment, you have to be very selective to pick the tank mates for these shrimps.

Because of the resemblance, some sellers sell them branding as the same species. You need to be careful to make sure you don’t get Indian Whisker Shrimps instead of Ghost Shrimps and vice-versa.

Ghost Shrimps will flourish in most standard aquarium conditions, while Indian Whiskers will attack some species in the tank. They are also way more difficult to procreate in freshwater captivity.

Other than the breeding part, these shrimps don’t need meticulous caring. So, they can be the best freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners, who are looking to keep a single species.

These shrimps love eating! In a properly populated tank, they will leave no leftover behind. However, you need to remember the fact that there won’t be any other species to scrounge the debris. So, it would be wiser to feed them in moderation.

7. Babaulti Shrimp

babulti shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Caridina babaulti
  • Size: 1 inch
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 75 – 80 °F
  • pH Level:  6.5 – 7.5
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 5 Gallons.

If you are looking for something exotic and deviant to diversify your tank population, you can’t do much better than Babaulti Shrimps. These beautiful inverts are native to the Indian subcontinent and are definitely the best freshwater shrimp for beginners who prefer to go with something out of the ordinary.

You can find these shrimps in many colors including red, yellow, and green. Some also have stripes akin to zebras on their shells, but they are very rare.

Behavior-wise, these shrimps are quite similar to Red Cherry Shrimps. They like to mind their own business and won’t bother any other inhabitants of the tank in a diverse group.

However, they do tend to be a bit shier than other species, but with time, they will grow accustomed to the shared environment. This sounds pretty obvious, but they shouldn’t be kept alongside larger fish that would prey upon them.

To harvest a colony of Babulti Shrimps, you need a minimum tank capacity of 5 gallons. I believe a larger tank would be more helpful, especially if you are still learning your ropes as a recreational aquarist.

You can cross-breed Babaultis with other shrimps belonging to the Cardinia genus. They would multiply prolifically in a moderately hard water tank under favorable temperatures.

These shrimps feast on vegetations, so they would do great in heavily planted aquariums. But, since they tend to hide while other species are around, too much vegetation might make them almost impossible to see. You can feed them cucumbers and other vegetables to ensure their proper nutrition.

They grow to an inch at most, when they are fully-grown. Babaulti Shrimps prefer tropical water conditions with temperatures varying within 75 – 80 °F.

8. Snowball Shrimp

snowball shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina palmata var. “Snowball”
  • Size: 1-2 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 65 – 85 °F
  • pH Level:  6.3 – 7.8
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 2 Gallons.

Snowball Shrimps have every essential attribute we look for while trying to pick the best freshwater shrimp for beginners.  They are conveniently low maintenance, have a high tolerance to changing conditions, and breeds fast in confinement.

These shrimps are indigenous to the South East Asian region surrounding Taiwan but are nowadays industrially bred in Europe and North America.

These shrimps are some of the most resilient ones you would ever come across. They won’t give up without a fight when the tank condition deteriorates.

They can survive in vaguely acidic to vaguely alkaline water and is indifferent to temperature fluctuations between 65 – 85 °F. However, they don’t fare well in mineral-rich water. So, you have to accommodate them in a soft water setting.

These shrimps are closely related to Red Cherry Shrimps and share many of their characteristics. The name Snowball Shrimp comes from the small, pearly-white eggs laid by the females that resemble tiny snowballs. 

You can team up Snowball Shrimps with any aquatic herbivores and also with some omnivores which only feed on smaller entities like zooplanktons. They shed their exoskeletons frequently, so you might see a lot of perished shrimp skin lying on the floor of the aquarium.

The life cycle of these shrimps is expected to last two years. They usually grow to 1-1.25 inches as adults, but in some exceptional cases, Snowball Shrimp can grow as much as 2 inches.

The eating habits of these shrimps are far from finicky. Of course, they would love occasional treats of supplemental shrimp feed every now and then. But primarily, they would collect their food from the aquarium environs.

You can buy high-quality Snowball Shrimp from The Shrimp Farm. They strictly control the quality of the shrimps they sell. Also, the price is pretty cheap compared to other places.

9. Blue Dream Shrimp

blue dream shrimp
  • Scientific Name: Neocaridina davidi var. ‘’Blue’’
  • Size: 1-1.25 inches
  • Ideal Water Temperature: 68 – 80 °F
  • pH Level:  6.2 – 8.0
  • Minimum Recommended Tank Size: 2 Gallons.

Blue Dream Shrimps are not so distant relatives of Red Cherry Shrimps. They are selectively bred from Blue Velvet Shrimps, which happens to be a different color variety of Red Cherries.

The electric blue shade of Blue Dream Shrimps looks majestic on any aquarium setting, especially against pitch-black substrates.

There are several aliases of these beautiful shrimps, among them Sapphire Shrimps and Deep Blue Shrimps are the most common ones.

Since Blue Dream Shrimps are interbred from other species, you won’t find them in any natural habitat. These shrimps are born in an aquarium, so they would thrive in captivity, unlike many other species.

They are very easy to care and breed, which makes them one of the best freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners, if not the best. 

These shrimps like to nourish themselves naturally by scavenging, but you can always throw in some extra food for better nutrition.

What I like most about these shrimps is their profound tolerability to varying conditions. They adapt to the aquarium environment almost instantaneously and remain comfortable across a varying range of parameters.

With enough nutriment and conducive water parameters, Blue Dream Shrimps can recreate in abundance. They can also breed with other species and give birth to a different cross-species variant.

Blue Dream Shrimps are not known for showing aggression to other species. You can keep them in a community tank with cooperative companions. Since they never grow beyond 1 and a half inch, a 2-gallon capacity could be sufficient to house 8-10 of these little fellas.

However, as they multiply and expand their colony, it would be better to relocate them to a larger tank. These shrimps feel at home in both soft and hard water environments.

You can buy high-quality Blue Dream Shrimp from Flip Aquatics. They have a 100% Live Arrival Guarantee which is fantastic for us. Also, the price is pretty cheap compared to other places.

Why Should You Keep Freshwater Shrimps in Your Aquarium?

Freshwater shrimps can be a great addition to your aquarium because of the following reasons-

Maintaining Cleanliness

Shrimps are lively creatures, which constantly keep feeding on food residuals and algae. They also feed on the excrement of other inhabitants of the tank. Doing so, they keep the water pollution level in check and prevent it from getting cloudy.

Fit For Nano Tanks

Many shrimp species are sized between one to three inches, which makes them particularly suitable for nano tank confinement. You can also put them in larger community tanks alongside other docile species.

Beautiful Appearance

Shrimps have much more to offer than just cleaning crew services in an aquarium. The likes of Red Cherry Shrimps, Chrystal Shrimps, and Blue Dream Shrimps can liven up the demeanor of any aquatic setting with their gorgeous display of color.

Easy to Care For

The best freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners can be maintained by any amateur aquarium hobbyist. These species mostly keep themselves fed by munching on the tank’s vegetation, leftover food and other waste material inside the tank.

Some shrimps are far less demanding in terms of water variables and can survive in fairly adverse scenarios.

Easy to Breed

Species like Babaulti Shrimps and Blue Dream Shrimps can reproduce prolifically within the enclosure of an aquarium. You don’t have to make sizeable changes to your existing system to make them breed.

You can also interbreed between multiple species to spawn hybrids. You can sell fries to other aquarists or exchange them for store credit in pet stores.

How Many Shrimps Should You Keep In Your Aquarium?

Many aquarium owners are confused regarding the ideal number of shrimps to put in a tank. Shrimps do like to live in groups, but you need to make sure the tank doesn’t get overcrowded and makes life difficult for all of its inhabitants.

The optimal number of shrimps to place in a tank depends on two factors-

  1. The size of the tank
  2. The size of the shrimps

The majority of aquarium shrimps are dwarf shrimps, which rarely grows beyond 3 or 3 and a half feet in size. Considering that, you can make room for 10 shrimps per gallon.

This means, if you have a 5-gallon tank, you should be able to keep 50 dwarf shrimps at a time in there without compromising their well-being.

Just to be safe, you can begin with 5 shrimps per gallon. And then you can gradually increase it to 10 shrimps per gallon.

What Fish Can You Put Beside Shrimps In Your Aquarium?

In a community aquarium, you need to be careful about the species you put together. Some of the shrimps are solitary creatures and harbor a combative attitude towards any other species that come nearby.

Most shrimps don’t mind the company and make excellent tank mates to other underwater species.

However, they also happen to be popular fish food. Any carnivore that is large enough to eat a shrimp will make a move for them in the tank.

You can keep the likes of Tetras, Guppies, Danios, Pygmy Corydoras in a freshwater shrimp tank. These species are omnivores, but they are too small to go after shrimps that grow more than 2 inches in size.

If you keep them well-fed, they won’t bother going after the shrimps. In maturely planted aquariums, your shrimps will get ample hiding space should any of these fish do intend to attack them.

That said, there is no guarantee that you won’t miss some shrimps occasionally. But, in a properly maintained tank the shrimps would quickly reproduce and make up for the loss.

Otocinclus and Bristlenose plecos are absolute safe bets. Both of these species feed on vegetation, but they need larger space to thrive. Basically, all algae savoring fish are compatible with shrimps in a tank.

But, these fish also tend to generate a load of waste because of their dietary habit and deteriorate the overall tank hygiene. Also, they are more difficult to look after compared to other species.

How to Care for Freshwater Shrimps?

If you had been reading from the first, you are now well familiar with some of the best freshwater aquarium shrimps for beginners. But, you should also know how to take care of them once you put them in your aquarium.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your shrimp population healthy and growing:

Maintain Ideal Water Chemistry and Temperature

Securing habitable water conditions by meeting all necessary credentials is shrimp tank maintenance 101. Shrimps are very susceptible to changes in water temperature and pH levels.

If you don’t fulfill these parameters properly, you would be pushing the shrimps of your tanks towards an early demise. It is recommended to keep them in larger aquariums with minimal fluctuations in water quality and temperature.

You need to know which water type suits which species. Cardinal Shrimps, for instance, burgeon in highly ionized hard water. But, a Crystal Shrimp would struggle to survive in that water as it naturally lives in soft water biotopes.

That said, you should keep the tank free of ammonia and keep the nitrate count as low as possible. That’s one maintenance rule that applies to all water types.

Recreate Their Natural Habitat

To keep your shrimps happy and healthy, it’s imperative that you make them feel at home. Don’t cram them into smaller tanks, try to give the shrimps sufficient swimming space.

Use a substrate at the bottom of the aquarium to mimic a riverbed, where the shrimps can excavate for food. Refrain using substrates high in calcium and copper, as both of those are harmful to crustaceans.

Placing some wood chunks at the bottom would also be a nice touch. If you have other species living in the aquarium that might try to hunt shrimps, these wood pieces would grant them refuge.

Heavy vegetation would also give them enough places to hide. All these will combine to create a more representative recreation of a shrimp’s natural territory. This will make the shrimps act naturally and prompt them to come out more.

Keep It Clean

How often should you clean your shrimp tank? Well, it depends on the bioload of your tank. More fish and algae mean the need for more frequent cleanings. While shrimps do an excellent job at cleaning aquarium water, you must clean the tank manually on a regular basis.

For a well-maintained tank, once a month would suffice. But if the water gets hazy, it means a bacterial overdrive and an obvious cry for help.

Don’t Overfeed Them

If you put freshwater shrimps in a well-established aquarium, they would manage to find food on their own. Shrimps feed off biofilm and algae, and often that’s enough for their sustenance.

You should give them additional food, however, when their colony grows in size. You can feed them dedicated shrimp food found in the market, or choose to feed them tiny beats of vegetables and fruits.

It’s necessary to emphasize the fact that you should never overfeed your shrimps. Overfeeding would lead to a higher bioload, which would generate excessive levels of harmful toxins that might lead to fatalities.

Final Say

I’ve tried to handpick the best freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners among a myriad of options. All first-time shrimp keepers should find maintaining these shrimps fairly easy. Hence, you can’t do wrong choosing any one of these beautiful inverts for your aquarium.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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