How Many Shrimps Does It Take To Start A Colony?

Started loving shrimp? Want to prioritize your pleasure and start keeping shrimp? Generally, beginner shrimp keepers have a lot of questions like do I have to keep a lot of shrimps? How many shrimps does it take to start a colony? How long does it take to grow a colony?

So, in today’s article, I’m going to answer all the queries of new shrimp keepers.

It just takes one male and one female to start a colony. I would recommend starting with 2 females and 1 male or 3 females and 2 males. After they adapt to the environment of the tank, you can add 10 to 15 shrimps to the colony.

In this article, I’ve explained further why you should start with a small colony, how long it will take to grow a colony and some important factors to start a colony. If you are thinking to start a colony, you should definitely read the article till the end.

How Many Shrimps Does It Take To Start A Colony?

As we all know, it just takes 1 male and 1 female to start a colony. But if you are serious about building a large and healthy shrimp colony, you will need more shrimps. The more, the better.

I’ve seen many aquarists giving newbies the advice to start with at least 10 shrimps. But I won’t recommend that. I would rather say to start with 2 females and 1 male or 3 females and 2 males.

The reason behind this is I’ve seen some new aquarists starting with a big colony and ending up losing almost all of them. Maybe because the shrimps couldn’t adjust to the tank’s environment and started stressing.

We all know that stress is not good for shrimps. It causes disinterest in food, slow growth rate, reduce immunity and much more.

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So start with a limited number of shrimps. Shrimps are sensitive. So as I told before, take care of your beautiful shrimps and feed them well. Observe them for one week or two weeks.

If they service and look healthy, you can add new members to the colony. Now you can use those experiences to maintain the whole colony.

Recently I set up a new aquarium and started with five shrimps, 2 males and 3 females. Now I have 20 beautiful and healthy red charry shrimps in my tank.

 For an aquarist, it’s the most satisfying and exciting moment to see small beautiful shrimps in the aquarium.

How Long Does It Take For A Shrimp Colony To Grow?

It depends on what species and age of shrimp you choose to start with.

The pregnancy duration of shrimps is usually 1 month (can slightly differ depending on the species, environment and other things). A suitable and comfortable environment plays an important role in this time. A shrimp can produce 20-50 shrimps each time.

So if you have started with adult and reproducible shrimps, it will take one and a half to 2 months to grow a colony. I recommend starting with adult shrimp because they can breed faster and grow a big colony.

Moreover, if you have started with baby shrimps, it may take 3 to 6 months for them to grow up, breed and expand a colony.

Things To Consider Before Starting A Colony

A healthy and happy colony needs a favorable environment. When you are thinking of building up a colony you have to consider a few things to ensure that environment.

The number of shrimps in the beginning, the number of males and females, the size of the aquarium, shrimps species and health condition are some of those factors.

Start With A Few Shrimp

When you are thinking to start a colony, don’t introduce a big shrimp colony at the beginning. You have to observe a few things first like:

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 Are they able to adapt to the tank environment?

Are they stressed?

Can they survive?

 I have seen many new aquarists starting with 20 or more shrimps and guess what only 2 or 3 survived from them. Sensitive species like red cherry shrimps are likely seen to die after a few days of introducing to the tank.

So if you are new to shrimp keeping, firstly introduce a limited number of shrimps like 3-5. Observe their activities for some weeks. If they survive and look healthy, you can expand the colony.

Number Of Males And Females

The number of males and females is very important in increasing the colony size. If you are serious about your shrimp’s breeding, you have to start with the correct proportion of male and female shrimps.

When there are fewer females than males, males start fighting with each other to mate with the female shrimp. As males are aggressive, they may even end up killing each other.

When the opposite happens, naturally females will not engage in quarrels with each other to mate with the male as they are not as aggressive as males. But they will definitely be stressed.

Both of the environment is definitely not so good for the shrimp colony. Moreover, you will not get your desired shrimp colony in this condition.

I recommend keeping a few more females than males. For example, if you are starting with 10 shrimps, you can keep 6 females and 4 males. If there are 5, you can keep 3 females and two males.

This kind of mix-up ensures a healthy and safe breeding environment for shrimps.

The Size Of The Aquarium

Shrimp colony size directly relates to your aquarium. Shrimps are active pets you can ever think of. They are always seen playing in the tank. So they need enough space to grow properly and stay healthy.

How many shrimps you will keep in your shrimp colony depends on the size of your aquarium. Shrimps don’t like frequent changes. So if you intend to build a large colony, you should prepare your aquarium according to that in the beginning. Then you don’t have to be concerned about when the shrimp’s colony will grow.

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Again shrimps need enough plants and hiding places. During molting they become weak. At this time, they try to hide themselves. So you have to ensure enough hiding space for them.

Overall, 5-10 gallon capacity tank is enough to build a medium size colony. Here you can easily keep 50 to 100 shrimps.

Health Condition Of Shrimps

Adult and healthy shrimps are the first requirements to enlarge the shrimp colony.

If you have collected adult shrimps that have been in a colony before, the female shrimps can already be pregnant. So do some research when you are collecting shrimp.

Don’t just check a website and buy them. In such cases, you may get all shrimps of one gender like all males or all females. It’s not suitable for any shrimp tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How Fast A Shrimp Colony Can Grow?

Starting with adult and reproducible shrimps takes one and a half to 2 months to grow a colony. On the other hand, starting with baby shrimps takes 3 to 6 months to grow a colony.

A shrimp colony can grow faster when there’s a proper breeding environment in the tank. Thumps of rule is to keep more females than males.

Q. How Many Shrimps Do I Need To Breed?

It just takes 1 male and 1 female shrimp to breed. But more shrimps increase the chance of breeding. You can start with 5, two male and three female shrimps. This can provide a good breeding environment (this is just my experience).

Final Thoughts

I have tried to keep the article simple and easy for beginner shrimp keepers. I have covered all the necessary information that you should know before starting a shrimp colony. Considering those things, you can start building a healthy and big-sized colony.

So, happy shrimp keeping.

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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