How To Set Up A Shrimp Tank Easily? [Beginner’s Guide]

If you’re fond of exotic pets, you can choose shrimp as your pet. No wonder keeping pets brings a huge responsibility of ensuring their proper upbringing. The very first duty of keeping shrimp as a pet is to manage its habitation with all facilities. So, as a beginner, you might wonder how to set up a shrimp tank easily?

Since I’ve kept several shrimps for many years, I can share my experience of setting up a shrimp tank here. In this article, I’ve shed light on details of shrimp tank setup, essential tank items, and other additional curiosities.

Hence, I’ll urge you to go through this article to get a detailed idea of shrimp tank setup step by step.

What Are Needed For A Shrimp Tank?

Even if you’re a beginner, there will not be much hassle to take care of pet shrimp. These shrimps are extremely adaptable to tank conditions. Although these crustaceans are hardy pets, you must ensure their basic tank accessories.

Hence, you’ll require an arranged list that helps you buy the essential tank items in one go. So, let’s check out the following list of basic tank items.

  1. An aquarium of right-sized
  2. Tank lid
  3. Substrate
  4. Live plants
  5. Aquarium lighting
  6. Aquarium heater
  7. Thermometer
  8. Shrimp filter
  9. Hideouts
  10. Décor
  11. Water conditioner
  12. Air bubbler and air stone
  13. Protein skimmer
  14. UV sterilizers
  15. Water testing kits

Video: My Shrimp Tank Setup Process

13 Steps: How Can You Set Up A Shrimp Tank?

Setting up a shrimp tank is more than just an exciting venture; it’s about creating a miniature ecosystem.

As Abhisek Mallick, a renowned shrimp expert from Kolkata, explains, ‘We prefer smaller tanks for experienced keepers, but a 2*1*1 tank is ideal for caridina/neocaridina shrimps. The choice of substrate, filter, and light is crucial, with preferences like ADA Amazonia soil, sponge filters with good aeration, and LED lighting to avoid temperature increases. For plants, floating species, mosses, and ferns are recommended while avoiding stem plants to prevent soil disturbance.’

Mallick’s emphasis on specific water parameters like TDS, GH, PH, and temperature underlines the precision needed in shrimp keeping. His advice is invaluable for both novice and experienced enthusiasts.

Step 1: Choosing A Shrimp Tank

Since shrimp are aquatic living, these crustaceans are highly sensitive to water quality. Hence, you should keep your pet shrimp in a large water volume. The smaller tank gets polluted fast than the larger tank.

Besides, you must be adding other essential stuff to the tank. So, if you choose a small tank, your shrimp will not get enough room to thrive comfortably. 

The experts suggest buying a shrimp tank of a minimum of 5 gallons. But, the ideal tank capacity will be 10 gallons for keeping shrimp. So, the rule of thumb in choosing a shrimp tank is to consider a tank to keep 2-5 shrimp per gallon.

You can readily keep 10-25 cherry shrimp of 1-1.5 inches size in a 5-gallon tank. On the other hand, you can put an entire colony of shrimp in a 20-gallon tank.

Can I Put Shrimp In A 5 Gallon Tank?

There are no restrictions for keeping shrimp in a 5-gallon tank. But, when you add other tank mates of shrimp, you have to reduce the number of shrimps to keep in a 5-gallon tank.

If you set up a cherry shrimp tank, you can keep 20-30 shrimp in a 5-gallon tank. On the other hand, you can add only 5-10 Amano shrimp in a 5-gallon tank. So, depending on the size and species, the number of shrimps to keep may vary.

How Many Shrimp Does It Take To Start A Tank?

It depends on you how many shrimps you want to pet. Generally, it’s good to have a colony of 10-20 shrimp to start a tank. Depending on the size of the tank, you can add more shrimp. Keep in mind the thumb rule of keeping 5 shrimp per one gallon of water.

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Can Shrimp Live In Fish Bowls?

Shrimp do not thrive comfortably in a fish bowl as the water of a fish bowl tends to get dirty fast. So, if you keep shrimp in a fish bowl, you should adjust the heater, filter, and other required devices.

Comparatively smaller shrimp species can live in a fish bowl.

However, small-sized shrimp, like ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp can live in fish bowls without a filter or heater. Make sure to make regular water changes in the bowl. But, you should not keep freshwater shrimp in a fish bowl.

Step 2: Choosing An Ideal Spot For Tank Placement

While placing the terrarium, you should choose the ideal corner of your home. Make sure that the shrimp tank doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Since direct exposure to sunlight can raise the water temperature, your shrimp may not tolerate such changes. Choose such a place where the shrimp tank will remain safe.

Step 3: Keeping Substrate

Although you might have seen keeping shrimp tank bare-bottom, keeping substrate will improve the quality of your shrimp lives. The substrate will not only help your shrimp burrow but also help biofilm grow. In addition, it’ll enhance the naturalistic look of the tank.

Moreover, the substrate will be essential if you like to keep live plants in the tank. In addition, an active substrate will keep the water parameter idle by providing rooms for clean-up crews.

Since shrimps are natural burrowers, you should provide them with such good sources to dig out. Hence, you have to choose the right substrate for your shrimp tank. Besides, the substrate should be around 1-3” deep.

While choosing a substrate, you should ensure its capability of altering water parameters and easy maintenance.

You can choose an inert substrate for the tank of your shrimp. For a cheap option, you can choose sand as a substrate. But, the plants in the tank will not achieve proper nutrients from the substrate. But, your baby or adult shrimp can readily move out of the sand without getting hurt.

If you do not want to choose an inert substrate, you can pick an active soil substrate. However, both kinds of substrates are appropriate for all types of shrimp species.

Step 4: Fixing Tank Light

The beginners remain confused about choosing the right lighting color for their shrimp. I’ve found from some research that the shrimp growth rate fastens because of keeping them under blue lighting.

Instead of fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, you should pick LED lighting for your shrimp. However, you should keep the light off during night-time.

Do I Need A Light For My Shrimp Tank?

There remains a huge debate on the necessity of lighting in the shrimp tank. Several scientists claim that shrimp do good in dark habitats.

Although shrimp can survive without lighting, these crustaceans thrive well in the presence of light. So, you should add light to the tank of your pet shrimp.

Lighting puts a significant impact on the growth, breeding, and survival rate of your shrimp. Moreover, light helps grow algae and biofilm in the tank. When you keep live plants, lighting becomes another necessity. 

How Many Hours Of Light Do Shrimp Need?

It depends on the plants, other tank mates, and the condition of the shrimp.

Generally, if you keep your shrimp under higher light exposure, the shrimp will have higher growth and molting rate. In addition, you must keep the lighting exposure and intensity constant for breeding purposes.

The experienced owners suggest keeping pet shrimp with a minimum exposure of 8 hours per day.

If your shrimp tank doesn’t have any additional light sources, you must ensure of keeping exposed to natural light sources.

Do Brine Shrimp Need Light?

The researchers shared interesting information about brine shrimps’ attraction toward light sources. So, brine shrimp require light sources of modified intensity.

Since these shrimps remain strongly attracted to certain colored light, you should keep the light exposure low in the shrimp tank. Otherwise, your shrimp will expand a large share of their energy by increasing activity nearby the light sources.

Besides, several kinds of research show that exposure to lighting makes the successful hatching rate twice. In addition, the newly hatched brine shrimps prefer sunlight.

Step 5: Installing A Filter

Before adding water and shrimp, it’ll be better to set up a filtration system. You might know that all aquatic living produce ammonia-based wastes.

This waste build-up makes the water toxic to the shrimp and its tank mates. So, installing a filter in your shrimp tank is a must-to-do work as a shrimp owner.

Several beginners worry about their baby shrimp getting stuck into the filter accidentally. Hence, you must ensure that there remains good filter foam over the inlet pipe.

See also  How To Save A Dying Shrimp?

If you’re worried about choosing a filter, you can check out the pros and cons of AquaClear Aquarium Filter.

Do Shrimps Need A Filter?

To keep the water parameters constant, your shrimp will need a filter. The filtration system removes toxins and other harmful components from the water. It causes a healthy build-up of good bacteria that neutralizes deadly ammonia and nitrite.

If you do not afford a filter, you can manually change the water of your shrimp tank. Also, you should add a good number of live plants.

Do Shrimp Tanks Need Water Changes?

Regular water changes are good for the growth and molting of your shrimp. If you do not make water changes, the higher amount of toxin build-up can stress your shrimp.

Hence, the experts recommend changing around 20-30% water once every week. But, you must not make the horrible mistake of changing the whole water of the shrimp tank.

Is Sponge Filter Enough For Shrimp Tank?

Among several filtration options, sponge filter is getting popular among shrimp owners. This filter provides both biological and chemical filtration.

You must require an air pump along with the sponge filter. In this filtration system, the air passes from the bottom of the filter tube. As a result, small air bubbles push water into the tube. Because of having no mechanical parts, these sponge filters work more efficiently.

Besides, a sponge filter is more suitable for the shrimp tank where there are tiny shrimp or baby shrimp. Moreover, its water flow isn’t too strong to make your shrimp stressed. But, you must ensure that the shrimp tank has sufficient space to keep the sponge filter and an air pump.

Step 6: Adding Décor Items

To replicate the natural environment in captivity, you need to take the help of décor items. These décors increase the naturalistic vibe of the tank making the shrimp tank more aesthetic. Moreover, your pet shrimp will find hiding spots and spawning places among these décor items.

Let’s go through the following list of décor items needed for a shrimp tank. These are-

  • Ornamental rocks
  • Driftwood
  • Legos
  • Coconut shell
  • Live and fake plants
  • Bottles
  • Porous bricks
  • PVC pipe
  • Pine cones
  • Alder cones
  • Mesh bundles
  • Ceramic decorations
  • Skulls

Can Shrimp Live Without Plants?

If you’re confused about keeping your shrimp in a non-planted tank, you should leave your worries. In nature, some shrimps are found in little planted areas. Again, some are found in plant-dense areas.

Your shrimp can survive without plants. Though plants aren’t any vital stuff to keep in a shrimp tank, your shrimp will thrive well in the presence of plants in the tank.

Plants help keep the water clean. Thus, you need not change the water much in a planted tank than in a tank without plants.

Moreover, your shrimp can take shelter among the leaves of the plants. You might notice your shrimp hatch over the leaves.

There are several options of ideal plants for shrimp tanks. Such as java fern, java moss, dwarf lilies, water wisteria, Anubis, cryptocoryne, etc.

Step 7: Installing Air Pump And Bubblers

Installing these devices is optional for hobbyists. Let’s take a quick look at the necessity of these two pieces of equipment.

Do shrimp tanks need an air pump?

To keep your shrimp playful and healthy, you should install an air pump in your shrimp tank. But, keeping an air pump isn’t mandatory.

If you adjust a good filter in the tank, the filter will manage the work of surface agitation.

On the other hand, you should add an air pump if there’s no filter. You have to behavioral changes for your pet when they can’t get enough oxygen.

An air pump produces air bubbles that improve the surface agitation. So, this results in more dissolved oxygen in the water. Choose an appropriate air pump that makes low noise.

Do Shrimp Need Bubblers?

Since shrimp require a good source of oxygen, an air stone or bubblers can improve the life of your pet shrimp in captivity. But, this is not a mandatory device for a shrimp tank. A bubbler will facilitate the oxygenation of the tank water. Make sure that the bubble flow should remain gentle.

Step 8: Installing Heater

To create a proper habitation, you’ll need some other equipment like a heater, thermometer, etc. The room temperature can be too cold or hot for your shrimp. Thus, we face the need for a heater to keep a constant temperature of the water.

You can go through this article to know more about the ideal temperature to keep shrimp.

Do Shrimps Need A Heater?

This step is optional in setting up a shrimp tank. The necessity of a heater depends upon various conditions.

The ideal room temperature for maximum Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp is around 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room temperature doesn’t fluctuate much, your shrimp will not need a heater. But, installing a heater will make your shrimp grow and breed healthily.

See also  How To Cycle A Shrimp Tank?

Firstly, make sure that the room is warm enough to retain the ideal temperature for your shrimp tank. If your shrimp remain in cold water, its growth will stop.

Besides, you might know that shrimp are sensitive to temperature changes. If you want to breed shrimp, you must be careful about keeping the temperature constant. By considering all of these facts, you should install a heater. Considering all pros and cons, I’ll recommend checking Cobalt Aquatics Neotherm Heater.

Step 9: Filling The Shrimp Tank With Water

After installing all required devices, you should fill the shrimp tank with fresh water. Keeping the water parameters right is the biggest concern of grooming aquatic living like shrimp. The pH of the water has to be around 6.8-7.5.

Make sure that the water is free of chlorine, chloramine, and other harmful chemicals. So, the cheapest option of water is treated tap water. Otherwise, you can choose reverse osmosis water, bottled water, rainwater, boiled water, etc.

Step 10: Cycling The Shrimp Tank

The experts highly recommend all shrimp owners cycle the tank before adding shrimp. Usually, you need to cycle the shrimp tank regularly. During this process, a population of living bacteria gets established to neutralize the ammonia and nitrite contents.

There are a lot of ways to cycle the shrimp tank. One of the popular ways to remove ammonia is to add more ammonia. This ammonia will get converted to nitrite that eventually will turn into nitrate.

However, you need to keep an aquarium water test kit to check the water parameters. Check out API Freshwater Master Test Kit to test the tank water.

Also, you may wait for around 6-8 weeks to finish up the entire cycling process. When the ammonia and nitrite levels get zero, you can finally add shrimp to the tank.

For details, you can have a look at this write-up: how to cycle a shrimp tank?

Step 11: Introducing Shrimp To The Tank

The top act of setting up a shrimp tank is yet to be done. After settling all items, it’s time to introduce your newly bought pet shrimp to its new home. Besides, you should acclimate your shrimp to help them get adjusted to a new environment.

Step 12: Adding Tank Mates

Like other pets, you can not buy only one shrimp. Being extremely social creatures, shrimp require tank mates. If you do not want to include different types of animals, you can keep a group of 10-20 shrimp together.

While choosing tank mates, you must consider their compatibility and tank requirements. The experienced owners suggest keeping small invertebrates, peaceful fish, algae eaters, etc.

Some of the best tank mates for shrimp are small danios, rasboras, guppies, neon tetras, dwarf gourami, freshwater snails, etc. In addition, you must not choose large fish, livebearers, spiny eels, or any other aggressive creatures.

Can Shrimp Live With Betta?

While shrimp are docile creatures, betta fish are somewhat aggressive. So, keeping shrimp with betta can be a risky decision. But, several owners keep betta as tank mates of shrimp.

If you keep shrimp and betta together, you should keep betta well-fed. Your adorable shrimp may get devoured by hungry betta fish. The experts generally don’t recommend keeping betta with shrimp.

Step 13: Adding A Tank Lid

Although there is no strictness in covering the tank, adding the tank lid will be safe for your shrimp. Sometimes, your shrimp may crawl out of the tank. Also, if you have a pet dog or cat in your home, they may attack while finding the tank open. Hence, you should add a tank lid as the final nail in the coffin.

Can Shrimp Crawl Out Of The Tank?

If your shrimp crawl out of the water, there must be something wrong. Usually, this happens when there is inconsistency in water parameters.

You might know that shrimp are extremely sensitive to water conditions. These crustaceans can’t tolerate any slight changes in water parameters. If this happens, your shrimp can crawl out of the tank.

How Long Should A Tank Be Setup Before Adding Shrimp?

After completing the setup process, you should wait a few days to add shrimp. You need to let the tank completely cycle. Generally, it can take 2 weeks to a month to let the tank sit before adding shrimp.

Final Words

Shrimp are hardy pets that require some basic maintenance. I hope this article helped you get detailed information about setting up a shrimp tank. Do not forget to maintain the regular cleanliness of the tank to keep your shrimp healthy.

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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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