Best Substrate For Shrimp

Substrate is very important for shrimps, whether it is neocaridina or caridina shrimps. The choice of your substrate can greatly impact the lives of the shrimps. If the choice is not suitable, then you might face problems later on.

Before choosing the substrate, you need to figure out what type of shrimp you’ll be keeping. There are basically 2 types of shrimp we keep as pets: caridina and neocaridina.

Neocaridina shrimps are a lot less demanding than their caridina counterparts. You can use any inert substrate for them.

On the other hand, caridina shrimps need an active substrate to thrive.

So, first you need to figure out what type of shrimps you have or you’re planning to have. If you are having problem figuring this out, I’ll include some tables at the end of the article to help you out!

Now that we know neocaridina shrimps require inert substrate and caridina shrimps need active substrate, it’s time to go through some of the suitable options!

Inert Substrate

Inert substrate doesn’t lower the pH of the water or affect the water parameters in any way. This type of substrate is preferred for neocaridina shrimps such as cherry shrimps, snowball shrimps, etc.

Like active substrate, there are also many inert substrates in the market. Though you can choose any you prefer, I’ll talk about the ones that I personally like and recommend for neocaridina shrimps.

Here are the inert substrates that I like:

Let’s talk a bit about my favorite choice:

Eco Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate

I absolutely love this substrate for two reasons:

  1. Great for neocaridina shrimps such as cherry shrimps. It doesn’t alter the water parameters and acts as a perfect inert substrate.
  2. The substrate is equally good for growing plants. I’ve grown hundreds of plants in this substrate. From low-demanding plants to high-tech plants, each grew pretty well in this substrate.

Eco complete planted tank substrate is formulated with a secret formula for enhanced growth of the plants and their roots. The secret lies in the rich-growing soil of Bali, Hawaii, and Costa Rica.

In those places, the plant’s growth is ebullient as well as lush. Carib Sea wanted to take the high-plant growing property of that soil and put that in their Planted Aquarium Substrate.

Eco Complete is a volcanic basaltic soil that contains the following ingredients:

  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • iron
  • sulfur
  • potassium and 25 other rich elements

Though the substrate is primarily manufactured for growing plants, it works perfectly for a cherry shrimp tank. It is a complete substrate both biologically and mineralogically. As a result, it doesn’t promote extra algae growth in the tank.

As the substrate is rich in Iron, you don’t need any other additive for it such as laterite. The granules don’t contain any artificial chemical, dye or any kind of painting. So, it is perfectly safe for using in a shrimp tank.

The grains are spherical in size and very porous. It provides optimum diffusion in the tank. Also, the substrate contains Heterotrophic bacteria which can convert the fish waste into plant food very quickly. Consequently, your shrimp tank can stay cleaner and healthier for a longer period of time.

Lastly, you don’t need to wash the substrate before adding in the shrimp tank. As the substrate contains live bacteria, it is recommended to not wash the substrate. You can use it straight from the bag in your shrimp tank.

If you are interested in this substrate, I’ll recommend to check out this deal on Amazon. If you have the budget, just go for it. Trust me, it is the best substrate for using in a neocaridina shrimp tank.

Active Substrate

Active Substrates are those substrates that can lower the pH level of the tank water. We want active substrate for shrimp species that prefer a low pH level in the tank. In most cases, these are caridina shrimps like crystal shrimp, tiger shrimp, etc.

Here are some of the popular active substrate choices for caridina shrimps:

You can choose any of these for caridina shrimps, but I like the first one most.

Birghtwell Rio Escuro

This substrate is designed specifically for caridina shrimps by Brightwell. This soil creates a lower pH environment in the tank which is great for shrimps that require soft/acidic water.

In order to prolong the soil’s buffering capability, it is recommended to use RO water. Also, for caridina shrimps, using RO water is highly recommended.

If you are planning for a planted tank, then this soil will be a great option too! It can grow a variety of plants without any problem! The soil is rich in nutrients which is perfect for root feeding plants.

Here are some of the key features of Brightwell Rio Escuro:

  • Comes in multiple grain size options. You can either choose Extra Fine (XF), Fine (F), or Medium (M). I prefer the F size.
  • Perfect for creating a lower pH environment (less than 7.0) which is ideal for caridina shrimps
  • Comparatively a cheaper active substrate option that doesn’t make you broke

If you want to check how much soil you’ll need, click here for the calculation.

Types Of Shrimps

Neo-CaridinaTiger (Caridina)Crystal/Bee (Caridina)Sulawesi
Red CherryTangerine TigersPandasGlaubrechti
SakuraOrange Eyed SeriesBlue BoltsHolthuisi
Fire RedYellow King KongCrystal Red ShrimpLanceolata
Painted Fire RedAura BlueCrystal Black ShrimpLingkonae
Bloody MaryTiger Shadow PandaLoehae
SnowballsYellow King KongsMasapi
Blue DiamondBlack King KongsParvula
Blue JellyRed King KongsProfundicola
Blue DreamPintosLake Poso
Blue VelvetGolden BeeMalili, etc.
ChocolateSnow White
CarbonSuper Red
Black RoseAmano Shrimp
24K Yellow GoldenBumblebee 
Green JadePinokio (Pinocchio)