Keeping whisker shrimp will be a jaw-dropping addition to your aquarium. When you keep these transparent shrimp, you must ensure a proper diet to keep these shrimp healthy. Hence, new owners and hobbyists often ask in various forums about what to feed whisker shrimp.
Whisker shrimp are omnivores in nature. These shrimp eat almost anything, including algae, detritus, larvae, shrimp pallets, fish flakes, etc. Because of being scavengers, whisker shrimp eat the leftovers, dead plants, shrimp, and so on.
In this article, I’ve summed up all the detailed information about the whisker shrimp diet. You’ll know about the safe food list, the amount and quantity of feeding, and other additional facts.
So, let’s continue reading this article without any further ado.
What Do Whisker Shrimp Eat?
There is no hassle of choosing food for whisker shrimp. Since whisker shrimp are omnivores, their diet includes a wide range of foods. These include not only plant matter but also the flesh of small insects, fish, or invertebrates.
When you keep whisker shrimp under your captivity, you can feed pallet food to these shrimp too. There are several kinds of commercial foods for shrimp.
Besides, you might know that whisker shrimp are popular as clean-up crews or bottom feeders. Being scavengers, these shrimp eat all food laid at the bottom of the tank.
Another point to note is their aggressive temperament. Due to having a territorial temperament, whisker shrimp often gobble up small fish, insects, snails, etc.
In a word, these aggressive shrimp will eat anything that fits in their mouth. Also, whisker shrimp can eat dead shrimp.
What Do Whisker Shrimp Eat In The Wild?
Whisper shrimp are freshwater shrimp. So, you can find these shrimp in the creeks, lakes, streams, rivers, etc.
The prime source food of whisker shrimp is algae and smaller organisms in the wild. Aside from algae, Several food items are available for whisker shrimp in the wild. The list is given below-
- Green algae
- Bacterial films
- Plant materials
- Small mollusks
- Dead aquatic animals
- Insect larvae such as mayfly nymphs, mosquito larvae, aquatic weeds, etc.
- Smaller organisms than whisker shrimp. Such as bloodworms, brine shrimps, etc.
10 Safe Food List To Feed Your Whisker Shrimp
When you keep pet whisker shrimp, it’s your responsibility to mimic its natural diet in captivity. In the wild, whisker shrimp play the role of scavengers and search for bacterial matter and algae. But, these natural sources of food may not be present in the aquarium.
In case you notice the diet of whisker shrimp carefully, their diet is mainly based on plant materials and animal-based protein. The very first thing that you need to ensure is the availability of algae in the tank. But, the algae growth should not be excessive. Otherwise, it’ll ruin the water parameters.
Other protein sources can be managed by vegetables, pallets, other commercial foods, supplements, and so on.
I’ve made a list of safe foods that you can feed your whisker shrimp in captivity. Let’s take a quick look at the list.
Like the wild, your whisker shrimp won’t get tired of scraping and grazing around the tank to eat algae. It’s a good source of protein for whisker shrimp. These shrimp can eat algae all day and night long.
Hence, the experts suggest welcoming your new whisker shrimp in a matured tank where the shrimp can find plenty of algae. If there aren’t enough algae in the tank, you can provide algae wafers and pallets.
One of the most suitable foods for whisker shrimp is blenched vegetables. The veggies are high in protein. But, there are a few preparatory steps to feed veggies to your whisker shrimp.
Firstly, you need to clean the vegetables and peel them off. Cut off the vegetables into small pieces of 1.5 cm. After cutting the vegetables, you have to boil them for only 2 minutes.
You should remove the boiled pieces of vegetables after 2 minutes and let them cool in ice water. This process will make the vegetables break down readily.
The safe vegetables for whisker shrimp are-
- Sweet potato
3. Leaf Litter
Another safe food for whisker shrimp is leaf litter which is the dry leaves. All shrimp can eat such dead leaves. When several microorganisms and good bacteria break down the leaf litter, the shrimp can readily eat these foods.
Among several leaf litter, Indian Almond leaves are popular food for shrimp. Besides, these leaves provide a good place for the growth of beneficial bacteria and several microorganisms. Your whisker shrimp can devour these microorganisms.
4. Snowflake Foods
Snowflake foods are another good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and several beneficial bacteria for whisker shrimp. These snow-like flakes are made from soybean hulls or shells.
Like other pallets, snowflake foods do not make the water polluted due to their swift disintegration. So, the water parameters will remain perfect as there are no new additions of ammonia or nitrite. Also, these foods act as good media for mycelia growth.
5. Homemade Shrimp Food
If you want to feed healthy food to your whisker shrimp, homemade shrimp food will be the best option for this. You can make experimental recipes for shrimp food in various ways. There are lots of recipes for homemade shrimp food on the internet.
In this healthy item, you can add the veggies that are the favorite of your whisker shrimp. You can include oatmeal flour, fresh carrot juice, green pea powder, etc. This homemade shrimp food will be not only delicious but also nutritious.
6. Bee Pollen
Another protein-enriched inclusion of the shrimp diet is bee pollen. The bee pollen balls contain calcium, iron, amino acids, potassium, and protein. This supplement is good for shrimp growth, coloration, breeding, and proper cell construction.
Do not offer too much bee pollen at a time. Since these bee pollens dissolve in the water quickly, you should drop only a few granules of bee pollen at a time. The water current will spread the granules all over the bottom of the tank.
However, the experts suggest not feeding bee pollen to your whisker shrimp daily. Due to containing high protein, you should provide it once or twice a week to your shrimp.
It might sound silly but you can feed cuttlefish bone to your whisker shrimp. These bones are safe for your shrimp. Moreover, these are good sources of calcium and natural minerals.
You can put a small piece of cuttlebone in your whisker shrimp tank. Firstly, you should boil the cuttlebone. After boiling for 5 minutes, you need to cool it down to normal temperature.
Then, place the cuttlebone in your shrimp tank. The cuttlebone might float on the tank water. Hence, you can tie the bone with any décor item. After some time, you’ll notice your whisker shrimp grazing on the bones.
8. Shrimp Lollies
If you want to add something exciting to your shrimp diet, you can go for shrimp lollies. These lollies are found on varieties of flavors. Such as spirulina algae, kale, beetroot, carrot, etc.
You can leave the shrimp lollies sticking onto the substrate. After a while, you may notice the group of whisker shrimp finish the tasty coating by swarming around the stick. Considering the tank condition, you can feed shrimp lollies to your whisker shrimp colony every 2-3 days.
Seaweeds are highly enriched with fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Whisker shrimp can eat seaweeds. It’ll be a healthy and safe addition to your shrimp diet.
10. Commercial Foods
You can keep commercial foods as the last option in your shrimp diet. That is because these foods are not nutritionally sounder than other foods. Yet, you can choose several types of plant-based and meat-based commercial foods for your whisker shrimp.
The experienced owners suggest several excellent commercial foods for whisker shrimp. These are Hikari Algae Wafers, Shirakura Shrimp Food, Repashy Super Green, Omega One Freeze Dried Blood Worms, etc.
What Can Baby Whisker Shrimp Eat?
As a human baby can’t eat all food that an adult eats, your baby shrimp can’t be able to eat the same food as adult shrimp. So, you need to set up the diet for baby whisker shrimp with care.
Let’s see what your baby whisker shrimp eat.
When baby whisker shrimp can take solid foods, these babies can eat algae. You should ensure that the tank is properly cycled. Your baby whisker shrimp will enjoy little algae as delicious food.
2. Plant Debris
Baby whisker shrimp will love to nibble plant debris. These babies will tear up and eat plant debris little by little.
3. Crumbled Pallets
You can feed the pallets and wafers to your baby shrimp that you feed to your adult whisker shrimp. But, you need to crumble these pallets and crush these into powders. Then, the baby whisker shrimp can easily consume these crumbled pallets.
4. Powdered Baby Shrimp Food
Though the experts do not encourage feeding commercial foods to baby shrimp, you can choose good powdered shrimp food as supplements. These powdered baby shrimp foods contain all vital vitamins and essential proteins. I recommend choosing SunGrow Baby Shrimp Food, Shirakura Baby Shrimp Food, etc.
Do Whisker Shrimp Eat Fish?
As mentioned before, whisker shrimp are omnivores and voracious eaters. So, these shrimp can eat anything that fits in their mouth. If the fish are smaller than whisker shrimp, these shrimp will consume those fish.
Do Whisker Shrimp Eat Snails?
The answer is yes! Whisker shrimp enjoy eating snails. Also, It depends on the size of the snails whether the snails fit in the mouth of whisker shrimp or not.
How Often Should I Feed My Whisker Shrimp?
When your shrimp aquarium has plenty of algae, your shrimp won’t need regular feeding. In such a case, you can feed your whisker shrimp every other day.
Otherwise, feeding your whisker shrimp daily is a healthy option. But, make sure not to overfeed your whisker shrimp. You should ensure that your whisker shrimp finish the food within 4 hours. Not to mention, you must remove the leftovers.
Can I Overfeed Whisker Shrimp?
You might have heard the saying that whisker shrimp can eat themselves to death. Due to having a voracious appetite, whisker shrimp can eat tons of food. So, it’s pretty easy for whisker shrimp to get overfed.
But, you should not overfeed your whisker shrimp on purpose. It’ll cause several health complexities to your shrimp.
Why Aren’t My Whisker Shrimp Eating? 4 Reasons
There might remain a few underlying reasons why your whisker shrimp aren’t eating. For this, you need to recognize the signs or conditions. Let’s see what are the potential reasons for the loss of appetite of whisker shrimp.
1. Poor Acclimation
When you bring new whisker shrimp, these shrimp require some time to get habituated to the new environment. For this, you should acclimatize your newly bought whisker shrimp properly. Due to poor acclimation, your whisker shrimp may not be eating.
2. Poor Water Qualities
When the water parameters do not remain right, whisker shrimp can get readily stressed. It may put effects their feeding habit. So, you should check the level of ammonia, nitrite, pH, and other parameters of the water when your whisker shrimp stop eating.
Loss of appetite is a severe sign of shrimp sickness. Your whisker shrimp may be sick if they’re not eating. You should check other symptoms of illness on your whisker shrimp.
4. You Might Not Be Noticing
If everything is alright, you should check the overall health of your whisker shrimp. There is nothing to worry about when your whisker shrimp is healthy.
It might be possible that your shrimp are eating when you do not notice. Moreover, these shrimp tend to eat other foods less when there are plenty of algae to eat in the tank.
How Can I Encourage My Whisker Shrimp To Eat?
Generally, whisker shrimp have a large appetite. If these shrimp do not eat properly, you should encourage your shrimp to eat them.
For this, the first thing that you need to ensure is keeping the environment right. You must ensure that your whisker shrimp aren’t stressed.
So, the water parameters of the tank should be correct. Moreover, you should not overcrowd the shrimp tank.
Besides, you can bring variations in the diet of your whisker shrimp. These will increase the appetite of your whisker shrimp.
Lastly, make sure that your whisker shrimp aren’t sick. Your shrimp need to remain healthy to have a healthy feeding schedule.
I hope this article helped you get a broad idea of the safe food list of whisker shrimp. Make sure to provide nutritious food with the right amount. If your whisker shrimp show a loss of appetite, you should immediately take proper action.