Why Keep Freshwater Shrimp?
There are so many choices of animals to keep when setting up an aquarium that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. What direction should you even be looking? Every aquarium and every aquarist will have different preferences when it comes to what they want to keep. Likely you already have a set of favorites you’ve kept coming back to and grail fish you eagerly anticipate. But have you ever considered freshwater shrimp?
At first glance, freshwater shrimp may seem underwhelming. While colorful, they are generally tiny and we are often drawn to animals that are larger. It’s easy with a big fish to be able to recognize its individual personality. But for the right keeper, the qualities of freshwater shrimp can make them almost a perfect choice.
Best Nano Tank Inhabitants
Perhaps the most popular category of aquariums currently is the nano aquarium (aquariums that are 10 gallons or less). But nano tanks have a number of inherent problems. They can be unstable, it’s hard to keep their water quality pristine, and the number of animals you can choose from to keep is startlingly small. Not to fear, though. Freshwater shrimp are arguably the best option for keeping in nano tanks.
Shrimp species such as the Red Cherry Shrimp (and its related color forms) are not only tiny in size, they also create one of the lowest bioloads of any aquatic animal available in the hobby. Instead of only being able to keep a couple of fish in a certain aquarium, you may be able to keep dozens of shrimp. They are one of the only animals that you can keep in some of the smallest tanks on the market.
Add a Pop of Color
There are many different colors and patterns that species such as Red Cherry and Crystal Red Shrimp have been line bred to develop. Want a pop of red in a planted tank filled with rich greens? You’ve got it? How about blue? Yellow? Black? These, and more, are easily available.
Big Charm in a Small Package
It’s true that it’s much harder to identify individual personalities in smaller animals than larger ones. But while you may not be able to identify each shrimp in your tank by name, they are nonetheless bundles of charm.
Most varieties of shrimp are constantly active, climbing around your tank, exploring every plant and decoration, and scavenging for anything they can find. And when they do swim, it’s one of the most unique swimming methods you’ll see.
One of the difficulties with small fish is that they are prone to be picked on or attacked by their tank mates. With shrimp, you almost never have to worry about one of your fish becoming a snack. Shrimp will rarely squabble even among themselves. However, you do need to keep in mind that most fish will see shrimp as a snack, so you should ensure that you are keeping them with species of fish that are small enough not to eat them.
Perfect for Plants
If you are keeping a planted tank, you are likely concerned with avoiding fish that may eat the leaves from your plants. Shrimp are a perfect choice. They will not eat or destroy healthy leaves in the aquarium but will happily snack on stray bits of algae as well as dead plant matter that would otherwise need to be removed manually.
Caring for freshwater shrimp is generally straightforward and most people can easily have success with them. Stable water parameters and keeping nitrogen levels very low will allow most shrimp to thrive. Open up a new world of possibility with these freshwater jewels.
Download the Intro to Freshwater Shrimp
Ask your local fish store to carry freshwater shrimp