Shrimps are easily the most overlooked aquarium species when we consider beginner hobbyists. If you are just starting up with your first aquarium, you probably mainly imagine beautiful colorful fish and an abundance of plants.
People rarely see the point in adding shrimp to their aquariums. On the contrary, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of the cleaning crew. Shrimp are among the most effective aquarium cleaners that will always restore your tank to its primary state.
With this said, which are the most suitable freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners? Shrimps come in a wide array of colors and sizes. Some require additional care and aquarium conditions but others will simply make your aquarium cleaner and more beautiful. Whether you choose the common species like the Red Cherry Shrimp or the Ghost Shrimp, or you want something rarer, we have selected the 10 most suitable freshwater aquarium shrimp for beginners.
In the following article, you will also learn everything about maintenance and which shrimp should not be kept with fish. Although they are easily the simplest species to have in an aquarium, in some cases, you need to take precautions and take additional care.
A Quick Explanation of Aquarium Shrimp
There are dozens of freshwater shrimp species with various sizes and colors. While you can put every single one of them in a tank, you must beforehand note all of the important conditions that certain species require. In other cases, you must take note of the adaptability of the species, and finally, you must make sure that the shrimp you select is compatible with your aquarium fish.
Of course, you can always have an all-shrimp aquarium but these are honestly rare, especially with beginner hobbyists. In most cases, you will already have fish in your tank or you may be fortunate enough to get them together and choose the best pairings.
Before anything else, you need to make sure that the water quality in your tank is suitable for your selected species of shrimp. Anything else should be a secondary concern and you should focus on the water conditions as soon as you make the choice.
Your safest bet is to purchase a water testing kit(link to amazon) in order to inspect ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in the tank regularly. These compounds should be kept at the minimum if you want any species of shrimp or even fish to survive.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of shrimp species that are suitable for beginners. Through our carefully selected list, you will get familiar with the most common choices and their minimal requirements. As an example, certain species would prefer less alkaline water while others would not thrive if the water is too acidic. Let’s take a look at the most appropriate shrimp for beginners!
Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp for Beginners
1. Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp are one of the two most common species both for beginners and professionals. You can recognize them by their nearly transparent bodies. Ghost shrimp grew in popularity due to their extreme cleaning skills and ease of care.
Since these are extremely common, people also use them as food for their predator fish. This also means that they are among the cheapest shrimp you could possibly purchase. Their ideal water conditions include pH levels between 7.0 – 8.0 and temperature around 70-80 °F.
2. Red Cherry Shrimp
If you are a beginner and you get asked about shrimp, I could bet you that the Red Cherry Shrimp will be the first thing that pops into your mind. These can be found in absolutely every pet store as they are the most common species of shrimp.
Besides their obvious reddish color, Red Cherry Shrimp are widely popular as the easiest species to take care of. You can easily get that idea from the numbers. They need pH levels between around 6.3 – 8.0 which is an extreme diapason when it comes to aquarium species. Also, they accept any temperature as their borders stand around 65 – 85 °F.
The perfect aquarium environment for Red Cherry Shrimp includes a densely planted bottom. These shrimp are perfect for community tanks as long as there are no aggressive fish species. Even then, they would hardly have a problem as long as there is enough vegetation and hiding spots.
One last thing to know, it is extremely easy to breed Red Cherry Shrimp. All you need is at least one male and one female in your tank. As long as they have suitable aquarium conditions and feel safe around their tank mates, they will breed by themselves.
3. Bamboo Shrimp
Bamboo shrimp, also known as Wood shrimp, can be recognized by their brownish color and yellowish stripes. This is also one of the widely popular choices and you can find them in almost every store.
Bamboo shrimp are perfectly suitable for beginners although their water requirements are definitely more limited than those of the Red Cherry Shrimp. This means that they shouldn’t be kept with fish that require hot water.
The perfect aquarium temperature for Bamboo shrimp is between 68 – 77 °F and the most suitable pH levels should be somewhere around 6.5 – 7.5.
4. Bumblebee Shrimp
Bumblebee Shrimp are at an entirely different level in terms of beauty. They could literally pass as underwater bees. Despite their beauty, they are not as hard to care for as you would imagine. Nevertheless, you will have to pay a little bit of extra attention to water quality as Bumblebee Shrimp are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.
Other than that, you can keep your Bumblebee Shrimp at regular aquarium temperatures between 70 – 80 °F. As for the pH level, consider keeping it around 6.0 – 7.0.
5. Amano Shrimp
Amano Shrimp are among the most common shrimp species due to their extreme cleaning capabilities. They are often called the best algae eaters out of all shrimp and thus, you can rest assured that they will keep your tank perfectly clean.
At the same time, they are perhaps the easiest shrimp to look after next to the Red Cherry Shrimp and will survive in almost all conditions. For example, their temperature limits are between 65 and 85 °F. Simultaneously, their pH requirements include pH levels in these numbers – 6.5 – 8.0.
Amano shrimp are not suitable in one particular case. If you want a colony that includes breeding them, you will have to go through some extreme care and conditions. They are among the hardest shrimp to breed, thus, if you want a colony, you will have to buy them all.
Other than that, they are the perfect aquarium shrimp for beginners. Just give them some vegetation and they will thrive healthily.
6. Babaulti Shrimp
Here we have a species of shrimp that is often overlooked and underappreciated. It could be because they usually come at the common brown color but if you are lucky, you may find them with green, yellow, and red, which look amazing. They also have limitless varieties of stripes which is also an underappreciated feature.
Babaulti shrimp are perfect for beginners as they accept nearly all possible water and environmental conditions. They will survive in waters from 65 to 85 °F and pH levels of 6.5 – 8.0. They will also survive all the possible beginners’ mistakes that one could make.
Overall, this species will be your perfect choice if you have a heavily planted tank that needs some cleaning. However, make sure you give them additional mixed food as they are known for their appetite.
7. Snowball Shrimp
These striking shrimp can easily be placed around the top if we had to rank this list by the ease of care. Their low requirements and unique appearance make them suitable for any beginner. They are known as the cousins of the Red Cherry Shrimp and thus, they have identical personalities and requirements.
All you need to do is keep your water as stable at these following specifications: 65 – 85 °F and around 6.0 – 7.5 pH. Like their cousins, the Snowball Shrimp will eat all the algae in your tank and make it as clean as their capacity allows them. However, if your tank is relatively clean already, make sure to add an additional feeding method.
8. Blue Bolt Shrimp
Now, here is an extremely beautiful species of shrimp that require a little bit of extra care and limited conditions. They are still considered as relatively easy to care for but are specifically suitable for an all-shrimp tank. Moreover, they do not go well with other shrimp which is why, you should put them by themselves. This shouldn’t stop you from choosing the Blue Bolt Shrimp because they are absolutely magnificent.
Due to their beauty, they are also quite rare and you would hardly find them even at the most specialized stores. Your best chance is to order them online.
As for their requirements, they live in colder waters at around 65 – 75 °F. As for the pH levels, your water should be around 6.0 – 7.5 but you should take extra care with how clean it is. Blue Bolt Shrimp are quite sensitive and require regular water changes. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels should be kept at the minimum.
9. Panda Shrimp
We put this shrimp at the end of our list as this is surely the hardest shrimp to take care of on our list. Nevertheless, if you already have a healthy tank in your hands and you take good care of your water conditions, then these might still be perfect for you. At least, if you want to spend a little extra cash.
There was a period when this species of shrimp was the most expensive one in the world. Beautiful individuals of this species were being sold in auctions for hundreds of dollars. At a certain point in time, the hype just passed and the prices dropped. Today, you can get one for around $20 as long as you want to add another layer of exclusiveness to your tank because these are simply magnificent.
As for their personal requirements, they need cold waters of around 62 – 75 °F. For pH levels, you should stay around 6.0 – 7.5. There one small detail that is of high importance and possibly why these are considered moderately hard to take care of.
Panda Shrimp are sensitive to drastic changes in the environment. Just as they want regular water changes, you should be extra careful about the water you add to the tank. It should only be at the perfect temperature. Overall, these shrimp will not be difficult if you have a larger tank that does not get too affected by water changes.
10. Blue Tiger Shrimp
Our last choice is a shrimp that is perfect for community tanks due to its size and feeding preferences. The Blue Tiger Shrimp is one of the larger species that also loves to eat fecal matter. In other words, just place them in a densely-planted tank with small fish that are, of course, not aggressive, and you can simply forget about taking care of them.
The only issue here is that the Blue Tiger Shrimp prefers colder waters of around 65 – 75 °F while pH levels can be anywhere around 6.0 – 7.5. One last thing, these shrimp go better in larger groups and in larger tanks. We don’t suggest getting these if your tank is below 10 gallons.
Which Shrimp Should You Avoid as a Beginner?
As a whole, there is no certain rule about fishkeeping. There are people that do not have time to dedicate and there are people that learn extremely fast and get deep into the hobby at the very start.
Overall, you should stay away from the selectively bred shrimp that are more expensive as they regularly have extremely special requirements and their sensitivity is sky-high. One clear example would be the Cardinal Shrimp which as undoubtedly among the most beautiful selectively bred shrimp but also have extreme needs.
Are Freshwater Shrimp Easy to Keep?
The majority of shrimp species require nothing but simple water conditions and vegetation. They are often underappreciated by beginners as they are not as vibrant and active as fish and there are not as many of them available in stores.
Most of the shrimp that we discussed above are perfect for community tanks and will require almost no feeding as they feed on algae and fecal matter. The only problem that they have is their short lifespan of 1-2 years in most cases. Nevertheless, in most cases, they are far easier to keep than fish which makes them perfect for beginner hobbyists.
Which Freshwater Shrimps Can be Kept Together?
Generally, it would be best if you keep just a single species of shrimp in your tank. There are certain species that tend to be aggressive towards others. Moreover, if you mix a couple of species that are from the same class, the following generations generally lose their color. There is an unwritten rule that there should be just one species of the same color if you want to have a stable community without aggression.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of species that go perfectly well with any other shrimp. For example, Amano shrimp and Bamboo shrimp which we discussed above can generally be kept with any other species.
Which Fish Species are Suitable Tank Mates for Shrimps?
In general, all smaller types of fish will be suitable for a colony of shrimps. As long as you do not own any large species or any aggressive ones, you will not have a single problem.
If you need to know certain fish that do well with shrimp, here is a small list:
- Dwarf Rasboras
- Celestial Danios
- Pygmy Corydoras Catfish
How many shrimps should I put in my aquarium?
It all depends on the size of your aquarium and the shrimp you want to keep in it. For example, you can keep from 2 to 5 from the Red Cherry Shrimp per gallon. Larger species require more space and which would normally mean around 1-2 per gallon.
The good think about shrimp is that these numbers do not change with the number of fish you have in your tank. Since shrimp will only stay at the bottom of your aquarium, you can keep as many as you would normally have in an all-shrimp tank.
Should I get a shrimp for my aquarium?
Whether or not you should get shrimp for your aquarium is entirely up to you. There are certain cases that would suggest undertaking such actions and these are when you have too many algae in your tank.
Other than that, you should get shrimp if you want to add a bit of color and life to the lowest part of your tank. Many people keep them for the fun of breeding. As we mentioned with a few of the shrimp above, they are extremely easy to breed and will require nothing from you. All you need is a small colony of male and female shrimp and good water conditions.
Last but not least, shrimp will keep your tank clean. They eat practically every type of food that you may give your fish and clean the entire leftovers that fall to the bottom of the tank. If you want a clean and healthy environment, add some shrimps.