It is surprising that most people I talk to that has a fish tank do not keep shrimp in their aquarium. Most people do not know how valuable these small crustaceans are to a tank. People think that shrimp only live in saltwater, but there are many species of shrimp that live and breed in freshwater.
Keeping freshwater shrimp is an excellent way to keep your fish tank healthy and clean. Most shrimp will eat algae, while all of them will eat detritus and any leftover fish food.
There are several different types of shrimp to consider when introducing them into your freshwater aquarium, as well as specific considerations before adding them. The main factors someone must consider when adding shrimp to an aquarium are:
- if there is any fish that will consume the shrimp and,
- do you add any chemicals that contain copper to your aquarium? Most people use chemicals that contain copper to get rid of fungal infections when their fish get sick. However, through proper maintenance and the proper precautions the use these chemicals should not need to be used.
If you are keeping tropical fish then it should be okay to keep shrimp, as long as your tank has plenty of hiding spots, so the shrimp can feel safe enough. Otherwise, they will hide until they eventually starve to death.
I have kept and had success with 4 different species of freshwater shrimp in my aquarium. I recently have been lucky enough to even breed 2 species of shrimp without any special precautions, such as a breeding tank for the shrimp fry.
Red Cherry Shrimps are one of the best algae-eating shrimp on the market. An added bonus is they breed easily in an aquarium if given the proper water parameters. An interesting point to make about red cherry shrimp is they are livebearers. They carry the eggs with them until they hatch, and are free to swim around.
Amano Shrimp is a personal favorite of mine. While there is conflicting evidence as to whether they are excellent algae eating shrimp, or not I can attest to their algae-eating capabilities. They are also the longest-lived shrimp out of the 4 different types I have kept. Breeding them is quite difficult, as they only breed in brackish water.
Bamboo Shrimp is one of the most unusual freshwater shrimp I have encountered. They have fans in the place of pincers where they will sit between a current, and let the food come to them. They cannot be bred in freshwater either, as they need brackish water to breed. They are also the largest of the four shrimp that I have kept.
Ghost Shrimp can be bred in a freshwater tank but is extremely difficult without a breeding tank. However, I have been able to do this twice but had to shut off my filter during the most critical stages of the young fry’s life. This is because once they hatch they will float up and down in the water column gathering microorganisms to consume. Some people say they are difficult to keep alive, but I have had no problems keeping my population up for over a year. They are also the cheapest to buy at a pet store, but they do not eat much algae. They will solve the problem of overfeeding your fish, which is what their first function is for me.